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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 11, No. 68, June, 1863
Author: Various
Language: English
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VOL. XI.--JUNE, 1863.--NO. LXVIII.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1863, by TICHNOR AND
FIELDS, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of


The highest medical authorities of this century have expressed the
opinion that tubercular disease of the various tissues is justly
chargeable with one-third of the deaths among the youth and adults of
the civilized world. The seat of this tubercular disease is, in great
part, in the lungs.

Before the taint is localized, it is comparatively easy to remove it. If
in regard to most other maladies it may be said that "an ounce of
prevention is worth a pound of cure," in reference to tubercular
consumption it may be truly declared that an ounce of prevention is
worth tons of cure.

Had the talent and time which have been given to the treatment of
consumption been bestowed upon its causes and prevention, the percentage
of mortality from this dreaded disease would have been greatly reduced.


Genuine consumption does not originate in a cold, an inflammation, or a
hemorrhage, but in tubercles. And these tubercles are only secondary
causes. The primary cause is a certain morbid condition of the organism,
known as the tubercular or scrofulous diathesis. This morbid condition
of the general system is sometimes hereditary, but much more frequently
the result of unphysiological habits. Those cases to which our own
errors give rise may be prevented, and a large proportion of those who
have inherited consumptive taint may by wise hygiene be saved.

_Consumption is not a Local Disease._--It is thought to be a malady of
the lungs. This notion has led to most of the mistakes in its treatment.

Salt rheum appears on the hand. Some ignorant physician says, "It is a
disease of the skin." An ointment is applied; the eruption disappears.
Soon, perchance, the same scrofulous taint appears in the lungs in the
form of tubercles. The doctor cannot get at it there with his ointment,
and resorts to inhalation. He is still determined to apply his drug to
the local manifestation.

Salt rheum is not a disease of the skin. It is a disease of the system,
showing itself at the skin. Consumption is not a disease of the lungs.
It is a disease of the system, showing itself in the lungs.

A ship's crew is seized with some fearful malady. They hang out a flag
of distress. Another ship passes near the infected vessel. Its captain
discovers the flag of distress. A boat's crew is sent to cut it down.
The captain turns to his passengers with the triumphant exclamation, "We
have saved them! All signs of distress have disappeared!"

A human body is diseased in every part. A flag of distress is hung out
in the form of some malady at the surface. Some physician whose thinking
is on the surface of things applies an ointment, which compels the
malady to go back within the body again. Then he cries, "I have cured
him; see, it is all gone!"

It may be said, that, when the disease attacks the lungs, it must be
driven from that vital organ at any sacrifice. I reply, if the drug
vapors which are inhaled could disperse the tuberculous deposit,--which
is impossible,--the tubercle could not be transferred to any other
internal organ where it would do less harm. No other internal organ can
bear tuberculous deposit or ulceration with less danger to life.

In 1847, two brothers, bank-officers, afflicted with chronic
inflammation of the eyes, came under my care. I repeatedly prescribed
for them, but their eyes got no better. Indeed, they had little hope of
relief; for, during their years of suffering, many physicians had
treated them without avail. At length I told them there was no hope but
in absence from their business, and such recreation as would elevate the
general tone. A few months of hunting, fishing, and enjoyment in the
country sufficed to remove the redness and weakness from their eyes. As
I have argued, the disease was not one of the eyes, but of the entire
system, which had assumed a local expression.

This dependence of particular upon general disease is a common idea with
the people. A young man begins business with a large capital. He falls
into dissipation. In ten years it exhausts his fortune. When at last we
see him begging for bread, we do not say this exhibition of his poverty
is his financial disease. His financial _constitution_ has been ruined.
The begging is only an unpleasant exhibition of that ruin. During this
course of dissipation, the young man, in addition to the exhaustion of
his fortune, ruins his health. His lungs fall into consumption. Some
doctor may tell you it is disease of the lungs. But it is no more
disease of the lungs than was begging the man's financial malady. In
either case, the apparent disease is only an exhibition of the
constitutional malady.

In brief, a local disease is an impossibility. Every disease must be
systemic before it can assume any local expression. Or, in other words,
every local pathological manifestation is an expression of systemic
pathological conditions.

Now what is the practical value of this argument? I reply: So long as
people believe bronchitis to be a disease of the throat, or consumption
a disease of the lungs, so long will they labor under the hallucination
that a cure is to be found in applications to these parts. But when they
are convinced that these diseases are local expressions of morbid
conditions pervading the whole organism, then whatever will invigorate
their general health, as Nature's hygienic agents, will receive their
constant and earnest attention.


Sir James Clarke says,--"It may be fairly questioned whether the
proportion of cures of confirmed consumption is greater at the present
day than in the time of Hippocrates: and although the public may
continue to be the dupes of boasting charlatans, I am persuaded that no
essential progress has been made or _can be made_ in the cure of
consumption, until the disease has been treated upon different
principles from what it hitherto has been. If the labor and ingenuity
which have been misapplied in fruitless efforts to cure an irremediable
condition of the lungs had been rightly directed to the investigation of
the causes and nature of tuberculous disease, the subject of our inquiry
would have been regarded in a very different light from that in which it
is at the present period."

While I shall not attempt a discussion of all the causes of _phthisis
pulmonalis_, I shall, in a brief and familiar way, consider the more
obvious sources of this terrible malady, and particularly those which
all classes may remove or avoid.

_Impure Air a Cause of Consumption._--In discussing the causes of a
disease whose principal expression is in the lungs, nothing can be more
legitimate than a consideration of the air we breathe. In full
respiration, it penetrates every one of the many millions of air-cells.

_Dust._--Every species of dust must prove injurious. Workers in those
factories where tools are ground and polished soon die of pulmonary
disease. The dust of cotton and woollen factories, that of the street,
and that which is constantly rising from our carpets, are all
mischievous. M. Benoiston found among cotton-spinners the annual
mortality from consumption to be 18 in a thousand; among coal-men, 41;
among those breathing an atmosphere charged with mineral dust, 30, and
with dust from animal matter, as hair, wool, bristles, feathers, 54 per
thousand: of these last the greatest mortality was among workers in
feathers; least among workers in wool. The average liability to
consumption among persons breathing the kinds of dust named was 24 per
thousand, or 2.40 per cent. In a community where many flints were made,
there was great mortality from consumption, the average length of life
being only 19 years.

_Gases._--Among the poisonous gases which infest our atmosphere,
carbonic acid deserves special consideration. The principal result of
all respiration and combustion, it exists in minute quantities
everywhere, but when it accumulates to the extent of one or two per
cent, it seriously compromises health. I have seen the last half of an
eloquent sermon entirely lost upon the congregation; carbonic acid had
so accumulated that it operated like a moderate dose of opium. No
peroration would arouse them. Nothing but open windows could start
life's currents. In lectures before lyceums, I often have a quarrel with
the managers about ventilation. There is, even among the more
intelligent, a strange indifference to the subject.

The following fact graphically illustrates the influence of carbonic
acid on human life.

A young Frenchman, M. Deal, finding his hopes of cutting a figure in the
world rather dubious, resolved to commit suicide; but that he might not
leave the world without producing a sensation and flourishing in the
newspapers, he resolved to kill himself with carbonic acid. So, shutting
himself up in a close room, he succeeded in his purpose, leaving to the
world the following account, which was found near his dead body, the
next morning.

"I have thought it useful, in the interest of science, to make known the
effects of charcoal upon man. I place a lamp, a candle, and a watch on
my table, and commence the ceremony.

"It is a quarter past ten. I have just lighted the stove; the charcoal
burns feebly.

"Twenty minutes past ten. The pulse is calm, and beats at its usual

"Thirty minutes past ten. A thick vapor gradually fills the room; the
candle is nearly extinguished; I begin to feel a violent headache; my
eyes fill with tears; I feel a general sense of discomfort; the pulse is

"Forty minutes past ten. My candle has gone out; the lamp still burns;
the veins at my temple throb as if they would burst; I feel very sleepy;
I suffer horribly in the stomach; my pulse is at eighty.

"Fifty minutes past ten. I am almost stifled; strange ideas assail
me.... I can scarcely breathe.... I shall not go far.... There are
symptoms of madness....

"Eleven o'clock. I can scarcely write.... My sight is troubled.... My
lamp is going out.... I did not think it would be such agony to die....

Here followed some quite illegible characters. Life had ebbed. The
following morning he was found on the floor.

The steamer Londonderry left Liverpool for Sligo, on Friday, December
2d, 1848, with two hundred passengers, mostly emigrants. A storm soon
came on. The captain ordered the passengers into the steerage cabin,
which was eighteen feet long, eleven wide, and seven high. The hatches
were closed, and a tarpaulin fastened over this only entrance to the

The poor creatures were now condemned to breathe the same air over and
over again. Then followed a dreadful scene. The groans of the dying, the
curses and shrieks of those not yet in the agonies of death, must have
been inconceivably horrible. The struggling mass at length burst open
the hatches, and the mate was called to gaze at the fearful spectacle.
Seventy-two were already dead, many were dying, their bodies convulsed,
the blood starting from their nostrils, eyes, and ears.

It does not appear that the captain designed to suffocate his
passengers, but that he was simply ignorant of the fact that air which
has passed to and fro in the lungs becomes a deadly poison.

The victims of the Black Hole in Calcutta and of the Steamer
Londonderry, with the thousand other instances in which immediate death
has resulted from carbonic acid, are terrible examples in the history of
human suffering; but these cases are all as nothing, compared with those
of the millions who nightly sleep in unventilated rooms, from which they
escape with life, but not without serious injury. As a medical man, I
have visited thousands of sick persons, and have not found one hundred
of them in a pure atmosphere. I have often returned from church
seriously doubting whether I had not committed a sin in exposing myself
to its poisonous air. There are in our great cities churches costing
fifty thousand dollars, in the construction of which not fifty dollars
were expended in providing means for ventilation. Ten thousand dollars
for ornament, but not ten dollars for pure air! Parlors with
furnace-heat and a number of gas-burners (each of which consumes as much
oxygen as several men) are made as close as possible, and a party of
ladies and gentlemen spend half the night in them. In 1861 I visited a
legislative hall. The legislature was in session. I remained half an
hour in the most impure air I ever attempted to breathe. If the laws
which emanated from such an atmosphere were good, it is a remarkable
instance of the mental and moral rising above a depraved physical. Our
school-houses are, some of them, so vile in this respect that I would
prefer to have my son remain in utter ignorance of books, rather than
breathe, during six hours of every day, so poisonous an atmosphere.
Theatres and concert-rooms are so foul that only reckless people can
continue to visit them. Twelve hours in a railway-car exhausts one, not
because of the sitting, but because of the devitalized air. While
crossing the ocean in the Cunard steamer Africa, and again in the
Collins steamer Baltic, I was constantly amazed that men who knew enough
to construct such noble ships did not know enough to furnish air to the
passengers. The distresses of sea-sickness are greatly intensified by
the sickening atmosphere which pervades the ship. Were carbonic acid
black, what a contrast would be presented between the air of our hotels
and their elaborate ornamentation!

It is hardly necessary to say that every place I have mentioned might be
cheaply and completely ventilated.

Consumption originates in the tubercular diathesis. This diathesis is
produced by those agencies which deprave the blood and waste vitality.
Of these agencies none is so universal and potent as impure air. When we
consider, that, besides mingling momentarily with the blood of the
entire system, it is in direct and constant contact with every part of
the lungs, we cannot fail to infer that foul air must play a most
important part in that local expression of the tubercular taint known as
pulmonary consumption.

The author of an excellent work on consumption declares,--

"Wholesome air is equally essential with wholesome food; hence it is
that crowding individuals together in close, ill-ventilated apartments,
as is often the case in boarding-schools, manufactories, and
work-houses, is extremely prejudicial, both as a predisposing and
exciting cause of tubercular disease."

The great Baudeloque considers impure air the only real cause of
scrofula, other causes assisting. He thinks that no scrofula could be
developed without this cause, whatever others might be in operation.

An English writer who was physician to the Princess Victoria
says,--"There can be no doubt that the confined air of gloomy alleys,
manufactories, work-houses, and schools, and of our nurseries and very
sitting-rooms, is a powerful means of augmenting the hereditary
predisposition to scrofula, and of inducing such a disposition _de

To drink from the same tumbler, to eat from the same plate, to wear the
same under-clothes, to wash in the same water, even with the cleanest of
friends, would offend most people. But these are as alabaster whiteness
and absolute purity, compared with the common practice of crowding into
unventilated rooms, and thus sucking into the innermost parts of our
vital organs the foulest secretions from each other's skins and lungs. I
wish it were possible for these vile exhalations to be imbued with some
dark color, if but temporarily. Then decency would join with reason in
demanding a pure atmosphere.


Consumptives, and all invalids, and indeed persons in health, are
cautioned to avoid the night air. Do those who offer this advice forget
that there is no other air at night but "night air"? Certainly we cannot
breathe day air during the night. Do they mean that we should shut
ourselves up in air-tight rooms, and breathe over and over again,
through half the twenty-four hours, the atmosphere we have already
poisoned? We have only the choice between night air pure and night air
poisoned with the exhalations from our skins and lungs, perhaps from
lungs already diseased. A writer pertinently speaks on this point after
the following fashion:--

"Man acts strangely. Although a current of fresh air is the very life of
his lungs, he seems indefatigable in the exercise of his inventive
powers to deprive himself of this heavenly blessing. Thus, he carefully
closes his bed-chamber against its entrance, and prefers that his lungs
should receive the mixed effluvia from his cellar and larder, and from a
patent little modern aquarius, in lieu of it. Why should man be so
terrified at the admission of night air into any of his apartments? It
is Nature's ever-flowing current, and never carries the destroying angel
with it. See how soundly the delicate little wren and tender robin sleep
under its full and immediate influence, and how fresh and vigorous and
joyous they rise amid the surrounding dew-drops of the morning. Although
exposed all night long to the heaven, their lungs are never out of
order; and this we know by daily repetition of the song. Look at the
new-born hare, without any nest to go to. It lives and thrives and
becomes strong and playful under the unmitigated inclemency of the
falling dews of night. I have a turkey full eight years old that has not
passed a single night in shelter. He roosts in a cherry-tree, and is in
primest health the year through. Three fowls, preferring this to the
warm perches in the hen-house, took up their quarters with him early in
October, and have never gone to any other roosting-place. The cow and
the horse sleep safely on the ground, and the roebuck lies down to rest
on the dewy mountain-top. I myself can sleep all night long, bareheaded,
under the full moon's watery beams, without any fear of danger, and pass
the day in wet shoes without catching cold. Coughs and colds are
generally caught in the transition from an over-heated room to a cold
apartment; but there would be no danger in this movement, if ventilation
were properly attended to,--a precaution little thought of nowadays."

Dr. James Blake advises the consumptive to join with several friends,
procure horses and wagons, and set off upon a long journey, sleeping in
the open air, no matter what the weather. He seems to think this the
only way in which it is possible to induce the consumptive to sleep in
the fresh air. Doctor Jackson gives the case of a consumptive young man
(he does not state the condition of his lungs) who was cured by sleeping
in the open air on a hay-stack. This advice and experience do not quite
harmonize with the common terror of night air.

But while I believe that breathing the pure out-door air all night is an
important curative means in this disease, I do not believe that sleeping
in the open fields of a stormy night is the _best means_ for securing
pure night air, in the case of a feeble woman; on the contrary, I think
it might be more pleasantly, and quite as effectually, secured in a
comfortable house, with open windows and an open fire.

No doubt the lives of thousands would be saved by destroying their
houses, and compelling them to sleep in the open air;--not because
houses are inevitable evils, but because they are so badly used. Windows
are barred and closed, as if to keep out assassins; draughts defended
against, as if they were bomb-shells; and the furnace heat still more
corrupts the air, which has done duty already--to how many lungs, for
how many hours?

Let the consumptive thank God for the blessing of a house, but let him
use it wisely. How my heart has ached, to see the consumptive patient
put away in a bed, behind curtains, in an unventilated room, the doors
and windows carefully closed, to shut out the very food for which his
lungs and system were famishing!

I do not wonder that Blake, Jackson, and many others have advised an
out-door life of the wildest and most exposed sort, to invalids of this
class,--but I do wonder that they have not equally insisted upon
abundance of air for them, as pure as that of the fields and mountains,
in their own homes, and in the midst of friends and comforts.


It is the common belief that a dry atmosphere is most favorable to the
consumptive. Many medical authors have advanced this assumption. It is,
nevertheless, an error. In the British Isles and in France, outside the
cities and manufactories, the mortality from pulmonary diseases is much
less than among the agricultural classes of this country. And on the
western shores of this continent consumption is comparatively unknown.

Our disadvantage in this comparison is attributable, in considerable
part, to the lack of humidity in our atmosphere. Without the evidence of
facts, we might, _a priori_, argue, that excessive dryness of the air
would produce dryness and irritability of the air-passages. From time
immemorial, watery vapor has been used as a remedy in irritation and
inflammation of the respiratory organs.

A hundred times have my consumptive patients expressed surprise that the
wet weather, in which I have insisted they should go out as usual, has
not injured them,--that they even breathe more freely than on pleasant
days. Of course, I tell them, if the body is well protected, the more
moist the air, the more grateful to your lungs.

There is no possible weather which can excuse the consumptive for
keeping in-doors. Give him sufficient clothing, protect his feet
carefully, and he may go out freely in rain, sleet, snow, and wind.
Ignorance of this fact has killed thousands.

That point of temperature at which the moisture of the air first becomes
visible is known as the dew-point. According to one authority, the mean
dew-point of England, from the first of November to the last of March,
is about 35°; that of our Northern States about 16°. Now suppose a house
in England is kept at a temperature of 70°, the drying power would there
be represented by 35. A house with the same temperature in Albany, for
example, would possess a drying power of 54. This great contrast in the
atmosphere of the two countries is strikingly illustrated by the
difference between the plump body and smooth skin of the Englishman, and
the lean, juiceless body, and dry, cracked skin of the Yankee. It is
also shown by the well-known difference in the influence of house-heat
upon furniture. Our chairs and sofas and wood-work warp and shrink,
while nothing of the sort occurs in England.

As we cannot increase the amount of moisture in the atmosphere of our
continent, we must limit our practical efforts to the air of our houses.
If we use a stove, its entire-upper surface may be made a reservoir for
water; ornamental work, of but little cost, may be used to conceal it.
The furnace may be made to send up, with its heat, many gallons of water
daily, in the form of vapor. In justice to stoves and furnaces, I must
say here, that, in the opportunity to do this, they possess one
advantage over open fire-places.

By adding artificial moisture in this way to the air of our houses, we
not only save our furniture from drying and shrinking, but protect our
skin, eyes, nose, throat, and lungs from undue dryness, and from the
affections to which it would give rise. It is found necessary, in our
cloth-manufactories, to maintain a moist atmosphere in order to
successful spinning. Intelligent managers have assured me that coughs
and throat difficulties are comparatively rare in the spinning

We must all have observed, that, while the air of a hot kitchen is
comfortable, that of a parlor at the same heat, from an air-tight stove,
is almost suffocating. The kitchen has a hot stove, but the steam of its
boiling kettles moistens the air.

Your country aunt, who has lived over her cooking-stove for years
without serious inconvenience, after spending an afternoon in your
parlor, heated by a stove or furnace, returns home "glad to get out of
that hot, stifling air." And yet the thermometer may have indicated that
the kitchen was ten degrees warmer than the parlor. The dry heat of the
parlor produced headache, irritability, and perhaps a sense of stricture
in the chest. If we would avoid these, a dry chapped skin, an irritable
nervous system, and a dry hacking cough, we must add the needed humidity
by artificial means.


The influence of climate in the production of tuberculosis was formerly
much exaggerated. Removal to a warm latitude, so generally prescribed
some years ago, is now rarely advised. Although the bland atmosphere and
out-of-door life of the tropics may often check the progress of the
malady, yet the constitution is generally so enervated that the return
to home and friends involves often not only a return of the malady, but
its more rapid progress. At present, a winter at Lake Superior, or other
region where the cold is intense and uniform, is the popular
prescription. I do not doubt the value of the expedient in many cases.
But the consumptive who can afford a winter neither in the Mediterranean
nor at the frigid North may comfort himself that the value of such trips
has been greatly overrated. Advice to the phthisical to spend a season a
thousand miles from home is, to a large majority of them, not unlike
that of the whimsical London doctor to the rag-picker he found coughing
in the streets:--"That's a bad cough, a bad cough, you have. I advise
you to make a journey on the Continent; and, in order to secure all the
advantages, you had better travel in your own carriage." Happily for
those with short purses, health in this, as in most other cases, is more
easily found at home.

I do not believe that the prejudice against our New-England climate,
entertained by consumptives, is well-founded. The slight percentage of
difference against us, as compared with the people of other parts of the
country, in the number of deaths from consumption, is to be traced, I
believe, not so much to our climate as to our manufactories. New England
contains nearly all the great factories, labor in which is so
prejudicial to health,--as well as a greater number of furnaces,
air-tight stoves, and close houses.

I do not believe that the sudden changes of the New-England climate are
disastrous to the consumptive who is well protected. While it is true
that our climate provokes a greater number of colds than that of
Florida, it is not less true that our atmosphere is more invigorating.

"The Climate of the United States," by Dr. Samuel Forry, of the United
States Army, one of the best works of the kind ever published, gives a
great number of facts, interesting in this connection. His statistics
are gathered exclusively from the army. The men of the army are, in
great part, of the same age, from the same rank in life, of the same
habits, and have the same clothing, food, and labor, and when sick the
same treatment. The influence of climate upon human health may,
therefore, be ascertained with more accuracy from careful observations
among this class of men than from any other source. In comparing the
populations of New York and New Orleans, for instance, it is almost
impossible to make accurate allowance for the manifold differences in
habits, diet, occupation, etc.

Dr. Forry shows conclusively, that, while colds and influenzas are more
common in the northern branches of the regular army, as 552 to 271,
consumption is more common in the southern, in the proportion of 10-1/2
to 7-2/3. In the southern divisions there are 708 cases of fever of
various sorts to 192 in the northern. "We may safely infer," he says,
"that whatever tends to impair the constitution, as fevers, tends to
develop consumption in every class which is predisposed, and in all
climates and countries." Dr. Forry's tables present some curious facts.
One which will most impress the general reader is, that rheumatism is
more common at Key West than on the coast of New England. But it will
not surprise the reflecting, that a change of 5° at Key West is felt as
much as one of 20° at Boston. The slight changes, however, do not
equally purify the atmosphere and invigorate the body.


No subject is so intimately connected with the health of the respiratory
apparatus as dress. And, as bearing upon pulmonary consumption, there
are certain errors in the dress of children which must be noticed. I
believe I echo the voice of my profession, when I declare that the seeds
of consumption are planted in thousands by these mistakes in dress
during infancy and childhood. To correct these, permit me a few
practical suggestions.

The skirt-bands must be left very loose. If you would give the baby's
lungs and heart the best chance for development, the dress about the
chest and waist should be so loose, that, if the child be held up by the
shoulders, its entire dress, except as sustained by the shoulders, will
fall to the floor. With such a dress the blood is so much sooner
oxygenated, that, other things being equal, the characteristic dark red
color of the skin will disappear much sooner than with a close dress.

The bones surrounding the small, feeble lungs, now for the first time
beginning to move, are so soft and pliable, that, under the slightest
pressure, they will yield, and the capacity of the lungs be reduced. Yet
I have seen the nurse use the entire strength of her fingers in the
first application of the skirt-bands. No thoughtful person, acquainted
with the anatomy of the thorax in a new-born babe, can escape the
conclusion that its vitality is seriously compromised by this pressure
upon the principal organs of that vitality. In many instances I have
seen the character of the little one's respiration and pulse decidedly
affected by enlarging the skirt-bands.

Mothers, if you think all this pressure necessary to give your babes a
form, as I have heard some of you say, you forget that the Creator of
your child has all wisdom and skill, and that any changes in the baby's
form and proportions must prove only mischievous. And perhaps you may
not feel your pride hurt by the suggestion, that His taste is quite
equal to yours. That a corset or other machine is needed to give a human
being a form, as is so often suggested, is an imputation on the Creator
which no thoughtful and conscientious person can indulge.

_Dress of Children's Arms._--Prominent among the errors in the dress of
children is the custom of leaving their arms nude.

I speak of the dress for the damp and cold seasons. It should be added,
that during the cool summer evenings too much care cannot be exercised
in protecting the baby's arms and shoulders. If the mother desires to
exhibit her darling's beautiful skin, let her cut out a bit of the dress
near its heart, and when the neighbors come in, let her show the skin
thus exposed to the company. This is so near the central furnace of the
body that it has no chance to get cold; but in the case of the arms and
legs, we have parts far removed from the furnace, and such parts require
special protection.

Take the glass tube of the thermometer out of the frame, and put the
bulb in your baby's mouth. The mercury-rises to 98°. Now, on a cool
evening, place the same bulb in its little hand; (I am supposing it has
naked arms;) the mercury will sink to 60° or less. Need I say that all
the blood which has to make its way through the diminutive and tortuous
vessels of those cold arms must become nearly as cold as the arms and
hands themselves? And need I add, that, as the cold currents of blood
come from both arms back into the vital organs, they play the mischief

If you would preserve your child from croup, pneumonia, and a score of
other grave affections, you should keep its arms warm. Thick woollen
sleeves, fitting the little dimpled arms down to the hands, at least,
constitute the true covering.

A distinguished physician of Paris declared just before his death,--"I
believe that during the twenty-six years that I have practised my
profession in this city, twenty thousand children have been borne to the
cemeteries, a sacrifice to the absurd custom of naked arms."

When in Harvard College, many years ago, I heard the eminent Dr. Warren
say,--"Boston sacrifices hundreds of babes every year by not clothing
their arms."

What has been said of the dress of children is none the less applicable
to the dress of adults. One of the gravest mistakes in the dress of
women is the very thin covering of their arms and legs. A young lady
once asked me what she could do for her very thin arms. She said she was
ashamed of them. I felt of them through the thin lace covering, and
found them freezing cold. I asked her what she supposed would make
muscles grow? Exercise, she replied. Certainly,--but exercise makes them
grow only by giving them more blood. Six months of vigorous exercise
will do less to give those cold, naked arms circulation than would a
single month, were they warmly clad.

The value of exercise depends upon the temperature of the muscles. A
cold gymnasium is unprofitable. Its temperature should be between sixty
and seventy, or the limbs should be warmly clothed. I know our
servant-girls and blacksmiths, by constant and vigorous exercise,
acquire large, fine arms, in spite of their nakedness; and if our young
ladies will labor as hard from morning till night as do these useful
classes, they may have as fine arms; but even then it is doubtful if
they would get rid of their congestions in the head, lungs, and stomach,
without more dress upon the arms and legs.

Perfect health depends upon perfect circulation. Every living thing that
has the latter has the former. Put your hand under your dress upon your
body. Now place it upon your arm. If you find the temperature of the
body over 90° and that of your arm under 60°, you have lost the
equilibrium of circulation. The head has too much blood, producing
headache; or the chest too much, producing cough, rapid breathing, pain
in the side, or palpitation of the heart; or the stomach too much,
producing indigestion. Any or all these difficulties are temporarily
relieved by immersion of the hands or feet in hot water, and permanently
relieved by such dress and exercise of the extremities as will make the
derivation permanent.

The most earnest efforts looking towards dress-reform have had reference
to the length of the skirt. I think it is one of woman's first duties to
make herself beautiful. The long skirt, the trail even, is in fine
taste. Among the dress features of the stage none is so beautiful. The
artist is ever delighted to introduce it in his pictures of woman. For
the drawing-room, it is superb. When we meet on dress occasions, I
cannot see why we may not introduce this exquisite feature. If it is
said that expense and inconvenience are involved, I reply, so they are
in paintings and statuary.

For church and afternoon-sittings, skirts that nearly touch the floor
seem to me in good taste; but for the street, when snowy or muddy, for
the active duties of house-keeping, for the gymnasium, and for
mountain-trips, it need not be argued, with those whose brains are not
befogged by fashion, that the skirts should fall to about the knee.

Dr. Clarke says,--"Since the free expansion of the chest, or, in other
words, the unimpeded action of the respiratory organs, is essential to
health, the employment of tight stays and those forms of dress which
interfere with these natural actions must be injurious, and cannot
therefore be too strongly censured."

The celebrated Dr. James Johnson declares,--"The growth of the whole
body and the freedom of all its functions so much depend upon perfect
digestion, that every impediment to that digestion, such as compression
of the middle of the body, must inevitably derange the whole
constitution. Although the evils of tight lacing are as patent as the
sun at noonday, I have never known its commission to be acknowledged by
any fair dame. It is considered essential to a fine figure, yet I never
could discover any marks of stays in the statues of the Medicean Venus,
or the Apollo. And I venture to aver that the Cyprian goddess was not in
the habit of drawing her zone as tight as the modern fair ones, else the
sculptor would have recorded the cincture in marble. The comfort and
motions of the foot are not more abridged and cramped by the Chinese
shoe than are respiration and digestion by the stay." Thus wrote the
physician to the father of the present queen of England.

A former professor of the theory and practice of medicine in the
university of Vermont says,--"Undue confinement of the chest must at all
periods of life be prejudicial; hence the practice of tight lacing we
almost always find classed among the causes of phthisis, as well as of
numerous other ills." And he adds,--"It is surely an erroneous notion
that women need the support of stays."


In all seasons of the year, and in all climates, the best material for
dress, for old and young, for strong and weak, is woollen. It is the
poorest conductor of heat, and therefore secures the most equable
temperature. This is the principal object of dress. The superiority of
woollen clothing for babes is even greater in July than in January. In
the warmest days a single thickness of soft flannel will suffice. But if
linen or cotton be worn, the garment is soon moistened by perspiration,
and two or three additional thicknesses are needed to protect the child
against the ill-effects of a draught.

In warm weather we find it necessary to wear woollen garments in the
gymnasium, as a protection against a chill from draughts while
perspiring. Our soldiers in the South find flannel their best friend,
securing them against the extremes and exposures of their camp and field
life. Blacksmiths, glass-blowers, furnace-men, and others exposed to the
highest temperatures, find woollen indispensable.

Few practices will do so much to secure the comfort and protect the
health of young children as dressing them in flannel night and day, the
year round. It may be objected that flannel irritates a delicate skin.
This is often so, as the skin is now treated. But there is no baby's
skin so thin and delicate that daily bathing and faithful friction may
not remove this extreme susceptibility. And as the skin is the organ
upon which the outer world makes its impressions, nothing is more
important than that all morbid susceptibility should be removed.

An additional advantage in the use of flannel is, that it serves by its
mechanical effect to keep up a healthy surface circulation, which is one
of the vital conditions of health. The skin and the lungs act and react
upon each other more directly, if possible, than any other two organs of
the body. Children born with a predisposition to consumption especially
need a vigorous treatment of the skin.

Professor Dunglison says,--"The best clothing to protect us from
external heat or cold is one that is a bad conductor of calorie, or one
that does not permit heat to pass readily through it." This is the case
with woollen. The Spaniard and the Oriental throw woollen mantles over
them when they expose themselves to the sun.

Londe asserts that "the use of woollen next the skin is one of the most
precious means possessed by therapeutics. Its use on children does much
to prevent bowel-affections, and with it we can bear with impunity the
vicissitudes of weather."

Brocchi ascribes the immunity of sheep which feed night and day in the
Campagna di Roma "to the protection afforded them by their wool."

Patissier affirms that woollen clothing has been found effectual in
preserving the health of laborers working in marshy grounds, canals, and

Captain Murray, of the English service, after two years spent among the
icebergs on the coast of Labrador, sailed, immediately upon his return
to England, for the West Indies, where he remained some months, and
while other officers lost many men, he returned to England without the
loss of a man, which he ascribed in considerable part to the use of
flannel. So important did he regard this hygienic measure that he had
every man examined daily to ascertain that he had not thrown off his

A distinguished author writes that the aged, infirm, rheumatic, and
those liable to pulmonary disease, are greatly benefited by the use of

Dr. Willich says,--"Wool recommends itself to us, because it is the
covering of those animals most resembling man in structure."

Count Rumford says he is convinced of the utility of flannel in all
seasons, that he was relieved by its use from a pain in the breast, to
which he was much subject, and had never since known an hour's illness.

The celebrated Hufeland says it is a desirable dress for the nervous,
those subject to colds, catarrhs, influenzas, and, in fact, for all

Another writer says that desperate diseases would be prevented, and many
valuable lives saved, by its more universal use.

A distinguished American physician says that flannel next the skin is of
service to the consumptive by the irritation it produces, as well as
the defence it affords against the cold.

An English authority says,--"Experience has so fully evinced the utility
of covering the skin with flannel, that no person habituated to its use,
in our damp climate, can be persuaded to dispense with it at any season
of the year."


Motion is the great law of the universe. It is the first instinct of
animal life. When it ceases, life ceases. The degree of life may be
measured by the amount of normal motion. When the life-forces run low,
the natural and most effectual method of invigorating those forces is
found in motion.

The popular education of our children is a lamentable violation of this
law. The young child, left in freedom, keeps its nurse on the _qui vive_
during every waking hour by its uncontrollable activity. The effort
which our school-system makes to crush out this instinct, by compelling
children to sit on hard chairs, bent over desks, motionless six hours a
day, is, considered in its influence upon the vitality of the nation,
the saddest of all possible mistakes.

A radical change in this respect is imperatively demanded by the growing
intelligence of the people. The Germans,--God bless them!--having given
more faithful study to the various problems of human development, have
devised better modes. The Kindergarten, one of the many beautiful
blossoms of the genius of that noble people, is being transplanted to
this country. Wise parents, thank Heaven, and take heart. Miss Peabody's
Kindergarten, in Boston, should be visited by the friends of education.

Nothing at this hour is so much needed in the development of the young
as some system of physical training, which, under competent masters, may
be introduced as a part of the daily drill into all our schools, public
and private. The routine should be so arranged that study and physical
exercise should alternate in periods not longer than half an hour
throughout the day. For example: the school opens at 9 o'clock. The
first half-hour is devoted to study and recitation. Let the second be
given to vigorous training in the gymnasium under a drill-master, and to
music. The third to study and recitation. The fourth to drill, in which
those with weak stomachs form a class by themselves, with special
exercises; those with weak chests another; those with weak spines still
another: all classified and treated according to their several needs.
The fifth half-hour to study and recitation. The sixth to declamation,
singing, or culture of the vocal organs, in general and special ways.
The seventh and eighth half-hours to study, conversation, etc. And again
in the afternoon an alternation of intellectual and physical exercises,
the latter so ordered as to bring into play every muscle, and thus
secure the symmetrical development of the body. Who can doubt that under
this system greater progress would be made in intellectual culture than
at present? The mind would find more effective tools for its work. But,
with an incredulous shake of the head, the people say, "Yes, this is all
very fine, but quite impracticable," If by this they mean that it is not
practicable until the public conscience is better enlightened, I grant
the force of the objection. But if they mean to say, that, with a due
appreciation of physical culture, such a school is an impracticability,
I am confident they are mistaken. The order I suggest could be
introduced in a week in any existing school, did the parents and
teachers so will. I am happy to be able to say that such a school as I
have described, possessing all the best facilities for classical and
scientific instruction, and under the management of eminent educators,
will be opened in an American city within the present year. The school
has been determined upon from the conviction that only in beginning with
the rising generation can the results of physical culture, or the system
combining both physical and intellectual culture, in their natural
relations, be thorough and satisfactory, and that the results of this
experiment would do more than all that can be said or written to arouse
public attention.

Sweetser says,--"Were I required to name the remedy which promises most
aid in the onset of consumption, I should say, daily gentle and
protracted exercise in a mild and equable atmosphere.... Exercise,
moreover, determines the blood to the surface of the body, rendering the
cutaneous functions more active and healthful, and may in this way also
contribute to the advantage of the lungs."

Dr. Parrish says that "vigorous and free exposure to the air is by far
the most efficient remedy in pulmonary consumption."

Dr. Pitcher states that "the consumptive Indians of the Osage tribe have
their symptoms suspended during their semi-annual buffalo-hunts, but
that these soon return on becoming again inactive in their towns."

Dr. Rush informs us that he saw three persons who had been cured of
consumption by the hardships of military life in the Revolutionary War.
The same distinguished authority affirms that "the remedy for
consumption must be sought in those exercises and employments which give
the greatest vigor to the constitution."

Dr. Chambers, physician to St. Mary's Hospital, says,--"If we examine
the history of those who have lived longest with consumption, we shall
not find them to have been those who have lived in-doors, hanging their
lives on their thermometers." He gives the case of a friend of his "who
from his youth has had tubercular disease, but has kept hounds,
contested elections, sat in Parliament, but never allows any one to
doctor his chest."

Lord Bacon asserted that "there was no disease among pupils that
gymnastics and calisthenics could not cure." And Galen declared "him to
be the best physician who was the best teacher of gymnastics." While
Dryden, long ago, sang,--

    "The wise for cure on _exercise_ depend."

Consumptives are advised to ride on horseback, to make long journeys in
the saddle. This is doubtless one of the most valuable exercises. There
are numerous well-authenticated instances of cures by its means, even in
the advanced stages of the disease. But many persons cannot avail
themselves of its advantages. In our cities, not one phthisical invalid
in ten, especially among women, can command facilities for daily
horseback-riding, still less can they take long journeys.

Hunting, fishing, and mountain-air are advised. But how can many who
reside in towns and cities, and who most need muscular training, secure
such recreations?

Walking is very generally prescribed, and is doubtless the most
available of the exercises named. But in the case of women, the present
mode of dress seriously interferes with the ease and physiological
benefits of this exercise; and few would exchange the long skirt for the
short one with pantalets or Turkish trousers. And yet this change is
indispensable to the best results.

While I would encourage all out-door exercises and amusements, it is
evident that exercises which can be introduced into every house, which
may be practised by persons of both sexes, all ages and degrees of
strength, and which possess such fascination as shall make them
permanently attractive, are greatly to be desired, to meet wants not
otherwise supplied.

Many exercises have been advised with reference to general health and
strength. I submit a series possessing peculiar virtues for the
consumptive. To him all exercises are not equally profitable. Ten
movements of a sort adapted to his special needs are worth a hundred not
so adapted. He has a narrow chest and drooping shoulders. This
distortion results in displacement of the lungs. And yet he may have
legs and hips comparatively vigorous. Ten movements concentrated upon
those muscles whose deficiency permits the drooping of the shoulders
will be more valuable than a hundred for the legs. There are several
hundred muscles in the human body. In every case of consumption certain
groups of these muscles are defective. Restoration of the lost symmetry
calls for those exercises which will develop the defective groups.
Prescribing a walk for a patient whose legs are already vigorous, but
whose arms and shoulders are contracted and weak, is like prescribing a
medicine because it _is a medicine_, without regard to the nature of the

A blister applied to the chest relieves pain within. It accomplishes
this by drawing the blood to the surface, and thus subtracting from the
congestion at the point of disease. If the blister were applied to the
foot or leg, it would not sensibly relieve the congestion in the chest.

If, instead of applying a blister, we use exercise as the remedial
measure, and by drawing blood into the muscles we would relieve the
congestion within, the importance of subtracting from the vessels which
bear the blood to the diseased part is not less than in the case of the
blister. For the relief or cure of disease in any of the chest organs a
few well-directed movements of those muscles about the chest which lack
circulation will accomplish more than hours of walking.

The intelligent physician, in prescribing muscular training, will not
say, simply and generally, "I advise you to exercise," but he will
indicate the particular exercises applicable to the case. He will first
thoughtfully ask, "What group of muscles is defective?" When he has
answered this question accurately, he is prepared for a second,--"What
exercises will bring into direct training the defective group?" When
these points are settled, he can direct the training wisely. To
recommend horseback-riding--good as it is--for _all_ consumptives, is
not a whit more discriminating than to prescribe a particular variety of
food for all invalids. The medical man who has a general formula for a
certain class of patients is hardly more thoughtful than the vender of
the "all-healing ointment."

Little or no attention has been given to the vital subject of exercise
as a curative means. In many cases treated by Ling's methods, when
skilfully applied, the results have been so marvellous that medical men
who had not studied the philosophy of the Movement Cure have attributed
the rapid improvement to Animal Magnetism. They could not conceive that
muscular exercise alone could produce such wonderful results.

Symmetry of body and mind is vital to health. Its loss in the mind leads
not unfrequently to insanity,--its loss in the body to numberless
maladies. The great defect in our system of education lies just here.
There is no discrimination between the members of a class, part of which
needs one kind of culture to produce symmetry and health, while another
part needs quite another. The gymnasium, where all perform the same
exercises, may be charged with the same radical defect. In a school for
thorough mental or physical training, pupils must be classified and
trained with reference to their individual needs. This principle
underlies the successful treatment of consumption. He who would
contribute to its cure by exercise--the most efficient of all possible
remedies--must not say to his patients simply, "Exercise, exercise,
exercise," but he must distinctly mark out those exercises which are
precisely adapted to the case of each.

As an additional reason for discrimination in prescribing physical
exercises for consumptives, it may be mentioned that in almost every
patient belonging to this class there are complications with other
diseases each of which requires consideration.


Most consumptive invalids are indisposed to exercise, and particularly
indisposed to employ their arms. Many attempt training of the shoulders
and chest, and abandon it in disgust. But if in the systematic
performance of the exercises other persons are interested, the patient
cannot withdraw. Besides, those exercises in which others participate
have social attractions, to which consumptives, as a class, are
peculiarly susceptible.

For example, a consumptive young lady has brothers who assist her in
certain prescribed exercises. These are to be executed twice a day, at
hours when the brothers are at home. There is an affectionate interest
in the group with reference to the pleasant duty. It is not forgotten.
Suppose the brother is the patient, the sisters or mother will act as
assistants. In every family such exercises are sure of the proper
attention. I need scarcely say, that, if the patient undertake to
exercise alone, with dumb-bells or some similar means, it will soon grow
tiresome, and be abandoned.

Moreover, it is a matter of no small moment that other members of the
family--who are not unlikely to be predisposed to the same malady--will
thus secure a series of profitable exercises. I must add my conviction,
that by no other variety of training can the efforts be so accurately
directed to the muscles whose weakness permits the distortion of chest
which is often the exciting cause of the malady.

With a good-sized room, and open windows, the air may be pure, while the
exercise will prove the occasion of a thorough ventilation of the house.

I am indebted to Friedrich Robert Nitzsche of Dresden for the drawings
of the accompanying cuts. His works are invaluable.

[Illustration: Fig. 1.]

Fig. 1. Assistant, standing behind the patient, grasps his hands.
Patient draws up the hands, as shown in the dotted lines, assistant
resisting. Patient forces his hands back again to the first position,
assistant resisting. Repeat five times.

In this, as in the other exercises advised, _the resistance should be
adapted to the patient's strength_.

[Illustration: Fig. 2.]

Fig. 2. Assistant, standing behind the patient, who is seated, grasps
his uplifted hands. Patient draws down the hands, as shown by the dotted
lines, assistant resisting. Patient forces the hands back to the first
position, assistant resisting. Repeat three times.

[Illustration: Fig. 3.]

Fig. 3 shows an improvement on Fig. 2 for those cases in which, either
from the strength of the patient or the weakness of the assistant, it
might prove more agreeable to employ two assistants.

[Illustration: Fig. 4.]

[Illustration: Fig. 5.]

Figs. 4 and 5 represent an exercise which hardly needs description. The
patient should exert the positive force in both directions, the
assistants resisting.

[Illustration: Fig. 6.]

[Illustration: Fig. 7.]

Fig. 6 or 7 may be used next in order.

[Illustration: Fig. 8]

[Illustration: Fig. 9]

Fig. 8 shows an exercise valuable in the treatment of drooping
shoulders. When the patient has raised his arms, as in the dotted lines,
he may bring them back to the horizontal in front, without the
interference of the assistant.

Fig. 9 illustrates an exercise which may be used twenty or thirty times,
if managed with gentleness.

I cannot here undertake to say how often these exercises should be
employed, nor in what cases; they are given merely as suggestive. A
complete series of "Mutual Help Exercises," adapted to the treatment of
the consumptive, includes a large number, many of which are not only
valuable, but cannot fail to deeply interest all concerned.

If to the Mutual Help Exercises it is desired to add those in which the
health-seeker can work alone, I would suggest the new exercises with the
wooden dumbbell, wand, and club, and the one hundred and seven exercises
with Schreber's Pangymnastikon.

Consumption--genuine tuberculous consumption--can be cured, even in the
stage of softening or abscess. Dr. J. Hughes Bennett, Professor Calkins,
Dr. Parrish, Dr. Carswell, Laennec, Professor Lee, Dr. Abernethy, Sir
James Clarke, and fifty other distinguished authors, declare their faith
in its curability.

In not less than a thousand _post-mortem_ examinations, the lungs have
exhibited scars, concretions, or other indubitable evidences of recovery
from genuine consumption. I have cured many cases with exercise and
other hygienic agents.


                The heavy apple-trees
    Are shaking off their snow in breezy play;
                The frail anemones
    Have fallen, fading, from the lap of May;
    Lanterned with white the chestnut-branches wave,
                And all the woods are gay.
                Come, children, come away,
    And we will make a flower-bed to-day
                About our dear one's grave!
    Oh, if we could but tell the wild-flowers where
    Lies his dear head, gloried with sunny hair,
                So noble and so fair,
    How would they haste to bloom and weep above
    The heart that loved them with so fond a love!

                Come, children, come!
              From the sweet, ferny meads,
    Wherein he used to walk in days of yore,--
              From the green path that leads,
    Where the long dusty road seems wearisome,
              Up to his father's door,--
              Gather the tender shoots
    Of budding promise, fragrance, and delight,
              Fresh-sprouting violet-roots,
              That, when the first June night
    Shall draw about his bed its fragrant gloom,
    This grave-mound may be bathed in balmy bloom,
    With loving memories eloquently dumb.
                Come, children, come!

              No more, alas, alas!
    O fairest blossoms which the wild bee sips,
    Along your pleasant places shall he pass,
    Ere from your freshened leaves the night-dew drips,
    Culling your blooms in handfuls from the grass,
    Pressing your tender faces to his lips,--
                Ah, never any more!
    Yet I recall, a little while before
    He passed behind this mystery of death,
    How, bringing home great handfuls, won away
    From the dark wood-haunts where he loved to stray
    Until his dewy garments were replete
                With wafts of odorous breath,
                With sods all mossy-sweet
    And all awake and purple with new bloom
    He filled and crowded every window-seat,
                Until each pleasant room
    Was fragrant with your mystical perfume:
    Now vainly do I watch beside the door,--
                Ah, never any more!

                Alas, how could I know
                That I so soon should strew
    Your blossoms, warm with tears, above his head?
                That your wet roots would cling
    About the hand that wears his bridal ring,
    When he who placed it there lay cold and dead?

                O violets, live and grow,
                That, ere the bright days go,
    This turf may be with rarest beauty crowned!--
                Nay, shrink not from my touch,
    For these are careful and most loving hands,
                Fearing and hoping much,
    Which thus disturb your fair and wondering bands,
    But to transfer them to more holy ground.

              Dear violets, bloom and live!
              To this beloved tomb
              Your beauty and your bloom
    Are the most precious tribute we can give.
    And, oh, if your sweet soul of odor goes,
    Blended with the clear trills of singing-birds,
              Farther than my poor speech
              Or wailing cry can reach
    Into that realm of shadowy repose
              Toward which I blindly yearn,
    Praying in silence, "Oh, my love, return!"
    Yet dare not try to touch with groping words,
              So far it seems, and sweet,--
    That realm wherein I may not hope to be
              Until my wayworn feet
    Put off the shoes of this mortality,--
              Oh, let your incense-breath,
    Laden with all this weight of love and woe
    For him who went away so long ago,
              Bridge for me Time and Death!

                Blow, violets, blow!
    And tell him in your blooming, o'er and o'er,
    How in the places which he used to know
    His name is still breathed fondly as of yore;
    Tell him how often, in the dear old ways
              Where bloomed our yesterdays,
    The radiant days which I shall find no more,
              My lingering footsteps shake
    The dew-drops from your leaves, for his dear sake.
                Wake, blue eyes, wake!

                The earliest breath of June
    Blows the white tassels from the cherry-boughs,
    And in the deepest shadow of the noon
                The mild-eyed oxen browse.
                How tranquilly he sleeps,
    He, whom so bitterly we mourn as dead!--
                Although the new month sweeps
    The over-blossomed spring-flower from his bed,
                Giving fresh buds therefor,--
    Although beside him still Love waits and weeps,
                And yonder goes the war.

