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Title: Lippincott's Magazine, Vol. 20, August 1877
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lippincott's Magazine, Vol. 20, August 1877" ***

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  LIPPINCOTT'S MAGAZINE

  OF

  _POPULAR LITERATURE AND SCIENCE._

  AUGUST, 1877.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1877, by J. B.
LIPPINCOTT & CO., in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at
Washington.

VOL. XX.



DOWN THE RHINE.

CONCLUDING PAPER.


[Illustration: CASTLE OF ELTZ.]

Coblenz is the place which many years ago gave me my first associations
with the Rhine. From a neighboring town we often drove to Coblenz, and the
wide, calm flow of the river, the low, massive bridge of boats and the
commonplace outskirts of a busy city contributed to make up a very
different picture from that of the poetic "castled" Rhine of German song
and English ballad. The old town has, however, many beauties, though its
military character looks out through most of them, and reminds us that the
Mosel city (for it originally stood only on that river, and then crept up
to the Rhine), though a point of union in Nature, has been for ages, so
far as mankind was concerned, a point of defence and watching. The great
fortress, a German Gibraltar, hangs over the river and sets its teeth in
the face of the opposite shore: all the foreign element in the town is due
to the deposits made there by troubles in other countries, revolution and
war sending their exiles, _émigrés_ and prisoners. The history of the town
is only a long military record, from the days of the archbishops of
Trèves, to whom it was subject, to those of the last war. It has, however,
some pleasanter points: it has long been a favorite summer residence of
the empress of Germany, who not long before I was there had by her tact
and toleration reconciled sundry religious differences that threatened a
political storm. Such toleration has gone out of fashion now, and the
peacemaking queen would have a harder task to perform now that the two
parties have come to an open collision. There is the old "German house" by
the bank of the Mosel, a building little altered outwardly since the
fourteenth century, now used as a food-magazine for the troops. The church
of St. Castor commemorates a holy hermit who lived and preached to the
heathen in the eighth century, and also covers the grave and monument of
the founder of the "Mouse" at Wellmich, the warlike Kuno of Falkenstein,
archbishop of Trèves. The Exchange, once a court of justice, has changed
less startlingly, and its proportions are much the same as of old; and
besides these there are other buildings worth noticing, though not so old,
and rather distinguished by the men who lived and died there, or were born
there, such as Metternich, than by architectural beauties. Such houses
there are in every old city. They do not invite you to go in and admire
them: every tourist you meet does not ask you how you liked them or
whether you saw them. They are _homes_, and sealed to you as such, but
they are the shell of the real life of the country; and they have somehow
a charm and a fascination that no public building or show-place can have.
Goethe, who turned his life-experiences into poetry, has told us something
of one such house not far from Coblenz, in the village of Ehrenbreitstein,
beneath the fortress, and which in familiar Coblenz parlance goes by the
name of "The Valley"--the house of Sophie de Laroche. The village is also
Clement Brentano's birthplace.

The oldest of German cities, Trèves (or in German _Trier_), is not too far
to visit on our way up the Mosel Valley, whose Celtic inhabitants of old
gave the Roman legions so much trouble. But Rome ended by conquering, by
means of her civilization as well as by her arms, and _Augusta
Trevirorum_, though claiming a far higher antiquity than Rome herself, and
still bearing an inscription to that effect on the old council-house--now
called the Red House and used as a hotel--became, as Ausonius
condescendingly remarked, a second Rome, adorned with baths, gardens,
temples, theatres and all that went to make up an imperial capital. As in
Venice everything precious seems to have come from Constantinople, so in
Trier most things worthy of note date from the days of the Romans; though,
to tell the truth, few of the actual buildings do, no matter how classic
is their look. The style of the Empire outlived its sway, and doubtless
symbolized to the inhabitants their traditions of a higher standard of
civilization. The Porta Nigra, for instance--called Simeon's Gate at
present--dates really from the days of the first Merovingian kings, but it
_looks_ like a piece of the Coliseum, with its rows of arches in massive
red sandstone, the stones held together by iron clamps, and its low,
immensely strong double gateway, reminding one of the triumphal arches in
the Forum at Rome. The history of the transformations of this gateway is
curious. First a fortified city gate, standing in a correspondingly
fortified wall, it became a dilapidated granary and storehouse in the
Middle Ages, when one of the archbishops gave leave to Simeon, a wandering
hermit from Syracuse in Sicily, to take up his abode there; and another
turned it into a church dedicated to this saint, though of this change few
traces remain. Finally, it has become a national museum of antiquities.
The amphitheatre is a genuine Roman work, wonderfully well preserved; and
genuine enough were the Roman games it has witnessed, for, if we are to
believe tradition, a thousand Frankish prisoners of war were here given in
one day to the wild beasts by the emperor Constantine. Christian emperors
beautified the basilica that stood where the cathedral now is, and the
latter itself has some basilica-like points about it, though, being the
work of fifteen centuries, it bears the stamp of successive styles upon
its face. To the neighborhood, and also to strangers, one of its great
attractions lies in its treasury of relics, the gift of Constantine's
mother, Saint Helena, for many hundred years objects of pilgrimage, and
even to the incredulous objects of curiosity and interest, for the robe of
a yellowish brown--supposed to have been once purple--which is shown as
Our Lord's seamless garment, has been pronounced by learned men to be of
very high antiquity. But what possesses the Rhine tourist to moralize? He
is a restless creature in general, more occupied in staring than in
seeing--a gregarious creature too, who enjoys the evening table d'hôte,
the day-old _Times_ and the British or American gossip as a reward for his
having conscientiously _done_ whatever Murray or Baedeker bade him. Cook
has only transformed the tourist's mental docility into a bodily one: the
guidebook had long drilled his mind before the tour-contractor thought of
drilling his body and driving willing gangs of his species all over the
world.

[Illustration: RUINS OF THE CASTLE OF AUERBACH.]

There is a funny, not over-reverent, legend afloat in Trier to account
for the queer dwarf bottles of Mosel wine used there: it refers to a trick
of Saint Peter, who is supposed to have been travelling in these parts
with the Saviour, and when sent to bring wine to the latter drank half of
it on his way back, and then, to conceal his act, cut the cup down to the
level of the wine that remained. These measures are still called
_Miseräbelchen_, or "wretched little remainders."

The Mosel has but few tributary streams of importance: its own course is
as winding, as wild and as romantic as that of the Rhine itself. The most
interesting part of the very varied scenery of this river is not the
castles, the antique towns, the dense woods or the teeming vineyards
lining rocks where a chamois could hardly stand--all this it has in common
with the Rhine--but the volcanic region of the Eifel, the lakes in ancient
craters, the tossed masses of lava and tufa, the great wastes strewn with
dark boulders, the rifts that are called valleys and are like the Iceland
gorges, the poor, starved villages and the extraordinary rusticity, not to
say coarseness, of the inhabitants. This grotesque, interesting
country--unique, I believe, on the continent of Europe--lies in a small
triangle between the Mosel, the Belgian frontier and the Schiefer hills of
the Lower Rhine: it goes by the names of the High Eifel, with the High
Acht, the Kellberg and the Nürburg; the Upper (_Vorder_) Eifel, with
Gerolstein, a ruined castle, and Daun, a pretty village; and the
Snow-Eifel (_Schnee Eifel_), contracted by the speech of the country into
Schneifel. The last is the most curious, the most dreary, the least
visited. Walls of sharp rock rise up over eight hundred feet high round
some of its sunken lakes--one is called the Powder Lake--and the level
above this abyss stretches out in moors and desolate downs, peopled with
herds of lean sheep, and marked here and there by sepulchral,
gibbet-looking signposts, shaped like a rough [Symbol: T] and set in a
heap of loose stones. It is a great contrast to turn aside from this
landscape and look on the smiling villages and pretty wooded scenery of
the valley of the Mosel proper; the long lines of handsome, healthy women
washing their linen on the banks; the old ferryboats crossing by the help
of antique chain-and-rope contrivances; the groves of old trees, with
broken walls and rude shrines, reminding one of Southern Italy and her
olives and ilexes; and the picturesque houses in Kochem, in Daun, in
Trarbach, in Bernkastel, which, however untiring one may be as a
sightseer, hardly warrant one as a writer to describe and re-describe
their beauties. Klüsserath, however, we must mention, because its
straggling figure has given rise to a local proverb--"As long as
Klüsserath;" and Neumagen, because of the legend of Constantine, who is
said to have seen the cross of victory in the heavens at this place, as
well as at Sinzig on the Rhine, and, as the more famous legend tells us,
at the Pons Milvium over the Tiber.

The Mosel wine-industry has much the same features as that of the Rhine,
but there is a great difference between the French wines, which are mostly
red, and the German, which are mostly white. Among the latter hundreds of
spurious, horrible concoctions for the foreign market usurp the name of
Mosel wine. It is hardly necessary even to mention the pretty names by
which the real wines are known, and which may be found on any wine-card at
the good, unpretending inns that make Mosel travelling a special delight.
The Saar wines are included among the Mosel, and the difference is not
very perceptible.

The last glance we take at the beauties of this neighborhood is from the
mouth of the torrent-river Eltz as it dashes into the Eifel, washing the
rock on which stands the castle of Eltz. The building and the family are
an exception in the history of these lands: both exist to this day, and
are prosperous and undaunted, notwithstanding all the efforts of enemies,
time and circumstances to the contrary. The strongly-turreted wall runs
from the castle till it loses itself in the rock, and the building has a
home-like, inhabited, complete look; which, in virtue of the quaint
irregularity and magnificent natural position of the castle, standing
guard over the foaming Eltz, does not take from its romantic appearance,
as preservation or restoration too often does.

[Illustration: VIEW OF COBLENZ FROM PFAFFENDORF.]

Not far from Coblenz, and past the island of Nonnenwerth, is the old
tenth-century castle of Sayn, which stood until the Thirty Years' War, and
below it, quiet, comfortable, large, but unpretending, lies the new house
of the family of Sayn-Wittgenstein, built in 1848, where, during a stay at
Ems, we paid a visit of two days. The family were great Italian
travellers, and we had met in Rome more than twenty years before, when the
writer and the boys, whom I met again--the one as an officer of the
Prussian army, and the other as a Bonn student--were children together. At
dinner one evening at this new Sayn house, as we were tasting some Russian
dish of soured milk (the mother was a Russian), we reminded each other of
our ball on Twelfth Night at Rome, when the youngest of these boys
happened to become king "by the grace of the bean," and spent some hours
seated in state with gilt-paper crown and red-velvet mantle till he was
too sleepy to oversee his subjects' revels any longer; of a day when the
pope was to "create" several cardinals, and of the young "king's" unshaken
belief that _he_ would have the scarlet hat sent him if he only waited
long enough at the window to look out for the messengers, and of his
consequent watch all day, seeing the carriages pass and repass and the
bustle of a _festa_ go on, till the sunset flushed over St. Peter's in the
distance, and the disappointment became certain at last. Of not much more
manly pastimes did the Bonn student have to tell, for the slitting of
noses was then in high favor, and a bit of advice was gravely recounted as
having come from a doctor to an obstinate duellist, "not to get his nose
cut off a _fifth_ time, as the sewing had got so shaky by repetition that
he could not answer for the nose sticking on if touched once more." The
house was really beautiful, and furnished with a taste which had something
Parisian, and yet also something individual, about it. The parquet floors
of inlaid and polished wood used in Germany were here seen to their
greatest perfection in some of the rooms; but what most struck me was a
Moorish chamber lighted from above--a small, octagon room, with low divans
round the walls and an ottoman in the centre, with flowers in concealed
pots cunningly introduced into the middle of the cushions, while glass
doors, half screened by Oriental-looking drapery, led into a small grotto
conservatory with a fountain plashing softly among the tropical plants.
There was also a good collection of pictures in a gallery, besides the
paintings scattered through the living rooms; but the garden was perhaps
as much a gem to its owner's mind as anything in the house, as an
"English" garden always is to a foreigner. There, in the late afternoon of
that day, came one of the Prussian royal family and paid the mistress of
the house an informal friendly visit, taking "five-o'clock tea" in the
English fashion, and with a retinue of two or three attendants making the
tour of the close-shaven lawns, the firm gravelled walks and the broad and
frequent flights of steps that led from one terraced flower-garden to
another. These were courtly and educated descendants of terrible scourges
of mankind in old days--of Sayns who were simply robbers and highwaymen,
levying bloody toll on the Coblenz merchants' caravans, and of
Brandenburgs who were famous for their ravages and raids. Times have
changed no less than buildings, and the houseful of pictures and treasures
is no more unlike the robber-nest destroyed in war by other robbers than
the young Bonn student is unlike his rough-and-ready forefathers.

As we push our way down the Rhine we soon come to another such contrast,
the little peaceful town of Neuwied, a sanctuary for persecuted Flemings
and others of the Low Countries, gathered here by the local sovereign,
Count Frederick III. He gave them each a plot of land, built their houses
and exempted them from all dues and imposts, besides granting them full
freedom of worship; but not for them alone was this boon, for as other
wars made other exiles, so were all and every welcome to Neuwied, and the
place even now contains Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, Mennonites and
Quakers, all living in peace together. The United Brethren (or Moravians)
founded a colony here in 1750. The honesty of these people is proverbial,
their simplicity of life is patriarchal, and the artist at least will not
object to their manners, for the sake of the pleasing costume of their
women, whose white caps look akin to the peaceful, rural background of
their life, red and blue bands on these caps respectively distinguishing
the married from the unmarried women. The little brook that gives its name
to the village runs softly into the Rhine under a rustic bridge and amid
murmuring rushes, while beyond it the valley gets narrower, rocks begin to
rise over the Rhine-banks, and the scenery after Andernach becomes again
what we so admired at Bingen and Bornhofen.

[Illustration: ORTENSTEIN.]

Andernach is the Rocky Gate of the Rhine, and if its scenery were not
enough, its history, dating from Roman times, would make it interesting.
However, of its relics we can only mention, _en passant_, the parish
church with its four towers, all of tufa, the dungeons under the
council-house, significantly called the "Jews' bath," and the old
sixteenth-century contrivances for loading Rhine-boats with the millstones
in which the town still drives a fair trade. At the mouth of the Brohl we
meet the volcanic region again, and farther up the valley through which
this stream winds come upon the retired little watering-place of
Tönnistein, a favorite goal of the Dutch, with its steel waters; and
Wassenach, with what we may well call its dust-baths, stretching for miles
inland, up hills full of old craters, and leaving us only at the entrance
of the beech-woods that have grown up in these cauldron-like valleys and
fringe the blue Laachersee, the lake of legends and of fairies. One of
these Schlegel has versified, the "Lay of the Sunken Castle," with the
piteous tale of the spirits imprisoned; and Simrock tells us in rhyme of
the merman who sits waiting for a mortal bride; while Wolfgang Müller
sings of the "Castle under the Lake," where at night ghostly torches are
lighted and ghostly revels held, the story of which so fascinates the
fisherman's boy who has heard of these doings from his grandmother that as
he watches the enchanted waters one night his fancy plays him a cruel
trick, and he plunges in to join the revellers and learn the truth. Local
tradition says that Count Henry II. and his wife Adelaide, walking here by
night, saw the whole lake lighted up from within in uncanny fashion, and
founded a monastery in order to counteract the spell. This deserted but
scarcely-ruined building still exists, and contains the grave of the
founder: the twelfth-century decoration, rich and detailed, is almost
whole in the oldest part of the monastery. The far-famed German tale of
Genovefa of Brabant is here localized, and Henry's son Siegfried assigned
to the princess as a husband, while the neighboring grotto of Hochstein is
shown as her place of refuge. On our way back to the Rocky Gate we pass
through the singular little town of Niedermendig, an hour's distance from
the lake--a place built wholly of dark gray lava, standing in a region
where lava-ridges seam the earth like the bones of antediluvian monsters,
but are made more profitable by being quarried into millstones. There is
something here that brings part of Wales to the remembrance of the few who
have seen those dreary slate-villages--dark, damp, but naked, for moss and
weeds do not thrive on this dampness as they do on the decay of other
stones--which dot the moorlands of Wales. The fences are slate; the
gateposts are slate; the stiles are of slate; the very "sticks" up which
the climbing roses are trained are of slate; churches, schools, houses,
stables, are all of one dark iron-blue shade; floors and roofs are alike;
hearth-stones and threshold-stones and grave-stones, all of the same
material. It is curious and depressing. This volcanic region of the Rhine,
however, has so many unexpected beauties strewn pell-mell in the midst of
stony barrenness that it also bears some likeness to Naples and Ischia,
where beauty of color, and even of vegetation, alternate surprisingly with
tracts of parched and rocky wilderness pierced with holes whence gas and
steam are always rising.

Sinzig, on the left bank of the last gorge of the Rhine, besides its
legend of Constantine has a convent said to have been built by the empress
Helena; and in this convent a mummied body of a long-dead monk, canonized
by popular tradition, and remarkable for the journey to Paris which his
body took and returned from unharmed in the days of Napoleon I. On the
opposite shore, not much lower down, is another of the numberless
pilgrimage-chapels with which the Rhine abounds, and the old city of
Linz, with an authentic history dating from the ninth century, telling of
an independence of any but nominal authority for some time, and at last of
a transfer of the lordship of the old town from the Sayns to the
archbishops of Cologne. This supremacy had to be kept up by the "strong
hand," of which the ruined fortress is now the only reminder; but there is
a more beautiful monument of old days and usages in the thirteenth-century
church of St. Martin, not badly restored, where the stained-glass windows
are genuinely mediæval, as well as the fresco on gold ground representing
the "Seven Joys of Mary," painted in 1463. Just above Remagen lies the
Victoria-berg, named after the crown-princess of Prussia, the
princess-royal of England, and this is the evening resort of weary
Remageners--a lovely public garden, with skilfully-managed vistas, and a
"Victoria temple," placed so as to command the five prettiest views up and
down the stream, as well as over the woodland behind the town. Let not the
classic name of "temple" deceive us, however, for this is a genuine German
arbor, picturesque and comfortable, with a conical roof of stately and
rustic pillars, seats and balustrade rising from the steep bank on which
the "lookout" is perched. The winding Ahr, coming from the tufa-plateau of
the Eifel and watering a pretty valley full of old castles and churches,
rolls its waters into the Rhine in this neighborhood, and in summer no
trip is so pleasant to the citizens of Bonn and Cologne, and indeed to
many tourists if they have time to breathe. But in winter the scenery is
worthy of the New World. The dark rocks and narrow slits of valleys piled
with snow and crusted with ice, the locked waterfalls and caves with
portcullises of icicles let down across their mouths, make a pendant for
the splendid and little-known scenery of American mountains in January. By
one of the castles, a ruin belonging to the Steins of Nassau, poetically
called _Landskröne_, or the "Land's Crown," from its beautiful situation
on a basalt hill, is a perfectly-preserved chapel perched on the top of
the rock, where, says the legend, the daughter of the besieged lord of the
castle once took refuge during a local war. The sacristy has an unusual
shape, and is hewn out of the rock itself; and here it was that the maiden
sat in safety, the rock closing over the cleft by which she had crept in,
and a dove finding its way in every day with a loaf to feed her, while a
spring within the cave supplied her with water. Legends have grown over
every stone of this poetic land like moss and lichen and rock-fern; and at
Beul, a small bathing-place with a real geyser and a very tolerable circle
of society, we come across the universal story of a golden treasure sunk
in a castle-well and guarded by a giant. The old, world-forgotten town has
its hall of justice and all the shell of its antique civic paraphernalia,
while at present it is a sleepy, contented, rural place, with country
carts and country riders by families crowding it on market-days, and
making every yard of the old street a picture such as delights the
traveller from cities whose plan is conveniently but not picturesquely
that of a chess-board. The baths, like those of Schlangenbad, are in great
favor with nervous women, and like that neighborhood too, so has this its
miniature Olivet and Calvary, the devout legacy of some unknown crusader,
who also founded at Ahrweiler the Franciscan monastery called Calvary
Hill. These "calvaries," in many shapes and degrees, are not uncommon in
Catholic Germany; "stations of the cross"--sometimes groups of painted
figures, life-size, sometimes only small shrines with a framed picture
within--mark the distances up the hill, at the top of which is a
representation of the crucifixion; and as the agony in the garden is not
included in the "stations," there is generally at the foot of the hill an
additional shrine in a natural cave or surrounded by artificial rock-work.
The prettiest part of the Ahr valley is at and about Walporzheim, which
the Düsseldorf artists have, by reason of its famous wine quite as much as
of its romantic scenery, chosen for the place of their frequent feasts,
half picnic, half masque, when their get-up rivals that of any carnival,
not even excepting that of the "Krewe of Komus" or those other displays
peculiar to Belgium and Holland of which the late celebration of the
"Pacification of Ghent" was an example.

[Illustration: COURT OF JUSTICE, AHRWEILER.]

The Rhine once more! and now indeed we shall hardly leave it again, but
this is the last part in which we can enjoy the peculiar beauties that
make it different from any other river in the world. The Swiss Rhine is a
mountain-torrent, the Dutch Rhine a sluggish mud puddle, but the German
Rhine is an historic river. Quite as legendary as historic, however; and
perhaps that has made its charm in the eyes of foreigners even more than
its national associations, dear to the native mind; and here, between
Rolandseck, Nonnenwerth and Drachenfels, poetry takes precedence of
history, and we do not want the antiquary to come and shatter the legend
of Roland of Roncesval's fidelity to the Lady of Drachenfels, even after
her vows in Nonnenwerth convent, with his pitiless array of dates and
parade of obvious impossibilities. But I pass over the legendary details
that make this region so interesting. What will better bear repetition is
some description of the scenery lying inland from the shores, the natural
Quadrilateral, containing minor mountains, such as the Siebengebirge (or
the Seven Hills) and the Bonner Alps, and encircling also the volcanic
region between Honnef and Dollendorf. These hills with their
step-and-terrace formation were once fortified by Valentinian against the
formidable Frankish hordes, and German poetry early began to find scenery
in them worthy of its national epic, and so laid the scene of the Saga of
Wilkina among these mountains and valleys. Here, above the legends of
Roland and Siegfried and the Christian captive, who, exposed to the dragon
of the rock, vanquished him by the cross, so that he fell backward and
broke his neck, is the solid remembrance of castles built on many of these
Rhine-hills, defences and bulwarks of the archbishops of Cologne against
the emperors of Germany. But Drachenfels keeps another token of its legend
in its dark-red wine, called "dragon's blood." (Could any teetotaller have
invented a more significant name?) One has often heard of the unbelieving
monk who stumbled at the passage in Scripture which declares that a
thousand years are but as one day to the Lord, and the consequent taste of
eternity which he was miraculously allowed to enjoy while he wandered off
for a quarter of an hour, as he thought, but in reality for three hundred
years, following the song of a nightingale. The abbey of Heisterbach
claims this as an event recorded in its books, and its beautiful ruins and
wide naves with old trees for columns are, so says popular rumor, haunted
by another wanderer, an abbot with snow-white beard, who walks the
cloisters at night counting the graves of his brethren, and vainly seeking
his own, which if he once find his penance will be over. This part of the
Rhine was the favorite home of many of the poets who have best sung of the
national river: a cluster of townlets recalls no less than five of them to
our mind--Unkel, where Freiligrath chose his home; Menzerberg, where
Simrock lived; Herresberg, Pfarrins's home; Königswinter, Wolfgang
Müller's birthplace; and Oberkassel, that of Gottfried Kinkel. Rhondorf
shows us a monument of one of the last robber-lords of Drachenfels, and
Honnef a smiling modern settlement, a very Nice of the North, where the
climate draws together people of means and leisure, _littérateurs_,
retired merchants and collectors of art-treasures, as well as
health-seekers. These little colonies, of which most of the large cities
on the Rhine have a copy in miniature, even if it be not a bathing-place,
are the places in which to seek for that domestic taste and refinement
which some hasty and prejudiced critics have thought fit to deny to the
Fatherland.

[Illustration: DRACHENFELS.]

The scenery of the Rhine begins to lose its distinctive features as we
near Bonn: plains replace rocks, and the waters flow more sluggishly. Bonn
is alive enough: its antiquities of Roman date are forgotten in its
essentially modern bustle, for the heart of its prosperity is of very
recent date, the university having been founded only in 1777, and after
the troubles of the Revolution reorganized in 1818. It has grown with a
giant growth, and has reckoned among its professors Niebuhr, Schlegel,
Arndt, Dahlmann, Johann Müller, Ritschl, Kinkel, Simrock and other less
world-famous but marvellous specialists. Then there is the memory of
Beethoven, the honor of the town, which is his birthplace and has put up a
monument to him, and the last modern element that has effaced the old
recollections--the numerous English colony--not to mention the rich
foreigners whom perhaps the university, perhaps the scenery, and perhaps
the heedless fashion that sets in a tide now toward this place, now toward
that, have drawn to the new Bonn. Poppelsdorf Castle, now the museum of
natural history, and the fine groves and gardens attached to it, now a
public promenade, have the brisk, business-like look of a "live" place:
the building, it is true, is modern, having been built in 1715. But if we
are obstinate enough to search for signs of the days when archbishops
ruled instead of dukes and kings, we shall find old remains, the cathedral
of course included, and nowhere a more curious one than the Kreuzberg, a
place of pilgrimage, where the church of 1627 has replaced an old
wood-shrine: its rich gateway was intended to represent the front of
Pontius Pilate's palace at Jerusalem, and on it are frescoes of the
various scenes of the Passion. Within this thirty marble steps lead up
into a vestibule in imitation of the _Scala Santa_ in Rome, and pilgrims
went up these stairs only on their knees. The vaults used until lately to
contain a quantity of dried or mummied bodies of Servite monks (that order
once had a convent here), reminding one of the ghastly Capuchin crypts in
Rome, in Syracuse and in Malta. This neighborhood is rich in
pilgrimage-shrines and legends, and Simrock has preserved a tale of the
Devil which is a little out of the common run. He and the Wind, it is
said, once went by a certain Jesuit church in company, and the former
begged the latter to wait a moment for him, as he had some business
within. The Devil never reappeared, and the Wind is still blowing
perpetually round the building, waiting and calling in vain. The old myth
of Barbarossa waiting in his cave, his beard grown round and round the
stone table on which he leans his sleepy head, which in another form meets
us in the Mosel Valley, repeats itself in Wolfsberg, not far from
Siegburg, near Bonn. I wonder whether the English anglers and oarsmen, and
the pretty girls ready to flirt with the students and give away the prizes
at an archery-meeting or a regatta, ever think of these musty old legends
looked up by scholars out of convent chronicles and peasants' fireside
talk? The difference between past and present is not greater or more
startling than is their likeness, the groundwork of human nature being the
same for ever. Especially in these old lands, how like the life of to-day
to that of hundreds of years ago in all that makes life real and intense!
The same thing in a mould of other shape, the same thoughts in a speech a
little varied, the same motives under a dress a little less natural and
crude--even the same pleasures in a great degree, for the wine-flask
played fully as great a part in old German times as it does now.

[Illustration: MARKET-PLACE AT WORMS.]

"Holy Cologne" seems at first an impersonation of the olden time, but its
busy wharves, crowded shipping and tall warehouses tell us another tale.
Indeed, Cologne is more rich than holy, and its commercial reputation is
quite as old as its religious one. The country around is flat and
uninteresting, but Cologne merchants have made Brühl a little paradise in
spite of this; and their country-houses of all styles, with balconies,
verandas, porches, piazzas, English shrubbery and flower-gardens,
conservatories and gay boats, lawns and statues, make even the monotonous
banks of the sluggish Rhine beautiful in spite of Nature. Then comes a
reminder of old times--the towers and fortifications, which are still
standing, though now turned into public gardens and drives that stretch
out both on the river and the land side; but the former, _Am Thürmchen_,
forming a sort of parapeted quay, crossed by massive battlemented
gateways, is the most fashionable and commands the best views. The trees
almost hide the shipping, as their predecessors no doubt did eighteen
hundred years ago and more, when the Ubier tribe of barbarians, a
commercial as well as warlike people, undertook to ferry over the whole of
Cæsar's army to the right bank of the Rhine in their own boats. The quays
swarm now with hotels, and these in summer swarm with strangers from all
countries--pilgrims of Art and Nature, if no longer of religion--and the
old town becomes in their eyes less a solid, real city with a long history
than a museum opened for their special behoof. And indeed these German
places seem to take kindly to this part, for they rival each other in
modern amusements and gauds set out to lure the light-minded. Music-halls
and beer-gardens, theatres and cafés, illuminated promenades and stalls
full of tempting flagons labeled "genuine eau de Cologne," are cunningly
arrayed to turn away the mind from the stately antique churches and houses
of Cologne. Every one has heard of the cathedral, many have seen it, and
more have seen at least photographs of great accuracy, and pictures of it
which, if less strict in detail, give it a more lifelike look and include
some of its surroundings. The church of St. Gereon, a martyr of the Theban
Legion massacred at Cologne to a man for refusing to worship the imperial
ensigns, under which no one denied that they had fought like lions, is a
massive Romanesque building older than the cathedral, dating from the days
of Constantine and Saint Helena. The church of the Holy Apostles is a
basilica with rounded apse and four octagon towers, one at each corner of
the nave. St. Peter's church, the interior terribly modernized by the
Renaissance, has for an altar-piece Rubens's picture of the _Crucifixion
of Saint Peter_. The Gürzenich House, now used for public balls and
imperial receptions, is a magnificent fifteenth-century building, adorned
with dwarf towers at each corner, a high, carved and stone-roofed niche
with statue over the round-arched door, transom windows filled with
stained glass, and carvings of shields, animal heads, colonnettes and
other devices between and above these windows. The council-house or
town-hall has a beautiful colonnade supporting arches, and a quaint
nondescript creature whose abyss-like maw opens wide and gapes horribly at
the beholder each time the clock strikes. A bas-relief in the hall
represents a curious incident in the civic history of the town, the
successful struggle of Burgomaster Gryn with a lion, the show and pet of
some treacherous nobles who invited Gryn to dinner, and under pretence of
showing him their very unusual acquisition, pushed him into the stone
recess and closed the gate upon him. The burgomaster thrust his hand and
arm, wrapped in his thick cloak, down the animal's throat, while he
pierced him through and through with the sword in his other hand. The
struggles between Cologne and her archbishops were hot and incessant, much
as they were in other ecclesiastical sovereignties. Of these there is no
longer a trace in the present, though the might of the burghers exists
still, and the city that was once called the kernel of the Hanseatic
League, and boasted of its Lorenzo de' Medici in the person of the good
and enlightened Matthias Overstolz, has now almost as proud a place among
merchants as Hamburg or Frankfort. Before we pass to more modern things
let us not forget the shrine of the Three Kings in the cathedral, which is
simply a mass of gold and jewelry, in such profusion as to remind one of
nothing less than the golden screen studded with uncut gems called the
_Palla d'Oro_ at San Marco, directly behind the high altar, and the Golden
Frontal of St. Ambrose at Milan--golden altar it might more fitly be
named, as each side of the altar is a slab of solid gold, almost hidden by
its breastplate of precious stones. The same warrior-archbishop, Conrad of
Hochstaden, who, driven from Cologne, transferred his see to Bonn, was the
first founder of the cathedral, though in those days of slow and solid
building to found was not to finish. The cathedral is not _finished_ even
yet. The present scenes in which Cologne shines are many--for instance,
its lively market on the Neumarkt, and the country costumes one sees there
each week as the stalls and carts, easily drawn by dogs and donkeys, are
set up in the square; the parade of the old guard, called the "Sparks of
Cologne" from their scarlet uniforms; and the Carnival, a high opportunity
for fun and display, and specially seized upon to reproduce historic
figures and incidents, such as the half-comic _Gecker-Berndchen_, a
typical figure in red and white, the colors of the town, with a shield in
one hand and a wooden sabre in the other, shouting the traditional warning
cry, "_Geck los Geck elans!_" the antique procession of burgher youths and
maidens, the latter with large white caps and aprons, and the former in
three-cornered hats, black breeches and stockings and thick low shoes.
Then follows a fancy ball in the Gürzenich House, in which the lineal
descendants of the burgomasters and councillors of old come out in ancient
family trappings of black cloth or velvet, stiff white ruff and heavy gold
chain from shoulder to shoulder, which their forefathers once wore in
earnest. Among the museums and other additions of modern taste is the
beautiful botanical garden and large conservatory, where flourish tropical
plants in profusion--a thing we find in many even of the secondary German
towns.

[Illustration: RHEINFELS.]

The Rhine itself is becoming so uninteresting that it is hardly worth
while lingering on its banks, and as we get near thrifty Holland the river
seems to give itself up wholly to business, for between Cologne and Aachen
(Aix-la-Chapelle) are miles upon miles of manufactories, workshops and
mills; warehouses connected with coal-mines; dirty barges blackening the
water; iron-works and carpet-mills; cloth and paper-mills and
glass-works--a busy region, the modern translation of the myth of gnomes
making gold out of dross in the bowels of the earth.

Aachen has a double life also, like many Rhine towns: it is the old
imperial coronation city, the city of Charlemagne, with a corona of
legends about it; and it is also the modern spa, the basket of tempting
figs with a concealed asp somewhere within, a centre of fashion, gossip
and gambling. How is it that people who profess to fly from the great
capitals for the sake of a "little Nature" are so unable to take Nature at
her word and confess her delights to be enough for them? They want a
change, they say; yet where is the change? The table is the same,
high-priced, choice and varied; the society is the same, the gossip is the
same, the amusements are the same, the intrigues the same; the costume
equally elaborate and expensive; the restless idleness as great and as
hungry for excitement: all the artificiality of life is transported bodily
into another place, and the only difference lies in the frame of the
picture. Exquisites from the capital bring their own world with them, and
their humbler imitators scrape together their hard winter's earnings and
spend them in making an attempt cavalierly to equal for a short time the
tired-out "man of the world" and "woman of fashion." Some come to find
matches for sons and daughters; others to put in the thin end of the wedge
that is to open a way for them "into society;" others come to flirt;
others to increase their business relations; others to out-dress and
out-drive social rivals; others to while away the time which it is
unfashionable to spend cheaply in the city; others for--shall we say
higher? because--political causes: few indeed for health, fewer still for
rest. You see the same old wheel go round year after year, with the same
faces growing more and more tired and more and more hopeless.

[Illustration: "AM THÜRMCHEN," COLOGNE.]

Of Aachen's legendary, historical, romantic side who has not heard?--of
the castle of Frankenburg on the outskirts, where Charlemagne's daughter
carried her lover Eginhardt through the snow, that their love might not be
betrayed by a double track of footsteps; of Charlemagne's palace, where
his school, the Palatine, presided over by English Alcuin, was held; and
the baths where a hundred men could swim at ease at one time; and
Charlemagne's cathedral, of which the present one has preserved only the
octagonal apse; of his tomb, where he sat upright after death in imperial
robes and on a marble throne (the latter is still shown); of the columns
brought from Rome and Ravenna; of the marvellous and colossal corona of
wax-lights which hangs by a huge iron chain from the vaulted roof; of the
bronze doors of the western gateway, now closed, but whose legend of the
Devil is commemorated by the iron figure of a she-wolf with a hole in her
breast, and that of a pineapple, supposed to represent her spirit, of
which she mourns the loss with open jaws and hanging tongue? The Devil is
always cheated in these legends, and one wonders how it was that he did
not show more cleverness in making his bargains. The cathedral still
claims to possess precious relics--of the Passion, the Holy Winding-sheet,
the robe of the Blessed Virgin and the blood-stained cloth in which the
body of Saint John the Baptist was wrapped. These involve a yearly
pilgrimage from the nearer places, and a great feast every seventh year,
when a holy fair is kept up for weeks round the cathedral. There is no
better living specimen of the Middle Ages than such gatherings, and no
doubt then, as now, there was some undercurrent of worldly excitement
mingling with the flow of genuine devotion. Aachen's old cornhouse, the
bridge gate and the many houses full of unobtrusive beauties of carving
and metal-work lead us by hook and by crook--for the streets are very
winding--out on the road to Burtschied, the hot-water town, whose every
house has a spring of its own, besides the very gutters running mineral
water, and the cooking spring in the open street boiling eggs almost
faster than they can be got out again in eatable condition. This is
another of the merchant _villeggiaturas_ of Germany; and a good many
foreigners also own pretty, fantastic new houses, planted among others of
every age from one to eight hundred years.

It is so strange to come upon a purely modern town in this neighborhood
that Exefeld strikes us as an anachronism. It is wholly a business place,
created by the "dry-goods" manufactures that have grown up there, and are
worth twenty million thalers a year to the enterprising owners, who rival
French designs and have made a market for their wares in England and
America. This is a great foil to old Roman Neuss, with its massive gates,
its tower attributed to Drusus--after whom so many bridges and towers on
the Rhine are named--and even to Düsseldorf, which, notwithstanding its
modern part, twice as large as its old river front, has some beautiful
antique pictures to show us, both in the costumes of its market-women, who
wear red petticoats with white aprons and flapping caps, and stand
laughing and scolding in a high key by their dog-drawn carts, and in its
council-house, an early Renaissance building with square, high-roofed
turrets overlooking the market-place. In that little house, in a narrow
street leading to the market, Heine was born; in that wretched little
architectural abortion, the theatre, a critical audience listened to
Immermann's works; and in the Kurzenstrasse was born Peter von Cornelius,
the restorer of German art. Schadow succeeded him at the head of the
Academy, and a new school of painting was firmly established in the old
city, which had energy enough left in it to mark out another successful
path for itself in trade. The new town is handsome, monotonous, rich and
populous, but the galleries and museums somewhat make up for the lack of
taste in private architecture. One of the most beautiful of the town's
possessions is the old Jacobi house and garden, rescued from sale and
disturbance by the patriotic artist-guild, who bought it and gave the
garden to the public, while the house where Goethe visited his friend
Jacobi became a museum of pictures, panelling, tapestry, native and
foreign art-relics, etc., all open to the public. The gardens, with their
hidden pools and marble statues, their water-lilies and overarching trees,
their glades and lawns, have an Italian look, like some parts of the Villa
Borghese near Rome, whose groves of ilexes are famous; but these northern
trees are less monumental and more feathery, though the marble gods and
goddesses seem quite as much at home among them as among the laurel and
the olive.

LADY BLANCHE MURPHY.



VERONA


It was a matter of debate in our party whether we should stop at Verona.
The ayes had it, and twenty-four hours afterward the noes indignantly
denied that there had been any opposition, so completely had the dignity
and attraction of the place driven away the very recollection of their
contumacy. Yet if they had had their way when we left Milan we should have
gone straight through to Venice, as the great majority of travellers do.
We could not remember that any of our friends had ever told us to go
thither or had gone themselves. At the hotel, the Due Torri, there were
but two parties besides our own--both, like ours, composed of but two
members. We had gone to this inn on Murray's emphatic recommendation.
"Very comfortable, excellent in every respect," said that red liar: we
found it wretched, and the charges exceeded those at the Hôtel Cavour in
Milan, which we had just left--one of the finest houses in Europe. There
is only one other in the place, which has the forbidding name of the Tower
of London; so, in view of our discomfort and the small public, we agreed
that we had come to the wrong house. On the day when we went away,
however, we fell in with some old acquaintance, fellow-country folk, at
the railway station, who had been at the Torre di Londra, and they too
thought they had gone to the wrong house. They said it was almost empty;
which confirmed us in the belief that the greater proportion of the people
who fill the trains and crowd the hotels within a day's journey in every
direction pass by this incomparable city. Yet as we paced the broad marble
slabs of its pavement, looking right and left, we asked each other, "Why
does not everybody talk and write about Verona, rush to it, rave about
it?"

[Illustration: COURTYARD OF HOUSE IN VERONA]

The view from the railway, unlike that of many beautiful Italian cities,
is striking enough to make any traveller change his route, jump from the
train and forego all his plans. The situation is singularly fine. The town
sits in state, backed by the outposts of the Alps, fronting the Apennines
and looking over the plains of Lombardy spread out between: the rushing
Adige curves deeply inward, forming the city's western boundary, and then,
doubling on itself, flows through the heart and south-eastward to the
Adriatic. The surrounding hills are seamed and crested with fortifications
of every age, beginning with those of the Romans of the Later Empire,
followed by those of Theodoric the Goth, of Charlemagne the Frank, of the
mediæval Scaligeri, lords of Verona, of the Venetians in the sixteenth
century, and of the Austrians of our own day, when Verona was a point of
the once famous Quadrilateral. Within the walls are monuments of all these
dynasties. The housewives and tradesfolk pass on their daily errands along
the streets spanned by two noble arches which date from the days of the
emperor Galienus. Almost in the centre of the town is the grand Roman
amphitheatre; the petty, prosaic, middle-class life of an Italian
provincial town creeps, noisy yet sluggish, to its base; modern houses
abut against all that is left of its outer wall, which was thrown down by
an earthquake in 1184; small shops are kept in some of the lower cells. On
that side it has none of the silent emphasis of its greater contemporary,
the Coliseum. We found afterward that we might have approached from
another direction across an open space, the Piazza Brà, but I think the
contrast and effect would have been less. The surprise is more
overwhelming to emerge from the narrow street into the arena, and see the
seats which sustained the amusement of fifty thousand people rising tier
above tier in perfect preservation, forty-three vast ellipses, to the very
top. It is only two-thirds as large as the Coliseum, but when one has
clambered to the upper-most row and looks down from a height of sixty or
seventy feet upon an area of nearly a quarter of a mile, the mind takes no
cognizance of anything but the actual immensity before the eyes. Looking
outward, we beheld a splendid panorama: first, the irregular surface of
the city, broken by steep roofs, arcaded galleries on the housetops,
battlemented towers square or slim, lofty belfries, black conical skyward
cypresses; then the blue hills--blue as cobalt, although so near--striped
in zigzags with the ruddy bands of the serrate feudal fortifications,
marked at intervals by curious three- and five-sided bastions, which the
architect Sanmicheli put up for the conquering Venetian republic; farther
off more peaceful slopes, on which white villas cluster and bask like
pigeons on a gable; more distant still, sublimer peaks of pale azure
brushed with snow; on the other side, the olive-dun plain irregularly
mapped out by the windings of the two rivers, the Adige and Po, yellow as
gravel-walks, sprinkled thick with towns and villages like tufts of
daisies, and hedged by the purple Apennines.

It is easy enough to fix the different events and periods of the local
history by the monuments they have created or destroyed, but the
influence of an Italian city is wholly against a systematic study of
chronology: the relics of various ages are thrown together, sandwiched and
dovetailed, on every side, and it is the impression, the collective
impression, of the entire place which is pleasantest to get, and worth
most: the rest can be learned from books. There is a sort of epic chain
which runs through the associations of Verona, and binds them together in
heroic series by all sorts of strange, unexpected suggestions and hints.
After the ancient epic, represented by the fragments from Roman history,
itself one long epic, come the vestiges of Theodoric, one of the heroes of
the _Niebelungen Lied_, in which he is known as Dietrich of Bern
(otherwise Verona). His palace, adopted and used for centuries as the
device of the municipal seal, survived the violent vicissitudes of the
city's history, and remained, after repeated alterations and additions
which made it a sort of architectural chronicle, until the present
century. This magnificent memorial of earlier times, which had been
respected in turn by the mad fury of Gian Galeazzo of Milan and the
implacable rivalry of Venice, was blown up by the French in 1801: large
barracks now stand upon its site, so that the stones of its warlike
builder are not subverted to purposes unbefitting his memory. Then follows
Charlemagne--putative founder, more probably first restorer, of the
cathedral--in his most mythic and heroic aspect, fresh out of the _Chanson
de Roland_, while Roland and Oliver keep guard on each side of the porch,
the latter bearing a mace with a ball and chain, the former his famous
sword Durindal, the stone counterpart of the weapon preserved for nearly a
thousand years in the monastery of Roncesvalles. The great heroic satire
of the twelfth century, _Reineke Fuchs_, is suggested by figures and
groups such as are to be found in all old Gothic churches north of the
Alps, but seldom south of them--a hog, dressed as a monk, standing on his
hind legs and holding a breviary, on the portal of the cathedral, and in
the church of San Zenone two cocks marching off with a fox dangling from
a pole. All the associations of the place centre in and radiate from Dante
and his unearthly poem, so much of which was written here or hereabouts.
It is extraordinary how he has appropriated the memories of the place,
even down to Romeo and Juliet--who by virtue of their immortalized loves
belong as much to our times as to their own--by the single well-known
line:

    Vieni a veder Montecchi e Capelletti.

[Illustration: THE AMPHITHEATRE.]

There is a colossal statue of him by a modern Veronese sculptor, not
unworthy of the subject or place, standing in the quiet Piazza dei Signori
amid the deserted homes of the Della Scale, looking toward the palace of
Can Grande, whose generous hospitality could not sweeten the bread of
charity nor ease the steps of a patron's court to the proud exile. Dante
could not have been easy to live with upon any terms. "Eh, puir fellow! he
looks like a verra ill-tempered mon," quoth Carlyle once after a long
contemplation of the poet's portrait. He played the part of Mentor, and a
very morose one, to the splendid, gallant, good-natured prince and his gay
court, and Can Grande seems to have derived the same sort of diversion
from his diatribes as from the quips and cranks of his jesters. At last
Dante wore out his welcome, as he did everywhere until the patient earth
gave him an abiding-place at Ravenna. His whole life of disappointed
ambition, unrecognized patriotism, unspoken love, baffled hatred, lonely
rangings in awful spheres, banishment, poverty, mortification, unrest,
inspiration, conscious immortality, passes before one in this spot, which
he must have crossed and recrossed innumerable times, and his presence
even in the marble makes it all his own. Yet if the statue could wake to
life, the man would not know the familiar place, which has been wholly
transformed since his days. The principal ornament of the square is the
Palazzo del Consiglio, a beautiful example of _cinque-cento_ architecture,
its exuberant decoration still subordinate to the harmony and proportion
of the general design. This has been converted into a pantheon for the
celebrated men of Verona, whose statues surmount the building, and among
whom we recognize many old acquaintances--Cornelius Nepos, Catullus, Pliny
the Younger and others of later date and less renown.

[Illustration: JULIET'S HOUSE.]

The palaces of the Scaligeri, now assigned to the drowsy courts of law,
have been altered so often that an inalienable dignity of front is all
that marks them for having once been princely habitations. We must look a
few steps farther for the pomp of the Scaligers, where a small graveyard
before the church of Santa Maria l'Antica contains the tombs of the
dynasty. The whole space, as well as each separate grave, is enclosed by
an iron trellis of the rarest delicacy: it is, in fact, a flexible network
which shakes at a touch, but which has withstood the rough handling of
five centuries, composed of open quatrefoils and the ladder (_scala_),
the family bearing, and a few other fanciful patterns, constantly
repeated: it is the lace of an iron age. Within this precinct rest ten
princes of the line, who from being nobles of Verona were elected in 1261
by unanimous popular choice to succeed the atrocious Eccelin da Romano,
the tyrant of Padua, who also held Verona under his execrable rule. There
is every variety of tomb, from the plain, heavy sarcophagus of Mastino I.
to the magnificent four-storied monument of Can Signorio surmounted by his
equestrian statue, a rising succession of small columns, arches, niches,
statuettes, canopies, pinnacles, embowered in leafage, bud and flower, as
if the splendid art of the fourteenth century were blossoming before one's
eyes. The tomb of Can Grande is fine, although much simpler: it has three
stories. He lies on the lowest floor, in robes of state, composed to his
last sleep, while on the summit he looks down from his horse, a full-armed
warrior. Four big dogs, from whom he took his enigmatic cognomen (although
the canine proclivity did not begin with him, as his ancestor was
Mastino), support the tomb, each bearing a shield with the arms of the
family.