                  Wake, violets, wake!
                Open your blue eyes wide!
    Watch faithfully his lonely pillow here;
                Let no rude foot-fall break
    Your slender stems, nor crush your leaves aside;
                See that no harm comes near
                The dust to me so dear;--
                  O violets, hear!
    The clouds hang low and heavy with warm rain,--
                And when I come again,
    Lo, with your blossoms his loved grave shall be
                Blue as the marvellous sea
    Laving the borders of his Italy!



You do not like this Lizzy Gurney? I know. There are a dozen healthy
girls in that country-town whose histories would have been pleasanter to
write and to read. I chose hers purposely. I chose a bilious, morbid
woman to talk to you of, because American women are bilious and morbid.
Men all cling desperately to the old book-type of women, delicate,
sunny, helpless. I confess to even a man's hungry partiality for
them,--these roses of humanity, their genus and species emphasized by
but the faintest differing pungency of temper and common sense,--mere
crumpling of the rose-leaves. But how many of them do you meet on the

McKinstry (with most men) kept this ideal in his brain, and bestowed it
on every woman in a street-car possessed of soft eyes, gaiter-boots, and
a blush. Dr. Blecker (with all women) saw through that mask, and knew
them as they are. He knew there was no more prurient sign of the age of
groping and essay in which we live than the unrest and diseased brains
of its women.

Lizzy Gurney was but like nine-tenths of the unmarried young girls of
the Northern States; there was some inactive, dumb power within,--she
called it genius; there was a consciousness that with a man's body she
would have been more of a man than her brother; there was, stronger than
all, the unconquerable craving of Nature for a husband's and child's
love,--she, powerless. So it found vent in this girl, as in the others,
in perpetual self-analyzing, in an hysteric clinging to one creed after
another,--in embracing the chimera of the Woman's-Rights prophets with
her brain, and thrusting it aside with her heart: after a while, to
lapse all into a marriage, made in heaven or hell, as the case might be.

Dr. Blecker used no delicate euphuism in talking of women, which, maybe,
was as well. He knew, that, more than men, though quietly, they are
facing the problem of their lives, their unused powers, their sham
marriages, and speak of these things to their own souls with strong,
plebeian words. So much his Northern education opened his eyes to see,
but he stopped there; if he had been a clear-sighted truth-seeker, he
would have known that some day the problem would be solved, and by no
foul Free Love-ism. But Paul was enough Southerner by birth to shrink
from all inquiry or disquiet in women. If there were any problem of life
for them, Grey Gurney held it solved in her nature: that was all he
cared to know. Did she?

After the regiment was gone, she went into the old work,--cooking,
sewing, nursing Pen. Very little of her brain or heart was needed for
that; the heavy surplus lay dormant. No matter; God knew. Jesus waited
thirty years in a carpenter's shop before He began His work,--to teach
_us_ to wait: hardest lesson of all. Grey understood that well. Not only
at night or morning, but through the day, at the machine, or singing
songs to Pen, she used to tell her story over and over to this Jesus,
her Elder Brother, as she loved to call Him: _He_ would not be tired of
hearing it, how happy she was,--she knew. She did not often speak of the
war to Him,--knowing how stupid she was, near-sighted, apt to be
prejudiced,--afraid to pray for one side or the other, there was such
bitter wrong on both; she knew it all lay in His hand, though; so she
was dumb, only saying, "_He_ knows." But for herself, out of the need of
her woman's nature, she used to say, "I can do more than I do here. Give
me room, Lord. Let me be Paul Blecker's wife, for I love him." She
blushed, when even praying that silently in her heart. Then she used to
sing gayer songs, and have a good romp with the children and Pen in the
evenings, being so sure it would all come right. How, nobody could see:
who could keep this house up, with the ten hungry mouths, if she were
gone? But she only changed the song to an earnest hearty hymn, with the
thought of that. It would come at last: _He_ knew.

Was the problem solved in her?

It being so sure a thing to her that this was one day to be, she began
in a shy way to prepare for it,--after the day's work was done to the
last stitch, taking from the bottom of her work-basket certain pieces of
muslin that fitted herself, and sewing on them in the quiet of her own
room. She did not sing when she worked at these; her cheeks burned,
though, and there was a happy shining in her eyes bright enough for

Sitting, sewing there, when that July night came, she had no prescience
that her trial day was at hand: for to stoop-shouldered women over
machines, as well as to Job, a trial day does come, when Satan obtains
leave in heaven to work his will on them, straining the fibre they are
made of, that God may see what work they are fit for in the lives to
come. This was the way it came to the girl. That morning, when she was
stretching out some muslin to bleach in a light summer shower, there was
a skirmish down yonder in among some of the low coal-hills along the
Shenandoah, and half a dozen men were brought wounded in to Harper's
Ferry. There was no hospital there then; one of the half-burnt
Government offices was used for the purpose; and as the surgeon at that
post, Dr. Blecker, was one of the wounded, young Dr. Nott came over from
the next camp to see to them. His first cases: he had opened an office
only for six months, out in Portage, Ohio, before he got into the army;
in those six months he played chess principally, and did the poetry for
the weekly paper,--his tastes being innocent: the war has been a grand
outlet into a career for doctors and chaplains of that calibre. Dr.
Nott, coming into the low arsenal-room that night, stopped to brush the
clay off his trousers before going his rounds, and to whisk the attar of
rose from his handkerchief. "No fever? All wounds?" of the orderly who
carried the flaring tallow candle.

All wounds: few of them, but those desperate. Even the vapid eyes of
Nott grew grave before he was through, and he ceased tipping on his
toes, and tittering: he was a good-hearted fellow, at bottom, growing
silent altogether when he came to operate on the surgeon, who had waited
until the last. "The ball is out, Dr. Blecker,"--looking up at length,
but not meeting the wounded man's eye.

"I know. Cross the bandage now. You'll send a despatch for me, Nott?
There is some one I want to see, before----I'll hold out two or three

"Pooh, pooh! Not so bad as that. We'll hope at least, Dr. Blecker, not
so bad as that. I've paper and pencil here." So Dr. Blecker sent the

It was a hot July night, soon after the seven days' slaughter at
Richmond. You remember how the air for weeks after that lay torpid with
a suppressed heat,--as though the very earth held her breath to hear the
sharp tidings of death. It never was fully told aloud,--whispered
only,--and even that hoarse whisper soon died out. We were growing used
to the taste of blood by that time, in North and South, like bulls in a
Spanish arena. This night, and in one or two following it, the ashy
sultriness overhead was hint of some latent storm. It is one of the vats
of the world where storms are brewed,--Harper's Ferry: stagnant
mountain-air shut in by circling peaks whose edges cut into the sky; the
sun looking straight down with a torrid compelling eye into the water
all the day long, until at evening it goes wearily up to him in a pale
sigh of mist, lingering to rest and say good-bye among the wooded sides
of the hills. Our hill-storms are generally bred there: it was not
without a certain meaning that the political cloud took its rise in this
town, whose thunder has shaken the continent with its bruit.

Paul Blecker lay by a window: he could see the tempest gathering for
days: it was a stimulus that pleased him well. Death, or that nearness
to it which his wound had brought, fired his brain with a rare life,
like some wine of the old gods. The earth-life cleared to him, so tired
he grew then of paltry words and thoughts, standing closer to the inner
real truth of things. So, when he had said to the only creature who
cared for him, "They say I will not live, come and stay with me," he
never had doubted, as a more vulgar man might have done, that she would
come,--never doubted either, that, if it were true that he should die,
she would come again after him some day, to work and love yonder with
him,--his wife. Nature sends this calmness, quiet reliance on the real
verities of life, down there into that border-ground of death,--kind, as
is her wont to be. When the third day was near its close, he knew she
would come that night; half smiling to himself, as he thought of what an
ignorant, scared traveller she would be; wishing he could have seen her
bear down all difficulties in that turbulent house with her child-like
"He wants me,--I must go." How kind people would be to her on the road,
hearing her uncertain timid voice! Why, that woman might pass through
the whole army, even Blenker's division, unscathed: no roughness could
touch her, remembering the loving trust in her little freckled face, and
how innocently her soul looked out of her hazel eyes. He used to call
her Una sometimes: it was the only pet name he gave her. She was in the
Virginia mountains now. If he could but have been with her when she
first saw them! She would understand there why God took his prophets up
into the heights when He would talk to them.

So thinking vaguely, but always of her, not of the fate that waited him,
if he should die. Literally, the woman was dearer to him than his own

The room was low-ceiled, but broad, with windows opening on each side.
Overhead the light broke in through broken chinks in the rafters,--the
house being, in fact, but a ruin.

A dozen low cots were scattered about the bare floor: on one a man lay
dead, ready for burial in the morning; on the others the men who were
wounded with him, bearing trouble cheerfully enough, trying, some of
them, to hum a chorus to "We're marching along," which the sentry sang

The room was dark: he was glad of that; when she came, she could not see
his altered face: only a dull sconce spattered at one end, under which
an orderly nodded over a dirty game of solitaire.

Outside, he could see the reddish shadow of the sky on the mountains: a
dark shadow, making the unending forests look like dusky battalions of
giants scaling the heights. Below, the great tide of water swelled and
frothed angrily, trying to bury and hide the traces of the battles
fought on its shore: ruined bridges, masses of masonry, blackened beams
of cars and engines. One might fancy that Nature, in her grand
temperance, was ashamed of man's petty rage, and was striving to hide it
even from himself. Laurel and sumach bushes were thrusting green foliage
and maroon velvet flowers over the sand ledges on the rock where the
Confederate cannon had been placed; and even over the great masses of
burnt brick and granite that choked the valley, the delicate moss,
undaunted and indefatigable, was beginning to work its veiling way. Near
him he saw a small square building, uninjured,--the one in which John
Brown had been held prisoner: the Federal troops used it as a
guard-house now for captured Confederates.

One of these men, a guerrilla, being sick, had been brought in to the
hospital, and lay in the bed next to Blecker's,--a raw-boned,
wooden-faced man, with oiled yellow whiskers, and cold, gray, sensual
eye: complaining incessantly in a whining voice,--a treacherous humbug
of a voice, Blecker fancied: it irritated him.

"Move that man's bed away from mine to-morrow," he said to the nurse
that evening. "If I must die, let me hear something at the last that has
grit in it."

He heard the man curse him; but even that was softly done.

The storm was gathering slowly. Low, sharp gusts of wind crept along the
ground at intervals, curdling the surface of the water, shivering the
grass: far-off moans in the mountain-passes, beyond the Maryland
Heights, heard in the dead silence: abrupt frightened tremors in the
near bushes and tree-tops, then the endless forests swaying with a
sullen roar. The valley darkened quickly into night; a pale greenish
light, faint and fierce, began to flash in the north.

"Thunder-storm coming," said the sleepy orderly, Sam, coming closer to
fasten the window.

"Let it be open," said Blecker, trying nervously to rise on one arm. "It
is ten o'clock. I must hear the train come in."

The man turned away, stopping by the bed of the prisoner to gossip
awhile before going down to camp. He thought, as they talked in a
desultory way, as men do, thrown together in the army, of who and what
they had been, that the Yankee doctor listened attentively, starting
forward, and throwing off the bed-clothes.

"But he was an uneasy chap always, always," thought Sam, "as my old
woman would say,--in a kippage about somethin' or other. But darned ef
this a'n't somethin' more 'n usual,"--catching a glimpse of Blecker's
face turned toward the prisoner, a curious tigerish look in his
half-closed eyes.

The whistle of the train was heard that moment far-off in the gorge.
Blecker did not heed it, beckoning silently to the orderly.

"Go for the Colonel, for Sheppard," in a breathless way; "bring some
men, stout fellows that can lift. Quick, Sam, for God's sake!"

The man obeyed, glancing at the prisoner, who lay with his eyes closed
as though asleep.

"Blecker glowers at him as though he were the Devil,"--stopping outside
to light a cigar at the oil-lamp. "That little doctor has murder writ in
his face plain as print this minute."

Sam may not have been wrong. Paul Blecker was virulent in hates, loves,
or opinions: in this sudden madness of a moment that possessed him, if
his feet would have dragged him to that bed yonder, and his wrists been
strong enough, he would have wrung the soul out of the man's body, and
flung him from his way. Looking at the limbs stretched out under the
sheet, the face, an obscene face, even with the eyes closed, as at a
deadly something that had suddenly reared itself between him and his
chance of heaven. The man was Grey Gurney's husband. She was coming: in
a moment, it might be, would be here. She thought that man dead. She
always should think him dead. He held back his breath in his clinched
teeth: that was all the sign of passion; his brain was never cooler,
more alert.

Sheppard, the colonel of the regiment, a thick-set, burly little fellow,
with stubbly black whiskers and honest eyes, came stumping down the

"What is it, hey? Life and death, Blecker?"

"More, to me," with a smile. "Make your men remove that man Gurney into
the lower ward. Don't stop to question, Colonel: I'll explain
afterwards. I'm surgeon of this post."

"You're crotchety as a woman, Paul," laughed the other, as he gave the

"What d' ye mean to do, old fellow, with this wound of yours? Go under
for it, as you said at first?"

"This morning I would have told you yes. I don't know now. I can't
afford to leave the world just yet. I'll fight death to the last
breath." Watching the removal of the prisoner as he spoke; when the door
closed on him, letting his head fall on the pillow with a sigh of
relief. "Sheppard, there was another matter I wished to see you about.
Your mother came to see me yesterday."

"Yes; was the soup good she sent this morning? We're famous for our
broths on the farm, but old Nance isn't here, and"----

"Very good;--but there was another favor I wished to ask."

"Well?"--staring into the white-washed wall to avoid seeing how red poor
crotchety Blecker's face grew.

"By the way, Paul, my mother desired me to bring that young lady you
told her of home with me. She means to adopt her for the present, I

The redness grew hotter.

"It was that I meant to ask of her,--you knew?"

"Yes, I knew. Bah, man, don't wring my fingers off. If the girl's good
and pure enough to do this thing, my mother's the woman to appreciate
it. She knows true blood in horses or men, mother. Not a better eye for
mules in Kentucky than that little woman's. A Shelby, you know?
Stock-raisers. By George, here she comes, with her charge in tow

Blecker bit his parched lips: among the footsteps coming up the long
hall, he heard only one, quick and light; it seemed to strike on his
very brain, glancing to the yellow-panelled door, behind which the
prisoner lay. She thought that man dead. She always should think him
dead. She should be his wife before God; if He had any punishment for
that crime, he took it on his own soul,--now. And so turned with a smile
to meet her.

"Don't mind Paul's face, if it is skin and bone," said the Colonel,
hastily interposing his squat figure between it and the light. "Needs
shaving, that's all. He'll be round in no time at all, with a bit of
nursing; 's got no notion of dying."

"I knew he wouldn't die," she said, half to herself, not speaking to
Paul,--only he held both her hands in his, and looked in her eyes.

Sheppard, after the first glance over the little brown figure and the
face under the Shaker hood, had stood, hat in hand, with something of
the same home-trusty smile he gave his wife on his mouth. The little
square-built body in black seeded silk and widow's cap, that had
convoyed the girl in, touched the Colonel's elbow, and they turned their
backs to the bed,--talking of hot coffee and sandwiches. Paul drew her

"My wife, Grey? _Mine?_" his breath thin and cold,--because no oath now
could make that sure.

"Yes, Paul."

He shut his eyes. She wondered that he did not smile when she put her
timorous fingers in his tangled hair. He thought he would die, maybe. He
could not die. Her feet seemed to take firmer root into the ground. A
clammy damp broke out over her body. He did not know how she had
wrestled in prayer; he did not believe in prayer. He could not die. That
which a believer asked of God, believing He would grant, was granted.
She held him in life by her hand on Christ's arm.

"Were you afraid to travel alone, eh?"

Grey looked up. The little figure facing her had a body that somehow put
you in mind of unraised dough: and there was nothing spongy or porous or
delusive in the solid little soul either, inside of the body,--that was
plain. She looked as if Kentucky had sent her out, a tight, right,
compact drill-sergeant, an embodiment of Western reason, to try by
herself at drum-head court-martial the whole rank and file of
Northernisms, airy and intangible illusions. Nothing about her that did
not summon you to stand and deliver common sense; the faint down on her
upper-lip, the clog-soled shoes, the stiff dress, the rope of a gold
watch-chain, the single pure diamond blazing on one chubby white hand,
the general effect of a lager-bier keg, unmovable, self-poised, the
round black eyes, the two black puffs of hair on each temple, said with
one voice, "No fooling now; no chance for humbug here." Why should there
be? One of the Shelbys; well-built in bone and blood, honest,
educated,--mule-raisers; courted by General Sheppard according to form,
a modest, industrious girl, a dignified, eminently sensible wife, a
blindly loving mother, a shrewd business-woman as a widow. Her son was a
Christian, her slaves were fat and contented, her mules the best stock
imported. She hated the Abolitionists, lank, uncombed, ill-bred
fanatics; despised the Secessionists as disappointed Democrats; clung
desperately to the Union, the Constitution, and the enforcement of the
laws, not knowing she was holding to the most airy and illusive nothings
of all. So she was here with Pratt, her son, at Harper's Ferry, nursing
the sick, keeping a sharp eye on the stock her overseer sold to
Government, looking into the face of every Rebel prisoner brought in,
with a very woman's sick heart, but colder growing eyes. For Buckner,
you know, had induced Harry to go into the Southern army. Harry Clay,
(they lived near Ashland,)--Harry was his mother's pet, before this, the
youngest. If he was wounded, like to die, not all their guerrillas or
pickets should keep her back; though, when he was well, she would leave
him without a word. He had gone, like the prodigal son, to fill his
belly with the husks the swine did eat,--and not until he came back,
like the prodigal son, would she forgive him. But if he was wounded--If
Grey had stopped one hour before coming to this man she loved, she would
have despised her.

"Were you afraid to travel alone?"

"Yes; but I brought Pen for company, Paul. You did not see that I
brought Pen."

But Pen shied from the outstretched hand, and had recourse to a vial of
spirituous-looking liquorice-water.

It was raining now, heavily. By some occult influence, Mrs. Sheppard had
caused a table to spring up beside the bed, whereon a cozy
round-stomached oil-lamp burned and flared in the wind, in a jolly,
drunken fashion, and a coffee-pot sent out mellow whiffs of brown steam.

"It's Mocha, my dear,--not rye. I mean to support my Government, and
I'll not shirk the duty when it comes to taxes on coffee. So you were
afraid? It's the great glory of our country that a woman can travel
unprotected from one end to----Well. But you are young and silly yet."

And she handed Grey a cup with a relaxing mouth, which showed, that,
though she were a woman herself, capable of swallowing pills without
jelly, she did not hope for as much from weaker human nature.

Paul Blecker had not heard the thunder the first hour Grey was there,
nor seen the livid flashes lighting up those savagest heights in the
mountains: his eye was fixed on that yellow door yonder in the
flickering darkness of the room, and on the possibility that lay beyond

Now, while Grey, growing used to her new home, talked to Pen and her
hostess, Paul's thoughts came in cheerier and warmer: noting how the
rain plashed like a wide sweep of loneliness outside, forcing all
brightness and comfort in,--how the red lamp-light glowed, how even the
pale faces of the men, in the cold beds yonder, grew less dour and
rigid, looking at them; hearing the low chirp of Grey's voice now and
then,--her eyes turned always on him, watchful, still. It was like home,
that broad, half-burnt arsenal-room. Even the comfortable little black
figure, sturdily clicking steel needles through an uncompromising pair
of gray socks, fitted well and with meaning into the picture, and burly
Pratt Sheppard holding little Pen on his knee, his grizzly black brows
knitted. Because Mary, down at home there, was nursing his baby boy now,
most likely, just as he held this one. His baby was only a few months
old: he had never seen it: perhaps he might never see it.

"She looks like Mary, a bit, mother, eh?"--nodding to Grey, and
steadying one foot on the rung of his chair.

Mrs. Sheppard shot a sharp glance.

"About the nose? Mary's is sharper."

"The forehead, _I_ think. Hair has the same curly twist."

Grey, hearing the whisper, colored, and laughed, and presently took off
the Shaker hood.

"'Pon my soul, mother, it's a remarkable likeness.--You're _not_ related
to the Furnesses, Miss Gurney,--Furnesses of Tennessee?"

"Pratt sees his wife in every woman he meets," said his mother, toeing
off her sock.

She had not much patience with Pratt's wife-worship: some of these days
he'd be sold to those Furnesses, soul and body. They were a mawkish,
"genteel" set: from genteel people might the Lord deliver her!

"Does the boy look like this one at all, mother?--I never saw my boy,
Miss Gurney,"--explaining. "Fellows are shirking so now, I won't ask for
a furlough."

"The child's a Shelby, out and out,"--angrily enough. "Look here, Dr.
Blecker,"--pulling up her skirt, to come at an enormous pocket in her
petticoat. "Here's the daguerreotype, taken when he was just four weeks
old, and there's Pratt's eyes and chin to a T. D'ye see? Pratt _was_ a
fine child,--weighed fourteen pounds. But he was colicky to the last
degree. And as for croup----Does your Pen have croup, Miss Grey? Sit
here. These men won't care to hear our talk."

They did care to hear it. It was not altogether because Blecker was
weakened by sickness that he lay there listening and talking so
earnestly about their home and Grey's, the boy and Mary,--telling
trifles, too, which he remembered, of his own childhood. It was such a
new, cordial, heartsome life which this bit of innocent gossip opened to
him. What a happy fellow old Pratt was, with his wife and child! Good
fighter, too. Well, some day, maybe, he, too----

They were all quiet that night, coming closer together, maybe because
they heard the rain rushing down the gorges, and knew what ruin and
grief and slaughter waited without. Looking back at that night often
through the vacancy of coming days, Paul used to say, "I was at home
then," and after that try to whistle its thought off in a tune. He never
had been at home before.

So, after that night, the summer days crept on, and out of sight: the
sea of air in which the earth lay coloring and massing the sunlight down
into its thin ether, until it ebbed slowly away again in yellow glows,
tinctured with smells of harvest-fields and forests, clear and pungent,
more rare than that of flowers. Here and there a harvest-field in the
States was made foul with powder, mud,--the grain flat under broken
artillery-wheels, canteens, out of which oozed the few drops of whiskey,
torn rags of flesh, and beyond, heaped in some unploughed furrow, a
dozen, a hundred, thousands, it may be, of useless bodies, dead to no
end. Up yonder in New England, or down in some sugar-plantation, or
along the Lakes, some woman's heart let the fresh life slip out of it,
to go down into the grave with that dead flesh, to grovel there, while
she dragged her tired feet the rest of the way through the world. Her
pain was blind; but that was all that was blind. The wind, touching the
crimson moccasin-flower in the ditch, and the shining red drops beside
it, said only, "It is the same color; God wills they shall be there,"
and went unsaddened on its appointed way. The white flesh, the curly
hair, (every ring of that hair the woman yonder knew by heart,) gave
back their color cheerily in the sunlight, and sank into the earth to
begin their new work of roots and blossoming, and the soul passed as
quietly into the next wider range of labor and of rest. And God's
eternal laws of sequence and order worked calmly, and remained under

This world without the valley grew widely vague to Blecker, as he lay
there for weeks. These battles he read of every morning subserved no
end: the cause stood motionless; only so many blue-coated machines
rendered useless: but behind the machines--what? That was what touched
him now: every hour some touch of Grey's, some word of the home-loving
Kentuckians, even Pen's giant-stories, told as he sat perched on
Blecker's bolster, made him think of this, when he read of a battle. So
many thousand somethings dead, who pulled a trigger well or ill, for
money or otherwise; so much brute force lost; behind that, a home
somewhere, clinging little hands, a man's aspirations, millions of fears
and hopes, religion, chances of a better foothold in the next life. It
was that background, after all, the home-life, the notions of purity,
honor, bravery absorbed there, that made the man a man in the

So, lying on the straw mattress there, this man, who had been making
himself from the first, got into the core of the matter at last, into
his own soul-life, brought himself up face to face with God and the
Devil, letting the outside world, the great war, drift out of sight for
the time. His battle-field was here in this ruined plat of houses,
prisoned by peaks that touched the sky. The issues of the great
struggles without were not in his hands; this was. What should he do
with this woman, with himself?

He gained strength day by day. They did not know it, he was so grave and
still, not joining in the hearty, cheery life of the arsenal-room; for
Mrs. Sheppard had swept the half-drunken Dutch nurses out of the
hospital, and she and Grey took charge of the dozen wounded men (many
dainty modiste-made ladies find that they are God-made women in this
war). So the room had whitened and brightened every day; the red,
unshaved faces slept sounder on their clean pillows; the men ate with a
relish; and Grey, being the best of listeners, had carried from every
bed a story of some home in Iowa or Georgia or the North. Only behind
the yellow door yonder she never went. Blecker had ordered that, and
she obeyed like a child in everything.

So like a child, that Mrs. Sheppard, very tender of her, yet treated her
with as much deference as she might a mild kitten. That girl was just as
anxious that Bill Sanders's broth should be properly salted, and Pen's
pinafore white, as she was to know Banks's position. Pish! Yet Mrs.
Sheppard told Pen pages of "Mother Goose" in the evenings, that the girl
might have time to read to Doctor Blecker. She loved him as well as if
he were her husband; and a good wife she would be to him! Paul, looking
at the two, as they sat by his bedside, knew better than she; saw
clearly in which woman lay the spring of steel, that he never could
bend, if her sense of right touched it. He used to hold her freckled
little hands, growing yellow and rough with the hard work, in his,
wondering what God meant him to do. If they both could lie dead together
in that great grave-pit behind the Virginia Heights, it would have been
relief to him. If he should let her go blindfold into whatever hell lay
beyond death, it would be more merciful to her than to give her to her
husband yonder. For himself--No, he would think only of her, how she
could be pure and happy. Yet bigamy? No theory, no creed could put that
word out of his brain, when he looked into her eyes. Never were eyes so
genial or so pure. The man Gurney, he learned from Sheppard and Nott,
recovered but slowly; yet there was no time to lose; a trivial accident
might reveal all to her. Whatever struggle was in Blecker's mind came to
an end at last; he would go through with what he purposed; if there were
crime in it, he took it to his own soul's reckoning, as he said before.

It was a cool morning in early August, when the Doctor first crept out
of bed; a nipping north-wind, with a breath of far-off frost in it, just
enough to redden the protruding cheek of the round gum-trees on the
mountain-ledges and make them burn and flame in among the swelling green
of the forests. He dragged himself slowly to the wooden steps and waited
in the sunshine. The day would be short, but the great work of his life
should be done in it.

"Sheppard!" he called, seeing the two square, black figures of the
Colonel and his mother trotting across the sunny street.

"Hillo! you'll report yourself ready for service soon, at this rate,

"In a week. That man Gurney. When can he be removed?"

"What interest can you have in that dirty log, Blecker? I've noticed the
man since you asked of him. He's only a Northern rogue weakened into a
Southern bully."

"I know. But his family are known to me. I have an order for his
exchange: it came yesterday. He holds rank as captain in the other
service, I believe?"

"Yes,--but he's in no hurry to leave his bed, Nott tells me."

"This order may quicken his recovery, eh?"


Sheppard laughed.

"You are anxious to restore him to his chances of promotion down yonder;
yet I fancied I saw no especial love for him in your eyes, heh? Maybe
you'd promote him to the front rank, as was done with Uriah,--what d' ye
say, Paul?"

He went on laughing, without waiting for an answer.

"As was done with Uriah?" Pah, what folly was this? He took out his
handkerchief, wiping his face and neck; he felt cold and damp,--from
weakness, it might be.

"You will tell that man Gurney, Sam," beckoning to the orderly who was
loitering near, "that an order for his exchange is made out, when he is
able to avail himself of it."

"Won't you see him yerself, Doctor?" insinuated Sam. "He's a weak
critter, an' 'll be monstrous thankful, I'm thinkin'."

Blecker shook his head and turned off, waiting for Mrs. Sheppard. She
was on the sidewalk, laying down the law to the chaplain, who, with his
gilt-banded cap, looked amazingly like a footman. The lady's tones had
the Kentucky, loud, mellow ring; her foot tapped, and her nervous
fingers emphasized the words against her palm.

"Ill-bred," thought the young man; but he bowed, smiling suavely. "If I
have been derelict in duty, Madam, I will be judged by a Higher Power."

"But it's my way, young Sir, to go to the root of the matter, when I see
things rotting,--be it a potato-field or a church. We're plain-tongued
in my State. And I think the Higher Power needs a mouth-piece just now."

And something nobler of mien than good-breeding gave to Sarah Sheppard's
earnest, pursy little figure meaning just then, before which the flimsy
student of the Thirty-Nine Articles stood silent.

"I'm an old woman, young man; you're a boy, and the white cravat about
your neck gives me no more respect for you than the bit of down on your
chin, so long as you are unworthy to wear either. We Virginians and
Kentuckians may be shelled up yet in our old-fogy notions; it's likely,
as you say. We don't understand the rights of man, maybe, or know just
where Humanity has got to in its progress. But we've a grip on the
old-fashioned Christianity, and we mean to make it new again. And when I
see hundreds of young, penniless preachers, and old, placeless
preachers, shoving into the army for the fat salaries, drinking,
card-playing with the men, preaching murder instead of Christ's gospel
of peace, I'll speak, though I am a woman. I'll call them the Devil's
servants instead of the Lord's, and his best and helpfullest servants,
too, nowadays. If there's a time when a man's soul cries out to get a
clear sight of God, it's when he's standing up for what he thinks right,
with his face to the foe, and his country behind him. And it's not the
droning, slovenly prayers nor hashed-up political speeches of such men
as you, that will show Him to them. Oh, my son!" putting her hand on the
young man's arm, her voice unsteady, choking a minute, "I wish you'd be
earnest, a peace-teacher like your Master. It's no wonder the men
complain of the Federal chaplains as shams and humbugs. I don't know how
it is on the other side. I've a son there,--Harry. I'd like to think
he'd hear some live words of great truth before he goes into battle. Not
vapid gabbling over the stale, worn-out cant, nor abuse of the enemy.
When he's lying there, the blood coming from his heart on the sod, life
won't be stale to him, nor death, nor the helping blood of the cross.
And for his enemy, when he lies dead there, my Harry, would God love his
soul better because it came to Him filled with hate of his brother?"

She was half talking to herself now, and the young man drew his
coat-sleeve out of her hold and slipped away. Afterwards he said that
old lady was half-Secesh, because she had a son in the Rebel army; but I
think her words left some meaning in his brain other than that.

She met Blecker, her face redder, her eyebrows blacker than usual.

"You up and out, Doctor Blecker? Very well! You'll pay for it in fever
to-morrow. But every young man is wiser in his own conceit, to-day, than
seven men that can render a reason. It was not so in my day. Young
people knew their age. I never sat down before my mother without
permission granted, nor had an opinion of my own."

She stood silent a moment, cooling.

"Pha, pha! I'm a foolish old body. Fretting and fuming to no purpose,
likely. There's Pratt, now, laughing, down the street. 'Mother, if
you're going to have one of your brigazoos with that young parson, I'm
off,' he says. He says,--'You're not in your own country, where the
Shelbys rule the roast.' What if I'm not, Doctor Blecker? Truth's truth.
I'm tired of cant, whether it belongs to the New-England new age of
reason, their Humanity and Fourierism and Broad-Church and Free-Love,
or what not, or our own Southern hard-bit, tight-reined men's creeds.
Not God's,--driving men headlong into one pit, all but a penned-up
dozen. I'm going back of all churches to the words of Jesus. There's my
platform. But you said you wanted to speak with me. What's _your_

Blecker hesitated,--not knowing how this sturdy interpreter of the words
of Jesus would look on his marriage with another man's wife, if she
understood the matter clearly. He fumbled his cravat a minute, feeling
alone, as if the earth and heaven were vacant,--no background for him to
lean against. Men usually do stand thus solitary, when they are left to
choose by God.

"You're hard on the young fellow, Mrs. Sheppard. I wish for my own sake
he was a better specimen of his cloth. There's no one else here to marry

"Tut! no difference what _he_ is,"--growing graver, as she spoke. "God's
blessing comes pure, if the lips are not the cleanest that speak it. You
are resolved, then, on your course, as you spoke to me last night?"

"Yes, I am, if Grey will listen to reason. You and the Colonel leave

"Yes, and she cannot stay here behind me, to a certainty. Pratt is
ordered off, and I must go see to my three-year-olds. Morgan will have
them before I know what I'm about. I'll take the girl back to Wheeling,
so far on her way home. As to this marriage"----

She stopped, with her fingers on her chin. The Doctor laughed to
himself. She was deciding on Grey's fate and his, as if they were a pair
of her three-year-olds that Government wanted to buy.

"It's unseemly, when the child's father is not here. That's how it seems
to me, Dr. Blecker. As for love, and that, it will keep. Pha, pha!
There's one suggestion of weight in favor of it. If you were killed in
battle, the girl would have some provision as your widow that she could
not have now. D'ye see?"

Blecker laughed uneasily.

"I see; you come at the bone of the matter, certainly. I have concluded,
Mrs. Sheppard, Grey must go with you; but she shall leave here as my
wife. If there is any evil consequence, it shall come to me."

There was a moment's silence. He avoided the searching black eyes fixed
on his face.

"It is not for me to judge in this matter," she said, with some reserve.
"The girl is a good girl, however, and I will try and take the place of
a mother to her. You have reasons for this haste unknown to me,
probably. When do you wish the ceremony, and where, Doctor? The church
up yonder," sliding into her easy, dogmatic tone again; "it's one of the
few whole roofs in the place. That is best,--yes. And for time, say
sunset. That will suit me. I must go write to that do nothing M'Key
about the trousers for Pratt's men. They're boxed up in New York yet:
and then I've to see to getting a supply of blue pills. If you'll only
give one to each man two nights before going into battle, just enough to
stir their livers up, you'll find it work like a charm in helping them
to fight. Sundown,--yes. I cannot attend to it possibly before."

"It was the time I had fixed upon, if Grey consents."

"Pah! she's a bit of linen rag, that child. You can turn her round your
finger, and you know it. You will find her down on the shore, I think. I
must go and tell my young parson he had better read over the ceremony
once or twice to be posted up in it."

"To be sure, Pratt," she said, a few moments after, as she detailed the
intended programme to the Colonel, farther down the street,--"to be
sure, it's too hasty. I have not had time to give it consideration as I
ought. These wartimes, my brain is so thronged night and day. But I
think it's a good match. There's an honest, downright vein in young
Blecker that'll make a healthy life. Wants birth, to be sure. Girl's got
that. You needn't sneer, Pratt. It is only men and women that come of
the old rooted families, bad or good, that are self-poised. Made men
always have an unsteady flicker, a hitch in their brains
somewhere,--like your Doctor, eh? Grey's out of one of the solid old
Pennsylvania stocks. Better blooded the mule, the easier goer, fast or

She shut her porte-monnaie with a click, and repinned her little veil
that struck out behind her, stiff, pennant-wise, as she walked.

"Well, I've no time now. I'm going to drop in and see that Gurney, and
tell him he's exchanged. And the sooner he's up and out, the better for
him. Dyspepsia's what ails _him_. I'll get him out for a walk to-day. 'S
cool and bracing."

It was a bracing day, the current of wind coming in between the Maryland
Heights fresh and vigorous, driving rifts of gray cloud across the
transparent blue overhead. A healthy, growing day, the farmers called
it; one did fancy, too, that the late crops, sowed after the last
skirmish about the town, did thrust out their green blades more
hopefully to-day than before; the Indian corn fattened and yellowed
under its tresses of soft sun-burnt silk. Grey, going with Pen that
afternoon through a great field of it, caught the clean, damp perfume of
its husk; it put her in mind of long ago, somehow, when she was no older
than Pen. So she stopped to gather the scarlet poppies along the fence,
to make "court-ladies" out of them for him, as she used to do for
herself in those old times.

"Make me some shawls for them," said Pen, presenting her some
lilac-leaves, which she proceeded to ornament by biting patterns with
her teeth.

"Oth said, if I eat poppy-seeds, I'd sleep, an' never waken again. Is
that true, Sis?"

"I believe it is. I don't know."

Death and eternal sleeps were dim, far-off matters to Grey always,--very
trivial to-day. She was a healthy, strong-nerved woman, loving God and
her kin with every breath of her body, not likely to trouble herself
about death, or ever to take her life as a mean, stingy makeshift and
cheat, a mere rotten bridge to carry her over to something better, as
more spiritually-minded women do. It was altogether good and great;
every minute she wanted a firmer hold on it, to wring more work and
pleasure out of it. She was so glad to live. God was in this world.
Sure. She knew that, every moment she prayed. In the other? Yes; but
then that was shadowy, and there were no shadows nor affinity for them
in Grey. This was a certainty,--here. And to-day----So content to be
alive to-day, that a something dumb in her brown eyes made Pen, looking
up, laugh out loud.

"Kiss me, Sis. You're a mighty good old Sis to-day. Let's go down to the

They went down by the upper road, leaving the town behind them. The road
was only a wide, rutted cow-path on the side of the hill. Here and there
a broken artillery-wheel, or bomb-shell, or a ragged soldier's jacket
lay among the purple iron-weed. She would not see them--to-day. Instead,
she saw how dark the maple-leaves were growing,--it was nearly time for
them to turn now; the air was clear and strong this morning, as if it
brought a new lease of life into the world; on the hill-banks, brown and
ash-colored lichen, and every shade of green, from pale apple-tint to
the blackish shadows like moss in October, caught the sunshine, in the
cheeriest fashion. Yellow butterflies chased each other about the grass,
tipsily; the underbrush was full of birds, chattering, chirping calls,
stopping now and then to thrill the air up to heaven with a sudden
shiver of delight,--so glad even they were to be alive. Mere flecks of
birds, some of them, bits of shining blue and scarlet and brown,
trembling in and out of the bushes: chippeys, for instance,--you
know?--so contemptibly little; it was ridiculous, in these sad times,
to see how much joy they made their small bodies hold. But it isn't
their fault that they only have instinct, and not reason. I'm afraid
Grey, with most women, was very near their predicament. That day was so
healthy, though, that the very bees got out of their drowsiness, and
made a sort of song of their everlasting hum; and that old coffin-maker
of a woodpecker in the hollow beech down by the bridge set to work at
his funereal "thud, thud," with such sudden vigor, it sounded like a
heartsome drum, actually, beating the reveille. Not much need of that:
Grey thought the whole world was quite awake: looking up to the
mountains, she did not feel their awful significance of rest, as Paul
Blecker might have done. They only looked to her like the arms this
world had to lift up to heaven its forests and flowers,--to say, "See
how glad and beautiful I am!" Why, up there in those barest peaks above
the clouds she had seen delicate little lakes nestling, brimming with
light and lilies.

They came to the river, she and Pen, where it bends through the gorge,
and sat down there under a ledge of sandstone, one groping finger of the
sunshine coming in to hold her freckled cheek and soft reddish hair.
They say the sun does shine the same on just and unjust; but he likes
best to linger, I know, on things wholesome and pure like this girl.
When Pen began to play "jacks" with the smooth stones on the shore, she
spread out her skirt for him to sit on,--to keep him close, hugging him
now and then, with the tears coming to her eyes: because she had seen
Paul an hour before, and promised all he asked. And Pen was the only
thing there of home, you know. And on this her wedding-day she loved
them all with a hungry pain, somehow, as never before. She was going
back to-morrow; she could work and help them just as before; and yet a
gulf seemed opening between them forever. She had been selfish and
petulant,--she saw that now; sometimes impatient with her old father's
trumpery rocks, or Lizzy's discontent; in a rage, often, at Joseph. Now
she saw how hardly life had dealt with them, how poor and bare their
lives were. _She_ might have made them warmer and softer, if she had
chosen. Please God, she would try, when she went home again,--wiping the
hot tears off, and kissing Pen's dismal face, until he rebelled. The
shadows were lengthening, the rock above her threw a jagged, black
boundary about her feet. When the sun was behind yon farthest hill she
was going back, up to the little church, with Pen; then she would give
herself to her master, forever.

Whatever feeling this brought into her soul, she kept it there silent,
not coming to her face as the other had done in blushes or tears. She
waited, her hands clutched together, watching the slow sinking of the
sun. Not even to Paul had she said what this hour was to her. She had
come a long journey; this was the end.

"I would like to be alone until the time comes," she had said, and had
left him. He did not know what he was to the girl; she loved him,
moderately, he thought, with a temperate appreciation that taunted his
hot passion. She did not choose that even he should know with what
desperate abandonment of self she had absorbed his life into hers. She
chose to be alone, shrinking, with a sort of hatred, from the vulgar or
strange eyes that would follow her into the church. In this beginning of
her new life she wanted to be alone with God and this soul, only kinsman
of her own. If they could but go, Paul and she, up into one of these
mountain-peaks, with Him that made them very near, and there give
themselves to each other, before God, forever!

She sat, her hands clasped about her knees, looking into the gurgling
water. The cool, ashen hue that precedes sunset in the mountains began
to creep through the air. The child had crouched down at her feet, and
fallen into a half doze. It was so still that she heard far down the
path a man's footsteps crushing the sand, coming close. She did not
turn her head,--only the sudden blood dyed her face and neck.


She knew he was coming for her. No answer. She stood up then, and looked
around. It was the prisoner Gurney, leaning against the rock,
motionless, only that he twisted a silk handkerchief nervously in his
hand, looking down at it, and crunching tobacco vehemently in his teeth.

"I've met you at last, Grey. I knew you were at the Ferry."

The girl said nothing. Sudden death, or a mortal thrust of Fate, like
this, brings only dumb astonishment at first: no pain. She put her
fingers to her throat: there was a lump in it, choking her. He laughed,

"It's a devilish cool welcome, considering you are my wife."

Pen woke and began to cry. She patted his shoulder in a dazed way, her
eyes never leaving the man's face; then she went close, and caught him
by the arm.

"It is flesh and blood,"--shaking her off. "I'm not dead. You thought I
was dead, did you? I got that letter written from Cuba,"--toying with
his whiskers, with a complacent smirk. "That was the sharpest dodge of
my life, Grey. Fact is, I was damnably in debt, and tied up with your
people, and I cut loose. So, eh? What d' ye think of it, Puss?" putting
his hand on her arm. "_Wife_, eh?"

She drew back against the sandstone with a hoarse whisper of a cry such
as can leave a woman's lips but once or twice in a lifetime: an animal
tortured near its death utters something like it, trying to speak.

"Well, well, I don't want to incommode you,"--shifting his feet
uncertainly. "I--it's not my will I came across you. Single life suits
me. And you too, heh? I've been rollicking round these four years,--Tom
Crane and I: you don't know Tom, though. Plains,--Valparaiso,--New
Orleans. Well, I'm going to see this shindy out in the States now. Tom's
in it, head-devil of a guerrilla-band. _I_ keep safe. Let Jack Gurney
alone for keeping a whole skin! But, eh, Grey?"--mounting a pair of
gold-rimmed eye-glasses over his thick nose. "You've grown. Different
woman, by George! Nothing but a puling, gawky girl, when I went away.
Your eyes and skin have got color,--luscious-looking: why, your eyes
flash like a young bison's we trapped out in Nevada. Come, kiss me,
Grey. Eh?"--looking in the brown eyes that met his, and stopping short
in his approach.

Of the man and woman standing there face to face the woman's soul was
the more guilty, it may be, in God's eyes, that minute. She loathed him
with such intensity of hatred. The leer in his eyes was that of a fiend,
to her. In which she was wrong. There are no thorough-bred villains, out
of novels: even Judas had a redeeming trait (out of which he hanged
himself). This man Gurney had a weak, incomplete brain, strong sensual
instincts, and thick blood thirsty for excitement,--all, probably, you
could justly say of Nero. He did not care especially to torment the
woman,--would rather she were happy than not,--unless, indeed, he needed
her pain. So he stopped, regarding her. Enough of a true voluptuary,
too, to shun turmoil.

"There! hush! For God's sake don't begin to cry out. I'm weak yet; can't
bear noise."

"I'm not going to cry," her voice so low he had to stoop to hear.
Something, too, in her heart that made her push Pen from her, when he
fumbled to unclasp her clinched hands,--some feeling she knew to be so
foul she dared not touch him.

"Do you mean to claim me as your wife, John?"

He did not reply immediately; leisurely inspecting her from head to
foot, as she stood bent, her eyes lying like a dead weight on his,
patting and curling his yellow whiskers meanwhile.

"Wife, heh? I don't know. Your face is getting gray. Where's that
pretty color gone you had a bit ago, Puss? By George!"--laughing,--"I
don't think it would need much more temptation to make a murderer out of
you. I did not expect you to remember the old days so well. I was hard
on you then,"--stopping, with a look of half admiration, half fear, to
criticize her again. "Well, well, I'll be serious. Will I claim you
again? N--o. On the whole, I believe not. I'll be candid, Grey,--I
always was a candid man, you know. I'd like well enough to have the
taming of you. It would keep a man alive to play Petruchio to such a
Kate, 'pon honor! But I do hate the trammels,--I've cut loose so long,
you see. You're not enough to tempt a fellow to hang out as family man
again. It's the cursedest slavery! So I think," poising his ringed
finders on his chin, thoughtfully, "we'd best settle it this way. I'll
take my exchange and go South, and we'll keep our own counsel. Nobody's
wiser. If it suits you to say I'm dead, why, I'm dead at your service. I
won't trouble you again. Or if you would rather, you can sue out a
divorce in some of the States,--wilful desertion, etc. I'm willing."

She shook her head.

"In any case you are free."

She wrung her hands.

"I am never free again! never again!"--sobs coming now, shaking her
body. She crouched down on the ground, burying her head out of sight.

"Tut! tut! A scene, after all! I tell you, girl, I'll do what you wish."

She raised her head.

"If you were _dead_, John Gurney! That is all. I was going to be a pure,
good, happy woman, and now"----

Her eyes closed, her head fell slowly on her breast, her hands and face
gray with the mottled blood blued under the eyes.

"Oh, damn it! Poor thing! She won't know anything for a bit," said
Gurney, laying her head back against the sandstone. "I'll be off. What a
devil she is, to be sure! Boy, you'd best put some water on your
sister's face in a minute or two,"--to the whimpering Pen. "If I was
safe out of this scrape, and off from the Ferry"----

And thrusting his eye-glass into his pocket, he went up the hill, still
chafing his whiskers. Near the town he met Paul Blecker. The sun was
nearly down. The Doctor stopped short, looking at the man's face
fixedly. He found nothing there, but a vapid self-complacency.

"He has not seen her," said Paul, hurrying on. "Another hour, and I am

But Gurney had a keen twinkle in his eye.

"It's not the first time that fellow has looked as if he would like to
see my throat cut," he muttered. "I begin to understand, eh? If he has a
mind to the girl, I'm not safe. Jack Gurney, you'd best vamose this
ranch to-night. Sheppard will parole me to headquarters, and then for an


     "Every man's proper mansion-house and home, being the
     Theater of his hospitality, the seate of selfe-fruition, the
     comfortablest part of his own life, the noblest of his
     sonne's inheritance, a kind of private princedome, nay, to
     the possessors thereof, an epitome of the whole world, may
     well deserve, by these attributes, according to the degree
     of the master, to be decently and delightfully
     adorned."--SIR HENRY WOTTON.

In the year of grace 1722, Captain John Bonner, _Ætatis suæ_ 60, took it
upon himself to publish a plan of "The _Town_ of BOSTON in New-England.
_Engraven_ and _printed_ by Fra: Dewing and Sold by _Capt. Bonner and
Will'm. Price_, against y'e Town House." From the explanation given
on the margin, it appears that the town then contained "Streets 42,
Lanes 36, Alleys 22, Houses near 3000, 1000 Brick rest Timber, near
12,000 people." The area of the Common shows the Powder-House, the
Watch-House, and the Great Elm, venerable even then in its solitary
grandeur,--the Rope-Walks line the distant road to Cambridge Ferry, and
far to the west of houses and settlements rises the conical peak of
Beacon Hill,--a lonely pasture for the cattle of the thrifty and growing

Fifteen years later, a great improvement began to be visible in this
hitherto neglected suburb. The whole southerly slope of the hill had
been purchased in 1735 by a citizen of renown, and soon a fair stone
mansion began to show its elegant proportions on the most eligible spot
near its centre. By this time, as we have it, on the authority of no
less reputable a chronicler than Mr. John Oldmixon, "the Conversation of
the Town of Boston is as polite as in most of the Cities and Towns of
England; many of their merchants having traded into Europe, and those
that stayed at home having the Advantage of Society with travellers"
(including, of course, Mr. Oldmixon himself). "So that a gentleman from
London would almost think himself at home at Boston," (this is in Mr.
Anthony Trollope's own vein,) "when he observes the numbers of people,
their houses, their furniture, their tables, their dress and
conversation, which perhaps is as splendid and showy as that of the most
considerable tradesman in London." _Primus inter pares_, however, stood
the builder of the house on Beacon Hill, and there seems to be little
doubt that Mr. Hancock's doings on his fine estate created a great stir
of admiration, and that the new stone house was thought to be a very
grand and famous affair in the infant metropolis of New England, in the
year 1737.

The precise period which brought Mr. Hancock to undertake the building
of the house in Beacon Street was one in which it might not have been
altogether uninteresting to have lived. The affairs of the mother
country had been carried on for nearly twenty years of comparative
peace, under the dexterous guidance of Sir Robert Walpole,--that
cleverest, if not most scrupulous, minister of the British crown,--while
my Lord Bolingbroke--permitted to return from France, but living under a
qualified attainder, and closely watched by the keen-sighted
minister--was occupying himself in writing his bitter and uncompromising
pamphlets against the government of the House of Hanover. The minister's
son Horace, an elegant, indolent youth, fresh from Cambridge, was
travelling on the Continent in company with a shy and sensitive man of
letters, not much known at the time,--by the name of Gray. This
gentleman gained no small credit, however, some ten or twelve years
afterwards, by the publication of "An Elegy written in a Country
Churchyard,"--a piece which, notwithstanding the remote date of its
appearance, it is possible that some of our readers may have chanced to
come across in the course of their literary researches. Giddiness, loss
of memory, and other alarming symptoms of mental disorder had begun to
attack the great intellect of Dr. Swift, and forced him to lay aside the
pen which for nearly half a century had been alternately the scourge and
the support of the perplexed cabinets of the time. His friend Mr. Pope,
however, was living quite snug and comfortable, on the profits of his
translations, at his pretty villa at Twickenham, and adding to his fame
and means by the publication of his "Correspondence" and his "Universal
Prayer." The learned Rector of Broughton, Dr. Warburton, encouraged by
the advice of friends, had just brought out his first volume of "The
Divine Legation of Moses"; the Bishop of Bristol had carried his great
"Analogy of Religion" through the press the year before; Dr. Watts was
getting old and infirm, but still engaged in his thirty years' visit to
his friend Sir Thomas Abney, Knight and Alderman, of Abney Park, Stoke
Newington. That remarkable young Scotchman, David Hume, was paying his
respects to the sensational philosophy of Locke in a series of essays
which "spread consternation through every region of existing
speculation"; Adam Smith was a promising pupil under Hutcheson,--the
father of Scotch metaphysics,--at the University of Glasgow. General
Fielding's son Henry--but just married--was spending his charming young
wife's portion of fifteen hundred pounds in the careless hospitality of
his Derbyshire house-keeping,--three years' experience of which,
however, reduced him to the necessity of undertaking his first novel for
the booksellers, in the story of "Joseph Andrews." Captain Cook, at the
age of thirteen, was a restless apprentice to a haberdasher near Whitby.
And although "the age of steam" had certainly not then arrived, it must
yet be allowed--in the words of the Highland vagrant to Cameron of
Lochiel, not long after--that already

    "Coming events cast their shadows before,"--

since we find that there lay in his nursery, in the family of Town
Councillor Watt, the Bailie of Greenock, in the spring of the year 1736,
a quiet, delicate, little Scotch baby, complacently sucking the tiny
fist destined in after years to grasp and imprison that fearful vapory
demon whose struggle for escape from his life-long captivity now
furnishes the motive-power for the most mighty undertakings of man
throughout the civilized world. It would surely have been something, we
think,--the opportunity to have seen all these, from Bolingbroke in his
library to James Watt in his cradle.

Turning to affairs somewhat nearer home, perhaps a slight glance at
"y'e conversation and way of living" of the good people of Boston,
during the years that Mr. Hancock was carrying on his building and
getting himself gradually settled in its comforts, may help us to
conceive a better idea of the form and pressure of the age. Well,--Mr.
Peter Faneuil was just then laboring to persuade the town that it might
not be the worst thing they could do to accept the gift of a handsome
new Town-Hall which he was very desirous to build for them,--an opinion
so furiously combated and opposed by the conservatives and practical men
of that day, that Mr. Faneuil succeeded in carrying his revolutionary
measure, at last, in the open town-meeting, by a majority of only seven
votes (a much larger majority, however, it is but fair to observe, than
that which adopted a decent City-Hall for the same municipality only
last year). Whitefield was preaching on the Common, in front of Mr.
Hancock's premises, to audiences of twenty thousand people, "as some
compute," "poor deluded souls," says the unemotional Dr. Douglass,
writing at the period, "whose time is their only Estate; called off to
these exhortations, to the private detriment of their families, and
great Damage to the Public: _thus perhaps every such exhortation of his
was about £1000 damage to Boston_." Governor Belcher, who came home from
England with the same instructions as Governor which he was sent out to
oppose as envoy, had been superseded in his high office by "William
Shirley, Esquire,--esteemed for his gentlemanly deportment." Watchmen
were required "_in a moderate tone_ to cry the time o' night, and give
an Account of the Weather as they walk't their rounds after twelve
o'clock." The men that had been raised in town for the ill-starred
expedition to Carthagena were being drilled on the Common,--and Hancock,
writing to a friend, tells him, "We have the pleasure of Seeing 'em
Disciplin'd every Day from 5 in morning to 8, & from 5 afternoon 'till
night, before our house,--many Gentle'n & others Daily fill y'e
Common,--& wee have not y'e Less Company for it, but a quicker draft
for Wine & Cider." Annually, on the Fifth of November, Guy Fawkes, the
Pope, the Devil, and the Pretender were burned on the Common, amidst
much noise and rioting, often degenerating into the tapping of claret
and solid cracking of crowns between the North End and South End
champions,--who made this always their field-day, _par excellence_,--to
the great worriment of the Town Constables, and the infinite wrath and
disgust of the Select Men. And, finally, we remark, "the goodness of the
pavement in Boston might compare with most in London, for to gallop a
Horse on it is three Shillings and fourpence Forfeit!"

Such were the curious and simple, but, withal, rather cozy and jolly old
years in which the Hancock House was planned and built and first
occupied. Always a really fine residence, it is now the sole relic of
the family mansions of the _old_ Town of Boston, as in many respects it
has long been the most noted and interesting of them all. One hundred
and twenty-seven years have passed away since its erection, and old
Captain Bonner's map now requires a pretty close study to enable our
modern eyes to recognize any clue to its present locality. It stands, in
fact, a solitary monumental pillar in the stream of time,--a link to
connect the present with the eventful past; and the prospect of its
expected removal--though not, we trust, of its demolition--may render
the present a fitting opportunity to call up some few of the quaint old
reminiscences with which it is connected.

We have now before us, as we write, the original Contract or Indenture
for the freestone work of the venerable structure. It is a document
certainly not without a curious interest to those of us who have passed
and repassed so often in our daily walks the gray old relic of New
England's antiquity, to the very inception of which this faded paper
reverts. It is an agreement made between Mr. Thomas Hancock and one
"Thomas Johnson of Middleton in the County of Hartford and Colony of
Connecticut In New-England, Stone-Cutter." By this instrument the
Connecticut brown-stone man of that day binds himself to "Supply and
Furnish the said Thomas Hancock with as much Connecticut Stone as Shall
be Sufficient to Beatify and build Four Corners, One Large Front Door,
Nine Front Windows and a Facie for the Front and back Part Over the
Lower Story Windows of a certain Stone House which the Said Thomas
Hancock is about to Erect on a Certain Piece of Land Situate near Beacon
Hill in Boston aforesaid; as also So much of said Connecticut Stone as
shall be Sufficient to make a water Table round the Said House, which
Said Stone the Said Johnson Covenants and Agrees shall be well Cut,
fitted and polished, workmanlike and According to the Rules of Art every
way Agreeable, & to the Liking and Satisfaction of Mr. Hancock." The
stone is to be delivered to Mr. Hancock's order at Boston, all "In Good
Order and Condition, not Touched with the Salt Water, and at the proper
Cost, Charge and Risque of the s'd Johnson." The consideration paid to
Johnson is fixed at "the Sum of three hundred Pounds _in Goods_ as the
Said Stone Cutter's work is Carryed on." The latter stipulation as to
the payment would be curious enough at the present day, though it
appears to have been not uncommon at the time this contract was
executed. The perusal of Mr. Thomas Hancock's letter-book, however, now
also lying before us, will not leave one in any need of this additional
proof of the old Boston merchant's keen eye always to a business profit.

The Indenture is written in a clear, round, mercantile hand,--evidently
Mr. Hancock's own, but his _best_, by comparison with the
letter-book,--the leading words of the principal paragraphs being
garnished with masterly flourishes, and the top of the paper "indented"
by cutting with a knife so as to fit or "tally," after the fashion of
those days, with the corresponding copy delivered to Johnson. It has
been indorsed and filed away with evident care, and is consequently now
in a state of absolute and perfect preservation. With the exception,
however, of that little matter of the _store-pay_, and of the wording of
the date of its execution, which is given as the "Tenth Year of the
Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Second, by the Grace of God of
Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c.,"
the document differs but little in its phraseology--so conservative is
the letter of the law of real estate--from those in use for precisely
such contracts in the year 1863.

"Thomas Hancock, of Boston in the County of Suffolk and Province of the
Massachusetts Bay in New England, Merchant," as he is named and
described in the paper before us, was the founder of the fortunes of the
family, and a man of the most considerable note and importance in his
day. He was the son of the Reverend Mr. John Hancock, of Lexington, in
which town he was born on the 13th of July, 1703. He was sent to Boston
early in life to learn the business of a stationer,--with which calling
those of bookseller and bookbinder were then combined,--and served his
time accordingly with the leading provincial bibliopole of the day, "the
enterprising Bookseller Henchman," who died in 1761. Quick, active,
thrifty, young Hancock soon made his way in the world,--his famous
bookstore in Ann Street was known as the "Stationers' Arms" as early as
1729; the industrious apprentice in due course married his master's fair
daughter Lydia; and so our Thomas Hancock went on his way to credit and
fortune, and last and best of all to house-building after his own mind,
"the comfortablest part of his own life," with strides quite as easy and
certain as did his contemporary, the Worshipful Francis Goodchild, Esq.,
of London,--whose career was, at that very time, so impressing itself
upon the notice of that eminent hand, Mr. William Hogarth, of Leicester
Fields in the Parish of St. Martin's, as to lead him to depict its
events in the remarkable series of prints, "Industry and Idleness," in
which they are now handed down for the admiration of posterity. And what
the great painter tells us of his hero is equally true of ours,--that,
"by taking good courses, and pursuing those points for which he was put
apprentice, he became a valuable man, and an ornament to his country."

The pursuits connected with book-making were not, however, without their
trials and troubles, even at that early day. From some of Hancock's
letters for the year 1736, we find that one Cox was a sad thorn in his
side, a grievous lion in his daily path. His chief correspondent among
the booksellers in London at this period was Mr. Thomas Longman,--the
founder of the renowned house of Longmans of our own time,--and to him
Hancock often pours out his trials and grievances in the quaint and
pointed style of the business letters of "The Spectator's" own day.
Under date of April 10, 1736, for instance, he writes,--"I cannot Think
of Doing much more in the Book way at present, unless Cox Recalls his
Agent, which I am Certain He never will if you give up this point," (_i.
e._ of making larger consignments to Hancock on his own account,) "as I
can Improve my Money In other Goods from Great Brittan to so much better
Advantage." Yet, he continues, "I am unwilling Quite to Quit The Book
branch of Trade, and you Can't but be Senceable that it was my Regard to
you has Occasioned it's being forced from me in this way."

About the month of May, 1738, Cox appears to have become wellnigh
intolerable. On the 24th of that month our bookseller writes to
Longman,--"Cox has Sent some more Books here this Spring, & I Cannot
Learn that he's Called his man home Yet. I am a Great Sufferer by him,
as well as you, having above £250 Sterling in Books by me, before what
Came from you now." Sometimes, however, Cox makes a slight mistake, and
then our bookseller again takes heart of courage. Thus, under date of
October 29, 1739, he again writes to Longman,--"Cox's man Caine in
Hall's ship about a month Agoe, brought Eight Trunks and a Box or two of
Books, has opened his Shop, but makes no Great Figure & is but little
taken Notice off, _which is a a Good Symtom of a bad Sortment_,--his
Return here was Surprising to me; truly I did not Expect it. At present
I don't know how to Govern myself as to the Book Trade, _but am willing
to do the Needful to Discountenance him_, and will write you again in
little Time." But, alas! by the 10th of December following, Cox had
rallied bravely, and, accordingly, Hancock again writes in despair,--"I
know not how to Conduct my Affairs as to the Book Trade. Cox's Shop is
opened, & he has a pretty Good Collection of Books. He brought with him
8 Trunks, & 4 Came in y'e next Ship. His Coming is A Great Damage to
me, having many Books by me unsold for Years past, & most all which I
had of you this Year. I am Ready Sometimes to Give up that part of my
Business, & I think I should have done it ere now, were I not in hopes
of Serving you in that Branch of Trade. _Could you propose any Scheem to
discountenance our Common Enemy I will Gladly Joyn you_. I fear he will
have more Goods in the Next Ship. I have Nothing to Add at this time
only that I am with Great Esteem Your Assur'd Fr'd &c. T. H."

We may remark, that, if Longman were not by this time brought to be
fully _Senceable_ of the sacrifices which had been made here for his
interest, it was assuredly through no fault of his Boston customer. In a
letter dated April 30, 1736, Hancock had felt emboldened to inform

     "I have Occasion for Tillotson's Works, Rapine's History of
     England, Chamber's Dictionary & Burkitt on N. Testament for
     my own use, and as the Burthen of y'e two Last years Sale
     of Books & Returns for them has mostly Laine on my Self, &
     as I have rec'd no Commitions, Some Debts yet outstanding,
     and many books by me now on Sold, which shall be glad to
     Sell for what I allowed you & now have paid for,--I say if
     you'l please make a Present to me of y'e above named, or
     any part of 'em They will be very Acceptable to me. My Last
     to you was of y'e 10th & 14th Instent, which hope you have
     Rec'd ere This & I am

     "Your obliged Humb. Serv.

     "T. H."

Once only, in the whole correspondence, are we able to find that this
interloping caitiff of Cox's was fairly circumvented. With what an
inward glow of satisfaction must our Boston bookseller have found
himself sufficiently master of the situation to be able to write to
Longman (under date of May 10th, 1739),--

     "Pr. this Conveyance Messr's. Joseph Paine & Son of London
     have Orders from this place to buy £50. Sterling worth of
     Books; I have Engaged Mr. Cushing, who writes to Paine to
     Order him to buy them of you, & that you would Use them
     well, which I Desire you to Doe; it will be ready money & I
     was Loth you should miss of it, (this is the Case,--_Cox's
     man_ had Engaged to Send for them & let the Gentleman have
     'em at the Sterling Cost,) but the Gentleman being my
     friend, I interposed, & So Strongly Sollicited on your
     behalf that I fix't it right at last & you may Certainly
     depend on the Comition, tho' it may be needful you See Mr.
     Paine as Soon as this Comes to hand. Pray procure me such a
     Bible as you think may suit me & Send when Oppertunity

     "I am S'r. &c. &c.    T. H."

Longman's next trunk brings a copy of Chambers's Dictionary, then just
published, as a present to Mr. Hancock, and we might almost fancy it an
acknowledgment of this letter about the _Comition_ in more ways than
one. We ought in justice to observe, however, that in those days, in the
absence of any generally recognized and accepted standard of authority,
gentlemen of the best condition in life appear to have felt at liberty
to spell pretty much as they pleased, in New England. So far, at least,
as Mr. Hancock's credit for orthography is concerned, it must be
allowed, from his repeatedly spelling the same word in two or three
different ways on the same page, that he probably gave the matter very
little thought at any time,--taking as small pains as did Mr. Pepys, and
really caring as little as Sir Thomas Browne for "the [Greek:
batrachomyomachia] and hot skirmish betwixt S and T in Lucian, or how
grammarians hack and slash for the genitive case of Jupiter."[1] That
such spelling would hardly be admissible on India Wharf to-day, we
freely admit,--nay, would even rush, were it necessary, to
maintain,--but we must still claim for our favorite, that a century and
a quarter agone he seems to have spelt about as well, on the whole, as
the generality of his neighbors.

There is one most extraordinary _escapade_ of his, however, in this line
of performance, which we do not know how we _can_ undertake wholly to
defend. To Mr. John Rowe, a little doubtful about New-England Bills of
Exchange, he writes,--"As to the £100 Draft of Mr. Faneuil's above
mentioned, I doubt not but any merchant in London will take that
Gentleman's Bill, when accepted, as Soon as a Bank Note,--he being the
_Topinest_ merchant in this Country, & I Gave 20 per Cent Extra'y for
it." If there be really a proper superlative of the adjective _topping_,
our letter-writer, it must be confessed, has made a wide miss here of
the mark he aimed at. "Priscian's a little scratch'd here,"--rather too
much, indeed, even for 1739.

That the reader may not suspect Mr. Hancock of monopolizing all the
cacography of his time, we give _verbatim_ the following letter from
Christopher Kilby,[2] a letter among many of the same sort found with
Mr. Hancock's papers.

     "_London, 15 February 1727._

     "HONEST FR'D. This not only advises you of my arrival but
     acknowledges the rec't of your favour. By your desire I
     waited upon Mr. Cox, & have told him and every body else,
     where it was necessary, as much as you desired, & account it
     part of my Felicity that I have so worthy a friend as Mr.
     Hancock. When you arrive here you'l find things vastly
     beyond your imagination,--I shall give you no other
     Character of England than this, that it is beyond
     expression, greater and finer than any thing I could ever
     form an Idea of. I wish you may arrive before I leave it,
     that you may with me, gaze and Wonder at a place that wee
     can neither of us give a good Discripsion of. Pray present
     my Services to Mr. Wood, Mr. Cunnington, and if Mr.
     Leverett be not so engaged at the Annual meeting in Choosing
     Hogg Constables &c. that to mention it to him might be an
     interruption in so important affairs, my Service to him
     also,--but rather than he shou'd loose any part of his
     Pleasure while you take up his Time in doing it, I begg
     you'l wait till a more leisure opportunity, when you may
     assure him that I am at his Service in anything but being
     Bread Weigher, Hogg Constable or any of those honourable
     posts of pleasure & profit. I have nothing more to add but
     Service to all friends, & assurance of my being

     "Your sincere friend & very

         "humble Servant,

          "CHRIS'R. KILBY."

There is a letter in another book--Mr. Hancock's letter-book from 1740
to 1744--in which poetical justice to the arch-disturber of his peace is
feelingly recorded. Cox[3] comes to grief at last,--surely, though late.
Observe with what placid resignation Hancock regards his rival's mishap.
The letter is to Longman, and bears date April 21st, 1742.

     "----Thomas Cox has sent Orders to a Gentle'n here to
     Receive from his man all his Effects,--the Shop is
     Accordingly Shutt up, & I am told his man is absconded & has
     Carried of all the money, I hear to the value of £500
     Sterling; of Consequence a very bad Acco'tt must be
     rendered to his Master & no doubt 't will put a final Stop
     to his unjust proceedings & Trade to New-Eng'd. _I pray
     God it may have this long wished for Effect_, the Good
     fruits of which, I hope you & we shall soon partake of."

The correspondence with Longman is kept up with great activity through
the whole of the first third of the volume before us. Gradually,
however, Hancock had been growing into a larger way of business, and his
Bills of Exchange for £500 and £600, drawn generally by Mr. Peter
Faneuil,[4] begin to be of more frequent occurrence,--bills which he
writes his London correspondents "are Certainly very Good, & will meet
with Due Honour." We read here and there of ventures to _Medara_ and to
_Surranam_, and of certain consignments of "Geese and Hogges to y'e
New Found Land." "Be so Good," he says, in a letter of May 17th, 1740,
to a friend then staying in London, "as to Interist me in y'e half of
8 or 10 Ticketts when any Lottery's going on, you think may doe, and am
oblidged to you for mentioning your Kind intention herein. Please God
y'e Young Eagle, Philip Dumerisque Com'r comes well home, and I
believe I shall make no bad voyage." It is easy to see that the snug
little business of the "Stationers' Arms" is soon to be given up, for
what Drake[5] describes as "the more extensive field of mercantile
enterprise."[6] By this time, too, the signs of the French War began to
loom alarmingly upon the horizon of the little colony, and Hancock rose
with the occasion to the character of a man of large and grave affairs.
Cox's man, and his Trunks and Sortments of Books, appear, after this, to
have but little of his attention. There was need of raising troops, and
of fitting out vessels; and when the famous expedition against Louisburg
was determined on, Hancock had a large share in the matter of providing
its munitions and equipment. His correspondence with Sir William
Pepperell in these great affairs still lies preserved in good order in
boxes in the attic of the old mansion.

Meanwhile, as he rose in the world, he had been laying out his grounds,
and building and furnishing his house; his first letter from which is
addressed to his "Dear Friend," Christopher Kilby, then in London, and
is dated, rather grandly, "At my house in Beacon Street, Boston y'e
22'd Mar. 1739-40." Let us look back, then, a little over the yellow,
time-stained record of the letter-book before us, and see what were the
experiences of a gentleman, in building and planting in Beacon Street,
so long before our grandfathers were born.

Under date of the 5th of July, 1736, Hancock writes to his friend and
constant correspondent in London, "Mr. Francis Wilks Esq'r,"[7]
inclosing a letter to one James Glin at Stepney, with orders for some
trees, concerning which he tells Wilks, "I am advised to have 'em
bought,--but if you Can find any man Will Serve us Better I Leave it to
your Pleasure." He must have thought it a great pity, from the sequel of
this affair, that Mr. Wilks's Pleasure did not happen to lie in another
direction. "I am Recommended by Mr. Tho's. Hubbard of This Town," runs
the letter inclosed to Glin, "to you for A number of Fruit Trees,--be
pleased to waite on Mr. Wilks for the Inv'o of them & Let me have
y'e best Fruit, & pack't in y'e best manner, & All numbered, with
an Acco't of y'e Same. I pray you be very Carefull That y'e Trees
be Took up in y'e Right Season, and if these Answer my Expectations I
shall want more, & 't will Ly in my way to Recommend Some Friends to
you. I Intreat the Fruit may be the best of their Kind, the Trees
handsome Stock, well Pack't, All N'o'd & Tally'd, & particular Inv'o
of 'em. I am S'r. &c. &c. T. H."

This careful order was evidently duly executed by the nurseryman, and at
first all appears to have gone smoothly enough, since, on the 20th of
December following, (1736,) we find another letter to Glin, as

     "SIR,--My Trees and Seeds pr. Cap't. Bennett Came Safe to
     hand and I Like them very well. I Return you my hearty
     Thanks for the Plumb Tree & Tulip Roots you were pleased to
     make a Present off, which are very Acceptable to me. I have
     Sent my friend Mr. Wilks a mem'o to procure for me 2 or 3
     Doz. Yew Trees Some Hollys & Jessamin Vines & if you have
     any Particular Curious Things not of a high price will
     Beautifie a flower Garden, Send a Sample with the price or a
     Catalogue of 'em; pray Send me a Catalogue also of what
     Fruit you have that are Dwarf Trees and Espaliers. I shall
     want Some next Fall for a Garden I am Going to lay out next
     Spring. My Gardens all Lye on the South Side of a hill, with
     the most Beautifull Assent to the Top & it's Allowed on all
     hands the Kingdom of England don't afford So Fine a Prospect
     as I have both of Land and water. Neither do I intend to
     Spare any Cost or Pains in making my Gardens Beautifull or
     Profitable. If you have any Knowlidge of S'r John James he
     has been on the Spott & is perfectly acquainted with its
     Situation & I believe has as high an Opinion of it as myself
     & will give it as Great a Carrictor. Let me know also what
     you'l Take for 100 Small Yew Trees in the Rough, which I'd
     Frame up here to my own Fancy. If I can Do you any Service
     here I shall be Glad & be Assured I'll not forgett your
     Favour,--which being y'e needful Concludes,


     "Your most Ob'edt. Servant,

     "THO'S. HANCOCK."

But neither Esquire Hancock nor Mr. Glin at Stepney could control the
force of Nature, or persuade the delicate fruit-trees of Old England to
blossom and flourish here, even on the south side of Beacon Hill. The
maxim, "_L'homme propose, et le bon Dieu dispose_," was found to be as
inevitable in 1736 as it is in our later day and generation. It is true
that no ancestral Downing was then at hand, with wise counsels of
arboriculture, nor had any accidental progenitor of Sir Henry Stuart of
Allanton as yet taught the Edinboro' public of the Pretender's time the
grand secrets of transplanting and induration. Esquire Hancock,
therefore, was left to work out by himself his own woful, but natural
disappointment. On the 24th of June, 1737, he writes to the unfortunate
nurseryman in a strain of severe, and, as he doubtless thought, of most
righteous indignation.

     "SIR,--I Rec'd. your Letter & your Baskett of flowers per.
     Capt. Morris, & have Desired Francis Wilks Esq'r to pay
     you £26 for them _Though they are Every one Dead_. The Trees
     I Rec'd Last Year are above half Dead too,--the Hollys all
     Dead but one, & worse than all is, the Garden Seeds and
     Flower Seeds which you Sold Mr. Wilks for me Charged at £6.
     8's. 2'd. Sterling were not worth one farthing. Not one
     of all the Seeds Came up Except the Asparrow Grass, So that
     my Garden is Lost to me for this Year. I Tryed the Seeds
     both in Town and Country & all proved alike bad. I Spared
     Mr. Hubbard part of them _and they All Serv'd him the
     Same_." (Rather an unlucky blow this for poor Glin, as Mr.
     Hubbard had been his first sponsor and perhaps his only
     friend in New England.) "I think Sir, you have not done well
     by me in this thing, for me to send a 1000 Leagues and Lay
     out my money & be so used & Disapointed is very hard to
     Bare, & so I doubt not but you will Consider the matter &
     Send me over Some more of the Same Sort of Seeds that are
     Good & Charge me nothing for them,--if you don't I shall
     think you have imposed upon me very much, & 't will
     Discourage me from ever Sending again for Trees or Seeds
     from you. I Conclude,

     "Your Humble Serv't.

     "T. H.

     "P. S. _The Tulip Roots you were pleased to make a present
     off to me are all Dead as well._"

The last paragraph is truly delicious,--a real Parthian arrow, of the
keenest, most penetrating kind. The ill-used gentleman is determined
that poor Glin shall find no crumb of credit left,--not in the matter of
the purchased wares alone, but even for the very presents that he had
had the effrontery to send him.

After learning the opinion entertained by Mr. Hancock of his estate, its
situation, prospect, and capacities, and understanding his intentions in
regard to its improvement, as expressed in his first letter to Glin,--it
may naturally be expected that we shall come upon some further allusions
to the works he had thus taken in hand, in the antiquated volume before
us. In this respect, as we turn over its remaining pages, we shall find
that we are not to be disappointed. His letters on the subject,
addressed to persons on the other side of the water, and particularly to
the trusty Wilks, are, in fact, for the space of the next three or four
years, most refreshingly abundant. Some of these are so minute,
characteristic, and interesting, that we shall need no apology for
transcribing them, most literally, here. On June 24th, 1737, he had
written to Wilks,--

     "This waites on you per M'r Francis Pelthro who has Taken
     this Voyage to Lond'o. in order to be Cutt for y'e Stone
     by D'r. Cheselden;[8] he Is my Friend & a Very honest
     Gentleman. In case he needs your advise in any of his
     affairs & _Calls on you for it_, I beg y'e fav'r of you
     to do him what Service falls in your way, which Shall Take
     as done to my Self, and as he's a Stranger, Should he have
     occasion for Ten Guineas please to Let him have it & Charge
     to my Acco't. I suppose he's sofficeint with him--Except
     Some Extrordinary accidant happen.

     "I beg your particular Care about my Glass, that it be the
     best, and Every Square Cutt Exactly to the Size, & not to
     worp or wind in the Least, & Pack't up So that it may take
     no Damage on the passage,--it's for my Own Use & would have
     it Extrordinary. I am S'r

     "Your most oblid'gd obed. Sev't.

     "T. H."

By one of those stupid accidents,--not, as we are sorry to record,
altogether unknown to the business of house-building in our own
day,--the memorandum previously sent for the glass turned out to be
entirely incorrect. In less than a fortnight after, Mr. Hancock
accordingly hastens to countermand his order, as follows:--

     "_Boston, N.E. July 5'th. 1737._


     "S'R,--Sheperdson's Stay being Longer than Expected Brings
     me to the 5'th of July, and if you have not bought my
     Glass According to the Demention per Cap't. Morris I Pray
     you to have no regard to those, but the following viz.

     "380 Squares of best London Crown Glass all Cutt Exactly 18
     Inches Long & 11-1/2 Inches wide of a Suitable Thickness to
     the Largness of the Glass free from Blisters and by all
     means be Carefull it don't wind or worp.--

     "100 Squares Ditto 12 Inches Long 8-1/2 wide of the Same
     Goodness as above.

     "Our Friend Tylers Son William Comes per This Conveyance, I
     only add what Service's you doe him will Assuredly be
     Retaliated By his Father, & will Oblidge S'r

     "Your most Obedient Hum'e Serv't

     "T. H."

The window-glass being fairly off his mind, Mr. Hancock next turns his
attention to the subject of wall-papers, on which head he comes out in
the most strong and even amazing manner. We doubt if the documentary
relics of the last century can show anything more truly _genre_ than the
following letter "To Mr. John Rowe, Stationer, London," dated

     "_Boston, N. E. Jan. 23'd. 1737-8._

     "Sir,--Inclosed you have the Dimentions of a Room for a
     Shaded Hanging to be Done after the Same Pattorn I have
     Sent per Capt. Tanner, who will Deliver it to you. It's for
     my own House, & Intreat the favour of you to Get it Done for
     me, to Come Early in the Spring, or as Soon as the nature of
     the Thing will admitt. The pattorn is all was Left of a Room
     Lately Come over here, & it takes much in y'e Town & will
     be the only paper-hanging for Sale here wh. am of Opinion
     may Answer well. Therefore desire you by all means to Get
     mine well Done & as Cheap as Possible, & if they can make it
     more Beautifull by adding more Birds flying here & there,
     with Some Landskip at the Bottom should Like it well. Let
     the Ground be the Same Colour of the Pattorn. At the Top &
     Bottom was a narrow Border of about 2 Inches wide wh. would
     have to mine. About 3 or 4 Years ago my friend Francis Wilks
     Esq'r. had a hanging Done in the Same manner but much
     handsomeer Sent over here for M'r Sam'l Waldon of this
     place, made by one Dunbar in Aldermanbury, where no doubt he
     or Some of his Successors may be found. In the other parts
     of these Hangings are Great Variety of Different Sorts of
     Birds, Peacocks, Macoys, Squirril, Monkys, Fruit & Flowers
     &c, But a Greater Variety in the above mentioned of Mr.
     Waldon's & Should be fond of having mine done by the Same
     hand if to be mett with. I design if this pleases me to have
     two Rooms more done for myself. I Think they are handsomer &
     Better than Painted hangings Done in Oyle, so I Beg your
     particular Care in procuring this for me, & that the
     pattorns may be Taken Care off & Return'd with my Goods.
     Henry Atkins has Ordered Mr. Tho's. Pike of Pool[9] to pay
     you £10 in Liew of the Bill you Returned Protested Drawn by
     Sam'll Pike, which hope you'l Receive. Inclosed you have
     also Crist'o Kilby's Draft on King Gould Esq'r. for £10
     wh. will meet with Due Honour. Design to make you Some other
     Remittence in a Little Time. Interim Remain S'r. Your
     Assured Fr'd & Hum'e. Servt.

    "T. H."

There are certain other adornments about the Hancock House, besides the
glass and the wall-papers, which were somewhat beyond the skill of
New-England artificers of that time. Another of these exotic features is
fully accounted for in the following extract from a letter to "Dear
Kilby," dated

     "22'd Mar. 1739-40.

     "I Pray the favour of you to Enquire what a pr. of Capitolls
     will Cost me to be Carved in London, of the Corinthian
     Order, 16-1/2 Inches One Way and 9 y'e Other,--to be well
     Done. Please to make my Compliments Acceptable to Mr. Wilks,
     & believe me to be


     "Your assu'd. Friend & very

     "Hum'e. Sev't.

     "T. H."

One more commission for the trusty Wilks remained. It was said of Mr.
Hancock, long afterward, in one of the obituary notices called forth by
his sudden demise, that "his house was the seat of hospitality, where
all his numerous acquaintances and strangers of distinction met with an
elegant reception." With a wise prevision, therefore, of the properties
necessary to support the character and carry on the business of so
bountiful a _cuisine_, we find him, under cover of a letter of May 24th,
1738, inclosing an order in these terms:--

"1 Middle Size Jack of 3 Guineas price,--Good works, with Iron Barrell,
a wheel-fly & Spitt Chain to it."

Several other passages, scattered here and there in these letters,
certainly go far to justify a reputation for the love of good cheer on
the part of their writer. Throughout all of them, indeed, we are not
without frequent indications of "a careful attention to and a laudable
admiration of good, sound, hearty eating and drinking." Thus, in a
postscript to one of his favors to Wilks, he adds,--"I Desire you also
to send me a Chest of Lisbon Lemons for my own use." And again, in a
letter to Captain Partington, master of one of his vessels, then in
Europe, he writes,--"When you come to any Fruit Country, Send or bring
me 2 or 4 Chests of Lemmons, for myself & the Officers of this Port, &
Take the Pay out of the Cargo." Alas, that the Plantation Rum Punch of
those days should now perforce be included among Mr. Phillips's Lost
Arts! He sends a consignment with an order "To Messers Walter &
Rob't. Scott," as follows:--"I have the favour to ask of you, when
please God the Merch'dse Comes to your hands, that I may have in return
the best Sterling Medara Wines for my own use,--I don't Stand for any
Price, provided the Quality of the wine Answers to it. My view in
Shipping now is only for an Oppertunity to procure the best wine for my
own use, in which you will much oblidge me." And about the same time he
orders from London "1 Box Double flint Glass ware. 6 Quart Decanters. 6
Pint do. 2 doz. handsome, new fash'd wine Glasses, 6 pair Beakers,
Sorted, all plain, 2 pr. pint Cans, 2 pr. 1/2 pint do. 6 Beer Glasses,
12 Water Glasses & 2 Doz. Jelly Glasses." Well might he write to Kilby,
not long after, "We live Pretty comfortable here now, on Beacon Hill."

There is a graphic minuteness about all these trivial directions, which
takes us more readily behind the curtain of Time than the most elaborate
and dignified chronicles could possibly do. The Muse of History is no
doubt a most stately and learned lady,--she looks very splendid in her
royal attitudes on the ceilings of Blenheim and in the galleries of
Windsor; but can her pompous old _stylus_ bring back for us the
every-day work and pleasure of these bygone days,--paint for us the
things that come home so nearly "to men's business and bosoms,"--or show
us the inner life and the real action of these hearty, jolly old times,
one-half so well as the simple homeliness of these careless letters? We
seem to see in them the countenances of the people of those long buried
years, and to catch the very echo of their voices, in the daily walk of
their pleasant and hearty lives. "The dialect and costume," said Mr.
Hazlitt, "the wars, the religion, and the politics of the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries" (and we may now venture to add for him, of the
earlier half of the eighteenth) "give a charming and wholesome relief to
the fastidious refinement and over-labored lassitude of modern readers.
Antiquity, after a time, has the grace of novelty, as old fashions
revived are mistaken for new ones." In the present instance this seems
to us to be, more than usually, the effect of Hancock's quaint and
downright style. All these letters of his, in fact, are remarkable for
one thing, even beyond the general tenor of the epistolary writing of
his time, and that is their _directness_. He is the very antipode to Don
Adriano in "Love's Labor's Lost"; never could it be said of him that "he
draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer than the staple of his
argument." He does not leave his correspondents to grope their way to
his meaning by inferences,--_he comes to the point_. If he likes more
"Macoys, Squirril & Monkys" in his wallpaper than his neighbors,--if he
thinks Cox's man ought to be abated, or Glin to do the handsome thing by
him, he says so, point-blank, and there's an end.

             ----"He pours out all, as plain
    As downright Shippen, or as old Montaigne."

Perhaps the particular phase of change which the language itself was
going through at the time may assist in giving these letters, to us,
something of their air of genuine force and originality. But after
making due allowance for the freshness of a vocabulary as yet unimpeded
by any cumbrous burden of euphemism, we are still convinced that we must
recognize the source of much of the quality we have noted only in the
_naïve_ and outspoken nature of the writer. For, if ever there was a man
who knew just what he wanted and just how he wanted it, it was the T. H.
of the amusing correspondence before us.

Thus lived, for some quarter of a century more, this cheery and
prosperous gentleman, growing into a manly opulence, and enjoying to the
full the pleasant "seate of self-fruition" which he had so carefully set
up for himself on Beacon Hill. Not much addressing himself, indeed, to
"looking abroad into universality," as Bacon calls it, but rather
honestly and heartily "doing his duty in that state of life unto which
it had pleased God to call him." He filled various posts of honor and
dignity meanwhile,--always prominent, and even conspicuous, in the
public eye,--and was "one of His Majesty's Council" at the commencement
of the troubles which led to the War of the Revolution. The full
development of this mighty drama, however, Thomas Hancock did not live
to see. He died of an apoplexy, on the first day of August, 1764, about
three of the clock in the afternoon, having been seized about noon of
the same day, just as he was entering the Council Chamber. He was then
in the sixty-second year of his age. By his will he gave one thousand
pounds sterling for the founding of a professorship of the Oriental
languages in Harvard College, one thousand pounds lawful money to the
Society for Propagating the Gospel among the Indians, six hundred pounds
to the town of Boston, towards an Insane Hospital, and two hundred
pounds to the Society for carrying on the Linen Manufactory,--an
enterprise from which much appears, just then, to have been expected.
His property was valued, after his decease, at about eighty thousand
pounds sterling,--a very much larger sum for that time than its precise
money equivalent would represent at the present day. Having no issue of
his own, he left the bulk of his estate to his nephew John,--a gentleman
who, without a tithe of the nerve and pith and vigor of this our Thomas,
has yet happened, from the circumstances of the time in which he bore up
the family-fortunes, to have acquired a much more distinguished name and
filled a much larger space in the tablets of History than has ever
fallen to the share of his stout old uncle.

The Hancock estate, as we have been accustomed to see it of late years,
is greatly reduced from its original dimensions, and shorn of much of
its ancient glory.[10] The property, in Mr. Thomas Hancock's time,
extended on the east to the bend in Mount Vernon Street, including, of
course, the whole of the grounds now occupied by the State
House,[11]--on the west to Joy Street, called Hancock Street on the
ancient plan of the estate now before us,--and in the rear about to what
is now Derne Street, on the north side of Beacon Hill, and comprising on
that side all the land through which Mount Vernon Street now runs, for
the whole distance from Joy Street to Beacon-Hill Place. Thus was
included a large part, too, of the site of the present reservoir on
Derne Street, a portion of which, being the last of the estate sold up
to the present year, was purchased by the city from the late John
Hancock, Esq., some ten or twelve years ago. The two large wings of the
house--the one on the east side containing an elegant ball-room, and
that on the west side comprising the kitchen and other domestic
offices--have long ago disappeared. The centre of the mansion, however,
remains nearly intact, and with its antique furniture, stately old
pictures, and the quaint, but comfortable appointments of the past
century, still suffices to bring up to the mind of the visitor the most
vivid and interesting reminiscences both of our Colonial and
Revolutionary history.

The central and principal portion of the house, which remains entire, is
a very perfect and interesting specimen of the stateliest kind of our
provincial domestic architecture of the last century. There are several
other houses of a similar design still standing in the more important
sea-port towns of New England. The West House, on Essex Street, in
Salem, has but lately disappeared; but another in that neighborhood, the
Collins House in Danvers, (now the property of Mr. F. Peabody, of
Salem,) the Dalton House, on State Street, Newburyport, the Langdon
House, (now the residence of the Reverend Dr. Charles Burroughs,) in
Portsmouth, N. H., and the Gilman House, in Exeter, N. H., removed, not
long since, to make way for the new Town Hall, were all almost identical
with this in the leading features of their design. A broad front-door
opening from a handsome flight of stone steps, and garnished with
pillars and a highly ornamental door-head, a central window, also
somewhat ornamented, over it, and four other windows in each story, two
being on either side of the centre, a main roof-cornice enriched with
carved modillions, a high and double-pitched or "gambrel" roof with bold
projecting dormer-windows rising out of it, and a carved balcony-railing
inclosing the upper or flatter portion of the roof, are features common
to them all. The details of the Hancock House are all classical and
correct; they were doubtless executed by the master-builder of the day
with a scrupulous fidelity of adherence to the plates of some such work
as "Ware's Compleat Body of Architecture," or "Swan's Architect,"--books
of high repute and rare value at the time, and contemporary copies of
which are still sometimes to be found in ancient garrets. There is a
very perfect specimen of the former in the Athenæum Library, and another
at Cambridge, while of the latter an excellent copy is in the possession
of the writer,--and it is not difficult to trace, in the soiled and
well-thumbed condition of some of the plates, evidences of the bygone
popularity of some peculiarly apposite or useful design.

The material of the walls is of squared and well-hammered granite
ashlar,--probably obtained by splitting up boulders lying on the surface
of the ground only, above the now extensive quarries in the town of
Quincy. We incline to this conjecture, because it bears an exact
resemblance to the stone of the King's Chapel, built in 1753, and which
is known to have been obtained in that way. In fact, the wardens and
vestry of the Chapel, in their report on the completion of the
building, congratulated themselves that they had had such good success
in getting all the stone they needed for that building, as it was
exceedingly doubtful, they remarked, whether the whole country could be
made to furnish stone for another structure of equal extent.

The interior of the house is quite in keeping with the promise of its
exterior. The dimensions of the plan are fifty-six feet front by
thirty-eight feet in depth. A nobly panelled hall, containing a broad
staircase with carved and twisted balusters, divides the house in the
centre, and extends completely through on both stories from front to
rear. On the landing, somewhat more than half-way up the staircase, is a
circular headed window looking into the garden, and fitted with
deep-panelled shutters, and with a broad and capacious window-seat, on
which the active merchant of 1740 doubtless often sat down to cool
himself in the draught, after some particularly vexatious morning's work
with poor Glin's "Plumb Trees and Hollys." On this landing, too, stood
formerly a famous eight-day clock, which has now disappeared, no one
knows whither. But the order for its purchase is before us in the old
letter-book, and will serve to give a very graphic idea of its unusual
attractions. The order is addressed, as usual, to Mr. Wilks, and bears
date December 20th, 1738. As the safe reception of the time-piece is
acknowledged in a subsequent letter, there can be little doubt as to its

     "I Desire the favour of you to procure for me & Send with my
     Spring Goods, a Handsome Chiming Clock of the newest
     fashion,--the work neat & Good, with a Good black Walnutt
     Tree Case, Veneer'd work, with Dark, lively branches,--on
     the Top insteed of Balls let be three handsome Carv'd
     figures, Gilt with burnished Gold. I'd have the Case without
     the figures to be 10 foot Long, the price 15 not to Exceed
     20 Guineas, and as it's for my own use I beg your particular
     Care in buying of it at the Cheapest Rate. I'm advised to
     apply to one Mr. Marmaduke Storr at the foot of Lond'n
     Bridge, but as you are best Judge I leave it to you to
     purchase it where you think proper,--wh. being the needfull,

     "Sir Your &c. T. H."

On the right of the hall, as you enter, is the fine old drawing-room,
seventeen by twenty-five feet, also elaborately finished in moulded
panels from floor to ceiling. In this room the founder of the Hancock
name, as a man of note, and a merchant of established consequence, must
often have received the Shirleys, the Olivers, the Pownalls, and the
Hutchinsons of King George's colonial court; and here, too, some years
later, his stately nephew John dispensed his elegant hospitalities to
that serene Virginian, Mr. Washington, the Commander-in-Chief of the
Army of the Revolution, and to the ardent young French Marquis who
accompanied him. The room itself, hung with portraits from the honest,
if not flattering hand of Smibert, and the more courtly and elegant
pencil of Copley, still seems to bear witness in its very walls to the
reality of such bygone scenes. We enter the close front-gate from the
sunny and bustling promenade of Beacon Street, pass up the worn and gray
terrace of the steps, and in a moment more closes behind us the door
that seems to shut us out from the whirl and turmoil and strife of the
present, and, almost mysteriously, to transport us to the grave shadows
and the dignified silence of the past of American history.

Over the chimney-piece, in this room, hangs the portrait of John
Hancock, by Copley,--masterly in drawing, and most characteristic in its
expression. It was painted apparently about ten or twelve years earlier
than the larger portrait in Faneuil Hall,--an excellent copy of which
latter picture, but by another hand, occupies the centre of the wall at
the end of the room opposite the windows. But by far the most
interesting works of this great artist are the two pictures on the long
side of the room opposite the chimney,--the portraits of Thomas Hancock
and his handsome wife Lydia Henchman, done in colored crayons or
_pastel_, and which still retain every whit of their original freshness.
These two pictures are believed to be unique specimens of their kind
from the hand of Copley,--and equally curious are the miniature copies
of them by himself, done in oil-color, and which hang in little oval
frames over the mantel. That of the lady, in particular, is exquisitely
lifelike and easy. On the same long side of the room with the pastel
drawings are the portraits of Thomas Hancock's father and mother,--the
minister of Lexington and his dignified-looking wife,--by Smibert. In
one of the letters to "Dear Kilby," of which we have already made
mention in this article, there is an allusion to this portrait of his
father which shows in what high estimation it was always held by Mr.
Hancock. "My Wife & I are Drinking your health this morning, 8 o' the
Clock, in a Dish of Coffee and under the Shade of your Picture which I
Rec'd not long Since of Mr. Smibert, in which am much Delighted, & have
Suited it with a Frame of the fashion of my other Pictures, & fix'd it
at the Right hand of all, in the Keeping-room. Every body that Sees it
thinks it to be Exceedingly Like you, as it really is. I am of Opinion
it's as Good a Piece as Mr. Smibert has done, and full as Like you as my
Father's is Like him, which all mankind allows to be a Compleat
Picture." It is to be regretted that the picture of Kilby has now
disappeared from this collection. We have called the pastel portraits of
Thomas Hancock and his wife unique specimens; we should add this
qualification, however, that there is a _copy_ of the former in this
room,--also by Copley, but differing in the costume, and perhaps even
more carefully finished than the one already mentioned.

The chamber overhead, too, has echoed, in days long gone by, to the
footstep of many an illustrious guest. Washington never slept here,
though it is believed that he has several times been a temporary
occupant of the room; but Lafayette often lodged in this apartment,
while a visitor to John Hancock, during his earlier stay in America.
Here Lord Percy--the same

        "who, when a younger son,
    Fought for King George at Lexington,
    A Major of Dragoons"--

made himself as comfortable as he might, while "cooped up in Boston and
panting for an airing," through all the memorable siege of the town. It
was from the windows of this chamber, on the morning of the 5th of
March, 1776, that the officers[12] on the staff of Sir William Howe
first beheld, through Thomas Hancock's old telescope, the intrenchments
which had been thrown up the night before on the frozen ground of
Dorchester Heights,--works of such a character and location as to
satisfy them that thenceforth "neither Hell, Hull, nor Halifax could
afford them worse shelter than Boston." And here, too, years after the
advent of more peaceful times, the stately old Governor, racked with
gout, and "swathed in flannel from head to foot," departed this life on
the night of the 8th of October, 1793. As President of the Continental
Congress of 1776, he left a name everywhere recognized as a household
word among us; while his noble sign-manual to the document of gravest
import in all our annals--that wonderful signature, so bold, defiant,
and decided in its every line and curve--has become, almost of itself,
his passport to the remembrance and his warrant to the admiration of


[1] _Religio Medici_, Part II., Sec. 3.

[2] Christopher Kilby was one of the Representatives of the Town in the
General Court, (1739,) and was appointed by that body to go to England,
as an agent for the Province. He soon after embarked for London, where
he resided for several years. He was called the "Standing Agent" of the
Province, and was likewise the Special Agent of the Town. Five years
after this, we find a record of his election, at which he had 102 votes
out of 109. When the General Court passed an act granting the King an
excise on spirituous liquors, wines, limes, lemons, and oranges, the
Town "voted unanimously to employ him to appear on behalf of the Town,
and to use his utmost endeavour to prevent said Act's obtaining the
Royal Assent," and likewise to be its agent in other matters. This
action of the Town was June 3d, 1755.--See Drake's _History of Boston_,
p. 606.

[3] It would be interesting to know, something more of Cox,--who he was,
and what was his standing in the trade. Did he take rank with Tonson,
Watts, Lintot, Strahan, Bathurst, and the rest,--publishers of Pope,
Gay, Swift, etc.? or was his an Ishmaelite of the Row?--and did all the
trade think so badly of him as Hancock did?