Verona is rich in tombs. From our windows in the Due Torri we looked
across to the monument of Guglielmo del Castelbarco, a friend of the Delle
Scale, whose massive sarcophagus stands beneath a high Gothic canopy over
the gateway of a building which once formed part of the convent of Sta.
Anastasia. As we gazed down into the square, with its fountain and groups
of old women drawing water, and sometimes setting down their ewers to go
and say a short prayer in the beautiful old church of Sta. Anastasia, we
used to think that if this outlook were included in the charge for our
rooms, we were not paying too much. Another fine monument, by the
architect Sanmicheli, to two brothers who rejoiced in the surname of
Verità encrusts the front of the church of Sta. Eufemia; and in the
cemetery of San Zenone are a tomb and sepulchral urn which claim that they
contain the mortal remains of Pepin, king of Italy, the son of
Charlemagne. Besides these, altar-tombs, pillared and canopied monuments
and mortuary chapels meet the eye everywhere inside and outside of the
churches. That which attracts most attention now-a-days is decidedly the
least ornamental--the doubly-doubtful tomb of Juliet. It is so
acknowledged a lion that the street-boys of the quarter beset you with
offers to show you the way. This is no new celebrity: Murray assures us
that in the last century, before readers of Shakespeare, native or
foreign, were common in Italy, a sarcophagus was regularly exhibited as
this sentimental relic. That no longer exists: the present one, which was
formerly used as a washing-trough, looks so much like that or a
horse-trough of the commonest sort that, even without knowing its claims
to be apocryphal, the most credulous sentimental tourist would suspect
that it had come up rather than gone down in the world. No matter: we were
not dupes, but perhaps the full sweetness and sadness of the story never
came home to us with such enfolding charm as on the gray autumn afternoon
when we stood beside the pseudo relic in the forlorn little garden of the
orphan asylum on the bank of the turbid Adige. The house which is pointed
out as Juliet's is less palatial than we expected, though it is a lofty
old brick edifice with rounded windows, a stone balcony and a large
courtyard: on the keystone of the arched entrance, on the inner side of
the court, is the cap (_cappello_) which gives its name to the street, and
is supposed to be the heraldic badge of the family, _armoiries parlantes_,
or punning devices, being a favorite fashion in old times all over Europe.
If the balcony which remains was Juliet's, Romeo must have had a long
ladder and a cooler head than he showed under other circumstances. There
is a stone projection at the window of a lower story which once may have
supported a small balcony. The Casa de' Cappelletti is now a livery-stable
and inn, the Osteria del Cappello.

[Illustration: PIAZZA DELLE ERBE.]

The street leads straight to the Piazza delle Erbe, the vegetable-market
(literally, "grass-market"), the forum in ancient times, the most
picturesque spot in all Verona, which seems to collect and concentrate in
itself all the reminiscences and characteristics of the town. It
communicates on one side with the Piazza dei Signori; and the imposing
campanile, or bell-tower, of the latter, a shaft of brickwork nearly three
hundred feet high, springing above the intervening palace-roofs, makes a
companion to the tall, slender clock-tower at the farther end of the
Piazza delle Erbe, one of the many munificent gifts of the Della Scala
princes. In the centre of the square is a fountain, originally of great
antiquity; near by it the market-cross; close to that a marble column on
which once stood the lion of St. Mark, set up by the Venetians when they
seized the city, and thrown down when the republic of Venice fell in 1799.
Not far from these two pillars is a sort of stone dais beneath a stone
canopy, which was the very focus of the historic and municipal life of the
place in mediæval days. Here, when Verona was a free city, the _capitano
del popolo_ was inaugurated; proclamations were read from it; criminals
heard their sentences pronounced from it. Here people who did not pay
their debts were compelled to undergo the grotesque penalty common in the
Italian republics for that offence, of sitting for a stated time on the
pavement--_in puris naturalibus_ as to the sitting portion of the person:
flagstones are to be seen worn to a comfortable concavity by the
delinquent convexity.

The buildings which enclose the square are of the utmost diversity of
style and period--rich palaces of the Late Renaissance, cumbered with
ornament; modern houses of light-colored stucco, with striped awnings and
Venetian shutters; solemn old bits of architecture of sterner times;
frescoed façades, arcades, balconies. And what balconies! Not the poor
railing to which we give that name, but projecting parapets of stone,
pierced into trefoils, quatrefoils, rosaces, cusps, brackets,
balustrades--sometimes running across the whole house-front, more often
guarding a single window, itself lofty, arched, mullioned and rich with
tracery. It is here that, for the traveller coming from the North,
Venetian architecture begins--not Byzantine of course, but the purest,
noblest Cisalpine Gothic. It imparts a highly patrician air to the streets
with their long lines of deserted palaces, which keep their caste through
every change of fortune. Verona has not the fallen look of some old
Italian capitals, nor the forsaken air of others, but suggests the idea
that once her aristocracy closed their houses and withdrew to some retreat
where they maintain their traditions, waiting for better times to return
to their former homes. Many of the vaulted carriage-ways frame a glimpse
of the rushing river which washes the massive foundations of the
courtyards, the blue hills and lines of forked battlement.

In Verona one first sees Venetian painting too, on canvases which are to
Titian and Tintoretto as the colors of dawn are to those of sunrise, but
the glory is in them. The radiant pencil of Paul Veronese was early lost
by his birthplace and given to Venice, in illustration of the parable, but
even without her most glorious son native art makes a fair show in the
picture-gallery and churches. The picture which struck me most was a
fresco by Brusasorci in San Stefano, whither I had been drawn by the
report of its antiquity, which is said to be greater than that of any
other church in the town, going back to the seventh century. As on many
other occasions, I found that a building may be too old, the pristine
venerableness having been overbuilt by subsequent ages; but I was consoled
for my disappointment by this beautiful fresco--Saint Stephen surrounded
by the Holy Innocents. In the church calendar Saint Stephen is the first
martyr, and the Innocents are commemorated two days later: in the picture
the youthful deacon looks down with an air of paternal pride and affection
upon the lovely babes trooping before him with palms in their little hands
as he presents them to our Saviour, above in glory. There is a tenderness
in the expression of the martyr's face and attitude, as well as in the
conception of the group, which appeals to the simplest human feeling. The
juxtaposition of the protomartyr and the children is a perfect instance of
true ecclesiastical sentiment: it was not until long afterward that I knew
it to be a fine work of art.

San Stefano is on the left bank of the river, in the smaller and
less-frequented part of the town, and it was in further exploring the same
quarter that I wandered into a curious church which had somehow the look
of a cast-off garment, owing perhaps to the frequent patching it had
evidently undergone, and its appearance of being owned by nobody. It stood
open, empty of worshippers, with not even a beggar on the steps in
receipt of charitable custom--alone on a little island. It is the church
of San Tomaso Cantuariense, otherwise Thomas à Becket, whom it was odd to
meet so far from home: he was revered all over Europe for a long time
after his canonization, as this church proves, since he was adopted as its
patron in 1316, nearly a hundred and fifty years after his so-called
martyrdom; but to judge by its desertion he must be pretty well forgotten
now. It is hereabouts that, on emerging from a cat's-cradle of little
narrow cross streets, a very fine view of Sta. Anastasia from the rear
breaks upon one, the pentagonal apse, the chapels, transepts, nave, and
towers rising one above another, a beautiful specimen of early Italian
Gothic, still strongly impressed with the Lombard spirit.

[Illustration: SANTA ANASTASIA.]

This Romanesque character is what gives the particular stamp to most of
the sacred buildings in Verona, making them a study as distinct in their
way as the Norman churches at Caen. They belong to one period and one
style, although this is a transitional one: the slender pillars of the
porches resting on crouching lions, the round-headed arches, the plain,
square, soaring _campanili_, a majestic boldness and simplicity in general
effect, an unconscious quaintness in detail, the line of the prevailing
red marble contrasting gratefully with the layers of many-toned gray
spread by time over the walls, produce a combination of form and color
delightful to the eye. The older, original edifice is seldom visible from
without: what remains of it is completely built in and over, and is
generally to be found in the crypt. Notwithstanding the stateliness and
interest of the cathedral, San Zenone was the church to which our steps
returned most persistently. It is composed of three churches of very
different date, the first having been erected soon after the year 800, the
second in 1138, the third three hundred years later. The main building,
which is of the twelfth century, is sunk far below the level of the
ground: one descends into it from the main portal by ten steps; and this
unusual mode of entrance, the depth, the great height, the rigid absence
of ornament, the grave colors, the long unbroken lines of the nave, give
the interior a remarkable solemnity, and create an impression and emotion
as different as possible from those excited by churches of a later
construction, with their florid architecture, their opulence of sculpture
and carving, their statues and ornate monuments, their gorgeous paintings,
their stained-glass windows--temples

    Where the awe of worship mingles with the throbbing of delight.

The austere grandeur of San Zenone turns the soul inward upon a range of
meditations which a Puritan need not disclaim. The nave terminates in one
double flight of steps leading up to the second, most modern church, which
is raised above the first and terminates in a pointed tribune; and another
double flight which leads down to the vast vaulted crypt, with its pillars
and recesses, which is the oldest part of the structure. This place
breathes of the earliest Christian antiquity, and somehow reminds one of
the Catacombs. The altars are older than the foundations: on one of them
are groups of pillars fastened together by a species of Runic knot, such
as are to be found in the rudest carving of the Hebrides; ancient
sarcophagi and bassirilievi line the walls; yet round one of the recesses
of this primitive-seeming sanctuary I found a branch of the _Ampelopsis
quinquefolia_, our Virginia creeper, which I had fondly believed a native
of America, painted with the utmost fidelity five hundred years before
America was heard of, its five dentated leaves and jointed sprays in
colors as rich as the masses we had seen trailing over the marble
banisters of the villas on Lake Como, dyeing the pellucid water with their
scarlet shadows. Throughout the church everything speaks of early times:
the few frescoes are of the twelfth or thirteenth century: the only
noteworthy picture is by the serious Mantegna. In the upper church Saint
Zeno sits in his episcopal chair with a long fishing-rod in his hand,
whence the Veronese, ignorant of sacred symbolism, infer that he was fond
of the sport, and have invented an appropriate legend. He was an African
by birth, became bishop of Verona A. D. 362, and is said to have suffered
martyrdom twenty years afterward under the emperor Julian: his swarthy
wooden effigy, of archaic stiffness, reminds one of the idol of some
barbarous tribe. One of the most curious bits of the past is a group among
the rude sculptures of the porch called _The Chase of Theodoric_: the dogs
have caught the stag, and a fiend is about to seize upon the rider.
Orthodox tradition has given the name, because Theodoric, like all the
Goths, was a heretic, an Arian, but probably it points to some very early
version of the story of the Wild Huntsman, an old German legend. One sees
the trace of German ideas--at any rate, of Northern thought--everywhere in
the mediæval monuments of Verona: it is the meeting of the genius of the
North and South which Ruskin finds in the architecture and sculpture, and
which imparts a peculiar and original physiognomy to the whole place. One
of its most striking features is the Castel Vecchio ("old castle") and
adjacent Ponte del Castello ("castle bridge"), for they seem but parts of
one great fortification, turreted and battlemented, built by Can Grande
II. in 1355. The bridge is an extraordinary structure, the arches being
extremely unequal in size: the span of the largest is about a hundred and
sixty feet. The mass, the irregularity, the strength of these piles, the
dark river hurrying below, give the spot a grimness not often found on the
sunny side of the Alps. The castle has been altered by many successive
hands of course, for the history of Verona, like that of most Italian
principalities, is the old story of the house out of which one devil was
driven by seven worse ones: to Eccelino succeeded the Delle Scale, soon to
become as bad as he, and be driven forth by the Visconti of Milan, who in
their turn were expelled by the envious, despotic Venetians; and each as
they came and went added and took away something of the beauty and might
of the town.

[Illustration: VERONA, FROM THE GIARDINO GIUSTI.]

But there is a gayer side to Verona than any which we have yet recalled.
It was here that we first made acquaintance with many lively humors of
Italian street-life which we had not met with in the more northern cities.
Here we first noticed the eternal cooking in the open air, the roasting,
frying, frizzling which are for ever going on, the people stopping at
every few yards to eat macaroni, chestnuts, and Goodness knows what other
nameless messes, until we began to wonder whether anything were cooked and
eaten at home. Here too I saw the drollest and most charming bit of
harlequinade between a rascal boy and an old woman carrying a heavy vessel
of water. He popped out from under an archway and struck her a light tap
on the shoulder with a bit of hollow cane: she turned round, but he had
flown through an open window. On she trudged, and out he came as lightly
as he had gone, and following her on tiptoe tickled the back of her neck
with his wand: round she turned again, but he was gone too quickly for my
eyes this time. She set down her ewer and stared in every direction,
muttering curses: he came running swiftly down an alley, seized the ewer,
and with every respectful demonstration of relieving her of the burden
darted off with it in another direction. She hobbled after him, raining
maledictions: back he came with a pantomime of courteous surprise--What!
she did not wish to be assisted?--and set the vessel on a high ledge,
whence she had much ado to lift it down. As she did so, splash! half the
water was spilled: then her tormentor went through a dumb show of sympathy
and sorrow until the crone seemed like to burst with fury. At last he
broke into a fit of shrill laughter, the first sound he had uttered, made
a macaronic gesture, and capered off with the airiest gambols and antics,
like a very devil's kid. A street-urchin teasing an old woman is no new
sight, but the nimbleness, spirit, grace and gentleness of this young
Pickle, the impossibility of guessing what he would do or where he would
be next, and the fine dramatic rage of the beldame, who looked like one of
Michael Angelo's Fates, kept us standing and staring at the two until the
fun was over as if we had been at a play.

In one respect we must have seen Verona under a disadvantage: there was no
sunshine during our short stay. The beautiful, lordly gardens of the
Palazzo Giusti on the declivity of a hillside on the left bank of the
Adige were dank and dripping; there was no temptation to linger near their
chilly statues and gloomy cypresses; even the view from their noble
terraces, formed partly by the wall of the town, was cold and colorless
under the November sky. Out-of-door life is so large a part of the
pleasure of being in Italy, fine weather adds so indescribably there to
the beauty of even the most glorious works of man, that to have seen them
only under a dull sky is like having seen a human countenance without its
smile. Perhaps at another season we should not have thought the streets so
melancholy: perhaps even in our admiration we did not pay full justice to

    L'eccelsa, graziosa, alma Verona.[A]

SARAH B. WISTER.

[A] The lofty, gracious, kindly Verona.



A LAW UNTO HERSELF.

CHAPTER III.


Captain Swendon, with the majority of his sex, was never less a hero than
when at home. Brute force, _od_, backbone, whatever you call the resistant
power which keeps a man erect among other men, weakens under the coddling
of feminine fingers and the smoke of conjugal incense. The aching tooth,
the gnawing passion or the religious problem that strikes across his life
like a blank wall, all of which he pooh-poohs out of sight in the street,
master him indoors. A woman puts on her noblest virtues with the fireside
slippers, but to a man they are a chance for remorse, for repining, for
turning God's mighty judgments on himself into a small drizzling shower of
miseries for his wife and the children. Give the same man his boots and
the fresh air, and he will go to the stake gallantly.

The captain, pacing up and down the garden-alleys that night, thinking of
the blow which would fall on his daughter in Laidley's threatened disposal
of his property, was not altogether unheroic. There was nothing mean in
the big gaunt figure with its uncertain strides, or in the high-featured,
mild-eyed face: neither was there anything mean in his wrath. It was all
directed against himself. His Swedish blood had infused a gentle laziness
into his temper, and he had forgiven Laidley long ago for his lifelong
swindle, as no American with English grandfathers would have done.

"It's Will's nature," he said now. "Will's a coward and desperately ill.
He wants to pay his way into heaven, and I can't blame him. But _I_--I'm
an incompetent fool! I can't even pay my girl's way on earth!" The
captain's life, in fact, was a long ague of feverish conceit and chills of
humility. Yesterday he was an inventor who would benefit the world: to-day
he was fit for nothing but to dig clams. Going up and down the lonely
walk, he summed up all the capital he had had to make his fortune in the
world's market--the education, the opportunities, the great inventions
that all fell just short of their aim. For himself, he did not want money.
His work-bench, his iron bed, a bowl of Jane's soup, a fishing-rod and a
tramp into the hills now and then with the girl,--if he had millions they
could buy him nothing better. But she--Why should she not be as other
women? Why could he not work for her as other fathers--?

He raised his right arm, and the empty sleeve fell back from the stump,
which burned and throbbed impotently. There was will enough in it to
conquer the whole world for her. There was that aching love which mothers
feel in his breast for her, as though his heart were physically wrenched.

But at breakfast the next morning, while quite as ready to die for her, he
nagged and scolded incessantly, and threw the blame of their ill-luck on
her, his voice sounding like the clatter of a brass kettle: "Omelette?
No--no omelette for me. I am quite content to breakfast on dry bread and
coffee. It is time we practiced economy. I'll make out a system for you,
Jane. A system, and I desire you to follow it."

Jane laughed and helped him to cherries, and then devoted herself in
earnest to her own breakfast. She never argued with anybody, and had that
impregnable good-humor which so often passes for lack of feeling. Little
griefs, either her own or those of other people, dwindled out of notice in
the atmosphere about her, like mosquitoes buzzing in a large sun-lighted
room.

"We certainly must practice economy. God knows where to-morrow's meals may
come from!"

"Jane's hens are in good laying condition, and there are the cherries on
the tree," said Miss Fleming tartly. She did not like Jane nor any other
woman, but she usually fought for her sex against men in a mannish
way--for the pleasure of fighting for the weaker party.

"Hens? Yes, and but for the whim of renting this tumble-down house with
its great gardens out on the suburb, we could have had snug rooms in some
business street, where I could have earned our bread and butter."

"It was your whim, captain. Why, she has kept up the table out of the
garden, and you know it. Don't interfere with the child. She can turn a
penny to the best advantage. Her ability is of the most practical kind."

The captain did not like her tone. He glanced uneasily at Jane, who ate
her cherries in calm unconsciousness.

"I might as well stick pins in the divine cow Audhumbla!" Miss Fleming
said to herself every day. This child, as she called her, irritated her,
just as a machine did, or an animal, or any other creature whose
motive-power she could by no means comprehend. She was herself a mass of
vitalized nerves, all of which centred in that secret I, Cornelia Fleming,
over whose hopes, nature and chances she brooded night and day. This other
woman, who simply grew in her place, concerning herself no more about her
own mind, body or future than the larch yonder did about its roots or
leaves, and who took praise and blame as indifferently as the tree, the
sun or rain, roused in her a feeling of active dislike. She called Jane
stolid to other people, but she was by no means satisfied that she was
stolid. She was often sorry that she had brought herself measurably under
the protection of Captain Swendon and his daughter by renting two of the
rooms in their house, though she had planned and manoeuvred a long time
to accomplish that end. When Miss Fleming came up to town to join the
art-class at the Academy, she was exceedingly careful not to join also the
emancipated lonely sisterhood, who set social laws at defiance. She might
live alone, but it must be under the roof of conventionally correct
people. She abjured the whole tribe of literary and artistic adventurers
who haunted the studios and lecture-halls. She wrote home to her old
mother that the Swendons, descended from the leaders of the first Swedish
settlers, that family of Svens from whom Penn bought the land for his
village of Philadelphia, had possessed culture and social rank, if no
money, for centuries. Miss Fleming found for herself a lodging-place under
their roof, with very much the motive of the low-born blackbird burrowing
in the high, bare nest of the osprey.

She was on her way to the Academy now, and touched her hat jauntily and
shook loose her flowing-sleeve as she said good-bye with a lingering look
at the captain, to which he did not reply.

The cold ague of despair was on him: he combed his grizzled beard with his
fingers, stared at the carpet and saw nobody. "Yes, I ought to have rented
two small rooms up town, and found work that would pay. I'll do it now,"
he grumbled.

Jane had uncovered a long table heaped with tools, glue-pots,
drawing-materials, models in wood, in paper, in clay, with others finely
draughted on large sheets of Bristol board. The captain preserved his
failures as sacredly as a Chinese the dead bodies of his ancestors. She
took up one of these models and studied it thoughtfully: "Very well,
father. I could go on with the business, I suppose."

The captain burst into a laugh: "Absurd! Though," relapsing into anxiety,
"this is, as you say, really my business. But I could easily find a place
as professor of Latin and Greek in some Western college which would
support us."

"Now, I don't quite understand the action of this screw, A, B,"
meditatively. "It interferes with the force of the piston, in my
judgment."

"Impossible!" hurrying over to the table. "I'll explain that in a moment,
Jane. Why, that screw is the finest idea in the machine. It's the meaning,
in fact. It all hinges on that."

In five minutes his smoking-cap was pushed back, his spectacles on his
hooked nose, and he was lost in the depths of valves, gauges and levers.

Jane took the place of a dozen lost hands. She made the models, she
draughted them, she worked with carpenter's tools, needles, pencils,
clay, by turns, and was both swift and skillful. She had been at this
daily work, indeed, since the time her father had lost his arm. Now and
then, being really nothing but a child in years, she clasped her hands
over her head and yawned when he was not looking, or, when she was sent to
the fire for the glue, sat down on the floor and began a rough-and-tumble
romp with the dog, or while she was at work, sang scraps of songs into
which the captain threw a fine rolling bass.

The morning was warm: the fire had burned down low in the grate, and both
windows were wide open. The wind which entered, though raw, had a breath
of spring in it. The scraggy plum trees outside were covered with deep
pink blossoms, yellow dandelions blazed up out of the grass, and even in
the muddy walks: a half-frozen bee buzzed among them feebly for a while,
and then lost his way into the room and fell with a thump on the table.

Jane dropped her tools, and put out her finger for him to crawl upon. "Now
you are too early afoot: you're greedy, you fellow," she said. "You are in
too great a hurry to be rich. Haven't you a comfortable house? And plenty
of honey?" She carried him to the window and set him in the sun on the
sill. "He'll fall in some puddle and be frozen to death; and serve him
right! I hate your early birds and ants and bees, always at work."

"It is work you hate, Jenny. Now tack this strip in place, child, and then
paste on the muslin. We must finish this before night, and there is more
than a day's work on it."

Jane tacked and measured diligently a while, and then dropped her elbows
on the table and rested her chin on her palms. Her face was just in front
of her father's. "I was thinking--"

"Yes."

"I mean that I saw in the paper this morning that there was a school of
black-fish on the coast, the largest for years. I suppose the Lantrims
will be out for them?"

"No doubt. The old captain wrote to me that he had bought Sutphen's
Tuckerton skiff."

"Aha? You did not tell me that. What else did he say?"

"Oh, nothing. 'Crabs would be scarce this season; and couldn't we come
down?' The larks were beginning to rise in the marshes."

Jane nodded thoughtfully: "A Tuckerton skiff? Now, I'm surprised at that,
father. I should prefer something heavier--a yawl, say--for coming in on
that beach. Well--The wind must be dead sou'-west to-day. It would bring
the spray right up into your face if you were lying on the sand."

She was silent for some time, looking steadily out of doors.

The captain glanced uneasily once or twice at the dark blue eyes and at a
ray of sunlight glistening in the loose yellow hair. "It _is_ sou'-west.
It really does begin to feel like summer," he said, dropping his pencil
and fumbling for his tobacco.

Jane brought his pipe and lighted it for him. "I am dreadfully tired!"
stretching her arm out, pushing up the sleeve, and looking at it as if it
had done a day's ploughing. "Now, I suppose the men are all out in their
boats by this time, but a person could easily rig Lantrim's little sloop
and join them; or we could camp on the marshes all day. The scent of the
pines would be heavy in this damp wind."

The captain nodded gravely and puffed in silence a while: "It's no use,
Jane," taking the pipe from his mouth. "I haven't a penny."

She sprang up, ran to a writing-desk and took out a glove-box. In it were
a pair of well-darned kid gloves and two tiny paper packages. She laid
them before him: "It's all in silver: this is for your summer hat, and
that for my shoes. What do you say, father? We are in time for the
eight-o'clock train. We should have nearly the whole day on the beach."

"Hat? What do I want with a hat? But your shoes are broken."

"They can be patched," with a gasp of delight. "Here! clear away the
work, father, while I put up a basket of dinner." She stopped by the
window, looking out: "Somebody is coming through the apple trees: I smell
a cigar. Now, remember, nothing must detain you. We can't break our
engagement."

The visitor came in sight from under the apple trees--a sombre, heavy man
in gray, the editor Neckart, to whom Mr. Waring had criticised the
Swendons with such freedom the night before. Mr. Neckart had known the
captain years ago. When he was a boy, too poor to pay for schooling, he
used to go to the captain at night for help in his Greek or mathematics.
Swendon had always preferred the companionship of younger men than
himself, and was never without a "following" of clever, unruly schoolboys,
whom he was as ready to help when they were lazy, as to tip with silver
half-dollars--when he had them. Some of them had brought young Neckart to
the captain, knowing nothing about him, except that he was miserably poor,
with a desire for knowledge which they thought insane enough. Now that
Neckart was a man, living in New York, and with very different problems to
work from those of Euclid, he had but little intercourse with the slow,
easy-going captain. They met occasionally, when Neckart came to
Philadelphia, at the club or at dinner somewhere, when there would be a
few minutes' hasty gossip about the old pranks of the boys--White, who
died in California, or Porter, who was now in the Senate--and then a shake
of the hand and good-bye, Neckart usually wondering to himself, as they
parted, how soon that fellow Laidley would cease to cumber the earth and
the captain would have his own and wear a decent coat again and the bits
of gaudy jewelry in which he used so to delight.

The old man hurried down the garden-walk now to meet him, and wrung his
hand heartily: "Bruce! is it possible? You have not crossed my threshold
since the old Epictetus days."

"No, and I interrupt you now? You are going out? I only called for a few
words on business."

"Plenty of time, plenty of time! My little girl and I were going to run
down to the shore to vagabondize for a day.--Jane, this is my old friend
Mr. Neckart.--We have plenty of time in which to catch the train. Sit
down, Bruce."

Mr. Neckart did not sit down, however. He found some difficulty now in
putting his business into a few concise words. He had heard Laidley's
avowal the night before that he proposed to leave the captain penniless.
All his boyish regard for the old man woke in force. His boyish feelings
were apt to waken and clog Mr. Neckart's strait-lined path to success. He
did not sentimentalize about his old teacher, but he set aside half an
hour in which to look in on him and see what could be done for him.
Anything could be done in half an hour by a man who chose to work hard
enough.

He expected to find the captain totally disheartened by this blow, but
here he was making ready for a day's fooling on the beach; for the
captain, finding that his visitor did not promptly broach the subject of
his errand, went on with his preparations.

So it happened that they fell into a brief silence. The old man by the
fire screwed his rod as though rods were the business of life: the young
girl sat by the window, a white-covered lunch-basket on the floor beside
her, sewing strings on a wide-rimmed hat which she meant to wear. Her
yellow hair was bound loosely about her head, fastened by a band of black
velvet: it made a faint shadow about the calm, delicate face. The dog sat
at her feet, his head on her knee, watching her intently. She took her
stitches slowly and with care, stopping now and then to put her hand on
Bruno's muzzle and nod at him significantly about the fun they were going
to have presently. It was a quiet, pretty picture.

Now, silence or leisurely calm of any kind was rare in Mr. Neckart's daily
life. He was the controller of a great journal: he was a leading
politician. He had been making his own way, and dragging and goading
slower men along, since he had left his cradle. Even his own party found
the indomitable energy of this dwarfish giant intolerable sometimes. But
his own action did not satisfy him. He had held his finger so long on the
world's pulse that affairs in New York or Washington seemed but small
matters. He liked to feel that they and he were linked by a thousand
sympathies to the chances and changes of every country on the globe. A
famine in India or an insurrection in Turkey were not mere newspaper items
to him, but significant movements of the outer levers and pulleys of the
great machine, part of which he was.

It is the straining horse that is always loaded, and there was no man in
the party from whom such work was exacted as from Neckart. The night
before he had received a deputation of French Communists proposing
emigration: this morning he was to meet in secret caucus the leaders who
would decide on the next candidate for the Presidency. So it went on day
after day. To fall suddenly into this little room, among people to whom a
day's fishing or sauntering with a dog through salt marshes was the object
of life, startled him.

For years, too, people who talked to Neckart, though in but a street
greeting, invariably recognized his power to help or harm them. If they
had no favors to ask, they bore themselves deferentially, as to a power
that could grant favors. To the captain he was still the boy Bruce, a good
fellow, though dull in Greek: to the girl, intent on her holiday, he saw
that he was an unwelcome guest, who would interfere with her journey. The
jar of falling to the common level was sudden, yet oddly pleasant.

The captain, to fill up the time, began to discuss the different makes of
fishing-rods. Mr. Neckart was used to give ten minutes each to men seeking
interviews: their words had to be sharp as arrows, and driven straight
home to the bull's eye of the matter to command his attention. Yet he
listened to this lazy talk. The damp wind drove the perfume of the
apple-blossoms in at the open window: the sunlight touched the glistening
rings of hair on Jane's throat. How slow-moving and calm the girl was! He
was quite sure that the blood had flowed leisurely in the veins under that
pearly skin ever since she was born. None of that true American vim,
sparkle, pushing energy here which he admired in his countrywomen.

"I really don't understand the new kinds of tackle," he said to Captain
Swendon: "I have not had a rod in my hand for fifteen years."

"No. Of course not. You have other work to do. But Jane and I run down to
the shore whenever we have money--I mean whenever we can manage to leave
home. She knows every fisherman's hut from Henlopen to Barnegat. No better
place to go for a breath of salt air than Sutphen's Point. You can troll
with him all day, or dig for roots in the pine woods, or sleep on the
beach in the sun."

Neckart smiled and glanced at his watch. At nine the committee would meet.
Sun? Sleeping on the beach? He was a stout, strongly-built man, with
muscles like steel, but, like most Americans who have urged their way
relentlessly up, his brain before middle age gave signs of disease. As any
other creature would, when overdriven for years it revolted, and failed in
its work now and then. Night after night he lay sleepless, conscious only
of a dull vacuity at the base of the brain; and by day, when some crisis
demanded his most vigilant, keenest thought, thought suddenly blurred into
momentary stupor. Any man who overworks his brain will understand how it
was with him, and why, for physical reasons, this glimpse of absolute
quiet and rest should touch his nerves as the taste of cordial would a
fainting man. A sudden vision opened before him of yellow, silent sands,
and dusky stretches of solemn pines, and the monotonous dash of the green
sea all day, all night long. No doubt there were "old Sutphens" there,
whole generations of people, outside of the living world, sleeping and
sunning themselves. It was like a glimpse into some newly-discovered,
silent, sunlit Hades.

Mr. Neckart put back his watch in his pocket, and looked irresolutely at
the captain. The foolish, kindly old face belonged to his boyhood--to the
time when his shoes were patched and his feet chilblained, but all the
world was waiting for him to be a man to do him honor. If he could sit for
an hour with the old man on the beach, would it bring the boyish feeling
back again? He was conscious of a purposeless temptation--unreasonable as
that which he had felt at the edge of a precipice to throw himself over.
Nonsense! The committee would be waiting; there were appointments for
every hour of his stay in Philadelphia; there was the leading article on
the situation which nobody but he could write, that must go to his paper
by the next mail.

He took up his hat: "It is time for you to catch the train, captain. Will
you take me with you?"

Captain Swendon looked at him hastily: "The very best thing you can do,
Bruce! Just what I should advise.--Jane, go on before with Bruno. Mr.
Neckart and I will follow."

Mr. Neckart was annoyed. He had forgotten that the girl was to go, and had
thought of the captain as his only companion. But she walked far in front
of them, through the apple trees, and down the quiet street, engrossed
with the dog. She probably would not be in his way.



CHAPTER IV.


Down on the coast the world suddenly broadened and lifted into larger
spaces. In lieu of eight-feet strips of pavement to walk on, there were
the gray sweeps of sand, and great marshes stained with patches of color
in emerald and brown, rolling off into the hazy background: instead of the
brick and wooden boxes wherein we shut ourselves up with bad air in town,
there were the vast uncovered plain of the sea, shapeless ramparts of fog
incessantly rising and fading, an horizon which retreated as you searched
for it into opening sunlit space, refusing to shut you in. The very boats
and ships in which these people lived were winged, ready for flight into
some yet farther region.

"Are you glad to come out of doors, Bruno? I am," said Miss Swendon to her
dog as she stood looking at the sea; and then they sauntered away
together.

Her father and Mr. Neckart went down to the mouth of the Inlet, where some
fishermen were patching a boat which they had drawn up on a heap of
mussel-shells. One or two crabbers, standing on the bow of their little
skiffs and poling them along the edge of the water by the handles of their
nets, had stopped to watch the job, which was being done with rusty nails
and a bit of barnacle-moulded iron from a wreck instead of a hammer. When
the iron and nails broke they all sat down and talked the matter over,
with any other subject which happened to be lying loosely about on the
fallow fields of their minds. When Captain Swendon came up they shook
hands gravely with him, and made room for him on the bottom of an
up-turned, worm-eaten scow. They were all captains as well as he, and he
was hail, fellow! well met! with them as with everybody.

Mr. Neckart, who was formally introduced, nodded curtly, but did not sit
down.

"A good day for the perch, Sutphen," said the captain, handing round a
bundle of cigars.

"Yaas."

"But you ought to have been on the banks by daylight." Mr. Neckart's
sharp, irritable voice jarred somehow on the quiet sunshine.

"Yaas. But I lent my boat last week, and this here one's out of
repair.--Give me more of them nails, David."

"The boat could have been mended at night, and ready for use," in the tone
which a teacher might use to idle boys.--"It is singular, Captain
Swendon," turning his back on the men as on so many mud-turtles, "that the
sea-air begets improvident habits in all coast-people. You cannot account
for it rationally, but it is a fact. Along the whole immediate shore-line
of Europe you find the same traits. Unreadiness, torpor of mind and
body.--Ah! Captain Swendon and I wish to hire a boat for the day," turning
to the fishermen again. "Can any of you men furnish us with one?"

Sutphen lighted his cigar leisurely: "We always manage to provide Captain
Swendon with a boat when he wants it. We kin obleege him," with a slight
stress on the pronoun.

"At what rates?" sharply.

"Waal, we kin talk of rates when the day's over. The captain and us won't
disagree, I reckon."

"I never do business in that way. Bring out your boat and put a price on
it."

"Come, Neckart," said the captain, rising hastily, "we will walk up the
beach a bit.--I'll see you about the boat presently, Sutphen.--You don't
know these fellows, Bruce," when they had passed out of hearing and found
a seat in the thin salt grass. "They are not used to being dealt with in
such a prompt, drill-major fashion."

"I deal with all men alike. Order and promptness have been necessary to me
in every step of my way. I must have them from others. I pay to a penny,
and I exact to a penny. It is not the money I want: it is discipline in
the people about me. They must move as if they were drilled if they move
to further my ends."

The captain took his cigar out of his mouth and turned blankly on him:
"'Further your ends?' But, Bruce?--"

Neckart laughed: "Oh, no doubt they were created with some other object in
view than to serve my purposes. But that is the cognizance which I take of
them. Really, captain, if you were in public life, and saw with what
eagerness masses of men follow feeble leaders who know the trick of piping
to them, and how willing they are to be manipulated, you would soon come
to look upon the American public simply as a machine ready for your own
use when you had the skill to work it."

The captain's cigar went out in his fingers as he sat staring with dull
perplexity at Neckart. There was a certain nobility in the carriage of the
powerful figure and black shaggy head, an occasional fire in the deep-set
eyes, a humor in the fine smile, which argued a different order of man
from this scheming, selfish politician.

"I can't place you at all, Bruce. Now, I should have thought you would
have been a reformer--worked for humanity--that line, you know. You were a
sensitive lad, like a girl."

"I am quite too warm-hearted a fellow to be a philanthropist," laughed
Neckart. "The philanthropists I know work for principles, liberty,
education and the like: they don't care a damn for the individual Tom and
Jerry. The chances are, that your reformer is a cold-blooded tyrant at
home: he makes a god of his one idea: his god makes him nervous,
ill-conditioned--the last man in the world to choose for a friend or a
husband."

"You amaze me! I should have said that they were the wisest and purest of
men. Next to clergymen, of course. I don't go to church myself, but I
respect the cloth. But speaking of yourself, Bruce, you were a most
affectionate little fellow. Do you remember how you referred every new
idea to your mother? I recollect you told me once that you read your
lessons in your school classics to her to amuse her. You must have cleaned
the translation sometimes to make it fit for her ear."

"Yes."

"And I remember, too," regardless of the sudden silence which had fallen
on his companion, "how you watched my wife making a cap one day--she had
nice fingers in such work, Virginie--and how you saved your money to buy
lace and ribbon for her to make your mother a cap; and how anxiously you
sat watching every stitch as it went in, and carried it off triumphantly
when it was done."

"I remember quite well. Mrs. Swendon was very kind to me in the matter."

The captain did not reply: he glanced at Neckart with sudden alarm. What
was it that he had heard of Bruce's mother? Some wretched story that came
out at the time of her death: had she committed a crime or gone mad? He
could not recall it, but something in the silence of his companion told
him that he had blundered. He began to smoke violently in contrition of
soul, and remained silent, while Neckart lay still in the sand, his hands
clasped behind his head, looking at the surf.

It was not the surf he saw.

It was that little silly cap which he had held on his boy's chapped fist
delighted and proud. Twenty years ago! He had earned the money to buy it
by work after the other boys in the shop had gone home. He could see the
very pattern now that was worked in the lace, and the ribbon--a pale blue,
just the color of his mother's eyes. He had carried it home in the
evening, and smoothed the gray hair over the gentle little face, and tied
it on her before he would let her go to the glass. She was just as pleased
as he, and kissed him with her arms tight about his neck and the tears in
her eyes. An hour afterward he had found her tearing it into bits with an
idiotic laugh. A little later--

He shut his eyes, as if to keep out some real sight before him.

It seemed to him as if his whole boyhood had been made up of just such
nights as this one which he remembered.

It was not often that Neckart looked back at that early time. He was
neither morbid nor addicted to self-torture. He had carefully walled up
this miserable background of youth from his busy, cheerful, wide-awake
life. Why should he go back to it? Something, however, in the air to-day,
in the moan of the sea through the sunlight, brought it all before him,
more real than the stretch of water and sand.

The captain smoked out his cigar and began to talk. Gaps of silence were
so much wasted time in the world; and besides, he owed a duty to Bruce.
Here was a man going headlong to the devil by the road of ambition, a
sweet, high nature becoming soured and tainted, all for the lack of honest
direction from somebody of age and experience.

When Neckart roused himself enough to understand, the captain was in the
full swing of his dictatorial oration. "I don't want to intrude with my
opinion. But no man should live for himself," he said. "Now, if my
scissors had turned out as I expected, I should have been worth a million
to-day. I'd have spent a good share of it--let me see--on churches, I
think. Small churches--at corners in place of grogshops. Pure Gothic,
say--"

"Stained glass and gargoyles instead of whiskey? You must bid higher for
souls in back alleys than that, captain."

"Well, schools, then--colleges, asylums, soup-houses. I tell you, Bruce,
if I had your opportunities, if I could work political machinery, I'd lift
this festering mass below us up--at least to civilization and
Christianity."

"I thought you meant me," laughing. "Go on."

"Of course I can't give you detailed advice. Take me on pistons and
screws, and I'm at home; but I know only the broad outlines of political
economy. My view," ponderously, "is purely philosophic. Our politics need
reform, sir. An honest man who would come to the front just now would save
the country. The masses would follow him to honesty. The Americans are a
just people by instinct. I tell you, sir, if I had your chances--Talk to
Pliny Van Ness, Bruce. There's a keen man of the world, who is as pure and
lofty in his notions as an enthusiastic woman. He has a scheme just now
for bettering the condition of the children of the dangerous classes of
Pennsylvania. I wish you knew Van Ness."

"I've seen him;" adding, after a moment's hesitation, "He is as upright a
man, I believe, as you say--the very man to be inspired with your heroic
rage for reform, and to carry it into effect. I am not the same kind of
material."

"Bruce, you belie yourself. I knew you as a boy--"

"Then you knew an ordinary, not bad sort of a fellow, captain, but no
hero. I have had one or two qualities which have pushed me up--a
skill--craft with using words, as you have with tools, for instance, an
inflexibility of purpose, a certain tact in influencing large bodies of
men. I have never had any affection for them. I have two or three stanch
friends. Other men and women are part of the world's furniture to me.
Nothing more."

"But the power which these qualities have gained for you? How do you mean
to use it?"

"You press me closely," with an amused scrutiny of the captain's
monitorial face. "I shall use it, just now, to make money. That is the
thing of which I have had the least in the world, and which has yielded me
most substantial pleasure. When I am a rich man I can command knowledge,
power and whatever else I covet." His eye kindled at the last words. There
was a darkened background in his thoughts, to which Neckart, with all his
easy frankness, admitted no man.

The captain studied him with perplexity: then his face lightened: "I have
it! You must marry! A wife and children are the very influences you need
to soften and broaden your aims. Yes, I know I'm speaking plainly.
But--have you never thought of it?"

Mr. Neckart did not reply for a few moments. "It is impossible that I
should ever marry," he said gravely. "There is an obstacle which would
make it simply criminal in me. I never think of it."

The captain colored: "I beg your pardon, Bruce: I did not know--"

"You have not intruded: you have not hurt me in the least," laying his
hand for an instant on the captain's knee. "It is not a matter about which
I have any soreness of feeling. The obstacle arose from circumstances: I
am not in any sense guilty."

Captain Swendon nodded and occupied himself with rebuckling his shoes. He
could neither answer to the purpose nor rid his face of the shocked alarm
visible in it. To have been told that Neckart was dying would have
startled him less, and seemed not so pitiable to him as to know that he
was shut out for life from love and marriage.

Neckart read his thoughts. "There's a difference in men," he said,
concealing a smile. "It would not suit you, captain, to go through life as
an anchorite or a Catholic priest, but it really agrees with me very well.
I am not a domestic man by taste, nor susceptible to woman's influence. I
have met a few women, of course, beautiful, and with the intellect and
wealth which would make them desirable wives; and I have no doubt if I had
been differently situated I should have loved and married. But it never
cost me a second thought to pass them by."

"But this obstacle--it may some day be removed?" ventured the captain.

Mr. Neckart's features settled into the hard lines again. "Not while I
live," he said.

If there was one quality in himself on which the captain could build with
confidence, it was his keen insight into other men. He read Neckart's life
as an open book. "Bruce is married already," he said to himself. "He was
precisely the kind of lad to be taken in by some creature that is now a
secret burden on him. Drinks or chews opium, I've no doubt, or has gone to
the devil with one jump. Tut! tut! He would not be divorced. I know what
his opinion is on that head. But she'll die: that sort of women never live
long.--It will all come right, Bruce," he said aloud. "There's more ruling
of eternal justice in all of our lives than we give God credit for. But
this matter astonishes me. I've heard of your intimacy with certain women
in Washington--leaders of society. I always thought of you as a marrying
man."

"Because I cannot marry I have the more right to accept whatever
entertainment or friendship women can give me," falling into his ordinary
easy tone. "I have the keenest appreciation for an ambitious woman who has
intellect and culture, and is alive with energy and coquetry. I know such
women. They seem to be full of subtle flame. Certainly, I would make a
friend of such a one. Why not? I would marry her if I could."

A moment after he looked up the beach, and seeing the captain's daughter,
smiled to think what an absolute contrast she was to this ideal live,
brilliant woman. She was sitting on a log, the dog asleep at her feet, her
hands clasped about her knees, looking out to sea, and he could swear she
had sat there motionless as the stretch of gray sand about her for an
hour. Such torpidity revolted Neckart. Neither did it appease him that the
nobly-cut, dim-lighted face, the mass of yellowish hair rolling down from
its black band, the coarse brown dress which hung about her in thick
folds, all gave him pleasure. In the moment he had met her first he had
felt an odd repulsion to this girl. The women with whom he had fraternized
were akin to himself: Jane, child as she was, was antagonistic. He felt
for her the same kind of irritated dislike as that which Miss Fleming gave
to her, and which people of active brains are apt to give to any creature
whose animus is totally different from their own.

What did the girl sit there for, thinking her own thoughts? Young women at
her time of life blushed and fluttered and plumed themselves when a man
came near who was of the right age to love and marry. And so they ought,
so they ought! Neckart was used to see women of any age plume themselves
when he was in sight. It was simple admission of his position. They knew
their own capital of beauty or wit, and showed him the best of every
point, just as a pheasant turns every golden feather to the sun when a
passer-by comes near. He liked these radiant, self-asserting women, to be
sure, very much as he did the silly fowl or a Skye terrier conscious of
its beauty in every hair. But beauty was so much wasted material on this
daughter of Swendon's, who did not seem to know she had it.

Besides, Mr. Neckart had always been thrown into contact with women who
had careers and aims. Each one of them wished she had been born a man, and
did what she could to snatch a man's prerogatives. One wrote, another
painted, a third sang; this one strove for political power in the lobbies
of Congress, that for money, the majority for husbands: they were wits,
littérateurs, society women. But for a young girl to jog on from year to
year striving neither for knowledge nor lovers, making her world of the
whims and wants of a weak-minded old man, composedly building up every
day models which she knew would prove failures to-morrow,--here was a most
inane life.

Any eye which had grown used to the flash and flutter of brilliant
tropical birds in a cage would be apt to find the little dull-breasted
swallow sitting motionless by her nest a very insipid subject of study.
Probably no other man, as active and busy in the world as Neckart, would
have wasted so much thought on a chance young girl sitting on a log. But
women being forbidden fruit to him, he was morbidly curious about them
all. Old Chrysostom, barred into his cave by an impassable line, was much
more inquisitive about the princess asleep outside than if he had been a
hearty young fellow free to go out and kiss and make love to her.

Miss Swendon came up presently, the dog marching alongside. "Father," she
said, "you are spending the whole day with Mr. Neckart. You have not told
Sutphen the town news. I am afraid the old man will be hurt."

"That's a fact: I'll go over directly. You will like to be alone a while,
Neckart, at any rate.--Come, Jane."

Neckart rose: "You are not going over to those rough fellows, Miss
Swendon? There are no women there."

Jane laughed. "_I_ am a woman," with an arch little nod. "One queen-bee
makes the whole hive proper, conventionally."

"Of course. But really those men are vulgar and fishy to such a
degree--Nothing but a missionary spirit can take you to them?"

"On the contrary," gravely, "they are the best-bred men I know. Their talk
is fuller of adventure and sincerity than any book I ever read."

"Still, stay with me. I have feelings to consider as well as Sutphen."

"Very well.--I will come over presently, father. Tell the little boys to
make a fire clear enough to broil the fish for dinner." She sat down and
called Bruno to her feet. There was a grave, childish simplicity in her
motions which was a new study to Neckart.

"I believe," watching her keenly, "you would rather have gone. Sutphen
would have been a better companion than I?"

"I don't know as yet. I have never tried you. I do know Ichabod."

"Or perhaps the truer courtesy would be to leave you alone with the sea?
You were making a picture of it in your mind a while ago?"

"No," knitting her brows. "I could not do that. I know people who look at
the sea or mountains or sky as so much canvas and gamboge and burnt umber
and bits of effect. They are very tiresome."