[4] The following letter from Mr. Faneuil's own hand, found among Mr.
Hancock's papers, is sufficiently curious to warrant its insertion

     "_Boston, February 3'd._ 1738.


     "S'r,--Herewith you have Invoice of Six hh's. fish, & 8
     Barrells of Alewifes, amounting to £75. 9. 2--which when you
     arrive at Antiguas be pleased to Sell for my best advantage,
     & with the net produce of the Same purchase for me, for the
     use of my house, as likely a Strait limbed Negro lad as
     possible you can, about the Age of from 12 to fiveteen
     years, & if to be done, one that has had the Small pox, who
     being for my Own service, I must request the fav'r. you
     would let him be one of as tractable a disposition as you
     can find, w'ch. I leave to your prudent care & management,
     desireing after you have purchased him you would send him to
     me by the first good Opportunity, recommending him to a
     Particular care from the Captain by whom you send him. Your
     care in this will be an Obligation,--I wish you a good
     Voyage, & am

     "S'r. your humble Servant

              "PETER FANEUIL.

     "P.S. Should there not be En'o to purchase the Boy desir'd
     be pleased to Add, & if any Overplus, to Lay it out for my
     Best Advantage in any thing you think proper. P. F."

Truly, in confronting this ghost of departed manners, may we say with
the Clown in "Twelfth Night,"--"Thus the whirligig of Time brings in his
revenges." The Hall which was the gift to the town of this merchant, who
proposes to trade codfish and _alewifes_ for a slave, afterward became
everywhere known to the world as the very "Cradle of Liberty."

[5] _History of Boston_, p. 681.

[6] Mr. Hancock, although a merchant "of the approved Gresham and
Whittington pattern," appears, for some reason or other, to have judged
no small degree of secrecy expedient in regard to some of his ventures.
Thus, under date of October 22d, 1736, he writes to Captain John
Checkering, then absent on a voyage on his account:--

"I hope ere this, you Safe arrived at Surranam, & your Cargo to a Good
Market. I Press you make the best dispatch possible, & doe all you can
to serve the Interist of y'e concerned, & Closely observe when you come
on our Coasts not to Speak with any Vessells, _nor let any of your men
write up to their wives_, when you arrive at our light house."

[7] "At length wearied with the altercation and persuaded of the
justness of their cause," (in refusing to settle a fixed salary on Gov.
Burnet,) "the House resolved to apply to his Majesty for redress, and
Mr. Francis-Wilkes, a New-England merchant, then resident in London, was
selected as their agent."--Barry's _History of the Provincial Period of
Massachusetts_, p. 126.

    "I'll do what Mead and _Cheselden_ advise,
    To keep these limbs and to preserve these eyes."

    POPE,--_Epistle to Bolingbroke._

[9] Liverpool.

[10] In the "Massachusetts Magazine," Vol. I., No. 7, for July, 1789,
there is "A Description of the Seat of His Excellency John Hancock
Esq'r. Boston [Illustrated by a _Plate_, giving a View of it from the
_Hay-Market_]." The print is very well executed for the time, by Samuel
Hill, No. 50, Cornhill,--and the account of the estate is very curious
and interesting. It describes the house as "situated upon an elevated
ground fronting the south, and commanding a most beautiful prospect. The
principal building is of hewn stone, finished not altogether in the
modern stile, nor yet in the ancient Gothic taste. It is raised about 12
feet above the street, the ascent to which is through a neat flower
garden bordered with small trees; but these do not impede the view of an
elegant front, terminating in two lofty stories. The east wing forms a
noble and spacious Hall. The west wing is appropriated to domestic
purposes. On the west of that is the coach-house, and adjoining are the
stables with other offices; the whole embracing an extent of 220 feet.
Behind the mansion is a delightful garden, ascending gradually to a
charming hill in the rear. This spot is handsomely laid out, embellished
with glacis, and adorned with a variety of excellent fruit trees. From
the Summer House opens a capital prospect," etc.

"The respected character who now enjoys this earthly paradise, inherited
it from his worthy uncle, the Hon. Thomas Hancock Esq: who selected the
spot and completed the building, evincing a superiority of judgment and
taste.... In a word, if purity of air, extensive prospects, elegance and
convenience united, are allowed to have charms, this seat is scarcely
surpassed by any in the Union. Here the severe blasts of winter are
checked," etc.

[11] In this connection, the subjoined document--the original of which
we have now at hand--may not be uninteresting, as showing the conditions
on which the heirs of Governor John Hancock consented to sell so large a
piece of the estate:--

"We the Subscribers, being a Committee of the town of Boston for the
purpose of purchasing a piece of Land for the erection of public
buildings, certify to all whom it may concern, that the Governor's
pasture purchased by us, shall be conveyed to the Commonwealth for that
use only, and that no private building shall be erected upon any part of
said pasture. Witness our hands this 9th day of April, 1795.

    WM. TUDOR,
    H. G. OTIS,

[12] "Inclosed you have the dimensions of two Bed Chambers for each of
which I want Wilton Carpets,--do let them be neat. The British Officers
who possess'd my house totally defac'd & Ruined all my Carpets, & I must
Submit."--_Extract from a Letter of John Hancock, dated Nov. 14, 1783,
to Captain Scott, at Liverpool,--contained in Gov. Hancock's


Brant Beach is a long promontory of rock and sand, jutting out at an
acute angle from a barren portion of the coast. Its farthest extremity
is marked by a pile of many-colored, wave-washed boulders; its junction
with the main-land is the site of the Brant House, a watering-place of
excellent repute.

The attractions of this spot are not numerous. There is surf-bathing all
along the outer side of the beach, and good swimming on the inner. The
fishing is fair; and in still weather, yachting is rather a favorite
amusement. Further than this, there is little to be said, save that the
hotel is conducted upon liberal principles, and the society generally

But to the lover of Nature--and who has the courage to avow himself
aught else?--the sea-shore can never be monotonous. The swirl and sweep
of ever-shifting waters,--the flying mist of foam breaking away into a
gray and ghostly distance down the beach,--the eternal drone of ocean,
mingling itself with one's talk by day and with the light dance-music in
the parlors by night,--all these are active sources of a passive
pleasure. And to lie at length upon the tawny sand, watching, through
half-closed eyes, the heaving waves, that mount against a dark-blue sky
wherein great silvery masses of cloud float idly on, whiter than the
sunlit sails that fade and grow and fade along the horizon, while some
fair damsel sits close by, reading ancient ballads of a simple metre, or
older legends of love and romance,--tell me, my eater of the fashionable
lotos, is not this a diversion well worth your having?

There is an air of easy sociality among the guests at the Brant House, a
disposition on the part of all to contribute to the general amusement,
that makes a summer sojourn on the beach far more agreeable than in
certain larger, more frequented watering-places, where one is always in
danger of discovering that the gentlemanly person with whom he has been
fraternizing is a faro-dealer, or that the lady who has half fascinated
him is Anonyma herself. Still, some consider the Brant rather slow, and
many good folk were a trifle surprised when Mr. Edwin Salisbury and Mr.
Charles Burnham arrived by the late stage from Wikahasset Station, with
trunks enough for two first-class belles, and a most unexceptionable
man-servant in gray livery, in charge of two beautiful setter-dogs.

These gentlemen seemed to have imagined that they were about visiting
some backwoods wilderness, some savage tract of country, "remote,
unfriended, melancholy, slow"; for they brought almost everything with
them that men of elegant leisure could require, as if the hotel were but
four walls and a roof, which they must furnish with their own chattels.
I am sure it took Thomas, the man-servant, a whole day to unpack the
awnings, the bootjacks, the game-bags, the cigar-boxes, the guns, the
camp-stools, the liquor-cases, the bathing-suits, and other
paraphernalia that these pleasure-seekers brought. It must be owned,
however, that their room, a large one in the Bachelor's Quarter, facing
the sea, wore a very comfortable, sportsmanlike look, when all was

Thus surrounded, the young men betook themselves to the deliberate
pursuit of idle pleasures. They arose at nine and went down the shore,
invariably returning at ten with one unfortunate snipe, which was
preserved on ice, with much ceremony, till wanted. At this rate, it took
them a week to shoot a breakfast; but to see them sally forth, splendid
in velveteen and corduroy, with top-boots and a complete harness of
green cord and patent-leather straps, you would have imagined that all
game-birds were about to become extinct in that region. Their dogs,
even, recognized this great-cry-and-little-wool condition of things, and
bounded off joyously at the start, but came home crestfallen, with an
air of canine humiliation that would have aroused Mr. Mayhew's tenderest

After breakfasting, usually in their room, the friends enjoyed a long
and contemplative smoke upon the wide piazza in front of their windows,
listlessly regarding the ever-varied marine view that lay before them in
flashing breadth and beauty. Their next labor was to array themselves in
wonderful morning-costumes of very shaggy English cloth, shiny flasks
and field-glasses about their shoulders, and loiter down the beach, to
the point and back, making much unnecessary effort over the walk,--a
brief mile,--which they spoke of with importance, as their
"constitutional." This killed time till bathing-hour, and then came
another smoke on the piazza, and another toilet, for dinner. After
dinner, a siesta: in the room, when the weather was fresh; when
otherwise, in hammocks, hung from the rafters of the piazza. When they
had been domiciled a few days, they found it expedient to send home for
what they were pleased to term their "crabs" and "traps," and excited
the envy of less fortunate guests by driving up and down the beach at a
racing gait to dissipate the languor of the after-dinner sleep.

This was their regular routine for the day,--varied, occasionally, when
the tide served, by a fishing-trip down the narrow bay inside the point.
For such emergencies, they provided themselves with a sail-boat and
skipper, hired for the whole season, and arrayed themselves in a highly
nautical rig. The results were, large quantities of sardines and pale
sherry consumed by the young men, and a reasonable number of sea-bass
and black-fish caught by their skipper.

There were no regular "hops" at the Brant House, but dancing in a quiet
way every evening, to a flute, violin, and violoncello, played by some
of the waiters. For a time, Burnham and Salisbury did not mingle much in
these festivities, but loitered about the halls and piazzas, very
elegantly dressed and barbered, (Thomas was an unrivalled _coiffeur_,)
and apparently somewhat _ennuyé_.

That two well-made, full-grown, intelligent, and healthy young men
should lead such a life as this for an entire summer might surprise one
of a more active temperament. The aimlessness and vacancy of an
existence devoted to no earthly purpose save one's own comfort must soon
weary any man who knows what is the meaning of real, earnest life,--life
with a battle to be fought and a victory to be won. But these elegant
young gentlemen comprehended nothing of all that: they had been born
with golden spoons in their mouths, and educated only to swallow the
delicately insipid lotos-honey that flows inexhaustibly from such
shining spoons. Clothes, complexions, polish of manner, and the
avoidance of any sort of shock, were the simple objects of their

I do not know that I have any serious quarrel with such fellows, after
all. They have some strong virtues. They are always clean; and your
rough diamond, though manly and courageous as Coeur-de-Lion, is not
apt to be scrupulously nice in his habits. Affability is another virtue.
The Salisbury and Burnham kind of man bears malice toward no one, and is
disagreeable only when assailed by some hammer-and-tongs utilitarian.
All he asks is to be permitted to idle away his pleasant life
unmolested. Lastly, he is extremely ornamental. We all like to see
pretty things; and I am sure that Charley Burnham, in his fresh white
duck suit, with his fine, thorough-bred face--gentle as a girl's--shaded
by a snowy Panama, his blonde moustache carefully pointed, his golden
hair clustering in the most picturesque possible waves, his little red
neck-ribbon--the only bit of color in his dress--tied in a studiously
careless knot, and his pure, untainted gloves of pearl-gray or lavender,
was, if I may be allowed the expression, just as pretty as a picture.
And Ned Salisbury was not less "a joy forever," according to the dictum
of the late Mr. Keats. He was darker than Burnham, with very black hair,
and a moustache worn in the manner the French call _triste_, which
became him, and increased the air of pensive melancholy that
distinguished his dark eyes, thoughtful attitudes, and slender figure.
Not that he was in the least degree pensive or melancholy, or that he
had cause to be; quite the contrary; but it was his style, and he did it

These two butterflies sat, one afternoon, upon the piazza, smoking very
large cigars, lost, apparently, in profoundest meditation. Burnham, with
his graceful head resting upon one delicate hand, his clear blue eyes
full of a pleasant light, and his face warmed by a calm unconscious
smile, might have been revolving some splendid scheme of universal
philanthropy. The only utterance, however, forced from him by the
sublime thoughts that permeated his soul, was the emission of a white
rolling volume of fragrant smoke, accompanied by two words:

"Doocèd hot!"

Salisbury did not reply. He sat, leaning back, with his fingers
interlaced behind his head, and his shadowy eyes downcast, as in sad
remembrance of some long-lost love. So might a poet have looked, while
steeped in mournfully rapturous day-dreams of remembered passion and
severance. So might Tennyson's hero have mused, when he sang,--

    "Oh, that 'twere possible,
      After long grief and pain,
    To find the arms of my true love
      Round me once again!"

But the poetic lips opened not to such numbers. Salisbury gazed, long
and earnestly, and finally gave vent to his emotions, indicating, with
the amber tip of his cigar-tube, the setter that slept in the sunshine
at his feet.

"Shocking place, this, for dogs!"--I regret to say he pronounced it
"dawgs."--"Why, Carlo is as fat--as fat as--as a"----

His mind was unequal to a simile, even, and he terminated the sentence
in a murmur.

More silence; more smoke; more profound meditation. Directly, Charley
Burnham looked around with some show of vitality.

"There comes the stage," said he.

The driver's bugle rang merrily among the drifted sand-hills that lay
warm and glowing in the orange light of the setting sun. The young men
leaned forward over the piazza-rail, and scrutinized the occupants of
the vehicle, as it appeared.

"Old gentleman and lady, aw, and two children," said Ned Salisbury; "I
hoped there would be some nice girls."

This, in a voice of ineffable tenderness and poetry, but with that odd,
tired little drawl, so epidemic in some of our universities.

"Look there, by Jove!" cried Charley, with a real interest at last; "now
that's what I call the regular thing!"

The "regular thing" was a low, four-wheeled pony-chaise of basket-work,
drawn by two jolly little fat ponies, black and shiny as vulcanite,
which jogged rapidly in, just far enough behind the stage to avoid its

This vehicle was driven by a young lady of decided beauty, with a spice
of Amazonian spirit. She was rather slender and very straight, with a
jaunty little hat and feather perched coquettishly above her dark brown
hair, which was arranged in one heavy mass and confined in a silken net.
Her complexion was clear, without brilliancy; her eyes blue as the ocean
horizon, and spanned by sharp, characteristic brows; her mouth small and
decisive; and her whole cast of features indicative of quick talent and

Upon the seat beside her sat another damsel, leaning indolently back in
the corner of the carriage. This one was a little fairer than the first,
having one of those beautiful English complexions of mingled rose and
snow, and a dash of gold-dust in her hair, where the sun touched it. Her
eyes, however, were dark hazel, and full of fire, shaded and
intensified by their long, sweeping lashes. Her mouth was a rosebud, and
her chin and throat faultless in the delicious curve of their lines. In
a word, she was somewhat of the Venus-di-Milo type: her companion was
more of a Diana. Both were neatly habited in plain travelling-dresses
and cloaks of black and white plaid, and both seemed utterly unconscious
of the battery of eyes and eye-glasses that enfiladed them from the
whole length of the piazza, as they passed.

"Who are they?" asked Salisbury; "I don't know them."

"Nor I," said Burnham; "but they look like people to know. They must be

Half an hour later, the hotel-office was besieged by a score of young
men, all anxious for a peep at the last names upon the register. It is
needless to say that our friends were not in the crowd. Ned Salisbury
was no more the man to exhibit curiosity than Charley Burnham was the
man to join in a scramble for anything under the sun. They had educated
their emotions clear down, out of sight, and piled upon them a mountain
of well-bred inertia.

But, somehow or other, these fellows who take no trouble are always the
first to gain the end. A special Providence seems to aid the poor,
helpless creatures. So, while the crowd still pressed at the
office-desk, Jerry Swayne, the head clerk, happened to pass directly by
the piazza where the inert ones sat, and, raising a comical eye, saluted

"Heavy arrivals to-night. See the turn-out?"

"Y-e-s," murmured Ned.

"Old Chapman and family. His daughter drove the pony-phaëton, with her
friend, a Miss Thurston. Regular nobby ones. Chapman's the
steamship-man, you know. Worth thousands of millions! I'd like to be
connected with his family--by marriage, say!"--and Jerry went off,
rubbing his cropped head, and smiling all over, as was his wont.

"I know who they are now," said Charley. "Met a cousin of theirs, Joe
Faulkner, abroad, two years ago. Doocèd fine fellow. Army."

The manly art of wagoning is not pursued very vigorously at Brant Beach.
The roads are too heavy back from the water, and the drive is confined
to a narrow strip of wet sand along the shore; so carriages are few, and
the pony-chaise became a distinguished element at once. Salisbury and
Burnham whirled past it in their light trotting-wagons at a furious
pace, and looked hard at the two young ladies in passing, but without
eliciting even the smallest glance from them in return.

"Confounded _distingué_-looking girls, and all that," owned Ned; "but,
aw, fearfully unconscious of a fellow!"

This condition of matters continued until the young men were actually
driven to acknowledge to each other that they should not mind knowing
the occupants of the pony-carriage. It was a great concession, and was
rewarded duly. A bright, handsome boy of seventeen, Miss Thurston's
brother, came to pass a few days at the seaside, and fraternized with
everybody, but was especially delighted with Ned Salisbury, who took him
out sailing and shooting, and, I am afraid, gave him cigars stealthily,
when out of range of Miss Thurston's fine eyes. The result was, that the
first time the lad walked on the beach with the two girls, and met the
young men, introductions of an enthusiastic nature were instantly sprung
upon them. An attempt at conversation followed.

"How do you like Brant Beach?" asked Ned.

"Oh, it is a pretty place," said Miss Chapman, "but not lively enough."

"Well, Burnham and I find it pleasant; aw, we have lots of fun."

"Indeed! Why, what do you do?"

"Oh, I don't know. Everything."

"Is the shooting good? I saw you with your guns, yesterday."

"Well, there isn't a great deal of game. There is some fishing, but we
haven't caught much."

"How do you kill time, then?"

Salisbury looked puzzled.

"Aw--it is a first-rate air, you know. The table is good, and you can
sleep like a top. And then, you see, I like to smoke around, and do
nothing, on the sea-shore. It is real jolly to lie on the sand, aw, with
all sorts of little bugs running over you, and listen to the water
swashing about!"

"Let's try it!" cried vivacious Miss Chapman; and down she sat on the
sand. The others followed her example, and in five minutes they were
picking up pretty pebbles and chatting away as sociably as could be. The
rumble of the warning gong surprised them.

At dinner, Burnham and Salisbury took seats opposite the ladies, and
were honored with an introduction to papa and mamma, a very dignified,
heavy, rosy, old-school couple, who ate a good deal, and said very
little. That evening, when flute and viol wooed the lotos-eaters to
agitate the light fantastic toe, these young gentlemen found themselves
in dancing humor, and revolved themselves into a grievous condition of
glow and wilt, in various mystic and intoxicating measures with their
new-made friends.

On retiring, somewhat after midnight, Miss Thurston paused, while "doing
her hair," and addressed Miss Chapman.

"Did you observe, Hattie, how very handsome those gentlemen are? Mr.
Burnham looks like a prince of the _sang azur_, and Mr. Salisbury like
his poet-laureate."

"Yes, dear," responded Hattie; "I have been considering those flowers of
the field and lilies of the valley."

"Ned," said Charley, at about the same time, "we won't find anything
nicer here, this season, I think."

"They're pretty well worth while," replied Ned; "and I'm rather pleased
with them."

"Which do you like best?"

"Oh, bother! I haven't thought of _that_ yet."

The next day the young men delayed their "constitutional" until the
ladies were ready to walk, and the four strolled off together, mamma and
the children following in the pony-chaise. At the rocks on the end of
the point, Ned got his feet very wet, fishing up specimens of sea-weed
for the damsels; and Charley exerted himself superhumanly in assisting
them to a ledge which they considered favorable for sketching-purposes.

In the afternoon a sail was arranged, and they took dinner on board the
boat, with any amount of hilarity and a good deal of discomfort. In the
evening, more dancing, and vigorous attentions to both the young ladies,
but without a shadow of partiality being shown by either of the four.

This was very nearly the history of many days. It does not take long to
get acquainted with people who are willing, especially at a
watering-place; and in the course of a few weeks, these young folks
were, to all intents and purposes, old friends,--calling each other by
their given names, and conducting themselves with an easy familiarity
quite charming to behold. Their amusements were mostly in common now.
The light wagons were made to hold two each, instead of one, and the
matinal snipe escaped death, and was happy over his early worm.

One day, however, Laura Thurston had a headache, and Hattie Chapman
stayed at home to take care of her; so Burnham and Salisbury had to
amuse themselves alone. They took their boat, and idled about the water,
inside the point, dozing under an awning, smoking, gaping, and wishing
that headaches were out of fashion, while the taciturn and tarry skipper
instructed the dignified and urbane Thomas in the science of trolling
for blue-fish.

At length Ned tossed his cigar-end overboard, and braced himself for an

"I say, Charley," said he, "this sort of thing can't go on forever, you
know. I've been thinking, lately."

"Phenomenon!" replied Charley; "and what have you been thinking about?"

"Those girls. We've got to choose."

"Why? Isn't it well enough as it is?"

"Yes,--so far. But I think, aw, that we don't quite do them justice.
They're _grands partis_, you see. I hate to see clever girls wasting
themselves on society, waiting and waiting,--and we fellows swimming
about just like fish round a hook that isn't baited properly."

Charley raised himself upon his elbow.

"You don't mean to tell me, Ned, that you have matrimonial intentions?"

"Oh, no! Still, why not? We've all got to come to it, some day, I

"Not yet, though. It is a sacrifice we can escape for some years yet."

"Yes,--of course,--some years; but we may begin to look about us a bit.
I'm, aw, I'm six-and-twenty, you know."

"And I'm very near that. I suppose a fellow can't put off the yoke too
long. After thirty chances aren't so good. I don't know, by Jove! but
what we ought to begin thinking of it."

"But it _is_ a sacrifice. Society must lose a fellow, though, one time
or another. And I don't believe we will ever do better than we can now."

"Hardly, I suspect."

"And we're keeping other fellows away, maybe. It is a shame!"

Thomas ran his line in rapidly, with nothing on the hook.

"Capt'n Hull," he said, gravely, "I had the biggest kind of a fish then,
I'm sure; but d'rectly I went to pull him in, Sir, he took and let go."

"Yaäs," muttered the taciturn skipper, "the biggest fish allers falls
back inter the warter."

"I've been thinking a little about this matter, too," said Charley,
after a pause, "and I had about concluded we ought to pair off. But I'll
be confounded, if I know which I like best! They're both nice girls."

"There isn't much choice," Ned replied. "If they were as different, now,
as you and me, I'd take the blonde, of course; aw, and you'd take the
brunette. But Hattie Chapman's eyes are blue, and her hair isn't black,
you know; so you can't call her dark, exactly."

"No more than Laura is exactly light. Her hair is brown, more than
golden, and her eyes are hazel. Hasn't she a lovely complexion, though?
By Jove!"

"Better than Hattie's. Yet I don't know but Hattie's features are a
little the best."

"They are. Now, honest, Ned, which do you prefer? Say either; I'll take
the one you don't want. I haven't any choice."

"Neither have I."

"How will we settle?"

"Aw--throw for it?"

"Yes. Isn't there a backgammon board forward, in that locker, Thomas?"

The board was found, and the dice produced.

"The highest takes which?"

"Say, Laura Thurston."

"Very good; throw."

"You first."

"No. Go on."

Charley threw, with about the same amount of excitement he might have
exhibited in a turkey-raffle.

"Five-three," said he. "Now for your luck."

"Six-four! Laura's mine. Satisfied?"

"Perfectly,--if you are. If not, I don't mind exchanging."

"Oh, no. I'm satisfied."

Both reclined upon the deck once more, with a sigh of relief, and a long
silence followed.

"I say," began Charley, after a time, "it is a comfort to have these
little matters arranged without any trouble, eh?"


"Do you know, I think I'll marry mine?"

"I will, if you will."

"Done! it is a bargain."

This "little matter" being arranged, a change gradually took place in
the relations of the four. Ned Salisbury began to invite Laura Thurston
out driving and in bathing somewhat oftener than before, and Hattie
Chapman somewhat less often; while Charley Burnham followed suit with
the last-named young lady. As the line of demarcation became fixed, the
damsels recognized it, and accepted with gracious readiness the
cavaliers that Fate, through the agency of a chance-falling pair of
dice, had allotted to them.

The other guests of the house remarked the new position of affairs, and
passed whispers about, to the effect that the girls had at last
succeeded in getting their fish on hooks instead of in a net. No suitors
could have been more devoted than our friends. It seemed as if each now
bestowed upon the chosen one all the attentions he had hitherto given to
both; and whether they went boating, sketching, or strolling upon the
sands, they were the very picture of a _partie carrée_ of lovers.

Naturally enough, as the young men became more in earnest, with the
reticence common to my sex, they spoke less freely and frequently on the
subject. Once, however, after an unusually pleasant afternoon, Salisbury
ventured a few words.

"I say, we're a couple of lucky dogs! Who'd have thought, now, aw, that
our summer was going to turn out so well? I'm sure I didn't. How do you
get along, Charley, boy?"

"Deliciously. Smooth sailing enough. Wasn't it a good idea, though, to
pair off? I'm just as happy as a bee in clover. You seem to prosper,
too, heh?"

"Couldn't ask anything different. Nothing but devotion, and all that.
I'm delighted. I say, when are you going to pop?"

"Oh, I don't know. It is only a matter of form. Sooner the better, I
suppose, and have it over."

"I was thinking of next week. What do you say to a quiet picnic down on
the rocks, and a walk afterward? We can separate, you know, and do the
thing up systematically."

"All right. I will, if you will."

"That's another bargain. I notice there isn't much doubt about the
result, though."


A close observer might have seen that the gentlemen increased their
attentions a little from that time. The objects of their devotion
perceived it, and smiled more and more graciously upon them.

The day set for the picnic arrived duly, and was radiant. It pains me to
confess that my heroes were a trifle nervous. Their apparel was more
gorgeous and wonderful than ever, and Thomas, who was anxious to be off,
courting Miss Chapman's lady's-maid, found his masters dreadfully
exacting in the matter of hair-dressing. At length, however, the toilet
was over, and "Solomon in all his glory" would have been vastly
astonished at finding himself "arrayed as one of these."

The boat lay at the pier, receiving large quantities of supplies for the
trip, stowed by Thomas, under the supervision of the grim and tarry
skipper. When all was ready, the young men gingerly escorted their fair
companions aboard, the lines were cast off, and the boat glided gently
down the bay, leaving Thomas free to fly to the smart presence of Susan
Jane, and to draw glowing pictures for her of a neat little porter-house
in the city, wherein they should hold supreme sway, be happy with each
other, and let rooms up-stairs for single gentlemen.

The brisk land-breeze, the swelling sail, the fluttering of the gay
little flag at the gaff, the musical rippling of water under the
counter, and the spirited motion of the boat, combined with the bland
air and pleasant sunshine to inspire the party with much vivacity. They
had not been many minutes afloat before the guitar-case was opened, and
the girls' voices--Laura's soprano and Hattie's contralto--rang
melodiously over the waves, mingled with feeble attempts at bass
accompaniment from their gorgeous guardians.

Before these vocal exercises wearied, the skipper hauled down his jib,
let go his anchor, and brought the craft to, just off the rocks; and
bringing the yawl alongside, unceremoniously plumped the girls down into
it, without giving their cavaliers a chance for the least display of
agile courtliness. Rowing ashore, this same tarry person left them
huddled upon the beach with their hopes, their hampers, their emotions,
and their baskets, and returned to the vessel to do a little private
fishing on his own account till wanted.

The maidens gave vent to their high spirits by chasing each other among
the rocks, gathering shells and sea-weed for the construction of those
ephemeral little ornaments--fair, but frail--in which the sex delights,
singing, laughing, quoting poetry, attitudinizing upon the peaks and
ledges of the fine old boulders,--mossy and weedy and green with the
wash of a thousand storms, worn into strange shapes, and stained with
the multitudinous dyes of mineral oxidization,--and, in brief, behaved
themselves with all the charming _abandon_ that so well becomes young
girls, set free, by the _entourage_ of a holiday ramble, from the
buckram and clear-starch of social etiquette.

Meanwhile Ned and Charley smoked the pensive cigar of preparation in a
sheltered corner, and gazed out seaward, dreaming and seeing nothing.

Erelong the breeze and the romp gave the young ladies not only a
splendid color and sparkling eyes, but excellent appetites also. The
baskets and hampers were speedily unpacked, the table-cloth laid on a
broad, flat stone, so used by generations of Brant-House picnickers, and
the party fell to. Laura's beautiful hair, a little disordered, swept
her blooming cheek, and cast a pearly shadow upon her neck. Her bright
eyes glanced archly out from under her half-raised veil, and there was
something inexpressibly _naïve_ in the freedom with which she ate,
taking a bird's wing in her little fingers, and boldly attacking it with
teeth as white and even as can be imagined. Notwithstanding all the
mawkish nonsense that has been put forth by sentimentalists concerning
feminine eating, I hold that it is one of the nicest things in the world
to see a pretty woman enjoying the creature comforts; and Byron himself,
had he been one of this picnic party, would have been unable to resist
the admiration that filled the souls of Burnham and Salisbury. Hattie
Chapman stormed a fortress of boned turkey with a gusto equal to that of
Laura, and made highly successful raids upon certain outlying salads and
jellies. The young men were not in a very ravenous condition; they were,
as I have said, a little nervous, and bent their energies principally to
admiring the ladies and coquetting with pickled oysters.

When the repast was over, with much accompanying chat and laughter, Ned
glanced significantly at Charley, and proposed to Laura that they should
walk up the beach to a place where, he said, there were "some pretty
rocks and things, you know." She consented, and they marched off. Hattie
also arose, and took her parasol, as if to follow, but Charley remained
seated, tracing mysterious diagrams upon the table-cloth with his fork,
and looking sublimely unconscious.

"Sha'n't we walk, too?" Hattie asked.

"Oh, why, the fact is," said he, hesitantly, "I--I sprained my ankle,
getting out of that confounded boat; so I don't feel much like exercise
just now."

The young girl's face expressed concern.

"That is too bad! Why didn't you tell us of it before? Is it painful?
I'm so sorry!"

"N-no,--it doesn't hurt much. I dare say it will be all right in a
minute. And then--I'd just as soon stay here--with you--as to walk

This, very tenderly, with a little sigh.

Hattie sat down again, and began to talk to this factitious cripple, in
the pleasant, purring way some damsels have, about the joys of the
sea-shore,--the happy summer that was, alas! drawing to a close,--her
own enjoyment of life,--and kindred topics,--till Charley saw an
excellent opportunity to interrupt with some aspirations of his own,
which, he averred, must be realized before his life could be considered
a satisfactory success.

If you have ever been placed in analogous circumstances, you know, of
course, just about the sort of thing that was being said by the two
gentlemen at nearly the same moment: Ned, loitering slowly along the
sands with Laura on his arm,--and Charley, stretched in indolent
picturesqueness upon the rocks, with Hattie sitting beside him. If you
do not know from experience, ask any candid friend who has been through
the form and ceremony of an orthodox proposal.

When the pedestrians returned, the two couples looked very hard at each
other. All were smiling and complacent, but devoid of any strange or
unusual expression. Indeed, the countenance is subject to such severe
education, in good society, that one almost always looks smiling and
complacent. Demonstration is not fashionable, and a man must preserve
the same demeanor over the loss of a wife or a glove-button, over the
gift of a heart's whole devotion or a bundle of cigars. Under all these
visitations, the complacent smile is in favor, as the neatest, most
serviceable, and convenient form of non-committalism.

The sun was approaching the blue range of misty hills that bounded the
main-land swamps, by this time; so the skipper was signalled, the
dinner-paraphernalia gathered up, and the party were soon _en route_ for
home once more. When the young ladies were safely in, Ned and Charley
met in their room, and each caught the other looking at him, stealthily.
Both smiled.

"Did I give you time, Charley?" asked Ned; "we came back rather soon."

"Oh, yes,--plenty of time."

"Did you--aw, did you pop?"

"Y-yes. Did you?"


"And you were"--

"Rejected, by Jove!"

"So was I!"

The day following this disastrous picnic, the baggage of Mr. Edwin
Salisbury and Mr. Charles Burnham was sent to the depot at Wikahasset
Station, and they presented themselves at the hotel-office with a
request for their bill. As Jerry Swayne deposited their key upon its
hook, he drew forth a small tri-cornered billet from the pigeon-hole
beneath, and presented it.

"Left for you, this morning, gentlemen."

It was directed to both, and Charley read it over Ned's shoulder. It ran

     "DEAR BOYS,--The next time you divert yourselves by throwing
     dice for two young ladies, we pray you not to do so in the
     presence of a valet who is upon terms of intimacy with the
     maid of one of them.

     "With many sincere thanks for the amusement you have given
     us,--often when you least suspected it,--we bid you a
     lasting adieu, and remain, with the best wishes,

     "_Brant House,_       {HATTIE CHAPMAN,

     "_Wednesday._         {LAURA THURSTON."

"It is all the fault of that, aw, that confounded Thomas!" said Ned.

So Thomas was discharged.



    Straggling through the winter sky,
    What is this that begs the eye?
    More than pauper by its state,
    Less than prince its bashful gait.

    'Tis the soul in sun's disguise,
    Child of Reason's enterprise;
    Through earth's weather seeks its kin,
    Begs the sun-like take it in.

    Thus from purpling heaven bid,
    Open flies the double lid;
    To the palace-steps repair
    Souls awakened, foul or fair;

    Heavy with a maudlin sleep,
    Blithesome from a vision deep,
    Flying westward with the night,
    Eastward to renew their plight.

    At this menace of the dawn
    Dreams the helm of Thought put on;
    All my heart its fresco high
    Paints against the morning sky.


    Is the firmament of brass
    'Gainst my thoughts that seek to pass?
    Does the granite vault my brain,
    That the soul cannot attain?

    Planets to my window roll;
    From the eye which is their goal
    Million miles are built of space,
    Web that glittering we trace.

    Like a lens the winter sky
    Hurls its planets through the eye;
    But to thoughts a buckler dense,
    Baffling love and reverence.

    Shivered lie the darts I throw,
    Vassal stars can farther go;
    Time and Space are drops of dew,
    When 'tis Light would travel through.

    Shining finds its own expanse,
    Rolling suns make room to dance:
    Earth unfasten from my brain,
    Rid me of my ball and chain.

    Through the window, through the world,
    My untethered soul is hurled,
    Finds an orbit nothing bars,
    Sings its note with morning-stars.


    Dearth of God, of Love a dearth,
    Rolls my thought, a cloudy Earth,
    Through the sullen noon that fears,
    Yet expects the morning-spears.

    Ere they glisten, ere they threat,
    All my heart lies cold and wet,
    Prisoned fog between the hills,
    Cheerless pulse of midnight rills.

    'Tis the darkness that has crept
    Where the purple life is kept;
    All the veins to thought supply
    Murk from out the jealous sky.

    Blood that makes the face a dawn,
    Mother's breast to life, is gone:
    Strikes my waste no hoof that's bright
    Into sparkles of delight.

    Heavy freight of care and pain,
    Want of friends, and God's disdain,
    Loveless home, and meagre fate
    In the midnight well may wait.

    Well may such an Earth forlorn
    Shudder on the brink of morn;
    But the great breath will not stay,
    Strands me on the reefs of day.


    Bellying Earth no anchor throws
    Stouter than the breath that blows,
    Night and Sorrow cling in vain,
    It must toss in day again.

    Hospital and battle-field,
    Myriad spots where fate is sealed,
    Brinks that crumble, sins that urge,
    Plunge again into that surge.

    How the purple breakers throw
    Round me their insatiate glow,
    Sweep my deck of hideous freight,
    Pour through fastening and grate!

    I awake from night's alarms
    In the bliss of living arms;
    Melted goes my leaden dream
    Down the warmth of this Gulf-Stream.

    'Tis the trade-wind of my soul,
    Wafting life to make it whole:
    All the night it joyward blew,
    Though I neither hoped nor knew.

    Fresher blow me out to sea,
    Morning-tost I fain would be,
    Sweep my deck and pile it high
    With the ingots of the sky.

    Give me freight to carry round
    To a place with night that's drowned,
    That the Gulf-Stream of the day
    Glitter then my Milky-Way.




Snowing: the checkered fields below are traceable now only by the brown
lines of fences and the sparse trees that mark the hedge-rows. The white
of the houses and of the spires of the town is seen dimly through the
snow, and seems to waver and shift position like the sails and spars of
ships seen through fog. And straightway upon this image of ships and
swaying spars I go sailing back to the farm-land of the past, and
sharpen my pen for another day's work among _The Old Farm-Writers_.

I suspect Virgil was never a serious farmer. I am confident he never had
one of those callosities upon the inner side of his right thumb which
come of the lower thole of a scythe-snath, after a week's mowing. But he
had that quick poet's eye which sees at a glance what other men see only
in a day. Not a shrub or a tree, not a bit of fallow ground or of
nodding lentils escaped his observation; not a bird or a bee; not even
the mosquitoes, which to this day hover pestiferously about the
low-lying sedge-lands of Mantua. His first pastoral, little known now,
and rarely printed with his works, is inscribed _Culex_.[13]

Young Virgil appears to have been of a delicate constitution, and
probably left the fever-bearing regions of the Mincio for the higher
plain of Milan for sanitary reasons, as much as the other,--of studying,
as men of his parts did study, Greek and philosophy. There is a story,
indeed, that he studied and practised farriery, as his father had done
before him; and Jethro Tull, in his crude onslaught upon what he calls
the Virgilian husbandry, (chap. ix.,) intimates that a farrier could be
no way fit to lay down the rules for good farm-practice. But this story
of his having been a horse-doctor rests, so far as I can discover, only
on this flimsy tradition,--that the young poet, on his way to the South
of Italy, after leaving Milan and Mantua, fell in at Rome with the
master-of-horse to Octavianus, and gave such shrewd hints to that
official in regard to the points and failings of certain favorite horses
of the Roman Triumvir (for Octavianus had not as yet assumed the purple)
as to gain a presentation to the future Augustus, and rich marks of his

It is certain that the poet journeyed to the South, and that
thenceforward the glorious sunshine of Baiæ and of the Neapolitan shores
gave a color to his poems and to his life.

Yet his agricultural method was derived almost wholly from his
observation in the North of Italy. He never forgot the marshy borders of
the Mincio nor the shores of beautiful Benacus (Lago di Garda); who
knows but he may some time have driven his flocks afield on the very
battle-ground of Solferino?

But the ruralities of Virgil take a special interest from the period in
which they were written. He followed upon the heel of long and
desolating intestine wars,--a singing-bird in the wake of vultures. No
wonder the voice seemed strangely sweet.

The eloquence of the Senate had long ago lost its traditionary power;
the sword was every way keener. Who should listen to the best of
speakers, when Pompey was in the forum, covered with the spoils of the
East? Who should care for Cicero's periods, when the magnificent
conqueror of Gaul is skirting the Umbrian Marshes, making straight for
the Rubicon and Rome?

Then came Pharsalia, with its bloody trail, from which Cæsar rises only
to be slaughtered in the Senate-Chamber. Next comes the long duel
between the Triumvirate and the palsied representatives of the
Republican party. Philippi closes that interlude; and there is a new
duel between Octavianus and Antony (Lepidus counting for nothing). The
gallant lover of Cleopatra is pitted against a gallant general who is a
nephew to the first Cæsar. The fight comes off at Actium, and the lover
is the loser; the pretty Egyptian Jezebel, with her golden-prowed
galleys, goes sweeping down, under a full press of wind, to swell the
squadron of the conqueror. The winds will always carry the Jezebels to
the conquering side.

Such, then, was the condition of Italy,--its families divided, its
grain-fields trampled down by the Volscian cavalry, its houses red with
fresh blood-stains, its homes beyond the Po parcelled out to lawless
returning soldiers, its public security poised on the point of the sword
of Augustus,--when Virgil's Bucolics appear: a pastoral thanksgiving for
the patrimony that had been spared him, through court-favor.

There is a show of gross adulation that makes one blush for his manhood;
but withal he is a most lithesome poet, whose words are like honeyed
blossoms, and whose graceful measure is like a hedge of bloom that sways
with spring breezes, and spends perfume as it sways.

The Georgics were said to have been written at the suggestion of
Mæcenas, a cultivated friend of Augustus, who, like many another friend
of the party in power, had made a great fortune out of the wars that
desolated Italy. He made good use of it, however, in patronizing Virgil,
and in bestowing a snug farm in the Sabine country upon Horace; where I
had the pleasure of drinking goats' milk--"_dulci digne mero_"--in the
spring of 184-.

There can be no doubt but Virgil had been an attentive reader of
Xenophon, of Hesiod, of Cato, and of Varro; otherwise he certainly would
have been unworthy of the task he had undertaken,--that of laying down
the rules of good husbandry in a way that should insure the reading of
them, and kindle a love for the pursuit.

I suspect that Virgil was not only a reader of all that had been written
on the subject, but that he was also an insistant questioner of every
sagacious landholder and every sturdy farmer that he fell in with,
whether on the Campanian hills or at the house of Mæcenas. How else does
a man accomplish himself for a didactic work relating to matters of
fact? I suspect, moreover, that Virgil, during those half-dozen years in
which he was engaged upon this task, lost no opportunity of inspecting
every bee-hive that fell in his way, of measuring the points and graces
of every pretty heifer he saw in the fields, and of noting with the eye
of an artist the color of every furrow that glided from the plough. It
is inconceivable that a man of his intellectual address should have
given so much of literary toil to a work that was not in every essential
fully up to the best practice of the day. Five years, it is said, were
given to the accomplishment of this short poem. What say our poetasters
to this? Fifteen hundred days, we will suppose, to less than twice as
many lines; blocking out four or five for his morning's task, and all
the evening--for he was a late worker--licking them into shape, as a
bear licks her cubs.

But _cui bono_? what good is in it all? Simply as a work of art, it will
be cherished through all time,--an earlier Titian, whose color can never
fade. It was, besides, a most beguiling peace-note, following upon the
rude blasts of war. It gave a new charm to forsaken homesteads. Under
the Virgilian leadership, Monte Gennaro and the heights of Tusculum
beckon the Romans to the fields; the meadows by reedy Thrasymenus are
made golden with doubled crops. The Tarentine sheep multiply around
Benacus, and crop close those dark bits of herbage which have been fed
by the blood of Roman citizens.

Thus much for the magic of the verse; but there is also sound farm-talk
in Virgil. I am aware that Seneca, living a few years after him,
invidiously objects that he was more careful of his language than of his
doctrine, and that Columella quotes him charily,--that the collector of
the "Geoponics" ignores him, and that Tull gives him clumsy raillery;
but I have yet to see in what respect his system falls short of
Columella, or how it differs materially, except in fulness, from the
teachings of Crescenzi, who wrote a thousand years and more later. There
is little in the poem, save its superstitions, from which a modern
farmer can dissent.[14]

We are hardly launched upon the first Georgic before we find a pretty
suggestion of the theory of rotation,--

    "Sic quoque mutatis requiescunt foetibus arva."

Rolling and irrigation both glide into the verse a few lines later. He
insists upon the choice of the best seed, advises to keep the drains
clear, even upon holy-days, (268,) and urges, in common with a great
many shrewd New-England farmers, to cut light meadows while the dew is
on, (288-9,) even though it involve night-work. Some, too, he says,
whittle their torches by fire-light, of a winter's night; and the good
wife, meantime, lifting a song of cheer, plies the shuttle merrily. The
shuttle is certainly an archaism, whatever the good wife may be.

His theory of weather-signs, taken principally from Aratus, agrees in
many respects with the late Marshal Bugeaud's observations, upon which
the Marshal planted his faith so firmly that he is said to have ordered
all his campaigns in Africa in accordance with them.

In the opening of the second book, Virgil insists, very wisely, upon
proper adaptation of plantations of fruit-trees to different localities
and exposures,--a matter which is far too little considered by farmers
of our day. His views in regard to propagation, whether by cuttings,
layers, or seed, are in agreement with those of the best Scotch
nursery-men; and in the matter of grafting or inoculation, he errs (?)
only in declaring certain results possible, which even modern gardening
has not accomplished. Dryden shall help us to the pretty falsehood:--

    "The thin-leaved arbute hazel-grafts receives,
    And planes huge apples bear, that bore but leaves.
    Thus mastful beech the bristly chestnut bears,
    And the wild ash is white with blooming pears,
    And greedy swine from grafted elms are fed
    With falling acorns, that on oaks are bred."

It is curious how generally this belief in something like promiscuous
grafting was entertained by the old writers. Palladius repeats it with
great unction in his poem "De Insitione," two or three centuries
later;[15] and in the tenth book of the "Geoponics," a certain
Damogerontis (whoever he may have been) says, (cap. lxv.,) "Some rustic
writers allege that nut-trees and resinous trees ([Greek: ta rhêtinên
echonta]) cannot be successfully grafted; but," he continues, "this is a
mistake; I have myself grafted the pistache nut into the terebenthine."

Is it remotely possible that these old gentlemen understood the
physiology of plants better than we?

As I return to Virgil, and slip along the dulcet lines, I come upon this
cracking laconism, in which is compacted as much wholesome advice as a
loose farm-writer would spread over a page:--

                    "Laudato ingentia rura,
    Exiguum colito."[16]

The wisdom of the advice for these days of steam-engines, reapers, and
high wages, is more than questionable; but it is in perfect agreement
with the notions of a great many old-fashioned farmers who live nearer
to the heathen past than they imagine.

The cattle of Virgil are certainly no prize-animals. Any good committee
would vote them down incontinently:--

    ----"Cui turpe caput, cui plurima cervix,"

(iii. 52,) would not pass muster at any fair of the last century.

The horses are better; there is the dash of high venture in them; they
have snuffed battle; their limbs are suppled to a bounding gallop,--as
where in the Æneid,

    "Quadrupedante putrem sonitu quatit ungula campum."

The fourth book of the Georgics is full of the murmur of bees, showing
how the poet had listened, and had loved to listen. After describing
minutely how and where the homes of the honey-makers are to be placed,
he offers them this delicate attention:--

    "Then o'er the running stream or standing lake
    A passage for thy weary people make;
    With osier floats the standing water strew;
    Of massy stones make bridges, if it flow;
    That basking in the sun thy bees may lie,
    And, resting there, their flaggy pinions dry."


Who cannot see from this how tenderly the man had watched the buzzing
yellow-jackets, as they circled and stooped in broad noon about some
little pool in the rills that flow into the Lago di Garda? For
hereabout, of a surety, the poet once sauntered through the noontides,
while his flock cropped the "milk-giving cytisus," upon the hills.

And charming hills they are, as my own eyes can witness: nay, my little
note-book of travel shall itself tell the story. (The third shelf, upon
the right, my boy.)

No matter how many years ago,--I was going from Milan, (to which place I
had come by Piacenza and Lodi,) on my way to Verona by Brescia and
Peschiera. At Desenzano, or thereabout, the blue lake of Benaco first
appeared. A few of the higher mountains that bounded the view were
still capped with snow, though it was latter May. Through fragrant
locusts and mulberry-trees, and between irregular hedges, we dashed down
across the isthmus of Sermione, where the ruins of a Roman castle flout
the sky.

Hedges and orchards and fragrant locusts still hem the way, as we touch
the lake, and, rounding its southern skirt, come in sight of the grim
bastions of Peschiera. A Hungarian sentinel, lithe and tall, I see
pacing the rampart, against the blue of the sky. Women and girls come
trooping into the narrow road,--for it is near sunset,--with their
aprons full of mulberry-leaves. A bugle sounds somewhere within the
fortress, and the mellow music swims the water, and beats with melodious
echo--boom on boom--against Sermione and the farther shores.

The sun just dipping behind the western mountains, with a disk all
golden, pours down a flood of yellow light, tinting the
mulberry-orchards, the edges of the Roman castle, the edges of the waves
where the lake stirs, and spreading out in a bay of gold where the lake
lies still.

Virgil never saw a prettier sight there; and I was thinking of him, and
of my old master beating off spondees and dactyls with a red ruler on
his threadbare knee, when the sun sunk utterly, and the purple shadows
dipped us all in twilight.

"_È arrivato, Signore!_" said the _vetturino_. True enough, I was at the
door of the inn of Peschiera, and snuffed the stew of an Italian supper.