"You have imagination rather than fancy, then? You hear the secret words
in that everlasting moan yonder? You know what the mountains say to you at
nightfall?" Neckart vaguely remembered the jargon of sentimental novels,
the heroines of which always keep their heads on Nature's breast. He did
not mean to chaff any woman, but he would gladly have proved this one
sentimental and weak to explain his strong antipathy to her.

"No, I never thought of those things. But one grows tired in
town--housekeeping, models and all of it. My work is very light, but I do
not like to work at all. And here--the beach is silent and the sky blue
and the sea rolls--rolls all day long: it is like coming home after one
has been out on the streets."

"About as keen comprehension of Nature as the tree yonder," thought
Neckart contemptuously. But, after all, the tree was warmed, and its sap
ran stronger, and it grew and broadened in the sun and air; and that was
more than he could say of painter or poet.

He lay at her feet, leaning on his elbow, for an hour or more. He had
meant to gauge her intellect, experience and character in a few minutes.
It was a recreation which had sometimes amused him when with women. As
soon as his curiosity was satisfied he was done with them. But the
discoveries he had made in those pretty little dwellings innocently
opening their doors to wandering hearts of marriageable men! The miserable
shams inside, the traps, the dark rooms full of all uncleanness! To-day he
forgot his system of exploration. He began to feel the physical effect of
coming from close streets and striving work into this vast open space--the
drowsiness which men experience on high mountains or by the sea, and which
has a subtle, lasting enchantment in it. The damp wind bent and whitened
the stretches of salt grass in the meadows behind him; brown clouds swept
from west to east overhead in endless procession; the great dun-colored
plane of the sea rose and fell steadily: for the rest, except the shrill
pipe of a fishhawk perched on a dead tree by its nest, there was silence.
He spoke to Jane now and then, but for the most part forgot her. She had
fallen into the motionless quiet which seemed habitual to her. Some of the
brilliant women he knew would have dug holes in the sand, or chattered
gossip, or interpreted to him with much intellectual force the meaning of
land and sky, or have taken their last love-affair or other private little
misery to give words to the complaint of the sea. This girl seemed only a
part of the shore, as much as sea or sand. The sun warmed, the air blew on
her as on them: if they gave her anything besides, she too kept their
secret.

Occasionally Neckart roused himself to talk briefly to her, and noticed
then a blunt directness in her speech that would have appalled an ordinary
hearer. It was her habit and choice to say nothing, but if pushed to the
wall what was there that she would not say?

The dog, lying at her feet watching him steadily, did not give up to him
the secret of its own being or its opinion of himself; but if it once did
speak it would do both, and with no white lies in the words either. "The
girl is like her dog," thought Neckart.

She rose at last, and went across the sands to her father. Neckart was
soon conscious of an uneasy change in everything about him. The atmosphere
of sunlit rest was broken. The clouds only meant rain, the sand was sand,
and the sea but a wet swash of water: he began to look at his watch and
think of the trains. The influence that had quieted him so unaccountably
had been in the girl, then? He shut his eyes and tried to recall the
erect figure, the fall of yellow hair, the clear Scandinavian face. He
felt the same strong repulsion from her, yet in their brief interview she
had certainly affected him uncontrollably--brought him back to old boyish
ways of thinking. It was perhaps, he thought, because he was unused to
such absolutely honest women.

He sauntered up the beach, and in five minutes wondered how he had based
such magniloquent ideas on a child out for a holiday. The fishermen on
this solitary beach apparently made a holiday whenever Swendon and Jane
came, and humored the latter in all her vagaries. No doubt they would have
preferred to eat properly in their own kitchens, but the cloth was spread
on the sand beside the fire. The captain, with the perspiration streaming,
was broiling ham at the end of a long stick; Sutphen cleaned the crabs;
Lantrim's wife cooked the perch, and Jane herself was making the coffee.

"Don't speak to me: I'm counting," as Mr. Neckart stopped beside her.
"Five, six, seven. You can't trifle when you make coffee," peering into
the pot with the gravity of a judge on the bench.

The smell of the broiling ham in the salt air suddenly brought back to
Neckart a day when he had gone fishing with his mother in the old place in
Delaware. How happy and hungry they were!

"Give me your stick, captain. You are burning up," he said, sitting down
on the log beside him.

"You've been on this beach afore, sir?" said Sutphen, who was his
neighbor, and felt it his duty to play host.

"Never but once, when the Argyle went ashore."

"You were here fur the Treasury Department?"

"Yes. Did you know anything about that case?" eying him with sudden
interest. "It was a muddled account that was sent up to Washington."

"Likely. Yes, I knew. I've been in the wracking and life-saving service
thirty years come June."

When Jane came to that side of the fire twenty minutes later, none of the
crabs were cleaned, and the ham and stick burned black together while
Neckart held them in the fire.

"I ought not to have allowed two men to sit together: I might have known
they would gossip," she said.

Mr. Neckart had just made up his mind that Sutphen and the two Lantrims
were as shrewd, common-sensed witnesses as he had ever examined. He was
hungry too, and as they ate together he borrowed Sutphen's clamp-knife,
and told some capital stories, and handed about his cigars when they had
all finished.

"I misjudged that black-a-vised fellow," said Ichabod to Lantrim. "He's
consid'able of a man."

Lantrim nodded ponderously. One story or slow monologue followed
another--of shipwrecks, frequent on that murderous coast, of rescues by
wreckers, of "vyages" down the coast or to India, Africa, with plenty of
sailors' superstition in it all. Neckart lay on his back smoking, his
hands under his head. It seemed as if he were the boy he was on that day's
fishing long ago. His blood quickened and heated at these tales of
adventure, just as it used to do when he pored over La Pérouse or the
_History of Great Navigators_. The afternoon was darkening, raw and cold;
their fire was a mere ruddy speck in the indistinct solitudes; a wall of
gray mist moved down the marshes toward them.

Jane, he noticed, was uneasy, watching her father anxiously after the
dinner was over, until Sutphen proposed to have some music and begged the
captain to sing. Then she was quite happy, sat closer to him, taking his
hand, and as his cracked voice piped manfully out some ancient
drinking-song she nodded complacently and beat the time softly with his
hand upon his arm.

Mr. Neckart watched her furtively through his half-shut eyes. She was
wrapped in her cloak, her head rose in clear relief against the background
of fog. The men and their wives, he saw, looked upon her as a child, a
straightforward little girl, with whom they had fished or cooked crabs
for years: very different from the ladies who came down in summer, and
were a fearfully and wonderfully made species of human being. Neckart
would have analyzed these women at a glance as easily as he could impale a
butterfly on a pin: why should he watch Jane as though she were the
Sphinx? The dark-blue eyes that met his now and then were the most frank
and friendly in the world, but the naked truth in them irritated him as
though it had been the gleam of a drawn sword. He sat erect, thinking that
if there was anything repulsive to him in a woman, it was physical
indolence, and a strength of any sort greater than his own.

Old Sutphen presently asked him if he too wouldn't give them a song. Now,
Neckart never sang except when alone, as his voice was a very remarkable
baritone, and he had no mind to make a reputation on that sort of capital.
He could not afford to be known as a troubadour. But he sang now, a
passionate love-song, of which, of course, he felt not a word: the air was
full of fervor, with an occasional gay jibing monotone. The words in
themselves meant nothing: the music meant that whatever of love or
earnestness was in the world was a sham. The men nodded over their pipes,
keeping time: Jane held her father's hand quiet in her own, looking
straight before her.

"Thank you, sir. Very lively toon that," said Lantrim when it was ended.

"Kind o' murnful too," ventured his wife.

Jane, with the last note, rose and walked hastily down the beach, where
the fog was heavy. She did not return. Mr. Neckart smiled: he could only
guess the result of his experiment, but he did guess it.

"Miss Swendon did not ask me to sing again," he said to the captain.

"Well, no. The song hurt her somehow. Jane had always an unaccountable
dislike to music," apologetically. "I'm exceedingly fond of it myself:
it's a passion with me. I enjoy anything from an organ to a jewsharp. But
she does not. When she was a baby it seemed to rouse her. She's a very
quiet little body, you see.--Go, Bruno: bring your mistress back."

She came in a few minutes, as they were making ready to meet the train.
She hurried to her father, caught his arm, and when they were seated in
the train still held him close: "Stay with me, father. Mr. Neckart does
not need you. Don't leave me alone again: _I_ need you."

"But, dear child, that is hardly courteous. He is our guest."

"He need not have made himself a guest. He has spoiled our whole holiday.
He has spoiled the whole dear old place for me," her eyes filling with
tears. "I shall never hear the sea again without hearing that song in it."

"It was a very good song, I assure you, Jane. I do wish you had a better
ear. Why, Bruce has a voice of remarkable compass. I fancied he struck a
false note once, though."

"It was all false--false and cruel!" vehemently. "And why should he sing
it there, where you and I have always had such good times?"

"I am astonished, Jane! But you never had any perception of character.
Bruce is such a thoroughly good fellow, I fancied you would be friends."

"I never saw any one before whom I disliked so much," slowly, as if to
collect her verdict with certainty. "He seems to me like so much
unmitigated brute force."

"Tut! tut!" said the captain absently, looking out to see how the early
wheat was coming on.

She touched his arm presently: "Father, you said you thought we should be
good friends. I never had a man for a friend but you."

"Certainly not. Good Heavens! what are you thinking of?"

"Most girls do," gravely, her color rising. "Oh, I know all about the
world. Miss Fleming told me that when she was my age she had a dozen
chums--hearty, good fellows."

The captain hastily put his arm about her: "All very well for Cornelia
Fleming, child. She's a middle-aged woman. But not for you."

"When I am middle-aged, then," looking up at him anxiously, "if I have a
friend I know precisely what he will be. Of fair complexion, placid,
truth-telling--"

"Yourself duplicated," laughed the captain. "But here is Mr. Neckart."

The two men took the seat in front of her, and as night came on and the
lamps burned dimly, Jane wrapped her veil about her head and fell asleep.
Mr. Neckart remembered at last the purpose of his visit in the morning.

"Surely something can be done to compel Laidley to leave the property to
its rightful owners. Have you stated the case to him plainly?" he asked.

"I? State it? Now, Bruce, how could I? If I were not the one to be
benefited by it, I'd put it to him forcibly enough. But as it is--No, I've
not the moral courage for that."

"But for your daughter's sake--"

"I know. I've thought it all over. But Jane and I can keep on in the old
way a little longer. Scanty and happy-go-lucky, but, on the whole,
comfortable." He was silent a while, and then in a cautious whisper said,
"I'll explain to you, Bruce. I might have made Jane's life easier if I had
worked. I know that. I know our friends look on me as a lazy, selfish dog,
a dead weight on the child. But--you are the first person to whom I have
ever told this--I have had for many years a disorder, an ailment, which
must in any case make my life a short one. Confinement and continued
exertion would bring on a crisis at once. My physician told me that five
years ago. Now you know why I have indulged myself. I still hoped some of
the infernal patents--" He choked, and turned to look out of the window.

"But your danger is another reason why you should not be kept out of your
property."

"Of course. But it's my luck."

"Does your daughter know this story?"

"No. Don't tell her, for God's sake!"

Nothing more was said until the train rolled into the station.

"Come, Jane, child," the captain called briskly. She rose and took his
arm.

Mr. Neckart took leave of them under the flaring lamps outside. "You have
left all the life and color of your face down in the salt air, Miss
Swendon," he said. "You will not mark this holiday with a white stone, I
fear."

"No," she said, waiting until he was gone before she spoke again.--"We
shall go to Cousin Will's now, father. I wish to say good-night to him."

"Very well, my dear. I'll leave you to read to him while I run round to
see if any letters have come. I feel confident somebody will answer my
advertisement about the scissors."



CHAPTER V.


A luxurious apartment, of which the most salient features were excess of
heat and color. A glowing fire burned in the grate. Persian rugs,
richly-tinted curtains, tiger and leopard skins, light and gilding on
every side, threw into more miserable contrast Laidley's pinched, pallid
face as he stood in the midst. His back was to the fire, his claw-like
hands behind him, opening and shutting mechanically as if to grasp the
heat, his pale eyes blinking through his eye-glasses on Jane standing
before him.

"Do I understand what you say?" in a tone of blank amazement. "That you, a
child, come here to a dying man to assert your claim to his property! It
is incredible that you came of your own free will. Who sent you?"

"Nobody, Cousin Will. It seemed to me the thing I ought to do. I do wish
you would sit down," anxiously. "You are not able to stand."

He sank into a chair: "Bring me some wine."

She brought the wine, tucked the leopard skins about him, wiped his
forehead tenderly, placed a cushion beneath his feet. He shivered, closed
his eyes for a moment, then fixed them on her: "Now go on."

She did go on without the slightest hesitation, without even a flush of
color, quick as her blood was to come and go when she was moved. The
thing she had to do evidently seemed to her exceedingly simple and easy:
"I knew you did not see the matter just as it is, or there would be no
difficulty about it. No one else seemed willing to speak to you, and so I
came myself."

He put out his hand toward the wine: she set it within his reach, and
resumed her place, one arm resting on the mantel-shelf, looking down at
him. There was only that sorrowful pity in her face with which any
large-hearted, healthy woman would look at a diseased, dying man.

"I don't deny," he said, coughing feebly, "that at first sight you have a
crude, illegal claim on my property--"

"My father--not I," throwing out her hand hastily.

"But even your claim admits of argument--argument," staring into the fire.
"Yet what if I should meet Virginie Morôt yonder, and she should tax me
with having wronged her child?" looking about him with a sudden turn.

A tricky girl could have gained her point now on the instant. But Jane,
dull and straightforward as usual, knelt quickly down and took his fingers
in her own cool, strong hands, as if she were dealing with a nervous
child.

"Put my mother out of the question. She is not going to blame you for
doing what seems to you just. I want you to see that it is not just. It is
of the living, not the dead, you ought to think."

"Give me that medicine, can't you? My blood is like fire. Oh, you stand
there," after he had swallowed it, "with your dogged, calm way of putting
the question, as if it were a matter of a new gown. Hush!" as she began to
speak. "You are but a child. You're not even a clever child. How can you
understand the relations of a dying man to his Maker? It has been shown to
me how with this money I could make peace with--with Him. The way has been
opened for me to give it to the poor and the churches. Why, the rich man
was commanded to 'sell all that he had and give to the poor, and he should
have treasure in heaven.' The place is marked in the Bible there." His
hands worked feebly together, and he looked from side to side, avoiding
the face in front with its steady dark eyes. "Why should I take from the
poor to give to your father?"

"Because it is not yours to take or give."

He waited for her to go on, but she said no more. "I haven't forgotten
you, Jane. I've planned for you as your father never would have done.
There's good-fortune waiting for you which any woman would envy you. Go
now--go!"

"I did not come to you with any claim of my own," the indignant lips
trembling. "You shall not think so meanly of me as that. I told you why my
father needs the money--all that he told to Mr. Neckart. Surely, you don't
understand?"

"Oh, I understand your father very well," smiling dryly. It suited him
just now to consider the captain a shrewd humbug, and his mysterious
ailment the last dodge to raise money and sympathy.

The man at that moment looked so ill, so small and spiteful, that Jane's
heart gave a sudden wrench of pity. It was a cruel, brutal thing, she
felt, in her to stop him on the edge of the grave and demand his money.
She put her hand to his forehead: it was cold and clammy. "Don't wrong my
father in this way," she said in a lower voice than before. "You have had
our money all the time, and our life has been hard--hard. I never said
that before, but it is true."

He looked at her now, his courage flickering up to meet the crisis: "I
hear you. Go on!"

"My father's life depends upon your honesty. I only ask you to remember
that."

"You use plain words. So shall I." He thrust his hand into a drawer of the
table before him, drew out a folded paper and pushed it toward her: "There
is your answer. That is my will. My property is left in the way it will do
God service. You can read it if you choose."

"And my father--?"

"I have not left him a dollar."

She turned on him, silent, a moment: he cowered and evaded her eyes.

"You shall not wrong him. He shall not die for the want of the money if I
can help it," in the same quiet voice. She took up the paper, passed him
and laid it on the fire, then watched it shrivel and burn to ashes. He
could not have detained her, any more than he could stay the scorching
flame with his hand.

She threw her cloak about her without a word, and drew the hood over her
head.

He pulled the bell violently: "You have only given me the trouble of
preparing a second copy. It shall be identical with the first."

Old Dave, coming in, observed that Miss Swendon's very lips were without
color. But as she went out of the room she halted to move a screen, so as
to protect Laidley from the draught.

She met her father on the stairs. "Do not go up," she said. "David is with
him, and I want you to take me home." ...

Before daylight the next morning Captain Swendon was summoned by David to
his master. A keen north-east wind had caused a sudden change in the
weather, and Mr. Laidley had sunk rapidly, and was now scarcely conscious.

"It is only what I anticipated," said the physician, meeting the captain
at the door. "Though if he had remained in the South he might have
lingered until midsummer. Not longer."

The captain nursed the dying man anxiously all day, and when he was dead
came home excited and haggard. It seemed to him by that time that one of
the most lovable fellows in the world had gone out of it. He always was
of that opinion at a funeral.

"Well, it's all over, Jane!" he cried, coming just at dusk into the room,
where she stood at the window, her back turned toward him. "Yes. Poor
Will! He was a good fellow years ago--witty, hospitable. You didn't know
him in his prime. Your mother liked him. That is, well--" He sat down by
the fire, staring at it with his owlish eyes, pulling off his old boots
and soaked coat, for it was raining hard, and wondering a little that Jane
had not a warm change of clothes ready for him as usual. But she did not
move. "Yes," with a groan. "He knows the great secret now, poor fellow! I
wish I'd been kinder to him. There's lots of things I might have done. But
that damned money! I suppose it soured me."

Jane turned. "I am glad _I_ did what was right to him," she said slowly.

The captain looked at her surprised. The shock had been too heavy on the
child, he thought: her eyes were quite sunken in her white face. "Yes,
yes. You were always a very nice, attentive little nurse. But when anybody
dies one is apt to remember one's shortcomings to them, and wish for even
an hour to set all right."

"I have done nothing to him which I would wish to set right," she said
again, her lips moving with difficulty.

Her father did not answer. But she was so unused to speak of herself in
any way that he observed her persistence now as peculiar.


REBECCA HARDING DAVIS.

[TO BE CONTINUED.]



IRISH SOCIETY IN THE LAST CENTURY.


Nations as well as individuals have the defects of their qualities, and
the Irish race has its faults as well as its virtues; but it will be
conceded on all sides that the _humdrum_ is not one of its attributes.
During the eighteenth century the social state of Ireland was peculiarly
anomalous. The penal laws were in full force for the most of that time.
The great families, Irish or Norman--the latter having long before become
_Hibernis ipsis Hiberniores_--had either conformed to the ruling faith or
had betaken themselves to more friendly shores, or, having lost their
estates by confiscation or treachery, had become confounded with the
oppressed and suffering multitude. The Irish nation was practically
divided into a "Protestant garrison" and a pariah caste. It would have
been strange, therefore, if the faults incident to their position had not
been developed in each of these classes. And yet when the beautiful and
accomplished Mrs. Pendarves visited the island in 1731 she found social
life in the capital worthy of commendation. The generality of the people,
she said, were much the same as in England--a mixture of good and bad. All
she met behaved themselves very decently according to their rank. "Now and
then," she adds, "an oddity breaks out, but none so extraordinary but that
I could match them in England. There is a heartiness among them that is
more like _Cornwall_ than any I have known, and great sociableness."
Cornwall, it must be remembered, is largely Celtic. She writes, again,
that she has too much gratitude to find fault where she was treated
kindly, even if there were room for it, but declares that she was never in
a place that more deservedly claimed her good word than Ireland.

It was to the famous earl of Strafford that the viceregal court first owed
its brilliancy. When he came to Dublin as lord deputy he found the Castle
falling to ruins. He had it restored, and lived there in the manner
described by a traveled eye-witness, who says that a most splendid court
was kept there, and that he had seen nothing like it in Christendom except
that of the viceroy of Naples. In one point of grandeur the lord deputy
went beyond the Neapolitan, for he could confer honors and dub knights,
which that viceroy could not do, or indeed any other he knew of. This
splendor was interrupted by the civil wars, but burst forth anew under the
viceroyalty of the great duke of Ormond. Matters seem then to have been
somewhat irregularly managed. It was a time of great politico-religions
excitement, and "Papists" were forbidden to have residences in Dublin.
Nevertheless, complaints were made that several Catholic nobles and
gentlemen, among whom were Colonel Talbot and the earl of Clancarty, not
only took houses, but were received at the Castle, where they joined the
duke and the earl of Arran at play, which was often continued till three
o'clock in the morning. It was said that they then passed through the
gates with their coaches, and drew upon the guard if they attempted to
stop them. This good-fellowship did not serve to cement a very close
friendship between the parties, for Colonel Talbot was afterward thrown
into the Tower on the charge of attempting the duke's life. He was soon
freed from captivity and loaded with favors by James II., who made him
duke of Tyrconnel and lord lieutenant of Ireland.

When Mrs. Pendarves (_née_ Mary Granville) paid her first visit to
Ireland, all was at least outwardly quiet. The Revolution was long past,
and the House of Hanover was firmly seated on the throne. The utmost
magnificence was displayed by the court at Dublin, and the lady's letters
are filled with descriptions of every kind of gayety. The witty dean of
St. Patrick's, though nearing the melancholy close of his career, was
still exciting by turns the wonder, the amusement and the gratitude of
the Irish public. In spite of much that would now be deemed very
inconsistent with his calling, Swift had a firm practical belief in the
truths he was bound to teach, and was scrupulously careful in the
discharge of his public duties. Mrs. Pendarves, who some years later
became the wife of Swift's friend, Dr. Delany, a celebrated preacher and
afterward dean of Down, was much attracted by the many virtues hidden
under the apparent misanthropy of this wonderful man, and kept up a
correspondence with him until his intellect failed. Her relative, Lord
Carteret, had been the dean's great friend long before he was sent to
Ireland as viceroy. A postscript which he added to one of his letters
written in 1737 shows what he thought of Swift as a patriot. It ran thus:
"When people ask me how I governed Ireland, I say that I pleased Dr.
Swift. 'Quæsitam meritis sume superbiam.'" Nevertheless, Swift was too
uncompromising to be trusted with power, even by Carteret. He wished very
much to be made a trustee of the linen manufactory or a justice of the
peace, and complained that he was refused because it was well known he
would not job or suffer abuses to pass, though he might be of service to
the public in both capacities; "but if he were a worthless member of
Parliament or a bishop who would vote for the court and betray his
country," then his request would be readily granted. Lord Carteret
replied: "What you say is literally true, and therefore you must excuse
me." When he asked the archbishop of Cashel and other trustees of the
linen manufacture why they would not elect him, the archbishop answered
that "he was too sharp a razor, and would cut them all."

Lord Carteret was a true courtier, and managed to keep fairly with both
parties. He had much wit and readiness, and parried the attacks of Swift
with such dexterity that on one occasion, the latter exclaimed, "What, in
God's name! do you do here? Get back to your own country, and send us our
boobies again." When we recollect that in London Swift enjoyed the
society of the first literary characters of the day, we need not wonder
that he looked on a residence in Ireland as a sort of banishment, and yet
he did not fail to use every opportunity of doing good in private and in
public. He gave half his annual income to decayed families, and kept five
hundred pounds in hand for the sole service of the industrious poor, which
he lent out in five pounds at a time, and took payment back by
installments of two shillings--of course without interest. He was thus the
means of helping them to help themselves, a species of charity which was
not then so well understood as it is now in process of becoming. His
indignation at the oppressive conduct of the English government in
destroying Irish trade and manufactures vented itself in many ways. "Do
not the corruptions and villainies of men eat your flesh and exhaust your
spirits?" said he to his friend Dr. Delany; and in another burst of the
same _sæva indignatio_ he exclaimed, on hearing some one spoken of as a
"fine old gentleman," "What! have you yet to learn that there is no such
thing as a fine old gentleman? If the man you speak of had either a mind
or a body worth a farthing, they would have worn him out long ago."

An incidental notice of the state of Irish trade at that date is afforded
in a letter of Mrs. Delany's to a friend in England: "They make mighty
good gloves here, but I shall not be able to send you any: _they are
prohibited_." Mrs. Delany was herself much interested for the people, and
brought Irish poplins into fashion at the viceregal court. She lost no
opportunity of expressing her liking for the tone of Irish society. When
herself residing in England she writes to her sister, Ann Granville,
afterward Mrs. Dewes, expressing a wish that they could both be
conveniently transported to Ireland for one year, that no place would suit
her sister's taste so well, and that "the good-humor and conversableness
of the people would please her extremely." This lady's descriptions of
life in the country parts of Ireland are perhaps more interesting than
even her experiences in the capital. At one time she describes her
entertainment after a picnic in a thatched house which she calls a
"cabin," and remarks that the people did not seem solicitous of having
good dwellings or more furniture than was absolutely necessary--hardly so
much--but they made it up in eating and drinking; adding that no people
could be more hospitable or obliging, and that there was not only great
abundance, but "great order and neatness." There is, unfortunately, a
reverse to the medal. She remarks that they cut down all their trees
instead of preserving them; that the poverty of the people as she passed
through the country "made her heart ache," as she never saw a greater
appearance of misery; and that they lived in great extremes, either
profusely or wretchedly. The same testimony is borne by all who knew the
state of Ireland at that time.

A family with which Mrs. Delany had much friendly intercourse was that of
the Wesleys, who then and long after lived at Dangan Castle in the county
of Meath, within two miles of Laracor, Dean Swift's first Irish living.
This residence is generally supposed to have been the birthplace of the
duke of Wellington, though No. 24 Upper Merrion street, Dublin, disputes
that honor. Mrs. Delany describes Dangan Castle as being a large, handsome
and convenient house. Mr. Richard Colley Wesley, who was then the
proprietor, planted and laid out the grounds with much taste. They lived
magnificently, and at the same time without ceremony. There was "a
charming large hall" with an organ and harpsichord, where all the company
met when they had a mind to be together, and where "music, dancing,
draughts, shuttlecock and prayers took their turn." The house is now in
ruins, having been sold to Roger O'Connor, and burnt accidentally
afterward. Mrs. Delany speaks of her friend, Richard Colley Wesley, the
ancestor of the duke, as having more virtues and fewer faults than any man
she knew. She adds a curious circumstance in connection with the ruins of
a castle in the town of Dangan. It belonged to King John, and his _butler,
gentleman-usher and standard-bearer_ were the ancestors of the duke of
Ormond (Butler), Mr. Usher (high sheriff of Dublin that year, 1733), and
Mr. Wesley. The first connection of these families with Ireland is
sometimes stated to have been in the time of Henry II., the surname of
Butler arising from the circumstance that Henry conferred the chief
butlership of Ireland on Theobald Fitzwater in 1177. It is also said that
_Wesley_ was the original form of the duke of Wellington's family name. On
the other hand, De Quincey says that _Wellesley_ was shortened to _Wesley_
by the same process which leads people to pronounce Marjoribanks
"Marshbanks," and St. Leger "Silliger." It was probably resumed to
distinguish a particular branch of the family. However this may be, it is
to be regretted that the "iron duke," who was Irish both by birth and long
descent, should have habitually affected Anglicanism. When in a celebrated
speech he frequently used the words "As an Englishman," he provoked the
remark of an Irish wit: "The duke reminds me of a countryman of mine who
was accosted by President Jefferson in the United States: 'Well, Paddy,
and why have you come to America?'--'Begor, yer honor, I jist come over to
be a native.'"

The viceregal court has never been without its traditions of beauty, wit
and fashion. The two Gunnings, whose fame has come down to our day in the
letters of Walpole, made their début at the Castle when the earl of
Harrington was lord lieutenant. They were the daughters of an Irish
gentleman of old family who had married the Hon. Bridget Bourke, a
daughter of Lord Mayo. Their father seems to have been improvident, for
they were said to be so poor that they thought of being actresses, and
when they were presented they had to borrow clothes from Mrs. Woffington.
Walpole speaks of them as two young Irish girls of no fortune who were
declared the handsomest women alive, and says that they could not walk in
the Park or go to Vauxhall but such crowds followed them that they were
generally obliged to go away. Some years after he writes to Miss Berry:
"The two beautiful sisters (Gunning) were going on the stage when they
were at once exalted almost as high as they could be--were countessed and
double-duchessed." This last expression was in allusion to the marriage of
one of the sisters first to the duke of Hamilton, and afterward to the
duke of Argyll. She thus united two rival families and became the
ancestress of the present duke.

A still more remarkable belle in many respects was Miss Eleanor Ambrose.
This lady, who was exquisitely beautiful and of very fascinating manners,
was the brightest star in the viceregal court of the celebrated earl of
Chesterfield. She was the daughter of a Catholic gentleman of good family
and connected with the leading Catholic aristocracy. The professions were
at that time closed against members of the old faith, and, in spite of the
prejudice which then existed against trade, some of the younger sons of
good Catholic families betook themselves to commerce. Hence the father of
Miss Ambrose gained wealth as a brewer in Dublin, and left a considerable
sum between his two daughters. The earl of Chesterfield, being warned
before he came to Ireland that he would have much trouble from the
Catholic party, wrote back soon after his arrival that the only "dangerous
Papist" he met was Miss Ambrose, a title by which she was known ever
after. Many graceful compliments paid to her by the courtly earl testify
to his admiration of her beauty and accomplishments. On seeing her wear an
orange lily on the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne he addressed her
in the following impromptu:

    Say, lovely traitress, where's the jest
    Of wearing orange on thy breast,
    When underneath that bosom shows
    The whiteness of the rebel rose?

On another occasion, Miss Ambrose being present when the freedom of the
corporation of Drogheda was presented to the viceroy in a gold box of
exquisite workmanship, she laughingly asked him to give it to her.
"Madame," said Chesterfield, "you have too much of my freedom already."
The lady eventually married a county Mayo gentleman of large fortune
named Palmer, and lived to the age of ninety-eight, forming a connecting
link between two very distant periods. In her extreme old age Sheil paid
her a visit, the admiration which Lord Chesterfield was known to entertain
for her having induced him to seek an introduction to her. Although rich,
he found her occupying a small lodging in Henry street, where she lived
secluded and alone. "Over the chimney-piece of the front drawing-room was
suspended the picture of her Platonic idolater. It was a half-length
portrait, and had been given her by the man of whose adoration she was so
virtuously vain." While Sheil was striving to image to himself the
fascinations of the "dangerous Papist," the door was opened: a volume of
smoke had previously filled the room, and the rush of air causing it to
spread in huge wreaths around her, "a weird and withered form stood in the
midst of the dispersing vapor." Lady Palmer was a most vehement Catholic.
Lord Chesterfield and the Catholic question were the only subjects in
which she seemed to take any interest. On the wrongs of her country she
expatiated with both energy and eloquence, but when her visitor remarked
that he was not surprised at Lord Chesterfield's having called her "a
dangerous Papist," the patriot relapsed into the woman, and she looked up
at the picture with a melancholy smile.

The subject of society in Ireland during the eighteenth century would be
singularly incomplete without some notice of the disabilities under which
so large a portion of the nation lay. The penal laws were designed to
transfer all the property of the country to the hands of Protestants, and
they were effectual to a great extent, but in many instances they were
evaded by the friendship and good feeling of Protestants themselves.
Intermarriages often took place, and individuals of the favored party in
several cases held property secretly in trust for the real owners. By this
and other devices a portion of their estates was saved for Catholic
families. It may not be amiss to relate two or three illustrations of the
working of these laws, and also of the way in which they were evaded.

In the year 1776, Mr. Thomas Stephen Coppinger lived on his family estate
of Carhue in the county of Cork. His ancestors had eschewed politics, and
had retained their property and their religion for a century and a half
without molestation. Now, however, his first cousin, Thomas John
Coppinger, laid claim to half the estate on the plea that it should have
been "gaveled," or divided between the sons, when his grandfather died
without leaving a Protestant heir, such being the law at the time. In
order to force his cousin to consent, Thomas John became a Protestant and
threatened to file a bill of discovery; which meant that he would give
formal notice that his cousin was "discovered" to be a Catholic. By going
through this form he could claim the whole estate. Thomas Stephen was
advised to _go through the ceremony of conforming_, but refused on
principle. The case was tried, but in the existing state of the law there
was no redress, and half the estate, with the family residence, was given
up to Thomas John. It tells well for the family affection and forgiving
disposition of the Irish that far from this transaction originating a feud
between the Protestant and Catholic branches of the Coppingers, they were
always on the best terms. The year after this occurrence the law was
altered and some of the severest restrictions on the Catholics removed.

A few years before this change in the law a Mr. Duggan resided at the
"Park," near Killarney, a property which is still held by his descendants,
who have adopted the name of Cronin. A Protestant gentleman having taken
some dislike to Mr. Duggan, and being besides a furious bigot, resolved to
file a bill against him. Before he had time to execute his design a
relative named McCarthy, who had been living in Paris, came to see him.
This relative told him that he was very badly off and about to leave for
America. "Never mind," said Mr. ----: "I'm going to file a bill against
Duggan. The fellow is a Papist. I will get his property, and you shall
have a share." It is probable that Mr. ---- might have tried to quiet his
conscience by this intended application of the money, and to persuade
himself that he was not acting through love of gain. In a day or two after
the above conversation McCarthy was staying with Mr. Deane Freeman of
Castle Cor in the county of Cork. This gentleman being a Protestant and a
Tory, his guest told him of the plan against Duggan. But Mr. Freeman was
quite a different person from the others, and was besides a friend of Mr.
Duggan's. He went immediately to Mr. ---- 's house, and learned from his
own lips that he was about to commit this wrong. Mr. Freeman then said
that he also had business at Dublin, and proposed that they should go
together. Traveling was at that time both slow and dangerous, and Mr.
---- was glad of the addition to his party. They stopped the first night at
the house of a friend, who on a hint from Freeman managed to induce the
intended filer of the bill to partake so largely of his hospitality that
he was carried to bed the next morning in a state of insensibility. His
companion being thus put _hors de combat_, Mr. Freeman hastened to Dublin
and filed a bill in his own name. While this was on the file no other bill
could be proceeded with, but for further security he got Mr. Duggan to
make a fictitious sale of the property to him, and thus saved it for
better times.

The MacMahon estates in the county of Clare were saved in the following
way: Suspecting a "discoverer," a Miss MacMahon--who must have been own
cousin to Lever's Miss Betty O'Shea--resolved to become a Protestant. She
first, however, consulted a friar, and was told by him that if she did so
she would peril her soul. "Here goes, then!" cried the doughty damsel:
"better that the soul of an old maid should go the wrong way than that the
property of the MacMahons should go to the Protestants." She conformed and
saved the property. More than one estate was preserved to the Catholic
owner by the singular proceeding of his filing a bill against himself
under an assumed name.

A tragic occurrence, arising out of the working of these laws, is
commemorated by a tombstone in Kilcrea Abbey near Cork. Arthur O'Leary, a
member of the old Catholic family of that name, had served for a few years
in the Hungarian army, as the laws against the Catholics did not permit
them to hold commissions in the British service. On his return to Ireland
he married a daughter of the O'Connell who lived then at Derrynane, an
aunt of the "Liberator." He settled at a place called Raleigh, situated on
the river Lee, and became a country gentleman, holding considerable
personal property. From his descent and creed he was looked on as a
chieftain by the peasantry, which made him unpopular among his neighbors
of English blood. One of them, a Mr. Morris, took great pride in a fine
stud of horses. Having lost a race to O'Leary on which a heavy wager
depended, he was greatly mortified. Some one, perceiving his vexation,
unfortunately reminded him that the "Papist" could not legally keep a
horse exceeding five pounds in value. He tendered this sum to O'Leary, who
indignantly refused to give up his favorite animal. On his resisting the
warrant which was then made out for his arrest, he was outlawed. A party
of soldiers was sent after him, and he was shot in the encounter that
followed. This took place in the year 1773, when O'Leary was only
twenty-six years old. The tragedy did not end here. A brother of O'Leary's
was seized with an insane desire of vengeance, and made several attempts
on Mr. Morris's life, till the latter, in a state of chronic terror, left
his country residence and came into Cork to live. Here O'Leary watched day
after day, and at length succeeded in wounding him fatally. He then
escaped to America, where he died some years after. An ancestor of the
writer afterward resided at Hanover Hall, the place which Mr. Morris had
been thus forced to leave, and a member of the family used to relate how
she was shown when a child the marks of O'Leary's bullets in the doors and
wainscoting. It would seem as if a desire to brave the laws of the
"Saxon" was inherent in this family. A noted professor of the name in Cork
appeared a few years ago at a fancy ball clad in his ancestral clothing of
the sixteenth century and wearing the insignia of the chieftainship. He
boasted that in doing so he broke no fewer than three statute laws. But
times are altered now, and the learned professor was permitted to indulge
his whim in peace. No clansmen gathered round him, and no "Sassenach"
soldiery rent away his saffron robe.

Attempts at the abduction of heiresses were then of more frequent
occurrence than a lover of Ireland could desire. Mr. Froude has made the
most of this blot on their civilization, but he has forgotten that such
outrages were not in those days peculiar to Ireland. Mrs. Delany relates a
flagrant case which came under her immediate notice. Miss MacDermot was a
Connaught lady who with her sister had inherited a large estate. They were
originally Catholics, but decided on becoming Protestants. Their intention
was suspected, and their maternal uncle, whose name was Flinn, asked them
to his house to dine, the distance not being so great as to prevent them
from returning home in the evening. They had never had a quarrel with this
uncle, and could not well refuse the invitation, though they would rather
not have gone, the eldest sister having rejected an offer of marriage from
Flinn's only son. After dinner they prepared to leave, but the uncle
insisted on their remaining for the night. They refused firmly but
politely, and were then told that the chaise and servants had gone home,
but would return for them the next day. Miss MacDermot was much
frightened, but, as they had no redress, she concealed her feelings, and
they sat down to cards. While engaged in this way four men with masks
rushed into the room. The two sisters made their escape into the next
apartment, but were followed by the masked men. One of these seized upon
Miss Maria MacDermot, who had hid behind a bed, but when he saw which he
had he flung her from him with an oath, saying that she was not the right
sister. The portion of the elder being double that of the other explains
this ungallant proceeding. Miss MacDermot was then seized and dragged back
into the room, where her uncle was still standing by the fire. He took no
notice of her tears and entreaties, but allowed her to be forced into the
hall, where a crowd of Flinn's friends and followers were assembled. They
set her on a pillion behind the principal mask. She was a tall, strong
woman, and struggled so violently that she succeeded in getting off the
horse. While they were endeavoring to put her back again, she managed to
get the sword of one of the men, for they were all armed with swords and
bludgeons. Then, like a true Amazon,

    Her back against a tree she bore,
    And firmly placed her foot before,

and defended herself for some time, till one of the gang ran a sword up
her arm from her wrist to her elbow, and obliged her to drop her weapon.
Being no longer able to resist between extreme pain and loss of blood, she
was taken to a cabin, where the cousin came in with a priest and some
others. The priest told her that if she submitted to the ceremony of
marriage with Mr. Flinn, she should be treated with kindness and respect.
She declared she would rather die than marry one who had been guilty of
such outrageous conduct. They tried to force the ring on her finger, and
the priest was proceeding with the ceremony when the lady seized a jug of
milk which stood on a table near and dashed it in the face of "His
Reverence." Some of the party coming in gave the alarm to Flinn, saying in
a whisper that the country was raised and in pursuit of them. More
messengers came to confirm the news. The lady's arm was still bleeding
profusely, and they carried her out and plunged her up to the shoulder in
a bog, two men being left to guard her. This singular treatment stopped
the bleeding, but, though she was soon rescued, she remained twenty-one
days in great pain and danger. Her sister had previously escaped in time
to give the alarm. Some months after they came to Dublin and read their
recantation in Dr. Delany's church.

Miss MacDermot's courage was certainly admirable, but it must be admitted
that Mr. Flinn was not without his share of the same quality. Few men in
these degenerate times would care to have so brave a wife. Indeed, some of
these Irish dames were quite capable of defending both their rights and
their privileges against assailants belonging to what is called the
"stronger sex." Sir Jonah Barrington's great-aunt, Mrs. Elizabeth
Fitzgerald, and her husband held the castle of Moret against the O'Cahils,
who claimed it as having been originally theirs and taken from them by
another Elizabeth, the queen of England. They were repulsed with much
slaughter, but Squire Fitzgerald had the imprudence to venture outside the
walls, and was carried off by the survivors of the hostile faction. They
approached the castle again with their prisoner, and one of the party,
exhibiting a white cloth on a pike, came forward: "I'm a truce, my lady.
Look here!" (showing the terrified squire): "we have your husband in
hault: yees have yer castle sure enough. Now we'll change, if you please:
we'll render the squire, and you'll render the keep; and if yees won't do
that same, the squire will be throttled before your two eyes in half an
hour."--"Flag of truce," said the heroine with due dignity and without the
slightest hesitation, "mark the words of Elizabeth Fitzgerald of Moret
Castle: they may answer for your own wife upon some future occasion. Flag
of truce, I _won't_ render my keep, and I'll tell you why: Elizabeth
Fitzgerald may get another husband, but Elizabeth Fitzgerald may never get
another castle; so I'll keep what I have; and if you can't get off faster
than your legs can readily carry you, my warders will try which is the
hardest--your skull or a stone bullet." It were too long a story to relate
how this Irish Penelope, unsustained by the hope of the return of her
Ulysses, inasmuch as she had seen him hanged before her eyes, defended her
castle and her liberty against all the neighboring squires, who had agreed
to decide by lot which should carry her off. Nearly every one of them had
previously tried to persuade her to accept his hand, the proposal being
made by "flag of truce," till at length she threatened to hang the next
messenger.

These events took place in 1690. Later on, such women as Elizabeth
Fitzgerald became more rare, but there is one noted example of womanly
daring which must not be passed over. The celebrated "Lady Freemason"
confronted the terrors of a Masonic lodge, and, unlike our mother Eve, the
forbidden knowledge has brought no evil consequences on her posterity, who
continue to be reckoned among the most estimable and most respected
families of the county of Cork. The Hon. Elizabeth St. Leger, daughter to
Lord Doneraile, was descended from Robert de St. Leger, who accompanied
William the Conqueror to England, and cousin to the General St. Leger who
instituted the Doncaster St. Leger race. When a young girl she was seized
with a desire to see the mysteries of the initiation of a Mason which were
about to be celebrated at her father's house. The generally-received
tradition is that she concealed herself behind a large old-fashioned
eight-day clock, but another version of the story is that some alterations
being in progress, she picked a brick out of the partition which divided
the room occupied by the Masons from the adjoining apartment. However this
may be, the young lady got frightened and attempted to escape, but was
detected by the Mason on guard. Her life was spared, it is said, at the
intercession of her brother, but on condition of her becoming a member.
She afterward married Richard Aldworth of Newmarket, and lived and died
much respected. On public occasions she walked at the head of the
Freemasons wearing the apron and insignia of the order. Her portrait in
this attire is in the lodge-rooms of several Irish lodges and also in the
family mansion of the Aldworths. This family is of English descent, and
settled in the north-west of the county of Cork, where an ancestor of
theirs got a grant of land from James I. They patronized Curran's father,
and appointed him seneschal of their manor of Newmarket, in which town the
great wit and patriot was born.

The remarkable prevalence of dueling, which rose in Ireland to almost an
insane height toward the end of the eighteenth century, had at least the
good effect of encouraging a chivalrous feeling toward women, who
thenceforward depended on their male relatives and friends for protection.
It is said that if any gentleman presumed to pass between a lady and the
wall in walking the streets of Dublin, he was considered as offering a
personal affront to her escort, and if the parties wore swords, as was
then customary, the first salutation to the offender was usually "Draw,
sir!" However, such affairs mostly ended in an apology to the lady for
inadvertence. But if a man ventured to intrude into the boxes of the
theatre in his surtout or boots or with his hat on, it was regarded as a
general insult to every lady present, and he had little chance of escaping
without a shot or a thrust before the following night. It must be
confessed that this species of punctiliousness was carried too far. Some
say that dueling reached to such an extravagant pitch in Ireland because
the Protestant gentry were a garrison in a hostile country, and were
obliged to cultivate familiarity with the means of defence. It is possible
that this state of affairs may have originally led to the remarkable
prevalence of the custom, for when such transactions as that between Mr.
Morris and Arthur O'Leary were of frequent occurrence, there must have
been much to provoke the bitterest enmity. Nevertheless, it would seem
that there was really a good deal in the practice to warrant the old
saying that "the English fight for liberty, the French for glory and the
Irish for _fun_." A gentleman who is said to have been one of the most
humane men existing quieted his little son in this wise when the child was
crying for something: "Come, now, do be a good boy. Come, now, don't cry,
and I'll give you a case of nice little pistols to-morrow. Come, now,
don't cry, and _we'll shoot them all in the morning_."--"Yes, yes,"
responded the child, drying his little eyes and delighted at the
notion--"Yes, we'll shoot them all in the morning." In the regulations for
dueling, called in Galway the "Thirty-six Commandments," one of the rules
laid down was that when the seconds disagreed and resolved to exchange
shots, they should stand at right angles with the principals and all fire
together. A duel of this nature took place near Glinsk, the seat of Sir J.
Bourke, between that gentleman and a Mr. Bodkin, when the old family
steward and other servants brought out the son, then a child, and held him
on men's shoulders to see papa fight! Professed duelists were called
"fire-eaters," and the first two questions always asked as to a young
gentleman's respectability and qualifications, particularly when he
proposed for a wife, were, "What family is he of? Did he ever blaze?"

A Mr. Bagenal in the county Carlow, called King Bagenal from his absolute
sway within his extensive territories, was a polished gentleman of Norman
race. He used to have a brace of pistols laid before him on the
dinner-table, and when the claret was brought in after dinner--which was
always in an unbroached cask--Bagenal tapped it with a bullet from one
pistol, and kept the other _in terrorem_ for any of his guests who should
fail to do justice to the liquor. Some pigs belonging to a neighboring
gentleman having strayed into his flower-garden, Bagenal had them docked
of ears and tails, sending these trophies to the gentleman with an
intimation that the owner merited a like punishment. The gentleman, who
had only recently settled there, sent him a challenge, which he accepted
with alacrity, stipulating, however, that as he was nearly eighty, he
should fight sitting in his arm-chair. The duel was fought in this strange
fashion: Bagenal wounded his antagonist, but escaped unhurt himself.

Barristers who were good shots were retained at elections as "fighting"
counsel. A lawyer of this stamp, having conducted an election more
peaceably than his wont, was asked why he acted contrary to his usual
custom. He answered coolly, "Because my client does not pay me fighting
price." It was not usual for the Irish bar or the Irish members of
Parliament to calculate in this way when a chance of "blazing" was in
question. Mr. Toler, afterward Lord Norbury of punning celebrity, had some
words with Sir Jonah Barrington. They left the House to settle the dispute
outside, but the Speaker, perceiving them, sent the sergeant-at-arms with
his attendants to bring them back. They caught Toler just as the skirts of
his coat had become so entangled in a door-handle that they were torn
completely off. Sir Jonah, resisting the sergeant's satellites, was caught
up by one of them, brought back like a sack of meal on the man's
shoulders, and thrown down in the body of the House. The Speaker required
them both to pledge their honor that the matter should end there. When
Toler rose to reply the dilapidated condition of his coat became apparent,
upon which Curran stood up and said gravely that "it was the most
unparalleled insult ever offered to the House, as it appeared that one
honorable member had _trimmed_ another honorable member's _jacket_ within
those walls, and nearly within view of the Speaker."