Virgil closes the first book of the Georgics with a poetic forecast of
the time when ploughmen should touch upon rusted war-weapons in their
work, and turn out helmets empty, and bones of dead soldiers,--as indeed
they might, and did. But how unlike a poem it will sound, when the
schools are opened on the Rappahannock again, and the boy
scans,--choking down his sobs,--

    "Aut gravibus rastris galeas pulsabit inanes,
    Grandiaque effossis mirabitur ossa sepulcris,"

and the master veils his eyes!

I fear that Virgil was harmed by the Georgican success, and became more
than ever an adulator of the ruling powers. I can fancy him at a palace
tea-drinking, where pretty court-lips give some witty turn to his "_Sic
Vos, non Vobis_," and pretty court-eyes glance tenderly at Master
Marius, who blushes, and asks some Sabina (not Poppæa) after Tibullus
and his Delia. But a great deal is to be forgiven to a man who can turn
compliments as Virgil turned them. What can be more exquisite than that
allusion to the dead boy Marcellus, in the Sixth Book of the Æneid? He
is reading it aloud before Augustus, at Rome. Mæcenas is there from his
tall house upon the Esquiline; possibly Horace has driven over from the
Sabine country,--for, alone of poets, he was jolly enough to listen to
the reading of a poem not his own. Above all, the calm-faced Octavia,
Cæsar's sister, and the rival of Cleopatra, is present. A sad match she
has made of it with Antony; and her boy Marcellus is just now
dead,--dying down at Baiæ, notwithstanding the care of that famous
doctor, Antonius Musa, first of hydropaths.

Virgil had read of the Sibyl,--of the entrance to Hades,--of the magic
metallic bough that made Charon submissive,--of the dog Cerberus, and
his sop,--of the Greeks who welcomed Æneas,--then of the father
Anchises, who told the son what brave fate should belong to him and
his,--warning him, meantime, with alliterative beauty, against the worst
of wars,--

    "Ne, pueri, ne tanta animis assuescite bella;
    Neu patriæ validas in viscera vertite vires,"--

too late, alas! There were those about Augustus who could sigh over

Virgil reads on: Anchises is pointing out to Æneas that old Marcellus
who fought Hannibal; and beside him, full of beauty, strides a young
hero about whom the attendants throng.

"And who is the young hero," demands Æneas, "over whose brow a dark fate
is brooding?"

(The motherless Octavia is listening with a yearning heart.)

And Anchises, the tears starting to his eyes, says,--

"Seek not, O son, to fathom the sorrows of thy kindred. The Fates, that
lend him, shall claim him; a jealous Heaven cannot spare such gifts to
Rome. Then, what outcry of manly grief shall shake the battlements of
the city! what a wealth of mourning shall Father Tiber see, as he sweeps
past his new-made grave! Never a Trojan who carried hopes so high, nor
ever the land of Romulus so gloried in a son."

(Octavia is listening.)

"Ah, piety! alas for the ancient faith! alas for the right hand so
stanch in battle! None, none could meet him, whether afoot or with
reeking charger he pressed the foe. Ah, unhappy youth! If by any means
thou canst break the harsh decrees of Fate, thou wilt be--Marcellus!"

It is Octavia's lost boy; and she is carried out fainting.

But Virgil receives a matter of ten thousand sesterces a line,--which,
allowing for difference in exchange and value of gold, may (or may not)
have been a matter of ten thousand dollars. With this bouncing bag of
sesterces, Virgil shall go upon the shelf for to-day.

       *       *       *       *       *

I must name Horace for the reason of his "_Procul beatus_," etc., if I
had no other; but the truth is, that, though he rarely wrote
intentionally of country-matters, yet there was in him that fulness of
rural taste which bubbled over--in grape-clusters, in images of rivers,
in snowy Soracte, in shade of plane-trees; nay, he could not so much as
touch an _amphora_ but the purple juices of the hill-side stained his
verse as they stained his lip. See, too, what a garden pungency there is
in his garlic ode (III. 5); and the opening to Torquatus (Ode VII. Lib.
4) is the limning of one who has followed the changes of the bursting
spring with his whole heart in his eyes:--

    Diffugere nives, redeunt jam gramina campis,"--

every school-boy knows it: but what every school-boy does not know, and
but few of the masters, is this charming, jingling rendering of it into
the Venetian dialect:--

    "La neve xè andàda,
      Su i prài torna i fieri
      De cento colori,
      E a dosso de i àlbori
      La fogia è tornada
      A farli vestir.

    "Che gusto e dilèto
      Che dà quèla tèra
      Cambiàda de cièra,
      E i fiumi die placidi
      Sbassài nel so' lèto
      Va zòzo in te 'l mar!"[17]

On my last wet-day, I spoke of the elder Pliny, and now the younger
Pliny shall tell us something of one or two of his country-places. Pliny
was a government-official, and was rich: whether these facts had any
bearing on each other I know no more than I should know if he had lived
in our times.

I know that he had a charming place down by the sea, near to Ostium. Two
roads led thither; "both of them," he says, "in some parts sandy, which
makes it heavy and tedious, if you travel in a coach; but easy enough
for those who ride. My villa" (he is writing to his friend Gallus,
Epist. XX. Lib. 2) "is large enough for all convenience, and not
expensive." He describes the portico as affording a capital retreat in
bad weather, not only for the reason that it is protected by windows,
but because there is an extraordinary projection of the roof. "From the
middle of this portico you pass into a charming inner court, and thence
into a large hall which extends towards the sea,--so near, indeed, that
under a west wind the waves ripple on the steps. On the left of this
hall is a large lounging-room (_cubiculum_), and a lesser one beyond,
with windows to the east and west. The angle which this lounging-room
forms with the hall makes a pleasant lee, and a loitering-place for my
family in the winter. Near this again is a crescent-shaped apartment,
with windows which receive the sun all day, where I keep my favorite
authors. From this, one passes to a bed-chamber by a raised passage,
under which is a stove that communicates an agreeable warmth to the
whole apartment. The other rooms in this portion of the villa are for
the freedmen and slaves; but still are sufficiently well ordered (_tam
mundis_) for my guests."

And he goes on to describe the bath-rooms, the cooling-rooms, the
sweating-rooms, the tennis-court, "which lies open to the warmth of the
afternoon sun." Adjoining this is a tower, with two apartments below and
two above,--besides a supper-room, which commands a wide look-out along
the sea, and over the villas that stud the shores. At the opposite end
of the tennis-court is another tower, with its apartments opening upon a
museum,--and below this the great dining-hall, whose windows look upon
gardens, where are box-tree hedges, and rosemary, and bowers of vines.
Figs and mulberries grow profusely in the garden; and walking under
them, one approaches still another banqueting-hall, remote from the sea,
and adjoining the kitchen-garden. Thence a grand portico
(_crypto-porticus_) extends with a range of windows on either side, and
before the portico is a terrace perfumed with violets. His favorite
apartment, however, is a detached building, which he has himself erected
in a retired part of the grounds. It has a warm winter-room, looking one
way on the terrace, and another on the ocean; through its folding-doors
may be seen an inner chamber, and within this again a sanctum, whose
windows command three views totally separate and distinct,--the sea, the
woods, or the villas along the shore.

"Tell me," he says, "if all this is not very charming, and if I shall
not have the honor of your company, to enjoy it with me?"

If Pliny regarded the seat at Ostium as only a convenient and
inexpensive place, we may form some notion of his Tuscan property,
which, as he says in his letter to his friend Apollinaris, (Lib. V.
Epist. 6,) he prefers to all his others, whether of Tivoli, Tusculum, or
Palestrina. There, at a distance of a hundred and fifty miles from Rome,
in the midst of the richest corn-bearing and olive-bearing regions of
Tuscany, he can enjoy country quietude. There is no need to be slipping
on his toga; ceremony is left behind. The air is healthful; the scene is
quiet. "_Studiis animum, venatu corpus exerceo._" I will not follow him
through the particularity of the description which he gives to his
friend Apollinaris. There are the wide-reaching views of fruitful
valleys and of empurpled hill-sides; there are the fresh winds sweeping
from the distant Apennines; there is the _gestatio_ with its clipped
boxes, the embowered walks, the colonnades, the marble banquet-rooms,
the baths, the Carystian columns, the soft, embracing air, and the
violet sky. I leave Pliny seated upon a bench in a marble alcove of his
Tuscan garden. From this bench, the water, gushing through several
little pipes, as if it were pressed out by the weight of the persons
reposing upon it, falls into a stone cistern underneath, whence it is
received into a polished marble basin, so artfully contrived that it is
always full, without ever overflowing. "When I sup here," he writes,
"this basin serves for a table,--the larger dishes being placed round
the margin, while the smaller ones swim about in the form of little
vessels and waterfowl."

Such _al fresco_ suppers the country-gentlemen of Italy ate in the first
century of our era!

       *       *       *       *       *

Palladius wrote somewhere about the middle of the fourth century. His
work is arranged in the form of a calendar for the months, and closes
with a poem which is as inferior to the poems of the time of Augustus
as the later emperors were inferior to the Cæsars. There is in his
treatise no notable advance upon the teachings of Columella, whom he
frequently quotes,--as well as certain Greek authorities of the Lower
Empire. I find in his treatise a somewhat fuller list of vegetables,
fruits, and field-crops than belongs to the earlier writers. I find more
variety of treatment. I see a waning faith in the superstitions of the
past; Bacchus and the Lares are less jubilant than they were; but the
Christian civilization has not yet vivified the art of culture. The
magnificent gardens of Nero and the horticultural experiences of the
great Adrian at Tivoli have left no traces in the method or inspiration
of Palladius.

       *       *       *       *       *

I will not pass wholly from the classic period, without allusion to the
recent book of Professor Daubeny on Roman husbandry. It is charming, and
yet disappointing,--not for failure, on his part, to trace the
traditions to their sources, not for lack of learning or skill, but for
lack of that _afflatus_ which should pour over and fill both subject and
talker, where the talker is lover as well as master.

Daubeny's husbandry lacks the odor of fresh-turned ground,--lacks the
imprint of loving familiarity. He is clearly no farmer: every man who
has put his hand to the plough (_aratori crede_) sees it. Your blood
does not tingle at his story of Boreas, nor a dreamy languor creep over
you when he talks of sunny south-winds.

Had he written exclusively of bees, or trees, or flowers, there would
have been a charming murmur, like the _susurrus_ of the poets,--and a
fragrance as of crushed heaps of lilies and jonquils. But Daubeny
approaches fanning as a good surgeon approaches a _cadaver_. He
disarticulates the joints superbly; but there is no tremulous intensity.
The bystanders do not feel the thrill with which they see a man bare his
arm for a capital operation upon a live and palpitating body.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the time of Palladius to the time of Pietro Crescenzi is a period
of a thousand years, a period as dreary and impenetrable as the
snow-cloud through which I see faintly a few spires staggering: so along
the pages of Muratori's interminable annals gaunt figures come and go;
but they are not the figures of farmers.

Goths, wars, famines, and plague succeed each other in ghastly
procession. Boëthius lifts, indeed, a little rural plaint from out of
the gloom,--

    "Felix nimium prior ætas,
    Contenta fidelibus arvis,"[18]--

but the dungeon closes over him; and there are outstanding orders of
Charlemagne which look as if he had an eye to the crops of Italy, and to
a good vegetable stew with his Transalpine dinners,--but for the most
part the land is waste. I see some such monster as Eccelino reaping a
harvest of blood. I see Lombards pouring down from the mountain-gates,
with falcons on their thumbs, ready to pounce upon the purple _columbæ_
that trace back their lineage to the doves Virgil may have fed in the
streets of Mantua. I see torrents of people, the third of them women,
driven mad by some fanatical outcry, sweeping over the whole breadth of
Italy, and consuming all green things as a fire consumes stubble. Think
of what the fine villa of Pliny would have been, with its boxwood bowers
and floating dishes, under the press of such crusaders! It was a
precarious time for agricultural investments: I know nothing that could
match it, unless it may have been last summer's harvests in the valley
of the Shenandoah.

Upon a parchment (_strumento_) of Ferrara, bearing date A. D. 1113,
(Annals of Muratori,) I find a memorandum or contract which looks like
reviving civilization. "_Terram autem illam quam roncabo, frui debeo per
annos tres; postea reddam serraticum._" The Latin is stiff, but the
sense is sound. "If I grub up wild land, I shall hold it three years for

       *       *       *       *       *

I shall make no apology for introducing next to the reader the
"Geoponica Geoponicorum,"--a somewhat extraordinary collection of
agricultural opinions, usually attributed, in a loose way, to the
Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus, who held the Byzantine throne about
the middle of the tenth century. It was undoubtedly under the order of
Constantine that the collection took its present shape; but whether a
collection under the same name had not previously existed, and, if so,
to whom is to be credited the authorship, are questions which have been
discussed through a wilderness of Greek and Roman type, by the various

The edition before me (that of Niclas, Leipsic) gives no less than a
hundred pages of prolegomena, prefaces, introductory observations, with
notes to each and all, interlacing the pages into a motley of patchwork;
the whole preceded by two, and followed by five stately dedications. The
weight of authority points to Cassianus Bassus, a Bithynian, as the real
compiler,--notwithstanding his name is attached to particular chapters
of the book, and notwithstanding he lived as early as the fifth century.
Other critics attribute the collection to Dionysius Uticensis, who is
cited by both Varro and Columella. The question is unsettled, and is not
worth the settling.

My own opinion--in which, however, Niclas and Needham do not share--is,
that the Emperor Porphyrogenitus, in addition to his historical and
judicial labors,[19] wishing to mass together the best agricultural
opinions of the day, expressed that wish to some trusted Byzantine
official (we may say his Commissioner of Patents). Whereupon the
Byzantine official (commissioner) goes to some hungry agricultural
friend, of the Chersonesus, and lays before him the plan, with promise
of a round Byzantian stipend. The agricultural friend goes lovingly to
the work, and discovers some old compilation of Bassus or of Dionysius,
into which he whips a few modern phrases, attributes a few chapters to
the virtual compiler of the whole, makes one or two adroit allusions to
local scenes, and carries the result to the Byzantine official
(commissioner). The official (commissioner) has confidence in the
opinions and virtues of his agricultural friend, and indorses the book,
paying over the stipend, which it is found necessary to double, by
reason of the unexpected cost of execution. The official (commissioner)
presents the report to the Emperor, who receives it gratefully,--at the
same tune approving the bill of costs, which has grown into a quadruple
of the original estimates.

This hypothesis will explain the paragraphs which so puzzle Niclas and
Needham; it explains the evident interpolations, and the local
allusions. The only extravagance in the hypothesis is its assumption
that the officials of Byzantium were as rapacious as our own.

Thus far, I have imagined a certain analogy between the work in view and
the "Patent Office Agricultural Reports." The analogy stops here: the
"Geoponica" is a good book. It is in no sense to be regarded as a work
of the tenth century, or as one strictly Byzantine: nearly half the
authors named are of Western origin, and I find none dating later than
the fifth century,--while many, as Apuleius, Fiorentinus, Africanus, and
the poor brothers Quintilii, who died under the stab of Commodus, belong
to a period preceding that of Palladius. Aratus and Democritus (of
Abdera) again, who are cited, are veterans of the old Greek school, who
might have contributed as well to the agriculture of Thrace or Macedonia
in the days of Philip as in the days of the Porphyrogenitus.

The first book, of meteorologic phenomena, is nearly identical in its
teachings with those of Aratus, Varro, and Virgil.

The subject of field-culture is opened with the standard maxim,
repeated by all the old writers, that the master's eye is
invaluable.[20] The doctrine of rotation, or frequent change of crops,
is laid down with unmistakable precision. A steep for seed (hellebore)
is recommended, to guard against the depredations of birds or mice.

In the second book, in certain chapters credited to Fiorentinus, I find,
among other valuable manures mentioned, sea-weed and tide-drift,
([Greek: Ta ek tês thalassês de ekbrassomena bryodê],) which I do not
recall in any other of the old writers. He also recommends the refuse of
leather-dressers, and a mode of promoting putrefaction in the
compost-heap, which would almost seem to be stolen from "Bommer's
Method." He further urges the diversion of turbid rills, after rains,
over grass lands, and altogether makes a better compend of this branch
of the subject than can be found in the Roman writers proper.

Grain should be cut before it is fully ripe, as the meal is the sweeter.
What correspondent of our agricultural papers, suggesting this as a
novelty, could believe that it stood in Greek type as early as ever
Greek types were set?

A farm foreman should be apt to rise early, should win the respect of
his men, should fear to tell an untruth, regard religious observances,
and not drink too hard.

Three or four books are devoted to a very full discussion of the vine,
and of wines,--not differing materially, however, from the Columellan
advice. In discussing the moral aspects of the matter, this Geoponic
author enumerates other things which will intoxicate as well as
wine,--even some waters; also the wine made from barley and wheat, which
barbarians drink. Old men, he says, are easily made drunk; women not
easily, by reason of temperament; but by drinking enough they may come
to it.

Where the discourse turns upon pears, (Lib. X. Cap. xxiii.,) it is
urged, that, if you wish specially good fruit, you should bore a hole
through the trunk at the ground, and drive in a plug of either oak or
beech, and draw the earth over it. If it does not heal well, wash for a
fortnight with the lees of old wine: in any event, the wine-lees will
help the flavor of the fruit. Almost identical directions are to be
found in Palladius, (Tit. XXV.,) but the above is credited to Diophanes,
who lived in Asia Minor a full century before Christ.

Book XI. opens with flowers and evergreens, introduced (by a Latin
translation) in a mellifluous roll of genitives:--"_plantationem
rosarum, et liliorum, et violarum, et reliquorum florum odoralorum_."
Thereafter is given the pretty tradition, that red roses came of nectar
spilled from heaven. Love, who bore the celestial vintage, tripped a
wing, and overset the vase; and the nectar, spilling on the valleys of
the earth, bubbled up in roses. Next we have this kindred story of the
lilies. Jupiter wished to make his boy Hercules (born of a mortal) one
of the gods; so he snatches him from the bosom of his earthly mother,
Alemena, and bears him to the bosom of the godlike Juno. The milk is
spilled from the full-mouthed boy, as he traverses the sky, (making the
Milky Way,) and what drops below stars and clouds, and touches earth,
stains the ground with--lilies.

In the chapter upon pot-herbs are some of those allusions to the climate
of Constantinople which may have served to accredit the work in the
Byzantine court. I find no extraordinary methods of kitchen-garden
culture,--unless I except the treatment of musk-melon seeds to a steep
of milk and honey, in order to improve the flavor of the fruit. (Cap.
xx.) The remaining chapters relate to ordinary domestic animals, with
diversions to stags, camels, hare, poisons, scorpions, and serpents. I
can cheerfully commend the work to those who have a snowy day on their
hands, good eyesight, and a love for the subject.

       *       *       *       *       *

And now, while the snow lasts, let us take one look at Messer Pietro
Crescenzi, a Bolognese of the fourteenth century. My copy of him is a
little, fat, unctuous, parchment-bound book of 1534, bought upon a
street stall under the walls of the University of Bologna.

Through whose hands may it not have passed since its printing! Sometimes
I seem to snuff in it the taint of a dirty-handed friar, who loved his
pot-herbs better than his breviary, and plotted his yearly garden on
some shelf of the hills that look down on Castagnolo: other times I
scent only the mould and the damp of some monastery shelf, that guarded
it quietly and cleanly, while red-handed war raged around the walls.

Crescenzi was a man of good family in Bologna, being nephew of Crescenzi
di Crescenzo, who died in 1268, an ambassador in Venice. Pietro was
educated to the law, and, wearying of the civil commotions in his native
town, accepted judicial positions in the independent cities of
Italy,--Pisa and Asti among others; and after thirty years of absence,
in which, as he says, he had read many authors,[21] and seen many sorts
of farming, he gives his book to the world.

Its arrangement is very similar to that of Palladius, to which he makes
frequent reference. There is long and quaint talk of situations,
breezes, cellar-digging, and wells; but in the matter of irrigation and
pipe-laying he is clearly in advance of the Roman writers. He discourses
upon tiles, and gives a cement for making water-tight their
junction,--"_Calcina viva intrisa con olio_." (Lib. I. Cap. ix.) He adds
good rules for mortar-making, and advises that the timber for
house-building be cut in November or December in the old of the moon.

In matters of physiology he shows a near approach to modern views: he
insists that food for plants must be in a liquid form.[22]

He quotes Columella's rule for twenty-four loads (_carrette_) of manure
to hill-lands per acre, and eighteen to level land; and adds,--"Our
people put the double of this,"--"_I nostri mettano più chel doppio._"

But the book of our friend Crescenzi is interesting, not so much for its
maxims of agronomic wisdom as for its association with one of the most
eventful periods o£ Italian history. The new language of the
Peninsula[23] was just now crystallizing into shape, and was presently
to receive the stamp of currency from the hands of Dante and Boccaccio.
A thriving commerce through the ports of Venice and Amalfi demanded all
the products of the hill-sides. Milan, then having a population of two
hundred thousand, had turned a great river into the fields,--which to
this day irrigates thousands of acres of rice-lands. Wheat was grown in
profusion, at that time, on fields which are now desolated by the
malaria, or by indolence. In the days of Crescenzi, gunpowder was burned
for the first time in battle; and for the first time crops of grain were
paid for in bills of exchange. All the Peninsula was vibrating with the
throbs of a new and more splendid life. The art that had cropped out of
the fashionable schools of Byzantium was fast putting them in eclipse;
and before Crescenzi died, if he loved art on canvas as he loved art in
gardens, he must have heard admiringly of Cimabue, and Giotto, and

       *       *       *       *       *

In 1360 a certain Paganino Bonafede composed a poem called "Il Tesoro
de' Rustici"; but I believe it was never published; and Tiraboschi calls
it "_poco felice_." If we could only bar publicity to all the _poco
felice_ verses!

In the middle of the fifteenth century the Florentine Poggio says some
good things in a rural way; and still later, that whimsical,
disagreeable Politiano, who was a pet cub of Lorenzo de' Medici,
published his "Rusticus." Roscoe says, with his usual strained
hyperbole, that it is inferior in kind only to the Georgics. The fact
is, it compares with the Georgics as the vilest of the Medici compare
with the grandest of the Cæsars.

The young Michele Verini, of the same period, has given, in one of his
few remaining letters, an eloquent description of the Cajano farm of
Lorenzo de' Medici. It lay between Florence and Pistoia. The river
Ombrone skirted its fields. It was so successfully irrigated, that three
crops of grain grew in a year. Its barns had stone floors, walls with
moat, and towers like a castle. The cows he kept there (for ewes were
now superseded) were equal to the supply of the entire city of Florence.
Hogs were fed upon the whey; and peacocks and pheasant innumerable
roamed through the woods.

Politiano also touches upon the same theme; but the prose of young
Verini is better, because more explicit, than the verse of Politiano.

       *       *       *       *       *

While I write, wandering in fancy to that fair plain where Florence sits
a queen, with her girdle of shining rivers, and her garland of
olive-bearing hills,----the snow is passing. The spires have staggered
plainly and stiffly into sight. Again I can count them, one by one. I
have brought as many authors to the front as there are spires staring at
me from the snow.

Let me marshal them once more:--Verini, the young Florentine;
Politiano,[24] who cannot live in peace with the wife of his patron;
Poggio, the Tuscan; Crescenzi, the magistrate and farmer joined; the
half-score of dead men who lie between the covers of the "Geoponica";
the martyr Boëthius, who, under the consolations of a serene, perhaps
Christian philosophy, cannot forget the charm of the fields; Palladius,
who is more full than original; Pliny the Consul, and the friend of
Tacitus; Horace, whose very laugh is brimming with the buxom cheer of
the country; and last,--Virgil.

I hear no such sweet bugle-note as his along all the line!


    "Claudite jam rivos, pueri, sat prata biberunt."

Even so: _Claudite jam libros, parvuli!_--Shut up the books, my little
ones! Enough of this.


[13] "_Lusimus_: hæc propter _Culicis_ sint carmina dicta."

[14] Of course, I reckon the

    "Exceptantque leves auras; et sæpe sine ullis," etc.,

(Lib. III. 274,) as among the superstitions.

[15] The same writer, under Februarius, Tit. XVII., gives a very curious
method of grafting the willow, so that it may bear peaches.

[16] Praise big farms; stick by little ones.

[17] This, with other odes, is prettily turned by Sig. Pietro Bussolino,
and given as an appendix to the _Serie degli Scritti in Dialetto
Venez._, by Bart. Gamba.

[18] _De Consol. Phil._ Lib. II.

[19] See Gibbon,--opening of Chapter LIII.

[20] As a curious illustration of the rhetoric of the different
agronomes, I give the various wordings of this universal maxim.

The "Geoponica" has,--[Greek: "Pollo ton agron ameino poiei despotou
synechês parousia."] Lib. II. Cap. i.

Columella says,--"Ne ista quidem præsidia tantum pollent, quantum vel
una præsentia domini." I. i. 18.

Cato says,--"Frons occipitio prior est." Cap. iv.

Palladius puts it,--"Præsentia domini provectus est agri." I. vi.

And the elder Pliny writes,--"Majores ferthissimum in agro oculum domini
esse dixerunt."

[21] "E molti libri d'antichi e de' novelli savi lessi e studiai, e
diverse e varie operazioni de' coltivalori delle terre vidi e conobbi."

[22] "Il proprio cibo delle piante sara aleuno humido ben mischiato."
Cap. xiii.

[23] Crescenzi'a book was written in Latin, but was very shortly after
(perhaps by himself) rendered into the street-tongue of Italy.

[24] See Roscoe, _Life of Lorenzo de' Medici_, Chap. VIII.


The circumstances _were_ a little peculiar,--it is in vain to deny it.
No wonder that several friends of mine, who were struggling and
stumbling up to position at the city bar, could never understand why I
was selected, by a nearly unanimous vote, to represent Foxden at the
General Court. Though I had occupied an old farm-house of Colonel
Prowley's during part of the summer, and had happened to be in it about
the first of May to pay taxes, yet it was well known that my city office
occupied by far the greater part of my time and attention. And really,
when you think of the "remarkable men" long identified with this ancient
river-town, an outside selection seems quite unaccountable.

Chosen a member of the "Young Men's Gelasmiphilous Society" during my
first visit to Foxden, of course I tried to be tolerably lively at the
meetings. But my innocence of thereby attempting the acquisition of
political capital I beg explicitly to declare. The joke of the thing
was----But stop!--to tell just what it was, I must begin, after the
Richardsonian style, with extracts from correspondence. For, as the
reader may suspect, my friend Colonel Prowley was not inclined to
slacken his epistolary attentions after the success of his little
scheme, of which the particulars were given last April. And as my wife
turned out to possess the feminine facility of letter-writing, and was
good enough to assume the burden of replying to his voluminous
productions, they became the delight of many Saturday evenings devoted
to their perusal.

It was about the middle of September when an unusually bulky envelope
from the Colonel inclosed a sealed note containing the following

     "Rooms of the Young Men's
     Gelasmiphilous Society.

     "SIR: You will herewith receive a copy of a resolution
     nominating you as the Young Men's candidate for the next
     Legislature. You are doubtless aware that it is the custom
     for all new candidates to deliver a lyceum-lecture in Foxden
     on the evening before the election. We have therefore
     engaged the Town Hall in your behalf on the P. M. of
     November fifth. Knowing something of the taste in lectures
     of those disposed to support you, I venture to recommend the
     selection of some light and humorous subject.

     "I am fraternally yrs.,


     "Secretary Y. M. G. S.

     "P. S. Dr. Howke, who was run last year without success, is
     upon the opposition ticket. As the old-fogy element of the
     town will probably rally to his support, it is very
     important that you bring out the entire strength of Young
     Foxden. Thus you see the necessity of having your lecture
     lively and full of fun. If you feel equal to it, I am sure
     that a Comic Poem would be a great hit."

As illustrating this extraordinary missive, there is subjoined an
extract from the accompanying epistle of my regular Foxden

     "I inclose what I am given to understand is a nomination to
     the Honorable Legislature, a distinction which, I need not
     say, gives the highest gratification to my sister and
     myself. You will be opposed in this noble emulation by one
     Howke, a physician of North Foxden, with whom our venerable
     and influential Dr. Dastick has much osseous sympathy. Dr.
     Howke (long leaning to the Root-and-Herb School of Medicine,
     and having wrought many notable cures with such simples as
     sage, savory, wormwood, sweet-marjoram, sassafras,
     liverwort, pine-cones, rosemary, poppy-leaves, not to speak
     of plasters of thyme, cowslips, rose-buds, fit to refresh
     the tired wings of Ariel) has latterly declared his
     conversion to the Indian system of physic. The celebrated
     Wigwam Family Pills, to the manufacture of which he at
     present devotes himself, are not unknown to city journals.
     As I am informed that Captain Strype, editor of the "Foxden
     Regulator," has a large interest in the sale of these
     alterative spherules, you will necessarily encounter the
     hostility of our county journal. I advise you of the full
     might of these adversaries, that you may come to fuller
     justification of your supporters in the lecture to be read
     before us on election-eve. Dr. Dastick, with some of the
     elder of this town, has little liking for this laic
     preaching of the lyceum, by reason of the slight and foolish
     matter too often dispensed, when in the mean time there be
     precious gems of knowledge, the very onyx or sapphire to
     bedeck the mind, which the muck-rake of the lecturer never
     collects. I add for your consideration a few wholesome
     subjects:--Caleb Cheeschateaumuck, the Indian Bachelor of
     Arts; A Monody on the Apostle Eliot; A Suggestion of Some
     New Claimant for the Honors of Junius; Mather's Four
     _Johannes in Eremo_, being Notable Facts in the Lives of
     John Cotton, John Norton, John Wilson, and John Davenport;
     The Great Obligations of Homer to the Illustrious Mr. Pope;
     "New England's Jonas cast up in London," Some Account of
     this Remarkable Work; Natootomakteackesuk, or the Day of
     Asking Questions, whether this Ancient Festival might be
     profitably Revived?--I should feel competent to give
     assistance in the treatment of any of these subjects you
     might select. If the Muse inspire you, why not try a
     descriptive poem, modelled, let us say, upon William
     Morrill's 'New England'? The silver ring of verse would be
     joyfully heard among us, and work strong persuasions in your
     behalf.... I must not forget to mention, that, on the day of
     your lecture, you will meet at dinner at my house my
     esteemed Western correspondent, Professor Owlsdarck, (his
     grandmother was a Sodkin,) whose great work upon Mummies is
     the admiration of the literary world. He has been invited to
     deliver an address upon some speciality of erudition before
     the trustees, parents, and pupils of the Wrexford Academy,
     and that upon the same evening you are to speak in Foxden.
     As the distance is only ten miles, I shall send him over in
     the carryall after an early tea. And now to share with you a
     little secret. The office of Principal of the Academy is
     vacant, and the well-known learning of Professor Owlsdarck
     gives his friends great hope in recommending him for the
     place. He formerly lived in Wrexford, where his early
     'Essays on Cenotaphs,' published in the local paper of that
     town, were very popular. Indeed, I think the trustees have
     only to hear the weighty homily he will provide for them to
     decide by acclamation in his favor. Thus you see my double
     interest in your visits next November; for, as I think, both
     my guests will come upon brave opportunities for fame and

"And what shall you do about it?" asked my wife, after we had thoroughly
read the documents which have been quoted.

"Stand," I replied, with emphasis. "I don't think there's any chance of
an election; but Heaven knows I want the rough-hewing of a political
campaign. If I could get a little of the stump-orator's brass into my
composition, it would be worth five years of office-practice for putting
me on in the profession."

"But you have always had such unwillingness to address an audience,"
faltered Kate.

"The more reason why an effort should now be made to get over it," I
replied. "In short, I consider this nomination quite providential, for I
could never have descended to the vulgar wire-pulling by which such
distinctions are commonly gained; and I confess, it promises to be just
the discipline I want. Of course I have no expectation of being chosen."

"But why should you not be chosen?" urged my wife. "You are tolerably
well-known in Foxden; Colonel Prowley, an influential citizen, is your
warm friend; and Mr. Waspy tells you how you may get the support of the
active generation."

"Yes,--by playing literary Grimaldi an hour or so for their diversion! A
very good recipe, were it not probable that the elder portion of the
town would fail to see the humor of it."

"But you may be certain that everybody likes to laugh at a

"Everybody but a clique of pseudo-wiseacres in Foxden perhaps may," I
replied. "But our good friend, the Colonel, has so established his
antiquarian dictatorship over his contemporaries, that I believe
nothing adapted to the present century could possibly please them."

"You may depend upon it," argued Kate, consolingly, "that all the lieges
of Foxden will be so taken up with this Professor Owlsdarck, who is
fortunately to be there at the same time, that they will give little
thought to your deficiencies. At all events, there is nothing to be done
but to try to please the Young Men who give you the nomination."

Of course I agreed in this view of the case, and began to cast about for
some grotesque subject for my lecture. But regret at disappointing the
expectations of my old friend caused me to dismiss such light topics as
presented themselves, and after searching for half an hour, I declared
myself as much at a loss as ever.

"I think I have it!" cried Kate, at length. "Both your correspondents
say that a poem would be particularly acceptable,--and a poem it must

"Modelled on William Morrill's 'New England'?" I said, dubiously.

"Not at all; but a comic; poem, such as the secretary asks for. The dear
Colonel will be pleased at the pretension of verse, and your humorous
passages may be passed off as poetic license."

"There is much in what you say," I replied; "and if I put something
about New England into the title, it will go far to reconcile all

"Why not call it 'The Whims of New England'?" suggested Kate.

"'The Whims of New England,'" I repeated. "Let me think how it would
look in print:--'We understand that the brilliant, sparkling, and highly
humorous poem, entitled "The Whims of New England," which convulsed the
_élite_ of Foxden on Friday evening last,' etc., etc. Yes, it sounds
well! 'The Whims of New England,' it shall be!"

It was a great satisfaction to have decided upon the style and title;
and I sat down at once and began to jot off lines of ten syllables.
"What do you think of this for a beginning?" I presently asked:--

    "Who shall subdue this headlong-dashing Time,
    And lead it fettered through a dance of rhyme?
    Where is the coming man who shall not shrink
    To lay the Ocean Telegraph--in ink?
    Who comes to give us in a form compact
    Essence of horse-car, caucus, song, and tract?"

"But why begin with all these questions?" inquired Kate.

"It is the custom, my dear," I replied, decisively. "It is the
conventional 'Here we are' of the poetical clown."

"Well, you must remember to be funny enough," said my wife, with
something like a sigh. "It is not the humorous side of her hero's
character that a woman likes to contemplate; so give me credit for
disinterestedness in the advice."

"'Motley's the only wear'!" I exclaimed,--"at least before the Young Men
of the Gelasmiphilous Society. I have a stock of Yankee anecdotes that
can be worked off in rhyme to the greatest advantage. In short, I mean
to attempt one of those immensely popular productions that no
library--that is, no circulating library--should be without."

Easier said than done. The evenings of several weeks were pretty
diligently devoted to my poem. I determined to begin with a few moral
reflections, and in these I think I succeeded in reaching the highest
standard of edification and dulness. Not that I didn't succeed in the
revel of comicalities I afterward permitted myself; but the selection
and polishing of these oddities cost me much more labor than I had
expected. I was really touched at the way in which my wife sacrificed
her feminine preference for the emotional and sentimental, and heard me
read over my piquant periods in order that all the graces of declamation
might give them full effect. And when my poem was at length finished,
when my stories had been carefully arranged with their points bristling
out in all directions, when every shade of emphasis had been studied, I
think it might have been called a popular performance,--perhaps _too_
popular;--but that is a matter of opinion.

I felt decidedly nervous, as the time approached when I should make my
first appearance before an audience. And the receipt of long letters
from Colonel Prowley, overflowing with hopes, expectations, and offers
about my contemplated harangue, did not decrease my embarrassment.

"How shall I tell the old gentleman," I exclaimed, one day, after
reading one of his Pre-Adamite epistles,--"how shall I tell him, that,
instead of the solid discourse he expects, I have nothing but a
collection of trumpery rhymes?"

"Why tell him anything about it?" said Kate. "The committee have not
asked you to announce a subject, or even to declare whether you intend
to address them in prose or verse. Then say nothing; when you begin to
speak, it will be time enough for people to find out what you are to
speak about, and whether they like it or not."

"A capital plan!" I cried; "for I know, that, if Prowley, Dastick, and
the rest of them, can once hear the thing, and find out how popular it
is with the audience, they will come round and talk about sugared
verses, or something of the sort."

So it was decided that no notice of what I was to say, or how I was to
say it, should be given to any inhabitant of Foxden. The town,
unprepared by the approaches of a regular literary siege, must be
carried by a grand assault. At times I felt doubtful; but then I knew it
was the distrust of modesty and inexperience.


A fine, clear day, unusually warm for the season, was the important
fifth of November. Devoting the early hours to tedious travelling by the
railroad, we drove up to the Prowley homestead soon after eleven
o'clock. The Colonel and his sister received us with the old enthusiasm
of hospitality,--Miss Prowley carrying Kate up-stairs for some fresh
mystery of toilet, while her brother walked me up and down the piazza in
a maze of inquiries and information.

I was glad to find that he cordially approved my resolution not to
announce in advance the subject or manner of my evening performance.
Professor Owlsdarck had said nothing of the particular theme of
discourse selected for the trustees; and, indeed, it had often been the
custom for the Foxden Lyceum to make no other announcement than the name
of the lecturer. I was greatly relieved by this assurance, and was about
to express as much, when my companion left me to greet a tall,
ungainly-looking gentleman who came round the east corner of the house.
This stranger was about forty years old, wore light-blue spectacles, and
had a near-sighted, study-worn look about him that speedily suggested
the essayist of cenotaphs. There was a gloomy rustiness in his
countenance, a stiff protrusion of the head, and an apparent dryness
about the joints, that made me feel, that, if he could be taken to
pieces and thoroughly oiled, he would be much better for it.

"Let me have the pleasure of making two valued and dear friends of mine
acquainted with each other!" exclaimed Colonel Prowley. "Professor
Owlsdarck, permit me to"----and with flourishes of extravagant
compliment the introduction was accomplished.

"Brother, brother, Captain Strype wants to see you a moment; he has gone
into the back-parlor," called the voice of Miss Prowley from a window

Our host seemed a little annoyed; muttered something about the necessity
of conciliating opposition editors; excused himself with elaborate
apologies; and hurried into the house, leaving his two guests to ripen
in acquaintance as they best might.

"Fine day, Sir," I remarked, after a deferential pause, to allow my
companion to open the conversation, had he been so disposed.

"Fine for funerals," was the dismal response of Professor Owlsdarck.

"On the contrary," said I, "it seems to me one of those days when we are
least able to realize our mortality."

"Then you think superficially," rejoined the Professor. "A warm day at
this time of year induces people to leave off their flannels; and that,
in our climate, is as good as a death-warrant."

"I confess, I never looked at it in that light."

"No, because you look at picturesqueness, while I look at statistics.
Are you interested in mummies?"

I signified that in that direction my enthusiasm was limited.

"So I supposed," said Professor Owlsdarck. "And yet how can a man be
said to know anything, who has not mastered this alphabet of our race?
The naturalist or botanist studies the remains of extinct life in the
rock or the gravel-pit. But how can the crumbling remnants of bygone
brutes and plants compare in interest with the characteristic physical
organization of ancient men? Remember, too, those natural and original
peculiarities which distinguish every human body from myriads of its
fellows. No, Sir, depend upon it, if Pope was right in declaring the
proper study of mankind to be man, we must begin with mummies."

"But in these days," I pleaded, "education has become so varied, that,
if we began at the beginning to study down, no man's lifetime would
suffice to bring him within speaking distance of ordinary affairs."

"Education, as you call it, has become varied, but only because it has
become shallow. Education is everywhere, and learning is wellnigh gone.
Men sharpen their vulgar wits with a smattering of trifles; but fields
of sober intellectual labor are neglected. What is the gain of surface
to the fatal loss of depth in our acquirements!"

"For my own part," I said, "I have generally striven to inform myself
upon topics connected with our own country."

"And such subjects are most interesting," replied the Professor, "if
only the selection be proper and the study exhaustive. The _bones_," he
continued, laying a pungent emphasis on the word,--"the bones of the
Paugussetts, the Potatucks, and the Quinnipiacs are beneath our feet.
The language of these extinct tribes clings to river, lake, and
mountain. Coming from the contemplation of a people historically older,
I have been refreshed in the proximity of these native objects of
research. Consider the mysterious mounds on either side of the Ohio.
What better reward for a life of scrutiny than to catch the slightest
glimpse of the secret they have so long guarded!"

After this manner talked Professor Owlsdarck. Our conversation continued
long enough to show me his complete adaptation to the admiring
friendship of Colonel Prowley. He had the desperate, antiquarian
dilettanteism of our host, with a really accurate knowledge in
unpopular, and most people would think unprofitable, branches of
learning. His love of what may be called the faded upholstery and
tattered millinery of history was, indeed, remarkable. His imagination
was decidedly less than that of Prowley, but his capacity for genuine
rummaging in the dust of ages was vastly superior. Colonel Prowley (to
borrow a happy illustration from Mr. Grant White) would much rather have
had the pen with which Shakspeare wrote "Hamlet" than the wit to
understand just what he meant by it. Owlsdarck, on the contrary, would
have preferred to understand the anatomy and habits of life of the
particular goose which furnished the quill, and the exact dimensions of
the onions with which it was finally served. Yet, notwithstanding a
quivering sensation produced by the mouldy nature of his contemplations,
I found the Professor's conversation, within the narrow limits of his
specialities, intelligent and profitable. He had none of the morbid
horror of giving exact information sometimes encountered in more
pretentious society; and I confess it is never disagreeable to me to
meet a man whose objects of pursuit are not precisely those of that
commonplace, highly respectable citizen we all hope to become.

It must have been an hour before Colonel Prowley rejoined us, and when
he returned it was easy to see that something annoying had happened.

"Ah, my dear friend," he began, "here has been a sad mistake! Your wife
has shown your address to the chief leader of the party which opposes
your election. Captain Strype, editor of the "Foxden Weekly Regulator,"
did not come here for nothing. He sent me out of the room to get some
beans to illustrate the Athenian manner of voting, and then he managed
to get a sight of your manuscript."

"I hope it is no very serious blunder," said Kate, who had followed the
Colonel to the piazza. "It was thoughtless, I admit; but the gentleman
told me that he was an editor, and that it was always the custom to give
the press information withheld from the general public. And then, he
promised secrecy; and, after all, he had the manuscript only about five
minutes,--just long enough to get an idea of the subject and its style
of treatment; so I hope there's no great harm done."

"I should have thought you would have remembered Strype's connection
with Howke and his Indian quackery," said I, a little irritated. "But it
can be no great matter, since it will only give him an hour or two more
to prepare the adverse criticism with which he will honor my

"It is of much more matter than you think," said Colonel Prowley, sadly.
"For the 'Regulator,' which appears to-morrow, goes to press this
afternoon. Strype don't like to have it known, as it lessens the
interest of the 'Latest Intelligence' column; but I happened to find it
out some time ago."

"Then we are worsted indeed," I cried. "His eagerness is well explained;
for, of course, any strictures he might make, on hearing the exercises
this evening, would be useless for his purpose."

"A _critique_ of the performance, purporting to come from an impartial
auditor, will be printed in a thousand 'Regulators' before you open your
lips in our Town Hall," said the Colonel, bitterly.

I knew for the first time that stinging indignation felt by all decent
aspirants for public favor upon encountering the underhand knavery which
dims the lustre of democratic politics. It is not the blunt, open abuse,
my young republican, which you will find galling,--but the contemptible
meanness of dastards who have not mettle enough to be charlatans. For an
instant my blood ran fiery hot; I grasped my cane, and for a moment had
an impulse to fly after Strype and favor him with an assault-and-battery
case for his despicable journal. But the passion was speedily over; for,
upon reflection, I saw that no real injury could be done me with those
who witnessed the success I confidently expected. And--it is awkward to
acknowledge it--I nearly regained my former complacency when my wife
whispered that Strype had declared to her that Professor Owlsdarck had
come upon a bootless errand; for the Wrexford Trustees would never
provide their Academy with so dark and gloomy a Principal, though he
carried the Astor Library in his head. Do not mistake the encouragement
I derived from this announcement: there was in it not the slightest
ill-will to the distinguished antiquary, but only a comfortable
appreciation of my own sagacity in putting it out of the power of any
mischievous person to oppose my election on similar grounds.

Soon after this I proposed to Kate to go to the arbor at the end of the
garden, and hear, once more, the sensation-passages of my poem, to the
end that I might be certain that all the proprieties of pause and
emphasis we had agreed upon were fresh in my memory. It turned out that
there was just time to do this satisfactorily before the bell rang for
dinner. And I felt greatly relieved, when, upon reëntering the house, I
closed the bothering production for the last time, and left it--where I
could not fail to remember it--with my hat and gloves upon the

You are apt to catch people in their freshness at a one o'clock dinner.
Full of the half-finished schemes of the morning, they have much more
individuality than at six. For, the work of the day fairly over, the
clergyman, the merchant, the lawyer, and the doctor subside to a level
of decent humanity, and leave out the salient contrasts of breeding
which are worth noting.

Again those massive chairs, strong enough to bear a century of future
guests, as they had borne a century of past ones, were ranged about the
table. The great brass andirons, sparkling with recent rubbing, nearly
made up for the spiritual life of the wood-fire that the day was too
warm to admit. Mr. Clifton, the clergyman, a gentleman whose liberal and
generous disposition could at times catch in the antiquarian ruts of his
chief parishioners, was, as usual, the representative guest from the
town. Kate and I, being expected to talk only just enough to pay for our
admission, listened with much profit while the political question
pending the next day, and many matters relevant and irrelevant thereto,
underwent discussion.

"They say Howke's pills are growing in esteem of late; the names of many
reverend brothers of yours are to be read in his advertisements as
certifying the cure of some New-England ailment," observed our host.

"So I see," said Mr. Clifton; "and I regret to think that a class of
men, unjustly accused of dogmatizing in those spiritual things they
assuredly know, should lay themselves open to the suspicion, by
testifying in those material matters whereof they are mostly ignorant.
Not that I disallow that hackneyed tenth of Juvenal, "_Orandum est ut
sit mens sana_," and the rest of it. But rather would I follow the
Apostle, who, to the end that every man might possess his vessel in
sanctification and honor, was content to prescribe temperance and
chastity,--leaving the recommendation of plasters and sirups to those
who had made them their special study.

"Yet in ancient times," remarked Professor Owlsdarck, "the offices of
priest and physician were most happily combined. Among those lost
children of Asia whom our fathers met in New England, the Powwows were
the doctors of the body as well as the soul."

"For all that, I cannot believe that Shakspeare meant to indorse Indian
medicine, as Strype says he did," said the Colonel.

We all looked surprise and incredulity at this unexpected assertion.

"You can't have read the last 'Regulator,' then," said Prowley, in
explanation. "You know that Howke and Strype have long been endeavoring
to find some motto from the great dramatist to print upon the boxes
containing the Wigwam Pills; but, somehow, they never could discover one
which seemed quite appropriate."

"'Familiar in their mouths as household words,'" suggested Mr. Clifton.

"Well, that might have done, to be sure; but they happened to miss it.
So for the last month Strype has been studying the works of numerous
ingenious commentators to see whether some of their happy emendations to
the text might not meet the difficulty."

"But it must require the insertion of some entire speech or paragraph to
make Shakspeare give his testimony in favor of savage pharmacy," said I,

"Not in the least necessary; it merely requires the slightest possible
change in a single letter,--aided, of course, by a little intelligent

As we all looked rather doubtful, Colonel Prowley sent for the last
number of Strype's valuable publication, and read as follows:--

"IMPORTANT LITERARY DISCOVERY. We learn by the last steamer from England
that a certain distinguished Shakspearian Editor and Critic, who has
already proved that the Mighty Bard was perfectly acquainted with the
circulation of the blood, and distinctly prophesied iron-plated
steamers and the potato-rot, has now discovered that the Swan of Avon
fully comprehended the Indian System of Medicine, and urged its
universal adoption. Our readers have doubtless puzzled over that
exclamation in Macbeth which reads, in common editions of the poet,
'Throw physic to the dogs!' The slightest consideration of the
circumstances shows the absurdity of this vulgar interpretation. Macbeth
was deservedly disgusted with the practice of the regular family
physician who confessed himself unable to relieve the case in hand. He
would therefore request him to abandon his pretensions, not to the dogs,
which is simply ridiculous, but in favor of some class of men more
skilled in the potencies of medicine. The line, as it came from the pen
of Shakspeare, undoubtedly read, 'Throw Physicke to the Powwows'; in
other words, resign the healing art to the Indians, who alone are able
to practise it with success. And now mark the perfectly simple method of
accounting for the blunder. We have only to suppose that a careless
copyist or tipsy type-setter managed to get one loop too many upon the
'P,'--thus transforming the passage into, 'Throw Physicke to the
Bowwows.' The proof-reader, naturally taking this for an infantile
expression for the canine race, changed the last word to 'dogs,' as it
has ever since stood."