The incessant play of wit and drollery then animating the Irish capital
has perhaps never had a parallel in any society. The House and the bar
were both overflowing with it. When the dull, matter-of-fact Lord
Redesdale first came over to take the position of lord chancellor, he felt
some curiosity as to the reputation of the latter for these qualities
which had reached his ears in England. At one of his first dinners to the
judges and higher law-officers he found himself unable to see any wit, or
perhaps any meaning, in Toler's jests, and turning to another barrister,
Mr. Garrat O'Farrell, he said that he believed his name and family were
very numerous and reputable in the county of Wicklow, as he had met
several of them in his late tour there. "Yes, my lord," said O'Farrell,
"we _were_ very numerous, but so many of us have been lately hanged for
sheepstealing that the name is getting rather scarce in that county."
This reply reduced his lordship to silence, and it was probably some time
before he made up his mind as to whether he had really been associating
with law-breakers of so disreputable a class. Mr. Plunket afterward
puzzled Lord Redesdale still more when arguing a cause in chancery. The
question was about "flying kites" (fictitious bills). His lordship took
the word literally, and declared he did not understand the matter. "It is
not to be expected that you should, my lord," said Plunket, "for in
England the wind raises the kite, but in Ireland the kite raises the
wind." The lord chancellor was no wiser than before, and the counsel was
obliged to have recourse to a less metaphorical explanation.

So late as the time of the Union old Irish families lived in the way
described by De Ounce. When a lad of fifteen he visited Ireland with his
young friend Lord Westport. He was even then a keen observer, and his
remarks on the Irish nobility of that date are worthy of attention. He
first notices that the tardiness and difficulty of communication, the want
of newspapers, etc., must in those times have kept the provinces two or
three generations in the rear of the metropolis, and accordingly the old
Irish rural nobility stood in this relation to English manners and
customs. The houses were often large and rambling, in the style of antique
English manorial chateaux, ill-planned as regarded convenience and
economy, with long winding galleries and innumerable windows, but
displaying in the dwelling-rooms a comfort and "coziness," combined with a
magnificence, not always so effectually attained in modern times. "Here
were old libraries, old butlers and old customs that seemed to belong to
the era of Cromwell, or even an earlier era than his; whilst the ancient
names, to one who had some acquaintance with the great events of Irish
history, often strengthened the illusion." In fact, the aristocracy of
Ireland was divided into two sections--the native Irish, who were
territorial fixtures, and those who spent so much of their time and
revenues at Bath, Cheltenham, Weymouth, London, etc. as to have become
almost entirely English. It was the former whom De Quincey saw most of,
and though they lived in the amplest comfort and exercised the most
unbounded hospitality, still they were greatly behind the English
commercial gentry as to modern refinements of luxury. There was at the
same time a strength of character and a raciness of manner which could not
fail to interest and impress a stranger. Although there was much sterling
worth to be found in this class, a high-handed lawlessness broke out now
and then. Doubtless, a daily familiarity with the wrongs perpetrated under
cover of the penal laws undermined their natural sense of justice. A
remarkable instance of the tyranny sometimes practiced occurred in a
family well known to the writer. A gentleman rented several hundred acres
of land from the earl of B----, a nobleman whose title is now extinct. The
tenant exercised some right that was permitted by the terms of his lease,
which had been granted by the former owner of the estate. Lord B----, who
was a haughty and irascible man, disputed the right, and the tenant came
with his lease in his pocket to explain the matter. It was winter, and
there was a large fire in the room. Lord B---- asked to see the lease, and
when he got it into his hands suddenly thrust it into the middle of the
fire, near which he stood. He then told the gentleman that he would
continue to let him hold _half the land_, but that he had another tenant
for the rest. As there were no witnesses to the transaction except Lord
B---- and the tenant, and the law's delays are always in favor of the
rich, the gentleman thought it better to submit. It is believed that a sum
of money had been paid on receiving the lease, which made the proceeding
the more unjust.

Irish roads in those days were probably as bad as those in England. They
could hardly have been worse, for De Quincey tells of his childish
interest in watching the postilions, who were employed, not by fits and
starts, but "always and eternally," in _quartering_--a word which he
explains to mean going from side to side to avoid the ruts and large
stones. A natural consequence of bad roads and inefficient police was the
prevalence of highwaymen, who were then to be met with in both countries.
They usually infested the roads which had to be passed by traders at fairs
or by men employed in collecting rents. A noted highwayman named Brennan
was the terror of all who traveled in the northern part of the county of
Cork. After some outrages more than usually daring, no one in the service
of a gentleman in that neighborhood could be found brave enough to pass
the lonely mountain-road to bring home a balance of rent remaining due. A
young lad volunteered, saying that he would go in his every-day garb, and
that no one would suspect him of carrying money about him. Having received
and secreted the cash, he was returning in apparent safety, but just as he
arrived at the loneliest part of the road Brennan leaped out from behind a
hedge and presented a loaded pistol. "Give up that money," said he to the
boy.--"Sure, then, I will if you give me time, but you won't have me go
home wid my finger in my mouth, widout looking as if I made a stand for
it, anyhow. Look here!" continued Jerry, dismounting and holding up the
ragged skirt of his coat, "couldn't you put a ball through this for
me?"--"'Tis riddled enough in all conscience, but here goes," said the
highwayman, firing off a pistol at it.--"Here's my ould caubeen now, and
I'll just give my face a scratch to draw the blood if you put a hole
through that too." The hat was riddled for him in the same way. "Well,
now, that's grand; but I think if the other skirt was tore, they couldn't
say a word then."--"Why, you omadhaun! haven't you enough of it? Give me
the rint. Do you think I have any more powder and ball to be wasting on
you, you spalpeen?"--"If you haven't, I have," cried Jerry, springing on
his horse, and pulling out a loaded pistol he was off and away before the
astonished highwayman had time to prevent him or to reload his weapon.

The legislative union forms a distinct epoch in Irish social life, and we
cannot more fitly close this paper than by giving an account of the last
meeting of the Irish House of Lords in the words of an observant and
dispassionate eye-witness. After expressing his surprise at the facility
with which their consent was gained, De Quincey adds: "They all rose from
their couches peers of Parliament, individual pillars of the realm,
indispensable parties to every law that could pass. To-morrow they will be
nobody--men of straw--_terræ filii_. What madness has persuaded them to
part with their birthright, and to cashier themselves and their children
for ever into mere titular lords?... The bill received the royal assent
without a muttering or a whispering or the protesting echo of a sigh.
Perhaps there might be a little pause, a silence like that which follows
an earthquake, but there was no plainspoken Lord Belhaven, as on the
corresponding occasion in Edinburgh, to fill up the silence with: 'So
there's an end of an auld sang.' All was, or looked, courtly and free from
vulgar emotion. Thus we were set at liberty from Dublin. Parliaments and
installations and masked balls, with all other secondary splendors in
celebration of primary splendors, reflex glories that reverberated the
original glories, at length had ceased to shine upon the Irish metropolis.
The 'season,' as it is called in great cities, was over--unfortunately,
the last season that was ever destined to illuminate the society or to
stimulate the domestic trade of Dublin."


ELIZA WILSON.



VINA'S "OLE MAN."

[Illustration: "DE LORD HAS DONE 'P'INTED YER TO BE A GUARDIAN ANGEL TO
DAT PO' CHILE."]


"Vina's got an idee she wants to git married." The speaker was a venerable
darkey, who stood twirling his rimless hat with a sheepish air in the
probate-office.

"Rather hard for you, Father Abram," said the judge kindly, "but it's a
way girls have. I presume my daughter will be leaving me some day in the
same ungrateful fashion. Bring around Vina's man and I will make out the
license."

Father Abram's manner became at once more confused and ludicrous: he
poised himself alternately on either foot, and scratched his head
vigorously, while his facial expression was something too comical for
description. Finally, through a series of embarrassed chuckles and
gurgles, he rippled into a broad guffaw, articulating indistinctly between
its paroxysms, "Bress de Lord, sah! I'se de man!"

"Shades of the mighty!" exclaimed the judge, in his astonishment dropping
his pen upon a virgin page in his docket. "But the United States is a
Christian country, Abram, and a man can't marry his own daughter here:
it's contrary to law and gospel."

"Yes, sah?" said the negro submissively. "Den dar ain't no way for me an'
Vina to git married, not even if we go over to Platte City? Vina'll be
mightily disappointed."

"Good Heavens! no. 'Twould be a State's prison offence, and I don't see
what ever put such a revolting idea into your head anyway, you
hoary-headed old sinner!"

'"Deed, sah, 'tain't no idee ob mine. I done tole yer dat it was all 'long
ob Vina, but I wouldn't see her outed for a sight" (_outed_ being a negro
expression for displeased). "An' don't yer t'ink, sah, de law might be
changed, jus' for dis one time, or dat Vina an' I could be sent to de
penitentium togedder? It's rather hard on both on us, 'specially on
Vina--'specially as she ain't no more my darter than you be."

"Why didn't you say so before, instead of having all this talk about it? I
don't know whether to believe you now: it is more than likely only a lie
that you have trumped up as a last resort."

"Wish I may die, sah, ef it ain't de honest truf; an' de fus' time dat
ebber I set eyes on Vina war in a slabe-pen in New Orleans eight years
ago, when we war sold to de same marster. Ef Massa John Brown war libbin'
he could prove it to yer; but dar ain't no udder libbin' human 'cept de
slabe-driber--and he war blowed up on his nex' trip up de ribber--dat
knows anyting about it."

The judge believed now that Abram had spoken the truth, for the time

    When Old John Brown, Ossawattomie Brown,
    Shall be a name to swear by in backwoods and in town,

had come. The time was the commencement of the war, and any reference to
his name on the part of a negro was equivalent to the most solemn oath.

"What did John Brown ever know about it?" asked the judge.

"Why, yer see, he war dar, sah: he come down de ribber on de same boat wid
de driber an' Vina. De driber he'd done bought up a heap ob likely young
gals all de way down t'roo' Missouri an' de udder towns what neighbored
on to de ribber--han'somest young women he could find, what'd bring a high
price in New Orleans--an' when he gits dar, what's he do but go roun' to
all de slabe-pens an' buy up a heap ob worn-out, or'nary old niggers, what
had been worked to def in de rice-swamps, an' nobody wouldn't gib five
dollars for. Den he marries de peartest ob de gals to de mizzablest ob de
ole men. When de time fur de auction come, dar was plenty ob buyers for de
gals, but nobody wanted dem good-for-nuffin' ole husbands. 'Can't help
it,' says de driber--'Can't help it, no way whatsumebber: it's ag'in our
principles to part families. Ef yer want de woman, yer mus' take her ole
man too.' An' so dey gin'rally did, an' paid a high price fur him too, fur
de sake ob gittin' de gal. Wall, as I was a-sayin', Massa John Brown he
come down in de same boat wid Vina: he'd took notice ob her, and he knowed
she hadn't any ole man. De nex' day he come walkin' down to de slabe-pen,
a-purtendin' to be a planter, and a-axin' de price ob de niggers. When dey
tole him I was Vina's husband, he says, 'Why, he's too ole to be anybody's
husband: I don't believe he's got a toof in his head.'--'Yes I has,
massa,' says I: 'I'se got t'ree left, and can chaw hoecake powerful, but I
don't crack no pecans in my mouf. Better buy me, sah: dar's a heap ob
sarbice in me yet. I'se only drawed up wid de rheumatiz, dat's
all.'--'Come ober heah to de light,' says he, 'an' let me look in yo'
mouf, an' see whedder yer _hab_ got any teef.' So I went wid him, an'
while he was a-purtendin' to find out my p'ints he says to me, very quiet,
'Yer ain't dat gal's husband, nohow,' says he, 'an' yer knows it.':--'I
knows it, massa,' says I, 'an' I'se skeered for my life ob her, fur she
done said she'd kill any one dey dar'd to mate wid her: she's done got a
husband ob her own up de ribber, I reckon.'--'Yes, dat am de truf,' says
Massa John Brown; 'but see here, uncle: de Lord has done 'p'inted yer to
be a guardian angel to dat po' chile. He calls yer to be a fader to her;
an' from dis day yer _is_ her fader--'member dat. But it may be jus' as
well for yer to purtend to be her husband: 'at will keep de udder boys
from pesterin' her. But 'member dis: de Lord will 'quire dat chile's
happiness of yo' han's, an' will so do by yer as yer do by her.'--'Be yer
de angel ob de Lord, massa?' says I. 'Clar' to goodness, sah! I was dat
skeered one knee knocked ag'in de udder like a woodpecker a-hammerin' a
rotten tree.--'Yes,' says he: 'I _be_ de messenger ob de Lord, an' my name
is John Brown, but I don't s'pose yer ebber heern tell ob it.'--'No,
massa,' says I, 'we don't see no powerful sight ob angels down in de
rice-swamps.'--'Well, keep a-watchin' an' a-waitin',' says he, 'an' yer
_will_ heer from me ag'in.' Wid dat de driber come up, and he tole him he
guessed he wouldn't buy me dat day; and den he went away.

"Vina said dis mornin' she 'lowed to go up to yo' house to do some washin'
for de missus; an' yer can ax her, sah, an' she'll tell yer dat all I'se
been a-sayin' is de libbin' truf."

The judge hardly needed any confirmation--Abram's story was too
straightforward and naïf to have been coined--but, telling him to call at
his house toward evening, and that he would have the necessary papers
there, and make them out if satisfied as to the eligibility of the parties
for such a contract, he dismissed the aspirant for marital honors. As the
judge entered the shaded coolness of his library after a distracting day
spent in the discussion of a complicated will-case, the refreshing
atmosphere of refinement and quiet and home exercised so powerful an
influence over his tired nerves that he straightway forgot all
professional and other cares, and stretching himself in his favorite
lazy-chair, was soon fast asleep.

As he drifted back to a semi-conscious state he became aware of voices
conversing on the back veranda, which shaded one of the library windows.
The voices were those of his wife and the girl Vina, and the words which
he first clearly comprehended were--

"I tell yer what, Miss' Fairdealer, dar ain't no niggerism about ole Fader
Abram."

As Father Abram approached the nearest to a pure-blooded Congo African of
any negro that he knew, the judge rubbed his forehead in the gentle
stimulating way which he always employed when he wished to convince
himself that he had heard aright and to assure some sophomorical young
lawyer that he had not been asleep at all, but had caught every word of
his long-winded statement of the case. The judge's ideas came back to him
with their usual easy flow, and before the next sentence was enunciated he
had made a mental summing-up of the case and given judgment for the
plaintiff.

"I mean," continued Vina, "dat Fader Abe's got de whitest soul ebber yer
see: he couldn't do a mean ting, no matter how much money de debbil 'greed
to pay him for't. Fus' time I ebber see him war down in Lousianny. My ole
marster had sole me away from my husband an' from John Brown: she war a
little ting den, only six mo'ths, an' oughtn't to have been weaned, but I
don't s'pose he cared whether she libbed or died, and de slabe-driber
wouldn't take her--"

"How _did_ you," interrupted Mrs. Judge Fairdealer with the curiosity of a
true woman, "ever give your little girl such an unsuitable name as _John_
Brown?"

("Why couldn't the woman let her go on with her story?" thought the judge.
What did he care how that impish little creature, whom he had always
regarded as old Abram's granddaughter, and who glared at him with such
savage malignity from her piercing black eye (no figure of speech, for she
had but one) when with his foot and cane he gently rolled her off the
door-mat, where he found her coiled up asleep on his entrance to the
house,--what did he care how that mixture of chimpanzee and evil sprite,
to whom were to be attributed nine-tenths of the mischief done in the
neighborhood, came by her unmaidenly cognomen?)

"John Brown didn' hab no name den: she war jus' my baby, dat war all. I
use to t'ink I'd call her for her fader, an' his name war George--mos'
consniptious rascal ebber yer see, de han'somest man in de whole township
(John Brown takes arter him a sight), but so powerful ugly" (_ugly_ being
used here in reference to disposition) "dat de only way de oberseer could
make him mind was to hab a parcel ob de boys hold him down while he kicked
him in de mouf. Wall, short time befo' John Brown was born he kicked one
of his eyes out dat ar way, and I nussed him an' tended him till he got
well; an' when John Brown come, 'clar' to goodness ef she didn' have jus'
only one eye too! Wall, I lubbed dat ar George wid all my soul, Miss'
Fairdealer. Mean an' sneakin' a nigger as ebber libbed, but I didn' know
it den; an', anyway, he war John Brown's fader, an' powerful han'some; an'
dat _do_ count for sumfin'. When dey sole me away from him I jus' t'ought
I should die. Dey let me take my baby wid me down to de
partin'-plank--dat's what dey called de gangway dey t'row out from de
steamboat--but dar de gals had to bid good-bye to all dar fren's. Such a
hollerin' and yellin' an' takin'-on you nebber heerd, Miss' Fairdealer. It
was a little lonesome, landin' in de midst ob a right smart piece ob
timber, like a many another along de Big Muddy, whar de boats stop to wood
up--fearsome-enough place any day, but at night, wid dem tar-barrels
a-flarin' an' dem women a-screechin'--some on 'em gone clean crazy, and
all on 'em actin' zif dey had--it war more like _dat_ place dan any
'scription I ebber heerd any minister gib ob it. I 'members one face, dat
ob a man dat leaned ober de railin' and looked at us bein' dribben on
board, dat looked so wild and mad-like. I allus t'ink de Lord will look
dat way when on de day ob judgment he says, ''Part from me, all ye
onb'lievin', backslidin' workers ob pernickety: don't want to see no more
ob yer.' He spoke to me once on our way down de ribber. 'Hab patience,
chile,' said he: 'de Lord ain't clean forgot yer. He'll bring yer an' yo'
baby togedder ag'in ef yer kin only wait His own good time. I'm on de
Lord's business: He's sent me down dis yeah ribber, same as he sent Moses
into Egyp', to 'quire into dis matter an' to preach deliberance to de
captive. Yer will all be free some day, but yer mus' hab patience, for de
time is not yet.' I heern some one say dat dat war John Brown, and somehow
de name heartened me up a little, do' I'd nebber heern it befo'."

Vina next told the incident of her so-called marriage at the slave-mart
with old Abram.

"'Pears like," said Vina, "I could hab killed dat man when dey tole me he
was my husband; but when he tole me 'twan't no sech ting, an' axed me if I
hadn't ebber heern 'bout Fader Abram at camp-meetin', an' dat _he_ wan't
no fader till de Lord sent His angel and called him to be one--same as He
called him to be a fader to me--den I listened to him, an' 'gan to b'lieve
de Lord reely had sent him. Den he tole me how Abram went down into Egyp'
wid his cousin Sarer, an' ole Pharaoh wanted to marry her, an' Abram he
purtended dat Sarer was his wife, so Pharaoh shouldn't get her--leastways,
it was sumfin' like dat--an' how de Lord bressed 'em, an' how when dey
cl'ar'd out ob Egyp' dey stole 'bout ebberyting Pharaoh had; an' dat John
Brown had done tole him to be anudder Fader Abram; an' I promised him I'd
be anudder Sarer to him, an' we'd pull de wool ober de white folks's eyes,
an' serbe de Lord till it done pleased Him to set us free."

Vina and Father Abram were bought by a planter who, with so many others in
1855, swarmed to the irrepressible conflict which was to decide whether
Kansas was to be a free or slave State. By the repeal of the Missouri
Compromise this question had been left for settlement to the people of the
Territory. Emigration flowed in rapidly, both from the South and the
North, and the terrible days of Border Ruffianism followed. Vina's master
settled upon a farm in Southern Kansas, on the banks of a little stream
called then by the picturesque name of the Marais des Cygnes, which has
since been changed to one of a more prosaic character. Here they heard
frequently of old John Brown of Ossawattomie, and began to have a clearer
understanding of the man and his mission. Vina spoke of her life on the
Marais des Cygnes as not a hard one, but her heart ached for her baby and
for George, and the longing to see them again grew with every day and
night. She felt sure that John Brown could help her, and one night Father
Abram said to her, "I'se gwine to run away, honey--gwine to keep agwine
till I find John Brown: den, when I'se foun' him, I'll keep agwine and
agwine and agwine till I finds yo' George: den I'll come back arter yer.
Reckon I'll be here in about a munf: yer kin look for me ebbery night
arter dat down by de big cottonwood tree on de ribber." And when the month
expired Father Abram came back, but he did not come alone: John Brown and
he had found George. He only waited to see their rapturous meeting, and
then bade good-bye to his "darter Vina," and heroically trudged away. Vina
and George fled away to John Brown's camp near Ossawattomie. Her first
question was for her baby. It had been cared for by one of the
negro-women, and was now three years old. The family had removed to Platte
City, Missouri, nine miles from the Kansas frontier, but the child was
still with them when George left.

"An' yer done luff dat bressed baby? Didn' car' what 'come ob her, so yo'
own mizzable self was safe!" exclaimed Vina in much disgust. George
explained that this was the only way--that it would have been utterly
impossible for him to have got away with the child--and promised that if
ever a raid was made in that direction, he would join it and bring her
away, at no matter what risk. In 1857 affairs began to be more settled in
Kansas. John Brown, having ended his work here, had gone East: Vina and
George were living in Leavenworth. Little by little, she had found out
that it would have been better for her if they had never met. George was
satisfied: freedom for him meant being supported by Vina, getting drunk
whenever he pleased, and ill-treating her by way of showing his gratitude.
Vina could have borne all this willingly enough, but at last a perfectly
safe opportunity for the rescue of her baby occurred, and George refused
to attempt it. They were well enough off as they were: he didn't see "what
she wanted ob dat chile to support--he was _sho_' he wouldn't do it;" and
as for adventuring his precious self among the Philistines again, he
utterly declined the proposition. Then Vina's anger rose, and with her
lifted mop she drove her liege lord from her cabin-door, which he ever
after found barred against him. George soon consoled himself with another
wife, and about a year later departed for parts unknown. The years that
followed were hard and lonely ones for Vina, but she never wept for
George: to use her own expression, "He wan't no cry-tear-un (_criterion_),
he wan't, and she wasn't going to cry no tears for him."

Father Abram had found his way to Leavenworth too, but it was not till
1860 that Providence again threw them together. He stood erect now with a
sense of freedom and manhood: a comparatively easy life had untied the
knots that rheumatism had twisted in his muscles, and the weight of fully
twenty years seemed to have been lifted from his shoulders. He heard her
story. "'Pears like de Lord has got more work for Fader Abram," he said
simply; and shortly after he found a way to do the Lord's work. When Vina
reached this point in her story the judge became aware that his wife and
himself were not the only listeners. Father Abram, true to his
appointment, had come around to see if the judge's scruples had been
overcome, and to ask for the marriage license.

"Fader Abram," said Vina, "tell Miss' Fairdealer how yer done foun' John
Brown."

[Illustration: "I JUS' TOTED HER ROUN' TO DE ICE-CREAM STAN'."]

"Couldn't help findin' her," replied the old man. "Dar she was, right 'fo'
my eyes. I reckon yer'd a foun' her ef de Lord had sot her down squar' in
front ob yer, as he did ob me.--Ye see, madam, dat ar spring I was workin'
for de Risin' Sun libbery-stable: Colonel Trott an' Cap'n Gallup run it
den. De colonel was what yer call a fas' man, one ob yo' racin', bettin'
characters, but right smart ob a gentleman same time; while de cap'n
b'longed to de Church, and war de meanes' man out of Missouri. 'Bout dat
time de firm owned Challenger, de fas'est Kansas horse goin', an' dey made
a heap ob money a-racin' him at all de fairs. De colonel allus divided de
winnin's wid de cap'n, but when he lost on a race de cap'n made him stan'
it out ob his private puss, 'cause he said bettin' was ag'in his
principles, anyhow. Dis yeah spring dar was goin' to be a famous big race
at Platte City, an' de colonel he 'lowed he'd take Challenger ober. Now,
de colonel nebber rode a hoss on de track--'twan't t'ought to be de
correct ting for a gentleman to do--and he weighed a heap too much for
anyting short ob a elephant to race. I war de leanest man in de stables,
an' as de colonel war more dan usual pertik'lar 'bout Challenger carrying
light weight dis time, he took me 'long wid him. When we got dar he gabe
me a quarter an' tole me to loaf roun' until de races was called. Dis war
jus' what I wanted, fur I knowed dat de Skylarks who used to own Vina
libbed at Platte City, an' I t'ought likely some ob dem mought be at de
races. Dar was a right smart sprinklin' ob niggers on de groun's, mos' ob
dem hangin' roun' de 'freshment-stan's, an' I walked roun' 'mongst 'em
kinder careless, zif I wasn't t'inkin' ob nuffin' pertik'lar, when I see
standin' right in front ob me a little one-eyed gal dat 'minded me
mightily ob Vina's George. 'Whose little gal be yer?' says I.--'She's one
ob Judge Skylark's niggers,' says a woman standin' by. 'Don't see none ob
de udders here: shouldn't wonder if she'd runn'd away to see de racin'.'
Wall, I waited till nobody wan't lookin', an' den I axed her what her name
was.--'Dey calls me Vina's little gal,' says she.--'Who's Vina?' says
I.--'Dar ain't no Vina,' says she.--Who's yo' fader an' mudder?' says
I.--'George _was_ my fader,' says she, 'but de abolitioners done carried
him off an' chawed him up. I'se awful skeered ob de abolitioners, I is. I
ain't got no fader nor mudder: de buzzards done hatched me.' Wall, I was
dat sho' it was Vina's chile dat I didn' wait no longer, but jus' toted
her roun' to de ice-cream stan' an' filled her chock full of ice-cream.
Den I says, 'How would yer like a ride on one ob dem fancy hosses?' an'
showed her whar to hide outside de groun's until de races was ober, when
I'd gib her one. I knew de colonel 'lowed to send me home wid Challenger
dat night, and, do' it was mighty resky, _I_ 'lowed to take dat chile wid
me. Dat war de fus' race dat Challenger lost dat season, but I didn' put
him t'roo' his best paces, for I t'ought likely dar might be need ob tall
runnin' dat night, an' I didn' want him to play out den. De colonel war
mightily outed, fur de stakes was heavy, an' I was sorry 'nuff to see him
lose. He tole me I'd got to ride libelier dan dat ef I meant to git to de
Leavenworth ferry 'fo' de boat made its last trip for de day; and I knowed
dat as well as he did.

"I foun' little John Brown waitin' fur me jus' whar I tole her to hide:
she was too skeered to go home, fur she knowed dey would gib her a lickin'
fur runnin' away. I took her up befo' me on de hoss, an' we started fur
home, 'Pears like de road from Platte City to de Leavenworth ferry's jus'
'bout de lonesomes' in dis yeah worl', an' I hadn't trabelled more'n five
mile 'fore I knew I was follered. I could hear de clappetty, clappetty ob
de hosses a good piece behin' me, an' one place whar de road stretched
middlin' straight for nigh a half mile along de bluffs I see 'em, as many
as five men, a-ridin' like mad an' a-shakin' carbines in de arr. Den I
knowed dat dey was eder after John Brown or Challenger; an', hoss-thieves
_or_ kidnappers, I knew it would far' jus' about de same wid me. '_Go for
true_,' says I to Challenger; an' den I wraps John Brown in de
hoss-blanket so dey couldn't rightly tell what it was I was a-carryin'.
We'd a won de stakes easy ef I'd made Challenger lif' up his heels on de
track de way he did on dat ar road. De sun went down an' de moon riz, an'
I t'ink likely we trod on as many as twenty squirrels: dey didn' hab time
to cl'ar de road after dey heard us a-comin'. I rode into Slab Town jus'
about ten minutes ahead of my follerers, an' den I foun' dat de wus' dat
could happen had happened. De Ella had made her las' trip, an' was tied up
to de Kansas sho'. Dar wan't no time fur considerin' de matter. I see a
flatboat hauled up on de bank, an' I shubbed her off, led Challenger onto
her, an' poled her off into de ribber. Challenger didn' want to go
aboard, nohow--he knowed it wan't safe--but I struck him de fus' blow I
ebber gin a hoss of his blood, an' we were pretty well out in de current
when de Missourians come ridin' down to de sho'. Dey was dat mad when dey
see us dat dey fired all dar shot-guns at us, an' Challenger was dat
s'prised dat he jumped right into de arr, an' come down on his feet ag'in
like a jack-rabbit. Dat was a leetle too much for de ole raft, an' she
done went to pieces like a bundle of straw. John Brown was a-holdin' on to
Challenger's neck, an' she jus' held on, legs an' han's, wid her fingers
clenched into de mane, so dat I had to cut some ob it off arterward to git
'em away. We'se nebber been able to prise 'em clean open sence: dey look
more like birds' claws dan han's, anyway, do' 'tain't likely yer ebber
took notice on't. I was a-holdin' on to Challenger's tail, an' dar we all
t'ree was in de middle ob de ribber. Wall, fus' de current carried us down
a good piece, an' I t'ought it was all ober for dis nigger sho'; den de
saddle-girth bust, an' dat seemed to gib Challenger some 'couragement, fur
he drawed a long breff an' struck out fur de Kansas sho'. Wall, it war an
awful swim, an' no mistake, but bimeby we all landed, 'bout halfway down
to Quindaro, blowin' and snortin' like so many steamboats. I didn' try to
ride Challenger up to Leavenworth, but jis' walked by his side, a-huggin'
an' a-kissin' him as I nebber kissed no women-trash in all my young days,
an' John Brown a-lyin' 'crost his back as limp as a empty gunny-bag. I
took her roun' to Vina's 'fore I went to de libbery-stable, an' jes' 'fore
I come to de doah a t'ought come to me dat made me dat sick to de stomach
I could hardly stan'. S'posin', after all, she _wan't_ Vina's chile! But
she was--leastways, Vina was sure ob it--an' ob all de goin's-on dat gal
went into yer'd a t'ought 'twas sumfin' mighty consequentious, stead ob
nuffin' but a little nigger young 'un. 'Yer jus' take back dat hoss, Fader
Abram,' says she, 'an' den come back to yo' darter Vina; an' don't yer dar
lib anywhar else after dis.'

"I tole Cap'n Gallup I'd been chased by hoss-thieves, an' had swum de
ribber wid Challenger, but I didn' say nuffin' 'bout John Brown, for dat
war de name Vina gabe de chile dat very day. I went dar, as she tole me,
an' she got up de biggest dinnah, wid more chicken-fixin's an' pie an'
cake dan ebber I see; but dat arternoon I was taken down ag'in wid de
rheumatiz--couldn't do no work for more'n six munfs, an' don't reckon I'll
be much use any more, nohow. Vina's tuk car' ob me more'n two year now.
She's had a sight ob beaux, but she's allus tole 'em she couldn't leab her
ole fader. Las' one was dat spruce yaller schoolmarster from Oberlin. Says
I, 'Vina, why don't yer git married? 'Pears like yer'd feel less
onsettled an' lonesome ef yer had an ole man.' Says she, 'I'se got one ole
man: dat's 'nuff.' Says I, 'But don't yer nebber t'ink yer'd like to git
married, Vina?' An' says she, 'Yes, Fader Abram, I do. How does _you_ feel
'bout it?' and wid dat she--Beg yer pardon, sah, I didn' know _you_ war
dar, sah, but if yer've brought dem ar papers we was speakin' 'bout dis
mornin', sah, I t'ink Vina 'll let dis day's washin' go toward payin' for
'em, sah, an' I'll come down to de office an' tote up yer winter's coal
for de balance ob de damages."


LIZZIE W. CHAMPNEY.



TO SLEEP


    I pray thee, timid Sleep, to bide with me.
    Night after night do not affrighted be,
          Like some wild bird,
        Which, at the softest word
        Or slightest rustle heard,
    Afar from human presence swift doth flee.

    I woo thee, gentle Sleep, with every art
    That wistfullest desire can impart;
          But cruelly
        Thou still deniest me
        Thy restful company,
    And I am weary--body, mind and heart.

    Yes, very tired my body is with pain,
    And heart with care, while thoughts perplex my brain.
          O sweet Repose!
        If thou mine eyes wouldst close,
        My wearied limbs compose,
    And bind me till the morn with slumb'rous chain!

    Not yet? Ah, cruel Sleep! soon I shall find
    Thy brother, sterner called, to be more kind.
          Most welcome guest,
        Death bringeth gift of rest--
        Rest undisturbed and blest,
    When dream and care and pain are left behind.

    EMILIE POULSSON.



THE PARIS CAFÉS.


Alimentary, and not literary, is the modern café. Times are so changed
since Voltaire, Diderot and the rest sang and shouted in the Café
Procope--jested, reasoned and made themselves immortal there--there are so
many people who have the means to frequent cafés, and there is such an
immense floating population, eager, curious and bent on sightseeing, that
no clique can live. Its precincts, no matter how hallowed, are invaded by
the leering mob and His many-headed Majesty the Crowd. Still, certain
cafés are able to boast a _clientèle_, with the military, journalistic,
artistic or commercial element in preponderating force--cafés where the
stockbrokers, students or officers go--but the old historic café, the café
of tradition, where you were sure to find some celebrity on exhibition--a
first-class poet or a philosopher--may be said to be defunct. The Grand
Café and the Café de la Paix under the Grand Hôtel, being very central,
near the new Opéra, and gorgeously fitted up, are the chief rendezvous of
the fashionable floating population, aristocratic loafers of all nations,
where representatives from the remotest parts of the earth meet to stare
at each other under the same roof--Persians, Greeks and Hindoos, Sandwich
Islanders and Yankees. Tortoni's is a restaurant and café of the highest
class, the most select in the city. Café Riche and Café Grétry, both fine
cafés, are much frequented by stockbrokers, who in the evening are wont to
assemble on the sidewalk near by, making the night air ring with their
wild shouts of "give" and "take:" if dispersed by the police, as they
often are, they generally gather into knots a little farther on. Café du
Helder is appropriated almost exclusively to the military, officers in
_bourgeois_ dress, students from the Polytechnic and St. Cyr, and
horse-jockeys. The Café des Variétés belongs to the actors--a noisy,
brilliant place--whilst the Café Madrid is the literary café of the
nineteenth century, if there is any. Under Napoleon III. it was the centre
of the radical opposition, being frequented by all the shades of Red, from
the delicate hue of the _Débats_ to the deep crimson of Flourens and
Rochefort. Under the Commune it continued to be notorious, and to-day it
is the resort of lawyers, journalists and Bohemians--lesser lights who
seem to like the location, on the confines of the bad Boulevard
Montmartre, and have no objection to the _cocottes_ who come there in the
evening. Like La Fontaine's mule,

    Qui ne parlait incessament
    Que de sa mère la jument,

they talk only of literature, their nurse, and speak disparagingly--it is
a peculiarity of the place--of all the fellow-beings she has suckled. It
is the typical French café, in the central _salon_ of which, in majestic
repose, sits the _dame de comptoir_, who has a little gray moustache--the
French like a little hair upon the upper lip of ladies--whilst overhead,
forming a part of the extraordinary decoration, is a Madonna, goddess,
angel--I can't say what--copied from one of the old masters in the palace
of the Luxembourg. Gold-dust blown across a blue oval, with white-and-rose
angels in the midst, shuts off the upward gaze in one of the other
_salons_, whilst all around medallions large and small of heads and
figures, male, female and infantile, with a variety of vine-wreathed
Bacchuses and bow-drawing Cupids, which are considered especially fit to
decorate cafés, cluster along the mouldings, encumber the panels or fill
up the niches. Huge mirrors reflect the pea-green walls, the crystal
chandeliers, the gilding, glass and divans; cats perambulate the
apartments; people come and go--black, elegant fellows, with broad-rimmed
hats, pretty canes, good clothes, good fits; absinthe-drinkers, with heavy
jaws and dreamy, evil eyes. Billiard-balls are clicking in the back room;
cards and dominoes are being played; cold-blooded, demoralized people lean
forward, gossip and gesticulate--men who would man a barricade on occasion
or put a sword-blade through a stomach.

With a very few exceptions, all the leading cafés of Paris have become
restaurants. You breakfast, dine and sup there; and in place of coffee
being the sole or leading article of consumption, an infinite variety of
drinks is now at the disposal of the thirsty wayfarer. Mocha, that product
of the East the preparation of which, like the making of bread, is the
stumbling-block of housekeepers in both hemispheres, is served in three
ways--as a _capucin_, a _mazagran_ or a _demi-tasse_. A capucin (the name
is but little used) is our cup of coffee--coffee with milk in it; a
mazagran is coffee in a glass, accompanying which a decanter of water is
brought. The name is derived from a village in Africa where the French had
a brilliant feat of arms, and where the soldiers, in the absence of milk
or brandy, had to water their coffee or drink it _au naturel_. The coffee
itself is precisely the same as that furnished for the demi-tasse, which
is served in a small china cup, accompanying which is a little decanter of
cognac, with a fairy glass for measuring it; for the French, in place of
cream, take brandy with coffee and rum with tea--to us an incomprehensible
mixture. After breakfast and dinner the Frenchman desires coffee, and if
he does not get it at home he goes to the café for it. To do without it,
or to do without claret at meals, would be a dreadful alternative to which
he would not long submit without, it might be, losing his reason and
taking his life. Strong, black and fragrant, he would die without that
beverage for which--and for Racine, by the way--Madame de Sévigné
prophesied an ephemeral popularity. Taken immediately after meals, it
removes the fumes of the claret and champagne he has drunk, and leaves him
feeling as clear-headed as Plato and grateful as a pensioner of the king.

Just before meal-time the cafés are crowded with people indulging in one
of the renowned trio of appetizers, one of the great triumvirate of
anteprandial potations--_bittère_, _vermouth_ and _absinthe_. Bittère is a
clear grateful drink of Hollandic derivation, considered more wholesome
than either of its fellows; vermouth is a wormwood wine the drinker does
not like at first (please draw the inference that he becomes immensely
fond of it at last); whilst absinthe--what shall we say of it? It is
execrable stuff--the milk of sirens mingled with sea-water. Of a
dirty-green color, pungent, all-powerful, it heats up the stomach,
expending itself at the extremities in half-developed throbs, perpetual
wavelets of rankling sting that break upon the shores of flesh. It mounts
to the hair-roots, fills the entrails with a furnace-glow, goes
everywhere. It is the worst of French drinks, representing and standing
for what is worst in French character, worst in France. It cannot be
tossed off at a throw: it must be toyed with, sipped. Stimulating,
enervating, poisonous, horrible--all the more so perhaps because it is not
intoxicating exactly--God has put a barrier against its use by making it
distasteful; but, strange to say, all those things men run after: rum,
tobacco, opium, absinthe, are always distasteful at first, if not for a
long time afterward.

But the French do not drink rum, gin, whiskey or _water_ to any great
extent. With the exception of absinthe and considerable brandy, their
drinking occupies a middle ground. They revel in a multitude of subtile,
delightful mixtures--_liqueurs_, _crêmes_ and _sirops_. Very dear to the
heart of refined sensualists is the famous monks' liquor called
chartreuse, which deservedly ranks at the head of the long list of
liqueurs--anisette, curaçao, maraschino, rosolio, alkermès, ratafia,
genièvre, etc. It is made by the monks of the Grande Chartreuse, near
Grenoble, of certain aromatic herbs and brandy, the former gathered by
them in their summer wanderings amongst the Jura Mountains. It is a
sticky, sweet compound of a green or yellow color, and of such a fiery
nature that it must be sipped, not drunk. Many a hater of the priesthood,
holding up one of the little thimbleful glasses in which it is served, has
exclaimed, "Blessed be monks for making thee! Compound of devil, dew and
honey! in thee have they sought to indemnify themselves for lack of wife,
and partially have they succeeded."

All these liqueurs, indeed, are rather ladies' drinks. So too are the
crêmes--mocha, tea, noyau, cumin, mint, ether, etc.; also the sirops,
including orgeat, very refreshing in the summer-time. Masculine
preferences are for beer, immense quantities of which are drunk,
especially in the evening, or for fine champagne, the name bestowed upon
superior brandy. However, ladies and gentlemen unite in disposing of
half-frozen punch (_sorbets_) or eating ices--say a _tutti frutti_ at the
Café Napolitain--ravishing mixtures of cold and passion, the fruits of the
tropics imbedded in a slice of the North Pole.

French drinks are, like French dishes, artistic preparations, and the
French cafés artistic, pretty places, indispensable to the scenic
completeness of things in France, if not to the comfort and well-being of
the people. A landscape without water, a bride without a veil, a house
without windows, would be something like France (Paris especially) without
cafés. To take away its cafés would be to pluck out its eyes, to leave it
dull and dead--food without appetite, marriage without love or the
honeymoon. Its industries may give it sinew, muscle, bone and nerve; the
Institute may give it brains; but the cafés--they are its life-blood and
its pulse.

The French cultivate even a love of home in going to the café. For what is
a love of home? It is certainly not a mere local attachment, such as the
cat has for the particular hearth-rug where she dozes by day or the
particular tiles and water-spouts where she howls by night. It is rather
the love of family and friendly union, in which the French take especial
delight, gathering together in little knots by the open window, in the
garden, on the sidewalk, or, it may be, in the café, talking in the
leaping, emancipated, touch-and-go style, in the merry, vaulting style in
which they excel, on all the lighter topics.

But the desire to economize keeps away a great many people, for the French
are very economical. In the great army of the _bourgeois_, as well as in
the great army of the _blouses_--many of whom could be bourgeois if they
chose--whole families, husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, abstain from
going to the café, either alone or accompanied, from Christmas to New
Year's and New Year's to Christmas. Neither would you find MacMahon,
Thiers or Victor Hugo at the café. The recognized great, the nobility and
high officials, contrary to what perhaps is commonly supposed, are rarely
to be seen there. They meet in some more private way.

But the café is nevertheless a very charming place. It is a place where it
is permitted to you to surrender yourself to the most delicious
reflections. You are in the presence of humming-birds, not ostriches or
owls. The people are smoking cigarettes, or cigars at worst, not
meerschaums. The establishment itself is a dazzle of decoration, a little
corner of the Louvre. There is no shouting or swearing, but a pleasing
hum. The calls of messieurs and the replies of garçons resolve themselves
into a confused lulling sound. If you are well, and your conscience does
not trouble you--and even if it does--you can select a quiet corner and
dream away the livelong day. The air is nerve-slackening. You feel
perfectly at your ease. You can think of nothing to apprehend--no
incursion of your lady friends designing to reason with the proprietor and
perhaps hold a prayer-meeting on the sidewalk; no incursion of the police,
no row. Everybody is placable and quiet--preserves indeed a sort of
deferential attitude toward his neighbor--and not only when he comes in,
but again when he goes out, salutes the dame de comptoir--the lady
superintendent, that is (not unfrequently the wife of the proprietor)--who
sits enthroned in a little boxlike place superintending the delivery of
drinks and making change. This matter of saluting, as the reader knows, is
a deference which every Frenchman considers due to the great man or woman
who, at the particular time of his entrance or exit, may chance to be in a
particular apartment; and in the case of cafés, if the dame de comptoir
were not in her place, he would salute the guests; and if there were but
one guest, that one would be expected to return the salute, it being meant
for him alone.

Sanctified in this way by the presence of a lady, the café does not seem
such a very bad place; and it isn't. Even the _estaminets_ and
_brasseries_, which are but second-rate cafés, and the ordinary
wine-shops, still lower in the scale, in which the coachman and
commissionnaire regale themselves, taking a _canon_ across the counter in
the morning and playing a game of cards in the back shop at night, are by
no means the hideous gulping-down places in which our land abounds.
Drinking in public places in France is not so completely separated from
all respectability and refinement as it is with us. It involves none of
that horrid nomenclature, "slings," "punches," "cocktails," "smashes,"
which carry with them all the terror and awfulness of oaths. The French
have pretty names for drinks, as well as a rather pretty, poetic way of
alluding to a man's inebriation. "He is a little gray;" "He has a little
corner in his head;" "He is in a condition for beating the wall;" "He is
heading pins," etc., etc., are favorite expressions. Of course, the
delicacy or waggishness with which we allude to an evil is no excuse for
it, but the French have little absolute drunkenness to excuse. They are
emphatically a sober people (being a good deal like intoxicated Yankees or
Dutchmen, anyway), and even in their cups neither rude nor quarrelsome. Of
the few French people I ever saw drunk (except peasants), all were begging
pardon of the owners of imaginary toes, and making various other polite
concessions to the people whom they believed to be around them. And yet
they drink prodigiously. The customary allowance of every man who can
afford it is a pint of claret at meals, themselves prefaced generally
speaking by an appetizer, and supplemented almost invariably by a cup of
coffee and cognac. He would be quite likely also in the course of the day
to assist in the destruction of a bottle of champagne (almost certain to
do so if a _bon vivant_), and during the afternoon and evening to drink
several glasses of beer, perhaps taking a "night-cap" of hot wine before
going to bed. All this would not necessarily make him drunk, but continued
day by day it keeps him under the influence of a continual stimulus, which
in time becomes indispensable and contributes to form the Hotspur
character of which we hear so much. Strange it should not make drunkards
outright, but it does not seem to produce that effect; and Paris, with all
its luxuries in drink, is not a drunken city. You see more drunken people
in a week in New York than in a year in Paris, and more people who, if not
drunk, are unmistakable topers. They drink hard in Brittany (it is no
unusual thing there to see a woman drunk), and so too in the manufacturing
places of Normandy and other parts of France, especially those that
produce no wine; and Champney, who doubtless studied from life, painted at
Ecouen the picture of an old peasant-woman hauling her husband home in a
hand-cart _dead drunk_; but, for all that, the French are emphatically a
sober people, either constitutionally or from climatic or other reasons: I
do not pretend to say which.

On the whole, therefore, the picture of the French cafés is a pleasant
one, and it is a pity the bar-rooms of America and the gin-shops of
England were not more like them. They are a compromise, it is true, but
that is better than the prohibitionist's vain fight.

Tortoni's, the last survivor of whose founders died only the other day,
has its historical reminiscences. Therein is to be found the salon, known
as the "blue salon," once hallowed by the occupancy of M. de Talleyrand.
The window is still pointed out at which the eminent diplomatist used to
sit surveying the crowds that thronged the Boulevards, with his usual fine
and cynical smile, like a Mephistopheles of the nineteenth century. A
little later, and one has a vision of a young man of short stature,
elegantly dressed, who every day or two rides up to door or window,
springs from his horse, calls for a particular kind of ice, which he
imbibes with a sort of nervous haste, and then disappears. This little
dandy, always in a hurry, alert, nervous and sharp-eyed, is a future ruler
of the nation: it is M. Thiers. Around Tortoni's there hovers too the
souvenir of that other gracious and graceful dandy, king of fashion in his
day, the count D'Orsay. It was at a breakfast at Tortoni's that the
preliminaries were arranged for the famous duel wherein D'Orsay appeared
as the champion of the Virgin Mary. Some irreverent jester having made
some slighting remark respecting the Virgin, D'Orsay took the matter up
and called the speaker to account. "For," said the count, "the Virgin is a
woman, and as such ought not to be slandered with impunity."

The cafés chantants of Paris form a division by themselves. The most noted
of these is the Eldorado, which has given more than one prominent
performer to the Parisian stage--Theresa, who, once a dishwasher in a
hotel, left her soap-suds and mop to become a Parisian celebrity, the
instructress of a princess, and now a really talented comic actress and
bouffe singer; Judic and Theo, the rival beauties of the Opera Bouffe; and
lively little Boumaine, now one of the stars of the Variétés. The career
of Madame Theo has been a strange one. She was originally a failure at the
Eldorado, and used to cry her eyes out behind the scenes at her own
ill-success. Finally, Offenbach discovered her and wrote for her his
_Jolie Parfumeuse_. The little beauty cut off her hair, put on a blonde
wig, and bloomed out a full-blown genius. Without voice, without talent,
by dint of a lovely figure, a face of babyish prettiness and an innocent
way of uttering speeches of atrocious naughtiness, she has become one of
the theatrical successes of the hour, has brought back a harvest of
diamonds from her recent Russian trip, and will probably retire into
private life with a fortune before she is thirty.

Pass to the Café Anglais, that hypocrite of the Boulevards, whitewashed,
decent, outwardly respectable, yet whose windows are ablaze all night long
in the Carnival season, and whose latest legend is the tradition of "Big
16." "Big 16" is a private cabinet in the entresol, numbered after the
fashion that has given it its title, and famed as being the scene of the
orgies of the young duke de Grammont-Caderousse, that maddest of the mad
_viveurs_ of the Second Empire, and his friend the prince of Orange. The
latter still maintains his reputation in Paris as the most dissipated of
European princes. Twice has he essayed to win the hand of an English
princess, or rather his high-minded and virtuous mother made the effort in
his behalf, but neither his prospective heirship to the crown of Holland
nor his Protestantism has availed to gain for him a royal English bride.
He is known among the society that he most affects by the sobriquet of
_Citron_ (Lemon), bestowed upon him by the duke de Grammont-Caderousse at
one of the little suppers of the day. The duke continued to call the
prince Monseigneur, to which His Royal Highness objected, declaring that
he wished all formality to be laid aside respecting his birth and title.

"Is that so?" cried the duke gayly. "Then, Citron, pass me the cheese."

And the nickname has survived the duke who gave it and the government
under which it was given. Sometimes, after one of the masked balls, a pink
domino at the Café Americain will call for champagne, with the
announcement, "M. Citron pays," without for a moment imagining that she is
speaking of the heir to a throne.

To take a final survey, let us enter the Café de la Paix, the most
imperial, cosmopolitan and stylish of cafés. That well-preserved man
sitting by himself is playing _solitaire_--a group of one. That
white-haired old gentleman sitting in the alcove yonder is drinking
sweetened water--surely not a beverage calculated to pollute the palate.
Those round-headed men, whose bald pates are fringed with gray, are now
settling up their score. It is only a franc or two, but each one pays his
share, "treating" not being common. You are often asked to drink, and left
to pay for what you drink--an arrangement greatly to be preferred,
provided it be understood. That stylish-looking man reading the _Figaro_
is drinking a green chartreuse, and every time he stoops to sip from the
little goblet that stands before him, his huge moustache, folding over it,
looks like two great black wings. That pale-faced man is probably a
professor. He has just sweetened his coffee, and is now pocketing the
lumps of sugar remaining over in the little dish (considered a perfectly
proper thing to do); and that stripling from the province, he is taking
account of everything--the velvet, marble, silver, glass, the flowers,
vases, pictured panels, the waiters in their white aprons, the
water-bottles in which the ice is frozen by artificial process, the
crinkle-crankle, gilding, glare, the plants in the doorway and the queen
behind her box.

Looking out upon the sidewalk, all the world is passing by--Guadeloupe
negroes with white servants at their heels; artillerymen with dangling
sabres; cocottes, Englishmen, zouaves; washerwomen and their daughters
carrying skirts suspended from the tops of poles; old men with goggles and
young men with canes and great show of cuffs; multitudes of
distinguished-looking people, _Français à l'outrance_; people with beaked
noses and olive complexions; clerks and shop-girls, _gamins_ and _bonnes_;
policemen of inferior stature, who though armed with swords, look
incapable of dealing with desperate men; laborers in blouses and old
ladies in caps.

Sitting once in front of the Café de la Paix at five o'clock in the
afternoon, and looking through a line of promenaders such as that, I
counted two hundred 'busses, private carriages and hacks, most (or many at
least) of whose occupants were presumably bent on pleasure, to sixteen
carts and other vehicles devoted exclusively to business--eight of which,
by the way, were hand-carts. Oh the gay and happy town! I thought. Where
the turn-outs bear such a proportion to the drays, no wonder cafés thrive,
exquisite drinks are served, and a _corky_ people, who have a happy
faculty, as illustrated by the late war, of coming up the quicker the
farther they are pressed down, find the thing enjoyable.

A café-front indeed is better than an omnibus-top for studying Paris, and
the café itself is a club for everybody. People go to it to gossip and
regale themselves, play games, talk politics, read the newspapers, write
letters, transact business it may be, sit, think, dream, and rest
themselves. To the Anglo-Saxon the life that is led in it seems a good
deal like walking about in a botanical garden during the day and sleeping
in an observatory at night--a decidedly artificial existence; but so long
as we must drink or be amused at all, we shall do well to study the ways
of the French. They alone know how to eat and drink properly and amuse
themselves in a rational way.


GILMAN C. FISHER.



FOG.


    Light silken curtain, colorless and soft,
    Dreamlike before me floating! what abides
          Behind thy pearly veil's
          Opaque, mysterious woof?

    Where sleek red kine, and dappled, crunch day-long
    Thick, luscious blades and purple clover-heads,
          Nigh me I still can mark
          Cool fields of beaded grass.

    No more; for on the rim of the globed world
    I seem to stand and stare at nothingness.
          But songs of unseen birds
          And tranquil roll of waves

    Bring sweet assurance of continuous life
    Beyond this silvery cloud. Fantastic dreams,
          Of tissue subtler still
          Than the wreathed fog, arise,

    And cheat my brain with airy vanishings
    And mystic glories of the world beyond.
          A whole enchanted town
          Thy baffling folds conceal--

    An Orient town, with slender-steepled mosques,
    Turret from turret springing, dome from dome,
          Fretted with burning stones,
          And trellised with red gold.

    Through spacious streets, where running waters flow,
    Sun-screened by fruit trees and the broad-leaved palm,
          Past the gay-decked bazaars,
          Walk turbaned, dark-eyed men.

    Hark! you can hear the many murmuring tongues,
    While loud the merchants vaunt their gorgeous wares.
          The sultry air is spiced
          With fragrance of rich gums,

    And through the lattice high in yon dead wall,
    See where, unveiled, an arch, young, dimpled face,
          Flushed like a musky peach,
          Peers down upon the mart!

    From her dark, ringleted and bird-poised head
    She hath cast back the milk-white silken veil:
          'Midst the blank blackness there
          She blossoms like a rose.

    Beckons she not with those bright, full-orbed eyes,
    And open arms that like twin moonbeams gleam?
          Behold her smile on me
          With honeyed, scarlet lips!

    Divine Scheherazade! I am thine.
    I come! I come!--Hark! from some far-off mosque
          The shrill muezzin calls
          The hour of silent prayer,

    And from the lattice he hath scared my love.
    The lattice vanisheth itself--the street,
          The mart, the Orient town;
          Only through still, soft air

    That cry is yet prolonged. I wake to hear
    The distant fog-horn peal: before mine eyes
          Stands the white wall of mist,
          Blending with vaporous skies.

    Elusive gossamer, impervious
    Even to the mighty sun-god's keen red shafts!
          With what a jealous art
          Thy secret thou dost guard!

    Well do I know deep in thine inmost folds,
    Within an opal hollow, there abides
          The lady of the mist,
          The Undine of the air--

    A slender, winged, ethereal, lily form,
    Dove-eyed, with fair, free-floating, pearl-wreathed hair,
          In waving raiment swathed
          Of changing, irised hues.

    Where her feet, rosy as a shell, have grazed
    The freshened grass, a richer emerald glows:
          Into each flower-cup
          Her cool dews she distils.

    She knows the tops of jagged mountain-peaks,
    She knows the green soft hollows of their sides,
          And unafraid she floats
          O'er the vast-circled seas.

    She loves to bask within the moon's wan beams,
    Lying, night-long, upon the moist, dark earth,
          And leave her seeded pearls
          With morning on the grass.

    Ah! that athwart these dim, gray outer courts
    Of her fantastic palace I might pass,
          And reach the inmost shrine
          Of her chaste solitude,

    And feel her cool and dewy fingers press
    My mortal-fevered brow, while in my heart
          She poured with tender love
          Her healing Lethe-balm!

    See! the close curtain moves, the spell dissolves!
    Slowly it lifts: the dazzling sunshine streams
          Upon a newborn world
          And laughing summer seas.

    Swift, snowy-breasted sandbirds twittering glance
    Through crystal air. On the horizon's marge,
          Like a huge purple wraith,
          The dusky fog retreats.

    EMMA LAZARUS.



THE MARQUIS OF LOSSIE.

BY GEORGE MACDONALD, AUTHOR OF "MALCOLM."



CHAPTER LXI.

THOUGHTS.


When Malcolm took Kelpie to her stall the night of the arrival of Lady
Bellair and her nephew, he was rushed upon by Demon, and nearly prostrated
between his immoderate welcome and the startled rearing of the mare. The
hound had arrived a couple of hours before, while Malcolm was out. He
wondered he had not seen him with the carnage he had passed, never
suspecting he had had another conductress, or dreaming what his presence
there signified for him.

I have not said much concerning Malcolm's feelings with regard to Lady
Clementina, but all this time the sense of her existence had been like an
atmosphere surrounding and pervading his thought. He saw in her the
promise of all he could desire to see in woman. His love was not of the
blind-little-boy sort, but of a deeper, more exacting, keen-eyed kind,
that sees faults where even a true mother will not, so jealous is it of
the perfection of the beloved. But one thing was plain, even to this
seraphic dragon that dwelt sleepless in him--and there was eternal content
in the thought--that such a woman, once started on the right way, would
soon leave fault and weakness behind her, and become as one of the grand
women of old, whose religion was simply what religion is--life, neither
more nor less than life. She would be a saint without knowing it, the only
grand kind of sainthood. Whoever can think of religion as an addition to
life, however glorious--a starry crown, say, set upon the head of
humanity--is not yet the least in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever thinks of
life as a something that could be without religion is in deathly ignorance
of both. Life and religion are one, or neither is anything: I will not say
neither is growing to be anything. Religion is no way of life, no show of
life, no observance of any sort. It is neither the food nor medicine of
being. It is life essential. To think otherwise is as if a man should
pride himself on his honesty or his parental kindness, or hold up his head
amongst men because he never killed one: were he less than honest or kind
or free from blood, he would yet think something of himself. The man to
whom virtue is but the ornament of character, something over and above,
not essential to it, is not yet a man.

If I say, then, that Malcolm was always thinking about Lady Clementina
when he was not thinking about something he _had_ to think about, have I
not said nearly enough on the matter? Should I ever dream of attempting to
set forth what love is in such a man for such a woman? There are
comparatively few that have more than the glimmer of a notion of what love
means. God only knows how grandly, how passionately, yet how calmly, how
divinely, the man and the woman he has made might, may, shall love each
other. One thing only I will dare to say--that the love that belonged to
Malcolm's nature was one through the very nerves of which the love of God
must rise and flow and return as its essential life. If any man think that
such a love could no longer be the love of the man for the woman, he knows
his own nature, and that of the woman he pretends or thinks he adores, but
in the darkest of glasses.

Malcolm's lowly idea of himself did not at all interfere with his loving
Clementina, for at first his love was entirely dissociated from any
thought of hers. When the idea, the mere idea, of her loving him presented
itself, from whatever quarter suggested, he turned from it with shame and
self-reproof: the thought was in its own nature too unfit. That splendor
regard him! From a social point of view there was of course little
presumption in it. The marquis of Lossies bore a name that might pair
itself with any in the land; but Malcolm did not yet feel that the title
made much difference to the fisherman. He was what he was, and that was
something very lowly indeed. Yet the thought would at times dawn up from
somewhere in the infinite matrix of thought that perhaps if he went to
college and graduated and dressed like a gentleman, and did everything as
gentlemen do--in short, claimed his rank and lived as a marquis should, as
well as a fisherman might--then--then--was it not, might it not be, within
the bounds of possibility--just within them--that the great-hearted,
generous, liberty-loving Lady Clementina, groom as he had been, _menial_
as he had heard himself called, and as, ere yet he knew his birth, he had
laughed to hear, knowing that his service was true--that she, who despised
nothing human, would be neither disgusted nor contemptuous nor wrathful
if, from a great way off, at an awful remove of humility and worship, he
were to wake in her a surmise that he dared feel toward her as he had
never felt and never could feel toward any other? For would it not be
altogether counter to the principles he had so often heard her announce
and defend to despise him because he had earned his bread by doing
honorable work--work hearty and up to the worth of his wages? Was she one
to say and not see, to opine and not believe? or was she one to hold and
not practice--to believe for the heart, and not for the hand--to say _I
go_, and not go--_I love_, and not help? If such she were, then there were
for him no further searchings of the heart upon her account: he could but
hold up her name in the common prayer for all men, only praying besides
not to dream about her when he slept.

At length, such thoughts rising again and again, and ever accompanied by
such reflections concerning the truth of her character, and by the growing
certainty that her convictions were the souls of actions to be born of
them, his daring of belief in her strengthened until he began to think
that perhaps it would be neither his early history nor his defective
education nor his clumsiness that would prevent her from listening to such
words wherewith he burned to throw open the gates of his world and pray
her to enter and sit upon its loftiest throne--its loftiest throne but
one. And with the thought he felt as if he must run to her, calling aloud
that he was the marquis of Lossie, and throw himself at her feet.

But the wheels of his thought-chariot, self moved, were rushing, and here
was no goal at which to halt or turn; for, feeling thus, where was his
faith in her principles? how now was he treating the truth of her nature?
where now were his convictions of the genuineness of her professions?
Where were those principles, that truth, those professions, if after all
she would listen to a marquis and would not listen to a groom? To suppose
such a thing was to wrong her grievously. To herald his suit with his rank
would be to insult her, declaring that he regarded her theories of
humanity as wordy froth. And what a chance of proving her truth would he
not deprive her of if, as he approached her, he called on the marquis to
supplement the man!--But what, then, was the man, fisherman or marquis, to
dare _even himself_ to such a glory as the Lady Clementina? This much of a
man, at least, answered his waking dignity, that he could not condescend
to be accepted as Malcolm, marquis of Lossie, knowing he would have been
rejected as Malcolm MacPhail, fisherman and groom. Accepted as marquis, he
would for ever be haunted with the _channering_ question whether she would
have accepted him as groom. And if in his pain he were one day to utter
it, and she in her honesty were to confess she would not, must she not
then fall prone from her pedestal in his imagination? Could he, then, in
love for the woman herself, condescend as marquis to marry one who _might_
not have married him as any something else he could honestly have been
under the all-enlightening sun? Ah, but again, was that fair to her yet?
Might she not see in the marquis the truth and worth which the blinding
falsehoods of society prevented her from seeing in the groom? Might not a
lady--he tried to think of a lady in the abstract--might not a lady in
marrying a marquis--a lady to whom from her own position a marquis was
just a man on the level--marry in him the man he was, and not the marquis
he seemed? Most certainly, he answered: he must not be unfair. Not the
less, however, did he shrink from the thought of taking her prisoner under
the shield of his marquisate, beclouding her nobility, and depriving her
of the rare chance of shining forth as the sun in the splendor of womanly
truth. No: he would choose the greater risk of losing her for the chance
of winning her greater.

So far Malcolm got with his theories, but the moment he began to think in
the least practically he recoiled altogether from the presumption. Under
no circumstances could he ever have the courage to approach Lady
Clementina with a thought of himself in his mind. How could he have dared
even raise her imagined eidolon for his thoughts to deal withal? She had
never shown him personal favor. He could not tell whether she had listened
to what he had tried to lay before her. He did not know that she had gone
to hear his master: Florimel had never referred to their visit to Hope
chapel. His surprise would have equaled his delight at the news that she
had already become as a daughter to the schoolmaster.

And what had been Clementina's thoughts since learning that Florimel had
not run away with her groom? It were hard to say with completeness.
Accuracy, however, may not be equally unattainable. Her first feeling was
an utterly inarticulate, undefined pleasure that Malcolm was free to be
thought about. She was clear next that it would be matter for honest
rejoicing if the truest man she had ever met except his master was not
going to marry such an unreality as Florimel--one concerning whom, as
things had been going of late, it was impossible to say that she was not
more likely to turn to evil than to good. Clementina with all her
generosity could not help being doubtful of a woman who could make a
companion of such a man as Liftore--a man to whom every individual
particle of Clementina's nature seemed for itself to object. But she was
not yet past befriending.

Then she began to grow more _curious_ about Malcolm. She had already much
real knowledge of him, gathered both from himself and from Mr. Graham. As
to what went to make the man, she knew him, indeed, not thoroughly, but
well; and just therefore, she said to herself, there were some points in
his history and condition concerning which she had _curiosity_. The
principal of these was whether he might not be engaged to some young woman
in his own station of life. It was not merely possible, but was it likely
he could have escaped it? In the lower ranks of society men married
younger--they had no false aims to prevent them: that implied earlier
engagements. On the other hand, was it likely that in a fishing-village
there would be any choice of girls who could understand him when he talked
about Plato and the New Testament? If there were _one_, however, that
might be--_worse?_ Yes, _worse_: she accepted the word. Neither was it
absolutely necessary in a wife that she should understand more of her
husband than his heart. Many learned men had had mere housekeepers for
wives, and been satisfied--at least never complained. And what did she
know about the fishers, men or women? There were none at Wastbeach. For
anything she knew to the contrary, they might all be philosophers
together, and a fitting match for Malcolm might be far more easy to find
amongst them than in the society to which she herself belonged, where in
truth the philosophical element was rare enough. Then arose in her mind,
she could not have told how, the vision, half logical, half pictorial, of
a whole family of brave, believing, daring, saving fisherfolk, father,
mother, boys and girls, each sacrificing to the rest, each sacrificed to
by all, and all devoted to their neighbors. Grand it was and blissful, and
the borders of the great sea alone seemed fit place for such beings
amphibious of time and eternity. Their very toils and dangers were but
additional atmospheres to press their souls together. It was glorious!
Why had she been born an earl's daughter, never to look a danger in the
face, never to have a chance of a true life--that is, a grand, simple,
noble one? Who, then, denied her the chance? Had she _no_ power to order
her own steps, to determine her own being? Was she nailed to her rank? Or
who was there that could part her from it? Was she a prisoner in the
dungeons of the House of Pride? When the gates of Paradise closed behind
Adam and Eve, they had this consolation left, that "the world was all
before them where to choose." Was she not a free woman, without even a
guardian to trouble her with advice? She had no excuse to act ignobly, but
had she any for being unmaidenly? Would it then be--would it be a _very_
unmaidenly thing if--? The rest of the sentence did not even take the
shape of words. But she answered it nevertheless in the words, "Not so
unmaidenly as presumptuous." And, alas! there was little hope that _he_
would ever presume to--He was such a modest youth with all his directness
and fearlessness. If he had no respect for rank--and that was--yes, she
would say the word, _hopeful_--he had, on the other hand, the profoundest
respect for the human, and she could not tell how that might in the
individual matter operate.

Then she fell a-thinking of the difference between Malcolm and any other
servant she had ever known. She hated the _servile_. She knew that it was
false as well as low: she had not got so far as to see that it was low
through its being false. She knew that most servants, while they spoke
with the appearance of respect in presence, altered their tone entirely
when beyond the circle of the eye: theirs was eye-service, they were
men-pleasers, they were servile. She had overheard her maid speak of her
as Lady Clem, and that not without a streak of contempt in the tone. But
here was a man who touched no imaginary hat while he stood in the presence
of his mistress, neither swore at her in the stable-yard. He looked her
straight in the face, and would upon occasion speak, not his _mind_, but
the truth to her. Even his slight mistress had the conviction that if one
dared in his presence but utter her name lightly, whoever he were, he
would have to answer to him for it. What a lovely thing was true
service!--absolutely divine! But, alas! such a youth would never, could
never, dare offer other than such service. Were she even to encourage him
as a maiden might, he would but serve her the better--would but embody his
recognition of her favor in fervor of ministering devotion. Was it not a
recognized law, however, in the relation of superiors and inferiors, that
with regard to such matters, as well as others of no moment, the lady--Ah,
but for her to take the initiative would provoke the conclusion--as
revolting to her as unavoidable to him--that she judged herself his
superior--so greatly his superior as to be absolved from the necessity of
behaving to him on the ordinary footing of man and woman. What a ground to
start from with a husband! The idea was hateful to her. She tried the
argument that such a procedure arrogated merely a superiority in social
standing, but it made her recoil from it the more. He was so immeasurably
her superior that the poor little advantage on her side vanished like a
candle in the sunlight, and she laughed herself to scorn. "Fancy," she
laughed, "a midge, on the strength of having wings, condescending to offer
marriage to a horse!" It would argue the assumption of equality in other
and more important things than rank, or at least the confidence that her
social superiority not only counterbalanced the difference, but left
enough over to her credit to justify her initiative. And what a miserable
fiction that money and position had a right to the first move before
greatness of living fact--that _having_ had the precedence of being! That
Malcolm should imagine such _her_ judgment! No, let all go--let himself go
rather! And then he might not choose to accept her munificent offer! Or
worse, far worse, what if he should be tempted by rank and wealth, and,
accepting her, be shorn of his glory and proved of the ordinary human type
after all? A thousand times rather would she see the bright particular
star blazing unreachable above her. What! would she carry it about a
cinder in her pocket? And yet if he _could_ be "turned to a coal," why
should she go on worshiping him? Alas! the offer itself was the only test
severe enough to try him withal, and if he proved a cinder she would by
the very use of the test be bound to love, honor and obey her cinder. She
could not well reject him for accepting her, neither could she marry him
if he rose grandly superior to her temptations. No! he could be nothing to
her nearer than the bright particular star.

Thus went the thoughts to and fro in the minds of each. Neither could see
the way. Both feared the risk of loss: neither could hope greatly for
gain.



CHAPTER LXII.

THE DUNE.


Having put Kelpie up, and fed and bedded her, Malcolm took his way to the
Seaton, full of busily anxious thought. Things had taken a bad turn, and
he was worse off for counsel than before. The enemy was in the house with
his sister, and he had no longer any chance of judging how matters were
going, as now he never rode out with her. But at least he could haunt the
house. He would run, therefore, to his grandfather, and tell him that he
was going to occupy his old quarters at the House that night.

Returning directly, and passing, as had been his custom, through the
kitchen to ascend the small corkscrew stair the servants generally used,
he encountered Mrs. Courthope, who told him that her ladyship had given
orders that her maid, who had come with Lady Bellair, should have his
room. He was at once convinced that Florimel had done so with the
intention of banishing him from the house, for there were dozens of rooms
vacant, and many of them more suitable. It was a hard blow. How he wished
for Mr. Graham to consult! And yet Mr. Graham was not of much use where
any sort of plotting was wanted. He asked Mrs. Courthope to let him have
another room, but she looked so doubtful that he withdrew his request and
went back to his grandfather.

It was Saturday, and not many of the boats would go fishing. Among the
rest, Findlay's would not leave the harbor till Sunday was over, and
therefore Malcolm was free. But he could not rest, and would go
line-fishing. "Daddy," he said, "I'm gaein oot to catch a haddick or sae
to oor denner the morn. Ye micht jist sit doon upo' ane o' the Boar's Taes
an' tak a play o' yer pipes. I'll hear ye fine, an' it'll du me guid."

The Boar's Toes were two or three small rocks that rose out of the sand
near the end of the dune. Duncan agreed right willingly, and Malcolm,
borrowing some lines and taking the Psyche's dinghy, rowed out into the
bay.

The sun was down, the moon was up, and he had caught more fish than he
wanted. His grandfather had got tired and gone home, and the fountain of
his anxious thoughts began to flow more rapidly. He must go ashore. He
must go up to the House: who could tell what might not be going on there?
He drew in his line, purposing to take the best of the fish to Miss Horn
and some to Mrs. Courthope, as in the old days.

The Psyche still lay on the sands, and he was rowing the dinghy toward
her, when, looking round to direct his course, he thought he caught a
glimpse of some one seated on the slope of the dune. Yes, there was some
one there, sure enough. The old times rushed back on his memory: could it
be Florimel? Alas! it was not likely she would now be wandering about
alone. But if it were! Then for one endeavor more to rouse her slumbering
conscience! He would call up all the associations of the last few months
she had spent in the place, and, with the spirit of her father, as it
were, hovering over her, conjure her, in his name, to break with Liftore.

He rowed swiftly to the Psyche, beached and drew up the dinghy, and
climbed the dune. Plainly enough, it was a lady who sat there. It might be
one from the upper town enjoying the lovely night: it _might_ be
Florimel, but how could she have got away, or wished to get away, from her
newly-arrived guests? The voices of several groups of walkers came from
the high-road behind the dune, but there was no other figure to be seen
all along the sands. He drew nearer. The lady did not move. If it were
Florimel, would she not know him as he came, and would she wait for him?

He drew nearer still. His heart gave a great throb. Could it be, or was
the moon weaving some hallucination in his troubled brain? If it was a
phantom, it was that of Lady Clementina: if but modeled of the filmy
vapors of the moonlight, and the artist his own brain, the phantom was
welcome as joy. His spirit seemed to soar aloft in the yellow air and hang
hovering over and around her, while his body stood rooted to the spot,
like one who fears, by moving nigher, to lose the lovely vision of a
mirage. She sat motionless, her gaze on the sea. Malcolm bethought himself
that she could not know him in his fisher-dress, and must take him for
some rude fisherman staring at her. He must go at once, or approach and
address her. He came forward at once. "My lady!" he said.

She did not start, neither did she speak. She did not even turn her face.
She rose first, then turned and held out her hand. Three steps more and he
had it in his, and his eyes looked straight into hers. Neither spoke. The
moon shone full on Clementina's face. There was no illumination fitter for
that face than the moonlight, and to Malcolm it was lovelier than ever.
Nor was it any wonder it should seem so to him, for certainly never had
the eyes in it rested on his with such a lovely and trusting light in
them. A moment she stood, then slowly sank again upon the sand and drew
her skirts about her with a dumb show of invitation. The place where she
sat was a little terraced hollow in the slope, forming a convenient seat.
Malcolm saw, but could not believe she actually made room for him to sit
beside her--alone with her in the universe. It was too much: he dared not
believe it. And now, by one of those wondrous duplications which are not
always at least born of the fancy, the same scene in which he had found
Florimel thus seated on the slope of the dune appeared to be passing again
through Malcolm's consciousness, only instead of Florimel was Clementina,
and instead of the sun was the moon. And creature of the sunlight as
Florimel was, bright and gay and beautiful, she paled into a creature of
the cloud beside this maiden of the moonlight, tall and stately, silent
and soft and grand.

Again she made a movement. This time he could not doubt her invitation. It
was as if her soul made room in her unseen world for him to enter and sit
beside her. But who could enter heaven in his work-day garments?

"Won't you sit by me, Malcolm?" seeing his more than hesitation, she said
at last, with a slight tremble in the voice that was music itself in his
ears.

"I have been catching fish, my lady," he answered, "and my clothes must be
unpleasant. I will sit here."

He went a little lower on the slope and laid himself down, leaning on his
elbow.

"Do fresh-water fishes smell the same as the sea-fishes, Malcolm?" she
asked.

"Indeed I am not certain, my lady. Why?"

"Because if they do--You remember what you said to me as we passed the
saw-mill in the wood?"

It was by silence Malcolm showed he did remember.

"Does not this night remind you of that one at Wastbeach when we came upon
you singing?" said Clementina.

"It _is_ like it, my lady--now. But, a little ago, before I saw you, I was
thinking of that night, and thinking how different this was."

Again a moon-filled silence fell, and once more it was the lady who broke
it. "Do you know who are at the house?" she asked.

"I do, my lady," he replied.

"I had not been there more than an hour or two," she went on, "when they
arrived. I suppose Florimel--Lady Lossie--thought I would not come if she
told me she expected them."

"And would you have come, my lady?"

"I cannot endure the earl."

"Neither can I. But then I know more about him than your ladyship does,
and I am miserable for my mistress."

It stung Clementina as if her heart had taken a beat backward. But her
voice was steadier than it had yet been as she returned, "Why should you
be miserable for Lady Lossie?"

"I would die rather than see her marry that wretch," he answered.

Again her blood stung her in the left side. "You do not want her to marry,
then?" she said.

"I do," answered Malcolm, emphatically, "but not that fellow."

"Whom, then, if I may ask?" ventured Clementina trembling.

But Malcolm was silent. He did not feel it would be right to say.

Clementina turned sick at heart. "I have heard there is something
dangerous about the moonlight," she said. "I think it does not suit me
to-night. I will go--home."

Malcolm sprang to his feet and offered his hand. She did not take it, but
rose more lightly, though more slowly, than he. "How did you come from the
park, my lady?" he asked.

"By a gate over there," she answered, pointing. "I wandered out after
dinner, and the sea drew me."

"If your ladyship will allow me, I will take you a much nearer way back,"
he said.

"Do, then," she returned.

He thought she spoke a little sadly, and set it down to her having to go
back to her fellow-guests. What if she should leave to-morrow morning? he
thought. He could never then be sure she had really been with him that
night. He must sometimes think it then a dream. But oh what a dream! He
could thank God for it all his life if he should never dream so again.

They walked across the grassy sand toward the tunnel in silence, he
pondering what he could say that might comfort her and keep her from going
so soon.

"My lady never takes me out with her now," he said at length. He was
going to add that if she pleased he could wait upon her with Kelpie and
show her the country. But then he saw that if she were not with Florimel,
his sister would be riding everywhere alone with Liftore. Therefore he
stopped short.

"And you feel forsaken--deserted?" returned Clementina, sadly still.

"Rather, my lady."

They had reached the tunnel. It looked very black when he opened the door,
but there was just a glimmer through the trees at the other end.

"This is the valley of the shadow of death," she said. "Do I walk straight
through?"

"Yes, my lady. You will soon come out in the light again," he said.

"Are there no steps to fall down?" she asked.

"None, my lady. But I will go first, if you wish."

"No, that would but cut off the little light I have," she said. "Come
beside me."

They passed through in silence, save for the rustle of her dress and the
dull echo that haunted their steps. In a few moments they came out among
the trees, but both continued silent. The still, thoughtful moon-night
seemed to press them close together, but neither knew that the other felt
the same.

They reached a point in the road where another step would bring them in
sight of the house.

"You cannot go wrong now, my lady," said Malcolm. "If you please I will go
no farther."

"Do you not live in the house?" she asked.

"I used to do as I liked, and could be there or with my grandfather. I did
mean to be at the House to-night, but my lady has given my room to her
maid."

"What! that woman Caley?"

"I suppose so, my lady. I must sleep to-night in the village. If you
could, my lady--" he added, after a pause, and faltered, hesitating. She
did not help him, but waited. "If you could--if you would not be
displeased at my asking you," he resumed--"if you _could_ keep my lady
from going farther with that--I shall call him names if I go on."

"It is a strange request," Clementina replied after a moment's reflection.
"I hardly know, as the guest of Lady Lossie, what answer I ought to make
to it. One thing I will say, however, that, though you may know more of
the man than I, you can hardly dislike him more. Whether I can interfere
is another matter. Honestly, I do not think it would be of any use. But I
do not say I will not. Good-night."

She hurried away, and did not again offer her hand.

Malcolm walked back through the tunnel, his heart singing and making
melody. Oh how lovely--how more than lovely, how divinely beautiful--she
was! And so kind and friendly! Yet she seemed just the least bit fitful
too. Something troubled her, he said to himself. But he little thought
that he, and no one else, had spoiled the moonlight for her. He went home
to glorious dreams--she to a troubled, half-wakeful night. Not until she
had made up her mind to do her utmost to rescue Florimel from Liftore,
even if it gave her to Malcolm, did she find a moment's quiet. It was
morning then, but she fell fast asleep, slept late and woke refreshed.



CHAPTER LXIII.

CONFESSION OF SIN.


Mr. Crathie was slowly recovering, but still very weak. He did not, after
having turned the corner, get well so fast as his medical minister judged
he ought, and the reason was plain to Lizzy, dimly perceptible to his
wife: he was ill at ease. A man may have more mind and more conscience,
and more discomfort in both or either, than his neighbors give him credit
for. They may be in the right about him up to a certain point in his
history, but then a crisis, by them unperceived, perhaps to them
inappreciable, arrived, after which the man to all eternity could never be
the same as they had known him. Such a change must appear improbable, and
save on the theory of a higher operative power is improbable because
impossible. But a man who has not created himself can never secure himself
against the inroad of the glorious terror of that Goodness which was able
to utter him into being, with all its possible wrongs and repentances. The
fact that a man has never, up to any point yet, been aware of aught beyond
himself cannot shut Him out who is beyond him, when at last He means to
enter. Not even the soul-benumbing visits of his clerical minister could
repress the swell of the slow-mounting dayspring in the soul of the hard,
commonplace, business-worshiping man, Hector Crathie. The hireling would
talk to him kindly enough--of his illness or of events of the day,
especially those of the town and neighborhood, and encourage him with
reiterated expression of the hope that ere many days they would enjoy a
tumbler together as of old; but as to wrong done, apology to make,
forgiveness to be sought or consolation to be found, the dumb dog had not
uttered a bark.

The sources of the factor's restless discomfort were now two--the first,
that he had lifted his hand to women; the second, the old ground of his
quarrel with Malcolm brought up by Lizzy.

All his life, since ever he had had business, Mr. Crathie had prided
himself on his honesty, and was therefore in one of the most dangerous
moral positions a man could occupy--ruinous even to the honesty itself.
Asleep in the mud, he dreamed himself awake on a pedestal. At best, such a
man is but perched on a needlepoint when he thinketh he standeth. Of him
who prided himself on his honor I should expect that one day, in the long
run it might be, he would do some vile thing. Not, probably, within the
small circle of illumination around his wretched rushlight; but in the
great region beyond it, of what to him is a moral darkness or twilight
vague, he may be or may become capable of doing a deed that will stink in
the nostrils of the universe; and in his own when he knows it as it is.
The honesty in which a man can pride himself must be a small one, for mere
honesty will never think of itself at all. The limited honesty of the
factor clave to the interests of his employers, and let the rights he
encountered take care of themselves. Those he dealt with were to him
rather as enemies than friends--not enemies to be prayed for, but to be
spoiled. Malcolm's doctrine of honesty in horse-dealing was to him
ludicrously new. His notion of honesty in that kind was to cheat the buyer
for his master if he could, proud to write in his book a large sum against
the name of the animal. He would have scorned in his very soul the idea of
making a farthing by it himself through any business quirk whatever, but
he would not have been the least ashamed if, having sold Kelpie, he had
heard--let me say after a week of possession--that she had dashed out her
purchaser's brains. He would have been a little shocked, a little sorry
perhaps, but nowise ashamed. "By this time," he would have said, "the man
ought to have been up to her, and either taken care of himself or _sold
her again_"--to dash out another man's brains instead!

That the bastard Malcolm, or the ignorant and indeed fallen fisher-girl
Lizzy, should judge differently, nowise troubled him: what could they know
about the rights and wrongs of business? The fact which Lizzy sought to
bring to bear upon him, that our Lord would not have done such a thing,
was to him no argument at all. He said to himself, with the superior smile
of arrogated common sense, that "no mere man since the fall" could be
expected to do like Him; that He was divine, and had not to fight for a
living; that He set us an example that we might see what sinners we were;
that religion was one thing, and a very proper thing, but business was
another, and a very proper thing also--with customs, and indeed laws, of
its own far more determinate, at least definite, than those of religion;
and that to mingle the one with the other was not merely absurd--it was
irreverent and wrong, and certainly never intended in the Bible, which
must surely be common sense. It was _the Bible_ always with him--never
_the will of Christ_. But although he could dispose of the question thus
satisfactorily, yet, as he lay ill, supine, without any distracting
occupation, the thing haunted him. Now, in his father's cottage had lain,
much dabbled in of the children, a certain boardless copy of the
_Pilgrim's Progress_, round in the face and hollow in the back, in which,
amongst other pictures, was one of the Wicket-gate. This scripture of his
childhood, given by inspiration of God, threw out, in one of his troubled
and feverish nights, a dream-bud in the brain of the man. He saw the face
of Jesus looking on him over the top of the Wicket-gate, at which he had
been for some time knocking in vain, while the cruel dog barked loud from
the enemy's yard. But that face, when at last it came, was full of
sorrowful displeasure. And in his heart he knew that it was because of a
certain transaction in horse-dealing wherein he had hitherto lauded his
own cunning--adroitness, he considered it--and success. One word only he
heard from the lips of the Man, "Worker of iniquity!" and woke with a
great start. From that moment truths _began_ to be facts to him. The
beginning of the change was indeed very small, but every beginning is
small, and every beginning is a creation. Monad, molecule, protoplasm,
whatever word may be attached to it when it becomes appreciable by
men--being then, however, many stages, I believe, upon its
journey--beginning is an irrepressible fact; and, however far from good or
humble even after many days, the man here began to grow good and humble.
His dull, unimaginative nature, a perfect lumber-room of the world and its
rusting affairs, had received a gift in a dream--a truth from the lips of
the Lord, remodeled in the brain and heart of the tinker of Elstow, and
sent forth in his wondrous parable to be pictured and printed, and lie in
old Hector Crathie's cottage, that it might enter and lie in young Hector
Crathie's brain until he grew old and had done wrong enough to heed it,
when it rose upon him in a dream, and had its way. Henceforth the claims
of his neighbor began to reveal themselves, and his mind to breed
conscientious doubts and scruples, with which, struggle as he might
against it, a certain respect for Malcolm would keep coming and
mingling--a feeling which grew with its returns, until, by slow changes,
he began at length to regard him as the minister of God's vengeance for
his punishment, and perhaps salvation--who could tell?

Lizzy's nightly ministrations had not been resumed, but she often called,
and was a good deal with him; for Mrs. Crathie had learned to like the
humble, helpful girl still better when she found she had taken no offence
at being deprived of her post of honor by his bed-side. One day, when
Malcolm was seated, mending a net, among the thin grass and great red
daisies of the links by the bank of the burn where it crossed the sands
from the Lossie grounds to the sea, Lizzy came up to him and said, "The
factor wad like to see ye, Ma'colm, as sune 's ye can gang till 'im."

She waited no reply. Malcolm rose and went.

At the factor's the door was opened by Mrs. Crathie herself, who, looking
mysterious, led him to the dining-room, where she plunged at once into
business, doing her best to keep down all manifestation of the profound
resentment she cherished against him. Her manner was confidential, almost
coaxing. "Ye see, Ma'colm," she said, as if pursuing instead of commencing
a conversation, "he's some sore about the _fraicass_ between him an' you.
Jest make your apoalogies till 'im, an' tell 'im you had a drop too much,
and you're soary for misbehavin' yerself to wann sae much your shuperrior.
Tell 'im that, Ma'colm, an' there's a half-croon to ye."

She wished much to speak English, and I have tried to represent the thing
she did speak, which was neither honest Scotch nor anything like English.
Alas! the good, pithy, old Anglo-Saxon dialect is fast perishing, and a
jargon of corrupt English taking its place!

"But, mem," said Malcolm, taking no notice either of the coin or the words
that accompanied the offer of it, "I canna lee: I wasna in drink, an' I'm
no sorry."

"Hoot!" returned Mrs. Crathie, blurting out her Scotch fast enough now, "I
s' warran' ye can lee weel eneuch whan ye hae occasion. Tak yer siller an'
du as I tell ye."

"Wad ye hae me damned, mem?"

Mrs. Crathie gave a cry and held up her hands. She was too well accustomed
to imprecations from the lips of her husband for any but an affected
horror, but, regarding the honest word as a bad one, she assumed an air of
injury. "Wad ye daur to sweir afore a leddy?" she exclaimed, shaking her
uplifted hands in pretence of ghasted astonishment.

"If Mr. Crathie wishes to see me, ma'am," rejoined Malcolm, taking up the
shield of English, "I am ready. If not, please allow me to go."

The same moment the bell whose rope was at the head of the factor's bed
rang violently, and Mrs. Crathie's importance collapsed. "Come this w'y,"
she said, and turning led him up the stair to the room where her husband
lay.

Entering, Malcolm stood astonished at the change he saw upon the strong
man of rubicund countenance, and his heart filled with compassion. The
factor was sitting up in bed, looking very white and worn and troubled.
Even his nose had grown thin and white. He held out his hand to him, and
said to his wife, "Tak the door to ye, Mistress Crathie," indicating which
side he wished it closed from.

"Ye was some sair upo' me, Ma'colm," he went on, grasping the youth's
hand.

"I doobt I was _ower_ sair," said Malcolm, who could hardly speak for a
lump in his throat.

"Weel, I deserved it. But eh, Ma'colm! I canna believe it was me: it bude
to be the drink."

"It _was_ the drink," rejoined Malcolm; "an' eh, sir, afore ye rise frae
that bed sweir to the great God 'at ye'll never drink nae mair drams, nor
onything 'ayont ae tum'ler at a sittin'."

"I sweir 't, I sweir 't, Ma'colm!" cried the factor.

"It's easy to sweir 't noo, sir, but whan ye're up again it'll be hard to
keep yer aith.--O Lord!" spoke the youth, breaking out into almost
involuntary prayer, "help this man to haud troth wi' Thee!--An' noo,
Maister Crathie," he resumed, "I'm yer servan', ready to du onything I
can. Forgi'e me, sir, for layin' on ower sair."

"I forgi'e ye wi' a' my hert," returned the factor, inly delighted to have
something to forgive.

"I thank ye frae mine," answered Malcolm, and again they shook hands.

"But eh, Ma'colm, my man!" he added, "hoo will I ever shaw my face again?"

"Fine that!" returned Malcolm, eagerly. "Fowk's terrible guid-natur'd whan
ye alloo 'at ye're 'i the wrang. I do believe 'at whan a man confesses
till 's neebor an' says he's sorry, he thinks mair o' 'im nor afore he did
it. Ye see we a' ken we hae dune wrang, but we haena' a' confessed. An'
it's a queer thing, but a man 'll think it gran' o' 's neebor to confess,
when a' the time there's something he winna repent o' himsel', for fear o'
the _shame_ o' haein to confess 't. To me, the shame lies in _no_
confessin' efter ye ken ye're wrang. Ye'll see, sir, the fisher-fowk 'll
min' what ye say to them a heap better noo."

"Div ye railly think it, Ma'colm?" sighed the factor with a flush.

"I div that, sir. Only whan ye grow better, gien ye'll alloo me to say't,
sir, ye maunna lat Sawtan temp' ye to think 'at this same repentin' was
but a wakeness o' the flesh, an' no an enlichtenment o' the speerit."

"I s' tie mysel' up till 't," cried the factor eagerly. "Gang an' tell
them i' my name 'at I tak back ilka scart o' a nottice I ever gae ane o'
them to quit, only we maun hae nae mair stan'in' o' honest fowk 'at comes
to bigg herbors till them. Div ye think it wad be weel ta'en gien ye tuik
a poun'-nott the piece to the twa women?"

"I wadna du that, sir, gien I was you," answered Malcolm. "For yer ain
sake, I wadna to Mistress Mair, for naething wad gar her tak it: it wad
only affront her; an' for Nancy Tacket's sake, I wadna to her, for as her
name so's her natur: she wad not only tak it, but she wad lat ye play the
same as aften's ye likit for less siller. Ye'll hae mony a chance o'
makin' 't up to them baith, ten times ower, afore you an' them pairt,
sir."

"I maun lea' the cuintry, Ma'colm."

"'Deed, sir, ye'll du naething o' the kin'. The fishers themsel's wad rise
no to lat ye, as they did wi' Blew Peter! As sune's ye're able to be aboot
again, ye'll see plain eneuch 'at there's no occasion for onything like
that, sir. Portlossie wadna ken 'tsel' wantin' ye. Jist gie me a
commission to say to the twa honest women 'at ye're sorry for what ye did,
an' that's a' 'at need be said atween you an' them, or their men aither."

The result showed that Malcolm was right, for the very next day, instead
of looking for gifts from him, the two injured women came to the factor's
door--first Annie Mair with the offering of a few fresh eggs, scarce at
the season, and after her Nancy Tacket with a great lobster.



CHAPTER LXIV.

A VISITATION.


Malcolm's custom was first, immediately after breakfast, to give Kelpie
her airing--and a tremendous amount of air she wanted for the huge animal
furnace of her frame and the fiery spirit that kept it alight--then,
returning to the Seaton, to change the dress of the groom, in which he
always appeared about the House, lest by any chance his mistress should
want him, for that of the fisherman, and help with the nets or the boats,
or in whatever was going on. As often as he might he did what seldom a man
would--went to the long shed where the women prepared the fish for
salting, took a knife and wrought as deftly as any of them, throwing a
marvellously rapid succession of cleaned herrings into the preserving
brine. It was no wonder he was a favorite with the women. Although,
however, the place was malodorous and the work dirty, I cannot claim so
much for Malcolm as may at first appear to belong to him, for he had been
accustomed to the sight and smell from earliest childhood. Still, as I
say, it was work the men would not do. He had such a chivalrous humanity
that it was misery to him to see man or woman at anything scorned except
he bore a hand himself. He did it half in love, half in terror of being
unjust.

He had gone to Mr. Crathie in his fisher-clothes, thinking it better the
sick man should not be reminded of the cause of his illness more forcibly
than could not be helped. The nearest way led him past a corner of the
house overlooked by one of the drawing-room windows. Clementina saw him
pass, and, judging by his garb that he would probably return presently,
went out in the hope of meeting him, and as he was going back to his net
by the sea-gate he caught sight of her on the opposite side of the burn,
accompanied only by a book. He walked through it, climbed the bank and
approached her.

It was a hot summer afternoon. The burn ran dark and brown and cool in
deep shade, but the sea beyond was glowing in light, and the
laburnum-blossoms hung like cocoons of sunbeams. No breath of air was
stirring; no bird sang; the sun was burning high in the west.

Clementina stood waiting him, like a moon that could hold her own in the
face of the sun. "Malcolm," she said, "I have been watching all day, but
have not found a single opportunity of speaking to your mistress as you
wished. But to tell the truth, I am not sorry, for the more I think about
it the less I see what to say. That another does not like a person can
have little weight with one who does, and I _know_ nothing against him. I
wish you would release me from my promise. It is such an ugly thing to
speak to one's hostess to the disadvantage of a fellow-guest!"

"I understand," said Malcolm. "It was not a right thing to ask of you. I
beg your pardon, my lady, and give you back your promise, if such you
count it. But indeed I do not think you promised."

"Thank you. I would rather be free. Had it been before you left London!
Lady Lossie is very kind, but does not seem to put the same confidence in
me as formerly. She and Lady Bellair and that man make a trio, and I am
left outside. I almost think I ought to go. Even Caley is more of a friend
than I am. I cannot get rid of the suspicion that something not right is
going on. There seems a bad air about the place. Those two are playing
their game with the inexperience of that poor child, your mistress."

"I know that very well, my lady, but I hope yet they will not succeed,"
said Malcolm.

By this time they were near the tunnel.

"Could you let me through to the shore?" asked Clementina.

"Certainly, my lady. I wish you could see the boats go out. From the
Boar's Tail it is a pretty sight. They will all be starting together as
soon as the tide turns."

Thereupon Clementina began questioning him about the night-fishing, and
Malcolm described its pleasures and dangers, and the pleasures of its
dangers, in such fashion that Clementina listened with delight. He dwelt
especially on the feeling almost of disembodiment, and existence as pure
thought, arising from the all-pervading clarity and fluidity, the
suspension and the unceasing motion.

"I wish I could once feel like that," exclaimed Clementina. "Could I not
go with you--for one night--just for once, Malcolm?"