Mr. Clifton smiled, and said, "Even if the emendation and inference
could be accepted, the testimony of any man off the speciality he
studied would only imply, not that the new school was perfect, but that
he realized some imperfection in the old one. And this conviction I have
had occasion to act upon, when my church has been shaken by
spiritualism, abolitionism, and the like; for I knew that what was truly
effective in a rival ministry must show what was defective in my own."

"If you speak of modern spiritualism," said Professor Owlsdarck, "you
must allow it to be lamentably inferior to the same mystery of old. For
how compare the best ghostly doings of these days, those at Stratford in
Connecticut, for example, I will not say to the famous doings at Delphi
and Dodona, but even to the Moodus Noises once heard at East Haddam in
that State? The ancestors of some of these nervous media testify to
roarings in the air, rumblings in the bowels of the mountain, explosions
like volleys of musketry, the moving of heavy stones, and the violent
shaking of houses. Ah, Sir, you should use effort to have put to type
your reverend brother Bradley's memoir on this subject, whereof the sole
copy is held by the Historical Society at Hartford."

"Every recent quackery is so overlaid with a veneering of science," said
the clergyman, "that those who have not had sufficient training to know
that they lack scientific methods of thought are often unable to draw
the distinction between a fact and an inference. There is much practical
shrewdness and intelligence here in Foxden; yet I am constantly
surprised to see how few, in relation to any circumstance out of the
daily routine of business-life, recognize the difference between
possibility, probability, and demonstration. And, indeed, it is no easy
matter to impart a sense of their deficiency to those who have only been
accustomed to deal with the loose forms of ordinary language."

"If we may believe the Padre Clavigero," observed the Professor, "it
will not be easy to find a language so fit for metaphysical subjects,
and so abounding in abstract terms, as the ancient Mexican."

This remark seemed hardly to the purpose; for whatever the excellences
of that tongue might have been, there were insuperable objections to its
adoption as a vehicle of communication between Mr. Clifton and his
parishioners. But the last-named gentleman, with generous tact, allowed
the conversation to wander back to those primitive solidities whither it
naturally tended. It did not take long to get to the Pharaohs, of whose
domestic arrangements the Professor talked with the familiar air of a
man who dined with them once a week. From these venerable potentates we
soon came upon their irrepressible mummies, and here Owlsdarck was as
thoroughly at home as if he had been brought up in a catacomb. Indeed,
this singular person appeared fairly alive only when he surrounded
himself with the deadest antiquities of the dimmest past. His remarks,
as I have before admitted, had that interest which must belong to the
careful investigation of anything; but I could not help thinking into
how much worthier channels his powers of accurate investigation and
indefatigable research might have been directed.

Colonel Prowley was of course delighted, and declared that every
syllable his friend delivered was worthy to be recorded in that golden
ink known to the Greeks and Romans; for, as he assured us, there were
extant ancient manuscripts, written with a pigment of the precious
metals, of which the matter was of far less importance than that
conveyed by the learned utterances we had been privileged to hear.

Mr. Clifton showed no disposition to dispute this assertion, but kindly
assisted by asking many intelligent questions, none having reference to
anything later than B. C. 500. After dinner we adjourned to the library,
and passed the afternoon in looking over collections of autographs and
relics. We were also shown some volumes possessing an interest quite
apart from their rarity, and some very choice engravings. In short, the
hours went so pleasantly that we were all astonished when our host,
looking at his watch, declared that it was time to order Tom to bring
the carryall for Wrexford. Accordingly, Miss Prowley having rung the
bell, whispered in the gentlest manner to the maid who answered the
summons. A shrill feminine shouting was presently heard from the rear of
the house, followed by the voice of Tom gruffly responsive from the
distant barn. At this juncture Mr. Clifton took his leave, and Professor
Owlsdarck retired to his chamber to bedeck himself for the trustees,
parents, and pupils of the Wrexford Academy.


Tom and the carryall at length appeared, and Professor Owlsdarck, in a
new suit of black clothes, in which the lately folded creases were very
perceptible, came forth a sort of musty bridegroom out of his chamber,
and rejoiced as a strong statistician to run his appointed race. Kate
and I thought it best to diminish the final bustle of departure by
lingering on the piazza just before the open door, where we could easily
add our parting good-wishes, when he succeeded in getting out of the
house. For there seemed to be some trouble in putting the Professor,
with as little "tumbling" as possible, into his narrow overcoat, and
then in finding his lecture, which had dropped under the table during
the operation, and then in recovering his spectacles from the depths of
some obscure pocket. Although Colonel Prowley had wellnigh exhausted the
language of jubilant enthusiasm, I managed, while helping Professor
Owlsdarck into the carryall, to express a respectful interest in his
success. Yet, while the words were on my lips, I could not but remember
what Strype had said in the morning, and admit the great likelihood of
its truth. And although beginning to feel pretty nervous as the time
drew near for my own sacrifice, I congratulated myself upon a
preparation in accordance with the modern demands of a lyceum audience.
With a pleasant sense of superior sagacity to this far more learned
candidate for popular favor, I proposed, instead of returning to the
house, to take an hour's stroll by the river, and go thence to the Town
Hall at the appointed time.

"The very thing I was going to suggest," said Kate, "for I don't feel
like talking. My mind is so full of excitement about your poem that
ordinary conversational proprieties are almost impossible."

Our host, with true courtesy, permitted us to do as we pleased, merely
saying that he would reserve the seat next him for my wife, so that we
need not arrive till it was time to commence the performance.

"But you are going to forget your manuscript!" he pleasantly added.
"See, it lies on the entry-table with your gloves and overcoat."

Of course there was no danger of doing anything of the sort, for a
memorandum to take good care of _that_ had printed itself in the largest
capitals upon the tablets of memory. I did feel disagreeably, however,
when my old friend, in handing it to me, looked wistfully at the neat
case of polished leather in which it was securely tied. It was, indeed,
painful to disappoint both in subject and style of composition the kind
interest with which he waited my appearance before an audience of his
townsmen. The only antidote to such regrets was the reflection that I
had prepared what would be most likely to cause the ultimate
satisfaction of all parties; for his mortification at my general
unpopularity and consequent defeat would of course have been greater
than any personal satisfaction he might have experienced in the dry and
antique matter accordant with his peculiar taste. I essayed some
cheerful remark, as the shining packet slipped into my breast-pocket,
and I buttoned my coat securely across the chest, that I might be
continually conscious that the important contents had not dropped out.

"Remember, I shall be on the second settee from the platform; for I
would not willingly lose the slightest word," was the farewell
exclamation of Colonel Prowley.

"You are too good, Sir," I answered, as we turned from the house; "I may
always count upon your kind indulgence, and perhaps more of it will be
claimed this evening than your partiality leads you to suspect."

"And now," said I to Kate, when we were fairly out of hearing, "let us
dismiss for the last hour this provoking poem, and forget that there are
lyceum-lectures, Indian doctors, and General Courts in this beautiful

Of course I never suspected that we could do anything of the kind, but I
thought an innocent hypocrisy to that effect might beguile the time yet
before us. Kate acquiesced; and we walked along a wooded path where
every stone and shrub was rich in associations with that first summer in
Foxden when our acquaintance began. And soon our petty anxiety was
merged in deeper feelings that flowed upon us, as the great event in our
mortal existence was seen in the retrospect from the same pleasant
places where it once loomed grandly before us. The sweet, fantastic
anticipations that pronounced the "All Hail, Hereafter," to the great
romance of life again started from familiar objects to breathe a freer
atmosphere. The coming fact, which all natural things once called upon
us to accept as the final resting-place of the soul, had passed by us,
and we could look onward still. We saw that marriage was not the
satisfaction of life, but a noble means whereby our selfish infirmities
might be purified by divine light. Well for us that this Masque and
Triumph of Nature should not always be seen as from the twentieth year!
It is too cheap a way to idealize and ennoble self in the noontide sun
of one marriage-day. Yet let the gauze and tinsel be removed when they
may; for all earnest souls there are realities behind them that shall
make the heavens and earth seem accidents. It once seems as if marriage
would discolor the world with roseate tint; but it does better: it
enlightens it. Thus, in imagination, did we sally backward and forward
as the twilight thickened about us. In delicious sympathy of silence we
watched quivering shadows in the water, and marked how the patient elms
gathered in their strength to endure the storms of winter.

"It is not a lottery," I said, at last, unconsciously thinking aloud.

"No," responded Kate; "it was so christened of old, because our shrewd
New-Englanders had not made possible a better simile. It is like one of
the great Gift Enterprises of these latter years, where everybody is
sure of his money's worth in book or trinket, and is surprised by a
present into the bargain. The majority, to be sure, get but their bit of
soap or their penny-whistle, while a fortunate few are provided with
gold watches and diamond breast-pins."

I thought this a good comparison; but I did not say so, for I was in the
mood to rise for my analogy or allegory, instead of swooping to pick it
out of Mr. Perham's advertisements.

"Nay, nay, my dear," I rejoined, at length; "let us, who have won
genuine jewelry, exalt our gains by some nobler image. A stagnant puddle
of water may reflect the blessed sun even better than this river that
eddies by our feet, yet it is not there that one likes to look for it."

"Perhaps it is the farthest bound of reaction from transcendentalism,
that causes us, when we do think a free thought, to look about for
something grimly practical to fasten it upon," argued Kate, smilingly.
"Yet I do not quite agree with the reason of my Aunt Patience for
devoting herself to the roughest part of gardening. A taste for flowers,
she contends, is legitimate only when it has perfected itself out of a
taste for earth-worms. There are truly thoughts only to be symbolized by
sunset colors and the song of birds, that are better than if mortared
with logic and based as firmly as the Pyramids."

The fatal word "Pyramids" sent us flying through the ages till we
reached the tombs of the Pharaohs, whence we came bounding back again
through Grecian civilization, mediæval darkness, and modern
enlightenment, till we naturally stopped at Professor Owlsdarck and the
carryall, by this time nearing Wrexford. My own literary performance, so
associated with that of the Professor, next occupied our attention, and
we realized the fact that it was time to be moving slowly in the
direction of the Town Hall.

"Don't let us get there till just the hour for commencing," said I,
endeavoring to restrain the quickened step of my companion.

And I quoted the ghastly merriment of the gentleman going to be hung, to
the effect that there was sure to be no fun till he arrived.

We said nothing else, but indulged in a very definite sort of wandering
by the river's bank,--I nervously looking at my watch, occasionally
devouring a troche, and patting my manuscript pocket, or, to make
assurance doubly sure, touching the polished surface of the case within.

We timed it to a minute. At exactly half-past seven o'clock, I proceeded
up the broad aisle of the Town Hall, put my wife into the place reserved
with the Prowley party upon settee number two from the platform, and
mounted the steps of that awful elevation amid general applause.

The President of the Young Men's Gelasmiphilous Society, who occupied a
chair at the right of the desk, came forward to receive me, and we shook
hands with an affectation of the most perfect ease and naturalness.
Here, a noisy satisfaction, as of boys in the gallery, accompanied by a
much fainter enthusiasm among their elders below.

"You are just in time," whispered the President. "I was afraid you would
be too late; we always like to begin punctually."

"I am all ready," said I, faintly; "you may announce me immediately."

I subsided into the orator's chair, and glanced, for the first time, at
my audience. The Young Men, somehow or other, did not appear so numerous
as I had hoped. On the other hand, Dr. Dastick, and a good many friends
of eminently scientific character, loomed up with fearful distinctness.
Even the malleable element of youth seemed to harden by the side of that
implacable fibre of scholastic maturity which was bound to resist my
most delicate manipulation. I withstood, with some effort, the
stage-fright that was trying to creep over me, and hastily snatched the
manuscript from my pocket. Yes, I must have been confused, indeed; for
here is the string round the case tied in a hard knot, and I could have
taken my oath that I fastened it in a very loose bow! I picked at it,
and pulled at it, and humored it in every possible way, but the plaguy
thing was as fast as ever. At last--just as the President was
approaching the conclusion of his remarks, and had got as far as, "_I
shall now have the pleasure of introducing a gentleman who_," etc.,
etc.--I bethought myself of a relief quite as near at hand as that key
which Faithful held in his bosom during his confinement in Doubting
Castle. My penknife was drawn to the rescue, and the string severed,
while the President, retiring to his chair, politely waved me to the
place he had occupied. Again great applause from the gallery, with
tempered applause from below. With as much unconcern as I could
conveniently assume, I advanced to the front, took a final survey of the
audience, laid my manuscript on the desk, turned back the cover, and
fixed my eyes upon the page before me.

How describe the nightmare horror that then broke upon my senses? Upon
the first page, in large, writing-master's hand, I had inscribed my
title:--"THE WHIMS OF NEW ENGLAND: A POEM." In its place, in still
larger hand, in lank and grisly characters, stared this hideous

           A LECTURE."

With that vivid rapidity with which varied and minute scenery is crowded
into a moment of despair, I perceived the fatal blunder. Owlsdarck and I
had changed manuscripts. Upon that entry-table where lay my poem, the
hurry and bustle of departure had for a moment thrown his lecture. The
cases being identical in appearance, he had taken up my unfortunate
production, which, doubtless, at that very moment, he was opening before
parents, trustees, and pupils connected with the Wrexford Academy. I
will not deny, that, in the midst of my own perplexity, a ghastly sense
of the ridiculous came over me, as I thought of the bewilderment of the
Professor. For an instant of time I actually knew a grim enjoyment in
the fact that circumstances had perpetrated a much better joke than any
in my poem. But my heart stopped beating as an impatient rumble of
applause testified that the desires of the audience were awaiting

I glared upon the expectant faces before me; but they seemed to melt and
fuse into one another, or to dance about quite independently of the
bodies with which they should have been connected. I strove to murmur an
apology; but the words stuck in my throat.

More applause, in which a slight whistling flavor was apparent. A
kicking, as of cow-hide boots of juvenile proportions, audible from the
gallery. A suspicion of cat-calling in a monad state of development
about the door. Of course my prospects were ruined. My knees seemed
disposed to deposit their burden upon the floor. Hope was utterly
extinguished in my breast. There I stood, weak and contemptible, before
the wretched populace whose votes I had come to solicit. Then it was,
the resolution, or rather the _rage_, of despair inspired me. I
determined to take a terrible vengeance upon my abandoned constituents.
Quick as lightning the thought leaped to execution. I seized the
insufferable composition before me, and began to fulminate its sentences
at the democracy of Foxden.

"Fulminate" is expressive; but words like "roar" and "bellow" must be
borrowed to give the reader an idea of the vocal power put into that
performance. For it is a habit of our infirm natures to counteract
embarrassment by some physical exaggeration, which, by absorbing our
chief attention, leaves little to be occupied with the cause of
distress. Persons of extreme diffidence are sometimes able to face
society by behaving as if they were vulgarly at their ease, and men
troubled with a morbid modesty often find relief in acting a character
of overweening pride. Thus it was only by absorbing attention in the
effort to produce a very sensational order of declamation that I could
perform the task undertaken. Owlsdarck's handwriting was luckily large
and legible; and I was able to storm and gesticulate without hinderance.

I ploughed through the tough old homily, tossing up the biggest size of
words as if they were not worth thinking of. I went at the lamented
Cheops with a fearful enthusiasm. The air seemed heavy with a miasma of
information. It was not my fault, if every individual in the audience
did not feel personally sticky with the glutinous drugs I lavished upon
the embalmment. I was as profuse with my myrrh, cassia, and aloes, as if
those costly vegetable productions were as cheap as cabbages. I split up
a sycamore-tree to make an external shell, as if it were as familiar a
wood as birch or hemlock. At last, having got his case painted all over
with appropriate emblems, and Cheops himself done up in his final
wrapping, I struck a mighty blow upon the desk, which set the lamps
ringing and flaring in majestic emphasis.

It was at this point that the presence of an audience was once more
recalled to me. Enthusiastic applause, peal after peal, responded to my
efforts. I ventured to look out into the hall before me. Dr. Dastick was
thumping with energy upon the neighboring settee. The elders of Foxden
were leading the approbation, and a wild tattoo was resonant from the
gallery. The face of Colonel Prowley was aglow with satisfaction, and
the dear old gentleman actually waved his handkerchief as he caught my
eye. But my frightened, pale-faced Kate,--my first shudder returned
again as I met her gaze. Again I felt the sinking, prickling sensation
of being in for it. There was no resource but to charge at the
Professor's manuscript as vigorously as ever.

I now went to pyramid-making with the same zeal with which I had acted
as undertaker. Locks, parsley, and garlic, to the amount of one thousand
and sixty talents, were lavished upon the workmen. Stuffed cats and
sacred crocodiles were carried in procession to encourage them. Stones,
thirty feet long, were heaved out of quarries, and hieroglyphics chopped
into them with wonderful despatch. At last, after an hour and a half of
laborious vociferation, I managed to get the pyramid done and Cheops put
into it. A sort of dress-parade of authorities was finally called:
Herodotus, Tacitus, Diodorus Siculus, Strabo, Pliny, Solinus, and many
others, were fired in concluding volleys among the audience. I was
conscious of a salvo of clapping, pounding, and stamping that thundered
in reply. The last sentence had been uttered. Again the audience blurred
and danced before my eyes; I staggered back, and sank confused and
breathless into the orator's chair.

"Good, good," whispered the President. "It was a capital idea; ha, ha,
very funny! To hear you hammering away at Egyptian antiquities as if
you'd never thought of anything else! The elocution and gestures, too,
were perfectly tall;--the Young Men of our Society were delighted;--I
could see they were."

"Permit me to congratulate you, Sir," said Dr. Dastick, who had elbowed
his way to the platform. "I confess myself most agreeably disappointed
in your performance. There was in it a solidity of information and a
curiosity of important research for which I was totally unprepared. Let
me hope that such powers of oratory as we have heard this evening may
soon plead the cause of good learning in the legislature of our State."

"A good subject, my dear young friend, and admirably developed,"
exclaimed Colonel Prowley. "You have already won the palm of victory, if
I rightly read the faces of some who were too quick to endow you with
the common levity and indiscretion of youth."

"You have had success with young and old," said the Reverend Mr.
Clifton, kindly holding out his hand. "We have rarely lecturers who
seem to give such universal satisfaction."

After these congratulations, and others to the same purpose, the real
state of the case could no longer be hidden. Instead of the
mortification and defeat confidently expected, I had unwittingly made a
ten-strike upon that erratic set of pins, the Foxden public. The Young
Men, who knew me only as the [Greek: gelôtopoios], or laughter-maker, of
their merry association, considered the sombre getting up and energetic
delivery of the Cheops lecture the very best joke I had ever
perpetrated. Some of the most influential citizens, as has been already
seen, were personally gratified in the general dustiness of the subject;
while others, perchance, were able to doze in the consciousness that the
opinions of Cheops upon such disturbing topics as Temperance,
Anti-Slavery, and Woman's Rights must necessarily be of a patriarchal
and comforting character. But the glory of the unlooked-for triumph
seemed strangely lessened by the reflection that I had no just claim to
the funereal plumage with which I had so happily decked myself.

"Gentlemen," said I, "I ought to tell you that the address I have
delivered this evening is--in fact--is not original."

"That's just why we like it," rejoined Dr. Dastick. "No young man should
be original; it is a great impertinence, if he tries to be."

"I do not mean simply to acknowledge an indebtedness to the ancient
authorities quoted in the lecture; but--but, the truth is, that the
arrangement and composition cannot properly be called my own."

"Not the least consequence," said Colonel Prowler. "You showed a
commendable modesty in seeking the aid of any discreet and learned
person. You know I offered to give you what assistance was in my power;
but you found--unexpectedly, at the last moment, perhaps--some wiser

"Most unexpectedly,--at the very last moment," I murmured.

"As for originality," said the clergyman, pleasantly, "when you have
come to my age, you will cease to trouble yourself much about it. No man
can accomplish anything important without a large indebtedness to those
who have lived, as well as to those who live. We know that the old
fathers not only dared to lack originality, but even to consider times
and peoples in their selection and treatment of topics. _Non quod
sentiunt, sed quod necesse est dicunt_, may be said of them in no
disparagement. For, not to mention others, I might quote Cyprian,
Minutius, Lactantius, and Hilarius,"----

"Anything hilarious is as much out of place in a lecture as it would be
in a sermon," interrupted Dr. Dastick, who had evidently missed the
drift of his pastor's remarks. "And I rejoice that the success of our
friend who has spoken this evening rebukes those vain and shallow
witlings who have sometimes degraded the lyceum. I could send such
fellows to make sport in the courts of luxurious princes, for they may
well follow after jousts, tourneys, stage-plays, and like sugar-plums of
Satan; as, indeed, we need them not in this Puritan commonwealth. But
come, all of you, for an hour, to my house; for I am mistaken, if there
be not in my cabinet many rare illustrations of the discourse we have
just heard. I have several bones by me, which, if they belonged not to
Cheops himself, may well be relics of his near relations. And as an
offset to their dry and wasted estate, I have some luscious pears which
are just now at full maturity."

Colonel Prowley and his party had small inclination to resist the
Doctor's invitation, and it was speedily agreed that the lecturer
(having, as we have seen, escaped consignment to European monarchs)
should have the privilege of mingling in the social life of Foxden for
the next hour or so.

"But you forget Professor Owlsdarck," I ventured to whisper to the
Colonel. "I must see him the instant he returns. That is--I am very
impatient to hear of his success. I cannot let him arrive at your
house, if I am not there to meet him."

My host stared a little at this impetuosity of interest, and then
informed me that the carryall from Wrexford must necessarily pass
Dastick's house, and that he himself would run out and stop it and bring
in the Professor.

"No," I exclaimed, with energy; "promise that I may go out and receive
Owlsdarck alone, or I cannot go to Dr. Dastick's."

"I doubt if there would be any precedent for this," argued the Colonel,

"Then we must make one," I asserted. "For surely nothing is more
appropriate than that a lecturer, returning from his exercise, whether
in triumph or defeat, should be first encountered by some brother of the
craft who can have adequate sympathy with his feelings."

After some demur, Colonel Prowley consented to adopt this view of the
case; and we passed out of the hot lecture-room into the still, fresh
night. Here Kate took my arm and we managed for an instant to lag behind
the crowd.

"I am not mad yet," I said, "though when I began that extraordinary
lecture you must have thought me so."

"For a few moments," replied my wife, "I was utterly bewildered; but
soon, of course, I guessed the explanation. You appeared before the
Foxden audience with Professor Owlsdarck's lecture."

"And he appeared with my poem before the audience in Wrexford."

"Good Heavens!" exclaimed Kate, "I never thought of that part of it!"

"Yet that is _the_ part of it of which it behooves us to think just at
present," I replied. "To my utter amazement, there has been something,
either in the Professor's wisdom or in my rendering of it, that has
_taken_ with the audience. Not knowing what Owlsdarck has done, or may
wish to do, I have not explained the humiliating and ridiculous
blunder,--though I have stoutly denied myself any credit for the
information or composition of the lecture."

"But the Professor couldn't have read your poem at Wrexford?"

"Two hours ago I should have thought it so impossible, that only one
thing in the world would have seemed to me more so, and that was that I
should have read his lecture in Foxden. But, luckily, I have permission
to stop the carryall on its way back, and so meet Owlsdarck before he
comes into the house. Let us keep the secret for the present, and wait
further developments."

As others of the party had begun to look back, and to linger for us to
come up, there was no opportunity for further conference. And so we made
an effort, and talked of everything but what we were thinking of, till
we reached Dr. Dastick's house.

I was conscious of a sweet memory, while passing along the broad,
low-roofed piazza where I first met my wife. And I marvelled that fate
had so arranged matters, that, again in the moonlight, near that very
spot, I was to have an important interview with another person with whom
my destiny had become strangely entangled.

One sense was painfully acute while the relics and pears were being
passed about during the remainder of the evening. At any period I could
have heard the creak of the venerable carryall above the swarm of
information which buzzed about the Doctor's parlor. I responded to the
waggish raillery of the young men, talked _bones_ with their seniors,
disclaimed all originality in my lecture, thanked people for what they
said about my spirited declamation, and--through it all--listened
intently for the solemn rumble upon the Wrexford road. Time really
seemed to stop and go backward, as if in compliment to the ancient
fragments of gums, wrappages, and scarabæi that were produced for our
inspection. The carryall, I thought, must have broken down; Wrexford
had, perchance, been suddenly destroyed, like the Cities of the Plain;
the Professor had been tarred and feathered by the enraged inhabitants,
or, perhaps, had been murdered upon the road;--there was no limit to the
doleful hypotheses which suggested themselves.

And, in fact, it was now getting late to everybody. The last pear had
vanished, and people began to look at the clock. Colonel Frowley was
audibly wondering what could have detained the Professor, and Dr.
Dastick was expressing his regret at not having the pleasure of seeing
him, when,--no,--yes, a jerking trundle was heard in the distance,--it
was not the wind this time! I seized my hat, rushed from the house, and
paused not till I had stopped the carryall with the emphasis of a

"I have come to ask you to get out, Professor Owlsdarck," I exclaimed.
"Tom can drive the horse home; we're all at Dr. Dastick's, and they've
sent me to beg you to come in."

The occupant of the vehicle, upon hearing my voice, made haste to
alight. Tom gave an expressive "Hud up," and rolled away into the

"My dear Sir," said I, "no apology,--no allusion to how it happened; we
have both suffered quite enough. Only tell me what you managed to do
with my poem, and what the people of Wrexford have done to you."

"What did I do with your poem?" echoed the Professor,--there was an
undertone of humorous satisfaction in his words that I had never before
remarked,--"why, what could I do with it but read it to my audience?
They thought it was capital, and----Well, _I_ thought so, too. And if
you want to know what the trustees did to me, you will find it in print
in a day or two. The fact is, they called a meeting, after I finished,
and unanimously elected me Principal of their Academy."

I managed to get a few more particulars before entering the house, and
these, with other circumstances afterwards ascertained, made the
Professor's adventure to unravel itself thus: Owlsdarck had discovered
the change of manuscript about five minutes before he was expected to
speak. The audience had assembled, and (in view of the respect which
should appertain to the office for which he was an aspirant) he saw the
humiliation of disappointing the academic flock by a confession of his
absurd position. He glanced at the first page of my verses, and, seeing
that they commenced in a grave and solemn strain, determined to run for
luck, and make the best of them. Accordingly he began by saying, that,
instead of the usual literary address, he should read a new American
poem, which he trusted would prove popular and to the purpose. It turned
out to be very much to the purpose. The dismal Professor Owlsdarck.
giving utterance to the Yankee quips and waggery which I had provided,
took his audience by storm with amazement and delight. For the truth
was, as Strype had intimated in the morning, a formidable opposition had
arrayed itself against the Professor, which (while acknowledging the
claims of his profound learning) contended that he lacked sympathy with
the merry hearts of youth, a fatal defect in the character of a teacher.
Of course the entertainment of the evening filled all such cavillers
with shame and confusion. There was nothing to do but to own their
mistake, and to support the many-sided Owlsdarck with all enthusiasm.
Hence his unanimous election, and hence my infinite relief upon
reëntering the Doctor's house.

We determined to keep our own counsel, and thereupon ratified our
unintentional exchange of productions. I presented my poem to Professor
Owlsdarck, and he resigned in my favor all right, title, and interest in
Cheops and his Obsequies. We both felt easier after this had been done,
and walked arm-in-arm into Dr. Dastick's parlor, conscious of a
plethoric satisfaction strange to experience.

I need hardly allude to the indignation of the Foxden electors, when the
"Regulator" appeared the next morning with a bitter _critique_ of my
performance in the Town Hall. There is notoriously a good deal of
license allowed to opposition editors upon election-day. But to
ridicule a serious and erudite lecture as "a flimsy and buffooning
poem,"--there was, really, in this, a blindness of passion, a display of
impotent malice, an utter contempt for the common sense of subscribers,
to which the history of editorial vagaries seemed to furnish no
parallel. Of course, a libel so gross and atrocious not only failed of
its object, but drove off in disgust all decent remnants of the opposing
party which the lecture of the previous evening had failed to

And now I think it has been explained why I was chosen to represent
Foxden, and how my vote came to be so nearly unanimous. Whether I made a
good use of the lesson of that fifth of November it does not become me
to say. But of the success of the Principal of the Wrexford Academy in
the useful sphere of labor upon which he then entered I possess
undoubted evidence.

"Old Owlsdarck's a pretty stiff man. in school," exclaimed a chubby
little fellow in whom I have some interest, when he lately returned from
Wrexford to pass the summer vacation,--"Old Owlsdarck's a pretty stiff
man in school; but when he comes into the play-ground, you ought to hear
him laugh and carry on with the boys!"

A few seasons ago the Professor consented to repeat his famous poem upon
"The Whims of New England," and made the tour of the river-towns, and
several hundred dollars. He wrote me that he had received tempting
overtures for a Western excursion, which his numerous lyceum-engagements
at home compelled him to decline.

I have since faced many audiences, and long conquered the maiden
bashfulness of a first appearance. It is necessary to confess that my
topics of discourse have generally been of too radical a character to
maintain the unprecedented popularity of my first attempt. I don't mind
mentioning, however, that the manuscript wherewith I delighted the
people of Foxden is yet in my possession. And should there be among my
readers members of the Inviting Committee of any neighboring
Association, League, or Lyceum, they will please notice that I am open
to offers for the repetition of a highly instructive _Lecture: Subject,
The Obsequies of Cheops_.


A chapter on mountains will not be an inappropriate introduction to that
part of the world's history on which we are now entering, when the great
inequalities of the earth's surface began to make their appearance; and
before giving any special account of the geological succession in
Europe, I will say something of the formation of mountains in general,
and of the men whose investigations first gave us the clue to the
intricacies of their structure. It has been the work of the nineteenth
century to decipher the history of the mountains, to smooth out these
wrinkles in the crust of the earth, to show that there was a time when
they did not exist, to decide at least comparatively upon their age, and
to detect the forces which have produced them.

But while I speak of the reconstructive labors of the geologist with so
much confidence, because to my mind they reveal an intelligible
coherence in the whole physical history of the world, yet I am well
aware that there are many and wide gaps in our knowledge to be filled
up. All the attempts to represent the appearance of the earth in past
periods by means of geological maps are, of course, but approximations
of the truth, and will compare with those of future times, when the
phenomena are better understood, much as our present geographical maps,
the result of repeated surveys and of the most accurate measurements,
compare with those of the ancients.

Homer's world was a flat expanse, surrounded by ocean, of which Greece
was the centre. Asia Minor, the Ægean Islands, Egypt, part of Italy and
Sicily, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea filled out and completed his

Hecatæus, the Greek historian and geographer, who lived more than five
hundred years before Christ, had not enlarged it much. He was, to be
sure, a voyager on the Mediterranean, and had an idea of the extent of
Italy. Acquaintance with Phoenician merchants also had enlarged his
knowledge of the world; Sardinia, Corsica, and Spain were known to him;
he was familiar with the Black and Red Seas; and though an indentation
on his map in the neighborhood of the Caspian would seem to indicate
that he was aware of the existence of this sea also, it is not otherwise

Herodotus makes a considerable advance beyond his predecessors: the
Caspian Sea has a place on his map; Asia is sketched out, including the
Persian Gulf with the large rivers pouring into it; and the course of
the Ganges is traced, though he makes it flow east and empty into the
Pacific, instead of turning southward and emptying into the Indian

Eratosthenes, two centuries before Christ, is the first geographer who
makes some attempt to determine the trend of the land and water,
presenting a suggestion that the earth is broader in one direction than
in the other. In his map, he adds also the geographical results derived
from the expeditions of Alexander the Great.

Ptolemy, who flourished in Alexandria in the reign of Hadrian, is the
next geographer of eminence, and he shows us something of Africa; for,
in his time, the Phoenicians, in their commercial expeditions, had
sailed far to the south, had reached the termination of Africa, with
ocean lying all around it, and had seen the sun to the north of them.
This last assertion, however, Ptolemy does not credit, and he is as
skeptical of the open ocean surrounding the extremity of Africa as
modern geographers and explorers have been of the existence of Kane's
open Arctic Sea. He believes that what the Phoenician traders took to
be the broad ocean must be part of an inland sea, corresponding to the
Mediterranean, with which he was so familiar. His map includes also
England, Ireland, and Scotland; and his Ultima Thule is, no doubt, the
Hebrides of our days.

Our present notions of the past periods of the world's history probably
bear about the same relation to the truth that these ancient
geographical maps bear to the modern ones. But this should not
discourage us, for, after all, those maps were in the main true as far
as they went; and as the ancient geographers were laying the foundation
for all our modern knowledge of the present conformation of the globe,
so are the geologists of the nineteenth century preparing the ground for
future investigators, whose work will be as far in advance of theirs as
are the delineations of Carl Ritter, the great master of physical
geography in our age, in advance of the map drawn by the old Alexandrian
geographer. We shall have our geological explorers and discoverers in
the lands and seas of past times, as we have had in the present,--our
Columbuses, our Captain Cooks, our Livingstones in geology, as we have
had in geography. There are undiscovered continents and rivers and
inland seas in the past world to exercise the ingenuity, courage, and
perseverance of men, after they shall have solved all the problems,
sounded all the depths, and scaled all the heights of the present
surface of the earth.

What has been done thus far is chiefly to classify the inequalities of
the earth's surface, and to detect the different causes which have
produced them. Foldings of the earth's crust, low hills, extensive
plains, mountain-chains and narrow valleys, broad table-lands and wide
valleys, local chimneys or volcanoes, river-beds, lake-basins, inland
seas,--such are some of the phenomena which, disconnected as they seem
at first glance, have nevertheless been brought under certain
principles, and explained according to definite physical laws.

Formerly, men looked upon the earth as a unit in time, as the result of
one creative act, with all its outlines established from the beginning.
It has been the work of modern science to show that its inequalities are
not contemporaneous or simultaneous, but successive, including a law of
growth,--that heat and cold, and the consequent expansion and
contraction of its crust, have produced wrinkles and folds upon the
surface, while constant oscillations, changes of level which are even
now going on, have modified its conformation, and moulded its general
outline through successive ages.

In thinking of the formation of the globe, we must at once free
ourselves from the erroneous impression that the crust of the earth is a
solid, steadfast foundation. So far from being immovable, it has been
constantly heaving and falling; and if we are not impressed by its
oscillations, it is because they are not so regular or so evident to our
senses as the rise and fall of the sea. The disturbances of the ocean,
and the periodical advance and retreat of its tides, are known to our
daily experience; we have seen it tossed into great billows by storms,
or placid as a lake when undisturbed. But the crust of the earth also
has had its storms, to which the tempests of the sea are as
nothing,--which have thrown up mountain waves twenty thousand feet high,
and fixed them where they stand, perpetual memorials of the convulsions
that upheaved them. Conceive an ocean wave that should roll up for
twenty thousand feet, and be petrified at its greatest height: the
mountains are but the gigantic waves raised on the surface of the land
by the geological tempests of past times. Besides these sudden storms of
the earth's surface, there have been its gradual upheavals and
depressions, going on now as steadily as ever, and which may be compared
to the regular action of the tides. These, also, have had their share in
determining the outlines of the continents, the height of the lands, and
the depth of the seas.

Leaving aside the more general phenomena, let us look now at the
formation of mountains especially. I have stated in a previous article
that the relative position of the stratified and unstratified rocks
gives us the key to their comparative age. To explain this I must enter
into some details respecting the arrangement of stratified deposits on
mountain-slopes and in mountain-chains, taking merely theoretical cases,
however, to illustrate phenomena which we shall meet with repeatedly in
actual facts, when studying special geological formations.

[Illustration: Fig. 1.]

We have, for instance, in Figure 1, a central granite mountain, with a
succession of stratified beds sloping against its sides, while at its
base are deposited a number of horizontal beds which have evidently
never been disturbed from the position in which they were originally
accumulated. The reader will at once perceive the method by which the
geologist decides upon the age of such a mountain. He finds the strata
upon its slopes in regular superposition, the uppermost belonging, we
will suppose, to the Triassic period; at its base he finds undisturbed
horizontal deposits, also in regular superposition, belonging to the
Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Therefore, he argues, this mountain
must have been uplifted after the Triassic and all preceding deposits
were formed, since it has broken its way through them, and forced them
out of their natural position; and it must have been previous to the
Jurassic and Cretaceous deposits, since they have been accumulated
peacefully at its base, and have undergone no such perturbations.

The task of the geologist would be an easy one, if all the problems he
has to deal with were as simple as the case I have presented here; but
the most cursory glance at the intricacies of mountain-structure will
show us how difficult it is to trace the connection between the
phenomena. We must not form an idea of ancient mountain-upheavals from
existing active volcanoes, although the causes which produced them were,
in a modified and limited sense, the same. Our present volcanic
mountains are only chimneys, or narrow tunnels, as it were, pierced in
the thickness of the earth's surface, through which the molten lava
pours out, flowing over the edges and down the sides and hardening upon
the slopes, so as to form conical elevations. The mountain-ranges
upheaved by ancient eruptions, on the contrary, are folds of the earth's
surface, produced by the cooling of a comparatively thin crust upon a
hot mass. The first effect of this cooling process would be to cause
contractions; the next, to produce corresponding protrusions,--for,
wherever such a shrinking and subsidence of the crust occurred, the
consequent pressure upon the melted materials beneath must displace them
and force them upward. While the crust continued so thin that these
results could go on without very violent dislocations,--the materials
within easily finding an outlet, if displaced, or merely lifting the
surface without breaking through it,--the effect would be moderate
elevations divided by corresponding depressions. We have seen this kind
of action, during the earlier geological epochs, in the upheaval of the
low hills in the United States, leading to the formation of the

On our return to the study of the American continent, we shall find in
the Alleghany chain, occurring at a later period, between the
Carboniferous and Triassic epochs, a good illustration of the same kind
of phenomena, though the action of the Plutonic agents was then much
more powerful, owing to the greater thickness of the crust and the
consequent increase of resistance. The folds forced upward in this chain
by the subsidence of the surface are higher than any preceding
elevations; but they are nevertheless a succession of parallel folds
divided by corresponding depressions, nor does it seem that the
displacement of the materials within the crust was so violent as to
fracture it extensively.

Even so late as the formation of the Jura mountains, between the
Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, the character of the upheaval is the
same, though there are more cracks at right angles with the general
trend of the chain, and here and there the masses below have broken
through. But the chain, as a whole consists of a succession of parallel
folds, forming long domes or arches, divided by longitudinal valleys.
The valleys represent the subsidences of the crust; the domes are the
corresponding protrusions resulting from these subsidences. The lines of
gentle undulation in this chain, so striking in contrast to the rugged
and abrupt character of the Alps immediately opposite, are the result of
this mode of formation.

After the crust of the earth had grown so thick, as it was, for
instance, in the later Tertiary periods, when the Alps were uplifted,
such an eruption could take place only by means of an immense force, and
the extent of the fracture would be in proportion to the resistance
opposed. It is hardly to be doubted, from the geological evidence
already collected, that the whole mountain-range from Western Europe
through the continent of Asia, including the Alps, the Caucasus, and the
Himalayas, was raised at the same time. A convulsion that thus made a
gigantic rent across two continents, giving egress to three such
mountain-ranges, must have been accompanied by a thousand fractures and
breaks in contrary directions. Such a pressure along so extensive a
tract could not be equal everywhere; the various thicknesses of the
crust, the greater or less flexibility of the deposits, the direction of
the pressure, would give rise to an infinite variety in the results;
accordingly, instead of the long, even arches, such as characterize the
earlier upheavals of the Alleghanies and the Jura, there are violent
dislocations of the surface, cracks, rents, and fissures in all
directions, transverse to the general trend of the upheaval, as well as
parallel with it.

Leaving aside for the moment the more baffling and intricate problems of
the later mountain-formations, I will first endeavor to explain the
simpler phenomena of the earlier upheavals.

[Illustration: Fig. 2.]

[Illustration: Fig. 3.]

Suppose that the melted materials within the earth are forced up against
a mass of stratified deposits, the direction of the pressure being
perfectly vertical, as represented in Figure 2. Such a pressure, if not
too violent, would simply lift the strata out of their horizontal
position into an arch or dome, (as in Figure 3,) and if continued or
repeated in immediate sequence, it would produce a number of such domes,
like long billows following each other, such as we have in the Jura. But
though this is the prevailing character of the range, there are many
instances even here where an unequal pressure has caused a rent at right
angles with the general direction of the upheaval; and one may trace the
action of this unequal pressure, from the unbroken arch, where it has
simply lifted the surface into a dome, to the granite crest, where the
melted rock has forced its way out and crystallized between the broken
beds that rest against its slopes.

[Illustration: Fig. 4.]

[Illustration: Fig. 5.]

In other instances, the upper beds alone may have been cracked, while
the continuity of the lower ones remains unbroken. In this case we have
a longitudinal valley on the top of a mountain-range, lying between the
two sides of the broken arch (as in Figure 4). Suppose, now, that there
are also transverse cracks across such a longitudinal split, we have
then a longitudinal valley with transverse valleys opening into it.
There are many instances of this in the Alleghanies and in the Jura.
Sometimes such transverse valleys are cut straight across, so that their
openings face each other; but often the cracks have taken place at
different points on the opposite sides, so that, in travelling through
such a transverse valley, you turn to the right or left, as the case may
be, where it enters the longitudinal valley, and follow that till you
come to another transverse valley opening into it from the opposite
side, through which you make your way out, thus crossing the chain in a
zigzag course (as in Figure 5). Such valleys are often much narrower at
some points than at others. There are even places in the Jura where a
rent in the chain begins with a mere crack,--a slit but just wide enough
to admit the blade of a knife; follow it for a while, and you may find
it spreading gradually into a wider chasm, and finally expanding into a
valley perhaps half a mile wide, or even wider.

By means of such cracks, rivers often pass through lofty
mountain-chains, and when we come to the investigation of the glacial
phenomena connected with the course of the Rhone, we shall find that
river following the longitudinal valley which separates the northern and
southern parts of the chain of the Alps till it comes to Martigny, where
it takes a sharp turn to the right through a transverse crack, flowing
northward between walls fourteen thousand feet high, till it enters the
Lake of Geneva, through which it passes, issuing at the other end, where
it takes a southern direction. For a long time mountains were supposed
to be the limitations of rivers, and old maps represent them always as
flowing along the valleys without ever passing through the
mountain-chains that divide them; but geology is fast correcting the
errors of geography, and a map which represents merely the external
features of a country, without reference to their structural relations,
is no longer of any scientific value.

It is not, however, by rents in mountain-chains alone, or by depressions
between them, that valleys are produced; they are often due to the
unequal hardness of the beds raised, and to their greater or less
liability to be worn away and disintegrated by the action of the rains.
This inequality in the hardness of the rocks forming a mountain-range
not only adds very much to the picturesqueness of outline, but also
renders the landscape more varied through the greater or less fertility
of the soil. On the hard rocks, where little soil can gather, there are
only pines, or a low, dwarfed growth; but on the rocks of softer
materials, more easily acted upon by the rain, a richer soil gathers,
and there, in the midst of mountain-scenery, may be found the most
fertile growth, the richest pasturage, the brightest flowers. Where such
a patch of arable soil has a southern exposure on a mountain-side, we
may have a most fertile vegetation at a great height and surrounded by
the dark pine-forests. Many of the pastures on the Alps, to which from
height to height the shepherds ascend with their flocks in the
summer,--seeking the higher ones as the lower become dry and
exhausted,--are due to such alternations in the character of the rocks.

In consequence of the influence of time, weather, atmospheric action of
all kinds, the apparent relation of beds has often become so completely
reversed that it is exceedingly difficult to trace their original
relation. Take, for instance, the following case. An eruption has
upheaved the strata over a given surface in such a manner as to lift
them into a mountain, cracking open the upper beds, but leaving the
lower ones unbroken. We have then a valley on a mountain-summit between
two crests resembling the one already shown in Figure 4. Such a narrow
passage between two crests may be changed in the course of time to a
wide expansive valley by the action of the rains, frosts, and other
disintegrating agents, and the relative position of the strata forming
its walls may seem to be entirely changed.

[Illustration: Fig. 6.]

Suppose, for example, that the two upper layers of the strata rent apart
by the upheaval of the mountain are limestone and sandstone, while the
third is clay and the fourth again limestone (as in Figure 6). Clay is
soft, and yields very readily to the action of rain. In such a valley
the edges of the strata forming its walls are of course exposed, and the
clay formation will be the first to give way under the action of
external influences. Gradually the rains wear away its substance till
it is completely hollowed out. By the disintegration of the bed beneath
them, the lime and sandstone layers above lose their support and crumble
down, and this process goes on, the clay constantly wearing away, and
the lime and sand above consequently falling in, till the upper beds
have receded to a great distance, the valley has opened to a wide
expanse instead of being inclosed between two walls, and the lowest
limestone bed now occupies the highest position on the mountain. Figure
7 represents one of the crests shown in Figure 6, after such a levelling
process has changed its outline.

[Illustration: Fig. 7.]

But the phenomena of eruptions in mountain-chains are far more difficult
to trace than the effects thus gradually produced. Plutonic action has,
indeed, played the most fantastic tricks with the crust of the earth,
which seems as plastic in the grasp of the fiery power hidden within it
as does clay in the hands of the sculptor.

We have seen that an equal vertical pressure from below produces a
regular dome,--or that, if the dome be broken through, a granite crest
is formed, with stratified materials resting against its slopes. But the
pressure has often been oblique instead of vertical, and then the slope
of the mountain is uneven, with a gradual ascent on one side and an
abrupt wall on the other; or in some instances the pressure has been so
lateral that the mountain is overturned and lies upon its side, and
there are still other cases where one mountain has been tilted over and
has fallen upon an adjoining one.

Sometimes, when beds have been torn asunder, one side of them has been
forced up above the other; and there are even instances where one side
of a mountain has been forced under the surface of the earth, while the
other has remained above. Stratified beds of rock are even found which
have been so completely capsized, that the layers, which were of course
deposited horizontally, now stand on end, side by side, in vertical
rows. I remember, after a lecture on some of these extravagances in
mountain-formations, a friend said to me, not inaptly,--"One can hardly
help thinking of these extraordinary contortions as a succession of
frantic frolics: the mountains seem like a troop of rollicking boys,
hunting one another in and out and up and down in a gigantic game of

The width of the arch of a mountain depends in a great degree on the
thickness and flexibility of the beds of which it is composed. There is
not only a great difference in the consistency of stratified material,
but every variety in the thickness of the layers, from an inch, and even
less, to those measuring from ten or twenty to one hundred feet and more
in depth, without marked separation of the successive beds. This is
accounted for by the frequent alternations of subsidence and upheaval;
the continents having tilted sometimes in one direction, sometimes in
another, so that in certain localities there has been much water and
large deposits, while elsewhere the water was shallow and the deposits
consequently less. Thin and flexible strata have been readily lifted
into a sharp, abrupt arch with narrow base, while the thick and rigid
beds have been forced up more slowly in a wider arch with broader base.

Table-lands are only long unbroken folds of the earth's surface, raised
uniformly and in one direction. It is the same pressure from below,
which, when acting with more intense force in one direction, makes a
narrow and more abrupt fold, forming a mountain-ridge, but, when acting
over a wider surface with equal force, produces an extensive uniform
elevation. If the pressure be strong enough, it will cause cracks and
dislocations at the edges of such a gigantic fold, and then we have
table-lands between two mountain-chains, like the Gobi in Asia between
the Altai Mountains and the Himalayas, or the table-land inclosed
between the Rocky Mountains and the coast-range on the Pacific shore.

We do not think of table-lands as mountainous elevations, because their
broad, flat surfaces remind us of the level tracts of the earth; but
some of the table-lands are nevertheless higher than many
mountain-chains, as, for instance, the Gobi, which is higher than the
Alleghanies, or the Jura, or the Scandinavian Alps. One of Humboldt's
masterly generalizations was his estimate of the average thickness of
the different continents, supposing their heights to be levelled and
their depressions filled up, and he found that upon such an estimate
Asia would be much higher than America, notwithstanding the great
mountain-chains of the latter. The extensive table-land of Asia, with
the mountains adjoining it, outweighed the Alleghanies, the Rocky
Mountains, the Coast-Chain, and the Andes.