"My lady, it would hardly do, I am afraid. If you knew the discomforts
that must assail one unaccustomed--I cannot tell--but I doubt if you would
go. All the doors to bliss have their defences of swamps and thorny
thickets through which alone they can be gained. You would need to be a
fisherman's sister--or wife--I fear, my lady, to get through to this one."

Clementina smiled gravely, but did not reply, and Malcolm too was silent,
thinking. "Yes," he said at last: "I see how we can manage it. You shall
have a boat for your own use, my lady, and--"

"But I want to see just what you see, and to feel, as nearly as I may,
what you feel. I don't want a downy, rose-leaf notion of the thing. I want
to understand what you fishermen encounter and experience."

"We must make a difference, though, my lady. Look what clothes, what
boots, we fishers must wear to be fit for our work! But you shall have a
true idea as far it reaches, and one that will go a long way toward
enabling you to understand the rest. You shall go in a real fishing-boat,
with a full crew and all the nets, and you shall catch real herrings; only
you shall not be out longer than you please. But there is hardly time to
arrange for it to-night, my lady."

"To-morrow, then?"

"Yes. I have no doubt I can manage it then."

"Oh, thank you!" said Clementina. "It will be a great delight."

"And now," suggested Malcolm, "would you like to go through the village
and see some of the cottages, and how the fishers live?"

"If they would not think me inquisitive or intrusive," answered
Clementina.

"There is no danger of that," rejoined Malcolm. "If it were my Lady
Bellair, to patronize and deal praise and blame, as if what she calls
poverty were fault and childishness, and she their spiritual as well as
social superior, they might very likely be what she would call rude. She
was here once before, and we have some notion of her about the Seaton. I
venture to say there is not a woman in it who is not her moral superior,
and many of them are her superiors in intellect and true knowledge, if
they are not so familiar with London scandal. Mr. Graham says that in the
kingdom of heaven every superior is a ruler, for there to rule is to
raise, and a man's rank is his power to uplift."

"I would I were in the kingdom of heaven if it be such as you and Mr.
Graham take it for!" said Clementina.

"You must be in it, my lady, or you couldn't wish it to be such as it is."

"Can one then be in it, and yet seem to be out of it, Malcolm?"

"So many are out of it that seem to be in it, my lady, that one might well
imagine it the other way with some."

"Are you not uncharitable, Malcolm?"

"Our Lord speaks of many coming up to His door confident of admission,
whom yet He sends from Him. Faith is obedience, not confidence."

"Then I do well to fear."

"Yes, my lady, so long as your fear makes you knock the louder."

"But if I be in, as you say, how can I go on knocking?"

"There are a thousand more doors to knock at after you are in, my lady. No
one content to stand just inside the gate will be inside it long. But it
is one thing to be in, and another to be satisfied that we are in. Such a
satisfying as comes from our own feelings may, you see from what our Lord
says, be a false one. It is one thing to gather the conviction for
ourselves, and another to have it from God. What wise man would have it
before He gives it? He who does what his Lord tells him is in the kingdom,
if every feeling of heart and brain told him he was out. And his Lord will
see that he knows it one day. But I do not think, my lady, one can ever be
quite sure until the King himself has come in to sup with him, and has let
him know that he is altogether one with Him."

During the talk of which this is the substance they reached the Seaton,
and Malcolm took her to see his grandfather.

"Taal and faer and chentle and coot!" murmured the old man as he held her
hand for a moment in his. With a start of suspicion he dropped it, and
cried out in alarm, "She'll not pe a Cam'ell, Malcolm?"

"Na, na, daddy--far frae that," answered Malcolm.

"Then my laty will pe right welcome to Tuncan's heart," he replied, and
taking her hand again led her to a chair.

When they left she expressed herself charmed with the piper, but when she
learned the cause of his peculiar behavior at first she looked grave, and
found his feeling difficult to understand.

They next visited the Partaness, with whom she was far more amused than
puzzled. But her heart was drawn to the young woman who sat in a corner
rocking her child in its wooden cradle and never lifting her eyes from her
needlework: she knew her for the fisher-girl of Malcolm's picture.

From house to house he took her, and where they went they were welcomed.
If the man was smoking, he put away his pipe, and the woman left her work
and sat down to talk with her. They did the honors of their poor houses in
a homely and dignified fashion. Clementina was delighted. But Malcolm told
her he had taken her only to the best houses in the place to begin with.
The village, though a fair sample of fishing villages, was no ex-sample,
he said: there were all kinds of people in it as in every other. It was a
class in the big life-school of the world, whose special masters were the
sea and the herrings.

"What would you do now if you were lord of the place?" asked Clementina as
they were walking by the sea-gate: "I mean, what would be the first thing
you would do?"

"As it would be my business to know my tenants that I might rule them," he
answered, "I would first court the society and confidence of the best men
among them. I should be in no hurry to make changes, but would talk openly
with them and try to be worthy of their confidence. Of course I would see
a little better to their houses, and improve their harbor; and I would
build a boat for myself that would show them a better kind; but my main
hope for them would be the same as for myself--the knowledge of Him whose
is the sea and all its store, who cares for every fish in its bosom, but
for the fisher more than many herrings. I would spend my best efforts to
make them follow Him whose first servants were the fishermen of Galilee,
for with all my heart I believe that that Man holds the secret of life,
and that only the man who obeys Him can ever come to know the God who is
the root and crown of our being, and whom to know is freedom and bliss."

A pause followed.

"But do you not sometimes find it hard to remember God all through your
work?" asked Clementina.

"Not very hard, my lady. Sometimes I wake up to find that I have been in
an evil mood and forgetting Him, and then life is hard until I get near
Him again. But it is not my work that makes me forget Him. When I go
a-fishing, I go to catch God's fish; when I take Kelpie out, I am teaching
one of God's wild creatures; when I read the Bible or Shakespeare, I am
listening to the word of God, uttered in each after its kind. When the
wind blows on my face, what matter that the chymist pulls it to pieces? He
cannot hurt it, for his knowledge of it cannot make my feeling of it a
folly, so long as he cannot pull that to pieces with his retorts and
crucibles: it is to me the wind of Him who makes it blow, the sign of
something in Him, the fit emblem of His Spirit, that breathes into my
spirit the breath of life. When Mr. Graham talks to me, it is a prophet
come from God that teaches me, as certainly as if His fiery chariot were
waiting to carry him back when he had spoken; for the word he utters at
once humbles and uplifts my soul, telling it that God is all in all and my
God--and the Lord Christ is the truth and the life, and the way home to
the Father."

After a little pause, "And when you are talking to a rich, ignorant, proud
lady?" said Clementina, "what do you feel then?"

"That I would it were my Lady Clementina instead," answered Malcolm with a
smile.

She held her peace.

When he left her, Malcolm hurried to Scaurnose and arranged with Blue
Peter for his boat and crew the next night. Returning to his grandfather,
he found a note waiting him from Mrs. Courthope to the effect that, as
Miss Caley, her ladyship's maid, had preferred another room, there was no
reason why, if he pleased, he should not reoccupy his own.



CHAPTER LXV.

THE EVE OF THE CRISIS.


It was late in the sweetest of summer mornings when the Partan's boat
slipped slowly back with a light wind to the harbor of Portlossie. Malcolm
did not wait to land the fish, but having changed his clothes and taken
breakfast with Duncan, who was always up early, went to look after Kelpie.
When he had done with her, finding some of the household already in
motion, he went through the kitchen, and up the old corkscrew stone stair
to his room, to have the sleep he generally had before his breakfast.
Presently came a knock at his door, and there was Rose.

The girl's behavior to Malcolm was much changed. The conviction had been
strengthening in her that he was not what he seemed, and she regarded him
now with a vague awe. But there was fear in her eyes now, as she looked
this way and that along the passage, and then crept timidly inside his
door to tell him, in a hurried whisper, that she had seen the woman who
gave her the poisonous philtre talking to Caley the night before at the
foot of the bridge, after everybody else was in bed. She had been
miserable till she could warn him. He thanked her heartily, and said he
would be on his guard: he would neither eat nor drink in the house. She
crept softly away. He secured his door, lay down, and, trying to think,
fell asleep.

When he woke his brain was clear. The very next day, whether Lenorme came
or not, he would declare himself. That night he would go fishing with Lady
Clementina, but not one day longer would he allow those people to be about
his sister. Who could tell what might not be brewing, or into what abyss,
with the help of her _friends_, the woman Catanach might not plunge
Florimel?

He rose, took Kelpie out, and had a good gallop. On his way back he saw in
the distance Florimel riding with Liftore. The earl was on his father's
bay mare. He could not endure the sight, and dashed home at full speed.

Learning from Rose that Lady Clementina was in the flower-garden, he found
her at the swan-basin feeding the gold and silver fishes. An
under-gardener, who had been about the place for thirty years, was at work
not far off. The light splash of the falling column which the marble swan
spouted from its upturned beak prevented her from hearing his approach
until he was close behind her. She turned, and her fair face took the
flush of a white rose.

"My lady," he said, "I have got everything arranged for to-night."

"And when shall we go?" she asked eagerly.

"At the turn of the tide, about half-past seven. But seven is your
dinner-hour."

"It is of no consequence. But could you not make it half an hour later,
and then I should not seem rude?"

"Make it any hour you please, my lady, so long as the tide is falling."

"Let it be eight then, and dinner will be almost over. They will not miss
me after that. Mr. Cairns is going to dine with them. I think, except
Liftore, I never disliked a man so much. Shall I tell them where I am
going?"

"Yes, my lady. It will be better. They will look amazed, for all their
breeding."

"Whose boat is it, that I may be able to tell them if they should ask me?"

"Joseph Mair's. He and his wife will come and fetch you. Annie Mair will
go with us--if I may say _us_: will you allow me to go in your boat, my
lady?"

"I couldn't go without you, Malcolm."

"Thank you, my lady. Indeed, I don't know how I could let you go without
me. Not that there is anything to fear, or that I could make it the least
safer; but somehow it seems my business to take care of you."

"Like Kelpie?" said Clementina, with a merrier smile than he had ever seen
on her face before.

"Yes, my lady," answered Malcolm: "if to do for you all and the best you
will permit me to do be to take care of you like Kelpie, then so it is."

Clementina gave a little sigh.

"Mind you don't scruple, my lady, to give what orders you please. It will
be _your_ fishing-boat for to-night."

Clementina bowed her head in acknowledgment.

"And now, my lady," Malcolm went on, "just look about you for a moment.
See this great vault of heaven, full of golden light raining on trees and
flowers--every atom of air shining. Take the whole into your heart, that
you may feel the difference at night, my lady--when the stars, and neither
sun nor moon, will be in the sky, and all the flowers they shine on will
be their own flitting, blinking, swinging, shutting and opening
reflections in the swaying floor of the ocean--when the heat will be gone,
and the air clean and clear as the thoughts of a saint."

Clementina did as he said, and gazed above and around her on the glory of
the summer day overhanging the sweet garden, and on the flowers that had
just before been making her heart ache with their unattainable secret. But
she thought with herself that if Malcolm and she but shared it with a
common heart as well as neighbored eyes, gorgeous day and ethereal night,
or snow-clad wild and sky of stormy blackness, were alike welcome to her
spirit.

As they talked they wandered up the garden, and had drawn near the spot
where, in the side of the glen, was hollowed the cave of the hermit. They
now turned toward the pretty arbor of moss that covered its entrance, each
thinking the other led, but Malcolm not without reluctance. For how
horribly and unaccountably had he not been shaken, the only time he ever
entered it, at sight of the hermit! The thing was a foolish wooden figure,
no doubt, but the thought that it still sat over its book in the darkest
corner of the cave, ready to rise and advance with outstretched hand to
welcome its visitor, had, ever since then, sufficed to make him shudder.
He was on the point of warning Clementina lest she too should be worse
than startled, when he was arrested by the voice of John Jack, the old
gardener, who came stooping after them, looking a sexton of flowers.

"Ma'colm, Ma'colm!" he cried, and crept up wheezing.--"I beg yer
leddyship's pardon, my leddy, but I wadna hae Ma'colm lat ye gang in there
ohn tellt ye what there is inside."

"Thank you, John. I was just going to tell my lady," said Malcolm.

"Because, ye see," pursued John, "I was ae day here i' the gairden--an' I
was jist graftin' a bonny wull rose-buss wi' a Hector o' France--an' it
grew to be the bonniest rose-buss in a' the haill gairden--whan the
markis--no the auld markis, but my leddy's father--cam' up the walk there,
an' a bonny yoong leddy wi' his lordship, as it micht be yersel's twa--an'
I beg your pardon, my leddy, but I'm an auld man noo, an' whiles forgets
the differs atween fowk--an' this yoong leddy 'at they ca'd Miss
Cam'ell--ye kenned her yersel' efterhin', I daur say, Ma'colm--he was unco
ta'en wi' her, the markis, as ilka body cud see ohn luikit that near, sae
'at some said 'at hoo he hed no richt to gang on wi' her that gait,
garrin' her believe, gien he wasna gaein' to merry her. That's naither
here nor there, hooever, seein' it a' cam' to jist naething ava'. Sae up
they gaed to the cave yon'er, as I was tellin' ye; an' hoo it was was a
won'er, for I s' warran' she had been aboot the place near a tow-mon
(_twelvemonth_), but never had she been intil that cave, an' kenned no
more nor the bairn unborn what there was in 't. An' sae whan the airemite,
as the auld minister ca'd him--though what for he ca'd a muckle block like
yon an _airy mite_, I'm sure I never cud fathom--whan he gat up, as I was
sayin', an' cam' foret wi' his han' oot, she gae a scraich 'at jist garred
my lugs dirl, an' doon she drappit; an' there, whan I ran up, was she
lyin' i' the markis his airms, as white's a cauk eemage; an' it was lang
or he broucht her till hersel', for he wadna lat me rin for the
hoosekeeper, but sent me fleein' to the f'untain for watter, an' gied me a
gowd guinea to haud my tongue aboot it a'. Sae noo, my leddy, ye're
forewarnt, an' no ill can come to ye, for there's naething to be fleyt at
whan ye ken what's gauin' to meet ye."

Malcolm had turned his head aside, and now moved on without remark. Struck
by his silence, Clementina looked up and saw his face very pale and the
tears standing in his eyes. "You must tell me the sad story, Malcolm," she
murmured. "I could scarcely understand a word the old man said."

He continued silent, and seemed struggling with some emotion. But when
they were within a few paces of the arbor he stopped short and said, "I
would rather not go in there to-day. You would oblige me, my lady, if you
would not go."

She looked up at him again with wonder but more concern in her lovely
face, put her hand on his arm, gently turned him away and walked back with
him to the fountain. Not a word more did she say about the matter.



CHAPTER LXVI.

SEA.


The evening came, and the company at Lossie House was still seated at
table, Clementina heartily weary of the vapid talk that had been going on
all through the dinner, when she was informed that a fisherman of the name
of Mair was at the door, accompanied by his wife, saying they had an
appointment with her. She had already acquainted her hostess, when first
they sat down, with her arrangements for going a-fishing that night, and
much foolish talk and would-be wit had followed: now, when she rose and
excused herself, they all wished her a pleasant evening, in a tone
indicating the conviction that she little knew what she was about, and
would soon be longing heartily enough to be back with them in the
drawing-room, whose lighted windows she would see from the boat. But
Clementina hoped otherwise, hurriedly changed her dress, hastened to join
Malcolm's messengers, and almost in a moment had made the two child-like
people at home with her by the simplicity and truth of her manner and the
directness of her utterance. They had not talked with her five minutes
before they said in their hearts that here was the wife for the marquis if
he could get her.

"She's jist like ane o' oorsel's," whispered Annie to her husband on the
first opportunity, "only a hantle better an' bonnier."

They took the nearest way to the harbor--through the town--and Lady
Clementina and Blue Peter kept up a constant talk as they went. All in
the streets and at the windows stared to see the grand lady from the House
walking between a Scaurnose fisherman and his wife, and chatting away with
them as if they were all fishers together.

"What's the wordle comin' till?" cried Mrs. Mellis, the draper's wife, as
she saw them pass.

"I'm glaid to see the yoong wuman--an' a bonny lass she is--in sic guid
company," said Miss Horn, looking down from the opposite side of the way.
"I'm thinkin' the han' o' the markis 'ill be i' this, no'!"

All was ready to receive her, but in the present bad state of the harbor,
and the tide having now ebbed a little way, the boat could not get close
either to quay or shore. Six of the crew were on board, seated on the
thwarts with their oars shipped, for Peter had insisted on a certain
approximation to man-of-war manners and discipline for the evening, or at
least until they got to the fishing-ground. The shore itself formed one
side of the harbor, and sloped down into it, and on the sand stood Malcolm
with a young woman, whom Clementina recognized at once as the girl she had
seen at the Findlays'.

"My lady," he said, approaching, "would you do me the favor to let Lizzy
go with you? She would like to attend your ladyship, because, being a
fisherman's daughter, she is used to the sea, and Mrs. Mair is not so much
at home upon it, being a farmer's daughter from inland."

Receiving Clementina's thankful assent, he turned to Lizzy and said, "Min'
ye tell my lady what rizzon ye ken whaurfor my mistress at the Hoose sudna
be merried upo' Lord Liftore--him 'at was Lord Meikleham. Ye may speyk to
my lady there as ye wad to mysel; an' better, haein' the hert o' a wuman."

Lizzy blushed a deep red, and dared but the glimmer of a glance at
Clementina, but there was only shame, no annoyance, in her face.

"Ye winna repent it, Lizzy," concluded Malcolm, and turned away.

He cherished a faint hope that if she heard or guessed Lizzy's story,
Clementina might yet find some way of bringing her influence to bear on
his sister even at the last hour of her chance; from which, for her sake,
he shrunk the more the nearer it drew. Clementina held out her hand to
Lizzy, and again accepted her offered service with kindly thanks.

Now, Blue Peter, having been ship's carpenter in his day, had constructed
a little poop in the stern of his craft: thereon Malcolm had laid cushions
and pillows and furs and blankets from the Psyche--a grafting of
Cleopatra's galley upon the rude fishing-boat--and there Clementina was to
repose in state. Malcolm gave a sign: Peter took his wife in his arms,
and, walking through the few yards of water between, lifted her into the
boat, which lay with its stern to the shore. Malcolm and Clementina turned
to each other: he was about to ask leave to do her the same service, but
she spoke before him. "Put Lizzy on board first," she said.

He obeyed, and when, returning, he again approached her, "Are you able,
Malcolm?" she asked. "I am very heavy."

He smiled for all reply, took her in his arms like a child, and had placed
her on the cushions before she had time to realize the mode of her
transference. Then taking a stride deeper into the water, he scrambled on
board. The same instant the men gave way. They pulled carefully through
the narrow jaws of the little harbor, and away, with quivering oar and
falling tide, went the boat, gliding out into the measureless North, where
the horizon was now dotted with the sails that had preceded it.

No sooner were they afloat than a kind of enchantment enwrapped and
possessed the soul of Clementina. Everything seemed all at once changed
utterly. The very ends of the harbor-piers might have stood in the _Divina
Commedia_ instead of the Moray Frith. Oh that wonderful look everything
wears when beheld from the other side! Wonderful surely will this world
appear--strangely _more_--when, become children again by being gathered to
our fathers, joyous day! we turn and gaze back upon it from the other
side! I imagine that to him who has overcome it the world, in very virtue
of his victory, will show itself the lovely and pure thing it was created,
for he will see through the cloudy envelope of his battle to the living
kernel below. The cliffs, the rocks, the sands, the dune, the town, the
very clouds that hung over the hill above Lossie House, were in strange
fashion transfigured. To think of people sitting behind those windows
while the splendor and freedom of space with all its divine shows invited
them, lay bare and empty to them! Out and still out they rowed and drifted
till the coast began to open up beyond the headlands on either side. There
a light breeze was waiting them. Up then went three short masts, and three
dark-brown sails shone red in the sun, and Malcolm came aft, over the
great heap of brown nets, crept with apology across the poop, and got down
into a little well behind, there to sit and steer the boat; for now,
obedient to the wind in its sails, it went frolicking over the sea.

The Bonnie Annie bore a picked crew, for Peter's boat was to him a sort of
church, in which he would not, with his will, carry any Jonah fleeing from
the will of the Lord of the sea. And that boat's crew did not look the
less merrily out of their blue eyes, or carry themselves less manfully in
danger, that they believed a Lord of the earth and the sea and the
fountains of water cared for His children, and would have them honest and
fearless.

And now came a scattering of rubies and topazes over the slow waves as the
sun reached the edge of the horizon and shone with a glory of blinding red
along the heaving level of green, dashed with the foam of their flight.
Could such a descent as this be intended for a type of death? Clementina
asked. Was it not rather as if, from a corner of the tomb behind, she saw
the back parts of a resurrection and ascension--warmth, outshining,
splendor; departure from the door of the tomb; exultant memory; tarnishing
gold, red fading to russet; fainting of spirit, loneliness; deepening blue
and green; pallor, grayness, coldness; out-creeping stars;
further-reaching memory; the dawn of infinite hope and foresight; the
assurance that under passion itself lay a better and holier mystery? Here
was God's naughty child, the world, laid asleep and dreaming--if not
merrily, yet contentedly--and there was the sky, with all the day gathered
and hidden up in its blue, ready to break forth again in laughter on the
morrow, bending over its skyey cradle like a mother; and there was the
aurora, the secret of life, creeping away round to the north to be ready.
Then first, when the slow twilight had fairly settled into night, did
Clementina begin to know the deepest marvel of this facet of the
rose-diamond life! God's night and sky and sea were hers now, as they had
been Malcolm's from childhood. And when the nets had been paid out, and
sunk straight into the deep, stretched betwixt leads below and floats and
buoys above, extending a screen of meshes against the rush of the watery
herd; when the sails were down, and the whole vault of stars laid bare to
her eyes as she lay; when the boat was still, fast to the nets, anchored
as it were by hanging acres of curtain, and all was silent as a church,
waiting, and she might dream or sleep or pray as she would, with nothing
about her but peace and love and the deep sea, and over her but still
peace and love and the deeper sky, then the soul of Clementina rose and
worshipped the soul of the universe; her spirit clave to the Life of her
life, the Thought of her thought, the Heart of her heart; her will bowed
itself to the Creator of will, worshipping the supreme, original, only
Freedom--the Father of her love, the Father of Jesus Christ, the God of
the hearts of the universe, the Thinker of all thoughts, the Beginner of
all beginnings, the All-in-all. It was her first experience of speechless
adoration.

Most of the men were asleep in the bows of the boat: all were lying down
but one. That one was Malcolm. He had come aft and seated himself under
the platform, leaning against it. The boat rose and sank a little, just
enough to rock the sleeping children a little deeper into their sleep:
Malcolm thought all slept. He did not see how Clementina's eyes shone
back to the heavens, no star in them to be named beside those eyes. She
knew that Malcolm was near her, but she would not speak, she would not
break the peace of the presence. A minute or two passed. Then softly woke
a murmur of sound that strengthened and grew, and swelled at last into a
song. She feared to stir lest she should interrupt its flow. And thus it
flowed:

    The stars are steady abune;
      I' the water they flichter an' flee;
    But steady aye luikin' doon,
      They ken themsel's i' the sea.

    A' licht, an' clear, an' free,
      God, Thou shinest abune:
    Yet luik an' see Thysel' in me,
      God, whan Thou luikest doon.

A silence followed, but a silence that seemed about to be broken. And
again Malcolm sang:

    There was an auld fisher--he sat by the wa',
      An' luikit oot ower the sea:
    The bairnies war playin'; he smilit on them a',
      But the tear stude in his e'e.
              An' it's oh to win awa', awa'!
                An' its oh to win awa'
              Whaur the bairns come hame, an' the wives they bide,
                An' God is the Father o' a'!

    Jocky an' Jeamy an' Tammy oot there,
      A' i' the boatie gaed doon;
    An' I'm ower auld to fish ony mair,
      An' I hinna the chance to droon.
              An' it's oh to win awa', awa'! etc.

    An' Jeanie she grat to ease her hert,
      An' she easit hersel' awa';
    But I'm ower auld for the tears to stert,
      An' sae the sighs maun blaw.
               An' it's oh to win awa', awa'! etc.

    Lord, steer me hame whaur my Lord has steerit,
      For I'm tired o' life's rockin' sea;
    An' dinna be lang, for I'm nearhan' fearit
      'At I'm 'maist ower auld to dee.
              An' it's oh to win awa', awa'! etc.

Again the stars and the sky were all, and there was no sound but the
slight murmurous lipping of the slow swell against the edges of the
planks. Then Clementina said, "Did you make that song, Malcolm?"

"Whilk o' them, my leddy? But it's a' ane: they're baith mine, sic as they
are."

"Thank you," she returned.

"What for, my leddy?"

"For speaking Scotch to me."

"I beg your pardon, my lady. I forgot your ladyship was English."

"Please forget it," she said. "But I thank you for your songs too. It was
the second I wanted to know about: the first I was certain was your own. I
did not know you could enter like that into the feelings of an old man."

"Why not, my lady? I never can see living thing without asking it how it
feels. Often and often, out here at such a time as this, have I tried to
fancy myself a herring caught by the gills in the net down below, instead
of the fisherman in the boat above going to haul him out."

"And did you succeed?"

"Well, I fancy I came to understand as much of him as he does himself.
It's a merry enough life down there. The flukes--plaice, you call them, my
lady--bother me, I confess. I never contemplate one without feeling as if
I had been sat upon when I was a baby. But for an old man! Why, that's
what I shall be myself one day, most likely, and it would be a shame not
to know pretty nearly how _he_ felt--near enough, at least, to make a song
about him."

"And sha'n't you mind being an old man, then, Malcolm?"

"Not in the least, my lady. I shall mind nothing so long as I can trust in
the Maker of me. If my faith in Him should give way, why then there would
be nothing worth minding either. I don't know but I should kill myself."

"Malcolm!"

"Which is worse, my lady--to distrust God, or to think life worth having
without Him?"

"But one may hope in the midst of doubt--at least that is what Mr.
Graham--and you--have taught me to do."

"Yes, surely, my lady. I won't let any one beat me at that, if I can help
it. And I think that so long as I kept my reason I should be able to cry
out, as that grandest and most human of all the prophets did, 'Though He
slay me, yet will I trust in Him.' But would you not like to sleep, my
lady?"

"No, Malcolm. I would much rather hear you talk. Could you not tell me a
story now? Lady Lossie mentioned one you once told her about an old
castle somewhere not far from here."

"Eh, my leddy," broke in Annie Mair, who had waked up while they were
speaking. "I wuss ye wud gar him tell ye that story, for my man he's h'ard
'im tell 't, an' he says it's unco gruesome: I wad fain hear 't.--Wauk up,
Lizzy," she went on, in her eagerness waiting for no answer: "Ma'colm's
gauin' to tell 's the tale o' the auld castel o' Colonsay.--It's oot by
yon'er, my leddy--no that far frae the Deid Heid.--Wauk up, Lizzy."

"I'm no sleepin', Annie," said Lizzy, "though, like Ma'colm's auld man,"
she added with a sigh, "I wad whiles fain be."

Now, there were reasons why Malcolm should not be unwilling to tell the
strange wild story requested of him, and he commenced it at once, but
modified the Scotch of it considerably for the sake of the unaccustomed
ears. When it was ended Clementina said nothing, Annie Mair said "Hech,
sirs!" and Lizzy, with a great sigh, remarked, "The deil maun be in a'
thing whaur God hasna a han', I'm thinkin'."

"Ye may tak yer aith upo' that," rejoined Malcolm.

It was a custom in Peter's boat never to draw the nets without a prayer,
uttered now by one, now by another of the crew. Upon this occasion,
whether it was in deference to Malcolm, who, as he well understood, did
not like long prayers, or that the presence of Clementina exercised some
restraint upon his spirit, out of the bows of the boat came now the solemn
voice of its master, bearing only this one sentence: "O Thoo, wha didst
tell thy dissiples to cast the net upo' the side whaur swam the fish, gien
it be Thy wull 'at we catch the nicht, lat 's catch: gien it binna Thy
wull, lat's no catch.--Haul awa', my laads."

Up sprang the men and went each to his place, and straight a torrent of
gleaming fish was pouring in over the gunwale of the boat. Such a take it
was ere the last of the nets was drawn as the oldest of them had seldom
seen. Thousands of fish there were that had never got into the meshes at
all.

"I cannot understand it," said Clementina. "There are multitudes more fish
than there are meshes in the nets to catch them: if they are not caught,
why do they not swim away?"

"Because they are drowned, my lady," answered Malcolm.

"What do you mean by that? How can you drown a fish?"

"You may call it _suffocated_ you like, my lady: it is all the same. You
have read of panic-stricken people, when a church or a theatre is on fire,
rushing to the door all in a heap and crowding each other to death? It is
something like that with the fish. They are swimming along in a great
shoal, yards thick; and when the first can get no farther, that does not
at once stop the rest, any more than it would in a crowd of people: those
that are behind come pressing up into every corner where there is room
till they are one dense mass. Then they push and push to get forward, and
can't get through, and the rest come still crowding on behind and above
and below, till a multitude of them are jammed so tight against each other
that they can't open their gills; and even if they could, there would not
be air enough for them. You've seen the goldfish in the swan-basin, my
lady, how they open and shut their gills constantly: that's their way of
getting air out of the water by some wonderful contrivance nobody
understands, for they need breath just as much as we do; and to close
their gills is to them the same as closing a man's mouth and nose. That's
how the most of those herrings are taken."

All were now ready to seek the harbor. A light westerly wind was still
blowing, with the aid of which, heavy-laden, they crept slowly to the
land. As she lay snug and warm, with the cool breath of the sea on her
face, a half sleep came over Clementina, and she half dreamed that she was
voyaging in a ship of the air, through infinite regions of space, with a
destination too glorious to be known. The herring-boat was a living
splendor of strength and speed, its sails were as the wings of a will in
place of the instruments of a force, and softly as mightily it bore them
through the charmed realms of Dreamland toward the ideal of the soul. And
yet the herring-boat but crawled over the still waters with its load of
fish, as the harvest-wagon creeps over the field with its piled-up
sheaves; and she who imagined its wondrous speed was the only one who did
not desire it should move faster. No word passed between her and Malcolm
all their homeward way. Each was brooding over the night and its joy that
enclosed them together, and hoping for that which was yet to be shaken
from the lap of the coming time.

Also, Clementina had in her mind a scheme for attempting what Malcolm had
requested of her: the next day must see it carried into effect, and ever
and anon, like a cold blast of doubt invading the bliss of confidence,
into the heart of that sea-borne peace darted the thought that if she
failed she must leave at once for England, for she would not again meet
Liftore.



CHAPTER LXVII.

SHORE.


At last they glided once more through the stony jaws of the harbor, as if
returning again to the earth from a sojourn in the land of the
disembodied. When Clementina's foot touched the shore she felt like one
waked out of a dream, from whom yet the dream has not departed, but keeps
floating about him, waved in thinner and yet thinner streams from the
wings of the vanishing sleep. It seemed almost as if her spirit, instead
of having come back to the world of its former abode, had been borne
across the parting waters and landed on the shore of the immortals. There
was the ghostlike harbor of the spirit-land, the water gleaming betwixt
its dark walls, one solitary boat motionless upon it, the men moving about
like shadows in the star twilight. Here stood three women and a man on the
shore, and save the stars no light shone, and from the land came no sound
of life. Was it the dead of the night or a day that had no sun? It was not
dark, but the light was rayless. Or rather it was as if she had gained
the power of seeing in the dark. Suppressed sleep wove the stuff of a
dream around her, and the stir at her heart kept it alive with
dream-forms. Even the voice of Peter's Annie, saying, "I s' bide for my
man.--Gude-nicht, my leddy," did not break the charm. Her heart shaped
that also into the dream. Turning away with Malcolm and Lizzy, she passed
along the front of the Seaton. How still, how dead, how empty like
cenotaphs, all the cottages looked! How the sea, which lay like a watcher
at their doors, murmured in its sleep! Arrived at the entrance to her own
close, Lizzy next bade them good-night, and Clementina and Malcolm were
left.

And now drew near the full power, the culmination of the mounting
enchantment, of the night for Malcolm. When once the Scaurnose people
should have passed them, they would be alone--alone as in the spaces
between the stars. There would not be a living soul on the shore for
hours. From the harbor the nearest way to the House was by the sea-gate,
but where was the haste with the lovely night around them, private as a
dream shared only by two? Besides, to get in by that they would have had
to rouse the cantankerous Bykes, and what a jar would not that bring into
the music of the silence! Instead, therefore, of turning up by the side of
the stream where it crossed the shore, he took Clementina once again in
his arms unforbidden and carried her over. Then the long sands lay open to
their feet. Presently they heard the Scaurnose party behind them, coming
audibly, merrily on. As by a common resolve they turned to the left, and
crossing the end of the Boar's Tail, resumed their former direction, with
the dune now between them and the sea. The voices passed on the other
side, and they heard them slowly merge into the inaudible. At length,
after an interval of silence, on the westerly air came one quiver of
laughter, by which Malcolm knew his friends were winding up the red path
to the top of the cliff. And now the shore was bare of presence, bare of
sound save the soft fitful rush of the rising tide. But behind the long
sandhill, for all they could see of the sea, they might have been in the
heart of a continent.

"Who would imagine the ocean so near us, my lady?" said Malcolm after they
had walked for some time without word spoken.

"Who can tell what may be near us?" she returned.

"True, my lady. Our future is near us, holding thousands of things
unknown. Hosts of thinking beings with endless myriads of thoughts may be
around us. What a joy to know that, of all things and all thoughts, God is
nearest to us--so near that we cannot see Him, but, far beyond seeing Him,
can know of Him infinitely!"

As he spoke they came opposite the tunnel, but he turned from it and they
ascended the dune. As their heads rose over the top, and the sky-night
above and the sea-night beneath rolled themselves out and rushed silently
together, Malcolm said, as if thinking aloud, "Thus shall we meet death
and the unknown, and the new that breaks from the bosom of the invisible
will be better than the old upon which the gates close behind us. The Son
of man is content with my future, and I am content."

There was a peace in the words that troubled Clementina: he wanted no more
than he had, this cold, imperturbable devout fisherman. She did not see
that it was the confidence of having all things that held his peace
rooted. From the platform of the swivel they looked abroad over the sea.
Far north in the east lurked a suspicion of dawn, which seemed, while they
gazed upon it, to "languish into life," and the sea was a shade less dark
than when they turned from it to go behind the dune. They descended a few
paces and halted again.

"Did your ladyship ever see the sun rise?" asked Malcolm.

"Never in open country," she answered.

"Then stay and see it now, my lady. He'll rise just over yonder, a little
nearer this way than that light from under his eyelids. A more glorious
chance you could not have. And when he rises, just observe, one minute
after he is up, how like a dream all you have been in to-night will look.
It is to me strange, even to awfulness, how many different phases of
things, and feelings about them, and moods of life and consciousness, God
can tie up in the bundle of one world, with one human soul to carry it."

Clementina slowly sank on the sand of the slope, and like lovely sphinx of
northern desert gazed in immovable silence out on the yet more northern
sea. Malcolm took his place a little below, leaning on his elbow--for the
slope was steep--and looking up at her. Thus they waited the sunrise.

Was it minutes or only moments passed in that silence, whose speech was
the soft ripple of the sea on the sand? Neither could have answered the
question. At length said Malcolm, "I think of changing my service, my
lady."

"Indeed, Malcolm!"

"Yes, my lady. My--mistress does not like to turn me away, but she is
tired of me, and does not want me any longer."

"But you would never think of finally forsaking a fisherman's life for
that of a servant, surely, Malcolm?"

"What would become of Kelpie, my lady?" rejoined Malcolm, smiling to
himself.

"Ah!" said Clementina bewildered, "I had not thought of her. But you
cannot take her with you," she added, coming a little to her senses.

"There is nobody about the place who could, or rather who would, do
anything with her. They would sell her. I have enough to buy her, and
perhaps somebody might not object to the encumbrance, but hire me and her
together. _Your_ groom wants a coachman's place, my lady."

"Oh, Malcolm! do you mean you would be _my_ groom?" cried Clementina,
pressing her palms together.

"If you would have me, my lady; but I have heard you say you would have
none but a married man."

"But, Malcolm, don't you know anybody that would--Could you not find some
one--some lady--that--I mean, why shouldn't you be a married man?"

"For a very good and to me rather sad reason, my lady: the only woman I
could marry or should ever be able to marry would not have me. She is very
kind and very noble, but--It is preposterous, the thing is too
preposterous: I dare not have the presumption to ask her."

Malcolm's voice trembled as he spoke, and a few moments' pause followed,
during which he could not lift his eyes. The whole heaven seemed pressing
down their lids. The breath which he modelled into words seemed to come in
little billows.

But his words had raised a storm in Clementina's bosom. A cry broke from
her as if driven forth by pain. She called up all the energy of her nature
and stilled herself to speak. The voice that came was little more than a
sob-scattered whisper, but to her it seemed as if all the world must hear.
"Oh, Malcolm," she panted, "I _will_ try to be good and wise. Don't marry
anybody else--_anybody_, I mean; but come with Kelpie and be my groom, and
wait and see if I don't grow better."

Malcolm leaped to his feet and threw himself at hers. He had heard, but in
part, and he _must_ know all. "My lady," he said with intense quiet,
"Kelpie and I will be your slaves. Take me for fisherman, groom, what you
will. I offer the whole sum of service that is in me." He kissed her feet.
"My lady, I would put your feet on my head," he went on, "only then what
should I do when I see my Lord and cast myself before _Him_?"

But Clementina, again her own to give, rose quickly, and said with all the
dignity born of her inward grandeur, "Rise, Malcolm: you misunderstand
me."

Malcolm rose abashed, but stood erect before her, save that his head was
bowed, for his heart was sunk in dismay. Then slowly, gently, Clementina
knelt before him. He was bewildered, and thought she was going to pray. In
sweet, clear, unshaken tones, for she feared nothing now, she said,
"Malcolm, I am not worthy of you. But take me--take my very soul if you
will, for it is yours."

Now Malcolm saw that he had no right to raise a kneeling lady: all he
could do was to kneel beside her. When people kneel, they lift up their
hearts; and the creating Heart of their joy was forgotten of neither. And
well for them, for the love where God is not, be the lady lovely as
Cordelia, the man gentle as Philip Sidney, will fare as the overkept
manna.

When the huge tidal wave from the ocean of infinite delight had broken at
last upon the shore of the finite, and withdrawn again into the deeps,
leaving every cistern brimming, every fountain overflowing, the two
entranced souls opened their bodily eyes, looked at each other, rose, and
stood hand in hand, speechless.

"Ah, my lady!" said Malcolm at length, "what is to become of this delicate
smoothness in my great rough hand? Will it not be hurt?"

"You don't know how strong it is, Malcolm. There!"

"I can scarcely feel it with my hand, my lady: it all goes through to my
heart. It shall lie in mine as the diamond in the rock."

"No, no, Malcolm! Now that I am going to be a fisherman's wife, it must be
a strong hand--it must work. What homage shall you require of me, Malcolm?
What will you have me do to rise a little nearer your level? Shall I give
away lands and money? And shall I live with you in the Seaton? or will you
come and fish at Wastbeach?"

"Forgive me, my lady: I can't think about things now--even with you in
them. There is neither past nor future to me now--only this one eternal
morning. Sit here, and look up, Lady Clementina: see all those worlds:
something in me constantly says that I shall know every one of them one
day--that they are all but rooms in the house of my spirit; that is, the
house of our Father. Let us not now, when your love makes me twice
eternal, talk of times and places. Come, let us fancy ourselves two
blessed spirits lying full in the sight and light of our God--as indeed
what else are we?--warming our hearts in His presence and peace, and that
we have but to rise and spread our wings to soar aloft and find--What
shall it be, my lady? Worlds upon worlds? No, no. What are worlds upon
worlds in infinite show until we have seen the face of the Son of man?"

A silence fell. But he resumed: "Let us imagine our earthly life behind
us, our hearts clean, love all in all. But that sends me back to the now.
My lady, I know I shall never love you aright until you have made me
perfect. When the face of the least lovely of my neighbors needs but
appear to rouse in my heart a divine tenderness, then it must be that I
shall love you better than now. Now, alas! I am so pervious to wrong! so
fertile of resentments and indignations! You must cure me, my divine
Clemency. Am I a poor lover to talk, this first glorious hour, of anything
but my lady and my love? Ah! but let it excuse me that this love is no new
thing to me. It is a very old love: I have loved you a thousand years. I
love every atom of your being, every thought that can harbor in your soul,
and I am jealous of hurting your blossoms with the over-jubilant winds of
that very love. I would therefore ever behold you folded in the atmosphere
of the Love eternal. My lady, if I were to talk of your beauty, I should
but offend you, for you would think I raved and spoke not the words of
truth and soberness. But how often have I not cried to the God who
breathed the beauty into you that it might shine out of you, to save my
soul from the tempest of its own delight therein! And now I am like one
that has caught an angel in his net, and fears to come too nigh, lest fire
should flash from the eyes of the startled splendor, and consume the net
and him who holds it. But I will not rave, because I would possess in
grand peace that which I lay at your feet. I am yours, and would be worthy
of your moonlight calm."

"Alas! I am beside you but a block of marble," said Clementina. "You are
so eloquent, my--"

"New groom," suggested Malcolm gently.

Clementina smiled. "But my heart is so full," she went on, "that I cannot
think the filmiest thought. I hardly know that I feel: I only know that I
want to weep."

"Weep, then, my word ineffable!" cried Malcolm, and laid himself again at
her feet, kissed them, and was silent.

He was but a fisher-poet--no courtier, no darling of society, no dealer in
fine speeches, no clerk of compliments. All the words he had were the
living blossoms of thought rooted in feeling. His pure clear heart was as
a crystal cup, through which shone the red wine of his love. To himself,
Malcolm stammered as a dumb man, the string of whose tongue has but just
been loosed: to Clementina his speech was as the song of the Lady to
Comus, "divine enchanting ravishment." The God of truth is surely present
at every such marriage-feast of two radiant spirits. Their joy was that
neither had foiled the hope of the other.

And so the herring-boat had indeed carried Clementina over into Paradise,
and this night of the world was to her a twilight of heaven. God alone can
tell what delights it is possible for Him to give to the pure in heart who
shall one day behold Him. Like two that had died and found each other,
they talked until speech rose into silence--they smiled until the dews
which the smiles had sublimed claimed their turn and descended in tears.

All at once they became aware that an eye was upon them. It was the sun.
He was ten degrees up the slope of the sky, and they had never seen him
rise. With the sun came a troublous thought, for with the sun came "a
world of men." Neither they nor the simple fisher-folk, their friends, had
thought of the thing, but now at length it occurred to Clementina that she
would rather not walk up to the door of Lossie House with Malcolm at this
hour of the morning. Yet neither could she well appear alone.

Ere she had spoken Malcolm rose. "You won't mind being left, my lady," he
said, "for a quarter of an hour or so, will you? I want to bring Lizzy to
walk home with you."

He went, and Clementina sat alone on the dune in a reposeful rapture, to
which the sleeplessness of the night gave a certain additional intensity
and richness and strangeness. She watched the great strides of her
fisherman as he walked along the sands, and she seemed not to be left
behind, but to go with him every step. The tide was again falling, and the
sea shone and sparkled and danced with life, and the wet sand gleamed, and
a soft air blew on her cheek, and the lordly sun was mounting higher and
higher, and a lark over her head was sacrificing all Nature in his song;
and it seemed as if Malcolm were still speaking strange,
half-intelligible, altogether lovely things in her ears. She felt a little
weary, and laid her head down upon her arm to listen more at her ease.

Now, the lark had seen and heard all, and was telling it again to the
universe, only in dark sayings which none but themselves could understand:
therefore it is no wonder that, as she listened, his song melted into a
dream, and she slept. And the dream was lovely as dream needs be, but not
lovelier than the wakeful night. She opened her eyes, calm as any cradled
child, and there stood her fisherman.

"I have been explaining to Lizzy, my lady," he said, "that your ladyship
would rather have her company up to the door than mine. Lizzy is to be
trusted, my lady."

"'Deed, my leddy," said Lizzy, "Ma'colm's been ower guid to me, no to gar
me du onything he wad hae o' me. I can haud my tongue whan I like, my
leddy. An' dinna doobt my thouchts, my leddy, for I ken Ma'colm as weel's
ye du yersel', my leddy."

While she was speaking Clementina rose, and they went straight to the door
in the bank. Through the tunnel and the young wood and the dew and the
morning odors, along the lovely paths, the three walked to the house
together. And oh, how the larks of the earth and the larks of the soul
sang for two of them! and how the burn ran with music, and the air
throbbed with sweetest life! while the breath of God made a little sound
as of a going now and then in the tops of the fir trees, and the sun shone
his brightest and best, and all Nature knew that the heart of God is the
home of his creatures.

When they drew near the house Malcolm left them. After they had rung a
good many times the door was opened by the housekeeper, looking very
proper and just a little scandalized.

"Please, Mrs. Courthope," said Lady Clementina, "will you give orders that
when this young woman comes to see me to-day she shall be shown up to my
room?"

Then she turned to Lizzy and thanked her for her kindness, and they
parted--Lizzy to her baby, and Clementina to yet a dream or two. Long
before her dreams were sleeping ones, however, Malcolm was out in the bay
in the Psyche's dinghy catching mackerel: some should be for his
grandfather, some for Miss Horn, some for Mrs. Courthope, and some for
Mrs. Crathie.


[TO BE CONTINUED.]



CHÂTEAU COURANCE.


During the earlier years of the reign of Napoleon III., Fontainebleau was
a favorite resort of the emperor and the court, and consequently was much
frequented by good republicans from this democratic land of freedom. When,
in the later time, De Morny's speculation at Biarritz called the court to
the seaside, the sightseeing fraternity followed. Fontainebleau was
deserted, and has since been almost unknown to Americans, few caring to
crowd into the little cabarets save the faithful community of artists, who
still go there to study the grand old trees of the finest forest in
France. But among the elder generation of our fellow-citizens who have
"done the Continent" there must be many who, in the palmy days of
Fontainebleau, have seen the imperial hunt winding through the greenwood
aisles in much magnificence of environment, and heard the blare of horn
and bay of hound dying away in the distance as the splendid assembly
pursued the gorgeous if somewhat theatrical and spiritless pleasures of
the chase. It may have happened on such an occasion that an early return
of the green-and-gold-clad cortége has indicated a failure of the day's
sport, and the word "Courance" has passed from lip to lip as explaining
the disappointment. And then, perhaps, Madame Busque, the polite mistress
of the Hôtel du Sol, has communicated the information that the obstinate
pig of a stag had the stupidity to run toward Le Courance, and the chase
was therefore abandoned. Why? _Mais_, because Le Courance is an
impenetrable wilderness, and besides--this with significant shrug and
gesture--besides, one goes not there. Not His Majesty? No, not even His
Majesty.

Continued inquiry may have elicited the fact that Château Courance, with
its wide park, situated some three leagues south-west from Fontainebleau,
had once been a splendid feudal residence, but was now supposed to be in
ruins, having been abandoned and wholly closed to the world for the
greater part of a century. The resident artists, if appealed to, may have
told of legends heard among the foresters and peasantry of old-time
tragedies, and of supernatural appearances haunting the deserted place.
They may have repeated, too, the gossip of the studios touching rare and
curious works of art, paintings by great masters, plate by Cellini and
early Sèvres porcelain lost to the world within the walls of the château.
But as rumor, while giving these details, also maintained that no human
creature except a few faithful descendants of the household had been even
within the limits of the park for nearly a hundred years, the practical
American mind may not have found much in these tales worth remembering.