       *       *       *       *       *

When we compare the present state of our knowledge of geological
phenomena with that which prevailed fifty years ago, it seems difficult
to believe that so great and important a change can have been brought
about in so short a time. It was on German soil and by German students
that the foundation was laid for the modern science of systematic

In the latter part of the eighteenth century, extensive mining
operations in Saxony gave rise to an elaborate investigation of the soil
for practical purposes. It was found that the rocks consisted of a
succession of materials following each other in regular sequence, some
of which were utterly worthless for industrial purposes, while others
were exceedingly valuable. The _Muschel-Kalk_ formation, so called from
its innumerable remains of shells, and a number of strata underlying it,
must be penetrated before the miners reached the rich veins of
_Kupferschiefer_ (copper slate), and below this came what was termed the
_Todtliegende_ (dead weight), so called because it contained no
serviceable materials for the useful arts, and had to be removed before
the valuable beds of coal lying beneath it, and making the base of the
series, could be reached. But while the workmen wrought at these
successive layers of rock to see what they would yield for practical
purposes, a man was watching their operations who considered the crust
of the earth from quite another point of view.

Abraham Gottlob Werner was born more than a century ago in Upper
Lusatia. His very infancy seemed to shadow forth his future studies, for
his playthings were the minerals he found in his father's forge. At a
suitable age he was placed at the mining school of Freiberg in Saxony,
and having, when only twenty-four years of age, attracted attention in
the scientific world by the publication of an "Essay on the Characters
of Minerals," he was soon after appointed to the professorship of
mineralogy in Freiberg. His lot in life could not have fallen in a spot
more advantageous for his special studies, and the enthusiasm with which
he taught communicated itself to his pupils, many of whom became his
devoted disciples, disseminating his views in their turn with a zeal
which rivalled the master's ardor.

Werner took advantage of the mining operations going on in his
neighborhood, the blasting, sinking of shafts, etc., to examine
critically the composition of the rocks thus laid open, and the result
of his analysis was the establishment of the Neptunic school of geology
alluded to in a previous article, and so influential in science at the
close of the eighteenth and the opening of the nineteenth century. From
the general character of these rocks, as well as the number of marine
shells contained in them, he convinced himself that the whole series,
including the Coal, the _Todtliegende_, the _Kupferschiefer_, the
_Zechstein_, the Red Sandstone, and the _Muschel-Kalk_, had been
deposited under the agency of water, and were the work of the ocean.

Thus far he was right, with the exception that he did not include the
local action of fresh water in depositing materials, afterwards traced
by Cuvier and Brogniart in the Tertiary deposits about Paris. But from
these data he went a step too far, and assumed that all rocks, except
the modern lavas, must have been accumulated by the sea,--believing even
the granites, porphyries, and basalts to have been deposited in the
ocean and crystallized from the substances it contained in solution.

But, in the mean time, James Hutton, a Scotch geologist, was looking at
phenomena of a like character from a very different point of view. In
the neighborhood of Edinburgh, where he lived, was an extensive region
of trap-rock,--that is, of igneous rock, which had forced itself through
the stratified deposits, sometimes spreading in a continuous sheet over
large tracts, or splitting them open and tilling all the interstices and
cracks so formed. Thus he saw igneous rocks not only covering or
underlying stratified deposits, but penetrating deep into their
structure, forming dikes at right angles with them, and presenting, in
short, all the phenomena belonging to volcanic rocks in contact with
stratified materials. He again pushed his theory too far, and, inferring
from the phenomena immediately about him that heat had been the chief
agent in the formation of the earth's crust, he was inclined to believe
that the stratified materials also were in part at least due to this
cause. I have alluded in a former number to the hot disputes and
long-contested battles of geologists upon this point. It was a pupil of
Werner's who at last set at rest this much vexed question.

At the age of sixteen, in the year 1790, Leopold von Buch was placed
under Werner's care at the mining school of Freiberg. Werner found him a
pupil after his own heart. Warmly adopting his teacher's theory, he
pursued his geological studies with the greatest ardor, and continued
for some time under the immediate influence and guidance of the Freiberg
professor. His university-studies over, however, he began to pursue his
investigations independently, and his geological excursions led him into
Italy, where his confidence in the truth of Werner's theory began to be
shaken. A subsequent visit to the region of extinct volcanoes in
Auvergne, in the South of France, convinced him that the aqueous theory
was at least partially wrong, and that fire had been an active agent in
the rock-formations of past times. This result did not change the
convictions of his master, Werner, who was too old or too prejudiced to
accept the later views, which were nevertheless the result of the
stimulus he himself had given to geological investigations.

But Von Buch was indefatigable. For years he lived the life of an
itinerant geologist. With a shirt and a pair of stockings in his pocket
and a geological hammer in his hand he travelled all over Europe on
foot. The results of his foot-journey to Scandinavia were among his most
important contributions to geology. He went also to the Canary Islands;
and it is in his extensive work on the geological formations of these
islands that he showed conclusively not only the Plutonic character of
all unstratified rocks, but also that to their action upon the
stratified deposits the inequalities of the earth's surface are chiefly
due. He first demonstrated that the melted masses within the earth had
upheaved the materials deposited in layers upon its surface, and had
thus formed the mountains.

No geologist has ever collected a larger amount of facts than Von Buch,
and to him we owe a great reform not only in geological principles, but
in methods of study also. An amusing anecdote is told of him, as
illustrating his untiring devotion to his scientific pursuits. In
studying the rocks, he had become engaged also in the investigation of
the fossils contained in them. He was at one time especially interested
in the _Terebratulæ_ (fossil shells), and one evening in Berlin, where
he was engaged in the study of these remains, he came across a notice
in a Swedish work of a particular species of that family which he could
not readily identify without seeing the original specimens. The next
morning Von Buch was missing, and as he had invited guests to dine with
him, some anxiety was felt on account of his non-appearance. On inquiry,
it was found that he was already far on his way to Sweden: he had
started by daylight on a pilgrimage after the new, or rather the old,
_Terebratula_. I tell the story as I heard it from one of the
disappointed guests.

All great natural phenomena impressed him deeply. On one occasion it was
my good fortune to make one of a party from the "Helvetic Association
for the Advancement of Science" on an excursion to the eastern extremity
of the Lake of Geneva. I well remember the expressive gesture of Von
Buch, as he faced the deep gorge through which the Rhone issues from the
interior of the Alps. While others were chatting and laughing about him,
he stood for a moment absorbed in silent contemplation of the grandeur
of the scene, then lifted his hat and bowed reverently before the

Next to Von Buch, no man has done more for modern geology than Elie de
Beaumont, the great French geologist. Perhaps the most important of his
generalizations is that by which he has given us the clue to the
limitation of the different epochs in past times by connecting them with
the great revolutions in the world's history. He has shown us that the
great changes in the aspect of the globe, as well as in its successive
sets of animals, coincide with the mountain-upheavals.

I might add a long list of names, American as well as European, which
will be forever honored in the history of science for their
contributions to geology in the last half-century. But I have intended
only to close this chapter on mountains with a few words respecting the
men who first investigated their intimate structural organization, and
established methods of study in reference to them now generally adopted
throughout the scientific world. In my next article I shall proceed to
give some account of special geological formations in Europe, and the
gradual growth of that continent.


I, who labor under the suspicion of not knowing the difference between
"Old Hundred" and "Old Dan Tucker,"--I, whose every attempt at music,
though only the humming of a simple household melody, has, from my
earliest childhood, been regarded as a premonitory symptom of epilepsy,
or, at the very least, hysterics, to be treated with cold water, the
bellows, and an unmerciful beating between my shoulders,--_I_, who can
but with much difficulty and many a retrogression make my way among the
olden mazes of tenor, alto, treble, bass, and who stand "clean daft" in
the resounding confusion of andante, soprano, falsetto, palmetto,
pianissimo, akimbo, l'allegro, and il penseroso,--_I_ was bidden to
Camilla's concert, and, like a sheep to the slaughter, I went.

He bears a great loss and sorrow who has "no ear for music." Into one
great garden of delights he may not go. There needs no flaming sword to
bar the way, since for him there is no gate called Beautiful which he
should seek to enter. Blunted and stolid he stumps through life for whom
its harp-strings vainly quiver. Yet, on the other hand, what does he not
gain? He loses the concord of sweet sounds, but he is spared the discord
of harsh noises. For the surges of bewildering harmony and the depths
of dissonant disgust, he stands on the levels of perpetual peace. You
are distressed, because in yonder well-trained orchestra a single voice
is pitched one-sixteenth of a note too high. For me, I lean out of my
window on summer nights enraptured over the organ-man who turns poor
lost Lilian Dale round and round with his inexorable crank. It does not
disturb me that his organ wheezes and sputters and grunts. Indeed, there
is for me absolutely no wheeze, no sputter, no grunt. I only see dark
eyes of Italy, her olive face, and her gemmed and lustrous hair. You
mutter maledictions on the infernal noise and caterwauling. I hear no
caterwauling, but the river-god of Arno ripples sort songs in the
summer-tide to the lilies that bend above him. It is the guitar of the
cantatrice that murmurs through the scented, dewy air,--the cantatrice
with the laurel yet green on her brow, gliding over the molten moonlit
water-ways of Venice, and dreamily chiming her well-pleased lute with
the plash of the oars of the gondolier. It is the chant of the
flower-girl with large eyes shining under the palm-branches in the
market-place of Milan; and with the distant echoing notes come the sweet
breath of her violets and the unquenchable odors of her crushed
geraniums borne on many a white sail from the glorified Adriatic.
Bronzed cheek and swart brow under my window, I shall by-and-by-throw
you a paltry nickel cent for your tropical dreams; meanwhile tell me,
did the sun of Dante's Florence give your blood its fierce flow and the
tawny hue to your bared and brawny breast? Is it the rage of Tasso's
madness that burns in your uplifted eyes? Do you take shelter from the
fervid noon under the cypresses of Monte Mario? Will you meet queenly
Marguerite with myrtle wreath and myrtle fragrance, as she wanders
through the chestnut vales? Will you sleep to-night between the
colonnades under the golden moon of Napoli? Go back, O child of the
Midland Sea! Go out from this cold shore, that yields but crabbed
harvests for your threefold vintages of Italy. Go, suck the sunshine
from Seville oranges under the elms of Posilippo. Go, watch the shadows
of the vines swaying in the mulberry-trees from Epomeo's gales. Bind the
ivy in a triple crown above Bianca's comely hair, and pipe not so
wailingly to the Vikings of this frigid Norseland.

But Italy, remember, my frigid Norseland has a heart of fire in her
bosom beneath its overlying snows, before which yours dies like the
white sick hearth-flame before the noonday sun. Passion, but not
compassion, is here "cooled a long age in the deep-delved earth." We
lure our choristers with honeyed words and gentle ways: you lay your
sweetest songsters on the gridiron. Our orchards ring with the
full-throated happiness of a thousand birds: your pomegranate groves are
silent, and your miserable cannibal kitchens would tell the reason why,
if outraged spits could speak. Go away, therefore, from my window,
Giuseppe; the air is growing damp and chilly, and I do not sleep in the
shadows of broken temples.

Yet I love music: not as you love it, my friend, with intelligence,
discrimination, and delicacy, but in a dull, woodeny way, as the "gouty
oaks" loved it, when they felt in their fibrous frames the stir of
Amphion's lyre, and "floundered into hornpipes"; as the gray, stupid
rocks loved it, when they came rolling heavily to his feet to listen; in
a great, coarse, clumsy, ichthyosaurian way, as the rivers loved sad
Orpheus's wailing tones, stopping in their mighty courses, and the
thick-hided hippopotamus dragged himself up from the unheeded pause of
the waves, dimly thrilled with a vague ecstasy. The confession is sad,
yet only in such beastly fashion come sweetest voices to me,--not in the
fulness of all their vibrations, but sounding dimly through many an
earthy layer. Music I do not so much hear as feel. All the exquisite
nerves that bear to your soul these tidings of heaven in me lie torpid
or dead. No beatitude travels to my heart over that road. But as
sometimes an invalid, unable through mortal sickness to swallow his
needed nutriment, is yet kept alive many days by being immersed in a
bath of wine and milk, which somehow, through unwonted courses,
penetrates to the sources of vitality,--so I, though the natural avenues
of sweet sounds have been hermetically sealed, do yet receive the fine
flow of the musical ether. I feel the flood of harmony pouring around
me. An inward, palpable, measured tremulousness of the subtile, secret
essence of life attests the presence of some sweet disturbing cause,
and, borne on unseen wings, I mount to loftier heights and diviner airs.

So I was comforted for my waxed ears and Camilla's concert.

There is one other advantage in being possessed with a deaf-and-dumb
devil, which, now that I am on the subject of compensation, I may as
well mention. You are left out of the arena of fierce discussion and
debate. You do not enter upon the lists wherefrom you would be sure to
come off discomfited. Of all reputations, a musical reputation seems to
me the most shifting and uncertain; and of all rivalries, musical
rivalries are the most prolific of heart-burnings and discomfort. Now,
if I should sing or play, I should wish to sing and play well. But what
is well? Nancie in the village "singing-seats" stands head and shoulders
above the rest, and wears her honors tranquilly, an authority at all
rehearsals and serenades. But Anabella comes up from the town to spend
Thanksgiving, and, without the least mitigation or remorse of voice,
absolutely drowns out poor Nancie, who goes under, giving many signs.
Yet she dies not unavenged, for Harriette sweeps down from the city, and
immediately suspends the victorious Anabella from her aduncate nose, and
carries all before her. Mysterious is the arrangement of the world. The
last round of the ladder is not yet reached. To Madame Morlot, Harriette
is a savage, _une bête_, without cultivation. "Oh, the dismal little
fright! a thousand years of study would be useless; go, scour the
floors; she has positively no voice." No voice, Madame Morlot?
Harriette, no voice,--who burst every ear-drum in the room last night
with her howling and hooting, and made the stoutest heart tremble with
fearful forebodings of what might come next? But Madame Morlot is not
infallible, for Herr Driesbach sits shivering at the dreadful noises
which Madame Morlot extorts from his sensitive and suffering piano, and
at the necessity which lies upon him to go and congratulate her upon her
performance. Ah! if his tortured conscience might but congratulate her
and himself upon its close! And so the scale ascends. Hills on hills and
Alps on Alps arise, and who shall mount the ultimate peak till all the
world shall say, "Here reigns the Excellence"? I listen with pleasure to
untutored Nancie till Anabella takes all the wind from her sails. I
think the force of music can no farther go than Madame Morlot, and,
behold, Herr Driesbach has knocked out her underpinning. I am
bewildered, and I say, helplessly, "What shall I admire and be _à la
mode_?" But if it is so disheartening to me, who am only a passive
listener, what must be the agonies of the _dramatis personæ_? "Hang it!"
says Charles Lamb, "how I like to be liked, and what I do to be liked!"
And do Nancie, Harriette, and Herr Driesbach like it any less? What
shall avenge them for their _spretæ injuria formæ_? What can repay the
hapless performer, who has performed her very best, for learning by
terrible, indisputable indirections that her cherished and boasted
Cremona is but a very second fiddle?

So, standing on the high ground of certain immunity from criticism and
hostile judgment, I do not so much console myself as I do not stand in
need of consolation. I rather give thanks for my mute and necessarily
unoffending lips, and I shall go in great good-humor to Camilla's

There are many different ways of going to a concert. You can be one of
a party of fashionable people to whom music is a diversion, a pastime,
an agreeable change from the assembly or the theatre. They applaud, they
condemn, they criticise with perfect _au-faitism_. (No one need say
there is no such word. I know there was not yesterday, and perhaps will
not be to-morrow; but that there is such a one to-day, you have but to
open your eyes and see.) Into such company as this, even I, whose poor
old head is always fretting itself wedged in where it has no business to
be, have chanced to be thrown. This is torture. My cue is to turn into
the Irishman's echo, which always returned for his "How d' ye do?" a
"Pretty well, thank you." I cling to the skirts of that member of the
party who is agreed to have the best taste and echo his responses an
octave higher. If he sighs at the end of a song, I bring out my
pocket-handkerchief. If he says "charming," I murmur "delicious." If he
thinks it "exquisite," I pronounce it "enchanting." Where he is rapt in
admiration, I go into a trance, and so shamble through the performances,
miserable impostor that I am, and ten to one nobody finds out that I am
a dunce, fit for treason, stratagem, and spoils. It is a great strain
upon the mental powers, but it is wonderful to see how much may be
accomplished and what skill may be attained by long practice.

It is not ingenuous? I am afraid not quite. The guilt rest with those
who make me incur it! You cannot even read a book with any degree of
pleasure, if you know an opinion is expected of you at the finis. You
leave the popular novel till people have forgotten to ask, "How do you
like it?" How can you enjoy anything, if you are not at liberty to give
yourself wholly to it, but must be all the while making up a speech to
deliver when it is over? Nothing is better than to be a passive
listener, but nothing is worse than to be obliged to turn yourself into
a sounding-board: and must I have both the suffering and the guilt?

Also one may go to a concert as a conductor with a single musical
friend. By conductor I do not mean escort, but a magnetic conductor,
rapture conductor, a fit medium through which to convey away his
delight, so that he shall not become surcharged and explode. He does not
take you for your pleasure, nor for his own, but for use. He desires
some one to whom he can from time to time express his opinions and his
enthusiasms, sure of an attentive listener,--since nothing is so
pleasant as to see one's views welcomed. Now you cannot pretend that in
such a case your listening is thoroughly honest. You are receptive of
theories, criticisms, and reminiscences; but you would not like to be
obliged to pass an examination on them afterwards. You do, it must be
confessed, sometimes, in the midst of eloquent dissertations, strike out
into little flowery by-paths of your own, quite foreign to the grand
paved-ways along which your friend supposes he is so kind as to be
leading you. But however digressive your mind may be, do not suffer your
eyes to digress. Whatever may be the intensity of your _ennui_, endeavor
to preserve an animated expression, and your success is complete. This
is all that is necessary. You will never be called upon for notes or
comments. Your little escapades will never be detected. It is not your
opinions that were sought, nor your education that was to be furthered.
You were only an escape-pipe, and your mission ceased when the soul of
song fled and the gas was turned off. This, too, is all that can justly
be demanded. Minister, lecturer, singer, no one has any right to ask of
his audience anything more than opportunity,--the externals of
attention. All the rest is his own look-out. If you prepossess your mind
with a theme, you do not give him an even chance. You must offer him in
the beginning a _tabula rasa_,--a fair field,--and then it is his
business to go in and win your attention; and if he cannot, let him pay
the costs, for the fault is his own.

This also is torture, but its name is Zoar, a little one.

There is yet another way. You may go with one or many who believe and
practise the doctrine of _laissez-faireity_. Do not now proceed to dash
your brains out against that word. I have just done it myself, and one
such head as mine is ample sacrifice for any verbal crime. They go to
the concert for love of music,--negatively for its rest and refreshment,
positively for its embodied delights. They take you for your enjoyment,
which they permit you to compass after your own fashion. They force from
you no comment. They demand no criticism. They do not require censure as
your certificate of taste. They do not trouble themselves with your
demeanor. If you choose to talk in the pauses, they are receptive and
cordial. If you choose to be silent, it is just as well. If you go to
sleep, they will not mind,--unless, under the spell of the genius of the
place, your sleep becomes vocal, and you involuntarily join the concert
in the undesirable _rôle_ of De Trop. If you go into raptures, it is all
the same; you are not watched and made a note of. They leave you at the
top of your bent. Whether you shall be amused, delighted, or disgusted,
they respect your decisions and allow you to remain free.

How did I go to my concert? Can I tell for the eyes that made "a
sunshine in the shady place"? Was I not veiled with the beautiful hair,
and blinded with the lily's white splendor? So went I with the Fairy
Queen in her golden coach drawn by six white mice, and, behold, I was in
Camilla's concert-room.

It is to be a fiddle affair. Now I am free to say, if there is anything
I hate, it is a fiddle. Hide it away under as many Italian coatings as
you choose,--viol, violin, viola, violone, violoncello,
violoncellettissimo, at bottom it is all one, a fiddle; in its best
estate, a diddle, diddle, frivolous, rattling, Yankee-Doodle,
country-tavern-ball whirligig, without dignity, sentiment, or power; and
at worst a rubbing, rasping, squeaking, woolleny, noisy nuisance, that
it sets my teeth on edge to think of. I shudder at the mere memory of
the reluctant bow dragging its slow length across the whining strings.
And here I am, in my sober senses, come to hear a fiddle!

But it is Camilla's. Do you remember--I don't, but I should, if I had
known it--a little girl who, a few years ago, became famous for her
wonderful performance on the violin? At six years of age she went to a
great concert, and of all the fine instruments there, the unseen spirit
within her made choice, "Papa, I should like to learn the violin." So
she learned it and loved it, and when ten years old delighted foreign
and American audiences with her marvellous genius. It was the little
Camilla who now, after ten years of silence, tuned her beloved
instrument once more.

As she walks softly and quietly in, I am conscious of a disappointment.
I had unwittingly framed for her an aesthetic violin, with the essential
strings and bridge and bow indeed, but submerged and forgot in such
Orient splendors as befit her glorious genius. Barbaric pearl and gold,
finest carved work, flashing gems from Indian water-courses, the
delicatest pink sea-shell, a bubble-prism caught and crystallized,--of
all rare and curious substances wrought with dainty device, fantastic as
a dream, and resplendent as the light, should her instrument be
fashioned. Only in "something rich and strange" should the mystic soul
lie sleeping for whom her lips shall break the spell of slumber, and her
young fingers unbar the sacred gates. And, oh, me! it is, after all, the
very same old red fiddle! Dee, dee!

But she neither glides nor trips nor treads, as heroines invariably do,
but walks in like a good Christian woman. She steps upon the stage and
faces the audience that gives her hearty greeting and waits the prelude.
There is time for cool survey. I am angry still about the red fiddle,
and I look scrutinizingly at her dress and think how ugly are hoops. The
skirt is white silk,--a brocade, I believe,--at any rate, stiff, and,
though probably full to overflowing in the hands of the seamstress, who
must compress it within prescribed limits about the waist, looks scanty
and straight, because, like all other skirts in the world at this
present writing, it is stretched over a barrel. Why could she not, she
who comes before us to-night, not as a fashion, but an inspiration,--why
could she not discard the mode, and assume that immortal classic drapery
whose graceful falls and folds the sculptor vainly tries to imitate, the
painter vainly seeks to limn? When Corinne tuned her lyre at the
Capitol, when she knelt to be crowned with her laurel crown at the hands
of a Roman senator, is it possible to conceive her swollen out with
crinoline? And yet I remember, that, though _sa robe était blanche, et
son costume était très pittoresque_, it was _sans s'écarter cependant
assez des usages reçus pour que l'on pût y trouver de l'affectation_;
and I suppose, if one should now suddenly collapse from conventional
rotundity to antique statuesqueness, the great "_on_" would very readily
"_y trouver de l'affectation_." Nevertheless, though one must dress in
Rome as Romans do, and though the Roman way of dressing is, taking all
things into the account, as good as any, and, if not more graceful, a
thousand times more convenient, wholesome, comfortable, and manageable
than Helen's, still it does seem, that, when one steps out of the
ordinary area of Roman life and assumes an abnormal position, one might,
without violence, assume temporarily an abnormal dress, and refresh our
dilated eyes once more with flowing, wavy outlines. Music is one of the
eternities: why should not its accessories be? Why should a discord
disturb the eye, when only concords delight the ear?

But I lift my eyes from Camilla's unpliant drapery to the red red rose
in her hair, and thence, naturally, to her silent face, and in that
instant ugly dress and red red rose fade out of my sight. What is it
that I see, with tearful tenderness and a nameless pain at the heart? A
young face deepened and drawn with suffering; dark, large eyes, whose
natural laughing light has been quenched in tears, yet shining still
with a distant gleam caught from the eternal fires. O still, pathetic
face! A sterner form than Time has passed and left his vestige there.
Happy little girl, playing among the flickering shadows of the
Rhine-land, who could not foresee the darker shadows that should settle
and never lift nor flicker from her heavy heart! Large, lambent eyes,
that might have been sweet, but now are only steadfast,--that may yet be
sweet, when they look to-night into a baby's cradle, but gazing now upon
a waiting audience, are only steadfast. Ah! so it is. Life has such hard
conditions, that every dear and precious gift, every rare virtue, every
pleasant facility, every genial endowment, love, hope, joy, wit,
sprightliness, benevolence, must sometimes be cast into the crucible to
distil the one elixir, patience. Large, lambent eyes, in which days and
nights of tears are petrified, steadfast eyes that are neither mournful
nor hopeful nor anxious, but with such unvoiced sadness in their depths
that the hot tears well up in my heart, what do you see in the waiting
audience? Not censure, nor pity, nor forgiveness, for you do not need
them,--but surely a warm human sympathy, since heart can speak to heart,
though the thin, fixed lips have sealed their secret well. Sad mother,
whose rose of life was crushed before it had budded, tender young lips
that had drunk the cup of sorrow to the dregs, while their cup of bliss
should hardly yet be brimmed for life's sweet spring-time, your
crumbling fanes and broken arches and prostrate columns lie not among
the ruins of Time. Be comforted of that. They bear witness of a more
pitiless Destroyer, and by this token I know there shall dawn a brighter
day. The God of the fatherless and the widow, of the worse than widowed
and fatherless, the Avenger of the Slaughter of the Innocents, be with
you, and shield and shelter and bless!

But the overture wavers to its close, and her soul hears far off the
voice of the coming Spirit. A deeper light shines in the strangely
introverted eyes,--the look as of one listening intently to a distant
melody which no one else can hear,--the look of one to whom the room and
the people and the presence are but a dream, and past and future centre
on the far-off song. Slowly she raises her instrument. I almost shudder
to see the tawny wood touching her white shoulder; yet that cannot be
common or unclean which she so loves and carries with almost a caress.
Still intent, she raises the bow with a slow sweep, as if it were a wand
of divination. Nearer and nearer comes the heavenly voice, pouring
around her a flood of mystic melody. And now at last it breaks upon our
ears,--softly at first, only a sweet faint echo from that other sphere,
but deepening, strengthening, conquering,--now rising on the swells of a
controlling passion, now sinking into the depths with its low wail of
pain; exultant, scornful, furious, in the glad outburst of opening joy
and the fierce onslaught of strength; crowned, sceptred, glorious in
garland and singing-robes, throned in the high realms of its
inheritance, a kingdom of boundless scope and ever new delights: then
sweeping down through the lower world with diminishing rapture, rapture
lessening into astonishment, astonishment dying into despair, it gathers
up the passion and the pain, the blight and woe and agony; all garnered
joys are scattered. Evil supplants the good. Hope dies, love pales, and
faith is faint and wan. But every death has its moaning ghost, pale
spectre of vanished loves. Oh, fearful revenge of the outraged soul! The
mysterious, uncomprehended, incomprehensible soul! The irrepressible,
unquenchable, immortal soul, whose every mark is everlasting! Every
secret sin committed against it cries out from the housetops. Cunning
may strive to conceal, will may determine to smother, love may fondly
whisper, "It does not hurt"; but the soul will not _be_ outraged.
Somewhere, somehow, when and where you least expect, unconscious,
perhaps, to its owner, unrecognized by the many, visible only to the
clear vision, somewhere, somehow, the soul bursts asunder its bonds. It
is but a little song, a tripping of the fingers over the keys, a drawing
of the bow across the strings,--only that? Only that! It is the protest
of the wronged and ignored soul. It is the outburst of the pent and
prisoned soul. All the ache and agony, all the secret wrong and silent
endurance, all the rejected love and wounded trust and slighted truth,
all the riches wasted, all the youth poisoned, all the hope trampled,
all the light darkened,--all meet and mingle in a mad whirl of waters.
They surge and lash and rage, a wild storm of harmony. Barriers are
broken. Circumstance is not. The soul! the soul! the soul! the wronged
and fettered soul! the freed and royal soul! It alone is king. Lift up
your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the
King of Glory shall come in! Tremble, O Tyrant, in your
mountain-fastness! Tremble, Deceiver, in your cavern under the sea! Your
victim is your accuser. Your sin has found you out. Your crime cries to
Heaven. You have condemned and killed the just. You have murdered the
innocent in secret places, and in the noonday sun the voice of their
blood crieth unto God from the ground. There is no speech nor language.
There is no will nor design. The seal of silence is unbroken. But
unconscious, entranced, inspired, the god has lashed his Sibyl on. The
vital instinct of the soul, its heaven-born, up-springing life, flings
back the silver veil, and reveals the hidden things to him who hath eyes
to see.

The storm sobs and soothes itself to silence. There is a hush, and then
an enthusiasm of delight. The small head slightly bows, the still face
scarcely smiles, the slight form disappears,--and after all, it was only
a fiddle.

"When Music, heavenly maid, was young," begins the ode; but Music,
heavenly maid, seems to me still so young, so very young, as scarcely to
have made her power felt. Her language is as yet unlearned. When a baby
of a month is hungry or in pain, he contrives to make the fact
understood. If he is at peace with himself and his surroundings, he
leaves no doubt on the subject. To precisely this degree of
intelligibility has the Heavenly Maid attained among us. When Beethoven
sat down to the composition of one of his grand harmonies, there was
undoubtedly in his mind as distinct a conception of that which he wished
to express, of that within him which clamored for expression, as ever
rises before a painter's eye or sings in a poet's brain. Thought,
emotion, passion, hope, fear, joy, sorrow, each had its life and law.
The painter paints you this. This the poet sings you. You stand before a
picture, and to your loving, searching gaze its truths unfold. You read
the poem with the understanding, and catch its concealed meanings. But
what do you know of what was in Beethoven's soul? Who grasps his
conception? Who faithfully renders, who even thoroughly knows his idea?
Here and there to some patient night-watcher the lofty gates are
unbarred, "on golden hinges turning." But, for the greater part, the
musician who would tell so much speaks to unheeding ears. We comprehend
him but infinitesimally. It is the Battle of Prague. Adrianus sits down
to the piano, and Dion stands by his side, music-sheet in hand, acting
as showman. "The Cannon," says Dion, at the proper place, and you
imagine you recognize reverberation. "Charge," continues Dion, and with
a violent effort you fancy the ground trembles. "Groans of the wounded,"
and you are partly horror-struck and partly incredulous. But what lame
representation is this! As if one should tie a paper around the ankle of
the Belvedere Apollo, with the inscription, "This is the ankle." A
collar declares, "This is the neck." A bandeau locates his "forehead." A
bracelet indicates the "arm." Is the sculpture thus significant? Hardly
more does our music yet signify to us. You hear an unfamiliar air. You
like it or dislike it, or are indifferent. You can tell that it is slow
and plaintive, or brisk and lively, or perhaps even that it is defiant
or stirring; but how insensible you are to the delicate shades of its
meaning! How hidden is the song in the heart of the composer till he
gives you the key! You hear as though you heard not. You hear the
thunder, and the cataract, and the crash of the avalanche; but the song
of the nightingale, the chirp of the katydid, the murmur of the
waterfall never reach you. This cannot be the ultimatum. Music must hold
in its own bosom its own interpretation, and man must have in his its
corresponding susceptibilities. Music is language, and language implies
a people who employ and understand it. But music, even by its professor,
is as yet faintly understood. Its meanings go on crutches. They must be
helped out by words. What does this piece say to you? Interpret it. You
cannot. You must be taught much before you can know all. It must be
translated from music into speech before you can entirely assimilate it.
Musicians do not trust alone to notes for moods. Their light shines only
through a glass darkly. But in some other sphere, in some happier time,
in a world where gross wants shall have disappeared, and therefore the
grossness of words shall be no longer necessary, where hunger and thirst
and cold and care and passion have no more admittance, and only love and
faith and hope and admiration and aspiration shall crave utterance, in
that blessed unseen world, shall not music be the every-day speech,
conveying meaning not only with a sweetness, but with an accuracy,
delicacy, and distinctness, of which we have now but a faint conception?
Here words are not only rough, but ambiguous. There harmonies shall be
minutely intelligible. Speak with what directness we can, be as
explanatory, repetitious, illustrative as we may, there are mistakes,
misunderstandings, many and grievous, and consequent missteps,
calamities, and catastrophes. But in that other world language shall be
exactly coexistent with life; music shall be precisely adequate
to meaning. There shall be no hidden corners, no bungling
incompatibilities, but the searching sound penetrates into the secret
sources of the soul, all-pervading. Not a nook, not a crevice, no maze
so intricate, but the sound floats in to gather up the fragrant aroma,
to bear it yonder to another waiting soul, and deposit it as deftly by
unerring magnetisms in the corresponding clefts.

Toot away, then, fifer-fellow! Turn your slow crank, inexorable Italian!
Thrum your thrums, Miss Laura, for Signor Bernadotti! You are a long way
off, but your foot-prints point the right way. With many a yawn and sigh
subjective, with, I greatly fear me, many a malediction objective, you
are "learning the language of another world." To us, huddled together in
our little ant-hill, one is "_une bête_," and one is "_mon ange_"; but
from that fixed star we are all so far as to have no parallax.

But I come down from the golden stars, for the white-robed one has
raised her wand again, and we float away through the glowing gates of
the sunrise, over the purple waves, over the vine-lands of sunny France,
in among the shadows of the storied Pyrenees. Sorrow and sighing have
fled away. Tragedy no longer "in sceptred pall comes sweeping by"; but
young lambs leap in wild frolic, silken-fleeced sheep lie on the slopes
of the hills, and shepherd calls to shepherd from his mountain-peak.
Peaceful hamlets lie far down the valley, and every gentle height blooms
with a happy home. Dark-eyed Basque girls dance through the fruitful
orchards. I see the gleam of their scarlet scarfs wound in with their
bold black hair. I hear their rich voices trilling the lays of their
land, and ringing with happy laughter. But I mount higher and yet
higher, till gleam and voice are lost. Here the freshening air sweeps
down, and the low gurgle of living water purling out from cool, dark
chasms mingles with the shepherd's flute. Here the young shepherd
himself climbs, leaping from rock to rock, lithe, supple, strong, brave,
and free as the soul of his race,--the same iron in his sinews, and the
same fire in his blood that dealt the "dolorous rout" to Charlemagne a
thousand years ago. Sweetly across the path of Roncesvalles blow the
evening gales, wafting tender messages to the listening girls below.
Green grows the grass and gay the flowers that spring from the blood of
princely paladins, the flower of chivalry. No bugle-blast can bring old
Roland back, though it wind long and loud through the echoing woods.
Lads and lasses, worthy scions of valiant stems, may sit on happy
evenings in the shadow of the vines, or group themselves on the
greensward in the pauses of the dance, and sing their songs of battle
and victory,--the olden legends of their heroic sires; but the strain
that floats down from the darkening slopes into their heart of hearts,
the song that reddens in their glowing cheeks, and throbs in their
throbbing breasts, and shines in their dewy eyes, is not the shock of
deadly onset, glorious though it be. It is the sweet old song,--old, yet
ever new,--whose burden is,

    "Come live with me and be my love,"--

old, yet always new,--sweet and tender, and not to be gainsaid, whether
it be piped to a shepherdess in Arcadia, or whether a princess hears it
from princely lips in her palace on the sea.

But the mountain shadows stretch down the valleys and wrap the meadows
in twilight. Farther and farther the notes recede as the flutesman
gathers his quiet flock along the winding paths. Smooth and far in the
tranquil evening-air fall the receding notes, a clear, silvery
sweetness; farther and farther in the hushed evening-air, lessening and
lowering, as you bend to listen, till the vanishing strain just cleaves,
a single thread of pearl-pure melody, finer, finer, finer, through the
dewy twilight, and--you hear only your own heart-beats. It is not dead,
but risen. It never ceased. It knew no pause. It has gone up the heights
to mingle with the songs of the angels. You rouse yourself with a start,
and gaze at your neighbor half bewildered. What is it? Where are we?
Oh, my remorseful heart! There is no shepherd, no mountain, no girl with
scarlet ribbon and black braids bound on her beautiful temples. It was
only a fiddle on a platform!

Now you need not tell me that. I know better. I have lived among fiddles
all my life,--embryotic, Silurian fiddles, splintered from cornstalks,
that blessed me in the golden afternoons of green summers waving in the
sunshine of long ago,--sympathetic fiddles that did me yeomen's service
once, when I fell off a bag of corn up garret and broke my head, and the
frightened fiddles, not knowing what else to do, came and fiddled to me
lying on the settee, with such boundless, extravagant flourish that
nobody heard the doctor's gig rolling by, and so _sinciput_ and
_occiput_ were left overnight to compose their own quarrels, whereby I
was naturally all right before the doctor had a chance at me, suffering
only the slight disadvantage of going broken-headed through life. What I
might have been with a whole skull, I don't know; but I will say, that,
even in fragments, my head is the best part of me.

Yes, I think I may dare affirm that whatever there is to know about a
fiddle I know, and I can give my affidavit that it is no fiddle that
takes you up on its broad wings, outstripping the "wondrous horse of
brass," which required

             "the space of a day natural,
    This is to sayn, four and twenty houres,
    Wher so you list, in drought or elles showres,
    To beren your body into every place
    To which your herte willeth for to pace,
    Withouten wemme of you, thurgh foule or faire,"--

since it bears you, "withouten" even so much as your "herte's" will, in
a moment's time, over the seas and above the stars.

A fiddle, is it? Do not for one moment believe it.--A poet walked
through Southern woods, and the Dryads opened their hearts to him. They
unfolded the secrets that dwell in the depths of forests. They sang to
him under the starlight the songs of their green, rustling land. They
whispered the loves of the trees sentient to poets:--

    "The sayling pine; the cedar, proud and tall;
    The vine-propt elme; the poplar, never dry;
    The builder oake, sole king of forrests all;
    The aspine, good for staves; the cypresse funerall;
    The lawrell, meed of mightie conquerours
    And poets sage; the firre, that weepeth stille;
    The willow, worne of forlorne paramours;
    The eugh, obedient to the benders will;
    The birch, for shaftes; the sallow, for the mill;
    The mirrhe, sweete-bleeding in the bitter wounde;
    The warlike beech; the ash, for nothing ill;
    The fruitful olive; and the platane round;
    The carver holme; the maple, seldom inward sound."

They sang to him with their lutes. They danced before him with sunny,
subtile grace, wreathing him with strange loveliness. They brought him
honey and wine in the white cups of lilies, till his brain was drunk
with delight; and they kept watch by his moss pillow, while he slept.

In the dew of the morning, he arose and felled the kindly tree that had
sheltered him, not knowing it was the home of Arborine, fairest of the
wood-nymphs. But he did it not for cruelty, but tenderness, to carve a
memorial of his most memorable night, and so pulled down no thunders on
his head. For Arborine loved him, and, like her sister Undine in the
North, found her soul in loving him. Unseen, the beautiful nymph guided
his hand as he fashioned the sounding viol, not knowing he was
fashioning a palace for a soul new-born. He wrought skilfully, strung
the intense chords, and smote them with the sympathetic bow. What burst
of music flooded the still air! What new song trembled among the
mermaiden tresses of the oaks! What new presence quivered in every
listening harebell and every fearful wind-flower? The forest felt a
change, for tricksy nymph had proved a mortal love, and put off her
fairy phantasms for the deep consciousness of humanity. The wood heard,
bewildered. A shudder as of sorrow thrilled through it. A breeze that
was almost sad swept down the shady aisles as the Poet passed out into
the sunshine and the world.

But Nature knows no pain, though Arborines appear never more. A balm
springs up in every wound. Over the hills, and far away beyond their
utmost purple rim, and deep into the dying day the happy love-born one
followed her love, happy to exchange her sylvan immortality for the
spasm of mortal life,--happy, in her human self-abnegation, to lie close
on his heart and whisper close in his ear, though he knew only the
loving voice and never the loving lips. Through the world they passed,
the Poet and his mystic viol. It gathered to itself the melodies that
fluttered over sea and land,--songs of the mountains, and songs of the
valleys,--murmurs of love, and the trumpet-tones of war,--bugle-blast of
huntsman on the track of the chamois, and mother's lullaby to the baby
at her breast. All that earth had of sweetness the nymph drew into her
viol-home, and poured it forth anew in strains of more than mortal
harmony. The fire and fervor of human hearts, the quiet ripple of inland
waters, the anthem of the stormy sea, the voices of the flowers and the
birds lent their melody to the song of her who knew them all.

The Poet died. Died, too, sweet Arborine, swooning away in the fierce
grasp of this stranger Sorrow, to enter by the black gate of death into
the full presence and recognition of him by loving whom she had learned
to be.

The viol passed into strange hands and wandered down the centuries, but
its olden echoes linger still. Fragrance of Southern woods, coolness of
shaded waters, inspiration of mountain-breezes, all the secret forces of
Nature that the wood-nymph knew, and the joy, the passion, and the pain
that throb only in a woman's heart, lie still, silent under the silent
strings, but wakening into life at the touch of a royal hand.

Do you not believe my story? But I have seen the viol and the royal


               The poplar drops beside the way
               Its tasselled plumes of silver-gray;
 The chestnut pouts its great brown buds, impatient for the laggard May.

               The honeysuckles lace the wall;
               The hyacinths grow fair and tall;
 And mellow sun and pleasant wind and odorous bees are over all.

               Down-looking in this snow-white bud,
               How distant seems the war's red flood!
 How far remote the streaming wounds, the sickening scent of human blood!

               For Nature does not recognize
               This strife that rends the earth and skies;
 No war-dreams vex the winter sleep of clover-heads and daisy-eyes.

               She holds her even way the same,
               Though navies sink or cities flame;
 A snow-drop is a snow-drop still, despite the nation's joy or shame.

               When blood her grassy altar wets,
               She sends the pitying violets
 To heal the outrage with their bloom, and cover it with soft regrets.

               O crocuses with rain-wet eyes,
               O tender-lipped anemones,
 What do ye know of agony and death and blood-won victories?

               No shudder breaks your sunshine-trance,
               Though near you rolls, with slow advance,
 Clouding your shining leaves with dust, the anguish-laden ambulance.

               Yonder a white encampment hums;
               The clash of martial music comes;
 And now your startled stems are all a-tremble with the jar of drums.

               Whether it lessen or increase,
               Or whether trumpets shout or cease,
 Still deep within your tranquil hearts the happy bees are murmuring, "Peace!"

               O flowers! the soul that faints or grieves
               New comfort from your lips receives;
 Sweet confidence and patient faith are hidden in your healing leaves.

               Help us to trust, still on and on,
               That this dark night will soon be gone,
 And that these battle-stains are but the blood-red trouble of the dawn,--

               Dawn of a broader, whiter day
               Than ever blessed us with its ray,--
 A dawn beneath whose purer light all guilt and wrong shall fade away.

               Then shall our nation break its bands,
               And, silencing the envious lands,
 Stand in the searching light unshamed, with spotless robe, and clean, white


[Concluding Chapter.]

The subject which I hoped to present intelligibly in three or four
articles has continually threatened to step out of the columns of a
magazine and the patience of its readers. The material which is at hand
for the service of the great points of the story, such as the Commercial
Difficulty, the Mulatto Question, the State of Colonial Parties, the
Effect of the French Revolution, the Imbroglio of Races, the Character
of Toussaint l'Ouverture, the Present Condition of Hayti, and a
Bibliography of the whole subject, is now detached for perhaps a more
deliberate publication; and two or three points of immediate interest,
such as the French Cruelties, Emancipation and the Slave Insurrection,
and the Negroes as Soldiers, are grouped together for the purpose of
this closing article.


The social condition of the slaves cannot be fully understood without
some reference to the revolting facts connected with plantation
management. It is well to know what base and ingenious cruelties could
be tolerated by public opinion, and endured by the slaves without
exciting continual insurrections. Wonder at this sustained patience of
the blacks passes into rage and indignation long before the student of
this epoch reaches the eventual outbreaks of 1791: it seems as if a just
instinct of manhood should have more promptly doomed these houses of
iniquity, and handed them over to a midnight vengeance. And there
results a kind of disappointment from the discovery, that, when the
blacks finally began to burn and slaughter, they were not impelled by
the desire of liberty or the recollection of great crimes, but were
blind agents of a complicated situation. It is only in the remote
historical sense that Slavery provoked Insurrection. The first great
night of horror in San Domingo rose from circumstances that were not
explicitly chargeable to the absence of freedom or to the outrages of
the slaveholder. But if these things had not fuelled the lighted torches
and whetted the blades when grasped, it would have been strange and
monstrous indeed. Stranger still would it have been, if the flames of
that first night had not kindled in the nobler breasts among that
unchained multitude a determination never to endure plantation ferocity
again. The legitimate cause for rebelling then took the helm and guided
the rest of the story into dignity.

The frequency of enfranchisement might mislead us into expecting that
the colonial system of slavery was tempered with humanity. It was rather
like that monarchy which the wit described as being "tempered by
assassination." The mulatto was by no means a proof that mercy and
justice regulated the plantation life. His enfranchisement reacted
cruelly upon the negro. It seemed as if the recognition of one domestic
sentiment hurt the master's feelings; the damage to his organization
broke out against the lower race in anger. The connections between black
and white offered no protection to the former, nor amelioration of her
lot. Indeed, the overseer, who desired always to be on good terms with
the agent or the proprietor of a plantation, was more severe towards the
unhappy object of his passion than to the other women, for fear of
incurring reproach or suspicion. When he became the owner of slaves, his
emancipating humor was no guaranty that they would receive a salutary
and benignant treatment.

When a Frenchman undertakes to be cruel, he acts with great _esprit_.
There is spectacular ingenuity in the atrocities which he invents, and
even his ungovernable bursts of rage instinctively aim a _coup de
théâtre_ at his victim. The negro is sometimes bloodthirsty, and when he
is excited he will quaff at the opened vein; but he never saves up a man
for deliberate enjoyment of his sufferings. When the wild orgy becomes
sated, and the cause of it has been once liquidated, there is no further
danger from this disposition. But a French colonist, whether smiling or
sombre, was always disposed to be tormenting. The ownership of slaves
unmasked this tendency of a race which at home, in the streets of Paris
and the court-yard of the Abbaye and La Force, proved its ferocity and
simple thirst for blood. The story of the Princess Lamballe's death and
disfiguration shows the broad Gallic fancy which the sight of blood can
pique into action. But the every-day life of many plantations surpassed,
in minuteness and striking refinement of tormenting, all that the
_sans-culotte_ ever dared or the savage ever dreamed.

Let a few cases be found sufficient to enlighten the reader upon this
point. They are specimens from a list of horrors which eye-witnesses,
inhabitants of the island, have preserved; and many of them, being found
in more than one authority, French as well as colored, are to be
regarded as current and unquestionable facts.

The ordinary brutalities of slaveholding were rendered more acute by
this Creole temper. Whippings were carried to the point of death, for
the slave-vessel was always at the wharf to furnish short lives upon
long credit; starving was a common cure for obstinacy, brine and
red-pepper were liberally sprinkled upon quivering backs. Economy was
never a virtue of this profuse island. Lives were _sauce piquante_ to

The incarceration of slaves who had marooned, stolen vegetables, or
refused to work, had some features novel to the Bastille and the
Inquisition. A man would be let down into a stone case or cylinder just
large enough to receive his body: potted in this way, he remained till
the overseer considered that he had improved. Sometimes he was left too
long, and was found spoiled; for this mode of punishment soon ended a
man, because he could not move a limb or change his attitude. Dungeons
were constructed with iron rings so disposed along the wall that a man
was held in a sitting posture with nothing to sit upon but sharpened
stick: he was soon obliged to try it, and so oscillated between the two
tortures. Other cells were furnished with cases, of the size of a man,
that could be hermetically sealed: these were for suffocation. The
floors of some were kept submerged with a foot or two of water: the
negroes who came out of them were frequently crippled for life by the
dampness and cold. Iron cages, collars, and iron masks, clogs, fetters,
and thumb-screws were found upon numerous plantations, among the ruins
of the dungeons.

The _quatre piquet_ was a favorite style of flogging. Each limb of the
victim was stretched to the stake of a frame which was capable of more
or less distention; around the middle went an iron circle which
prevented every motion. In this position he received his modicum of
lashes, every muscle swollen and distended, till the blood dripped from
the machine. After he was untied, the overseer dressed the wounds,
according to fancy, with pickled pimento, pepper, hot coals, boiling oil
or lard, sealing-wax, or gunpowder. Sometimes hot irons stanched the
flow of blood.

M. Frossard[26] is authority for the story of a planter who administered
a hundred lashes to a negro who had broken a hoe-handle, then strewing
gunpowder in the furrows of the flesh, amused himself with setting the
trains on fire.

M. de Crévecoeur put a negro who had killed an inhuman overseer into
an iron cage, so confined that the birds could have free access to him.
They fed daily upon the unfortunate man; his eyes were carried off, his
jaws laid bare, his arms torn to pieces, clouds of insects covered the
lacerated body and regaled upon his blood.

Another planter, attests M. Frossard, after having lived several years
with a negress, deserted her for another, and wished to force her to
become the slave of her rival. Not being able to endure this
humiliation, she besought him to sell her. But the irritated Frenchman,
after inflicting various preparatory punishments, buried her alive, with
her head above ground, which he kept wet with _eau sucrée_ till the
insects had destroyed her.