Attempts, however, have not been wanting to penetrate the mysteries
surrounding Château Courance, but it is believed that none ever met with
success until a very recent period. The authorities always interfered by
virtue of a royal mandate, still on the statute-books of France, which
forbids any entry to the demesne of Courance without the express consent
of the count or his intendant. Furthermore, a superstitious dread of any
approach to the place prevails among the people, and this feeling has been
strong enough to defeat the several secret explorations known to have been
undertaken.

Courance, then, remained but a name and a shadow for many and many a year,
drifting slowly back to the sole dominion of Nature and out of the very
memory of mankind. But the late war, sweeping over the land and destroying
so much of old France, made a break at last in the barriers surrounding
the ancient demesne--not, indeed, by direct assault, as Fontainebleau and
its neighborhood were not in the line of the Prussian march, but by one of
those little eddies of reaction by which great movements affect distant
currents of event.

Among the first to fly from Paris when the gates opened at the end of the
war were the artists. More hungry to feast their eyes than to satisfy
physical cravings, many hastened to Fontainebleau, content with Madame
Busque's thin pottage if they could but spend their days among the trees.
Two American painters were of their number--Perry from Boston, and
Johnston from Baltimore. Belonging to the Can't-get-away Club, they had
stood the siege manfully, and been very helpful at our legation when the
whole establishment was turned into a hospital. On receipt of the fund
from the United States for the relief of sufferers from the war, Minister
Washburne appointed these gentlemen on the sub-commission of distribution
in the district of the Loiret. The active and enthusiastic young men were
instrumental in doing a vast amount of good, and were the recipients of
endless ovations of the gratitude which poured out in effusion at that
time toward all bearing the American name. It is impossible to overstate
the hearty good-will entertained by all classes and manifested on all
occasions, an opportunity to do a service or afford a pleasure being
looked upon as a piece of enviable fortune.

Johnston was a connoisseur in bric-à-brac and mediæval art, his studio
being head-quarters for the students interested in such matters. He and
his coterie had persuaded themselves that a certain lost Velasquez could
be traced to the possession of the Courance family, and he was most
anxious to visit the château in search of the picture. This and the
natural curiosity common to both artists made up motives of appeal too
strong to be resisted, and they accordingly allowed their wishes to become
known in certain influential quarters. How the affair was managed they
never knew, and indeed never inquired, but in due time they received an
invitation to join a party coursing for hares in the wastes of La
Pontoise, and this they understood as an intimation that their desire to
visit Courance was about to be gratified.

The old royal post-road from Paris to Lyons, passing through
Fontainebleau, runs nearly due south until it strikes the high banks of a
small tributary of the Seine, when it turns south-west and climbs the
hills toward Nemours, the next post-town. These hills slope off westward
to the desert or waste of La Pontoise, one of those blister-scars, still
to be seen in France, left by the feudal system, which stripped the soil
of the last grain of fertility and gave nothing in return. La Pontoise was
aforetime a grand estate, possessed by a branch of the Foix family, the
great ducal house of Nemours. Its farms wasted by the improvidence of the
_ancien régime_, its park and château destroyed by desperate peasantry
during the frenzy of '93, there remains nothing now but pine-barrens and
furze-patches, with a pile of blackened ruins as a monument of former
glory and folly.

Between this sterile, uninhabitable solitude and the precipitous, broken
ridge forming the north-eastern boundary of the Loiret lies Courance. No
road leads thitherward, no path approaches its forgotten gate. The stream
which formerly flowed past the entrance-lodge is dammed up by the fallen
bridge and spreads out in a broad morass.

To this uninviting neighborhood came the coursing-party at the time
appointed. After a sufficiently successful day's sport the American guests
accepted an invitation to pass the night with the mayor of Mont Plésis,
the other gentlemen returning to Fontainebleau. Monsieur le Maire loitered
by the way until the last of the hunters had disappeared, and then struck
off across country toward Courance. Making such haste as the nature of the
ground permitted, he directed his course toward a tall chestnut tree, the
outlying sentinel of a host of its brethren in the park. Arriving beneath
the tree, he dismounted, and was immediately addressed by an old man in
peasant costume, whom he presented as Monsieur Gambeau, the intendant of
Courance. As the twilight was already falling, the mayor hastened to
depart, after cordially commending his charge to the care of the
intendant.

Their new host brought out a stout cob from the furze near by, and led the
way south-westward. After a silent ride of half a mile or more he
dismounted, and, producing a lantern, carefully piloted the horses over a
heap of stones overgrown with briers, probably a fallen section of wall
giving entrance to the park. Then turning more to the west, they followed
a sort of bridle-path leading directly into dense forest, where the fading
twilight was wholly obscured and the swinging lantern afforded the only
beacon to steer by. The close-growing trees impinged sharply on shins and
elbows, and overhanging boughs frequently occasioned still more serious
encounters. Patience and temper were nearly exhausted when a sudden glare
shot out of the darkness, and the intendant pulled up before an open door
whence issued a blaze of light.

A man came from within to take the horses, and was introduced by the
intendant as his son Émile and the heir to his office. Émile had the same
serious and reserved manner as his father, but he showed more cordiality.
He apologized for the poor appearance of the place, saying it had never
been more than a keeper's lodge, but that he had endeavored to make it
comfortable for them.

The door opened immediately into a good-sized square room, with a wide
fireplace occupying half the farther side, having a great fire of logs and
branches burning on the hearth. In the middle of the floor stood a solid
old oak table, whereon smoked a most inviting supper, served in an
incongruous array of quaint and curious dishes and antique vessels--fine
glass, splendid silver, broken delft, and translucent porcelain that drew
a cry of admiration from the delighted artists.

The intendant thawed out rapidly, warmed by the generous supper and
perhaps an extra sip or two of rare old Beaujolais. Allowing himself to be
prompted by M. Gambeau junior, he entertained his guests with many a
tradition of the Courance family--their heroism in war, their wisdom in
peace, their conspicuous splendor at court, their kindness and liberality
at home. As to the château and its contents, he knew very little. It stood
just as it had been left, with all the appointments of a noble household
and a full retinue, but he had never been through the rooms to examine
them, and now only entered the place twice a year to go through the form
of putting in order the private apartments of the last count, who had
given orders that his rooms should be kept ready for his return. There
were pictures--yes, a great many pictures--but all black, and some falling
from the frames: those in the count's rooms were kept clean, however, and
were very pretty--truly, very fine.

The explorers were called early next morning by agreement, and after a
breakfast corresponding with the evening meal they were supplied with
peasant costume--blue blouse, knit cap and cotton trousers; and being
further equipped with a lantern, hatchet and substantial lunch, they set
out for the château. The walk was a delightful scramble through the
neglected old woods for perhaps half a mile, when a seemingly impenetrable
thicket barred the way. M. Gambeau said this was the line of the ancient
moat, and they must cut their way through or make a long détour to the
rear of the château, the side on which he usually approached. The hatchet
was plied vigorously, hands were scratched, clothes torn, many a fall
taken and many a fight had with the clinging vines, as they crawled and
clambered through, and came out at a fallen wicket in the wall of the
courtyard, passing which Château Courance stood close before them.

With exclamations of surprise and pleasure they found, instead of the gray
and mouldering ruin they had pictured in expectation, a stately and
beautiful mansion of white marble shining in the morning sun, with every
outline perfect and clear cut against the blue sky. It seemed for a moment
as if the life-scenes of a noble household might be called to animation
there if the awakening signal could but be given. But a second glance
revealed the assaults of decay and the work of Nature reclaiming that
dominion which she concedes to man only for a time.

The artists subsequently described the place, as they then saw it, nearly
as follows: "The main building is of Pyrenean marble, of composite
architecture, the openings of the first story being square, while those of
the second are pointed. It is perhaps two hundred feet deep, with a front
of one hundred feet, flanked by pointed towers and approached by a broad
flight of steps leading to a massive square pavilion. It is very rich in
ornamented detail of cut stone, all remaining in place and perfectly
preserved. This M. Gambeau calls distinctively 'the new house,' as it is
supposed to be less than two hundred years old. It is connected by curtain
walls with the chapel on one side, and on the other with the old château,
some of whose great square towers, built of the red stone of the country,
must be very ancient indeed. The façade of 'the new house' fronts on a
broad terrace, which descends ten or twelve feet to stone-paved
courtyards, the whole enclosed by moat and wall. This façade and terrace,
as also the broad steps leading to the paved courts, are decorated with
statuary in profusion. The windows of the second story have light,
graceful balconies, hung up like festoons of flowers. Grotesque gargoyles
cling to every corner, and each projection and angle is turned to ornament
in fine designs of cut stone.

"All the sky-lines of this beautiful building are perfect, and the entire
upper part looks indeed like a 'new house,' so bright and fair does it
remain. But the lower stories and the adjoining grounds tell the story of
desertion and decay. Over, around and through the entire demesne climbs
and twines and trails the veiling vegetation of a hundred years, filling
the arched doorways, screening the windows, hanging from the parapets, and
covering the pavements with a disguise of greenery, like a masque half
hiding the face of a court beauty."

Finishing his sketch, Perry was about to run up the marble steps, but the
intendant detained him, politely but decidedly stating that this could not
be permitted. "When M. le Comte descended those steps he commanded that
human creature should rest not the foot there until his return. And no
person has ever passed there, unless, possibly, himself."

"How himself? Has he ever returned, then?"

"Who knows? I have never seen him, at least; and I have no envy for that,
comprehend well. When one sees him 'tis time to make one's peace; and I
hope my time has not yet come."

"This becomes interesting. There is a tradition, is there not?"

"One says it. When I was a child my grandfather came home from here one
day very sad, very silent, gave his keys to my father, sent for the curé.
Behold, the end! What one said was that he had seen M. le Comte. Also, my
father. It is twenty-two years last day of Our Lady since he returned home
from here, cold, white and trembling, and put himself to arrange his
affairs. He said he was not ill, but the terrible whisper again agitated
itself--'He has seen M. le Comte!' He went to rest as usual, and rose not
again. Bah! this is not agreeable, all this. Let us go to the house."

Skirting the courtyards, the intendant led the way to the rear of the
château, passing between the moat and the grim old walls of the mediæval
towers. Here the work of time was found to be more noticeable: the gardens
showed a strange confusion of fine and rare vegetation run wild, mingled
with intruding native growths; many of the wooden buildings, formerly the
offices of the household, had fallen to the ground; and the chapel, an
offset from the "new house," was partly in ruins.

Lighting his lantern, M. Gambeau descended a narrow passage leading to the
cellars. The exploration of the interior may be narrated in the words of
the adventurers:

"It was very dark, and at first we could see nothing, but presently the
glimmer of the dim lantern disclosed vast pillars and low arches of rough,
unhewn stone, and in the aisles rows of casks shrouded with cobwebs and
half buried in dust.

"'These are the wine-vaults,' said M. Gambeau, endeavoring to throw light
into the black recesses of the crypts on either hand.

"Perry stepped aside and struck one of the casks with his stick, when,
stumbling over the skid on the floor, he brought the whole pile of tierces
tumbling down in a heap of mould, rust and dirt. Escaping from the smudge
and smell of dead wood, we went up a few steps to another level in the
foundations, and came into the kitchens of the 'new house.' The main
kitchen is a vaulted chamber, divided by rows of pillars, the ceiling
being perhaps twenty feet in the clear, and the area of the entire floor
thirty feet by fifty. At either end are stone platforms, something like a
blacksmith's forge, only much larger, and over these smoke-hoods are
suspended, connected with the cavernous chimneys. At each corner of these
hearths are iron cranes hung with chains, and between two of these cranes
the intendant pointed out an indescribable mass of something supposed to
be a stag roasted whole--not at present a very toothsome-looking morsel.
Dozens of pots and kettles hang from the chains, and scores of pans and
ovens stand in rows underneath. Thickly scattered over the floor near
these fireplaces are the bones of game and poultry, probably dragged there
by rats, though we did not encounter rat or mouse or any living thing
within the walls, and our friend tells us there has been no form of life
in the château during his memory.

"The ascent from the kitchens is by an inclined plane, a broad roadway, up
which the mammoth triumphs of last-century culinary skill were hauled on
trucks, several of which vehicles stand near the foot of the way. The
banquet-hall occupies nearly one-half the entire first floor of the 'new
house.' We entered this magnificent apartment at the lower end from a dark
lobby, and it seemed ablaze with light and color, though we presently
noticed that only the ceiling and upper half of the room were illuminated,
the floor and furniture being in shadow and covered with dust. On one side
are six large windows opening on the terrace, the lower sashes overgrown
with vines and blocked up with accumulated rubbish, while the upper panes
are comparatively clean and clear. The ceiling is divided into panels by
heavy carved and gilded mouldings, the panels painted with mythological
designs in the style of the seventeenth century. The early morning sun lit
up these splendors, making the white and gold and thousand bright tints
shine like the array of Solomon, while from the height of our heads to the
tiles under foot the entire area was covered with one monotonous coating
of dark-gray dust.

"The other side of the room is nearly filled by the great fireplace and
two doors, united in one design of carved woodwork extending to the
ceiling. At the upper end are also two doors, and between these a raised
dais overhung by a canopy of purple Utrecht velvet. Two tables extend the
whole length of the hall, while on the dais is a smaller table, with but
six chairs. Two of these chairs are very rich and curious, and stand in
the centre facing the room--evidently seats of honor. They are of ebony,
wrought in the most intricate and bewildering patterns, while each
convolution and entanglement is followed and almost covered by a running
vine of inlaid gold wire.

"The other seats about the room are mostly tabourets, covered with Cordova
leather, embossed in gold and colors and tooled by hand in free arabesque
designs. Two long tables extend through the room, and a smaller one
occupies the dais: these tables are literally 'boards'--heavy planks
jointed together resting on solid, richly-carved trestles, all black with
age. They are apparently covered with a full service for a grand banquet,
and the intendant said they had never been disturbed since they were
prepared for a marriage-feast on the day when the château was deserted.

"Perry's quick eye first rested on a large piece of quaint and uncouth
form in the centre of the dais-table, which he at once said must be the
masterpiece of the collection. Imagine my surprise and disappointment on
wiping off some of the dirt to find it nothing but coarse crockery,
somewhat resembling queensware, ornamented with blue enameled figures such
as decorate old preserve-jars at home. I said it looked to me like a
foot-bath, but Perry insisted on examining it, and, removing the cover,
found the bottom was a silver plate with this inscription: 'Presented by
His Most Christian Majesty, Louis XIV., king of France and Navarre, to his
devoted vassal and servitor, Melun du Guesclin, Sieur de Courance, Dec.
25, 1714.' Perry declared he recognized it as a veritable piece of that
rare faïence made by Pierre Clerissy for the Grand Monarch when he coined
all his plate to pay the army in Flanders. The king subsequently gave most
of the set to Villars and his officers after the Peace of Utrecht. Perry
has seen almost every collection in Europe, and he says there are not
fifty pieces of this ware in existence.

"For my part, I was more interested in the zephyr-glasses I found on this
table of the early Venetian manufacture, delicate and graceful as the
flacons of Fairyland. There are imitations of this exquisite glass now
made, but there were none a hundred years ago, and these are
unquestionably genuine. A remarkable chalice also attracted our notice,
and we decided it to be either the bridal or the christening-cup of the
Courance family. It is a mass of solid silver, about fourteen inches high,
on a base of ebony and pearl: it is wrought out of block silver in the
Genoese method, and is designed in deep panels divided by wreathed
columns: these panels are covered with inscriptions, seemingly of names
and dates, most of them illegible--'Robillard Puyraveau du Guesclin,
1602,' being the earliest we could make out. We found several varieties,
or, as Perry says, 'classes,' of porcelain--beautiful plates of Sèvres,
painted in the most charming designs by masters to us unknown--and of the
different sorts of this ware there must be several hundred pieces, each a
gem of price to-day.

"Of course we flew from one thing to another, and did not wait upon any
order of our going about, nor did we examine a tenth part of the treasures
on the tables: but it strikes me now that the wealth in silver alone there
must be simply enormous. The intendant could tell us nothing positive, and
everything is so black and encrusted with dust that we could not see with
certainty: but it is probable that what appears to be family plate,
literally covering these tables, is the Courance heirloom silver. Much of
it is very old, as shown by the antique designs and the marks of wear.
Near the centre of one of the long tables we cleared up eighteen or twenty
beautiful pieces of the Italian school established in Paris under the
patronage of Francis I., and on the dais-table a full set, the exquisite
work of the Antwerp smiths, dated 1598.

"We had no means for brushing off the pictures, and M. Gambeau was not in
the least inclined to help us, being not at all pleased with our
disturbing the dust of ages so freely. However, the walls are in a good
state, and we could see very well that between the windows they are
decorated by Boucher with the elaborate and formal panels of Paris in his
time. At the lower end of the room is a very large and magnificent
fruit-and flower-piece by Jan van Huysum of Amsterdam. On each side of the
dais are grand entrances from the main hall of the 'new house,' but the
floor is broken up at this end of the salon, probably by rats, and rather
than risk a fall we returned by the kitchen passage.

"Crossing under the grand stairway, we tumbled through a wood-closet into
the drawing-room, a splendid apartment on the first floor of the 'new
house,' corresponding to the banquet-salon, only that the side wall,
instead of having windows, is penetrated by three wide arches opening into
a suite of state apartments extending through the old château. The most
noticeable things in these rooms are the hangings, arranged apparently in
chronological series, beginning with the quaint and curious needlework
covering the bare stone walls of the red tower, and continuing in regular
order through the several rooms, to the masterpieces of Lebrun and
Mignard. Some of them have fallen, and lie in mouldering heaps on the
floor, but most of them are still in place, and in none of the royal
palaces I have visited is the progress of the art of tapestry so fully
illustrated as here. We could have spent the day with delight in comparing
the different specimens, but our half-suffocated guide protested so
decidedly against our dust-raising that we had to desist long before we
wanted to. The furniture of these rooms is also arranged in historic
order, but of course the succession is not so marked as in the case of the
tapestries; still, between the rude black wooden settles of the earliest
period and the gilded and brocaded fauteuils of the Louis Quatorze salon
the contrast is sufficiently striking. The splendors of the great
drawing-room are still fresh: the white enamel is brilliant, the ormolu
untarnished, and the rich upholstery gorgeous as when first received from
Paris. A good American 'spring cleaning' would put this, and indeed most
of the apartments, in condition for immediate occupancy.

"The greater number of the pictures are family portraits, like those of
any other gallery of the same sort, but in the modern rooms are several
examples of Flemish masters of great interest and value. A treck-schuyt,
with market-women, by Albert Cuyp, quite characteristic of that artist and
his school, a tavern fireside by Ostade, and two of Quintin Matsys'
studies of single figures, are the most important.

"I must not omit to mention a remarkable old cabinet in one of these state
rooms, which Perry recognized as a specimen of Bruges carving of the
fifteenth century. It is a very curious and wonderfully ingenious piece of
work, the ornamentation appearing at first like a rather confused grouping
of flowers and fruit cut in high relief, but seen at the proper angle rich
and beautiful compositions are discovered of the most intricate and
difficult character--processions of cupids, leading leopards or tugging at
great wains; children at play, chasing each other through mazes of vines;
juvenile lovers, sentimentalizing; and a hundred pretty conceits, all
formed by the outlines of the fruit and flowers first seen. Each figure is
perfectly represented, and each graceful and delicate fancy is carried out
with marvellous skill.

"The grand drawing-room opens in the main hall, which occupies the entire
central part of the 'new house.' It is about forty feet in width by two
hundred in depth, and has the roof of the château for its ceiling. At one
end is the great portal, with a high-arched window over it: at the other
is the wide and beautiful staircase, leading to a gallery which on either
side of the hall gives access to the second floor of the building. The
walls are divided into panels by the columns and brackets supporting the
gallery, and these panels are ornamented alternately by trophies of arms
and entire suits of armor, all rusted. A few tattered banners still depend
from the gallery, but most that was perishable in the hall has succumbed
to time and the weather. The intendant said that within his time a violent
hailstorm had broken some of the panes in the arched window, since when
the birds, the rains and the snows have come in and done much damage in
the old hall.

"On the second floor, over the banquet-room, are the private apartments of
the last count, and over the drawing-room are the state chambers. Of these
the suites in the front of the house have the royal arms of France over
the entrance--an indication that they were once occupied by royalty. These
rooms are the only ones in the château furnished with carpets. The
hangings and upholstery were originally white velvet and white silk
throughout. They are no longer white, though comparatively clean and well
preserved; but the effect when these abundant draperies were fresh and
bright must have been superb. We surmised that these were intended for the
bridal apartments, but M. Gambeau could not support our conjectures with
any positive information. The bed is really a work of art, canopied and
covered with white satin, over which is the dower of a princess in
exquisite point lace. The pillow-slips and centre-piece of the coverlet
are perfect gems--the richest and most lovely lace I ever saw.

"Before entering the count's rooms M. Gambeau produced a brush and removed
some of the dust with which we were thickly covered, and on opening the
door we were surprised at the brilliant cleanliness of the place. The old
man took much credit to himself, informing us that the rooms were always
kept in order, the late count's instructions having been that they should
be maintained just as he had left them, ready for occupancy when he
returned. The furniture is plain, the only valuable things in the rooms
being a collection of French pictures of the last century, selected with
good taste and judgment. There are several battle-pieces by Gerard
Lairesse, in one of which, a dashing cavalry-charge, the Courance banner
leads the van. Boucher has two landscapes, scenes in the park according to
M. Gambeau--very careful, faithful works; and there are several large
pictures by Vien, similar to his suburban studies in the Louvre. At the
foot of the bed is an older painting, probably by Joseph Imbert, the
subject being the Virgin and Child, treated quite in his manner.

"On a table in the dressing-room are nearly a dozen swords, some of them
very rich and splendid. One in particular, an elegant, dainty
dress-rapier, is fairly encrusted with gems and jewelry. On the chairs,
scattered about the room, a courtier's wardrobe of the utmost magnificence
lies as if thrown down in confusion--silks, velvets, laces and
embroideries, collars and chains set with precious stones, orders and
decorations blazing with diamonds--a piled-up profusion indeed of all the
luxurious and costly appointments of a favorite at the most gorgeous and
extravagant court in Europe.

"We took an _al-fresco_ lunch in the court, provided beforehand by the
intendant, and then returned through the entire range of buildings to the
chapel. Our old friend failed us here. He had never been in the chapel,
and declined to accompany us farther than the entrance. We had reserved
the chapel until the afternoon, thinking it would prove the richest
treasury of the château, studio-rumors placing here a collection of
original old masters. But we were grievously disappointed, finding nothing
but black ruin and decay. The roof over the chancel is entirely open to
the sky, and a wide-yawning crack extends down the rear wall to the
ground, as if a lightning-stroke had riven it asunder. The canvas of the
altar-piece has fallen like a covering over the altar, screening and
preserving it, so that its beautiful marble and alabaster sculptures still
retain their integrity; but the picture itself crumbled to pieces as we
touched it, and the other paintings, of which there are a great number,
are all in much the same state--black, defaced and destroyed beyond
recognition or hope of restoration. If there are originals of Salvator
Rosa, Rubens or Rembrandt here, they are lost to the world for ever."

       *       *       *       *       *

The foregoing description has been summarized from letters and statements
of the artist visitors. The following sketch is from the same sources,
collated with popular tradition and hints obtained from historic
researches. Partly narrative, partly legend and partly surmise, it gives
the story of Château Courance as nearly as it will probably ever be known.

Early in the eighteenth century the estates of Courance came into the
possession of Raoul Boismonard du Guesclin, a minor, probably then very
young. He apparently resided in Paris, and may have seen the sunset
glories of the court of Louis the Great. At all events, not long after the
death of the Grand Monarch the youthful Du Guesclin accompanied the
equally youthful Louis XV. on that journey to Lorraine which was
terminated so abruptly at Metz by the almost fatal illness of the king.
Later, he was in personal attendance on his royal friend during Marshal
Saxe's splendid campaign, and at Fontenoy proved himself a worthy
descendant of his ancestor, the great constable of France. The idle life
of a luxurious court, growing more and more effeminate in the long years
of peace that followed Fontenoy, seems to have ill suited this scion of
the Courance family, ever in history a race of soldiers, men of high
spirit and stirring temper. With many other gentlemen of France he
espoused as a volunteer the cause of Maria Theresa. It is probable that
most of his active life was passed in the Austrian service, as he won
distinguished honors and was a chief of cavalry in the Seven Years' War.
Home interests were not neglected, however, as the Courance estates were
improved under his management, while the neighboring domains were drifting
to ruin. It appears also that during his last campaigns he adopted into
his military family the younger son of an old Courance neighbor, Henri
d'Armagnac de Foix, a cadet of the house of Pontoise.

After the Peace of Hubertsburg the count returned to France, entrusted, it
is supposed, with a mission respecting a matrimonial alliance between
France and Austria, which was afterward accomplished in the marriage of
the archduchess Marie Antoinette and the dauphin. Louis XV. received the
companion of his youth with great cordiality and honor. At a court
audience the sovereign distinguished the soldier by removing the royal
sword and scarf and with his own hands hanging the splendid guerdon over
the shoulders of his subject and friend.

Leaving his protégé, D'Armagnac de Foix, in charge of affairs in Paris,
the count hastened to Courance, where his neighbors hailed his arrival
with every demonstration of welcome. Fêtes, hunting-parties, excursions,
balls and banquets were given for his entertainment, and all the families
of the Loiret joined in lionizing the brilliant _chef d'escadron_, heroes
being a rarity in France during those piping times of peace.

Among these old and new friends the count met Madame Chiron de la
Peyronie, relict of Admiral Chiron of the Grand Monarch's navy. This lady
resided with her son and daughter near what was then the pretty village of
La Pontoise. Her children were making their début in the informal society
of the country-side, and their grace, beauty and guileless charms were
heralded to the general before they were permitted to take part in the
festivities incident to his return. A fox-hunt in the Forest of
Fontainebleau was the occasion of their first meeting. Mademoiselle de la
Peyronie and her brother, magnificently mounted, dashed up to the
rendezvous at a gallop, making it the goal of a merry race. With glowing
cheeks and sparkling eyes the young equestrian presented a very charming
picture of maidenly loveliness. From the moment of her first appearance
the count was fascinated, and during a long day's chase he scarcely left
her bridle-rein. The next day he visited the family, and thereafter sought
the young lady's presence with the frankest disregard of propriety. When
remonstrated with for such inconsiderate devotion, the straightforward
soldier settled the matter by immediately galloping over to La Pontoise
and demanding of Madame de la Peyronie the hand of her daughter in
marriage.

How far the widow should be held responsible for the events which
followed can never be known. She was doubtless flattered by the brilliant
offer, and perhaps overborne by the impetuous ardor of a suitor accustomed
to regard obstacles and opposition only as something to be conquered. But
she knew her daughter's heart was already engaged, and although marriage
alliances were usually made by parents without reference to the bride's
inclinations or opinions, the custom can hardly be held to exculpate the
mother in this case.

The Pontoise family having fallen into poverty, Henri d'Armagnac de Foix
had been educated by the parish curé, and when tutors came from Nemours to
the children of Madame de la Peyronie the young Henri had shared their
studies, passing parts of several days in each week with them at their
house. Growing up together, the three became inseparable friends until, in
course of years, Chiron began to find his part in the companionship
somewhat _de trop_. That Henri and Thérèse should become lovers was so
natural that the families on each side tacitly sanctioned the relation
without any formal recognition. The old admiral had left a fair dot for
his daughter, and on the other hand the De Foix, though impoverished,
belonged to the ducal house of Nemours and ranked among the highest of the
noblesse; so the match was not unsuitable, and all friends were probably
satisfied. But there was no contract or ceremony of betrothal, as the
lovers were still very young when Henri went away to the wars, he being at
the time scarce twenty years of age. When, therefore, Thérèse's hand was
demanded by the count de Courance, her mother was not deterred from giving
her consent by any implied obligation to the youthful heir of La Pontoise.
Who could deny the suit of the distinguished soldier, holder of the
largest and richest estates in the Loiret, the personal friend of the
king? Certainly not Madame de la Peyronie. She surrendered at discretion,
the betrothal took place at once, and the marriage was appointed for the
earliest possible day, the magnificent preparations for the event being
the only occasion for delay.

Artists and artisans were brought from Paris, Château Courance was
converted for the time into a busy workshop, the neighborhood thrown into
a fever of excitement, and the work of making ready for the wedding was
urged forward with the vigor of a military campaign. The general spent his
days between Courance, where he directed the rehabilitation of the
château, and La Pontoise, where he became the most devoted of cavaliers.

Mademoiselle de la Peyronie must have been dazzled by her brilliant
conquest, and the sincere love of the truly noble man, the modest hero and
splendid gentleman, lavished upon her every hour, could not fail to move
at least her gratitude and esteem. But as the days flew by the young girl
paled and drooped, and when the brief period of betrothal drew toward a
close the mother's ingenuity must have been taxed to find excuses for the
wayward moods and manifest misery of her unhappy child. She fell into
melancholy, and sought in solitude opportunity for constant tears. Her
favorite resort was a hill overlooking the road to Fontainebleau and
Paris, and here she would sit for hours, gazing steadily toward the north,
as if expecting some one who never came.

All too soon the wedding-day arrived. From every direction came to
Courance, where the ceremony was to be performed in the chapel, the great
families of the Loiret--a more distinguished assembly of the aristocracy
of France than could have been gathered elsewhere beyond the limits of
Paris and the court. Throngs of lovely dames and gallant gentlemen greeted
the arrival of the bridal-party from La Pontoise, and if the shrinking
bride attracted attention, her emotion was attributed to maiden shyness,
none dreaming that a desperate terror was shaking that harassed heart.

At noon the preliminary observances were concluded, the assembly moved to
the chapel, and the bishop of Nemours advanced to the altar to unite Raoul
Boismonard du Guesclin and Thérèse Chiron de la Peyronie in the holy
bonds of wedlock. The bridal pair knelt before him, the solemn office of
the Church began, when the sharp ring of a horse's hoof struck the stones
of the courtyard, and the breathless hush of the sacred place was broken
as the betrayed lover burst into the chapel.

With an agonizing cry the bride flew to his arms, and, moved by an
instinctive impulse, he turned to bear his beloved away. One instant the
count stood fast, clutching the hilt of a dainty rapier at his side, the
gift of the king. The next that delicate blade flashed from its jewelled
sheath, drove through the body of Henri de Foix, and pierced to the heart
the unhappy girl clinging to his breast.

The wedding-guests scattered in consternation; the friends of the murdered
lovers took up their dead and departed; the master of Courance summarily
dismissed every living creature from the place, instructed the intendant
to close the château, and at nightfall he too left his home, to return no
more. His final command, made imperative and solemn, was that no human
being should ever be permitted to come within the walls of the park.

From Paris he sent back an express bearing a royal mandate repeating and
confirming his injunction prohibiting entry to Courance. Then passed into
oblivion Raoul Boismonard du Guesclin, count de Courance. The last
descendant of the warlike constable, the only representative of a long
line of soldiers and statesmen, closed his life in impenetrable obscurity,
and with him one of the great historic families of the realm disappears
from the annals of France.


JOHN V. SEARS.



THE MARSH.


    Safely moored on the dappled water,
      The broad green lily-pads dip and sway,
    While like a skipper a gray frog rides
      The biggest leaf in the tiny bay.

    Merrily leap the brown-cheeked waves
      To seize the sunlight's liberal gold,
    Which strays and wanders among the reeds,
      And on the stones of the beach is rolled.

    O'er marish meadows, and far beyond,
      Silken and green or velvety gray,
    Tufted grasses with shifting colors
      In the wholesome north wind toss and play.

    Lonely and sad, on the sea of green
      The cardinal-flower a lighthouse stands,
    A scarlet blaze in the morning sun
      To guide the honey-bees' toiling bands.

    What was it for, this flower's beauty,
      Its royal color's marvellous glow,
    Not, like a good deed, still rejoicing
      The soul that grew it, though no one know?

    All unconscious, only a flower,
      Life without zest, and death without thought,
    Lost as a stone to the sweet deep pleasure
      Its scarlet wonder to me has brought.

    Has it, I ponder, no sense of pleasing,
      No least estate in the world of joy?
    Have the leaf and the grasses no conscious sense
      Of what they give us--no want or cloy?

    Not so unlike us. The words that weight us
      With keenest sorrow and longest pain
    Fall oft from lips that rest unconscious
      If that they give us be loss or gain.

    Do I only have power to fill me
      From sun and flower with joy intense?
    Has yon cold frog on his lonely leaf
      No lower share through a duller sense?

    Think you the ladies he woos are sought
      For form or color or beauty's sake?--
    That, touched with sorrow, he mourns to-day
      Some mottled Helen beneath the lake?

    Why should fret us this constant riddle,
      To know if Nature be kind or harsh
    To the pensive frog on his green-ribbed raft,
      The scarlet queen of the lonely marsh?

    Haply, in thought-spheres far above us
      Some may watch us with doubts like ours,
    Asking if we have wit or reason,
      Asking if pain or joy be ours.

    But _does_ it vex me, this endless riddle
      I toss about in my helpless brain,
    To know if life be worth the having,
      If just mere being be any gain?

    Scarce can I answer. Something surely
      The thought has brought me this summer morn--
    Something for me in life were missing
      If frog and flower had ne'er been born.

    S. WEIR MITCHELL.



IN A RUSSIAN "TRAKTEER."


We have it on the authority of no less a personage than Charles the Bold
of Burgundy (the Charles of _Quentin Durward_, at least) that "never was
Englishman who loved a dry-lipped bargain;" and the same thing may safely
be said of the modern Russian. But although the _trakteer_ (or
coffee-house, as we should call it) undoubtedly witnesses many keen trials
of commercial fence, this is very far from being its only use. What the
Agora was to the Athenian, what the Forum was to the Roman, what the
"tea-house" still is to the "heathen Chinee" and the "ice-house" to the
West Indian,--all this, and more, the trakteer is to the Russian. It is
his dining-saloon, his drinking-bar, his news-room (when he happens to be
able to read), his place of meeting with his friends; and, in a word, his
place of resort for any and every purpose.

In such a place the groups of figures are diverse enough to satisfy the
most exacting "painter from life," and the dialogue is often far more
entertaining (which is not saying much) than that of many a popular
vaudeville. Indeed, a dramatist on the lookout for a bit of "comic
business" _not_ "adapted from the French" could not do better than drop
into a trakteer in Moscow--or, better still, Kazan--and make good use of
his eyes and his notebook for twenty minutes or half an hour.

Let us suppose our explorer to be strolling along the narrow, tortuous
streets of the Kitai-Gorod (Chinese Town) at Moscow on a fine winter day,
with the crisp snow crackling under foot, and the clear, bright, frosty
sky over head. Away he goes, past painted houses and staring signs and
gilded church-towers--past dark, narrow shop-doors like exaggerated
rat-traps, with a keen, well-whiskered tenant peering watchfully out of
each--past clamorous groups of blue-frocked, red-girdled cabmen--past
sheepskin-clad beggars, each with his little tablet stamped with a gilt
cross to show that the alms bestowed are to be devoted to the building of
some apocryphal church, probably of the same kind as that spoken of by
Petroleum V. Nasby: "The proceeds air to be devoted entirely to the
'church'--which is _me_."

At length, after many turnings and windings, he comes out upon the vast
open space of the Krasnaya Ploshtchad (Red Plain), with the statues of
Minin and Pojarski on his right, and on his left the cluster of
many-colored domes that crown the fantastic church of Vasili the Blessed,
while right in front of him rise the red-turreted wall of the Kremlin and
the tall spear-pointed tower of the "Gate of Salvation." And now, being by
this time somewhat fatigued by the exertion of a prolonged tramp in a
heavy fur overcoat and felt-lined goloshes, he makes for a doorway above
which appears, in crabbed Slavonian characters, the familiar word
"[Cyrillic: TRAKTIR]."

Pushing open the heavy swing-door (through which issues a whiff of hot air
charged with a combination of greasy smells that might knock down a
rhinoceros), our hero enters the long, low, dingy room, and is instantly
relieved of his coat and cap by half a dozen ready hands, while as many
voices greet him with the stereotyped formula, "Be happy,[B] barin! What
are you pleased to command?"

The "barin" is pleased to command a glass of tea, the customary order with
trakteer-frequenters, and it is obeyed almost as soon as given. Off skips
one of the shirt-sleeved brotherhood, and returns in a twinkling with a
small tray, on which stand a large teapot full of hot water, a smaller one
filled with strong, rich, aromatic tea, a big tumbler (the Russian
substitute for a tea-cup), and several lumps of sugar in a tiny saucer.

[B] This is the literal meaning of the Russian _Zdravstvuite!_ which
answers to our "Good-morning!"

He proceeds to fill the glass, with scientific nicety of proportion, from
both pots at once, launches into it a thin slice of lemon, and then
pronounces the talismanic word "Gotovo!" (ready).

While sipping his tea the inquirer after truth allows his eye to wander
over the room, and sees in every feature the "interior" displayed by every
Russian trakteer from the White Sea to the Black--bare whitewashed walls,
toned down to a dull gray by smoke and steam and grease; plank floor;
double windows, with sand strewn thickly between them; rough,
battered-looking chairs and tables, literally on their last legs; and
close-cropped waiters in dingy shirt-sleeves, with flat, wide-mouthed
faces that look very much like a penny with a hole through it.

And the _habitués_ of the place are as queer as the place itself. Were
Asmodeus at our explorer's elbow, he would whisper that these two gaunt,
sallow men opposite him, whose flat heads and long lithe frames remind one
irresistibly of a brace of Indian snakes, and whose conversation seems to
consist entirely of criticisms upon the weather or good-humored personal
"chaff," are in reality concluding a bargain which involves many thousands
of roubles; that this chubby little man near the door, the very picture of
artless simplicity, is one of the keenest and most skilful speculators on
the Moscow Exchange; and that yonder couple of greasy, unkempt,
lumpish-looking men in shabby brown coats, who are devouring salted
cucumbers in the farther corner, can put down half a million dollars
apiece any day they like.

Suddenly the attention of the taker of notes is attracted by the mention
of a familiar subject, the Franco-German war, and, turning round, he sees
at the table next his own two men in earnest conversation--the one a big,
florid, red-bearded fellow with a huge crimson comforter round his bull
neck, who is laying down the law in the most _ex-cathedrâ_ fashion to his
neighbor, a meek-looking little man with gray hair and bright, restless
eyes, not unlike those of a squirrel. At first, the surrounding buzz of
conversation and the clatter of plates and glasses allow him to catch
only a stray word of the dialogue every here and there; but after a time a
temporary lull in the hub-bub brings out in strong relief the following
words, spoken with all the confidence of a man accustomed to be listened
to:

"Every one has his turn, Yakov Andreievitch (James the son of Andrew), and
no man can escape what is ordained for him. The Nyemtzi (Germans) have
beaten the French. Well, what then? By and by, please God, the French will
beat the Nyemtzi. 'To live a lifetime is not to cross a field,' and
everything must change sooner or later."

The little man, who is listening to his big neighbor's philosophizings
with an air of timid admiration, remains silent for a moment, as if
digesting the profound wisdom contained in the last remark, and then
ventures to observe, "You speak truly, Pavel Petrovitch (Paul the son of
Peter), but, in the mean time, what if these godless Germans fall upon
Holy Russia?"

"Well, what if they do?" echoes the big man in a tone of supreme disdain.
"Let them try it! Ach, Yakov Andreievitch! how you talk! Surely you're not
such a brainless fool as to think that those hogs can ever beat the
Pravoslavnié (orthodox)? Don't you know that Father Alexander
Nikolaievitch (the emperor) is the mightiest of all the kings of the
earth?"

"Well--yes--of course," answers the other hesitatingly; "but still, you
know, didn't Tsar Napolevon march over our borders in the year '12, and
burn Mother Moscow?"

"And what then?" rejoins the oracle, surveying him with calm, indulgent
contempt. "Don't you know that the devil helped him, or he could never
have done anything?"

His hearer responds to this unanswerable argument by a murmur of assent,
and washes it down with a huge gulp of tea.

"And then," pursues Paul, following up his advantage, "didn't Napolevon
come to an evil end at last, as the devil's servants always do? Didn't we
beat him and take him prisoner? and wasn't he chained to a rock in the
middle of the sea, beyond thrice nine lands, and kept there till he
rotted?"

"You speak truth, Brother Pavel; and it served him right, too, the
accursed infidel! for burning our churches and blaspheming the orthodox
faith."

Then follows a short pause, during which the two speakers sip their tea
with genuine Russian enjoyment. At length, Yakov Andreievitch breaks the
silence by saying, in a reverential undertone, "Tell me now, Pavel
Petrovitch--you who know everything--how _did_ the Nyemtzi manage to take
Paris-Gorod if it was such a strong place? I've heard our folks in the
village talk about it, but I couldn't quite make out what they
said--something about trenches, and a bom--bom--"

"Bombardirovanié (bombardment) you mean," suggested his companion, rolling
out the magnificent polysyllable with unmistakable enjoyment.

"That's it!" says the other, visibly relieved at being helped over this
awkward place. "Now, tell me, please, Pavel Petrovitch, what _is_ a
bombardment? Something to do with firing guns, hasn't it?"

"I'll explain all that to you in two words, brother," answers the oracle
in a tone of indulgent superiority. "Here, we'll say, is the town--this
tumbler here; and these four lumps of sugar round it, here, and here, and
here, are the enemy. Well, then, you see, the enemy begin firing their
great cannon at the walls to try and knock them down; and then the
soldiers inside dig little holes in the ground, called trenches, and
burrow in them to avoid the cannon-balls. Then the people outside
here--the besiegers, you know--fire great round things, called bombs,
straight up in the air, so as to fall right into these holes, as you'd put
a cork in a bottle, and smother the men in them; and when they're all dead
the town gives in; and that's called a bombardment."

"Gospodi ponilni!" (Lord have mercy!), cries the startled listener. "What
strange things there are in this world, to be sure!--Well, Pavel
Petrovitch, it's time for us to be going; so let's have one more little
glass together and be off."


DAVID KER.



THE NEW SOPRANO.


"Try that chair by the fire, Steve, and comfort your soles on the mantel
while I unearth a pair of slippers for you. I've a small mound of them in
the closet, built up of the individual gifts of 'grateful pupils.'"

"A cruel waste! You should be a centipede, Hal, instead of that forlorn
biped, a bachelor. By the way, speaking of single-blessedness, how it must
harrow you, my boy, to witness diurnally the bliss of the bride and
bridegroom who sit opposite you here at table! Favor them with Lamb's
'Complaint against Married People,' will you? and send me the bill."

"Bride and bridegroom? Well, that _is_ rich! Have a cigar, deluded youth,
while I enlighten you concerning this mellifluous couple. Did you mark the
gentleman particularly? You can't take him in at a glance: there's too
much of him. Goodwin his name is--Timothy Goodwin: 'Good Timothy' his
friends dub him; and the title applies.

"He sat next me at table when I first came to Mrs. Tewksbury's, five years
ago, and from the outset he showed a fatherly interest in me--an interest
which this quaking stripling of an organist appreciated, I can assure you.
Being one of the pillars of St. Luke's--the church I play at, you
remember--and an esteemed musical critic withal, his hearty approval of
me as a performer was an immense advantage to me.

"You'd hardly suppose such a quiet, imperturbable earthling as he looks to
be would rhapsodize over music, would you? It was a surprise to me to find
how deeply it moved him. He soon fell into the habit of dropping into my
room after tea when he heard me at the piano; and many a time I've caught
the great, strong fellow mopping his eyes surreptitiously over affecting
passages.

"As I came to know him intimately, and to feel what a staunch,
tender-hearted, domestic sort of individual he was, I began to wonder he
had never married. One day I asked him in a joking way how a rich man like
himself could reconcile it with his conscience to remain a bachelor in
America, where there was such a preponderance of unmarried ladies to be
supported? He made a wry face, and said he had assumed the maintenance of
two spinster step-cousins: wasn't that his part?

"'Or if you think it isn't, Hal, I'll tell you what I'll do,' he added,
laughing. 'You marry yourself, and I'll support your wife. Won't that be
fair?'

"'Hardly fair for the lady,' I remarked, adding that I should pity the
luckless unknown who should thus fail to secure him as her Benedict.

"The idea seemed to amuse him immensely.

"'You kindly insinuate that it would be a benevolence in me to take a
wife,' said he with a twinkle in his eye. 'Now, I protest I'm not
conceited enough to think that. On the contrary, if a woman should consent
to give herself to me, I should consider the benevolence entirely on her
side. Can't say I crave such a charity just at present, though,' he added
in comic haste, stretching his long arms as if to waive the bequest. 'The
fact is, Hal, I've never seen the girl I want. Being hard upon forty, it
stands to reason I never shall see her: I fear she died young. May I
trouble you to play Beethoven's Funeral March in respect to her memory?'

"And so the subject dropped.

"Timothy was no woman-hater, you understand. Indeed, he admired the whole
sex, but in a collective way, as you might admire the Galaxy without
preferring any individual star. Young ladies were to him nebulous and
mysterious creations, to be reverenced from a distance: he never lavished
upon one of them a tithe of the attentions he lavished upon me. I had
terrible headaches in those days, and I shall never forget how patiently
he would sit making passes over my head till the pain yielded to his
touch, as it was sure to do sooner or later. He had more magnetism than
any other man I knew. Detesting a dress-coat and white kids as he detested
the machinations of the Evil One, he seldom went into society, but he was
always ready for lectures and concerts, marching off to the hall with me
on his arm as proudly as if I had been the most bewitching damsel.
Excepting on Saturday, when I was usually engaged at the choir rehearsal,
we were rarely separated of an evening.

"We had gone on in this David-and-Jonathan style perhaps a year, when Miss
Sparrow came to St. Luke's as soprano singer. I remember her first
appearance in our dim old gallery that last Sunday in Lent--how she seemed
to brighten and glorify the place like a ray from heaven. And then her
voice! It set you thinking of angels. Moreover, she had the complexion
peculiar to that family, and the blue eyes and golden hair. For the life
of me, I couldn't help twisting my neck to look at her, at the imminent
risk of spoiling my accompaniment.

"That noon Timothy electrified me by appearing in the organ-loft while it
still echoed with the benediction, though heretofore he had invariably
waited for me after service in the vestibule. I happened just then to be
congratulating the new soprano on being in such capital voice that
morning, and as the tenor stepped across to shake hands with Timothy, I
went on talking with her till she left. When I turned the singers were
gone, and there stood my poor David, frowning at a music-rest so savagely
that I fancied he must be suffering from a bad headache, and expressed my
sympathy.

"'Headache? I haven't a headache,' he growled, stalking down stairs in
advance.

"I thought he needn't have felt so enraged if he hadn't, and walked on in
dumb dignity. Presently he observed testily that when he honored me with a
call in my citadel, it might be polite in me to introduce him to my
friends.

"I said I thought he knew the members of the choir--all, at least, but the
soprano.

"'Well, she's somebody, I suppose.'

"'I beg your pardon, Timothy,' I cried amazed. It didn't occur to me you'd
care to become acquainted with her. I didn't present you because I fancied
you'd consider the introduction a bore.'

"'You're sure of that, Hal?' he asked with a sort of fierce eagerness. You
haven't any personal motive for not wishing to extend Miss Sparrow's
circle of gentlemen friends?'

"I burst out laughing at the absurdity of the idea. It was but a week,
remember, since my own introduction to the young lady.

"Timothy drew a long breath, and straightway spent it in questions
concerning her:

    Who was her father?
      Who was her mother?
    Had she a sister?
      Had she a brother?

"I told him all I knew. Her father lived on State street; her mother lived
in heaven: sisters she had none, but of little brothers something less
than a score, who dogged her steps as persistently as the bass follows the
air. To escort her home from rehearsal was to lead the van of an infant
squadron, a running accompaniment which the night before had disturbed my
mental harmony.

"For, though I did not feel it necessary to enlarge on this point to
Timothy, I had conceived a prodigious fancy myself for the sweet little
soprano, and should have been glad to learn more of her and less of her
fraternal blessings. I afterward discovered why she surrounded herself
with these as with a garment. It was from pure compassion for her father.
He was a nervous invalid, and the proximity of those boys distracted him.
Of course it did: I could enter into the old gentleman's feelings
perfectly. It distracted me too. Don't smile, my dear fellow. The prancing
young ubiquities were well enough in their way, I'll admit: I only
objected to having them in mine.

"All that week my beloved Timothy seemed strangely preoccupied and
erratic, capping the climax Saturday evening by fidgeting into my room in
his next day's clothes to announce in a shame-faced fashion that, by the
way, he believed he'd look in with me that night at rehearsal if
agreeable.

"It was not agreeable: it was decidedly otherwise, for it upset a
deep-laid scheme of mine. As Fate would have it, by means of sundry extra
rehearsals for Easter I had made great progress in my acquaintance with
Miss Sparrow during the last few days, and but for Timothy I should have
called upon her that evening with the gift of a new ballad, and so, maybe,
have had the pleasure of escorting her to St. Luke's, to the routing of
the brotherkins.

"Well, I could only toss the roll of music under the sofa as gently as
masculine depravity would permit, and conduct my music-greedy friend to
the choir-meeting, ostensibly to listen to the chants, though I knew, and
he knew, that he had always heretofore objected to hearing them practised.

"Of course I presented him in due form to Miss Sparrow when she arrived.
He bowed like a worshipping devotee, and as she moved to her place by the
contralto sat down with an exalted expression upon his hat, to the audible
amusement of the youthful Sparrows perched on the gallery steps. I glanced
at him again during the first soprano solo, and saw him in the same
position, his eyes fixed on the singer. Rehearsal over, he coolly walked
up to her to proffer his escort. I verily believe she was too startled to
decline it. She accepted his arm with a look of blank amazement, and the
two set off together through the April slosh, followed by the inevitable
juvenile guard. Judging from the bespattered condition of Timothy's
overcoat that night, the younglings danced about him like frisky satyrs
all the way; but he wore the face of one who has walked with angels far
above this mud-ball.

"This indifference to his broadcloth struck me at the time as peculiar,
for he has such a constitutional horror of dirt that he really keeps up
his muscle by the use of the clothes-brush; still, though I afterward saw
him spread his Sunday beans with mustard and his Monday bacon with oil, it
was not till late on the latter evening that I came to a just appreciation
of his abnormal state. Without knocking he bolted into my room in great
agitation.

"'For the love of mercy, Hal, tell me what to do!' he cried, upsetting the
piano-stool without perceiving it. 'You're younger than I, and understand
the nature of women better.'

"I did, did I? Well, I agreed with him on hearing his story.

"He had just returned from Miss Sparrow's. The young lady hadn't invited
him to call: she didn't receive calls now, in fact, on account of her
father's rapidly increasing illness, though Timothy was not aware of this.
I dare say she thought he had come at my request with the new anthem I had
promised to send, and she ran down to the parlor at once, not even
stopping to put down the vial of medicine she happened to have in her
hand.

"'Good-evening, Mr. Goodwin,' said she--nothing more nor less; and then
she stood quietly awaiting his message, very pale and interesting, I've no
doubt, from grief and watching.

"I know Timothy's great warm heart swelled with compassion for the
afflicted young thing, but even to express his sympathy he would not touch
so much as the hem of her garment till she gave him the right, much less
would he take her hand.

'"I'm afraid you're hardly prepared for what I'm about to say, Miss
Sparrow,' he began, pacing the roam, and probably hurling the words at her
like pebbles from a sling. 'I'm aware it isn't customary for a man to
declare himself on so short an acquaintance, but I'm a plain,
straightforward fellow, desperately in earnest.'

"Fancy the little soprano's wonderment! I seem now to see her 'baby-blue'
eyes opening each moment wider and wider.

"'Till now I have never met any woman whom I wished to marry,' Timothy
went on, 'and I am forty years old. When at middle age love comes for the
first time to a man of my temperament, it is no milk-and-water sentiment,
Miss Sparrow. I feel that I could give my life to make you happy. Will you
be my wife?'

"'You don't mean to say you charged upon the poor girl in that merciless
way?' I broke in, cutting short his narrative.

"He looked aggrieved and sorely puzzled. What had he done amiss? Hadn't he
acted the part of a gentleman in avowing his feelings? Wasn't it more
honorable to tell her his intentions frankly than it would have been to
try to steal her affections unawares?

"'But how did Miss Sparrow take it?'

"'That's what troubles me,' said my wretched friend. 'She didn't take it
kindly: she seemed offended, and would have run away if I had not put my
hand on the door-knob and begged her to hear me through. I assured her I
would not press her for an immediate answer, but she only burst out crying
declaring I had no right to say such things to her: she would tell her
father. As if I should object to his being told! Indeed, I should have
spoken to him myself on the subject this morning had not Dr. Pillsbury
said he was too ill to see strangers. I tried to make this plain to Miss
Sparrow. I implored her to tell me how I had vexed her, but she broke away
from me and rushed out of the room. I cannot understand her conduct. I
might have known such a bright young girl couldn't fancy an old fossil
like me, but am I so bad a fellow, Hal, that she need feel insulted by my
love? I would have walked barefooted over burning coals sooner than have
wounded her as I have done.' And so on, and so on, till the cock crew.

"I ventured a second time to hint that he had merely been too precipitate
in his wooing, but he shook his head incredulously, and finally went away
as mystified as he came.

"At our next meeting the little soprano asked me in a shy, conscious way
if my friend were quite well. Had I ever fancied his brain affected? I
might have answered with a simple negative: I shall always think a little
better of myself, Steve, that then and there, in the full bewitchment of
Miss Sparrow's presence, I had manliness enough to speak a good word for
Timothy--to tell her that, spite of some eccentricities, he had the finest
brain, as well as the warmest heart, of any man of my acquaintance.

"I did not see her again for months, as she withdrew from the choir to
devote herself exclusively to her father, whose sufferings were becoming
daily more intense. These were not so much from actual pain, as from
extreme nervousness that opiates failed to relieve. Dr. Pillsbury often
spoke of the case--the doctor was boarding here then--and one day he
appealed to Timothy to go with him and try his magnetic power upon the
patient. A queer look came over Timothy's face, but he went at once, and
was able to soothe the sick man simply by the laying on of hands. After
this, while Mr. Sparrow lived, he went often, and comforted him greatly in
his last hours, not only by his mesmeric influence, but indirectly as well
by keeping those boys out of the way. The money he spent at that time in
taking the lads to panoramas and menageries would have constituted him
life member of a missionary society.

"You can see the natural result. Having proved a blessed narcotic to the
dying father, Timothy ceased to be an irritant to the daughter. An
irritant? Timothy couldn't irritate her, and she couldn't irritate
Timothy. I've studied them curiously the three years of their married
life, only to arrive at this conviction. And you took them for bride and
groom? No wonder! since they still feast with unabated relish on connubial
sweets. Ah, well! such diet is not for me, my boy: I thrive upon sour
grapes."


PENN SHIRLEY.



OUR MONTHLY GOSSIP.

MIRIDITE COURTSHIP.


The Miridites were until very lately an unknown people to a vast majority
of even well-informed persons in Europe and America. But since their late
uprising against the Turks their name has appeared conspicuously in many
despatches from the seat of war, and their movements have excited the
active interest of the public all over the civilized world. Their close
proximity to the Montenegrins, their indomitable courage and love of
liberty, and the natural advantages of their country for purposes of
defence and for the infliction of damages on Turkish trade with the coast
of the Adriatic, all render them dangerous enemies to the Ottoman empire.
And, indeed, nothing but their greater hostility to the Montenegrins has
prevented their being a more troublesome neighbor to the Turks than the
latter have yet found them. Though apparently pacified for the present,
they are not likely to forget any grievance, real or imaginary, and they
may yet take a very active part in the operations of the hostile forces
near their country. A sudden movement on their part might have caused the
complete destruction of the Turkish army now overrunning Montenegro.

But it is not only in a political light that these little-known
mountaineers are interesting to the outside world. Their habits, character
and tones of thought are so essentially peculiar, and so widely different
not only from those of fully-civilized countries, but from those existing
in the districts immediately adjoining them, that in reading descriptions
of this part of Albania our interest is constantly being excited on some
new point.

Instead of dressing in rich and gorgeously-colored attire, like the other
Albanians, the Miridites wear a conspicuously plain costume. The dress of
the men consists of a long white woollen coat, a red belt, white
pantaloons, rough hide boots and a white felt cap. The women wear coats
like the men, embroidered and fringed aprons, red trousers, and blue
handkerchiefs twisted around the head. The dress of the priests seems to
us strikingly inappropriate, or at least far removed from our notions of
sacerdotal vestments. It consists of a red fez cap, a cloth jacket, and
just such baggy blue trousers as are worn by Greek sailors. The Miridites
are all Roman Catholics, and are as fanatical and violent in their
feelings on the subject of religion as the most ignorant peasants of
Galway or the _softas_ of Constantinople. They will allow no Mohammedan to
settle in their country, and their hatred of the Greek Church is hardly
less pronounced. Yet their religious observances partake of one or two
features which are entirely Greek, and would not be authorized by Romish
Church dignitaries in any other country. And, in fact, the zeal of these
pious mountaineers seems to be tempered with very little knowledge, for
they look upon Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of their country and race,
as an absolute deity, and are in the habit of praying to Christ to
intercede for them with Saint Nicholas.

Another remarkable thing about these people is that they will not, like
the other Albanians generally, fight as mercenaries. When they have
assisted the Turks in their wars--and they have done so repeatedly and
very effectively--it has been as auxiliaries and, as they claim,
independent allies. They take pride in tracing their descent from the
followers of George Castriote, or _Scanderbeg_, who was born at Castri in
their territory, and their prince, Prenk Bib Doda, confidently asserts
that the world-renowned Scanderbeg was his own ancestor. They consider,
therefore, that it would disgrace the memory of their heroic forefathers
to fight as mere hirelings.

But perhaps the most extraordinary custom of the Miridites is that by
means of which they get their wives. When a young man among them
contemplates marriage, he first goes to some Mohammedan locality and finds
out where the maidens are wont to stay. Then he returns, organizes a party
of friends and relatives, and, swooping down on the habitation of the
bride-elect, carries her off to his mountain-home and to a state of
wedlock. But the most singular part of the whole affair is that, in spite
of the appearance of violence, the matter is really devoid of any hostile
feeling, and is, in fact, a perfectly amicable arrangement; for the
husband afterward hands over to the bride's relatives the price that is
considered a bride's equivalent in that part of the world, and both sides
remain contented and on intimate and agreeable terms with each other. The
idea in giving this semblance of force to a courtship, and literally
_taking_ to one's self a wife, seems to be that it is more manly to seize
upon the lady than to sue for her. Why Mohammedan women are always
selected for capture by these fanatical Christians does not appear. But it
is probable that a desire to make proselytes is the chief motive which
causes this action. The women taken are not Turkish, but members of
Albanian tribes which have become Mohammedan; so it is probable that they,
and consequently their children, are looked upon as stray sheep brought
back to the fold. As for the Miridite women, they must take their chances
of getting husbands among the other Christian tribes of Northern Albania,
or else remain virgins all their days, for on no account will the Miridite
men marry within the tribe.


W. W. C.



FRIEND ABNER IN THE NORTH-WEST.

Friend Amos: As thee knows I have been here now some little time, thee
will trust me to give thee a fair description of the country and the
people. The fertility of the land is so widely known that I need not
attempt to enlarge upon that to thee. Broad tracts of gently-rolling
prairie-land spread over the southern portions of Wisconsin and Minnesota,
and vast pine-forests are laid under tribute in the north. The Mississippi
River, which flows between the two States, sorely disappointed me. I
looked for a broad and mighty mass of water, and I found a stream, here at
least, and even for hundreds of miles south, by no means as imposing as
our own Delaware. On either side of it rises a continuous range of
limestone bluffs, showing, far up their rocky sides, the clear wearing of
the ancient water-line. Among these bluffs, stretching back some miles
from the river, curl beautiful and fertile valleys, planted in which, and
often indeed clinging to the unpromising sides of the ragged bluffs, are
the dwellings of the settlers. In the portions longest inhabited rise
often pretty, and sometimes even stately, residences, but in the western
portions many of the settlers are colonists from Norway and Germany, and,
as these are mostly poor, they live more commonly in mere hovels, and
stable their stock under masses of straw resting on frames of posts. The
long and tedious winters being severe on stock, the farmers devote
themselves, in a great degree, to the culture of wheat.

The climate has not the evenness of our own, and the reports I know thee
has heard to the contrary are mistaken. The mercury not unfrequently falls
to thirty-five and forty degrees below zero in many localities, but the
air is dry, and does not try one as much, perhaps, as thee would imagine:
the bitter winds, however, sweep across these prairies and through and
about the valleys until it verily seems, Friend Amos, that the
unaccustomed limbs must freeze. The people, however, are not easily
terrified, but heap on their fires such quantities of wood as seemed to me
extravagant (for wood is abundant here, but coal dear), and pass the
winters cheerfully. I have noticed that affections of the lungs are rarer
here than in our climate, and that the most of those so afflicted brought
their diseases with them from the East.

I was surprised to find that the body of the people are by no means either
ignorant or uncultivated, and have even been shown official statistics to
prove that in the fundamentals at least--reading and writing--the
percentage of ignorance is nearly one-third smaller than that of
Pennsylvania. There is less of higher culture, it is true, and the most
respected and respectable citizens are often heard lapsing into strange
inaccuracies of language and pronunciation. One of the most common is the
use of "dooz" where "does" is meant. "I be" and "you be" are common
instead of "I am" and "you are." In some localities along the Mississippi
River "slough" is pronounced as if it were "slew." These are, of course,
only laxities, and not the result of ignorance. Though learning commands
much respect, persons of high education are comparatively rare, but
shrewdness and general capacity, together with the will to work and the
ambition to succeed, are more universal than with us. I have been pleased
to observe that "gentlemen of leisure" and moneyed young men without
employment are almost totally lacking. The greater number of the
business-men, particularly of the most enterprising and energetic, are
quite young. The most remarkable circumstance concerning them is the fact
that many of them come to the West with wholly insufficient, and sometimes
even no, capital, and open business, relying largely on their adroitness
in "kiting," as it is called, which is practically buying on long time and
selling on short credit or for cash, trusting to quick returns to meet
liabilities. In a few cases this practice is in the end successful,
because circumstances favor, but with the large majority of such failure
of course is only a question of time. It is to me astonishing to what an
extent this experiment is carried. Let me relate to thee a case which came
to my personal knowledge. This was of a buyer of wheat in a country town.
It seems that it is the custom of the large commission-merchants of
Chicago and Milwaukee to receive from country buyers consignments of
produce for disposal, on which they make advances. This person had
secured, by the aid of a friend, a credit of a few hundred dollars at a
certain country store, and proceeded to buy produce from the farmers,
paying in orders on the store. When he had sufficient he shipped a car to
the Eastern market, making at the same time a draft on the consignee
against the bill of lading. This he assigned to the keeper of the store,
and drew orders against it for more produce. I was informed that he had, a
short time ago, in a busy season, purchased and shipped during one single
week fifty thousand bushels of wheat, and all without a dollar of capital
he could call his own. I am assured, Amos, that thee will be as much
astonished as thy friend was to learn that such things are regularly done
by these wonderful people. These things account quite easily for the
constant ebbing and flowing of the tide of business-men in these little
"cities."

Society, in the newer sections, is evidently unsettled. Money of course
commands respect, as money does everywhere; intelligence, in at least
reasonable measure, and some little cultivation, are regarded as
essentials among the better class of associates; but while the mixture is
settling, and the constituents separating and crystallizing, many
wandering atoms seem to be at home nowhere. Family or blood is but little
regarded, occupation is no hinderance ordinarily, and even well-known
irregularities do not necessarily exclude. One of the earliest cautions I
received was never to allude slightingly to divorced people in public,
"For who knows but there may be several such among the company?" Among the
ladies, accomplishments, except dancing, are said to be somewhat
neglected, although in all the arts of pleasing and in the graces of
domestic life they are peculiarly happy.

Trusting now, Friend Amos, that thee may learn to appreciate as I have the
excellencies of this country and these people, and to realize how greatly
in reality they surpass our estimates, I will tell thee no more till I see
thee in person. Though I very much admire the people, and wonder at their
methods and their progress, I long to free myself from all this bustle
and strain and rest in peace at home.

In brotherly love, yours truly,


ABNER.



HOW SHALL WE CALL THE BIRDS?


Birds are the most effective aids to the farmer and the florist in
checking the increase of noxious insects that destroy the fruits of labor.
A single pair will destroy hundreds of worms, grubs, moths or beetles in a
single day; and when they are present in sufficient numbers no insect or
creeping thing escapes their sharp little eyes or their exceeding
quickness of motion. As they multiply rapidly, there is no reason why
every one of our fruit trees, every shrub and vine, should not have its
nest of birdlings. This would be the solution of the dreadful curculio
question, I believe. Heretofore, we have built fences around our orchards
and enclosed fowls in them. This at one time was supposed to be very
effective, but a hundred chickens to the square rod are not so effective
as a pair of birds nesting in each tree, from the simple fact that the
former can only catch the insects that drop to the ground. After we have
shaken the curculio beetles off, to be sure the chickens will devour them
readily, but then the pest has generally done its work. It is not unusual
to have every plum, apricot, nectarine or apple on a tree stung in a
single day; and in South Jersey the curculio has proved victorious in the
struggle with man. Every year we see these trees white with blossoms, and
as regularly every specimen of the fruit bearing the plague-spot--a tiny
crescent-shaped wound in the cuticle--withering, fading and falling. We
painfully gather up this fallen fruit by the bushel, burn it to destroy
the grub of the curculio, and, hoping against hope, witness the same
disaster the following year.

Now, we can have these much-desired friends, the birds, by the thousand
about our farms and gardens and orchards. There are many ways of
attracting them and ensuring their return to us every year, but the first
step involves a sacrifice: we must destroy, shut up or banish every cat
from the premises. Some will find this hard to do. Puss is a very old
favorite. Long before the Pharaohs she was petted, and even held sacred.
The Egyptian goddess Pacht had the head of a cat. The origin of the
veneration of the cat was, it is said, her mice-destroying power. In a
famine-visited country like Egypt the preservation of the crops of grain
was of prime importance; and the cat--allowed from its sacred character to
increase and multiply as cats have the power to do--was no doubt a very
effective means to that end. But in this age of progress we _can_ dispense
with cats--in the country at least. I have proved by experiment that a
half dozen wire-spring mice-traps, kept clean and freshly baited with
toasted cheese, are better than as many cats to keep pantries and
cupboards free of mice. As for rats, everybody knows that one rat-terrier
in a granary is better than an army of cats.

Many people, in their simplicity of soul, have believed that it is
possible to have the confidence of birds without banishing the cats, and
even that the cat might be so reformed that she would come to respect the
rights of the birds. These people generally refer triumphantly to the
"Happy Family" of Barnum--a cage containing a bird, a monkey, a cat and
several mice, all living together in sleepy amity. But this will not do.
The animals of that "family" were kept in such a semi-torpid state by
confinement and high living--even if they were not daily dosed, as some
declared, with Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup--that they had not spirit
enough to exercise their natural passions.

No, puss cannot be reformed; and since there are so many who cannot bring
their minds to destroy their favorite cats, nor to shut them up from
spring till fall, would it not be well to have cat boarding-houses opened
in cities to meet this need? I could name more than one who would
patronize such an institution. Our cat, old Navet--so called from her
habit of bringing up turnips from the cellar and insisting upon munching
them in the library--has been sent some miles away to a friend, who,
having several cats already, cannot expect to have birds about the house;
but if this resource failed, I should not hesitate long between even Navet
and the birds.

I had always known that more birds would nest about places where there
were no cats; but as I had always seen some birds in summer about all
houses, I did not realize what a wonderful effect would be produced by the
total absence of this dreaded foe to birds until I resolved to have no cat
about in summer, and banished the last one. From that day the birds began
to come nearer and nearer, stay longer each day, and finally, reassured,
build their nests in the grapevines, in the orchard trees, in the little
evergreens near the house, and in the branches of the raspberries and
blackberries. Scores came where formerly there had been but two or three
pairs. Two pairs of pretty brown sparrows (_Spizella socialis_) built
nests in a small Chinese honeysuckle on a veranda-pillar not six feet from
the front door. These nests were about four and five feet high; and
although the veranda, being furnished with rustic chairs and a comfortable
Mexican hammock, was almost constantly occupied, yet the birds built their
nests and tended their little families as unconcerned, as confident of our
protection apparently, as if we had been creatures of their own kind. They
would not move from their work when we approached so closely that our
faces were only a few inches from the nests. This spring more little
houses were made and fastened up in the trees--rude little painted boxes,
with a roof and a door in front, the whole set on a small board serving
for a doorstep as well as general foundation. The bluebirds were specially
delighted with these houses, and took possession almost as fast as they
were put up. The catbird, a first cousin of the Southern mocking-bird, is
also very fond of the neighborhood of human beings, and many others which
I know imperfectly as yet.

Besides building little houses for bluebirds and others, a very effective
means of attracting birds generally is a little tray for crumbs, seeds,
etc. A piece of board a foot square with an inch-high border to keep the
food from blowing off, and fastened upon a tree, will answer every
purpose, though it may be improved by a roof. But the wisest device for
calling birds about the house--in places where there are no brooks or
springs near especially--is a bird-bath. Almost all birds are fond of
bathing; and any one who will but take the trouble to fill a shallow dish
every day with water, and place it in some shady nook, will be repaid a
thousand-fold by the sight of the birds bathing--some flashing the spray
in all directions, some dressing their wet plumage in the near branches,
some disputing the right to the first plunge.

To those enjoying the luxury of a garden-fountain it is very easy to
arrange a very excellent bath of this kind, and it is surprising that so
few have thought of it. All that is necessary is to place the edge of a
very shallow dish under the drip of the fountain-basin. Half an inch of
water is sufficient--small birds will not bathe unless the water is very
shallow, and they do not like to get under the spray--or a little platform
could be managed in the fountain-basin. For my birds, as a dish placed
upon the ground always excites the insolent curiosity and meddling of the
turkeys, I have had recourse to another device: a little platform on four
posts about three feet high, perforated to admit a wash-basin to the rim.
Around three sides of this table I set a dozen supple oak saplings,
fastening them by iron staples to the edge of the table, and bringing them
all together, wigwam style, over head about three feet above the basin. At
the foot of the saplings I planted madeira-vine roots, which will produce
an abundance of foliage and blossom after they grow, but not being willing
to wait for this, I covered all the saplings separately from ground to
peak with evergreens from the woods, and then carpeted the whole floor
under the table with various colored mosses. The whole effect of the
structure, standing in the shade of the trees, is very pretty and quaint.
As the water should be changed every night, the waste poured over the
mosses will keep them always in good condition. Of course this basin of
water is far too deep for any sort of bird except a wader or a swimmer,
and to arrange it exactly right, so that the bathing depth can be uniform,
as the heat of the day dries up the water, has not been so easy as one
might imagine it would be. The best thing I have found thus far is a
circle of board held submerged on one side by a weight and a string, the
other side floating. A more perfect thing could doubtless be contrived,
and will be by many who like myself love the birds, and have determined to
foster their presence in every way for their beneficent services, material
and æsthetical.


M. H.



A CHEERING SIGN.


Very pleasant reading is a California item of court-proceedings going to
show that a Mongol still stands within the pale of the law upon the soil
of the Golden State. A wanton murder of some Chinese at Chico was
judicially avenged by the sentencing of two of the Caucasian participants
to twenty-five years' imprisonment, and of a third to the
nicely-calculated, if not nicely-adjusted, term of twenty-seven years and
a half. Had the unhappy victims been whites, or even blacks, the
arithmetic of time would probably not have been drawn on, but summary
recourse would have been made to such punishment as eternity could
furnish. But we must not be too exacting. Let us be grateful that the
criminal law has any shield, be it of the thinnest, for the Chinaman.

Very different is the case when the Celestial ox gores the Yankee bull.
Indemnity, swift and condign, does what mortal hand can do to heal the
hurt. A Chinese court, upon Chinese soil, is not allowed to try a Chinese
for an injury done to the Christian stranger within Chinese gates.
Treaties imposed by the strong arm reserve practical jurisdiction to our
own representatives; and it is the peers of the alleged sufferer, not the
peers of the accused, who virtually try the cause. Similar rules obtain in
the other Mongolian empire. We all possess, as still quite a fresh
sensation, a memory of the account published a few years since of the
committing of harikari by a Japanese official of high social standing, at
the bidding of a native court, in atonement of an affront offered to an
American officer--how the representatives of the United States were
formally invited, in full uniform, to witness the bloody self-immolation
of the proud but to the law submissive Mongol; how everything went off _en
règle_, from the theatrical preparation of the stage with seat, sword and
red carpet to the climax of decapitation of the culprit by his
body-servant; and how our representatives in gilt and blue filed out
shocked, but vindicated, and satiated with more than the full measure of
justice pressed down and running over.

Harikari has not begun, nor is it likely soon to begin, to thin the ranks
of our Californian office-holders. Few die, none resign, and absolutely
none are got rid of in that way. They have no treaty-courts to make them
afraid. Their lives are their own, and we hope may always be. But we
trust, also, that they will accord a like privilege to their neighbors
from over the way, and cultivate the impression that life may be dear as
well to a man with a lemon complexion, oblique eyes and a pig-tail. As an
evidence of a dawning disposition to accept this view we may be permitted
to hail with satisfaction the disappearance for twenty-seven years and six
months of a Californian who declined adopting it.


E. C. B.



LITERATURE OF THE DAY.

    Peru. Incidents of Travel and Exploration in the Land of the
    Incas. By E. George Squier, late United States Commissioner to
    Peru. New York: Harper & Brothers.


Mr. Squier does not give us the date of his explorations in Peru, but he
tells us that they occupied him two years, during which he "crossed and
recrossed the Cordillera and the Andes from the Pacific to the Amazonian
rivers, sleeping in rude Indian huts or on bleak _punas_ in the open air,
in hot valleys or among eternal snows, gathering with eager zeal all
classes of facts relating to the country, its people, its present and its
past." It must not be inferred from this description that he claims the
honors of a pioneer or discoverer. Many previous travellers had pursued
the same quest, encountered the same hardships and described the same
objects. Few of them, however, had enjoyed the same advantages or
possessed equal fitness for the task. His previous studies and
investigations had familiarized him with the aboriginal history of America
and with many of its existing relics; his appointment as commissioner of
the United States to Peru for the settlement of some disputed claims gave
him facilities which, as a foreigner, he might otherwise have lacked; and
his equipments both for personal comfort and for scientific and artistic
purposes seem to have been as complete as a single traveller could be
expected to provide. The result is a work which, if not actually the
ablest, is the most thorough and satisfactory, which the subject has yet
called forth. It contrasts in all respects with the latest of its
predecessors, Hutchinson's _Two Years in Peru_, a book of still greater
size, but deficient in all the elements of critical and literary power,
while replete with pretentiousness and dogmatism. In the narration of his
journeys and adventures Mr. Squier is always entertaining; his account of
the present condition of the country and the people is instructive, though
somewhat meagre; his descriptions of ancient remains, if not always as
vivid or even as clear as one might desire, are generally more careful and
minute than any that have before been given of them, and are supplemented
by admirable views and plans that add greatly to the value and
attractiveness of the volume. Finally, while his knowledge and training
have well qualified him to form independent judgments, he neither seeks to
discredit all previous research nor to support any of the fantastic
theories of which American antiquarianism has been so prolific. He was not
open to the temptation that leads those who are first in the field to
magnify its marvels, and he is equally free from that tendency to belittle
them which betrays the desire of later explorers to display their own
superior acumen. He makes no attempt to reconstruct the past by piecing
together accumulated details and calling to his aid the imaginative
faculty, which, in history and science as well as in art, gives form and
life to its material. But his conclusions, if general in nature and
limited in range, are such as commend themselves to all minds competent to
grasp the problems presented and not led astray by prepossessions. He
finds the existing relics in Peru substantiating in the main the accounts
given by the Spanish writers of its condition at the time of the Conquest,
and he finds that condition accordant with the early history of
civilization under similar circumstances in other parts of the world. He
does not think it necessary, therefore, either to account for the
existence of those monuments with the ruins of which the soil is so
thickly strewn by an immigration from India or Egypt, nor to reduce them
to the proportions and character of the Pueblo remains in New Mexico, in
order to prove that America, in contrast with the Eastern continent, has
had but one original type of development, and that the lowest. On the
contrary, he holds it certain that "the civilization of the ancient
Peruvians was indigenous," and he considers it to have passed through
several stages, and to have proceeded independently among different races
and tribes, culminating at last in the organization of a national polity
and a common rule. Under that rule he believes that "the material
prosperity of the country was far in advance of what it is now. There were
greater facilities of intercourse, a wider agriculture, more manufacture,
less pauperism and vice, and--shall I say it?--a purer and more useful
religion." With the ruins that throw light upon the "customs, modes of
life, and political, social and domestic organization" of "the vanished
empire of the Incas," are others that point to a wholly different state of
society and an immeasurable antiquity. "Combined with the stupendous and
elaborate remains of Tiahuanuco--remains as elaborate and admirable as
those of Assyria, of Egypt, Greece or Rome--there are others that are
almost exact counterparts of those of Stonehenge, and Carnac in Brittany,
to which is assigned the remotest place in monumental history. The rude
sun-circles of Sillustani, under the very shadow of some of the most
elaborate, and architecturally the most wonderful, works of aboriginal
America, are indistinguishable counterparts of the sun-circles of England,
Denmark and Tartary." Such evidence, concurrent with that which abounds in
more northern regions, points unmistakably to an early development on this
continent, similar in character and course, and coeval or anterior in
date, to that which has left like indications in so many parts of the
Eastern hemisphere. There the records are more scattered and more varied,
as from the size and conformation of the continents and the greater
diversities of climate we might have expected them to be; and those at
least of a later period are, from the nature of the case, more easy of
interpretation in the light of legend, tradition and written history. But
the general features are intelligible in all, and the revelation which
they make is identical. They show the human mind, under like external
conditions and with like internal conceptions, advancing on the same line
from barbarism to culture; they show a struggle and rivalry of races and
tribes, in which one or another shoots forward for a time, and is then
outstripped or pushed aside; they show a gradual sifting, blending and
consolidation, in which primitive and fortuitous forms of association are
superseded by a system presenting the symmetry and composite character of
an artificial structure. Everywhere the process is marked by the final
predominance of two principles, which stimulate, direct and regulate all
the efforts that are made toward artistic expression, industrial science
and social organization. For the human mind at this stage all conceptions
of Nature may be comprised under the name of religion, and all ideas of
order and co-operation under that of monarchical rule. The monuments of
this period that have sprung from the united labor of the community all
attest the control and supervision of one or both of these powers. Not
only do temples and palaces bear this stamp, but all public works of
whatever nature testify, by the gigantic results in comparison with the
deficient means, to such an authority in those who planned them and such a
subordination in those by whom they were executed as cannot be conceived
of either under the looser organizations of barbarism or the more
equitable arrangements of modern life. The cyclopean walls, the imposing
edifices, the subterranean aqueducts, the mountain terraces, of Peru tell
the same tale as pyramids and temples, towers and palaces, in Egypt,
Assyria or India. The critic who can find in the ruins at Gran Chimu and
Pachacamac only "communal houses" inhabited by "groups of families" on the
method of the Iroquois, in the vast isolated structures of Tiahuanuco the
remains of "an Indian pueblo after the ordinary form," and in the enormous
and elaborate fortifications of Cuzco and Ollantay-tambo the works of
village communities and petty tribes, is not only bent on the support of a
theory at whatever cost of truth and sense, but predetermined, one would
say, to hold it as a monopoly. Compared with absurdities of this order,
the wildest imaginings of M. Brasseur de Bourbourg are entitled to be
ranked with the conjectures of a sane philosophy.

Mr. Squier, as we have seen, gives no countenance to baseless
speculations, and the publication of his book has, it is evident, fallen
on them as a heavy blow and great discouragement. The preciseness of his
details gives a force and authority to both his statements and opinions
which cannot easily be evaded or resisted even by those most given to
substituting assumptions for evidence and facts. His descriptions of the
stone-work of the ancient Peruvians are not likely to suggest to
unsophisticated readers an identity of race and institutions with the
inhabitants of wigwams. "The joints are all of a precision unknown in our
architecture, and not rivalled in the remains of ancient art that had
fallen under my notice in Europe. The statement of the old writers, that
the accuracy with which the stones of some structures were fitted together
was such that it was impossible to introduce the thinnest knife-blade or
finest needle between them, may be taken as strictly true. The world has
nothing to show in the way of stone-cutting and fitting to surpass the
skill and accuracy displayed in the Indian structures of Cuzco. All modern
work of the kind there--and there are some fine examples of skill--looks
rude and barbarous in comparison." We may imagine the straits to which the
advocates of Lo are driven when they point to the absence of mortar or
cement of any kind in such walls as a proof of rudeness and ignorance in
the builders. But, as Mr. Squier reminds us, Humboldt found a true mortar
in the ruins of Pullal and Canuar, in Northern Peru. Humboldt found, too,
in the same region the remains of paved roads not inferior to any Roman
roads which he had seen in Italy, France or Spain; and though Mr. Squier
states that few traces of such roads now exist in the southern part of the
country, and infers that they never existed here, since "the modern
pathways must follow the ancient lines," and "there is no reason why they
should have suffered more from time and the elements in one part of the
country than in another," it seems to us impossible to reject in so
summary a fashion the testimony of early writers, given, not in mere
general terms, but with a minuteness of description rivalling his own.
Possibly, the explanation may be found partly in the fact that the roads
in one part of the country were generally more ancient than in the
other--many of them, as we know, dating from a period anterior to the Inca
rule--and partly to the greater devastations wrought by the European
conquerors and their descendants in the neighborhood of the capital and on
the most frequented routes. In other particulars, such as the size of the
Peruvian houses and the existence of windows, Mr. Squier finds the facts
to have been understated by Humboldt. Generally, as we have already
intimated, he finds full confirmation of the accounts of such writers as
Cieza de Leon and Garcilasso de la Vega in those relics which still
survive as the surest witnesses of the past, defying the tooth of time,
the ravages of violence and the denials and assumptions of a crazy
scepticism.


    Camp, Court and Siege: A Narrative of Personal Adventure and
    Observation during Two Wars, 1861-65, 1870-71. By Wickham
    Hoffman. New York: Harper & Brothers.

Had the third of this book which is devoted to the writer's reminiscences
of the late civil convulsion in his own country been omitted or reserved
for expansion into a separate publication, the remainder would have had
more unity and attractiveness. The latter is by far the more interesting
portion. Expanded and fortified by details, references and documents,
Major Hoffman's account of his experience as secretary of legation at
Paris in the year of the siege might have filled--and may yet be made to
fill--an important place among memoirs of its class. His narrative style
is clear and pleasant, if never vivid or impressive. It harmonizes with
the complexion of truth, and truth is the first thing we ask from the
diarist and observer. Our confidence is won by his direct and unambitious
way of telling what he saw and shared.

We should think it not improbable that the writer will adopt this course,
and use more fully the material which must be at his command for
illustrating, from an exceptionally favorable point of view, the fall of
the Second Empire and the double fall of its capital. The American
legation, under Mr. Washburne, was brought into close relations with the
Empire, the Republic and the Commune by means of its delegated character
as protector of North German subjects during the war. It was, for that
period, much the most notable among the foreign embassies in France. While
those of the principal European powers, as for most of the time the French
government itself, left the capital, it, with the representatives of two
or three minor states, remained at its post. Outside of the very onerous
function assumed by it at the request of the German government, it had
other great cares and great opportunities for good. These appear to have
been encountered and used with remarkable tact and energy. Its display of
those qualities has been gratefully acknowledged by its own people, those
of Germany and many of the French. At the outbreak of the war thirty
thousand Germans were established in Paris. Summary expulsion was decreed
against these, and the American minister and his subordinates had the sole
charge of applying the meagre funds sent by their own sovereign for
mitigating the suffering due to that order. Some thousands, unable to
leave or preferring to run all risks, remained throughout the war. This
unhappy remnant constantly looked to the American ministry for aid to
subsist and to escape violence. Mr. Hoffman ventures to place the
banishment of the Germans, for acuteness if not mass of suffering, by the
side of the ejection of the Huguenots and the Moors. This exaggeration
serves at least to show the impression it made on an eye-witness.

Major Hoffman's remarks on the causes of the moral breakdown of the Empire
and of the French army do not help us to much that is novel. He lays more
than the usual stress on Ultramontanism as an influence. The death of the
archbishop of Paris could have been prevented, he thinks, had the
Versailles authorities acted with due promptness and determination; and he
avers his belief that the liberalism of that prelate made his death not
unacceptable to the Church party represented now by Eugénie and MacMahon.
He ascribes fanaticism also to the savior of Paris that was to be--Trochu.
Trochu's main hope, he believes, was miraculous interposition. His
statement of the extent to which unreasoning panic had possession of both
soldiers and citizens supports the idea that supernatural aid only could
have saved the city.

The better, and really ruling, traits of the French people are not to be
studied in their periods of "Gallic fury." Thus it is that the book before
us is an unsafe guide on that point. Six years have rolled away since the
revolt of the Commune, the loss of two rich provinces and the imposition
of a tribute nearly half as large as the debt of the United States. The
evidence given and the effective results shown of patience, perseverance,
order, determined good faith, industry and self-control have no parallel
in a like period of the history of any modern people.


    The Plains of the Great West and their Inhabitants. By R. I.
    Dodge. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

Here we are favored with a glance through another military lorgnette, but
at a scene geographically, socially and politically the antipodes of
Paris. Colonel Dodge leads us into the haunts of the original denizens of
Western America, and depicts their traits with a hand made facile by long
familiarity. At part of the aborigines--and that part obviously most
attractive to and most assiduously studied by him--he bids us look through
the sights of the rifle or along the dappled double-barrel. At the other
he essays, with less success perhaps, to aid us with the eye of the
amateur statesman and political economist. The wearers of fur and feather
have no moral side. The Indian has. His condition and future are
correspondingly complicated. How to shoot him is not the sole and simple
question, as it is with his original compatriots except the buffalo. With
the latter shaggy and multitudinous creature the fate of the Indian of the
Plains is more or less linked. They move together, and may be said to die
together. On a map of the territory between the Rocky Mountains and the
Mississippi are traced two pairs of reservations. Of one the Yellowstone,
and of the other the Arkansas, is the centre. Each pair is composed of a
buffalo-range and a group of Indian tribes. The three lines of
east-and-west railway separate them, and shoulder to right and left, north
and south, the savage and his herds.

Of the enormous numbers of the wild cattle which were once the exclusive
property of the Indian we have been accustomed to form but a very
inadequate idea. They exceed those which have raised the Tartar into the
comparatively high rank of a pastoral nomad. The patriarch or poet Job was
a famous cattle-owner, but he was a small dairyman by the side of a
Cheyenne or Rickaree chief, and a stampede of a small detachment of
buffalo would have run down unnoticed the whole of his live-stock. In the
three years 1872-74 four and a half millions of buffalo--considerably more
than half as many as all the black cattle in the British Islands--were
slaughtered. From this fact may be gathered an impression of the vast
provision of human food until lately stored by Nature in a region still
marked on modern geographies as a desert. Of the value of this endowment
the Indian, with all his improvidence, had some notion. It was a resource
he may be said to have husbanded. Of nothing like the wanton and shameful
destruction dealt by the whites since the feeding-grounds were made
accessible by rail was he ever guilty. He managed his hunts
systematically, placed them under the rigid control of a sort of guild
known as "dog-soldiers," and allowed to be slain only what were needed for
his wants. The buffalo was to him what the cocoa-palm is to the
Polynesian; and more, for he needed warm shelter and warm clothing. He
cared for it accordingly. It grew around him almost as the cocoa-grove
around the hut of the islander. A herd will even now graze quietly for
days in the neighborhood of an Indian village of a thousand souls, while
an encampment of half a dozen whites disperses it instantly. The whites
kill only for the hides, two of which they lose for every one saved in
merchantable condition. A very small proportion of the flesh is utilized
when the railway happens to be near enough, and within a like limit of
territory the bones are collected. In the single year 1874 over ten
millions of tons of these were sent East to fertilize the exhausted fields
of the Atlantic slope with the refuse riches of the "desert."

No treaties are made with the buffalo. He is swindled by no agents,
post-traders or secretaries at war. He addresses no pathetic remonstrances
to his Great Father, and expresses no sense of his wrongs by taking scalps
or inflicting worse horrors still. School-houses, temperance societies,
small-pox and whiskey are not for him. Yet does he move toward
annihilation, as we have said, in singularly close lock-step with the
Indian. His problem, like the other, is being settled by the settler. Were
the red man edible, the parallelism in destiny would be more complete. As
it is, the quadruped will disappear before the biped native. Individuals
of the latter will be absorbed into the bosom of civilization, as the
remnants of the Senecas, the Oneidas and the Pamunkeys have long since
been. As a race, the Indians' best hope is euthanasia. Even that is
desperately uncertain. The Cherokees, Creeks and Choctaws, with their
minor associates in the Indian Territory, are, though not increasing in
numbers, living in peace and something like industry. Yet they are at the
mercy of any vagabond who should take it into his head to "salt" with
gold-dust or silver-ore any ravine in the midst of their country. No law
and no army would avail to repel the rush. They would go the way of the
Sioux of the Black Hills, and would have only the choice of drifting out
of existence on the outskirts of white society or of being washed high and
dry over the frontier. Where are the sixty thousand Indians who at the
time of the transfer of California were so comfortably coddled under the
wing of the missions? They have been the victims of no recorded war, and
the agents never had a chance at them. They have gone, however, with a
rapidity unexampled anywhere east of the mountains.

Solutions of the Indian problem are endless, and the writer of the book
named at the head of these paragraphs has his shy at it. His plan is new
chiefly in blaming all round--traders, Quakers, Indians, government and
frontiersmen. If we can venture to centralize his invective, we should lay
it specially on the heads of the class the Indians term "squaw-men"--the
whites who have Indian wives and are established among the lodges. Of
these he gives us a conjectural census--a hundred agencies and
reservations and ten squaw-men to each. From this thousand are drawn all
the interpreters; and not a solitary interpreter, Colonel Dodge insists,
can be relied upon. They are, every man of them, in league with the
agents and traders against the government and the Indians. The two last
named--parties of the first part, as we should style them--never come
together and never understand each other. The colonel's cure is remitting
the whole thing to army control. But that, we need not say, has been
tried, with results by no means brilliant.

For those who have never even seen an annuity distributed to aggravate the
muddle with their suggestions would be most presumptuous. It is as little
as we can do to abstain. We may venture here only to say a word in
mitigation of the deep stain left upon the fair fame of the United States
by its management of Indian affairs. The contrast so frequently drawn with
the course of things in Canada is not wholly just. It was the French who
saved the Canadian Indians from the mere sordid extinction which has
befallen most of their southern congeners, as it was the Spaniards who
kept the California tribes alive. The natives--or rather the French
half-breeds--were made trappers and voyageurs before the English conquest
of the province. But for that preparation they might have gone the way of
our Indians under Anglo-Saxon pressure. Climate also favored them. Only an
infinitesimal fraction of British America is capable of white
colonization.

Dropping a theme which bids fair to remain undisposed of, like the
disputes of Hogarth's doctors, till the patient is dead, we revert to
Colonel Dodge's book, and to those of its pages which it is clear he wrote
most _en amateur_. Soldier and student, he is above all a sportsman. It is
delightful to follow him over the plain and (in spirit and untearable
trousers) into the chaparral. Anywhere between the Rio Grande, the
Missouri and Bridger's Pass he seems to be as much at home as on his own
farm. All its live-stock is familiar to him. His sheep are of the big-horn
breed; his black cattle, the two varieties of buffalo, mountain and
lowland; and his poultry, the prairie-chicken and its relatives. He is
both interesting and instructive. The puma and the panther he avers to be
distinct species. The prong-horned antelope--the only American species,
and now, we believe, assigned by naturalists to a genus of its own--he
demonstrates to shed its horns. He describes six species of native grouse;
to which if we add two others not found within the limits he describes, we
have eight for the United States against two in Great Britain and four
for all Europe. His stories of sport and adventure are given with
circumstance and animation. Extra spice is thrown in by a moderate
infusion of second-hand relations of a more or less imaginative character,
which he is careful to separate from the fruit of his own experience and
observation. The physical conformation of the country and its climate are
described with remarkable distinctness. We do not know a book on the
subject that comes up more faithfully to its title.



_Books Received._


    The Struggle against Absolute Monarchy, 1603-1688: Epochs of
    English History. By Bertha Meriton Cordery. (Harper's Half-Hour
    Series.) New York: Harper & Brothers.

    The Tudors and the Reformation, 1485-1603: Epochs of English
    History. By M. Creighton, M.A. (Harper's Half-Hour Series.) New
    York: Harper & Brothers.

    Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping. Compiled from
    Original Recipes. Marysville, Ohio: Buckeye Publishing Co.

    University Life in Ancient Athens. By W. W. Capes, M.A. (Harper's
    Half-Hour Series.) New York: Harper & Brothers.

    The Children of Light. By Rev. William W. Faris. (The Fletcher
    Prize Essay, 1877.) Boston: Roberts Brothers.

    Reconciliation of Science and Religion. By Alexander Mitchell,
    LL.D. New York: Harper & Brothers.

    Syrian Sunshine. By T. G. Appleton. (Town-and-Country Series.)
    Boston: Roberts Brothers.

    The Anonymous Hypothesis of Creation. By James J. Furniss. New
    York: Charles P. Somerby.

    Personal Immortality, and other Papers. By John Oppenheim. New
    York: Charles P. Somerby.

    Harry. By the Author of "Mrs. Jerningham's Journal." New York:
    MacMillan & Co.

    Birds and Poets, with other Papers. By John Burroughs. New York:
    Hurd & Houghton.

    Atlas Essays. Number 2, Biographical and Critical. New York: A.
    S. Barnes & Co.

    In the Camargue. By Emily Bowles. (Loring's Tales of the Day.)
    Boston: Loring.

    Eugénie. By B. M. Butt. (Leisure-Hour Series.) New York: Henry
    Holt & Co.

    Mar's White Witch: A Novel. By G. Douglas. New York: Harper &
    Brothers.

    Table Talk. By A. Bronson Alcott. Boston: Roberts Brothers.



Transcriber's Notes

Page 177 dun-colered replaced with dun-colored.

Pages 158-165 Della Scala, Delle Scale, Della Scale and Delle Scala both
retained.

Page 189 Eitzgerald corrected to Fitzgerald.





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