How piteous is the reflection that the slaves made a point of honor of
preserving their backs free from scars,--so that the lash inflicted a
double wound at every stroke!

There was a planter who kept an iron box pierced with holes, into which
the slaves were put for trivial offences, and moved towards a hot fire,
till the torment threatened to destroy life. He considered this
punishment preferable to whipping, because it did not suspend the
slave's labors for so long a time.

"What rascally sugar!" said Caradeux to his foreman; "the next time you
turn out the like, I will have you buried alive;--you know me." The
occasion came soon after, and the black was thrown into a dungeon.
Caradeux, says Malenfant, did not really wish to lose his black, yet
wished to preserve his character for severity. He invited a dozen ladies
to dinner, and during the repast informed them that he meant to execute
his foreman, and they should see the thing done. This was not an unusual
sight for ladies to witness: the Roman women never were more eager for
the agonies of the Coliseum. But on this occasion they demurred, and
asked pardon for the black. "Very well," said Caradeux; "remain at
table, and when you see me take out my handkerchief; run and solicit his
life." After the dessert, Caradeux repaired to the court, where the
negro had been obliged to dig his own grave and to get into it, which he
did with singing. The earth was thrown around him till the head only
appeared. Caradeux pulls out his handkerchief; the ladies run, throw
themselves at his feet; after much feigned reluctance, he exclaims,--

"I pardon you at the solicitation of these ladies."

The negro answered,--

"You will not be Caradeux, if you pardon me."

"What do you say?" cried the master, in a rage.

"If you do not kill me, I swear by my god-mother that I will kill you."

At this, Caradeux seized a huge stone, and hurled it at his head, and
the other blacks hastened to put an end to his suffering.

Burning the negro alive was an occasional occurrence. Burying him alive
was more frequent. A favorite pastime was to bury him up to his neck,
and let the boys bowl at his head. Sometimes the head was covered with
molasses, and left to the insects. Pitying comrades were found to stone
the sufferer to death. One or two instances were known of planters who
rolled the bodies of slaves, raw and bloody from a whipping, among the
ant-hills. If a cattle-tender let a mule or ox come to harm, the animal
was sometimes killed and the man sewed up in the carcass. This was done
a few times in cases where the mule died of some epizoötic malady.

Hamstringing negroes had always been practised against marooning, theft,
and other petty offences: an overseer seldom failed to bring down his
negro with a well-aimed hatchet. _Coupe-jarret_ was a phrase applied
during the revolutionary intrigues to those who were hampering a
movement which appeared to advance.

Cutting off the ears was a very common punishment. But M. Jouanneau, who
lived at Grande-Riviére, nailed one of his slaves to the wall by the
ears, then released him by cutting them off with a razor, and closed
the entertainment with compelling him to grill and eat them. There was
one overseer who never went out without a hammer and nails in his
pocket, for nailing negroes by the ear to a tree or post when the humor
struck him.

Half a dozen cases of flaying women alive, inspired by jealousy, are
upon record; also some cases of throwing negroes into the furnaces with
the _bagasse_ or waste of the sugar-cane. Pistol-practice at negroes'
heads was very common; singeing them upon cassava plates, grinding them
slowly through the sugar-mill, pitching them into the boiler, was an
occasional pastime.

If a woman was fortunate enough to lose her babe, she was often thrown
into a cell till she chose to have another. Madame Bailly had a wooden
child made, which she fastened around the necks of her negresses, if
their children died, until they chose to replace them. These punishments
were devised to check infanticide, which was the natural relief of the

Venault de Charmilly, a planter of distinction, afterwards the
accomplished agent of the emigrant-interest at the court of St. James,
used to carry pincers in his pocket, to tear the ears or tongues of his
unfortunate slaves, if they did not hear him call, or if their replies
were unsatisfactory. He pulled teeth with the same instrument. This man
threw his postilion to the horses, literally tying him in their stall
till he was beaten by their hoofs to shreds. He was an able advocate of
slavery, and did much to poison the English mind, and to create a party
with the object of annexing San Domingo and restoring the colonial

Cocherel, a planter of Gonaïves, had a slave who played upon the violin.
After terrible floggings, he would compel this man to play, as a
punishment for having danced without music. He found it piquant to watch
the contest of pain and sorrow with the native love of melody. The cases
where French planters watched curiously the characteristics of their
various expedients for torture are so common that they furnish us with a
trait of French Creolism. A poor cook, for instance, was one day thrown
into an oven with a crackling heap of _bagasse_, because some article of
food reached the table underdone. As the lips curled and shrivelled away
from the teeth, his master, who was observing the effects of heat,
exclaimed,--"The rascal laughs!"

But the most symbolical action, expressive of the colony's whole life,
was performed by one Corbierre, who punished his slaves by
blood-letting, and gave a humorous refinement to the sugar which he
manufactured by using this blood to assist in clarifying it.

Let these instances suffice. The pen will not penetrate into the sorrows
which befell the slave concubine and mother. The form of woman was never
so mutilated and dishonored, the decencies of fetichism and savageism
were never so outraged, as by these slaveholding idolaters of the Virgin
and the Mother of God.

The special cruelties, together with the names of the perpetrators,
which have been remembered and recorded, would form an appalling
catalogue for the largest slaveholding community in the world. But this
recorded cruelty, justly representative of similar acts which never came
to the ears of men, was committed by only forty thousand whites of both
sexes and all ages upon an area little larger than the State of Maine.
There was agony enough racking the bosoms of that half-million of slaves
to sate a hemisphere of slaveholding tyrants. But the public opinion of
the little coterie of villains was never startled. It is literally true
that not a single person was ever condemned to the penalties of the
_Code Noir_ for the commission of one of the crimes above mentioned. One
would think that the close recurrence, in time and space, of these acts
of crime would have beaten through even this Creole temperament into
some soft spot that belonged to the mother-country of God, if not of
France. Occasionally a tender heart went back to Paris to record its
sense of the necessity of some amelioration of these colonial
ferocities; but the words of humanity were still spoken in the interest
of slavery. It was for the sake of economy, and to secure a natural
local increase of the slave population, that these vague reports of
cruelty were suggested to the government. The planting interest procured
the suppression of one of the mildest and most judicious of the books
thus written, and had the author cast into prison. When the crack of the
planter's lash sounded in the purlieus of the Tuileries itself, humanity
had to wait till the Revolution had cleared out the Palace, the Church,
and the Courts, before its clear protest could reverberate against the
system of the colony. Then Grégoire, Lameth, Condorcet, Brissot,
Lafayette, and others, assailed the planting interest, and uttered the
bold generalization that either the colonies or the crimes must be
abandoned; for the restraining provisions of the _Code Noir_ were too
feeble for the sugar exigency, and had long ago become obsolete. There
was no police except for slaves, no inspectors of cultivation above the
agents and the overseers. He was considered a _bon blanc_, and a person
of benignity, whose slaves were seldom whipped to death. There could be
neither opinion nor economy to check these things, when "_La côte
d'Afrique est une bonne mère_" was the planter's daily consolation at
the loss of an expensive negro.

Such slavery could not be improved; it might be abolished by law or
drowned in blood. There is a crowd of pamphlets that have come down to
us shrieking with the ineptitude of this period. It was popular to
accuse the society of the _Amis des Noirs_ of having ruined the colony
by inspiring among the slaves a vague restlessness which blossomed into
a desire for vengeance and liberty. But it is a sad fact that neither of
those great impulses was stirring in those black forms, monoliths of
scars and slave-brands. Not till their eyes had grown red at the sight
of blood shed at other suggestions, and their ears had devoured the
crackling of the canes and country-seats of their masters, did the
guiding spirit of Liberty emerge from the havoc, and respond with
Toussaint to the call of French humanity, by fighting for the Republic
and the Rights of Man. Suicide was the only insurrection that ever
seemed to the slave to promise liberty; for during the space of a
hundred years nothing more formidable than the two risings of Padre Jean
and Makandal had thrilled the consciences of the planters. If the latter
had preserved the unity of sentiment that belonged to the atrocious
unity of their interest, and had waived their pride for their safety,
they might have proclaimed decrees of emancipation with every morning's
peal of the plantation-bell, and the negroes would have replied every
morning, "_Vous maître_."

There is but one other folly to match the accusation that the sentiment
of French Abolitionism excited the slaves to rise: that is, the
sentiment that a slave ought not to be excited to rise against such
"Horrors of San Domingo" as we have just recorded. The men who are
guilty of that sentimentality, while they smugly enjoy personal immunity
and the dear delights of home, deserve to be sold to a Caradeux or a
Legree. Let them be stretched upon the _quatre-piquet_ of a great people
in a war-humor, whose fathers once rose against the enemies that would
have bled only their purses, and hamstrung only their material growth.

In the two decades between 1840 and 1860 the American Union was seldom
saved by a Northern statesman without the help of San Domingo. People in
cities, with a balance at the bank, stocks floating in the market,
little children going to primary schools, a well-filled wood-shed, and a
house that is not fire-proof, shudder when they hear that a great moral
principle has devastated properties and sent peaceful homes up in the
smoke of arson. Certainly the Union shall be preserved; at all events,
the wood-shed must be. Nothing shall be the midnight assassin of the
country until slavery itself is ready for the job. So the Northern
merchant kept his gold at par through dread of anti-slavery, and saved
the Union just long enough to pay seventy-five per cent, for the luxury
of the "Horrors." Did it ever once occur to him that his eminent
Northern statesman was pretending something that the South itself knew
to be false and never hypocritically urged against the anti-slavery men?
Southern men of intelligence had the best of reasons for understanding
the phenomena of San Domingo, and while the "Friends of the Black" were
dripping with innocent French blood in Northern speeches, the embryo
Secessionists at Nashville and Savannah strengthened their convictions
with the proper rendering of the same history. Take, as a specimen of
their tranquil frame of mind, the following view, which was intended to
correct a vague popular dread that in all probability was inspired by
Northern statesmen. It is from a wonderfully calm and judicious speech
delivered before the Nashville Convention, a dozen years ago, by General
Felix Huston of Mississippi.

     "This insurrection [of San Domingo] having occurred so near
     to us, and being within the recollection of many persons
     living, who heard the exaggerated accounts of the day, has
     fastened itself on the public imagination, until it has
     become a subject of frequent reference, and even Southern
     twaddlers declaim about the Southern States being reduced to
     the condition of St. Domingo, and Abolitionists triumphantly
     point to it as a case where the negro race have asserted and
     maintained their freedom.

     "Properly speaking, this was not a slave insurrection,
     although it assumed that form after the island was thrown
     into a revolutionary state.

     "The island of St. Domingo, in 1791, contained about seven
     hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants, about fifty thousand
     of whom were whites, more than double that number of
     mulattoes and of mixed blood, and the balance were negroes.

     "The French and Spanish planters had introduced a general
     system of concubinage, and the consequence was a numerous
     progeny of mulattoes, many of whom associated with the
     whites nearly on terms of equality, were educated at home or
     sent to Europe to be educated, and many of them were
     wealthy, having been freed by their parents and their
     property left to them. These things had lowered, the
     character of the white proprietors, gradually bringing them
     down to the level of the mulattoes, and lessening the
     distance between them and the blacks; and in addition to
     this, there were a number of the white population who were
     poor and enervated, and rendered vicious by the low state of
     social morals and influence of the climate.

     "In this state of affairs, when the French Revolution broke
     out, the wild spirit of liberty caught to the island and
     infected the mulattoes and the lower class of white
     population, and they sought to equalize themselves with the
     large proprietors. The foundations of society were broken up
     by this intermediate class, and in the course of the
     struggle they called in the blacks, and the two united,
     exceeding the whites in the proportion of twelve to one,
     expelled them from the island. Since that time a continual
     struggle has been going on between the mulattoes and the
     negroes, the latter having numbers and brute force, and the
     former sustaining themselves by superior intelligence.

     "There never has been a formidable slave insurrection,
     considered purely as such; and a comparison of our situation
     with slavery as it has existed elsewhere ought to relieve
     the minds of the most timid from any apprehension of danger
     from our negroes, under any circumstances, in peace or war."

This generally truthful statement, which needs but little modification,
shows that San Domingo was helping to destroy the Union at the South
while it was trying to save it at the North. The words of the
Secessionist were prophetic, and Slavery will continue to be the great
unimpaired war power of Southern institutions, till some color-bearer,
white or black, in the name of law and order, shakes the stars of
America over her inland fields.

AUGUST 22, 1791.

When the French vessels, bringing news of the developing Revolution,
touched the wharves of Cap Français, a spark seemed to leap forth into
the colony, to run through all ranks and classes of men, setting the
Creole hearts afire, till it fell dead against the _gros peau_ and the
_peau fin_[27] of the black man. Three colonial parties vibrated with
expectations that were radically discordant when the cannon of the
people thundered against the Bastille. First in rank and assumption were
the old planters and proprietors, two-thirds of whom were at the time
absentees in France. They were, excepting a small minority, devoted
royalists, but desired colonial independence in order to enjoy a perfect
slaveholding authority. They were embittered by commercial restrictions,
and longed to be set free from the mother-country, that San Domingo
might be erected into a feudal kingdom with a court and gradation of
nobility, whose parchments, indeed, would have been black and engrossed
all over with despotism. They wanted the freedom of the seas and all the
ports of the world, not from a generous motive, nor from a policy that
looked beyond the single object of nourishing slavery at the cheapest
rates, to carry its products to the best markets in exchange for flour,
cloths, salted provisions, and all the necessaries of a plantation. The
revolutionary spirit of Prance was hailed by them, because it seemed to
give an opportunity to establish a government without a custom of Paris,
to check enfranchisements and crush out the dangerous familiarity of the
mulatto, to block with sugar-hogsheads the formidable movements in
France and England against the slave-trade. These men sometimes spoke as
republicans from their desire to act as despots; they succeeded in
getting their delegates admitted to seats in the National Assembly to
mix their intrigues with the current of events. Their "_Club Massiac_"
in Paris, so named from the proprietor at whose residence its meetings
were held, was composed of wealthy, adroit, and unscrupulous men, who
often showed what a subtle style of diplomacy a single interest will
create. It must be hard for bugs of a cosmopolitan mind to circumvent
the _formica leo_, whose sole object in lying still at the bottom of its
slippery tunnel is to catch its daily meal.

If this great party of slave-owners had preserved unity upon all the
questions which the Revolution excited, their descendants might to-day
be the most troublesome enemies of our blockade. But history will not
admit an If. The unity which is natural to the slaveholding American was
impossible in San Domingo, owing to the existence of the mulattoes and
the little whites.

A few intelligent proprietors had foreseen, many years previous to the
Revolution, that the continuance of their privileges depended upon the
good-will of the mulattoes and the restriction of enfranchisement. The
class of mixed blood was becoming large and formidable: of mulattoes and
free negroes there were nearly forty thousand. They were nominally free,
and had all the rights of property. A number of them were wealthy owners
of slaves. But they still bore upon their brows the shadow cast by
servitude, from which many of the mixed blood had not yet emerged. The
whites of all classes despised these men who reminded them of the color
and condition of their mothers. If a mulatto struck or insulted a white
man, he was subjected to severe penalties; no offices were open to him,
no doors of society, no career except that of trade or agriculture. This
was not well endured by a class which had inherited the fire and vanity
of their French fathers, with intellectual qualities that caught
passion and mobility from the drops of negro blood. Great numbers of
them had been carefully educated in France, whither they sent their own
children, if they could afford it, to catch the port and habits of free
citizens. They were very proud, high-strung, and restless, sombre in the
presence of contempt, lowering with some expectation. Frequent attempts
had been made by them to extend the area of their rights, but they met
with nothing but arrogant repulse. The guilty problem of the island was
not destined to be relieved or modified by common sense. The planters
should have lifted this social and political ostracism from the mulatto,
who loved to make money and to own slaves, and whose passion for livid
mistresses was as great as any Frenchman's. They were the natural allies
of the proprietors, and should have been erected into an intermediate
class, bound to the whites by intelligence and selfish interest, and
drawn upon the mother's side to soften the condition of the slave. This
policy was often pressed by French writers, and discussed with every
essential detail; but the descendants of the buccaneers were bent upon
playing out the island's tragedy.

The mulattoes were generally selfish, and did not care to have slavery
disturbed. When their deputies went to Paris, to offer the Republic a
splendid money-tribute of six million livres, and to plead their cause,
one of their number, Vincent Ogé, dined with Clarkson at Lafayette's,
and succeeded in convincing the great Abolitionist that he believed in
emancipation. "The slave-trade," they said, "was the parent of all the
miseries in St. Domingo, not only on account of the cruel treatment it
occasioned to the slaves, but on account of the discord which it
constantly kept up between the whites and people of color, in
consequence of the hateful distinctions it introduced. These
distinctions could never be obliterated while it lasted. They had it in
their instructions, in case they should obtain a seat in the Assembly,
to propose an immediate abolition of the slave-trade, and an immediate
amelioration of the state of slavery also, with a view to its abolition
in fifteen years."[28]

There is reason to doubt the entire sincerity of these representations,
but they were sufficient to convert every proprietor into a bitter foe
of mulatto recognition. The deputies were soon after admitted to the bar
of the National Assembly, whose president told them that their claims
were worthy of consideration. They said to Clarkson that this speech of
the president "had roused all the white colonists in Paris. Some of
these had openly insulted them. They had held also a meeting on the
subject of this speech; at which they had worked themselves up so as to
become quite furious. Nothing but intrigue was now going forward among
them to put off the consideration of the claims of the free people of
color." The deputies at length left Paris in despair. Ogé exclaimed, "If
we are once forced to desperate measures, it will be in vain that
thousands will be sent across the Atlantic to bring us back to our
former state." Clarkson counselled patience; but he found "that there
was a spirit of dissatisfaction in them, which nothing but a redress of
their grievances could subdue,--and that, if the planters should
persevere in their intrigues, and the National Assembly in delay, a fire
would be lighted up in St. Domingo which could not easily be
extinguished."--This was the position of the Mulatto party.

The third class, of Little Whites, comprised the mechanics and artisans
of every description, but also included all whites whose number of
slaves did not exceed twenty-four. This party likewise hailed the
Revolution, because it hated the pride and privileges of the great
proprietors. But it also hated the mulattoes so much that the obvious
policy of making common cause with them never seemed to be suggested to
it. Among the Little Whites were a goodly number of debtors, who hoped
by separation from the mother-country to cancel the burdens incurred for
slaves and plantation-necessaries; but the majority did not favor
colonial independence. Thus the name of Liberty was invoked by hostile
cliques for selfish objects, and the whole colony trembled with the
passion of its own elements. Beneath it all lay stretched the huge
Enceladus, unconscious of the power which by a single movement might
have forestalled eruption by ruin. But he gave no sign.

Several mulattoes had been already hung for various acts of sympathy
with their class, when Ogé appeared upon the scene at the head of a
handful of armed slaves and mulattoes, and attacked the National Guard
of Cap Français. He was routed, after bravely fighting with partial
success, fled into the Spanish quarter, whence he was reclaimed in the
name of the king, and surrendered by the governor. Thirteen of his
followers were condemned to the galleys, twenty-two were hung, and Ogé
with his friend Chavannes was broken upon the wheel. A distinction of
color was made at the moment of their death: the scaffold upon which
they suffered was not allowed to be erected upon the same spot devoted
to the execution of whites.

Now the National Guard in all the chief towns was divided into adherents
of the mother-country and sympathizers with colonial independence. In a
bloody street-fight which took place at Port-au-Prince, the latter were
defeated. Then both factions sought to gain a momentary preponderance by
allying themselves with the mulattoes: the latter joined the
metropolitan party, which in this moment of extremity still thought of
color, and served out to the volunteers _yellow pom-pons_, instead of
the white ones which distinguished themselves. The mulattoes instantly
broke up their ranks, and preserved neutrality.

It would be tedious to relate the disturbances, popular executions, and
ferocious acts which took place in every quarter of the island. Murder
was inaugurated by the colonists themselves: the provincial faction
avenged their previous defeat, and were temporarily masters of the
colony. On the 15th of May, 1791, the National Assembly had passed a
decree, admitting, by a precise designation, all enfranchised of all
colors who were born of free parents to the right of suffrage. When this
reached the island, the whites were violently agitated, and many
outrages were committed against the people of color. The decree was
formally rejected, the mulattoes again flew to arms, and began to put
themselves into a condition to demand the rights which had been solemnly
conceded to them. In that decree not a word is said of the slaves: the
_Amis des Noirs_, and the debates of the National Assembly, stretched
out no hand towards that inarticulate and suffering mass. The colonists
themselves had been for months shaking a scarlet rag, as if they
deliberately meant to excite the first blind plunge of the brute from
its harness.

The mulattoes now brought their slaves into headquarters at
Croix-des-Bouquets, and armed them. The whites followed this example,
and began to drill a body of slaves in Port-au-Prince. Amid this
passionate preoccupation of all minds, the ordinary discipline of the
plantations was relaxed, the labor languished, the negroes were ill-fed
and began to escape to the _mornes_, the subtle earth-currents carried
vague disquiet into the most solitary quarters. Then the negroes began
to assemble at midnight to subject themselves to the frenzy of their
priestesses, and to conduct the serpent-orgies. But it is not likely
that the extensive revolt in the Plaine du Cap would have taken place,
if an English negro, called Buckman, had not appeared upon the scene, to
give a direction to all these restless hearts, and to pour his own clear
indignation into them. No one can satisfactorily explain where he came
from. One writer will prove to you that he was an emissary of the
planting interest in Jamaica, which was willing to set the fatal example
of insurrection for the sake of destroying a rival colony. Another pen
is equally fertile with assurances that he was bought with the gold of
Pitt to be a political instrument of perfidious Albion. It is shown to
be more probable that he was the agent of the Spanish governor, whose
object was to effect a diversion in the interest of royalism. According
to another statement, he belonged to the Cudjoe band of Jamaica maroons,
which had forced a declaration of its independence from the governor of
that island. Buckman was acquainted with Creole French, and was in full
sympathy with the superstitious rites of his countrymen in San Domingo.
Putting aside the conjectures of the times, one thing is certain beyond
a doubt, that he was born of the moment, and sprang from the festering
history which white neglect and criminality had spread, as naturally as
the poisoned sting flutters from the swamps of summer. And he filled the
night of vengeance, which was accorded to him by laws that cannot be
repealed without making the whole life of the planet one sustained
expression of the wrath of God.

A furious storm raged during the night of August 22: the blackness was
rent by the lightning that is known only to the hurricane-regions of the
earth. The negroes gathered upon the Morne Rouge, sacrificed a black
heifer with frantic dances which the elements seemed to electrify,
thunder emphasized the declaration of the priestess that the entrails
were satisfactory, and the quarters were thrown into a huge brazier to
be burned. At that moment a bird fell from the overhanging branch of a
tree directly into the cooking spell, and terrible shouts of
encouragement hailed the omen. Is it an old Pelasgic or a Thracian
forest grown mænadic over some forgotten vengeance of the early days? It
is the unalterable human nature, masked in the deeper colors of more
fervid skies, gathering a mighty breath into its lacerated bosom for a
rending of outrage and a lion's leap in the dark against its foe.

"Listen!" cried Buckman. "The good God conceals himself in a cloud, He
mutters in the tempest. By the whites He commands crime, by us He
commands benefits. But God, who is good, ordains for us vengeance. Tear
down the figure of the white man's God which brings the tears to your
eyes. Hear! It is Liberty! It speaks to the hearts of us all."

The morning broke clear, but the tempest had dropped from the skies to
earth. The costly habitations, whose cornerstones were dungeons, in
whose courts the gay guests of the planter used to season their dessert
with the punishments he had saved up for them, were carried off by
exulting flames. The great fields of cane, which pumped the earth's sap
and the negro's blood up for the slaveholder's caldron, went crackling
away with the houses which they furnished. Rich garments, dainty
upholstery, and the last fashions of Paris went parading on the negroes'
backs, and hid the marks of the floggings which earned them. The dead
women and children lay in the thickets where they had vainly implored
mercy. There are long careers of guiltiness whose devilish nature
becomes apparent only when innocence suffers with it. Then the cry of a
babe upon a negro's pike is the voice of God's judgment against a

Will it be credited that the whites who witnessed the smoking plain from
the roofs of Cap Français broke into the houses of the mulattoes, and
murdered all they could find,--the paralytic old man in his bed, the
daughters in the same room, the men in the street,--murdered and
ravished during one long day? In this crisis of the colony, suspicion
and prejudice of color were stronger than personal alarm. Every action
of the whites was piqued by pride of color and the intoxication of
caste. These vulgar mulatto-making pale-faces would hazard their safety
sooner than grasp the hand of their own half-breeds and arm it with the
weapon of unity. Color-blindness was at length the weakness through
which violated laws revenged themselves: the French could not perceive
which heart was black and which was white.

If Northern statesmen and glib editors of Tory sheets would derive a
lesson from San Domingo for the guidance of the people, let them find
it in the horrors wrought by the white man's prejudice. It is the key to
the history of the island. And it is by means of the black man that God
perceives whether the Christianity of Church and State is skin-deep or
not. Beneath those oxidated surfaces He has hidden metal for the tools
and swords of a republic, and into our hands He puts the needle of the
text, "God has made of one blood all nations," to agitate and attract us
to our true safety and glory. The black man is the test of the white
man's ability to be the citizen of a long-lived republic. It is as if
God lighted His lamp and decked His altar behind those bronze doors, and
waited for the incense and chant of Liberty to open them and enter His
choir, instead of passing by. So long as America hates and degrades the
black man, so long will she be deprived of four millions' worth of God.
In so much of God a great deal of retribution must be slumbering, if the
story of San Domingo was a fact, and not a hideous dream.


The native tribes of Africa differ as much in combative propensity and
ability for warlike enterprises as in their other traits. The people of
Wadai are distinguished for bravery above all their neighbors. The men
of Ashantee are great fighters, and have such a contempt for death that
they will continue their attacks upon a European intrenchment in spite
of appalling losses. A band that is overpowered will fight to the last
man; for it is the custom of the kingdom to punish cowardice with death.
They are almost the only negroes who will deliver battle in the open
field, in regular bodies with closed ranks. In Dahomey war is a passion
of the ruler and the people, and the year is divided between fighting
and feasting. The king's body-guard of five thousand unmarried women
preserves the tradition of bravery, as European regiments preserve their
flags. The mild Mandingos become obstinate in fight; they have minstrels
who accompany armies to war, and recite the deeds of former heroes; but
they are not capable of discipline. On the contrary, the negroes of
Fernando Po march and exercise with a great regard to order. In Ashantee
and upon the Gold Coast the negroes make use of horn signals in war to
transmit orders to a distance; and on the White Nile and in Kaffa
drummers are stationed in trees to telegraph commands. Great
circumspection is not universal; but the Veis maintain posts, and when
they are threatened, a watch is kept night and day. The negroes of Akkra
know the value of a ditched intrenchment.

The English praise the negro soldiers whom they have in Sierra Leone for
good behavior, temperance, and discipline; and their Jolofs at the
Gambia execute complicated manoeuvres in a striking way. West-Indian
troops have performed many distinguished services, and English officers
say that they are as brave as Europeans; but in the heat of a fight they
are apt to grow intractable and to behave wildly. The troops which
Napoleon used in Calabria, drawn from the French Colonies, emulated the
French soldiers, and arrived at great distinction.

D'Escayrac says that the native negro has eminent qualities for the
making of a good soldier,--dependence upon a superior, unquestioning
confidence in his sagacity, an enthusiastic courage which mounts to
great audacity, passiveness, and capacity for waiting.

From this the Congos must be excepted. Large numbers of them deserted
General Dessalines in San Domingo, and fled to the mountains, frightened
at the daring of the French. Here, if brave, they might have been armed
and officered by Spaniards to effect dangerous movements in his rear.
But he knew their timidity, and gave himself no trouble about them.
There is a genealogy which derives Toussaint from a Congo grandfather, a
native prince of renown; but it was probably manufactured for him at the
suggestion of his own achievements. The sullen-looking Congo is really
gay, rollicking, disposed to idleness, careless and sensual, fatigued by
the smallest act of reflection; Toussaint was grave, reticent,
forecasting, tenacious, secretive, full of endurance and concentration,
rapid and brave in war.[30] What a confident and noble aspect he had,
when he left his guard and walked alone to the head of a column of old
troops of his who had deserted to Desfourneaux, and were about to
deliver their fire! "My children, will you fire upon your father?"--and
down went four regiments upon their knees. The white officers tried to
bring them under the fire of cannon, but it was too late. Here was a
greater risk than Napoleon ran, after landing at Fréjus, on his march
upon Paris.

Contempt for death is a universal trait of the native African.[31] The
slaveholder says it is in consequence of his affinity to the brute,
which does not know how to estimate a danger, and whose nervous
organization is too dull to be thrilled and daunted in its presence. It
is really in consequence of his single-mindedness: the big necks lift
the blood, which is two degrees warmer than a white man's, and drench
the brain with an ecstasy of daring. If he can clearly see the probable
manner of his death, the blood is up and not down at the sight.[32] The
negro's nerves are very susceptible; in cool blood he is easily alarmed
at anything unexpected or threatening. His fancy is peopled with odd
fears; he shrinks at the prospect of a punishment more grotesque or
refined than usual. And when he becomes a Creole negro, his fancy is
always shooting timid glances beneath the yoke of Slavery. The negroes
and mulattoes at San Domingo looked impassively at hanging, breaking
upon the wheel, and quartering; but when the first guillotine was
imported and set in action, they and the Creole whites shrank appalled
to see the head disappear in the basket. It was too deft and sudden for
their taste, and this mode of execution was abandoned for the more
hearty and lacerating methods.

When a negro has a motive, his nerves grow firm, his imagination escapes
before the rising passion, his contempt for death is not stolidity, but
inspiration. In the smouldering surface lies an ember capable of white
heat. That makes the negro soldier difficult to hold in hand or to call
off. He has no fancy for grim sitting, like the Indian, to die by
inches, though he can endure torture with tranquillity. He is too
tropical for that; and after the exultation of a fight, in which he has
been as savage as he can be, the process of torturing his foes seems
tame, and he seldom does it, except by way of close reprisals to prevent
the practice in his enemy. The French were invariably more cruel than
the negroes.

Southern gentlemen think that the negro is incurably afraid of
fire-arms, and too clumsy to use them with effect. It is a great
mistake. White men who never touched a gun are equally clumsy and
nervous. When the slavers began to furnish the native tribes with
condemned muskets in exchange for slaves, many ludicrous scenes
occurred. The Senegambians considered that the object was to get as much
noise as possible out of the weapon. The people of Akkra planted the
stock against their hips, shut both eyes and fired; they would not take
aim, because it was their opinion that it brought certain death to see a
falling enemy. Other tribes thought a musket was possessed, and at the
moment of firing threw it violently away from them. When we consider the
quality of the weapons furnished, this action will appear laudable. But
as these superstitions disappeared, especially upon the Gold Coast and
in Ashantee, negroes have learned to use the musket properly. Among the
Gold-Coast negroes are good smiths, who have sometimes even made guns.
In the West Indies, the Creole negro has become a sharp-shooter, very
formidable on the skirts of woods and in the defiles of the _mornes_. He
learned to deliver volleys with precision, and to use the bayonet with
great valor. The old soldiers of Le Clerc and Rochambeau, veterans of
the Rhine and Italy, were never known to presume upon negro incapacity
to use a musket. The number of their dead and wounded taught them what
men who are determined to be free can do with the white man's weapons.

Rainsford, who was an English captain of a West-Indian regiment,
describes a review of fifty thousand soldiers of Toussaint on the Plaine
du Cap. "Of the grandeur of the scene I had not the smallest conception.
Each general officer had a demi-brigade, which went through the manual
exercise with a degree of expertness seldom witnessed, and performed
equally well several manoeuvres applicable to their method of
fighting. At a whistle a whole brigade ran three or four hundred yards,
then, separating, threw themselves flat on the ground, changing to their
backs or sides, keeping up a strong fire the whole of the time, till
they were recalled; they then formed again, in an instant, into their
wonted regularity. This single manoeuvre was executed with such
facility and precision as totally to prevent cavalry from charging them
in bushy and hilly countries. Such complete subordination, such
promptitude and dexterity, prevailed the whole time, as would have
astonished any European soldier."

These were the men whose previous lives had been spent at the
hoe-handle, and in feeding canes to the cylinders of the sugar-mill.

Rainsford gives this general view of the operations of Toussaint's
forces:--"Though formed into regular divisions, the soldiers of the one
were trained to the duties of the other, and all understood the
management of artillery with the greatest accuracy. Their chief
dexterity, however, was in the use of the bayonet. With that dreadful
weapon fixed on muskets of extraordinary length in their hands, neither
cavalry nor artillery could subdue infantry, although of unequal
proportion; but when they were attacked in their defiles, no power could
overcome them. Infinitely more skillful than the Maroons of Jamaica in
their cock-pits, though not more favored by Nature, they found means to
place whole lines in ambush, continuing sometimes from one post to
another, and sometimes stretching from their camps in the form of a
horse-shoe. With these lines artillery was not used, to prevent their
being burdened or the chance of loss; but the surrounding heights of
every camp were well fortified, according to the experience and judgment
of different European engineers, with ordnance of the best kind, in
proper directions. The protection afforded by these outworks encouraged
the blacks to every exertion of skill or courage; while the alertness
constantly displayed embarrassed the enemy; who, frequently irritated,
or worn out with fatigue, flew in disorder to the attack, or retreated
with difficulty. Sometimes a regular battle or skirmish ensued, to
seduce the enemy to a confidence in their own superiority, when in a
moment reinforcements arose from an ambush in the vicinity, and turned
the fortune of the day. If black troops in the pay of the enemy were
despatched to reconnoitre when an ambush was probable, and were
discovered, not a man returned, from the hatred which their perfidy had
inspired; nor could an officer venture beyond the lines with impunity."

The temporary successes enjoyed by the French General Le Clerc, which
led to the surrender of Toussaint and his subsequent deportation to
France, were owing to the defection of several black officers in command
of important posts, who delivered up all their troops and munitions to
the enemy. The whole of Toussaint's first line, protecting the
Artibonite and the mountains, was thus unexpectedly forced by the
French, who plied the blacks with suave proclamations, depreciating the
idea of a return to slavery. Money and promises of personal promotion
were also freely used. The negro is vain and very fond of pomp. This is
his weakest point. The Creole negro loved to make great expenditures,
and to imitate the lavish style of the slaveholders. So did many of the
mulattoes. Toussaint's officers were not all black, and the men of color
proved accessible to French cajolery.

Take a single case to show how this change of sentiment was produced
without bribery. When the French expedition under Le Clere arrived, the
mulatto General Maurepas commanded at Port-de-Paix. He had not yet
learned whether Toussaint intended to rely upon the proclamation of
Bonaparte and to deliver up the military posts. General Humbert was sent
against him with a strong column, and demanded the surrender of the
fort. Said Maurapas,--"I am under the orders of Toussaint, who is my
chief; I cannot deliver the forts to you without his orders. Wait till I
receive his instructions; it will be only a matter of four-and-twenty
hours." Humbert, who knew that Toussaint was in full revolt,
replied,--"I have orders to attack."

"Very well. I cannot surrender without an order from General Toussaint.
If you attack me, I shall be obliged to defend myself."

"I also have my orders; I am forced to obey them."

Maurepas retired, and took his station alone upon a rampart of the
works. Humbert's troops, numbering four thousand, opened fire. Maurepas
remains awhile in the storm of bullets to reconnoitre, then coolly
descends and opens his own fire. He had but seven hundred blacks and
sixty whites. The French attacked four times and were four times
repulsed, with the loss of fifteen hundred men. Humbert was obliged to
retreat, before the reinforcement which had been despatched under
General Debelle could reach him. Maurepas's orders were not to attack,
but to defend. So he instantly hastened to another post, which
intercepted the route by which General Debelle was coming, met him, and
fought him there, repulsed him, and took seven cannon.

This was not an encouraging commencement for these children of the
French Revolution, who had beaten Suwarrow in Switzerland and blasted
the Mameluke cavalry with rolling fire, who had debouched from the St.
Bernard upon the plains of Piedmont in time to gather Austrian flags at
Marengo, and who added the name of Hohenlinden to the glory of Moreau.
Humbert himself, at the head of four thousand grenadiers, had restored
the day which preceded the surrender of the Russians at Zürich.

Le Clerc was obliged to say that the First Consul never had the
intention of restoring slavery. Humbert himself carried this
proclamation to Maurepas, and with it gained admittance to the
intrenchments which he could not storm. This single defection placed
four thousand admirable troops, and the harbor of Port-de-Paix, in the
hands of the French, and exposed Toussaint's flank at Gonaïves; and its
moral effect was so great upon the blacks as to encourage Le Clerc to
persist in his enterprise.

In the brief period of pacification which preceded this attempt of
Bonaparte to reconquer the island, Toussaint was mainly occupied with
the organization of agriculture. His army then consisted of only fifteen
demi-brigades, numbering in all 22,500, a guard of honor of one thousand
infantry, a regiment of cavalry, and an artillery corps. But the
military department was in perfect order. There was an État-Major,
consisting of a general of division with two aides-de-camp, a company of
guides, one of dragoons, and two secretaries,--ten brigadier-generals
with ten secretaries, ten aides-de-camp, and an escort,--and a board of
health, composed of one chief inspector, six physicians, and six
surgeons-general. The commissary and engineering departments were also
thoroughly organized. The pay of the 22,500 men amounted to 7,838,400
francs; rations, 6,366,195; musicians, 239,112; uniforming, 1,887,682;
officers' uniforms, 208,837. The pay of a non-commissioned officer and
private was 55 centimes per day.

In this army there were one thousand mulattoes, and five or six hundred
whites, recruited from the various artillery regiments which had been in
the colony during the last ten years. Every cultivator was a member of
the great reserve of this army, its spy and outpost and partisan.

The chief interest of the campaign against Le Clerc turns upon the
obstinate defence of Crête-à-Pierrot. Here the best qualities of black
troops were manifested. This was a simple oblong redoubt, thrown up by
the English during their brief occupation of the western coast, and
strengthened by the negroes. The Artibonite, which is the most important
river of the colony, threading its way from the mountains of the
interior through the _mornes_, which are not many miles from the sea,
passed under this redoubt, which was placed to command the principal
defile into the inaccessible region beyond. The rich central plains, the
river, and the mountains belonged to whoever held this post. The
Mirbalais quarter could raise potatoes enough to nourish sixty thousand
men accustomed to that kind of food.

When Toussaint's plan was spoiled by defection and defeat, he
transferred immense munitions to the mountains, and decided to
concentrate, for the double purpose of holding the place, if possible,
and of getting the French away from their supplies. It was a simple
breastwork of Campeachy-wood faced with earth, and had a ditch fifteen
feet deep. At a little distance was a small redoubt upon an eminence
which overlooked the larger work. To the east the great scarped rocks
forbade an approach, and dense spinous undergrowth filled the
surrounding forest. The defence of this place was given to Dessalines, a
most audacious and able fighter. Toussaint intended to harass the
investing columns from the north, and Charles Belair was posted to the
south, beyond and near the Artibonite. Toussaint would then be between
the fortress and the French corps of observation which was left in the
north,--a position which he turned to brilliant advantage. Four French
columns, of more than twelve thousand men, commenced, from as many
different directions, a slow and difficult movement upon this work. The
first column which came within sight of it found a body of negroes drawn
up, as if ready to give battle on the outside. It was the surplus of one
or two thousand troops which the intrenchment would not hold. The
French, expecting to rout them and enter the redoubt with them, charged
with the bayonet; the blacks fled, and the French reached the glacis.
Suddenly the blacks threw themselves into the ditch, thus exposing the
French troops to a terrible fire, which was opened from the redoubt.
General Debelle was severely wounded, and three or four hundred men were
stretched upon the field.

The advance in another quarter was checked by a small redoubt that
opened an unexpected fire. It was necessary to take it, and cannon had
to be employed. When the balls began to reach them, the blacks danced
and sang, and soon, issuing suddenly, with, cries, "_En avant! Canons à
nous_," attempted to take the pieces with the bayonet. But the
supporting fire was too strong, they were thrown into disorder, and the
redoubt was entered by the French.

Early one morning the camp of the blacks was surprised by one of the
columns, which had surmounted all the difficulties in its way.
Notwithstanding the previous experience, the French thought this time to
enter, and advanced precipitately. Many blacks entered the redoubt, the
rest jumped into the ditch, and the same terrible fire vomited forth.
Another column advanced to support the attack; but the first one was
already crushed and in full retreat. The blacks swarmed to the parapets,
threw planks across the ditch, and attacked both columns with drums
beating the charge. The French turned, and met just resistance enough to
bring them again within range, the same fire broke forth, and the
columns gave way, with a loss to the first of four hundred and eighty
men, and two or three hundred to the latter.

Upon this retreat, the cultivators of the neighborhood exchanged shots
with the flanking parties, and displayed great boldness.

It was plain to the French that this open redoubt would have to be
invested; but before this was done, Dessalines had left the place with
all the troops which could not be fed there, and cut his way across a
column with the loss of a hundred men. The defence was committed to a
quarteroon named Lamartinière.

While the French were completing the investment, the morning music of
the black band floated the old strains of the Marseillaise within their
lines. La Croix declares that it produced a painful sensation. The
soldiers looked at each other, and recalled the great marches which
carried victory to that music against the tyrants of Europe. "What!"
they said, "are our barbarous enemies in the right? Are we no longer the
soldiers of the Republic? Have we become the servile instruments of _la
politique_?" No doubt of that; these children of the Marseillaise and
adorers of Moreau had become _de trop_ in the Old World, and had been
sent to leave their bones in the defiles of _Pensez-y-bien_.[33]

The investment of Crête-à-Pierrot was regularly made, by Bacheiu, an
engineer who had distinguished himself in Egypt. Batteries were
established before the head of each division, a single mortar was got
into position, and a battery of seven pieces played upon the little
redoubt above. This is getting to be vastly more troublesome than the
fort of Bard, which held in check these very officers and men upon
their road to Marengo.

Rochambeau thought he had extinguished the fire of the little redoubt,
and would fain storm it. The blacks had protected it by an abatis ten
feet deep and three in height, in which our gallant ally of the
Revolution entangled himself, and was held there till he had lost three
hundred men, and gained nothing.

"Thus the Crête-à-Pierrot, in which (and in the small redoubt) there
were hardly twelve hundred men,[34] had already cost us more than
fifteen hundred in sheer loss. So we fell back upon the method which we
should have tried in the beginning, a vigorous blockade and a sustained

The fire was kept up night and day for three days without cessation.
Descourtilz, a French naturalist, who had been forced to act as surgeon,
was in the redoubt, and he describes the scenes of the interior. The
enfilading fire shattered the timber-work, and the bombs set fire to the
tents made of macaw-tree foliage, which the negroes threw flaming into
the ditch. A cannoneer sees a bomb falls close to a sick friend of his
who is asleep; considering that sleep is very needful for him, he seizes
the bomb, and cuts off the fuse with a knife. In a corner nods a
grenadier overcome with fatigue; a bomb falls at his side; he wakes
simultaneously with the explosion, to be blown to sleep again. The
soldiers stand and watch the bright parabola, in dead silence; then
comes the cry, "_Gare à la bombe!_" Hungry and thirsty men chew leaden
balls for relief. Five hundred men have fallen. Some of the officers
come for the surgeon's opium. They will not be taken alive. But the
excitement of the scene is so great that opium fails of its wonted
effect, and they complain of the tardiness of the dose. Other officers
make their wills with _sang froid_, as if expecting a tranquil
administration of their estates.

During the last night the little garrison evacuates the upper redoubt,
and is seen coming towards the work. Down goes the drawbridge, the
blacks issue to meet them, taking them for a storming party of the
French. There is a mutual mistake, both parties of blacks deliver their
fire, the sortie party retreats, and the garrison enters the redoubt
with them. Here they discover the mistake, but their rage is so great
that they exhaust their cartridges upon each other at four paces.
Descourtilz takes advantage of the confusion to throw himself into the
ditch, and escapes under a volley.

The place is no longer tenable, and must be evacuated. A scout apprises
Toussaint of the necessity, and it is arranged that he shall attack from
the north, while Lamartinière issues from the redoubt. During
Toussaint's feint, the black garrison cut their way through the left of
Rochambeau's division.

General Le Clerc cannot withhold his admiration. "The retreat which the
commandant of Crête-à-Pierrot dared to conceive and execute is a
remarkable feat of arms. We surrounded his post to the number of more
than twelve thousand men; he saved himself, did not lose half his
garrison, and left us only his dead and wounded. We found the baggage of
Dessalines, a few white cannoneers, the music of the guard of honor, a
magazine of powder, a number of muskets, and fifteen cannon of great

Toussaint turned immediately towards the north, raised the cultivators,
attacked the corps of observation, drove it into Cap Français, ravaged
the plain, turned and defeated Hardy's division, which attempted to keep
open the communications with Le Clerc, and would have taken the city, if
fresh reinforcements from France had not at the same time arrived in the

After the arrest of Toussaint, Dessalines reorganized the resistance of
the blacks, and attacked Rochambeau in the open field, driving him into
the city, where Le Clerc had just died: in that infected atmosphere he
kept the best troops of France besieged. "_Ah! ce gaillard_," the
French called the epidemic which came to complete the work of the
blacks. Twenty thousand men reinforced Rochambeau, but he capitulated,
after a terrible assault which Dessalines made with twenty-seven
thousand men, on the 28th November, 1803.

One more touch of negro soldiery must suffice. There was an
intrenchment, called Verdière, occupied by the French, upon a hill
overlooking the city. Dessalines sent a negro general, Capoix, with
three demi-brigades to take it. "They recoiled," says Schoelcher,
"horribly mutilated by the fire from the intrenchment. He rallied them:
the grape tore them in pieces, and hurled them again to the bottom of
the hill. Boiling with rage, Capoix goes to seek fresh troops, mounts a
fiery horse, and rushes forward for the third time; but the thousand
deaths which the fort delivers repulse his soldiers. He foams with
anger, exhorts them, pricks them on, and leads them up a fourth time. A
ball kills his horse, and he rolls over, but, soon extricating himself,
he runs to the head of the troops. '_En avant! En avant!_' he repeats,
with enthusiasm; at the same instant his plumed chapeau is swept from
his head by a grape-shot, but he still throws himself forward to the
assault. '_En avant! En avant!_'

"Then great shouts went up along the ramparts of the city: '_Bravo!
bravo! vivat! vivat!_' cried Rochambeau and his staff, who were watching
the assault. A drum-roll is heard, the fire of Verdière pauses, an
officer issues from the city, gallops to the very front of the surprised
blacks, and saluting, says,--'The Captain-General Rochambeau and the
French army send their admiration to the general officer who has just
covered himself with glory.' This magnificent message delivered, he
turned his horse, reëntered the city, and the assault is renewed.
Imagine if Capoix and his soldiers did new prodigies of valor. But the
besieged were also electrified, would not be overcome, and Dessalines
sent the order to retire. The next day a groom led a richly caparisoned
horse to the quarter-general of the blacks, which Rochambeau offered as
a mark of his admiration, and to replace that which he regretted had
been killed."

The valor and fighting qualities of the blacks in San Domingo were
nourished by the wars which sprang from their own necessities. They were
the native growths of the soil which had been long enriched by their
innocent blood; more blood must be invested in it, if they would own it.
Learning to fight was equivalent to learning to live. Their cause was
neither represented nor championed by a single power on earth, and
nothing but the hope of making enormous profits out of their despair led
Anglo-American schooners to run English and French blockades, to land
arms and powder in the little coves of the island. Will the negro fight
as well, if the motive and the exigency are inferior?

We make a present to the Southern negro of an excellent chance for
fighting, with our compliments. Some of us do it with our curses. The
war does not spring for them out of enthusiasm and despair which seize
their hearts at once, as they view a degradation from which they flee
and a liberty to which they are all hurrying. They are asked to fight
for us as well as for themselves, and this asking is, like emancipation,
a military necessity. The motive lacks the perfect form and
incandescence, like that of a star leaping from a molten sun, which
lighted battle-ardors in the poor slaves of San Domingo. And we even
hedge about this invitation to bleed for us with conditions which are
evidently dictated by a suspicion that the motive is not great enough to
make the negro depend upon himself. If the war does not entirely sweep
away these poor beginnings and thrust white and black together into the
arms of thrilling danger, we need not expect great fighting from him. He
may not disgrace himself, but he will not ennoble the republic till his
heart's core is the war's core, and the colors of two races run into


[25] See Numbers LVI., LVIII., LIX., and LXV. of this magazine.

[26] _La Cause des Esclaves Nègres et des Habitans de la Guinée, portée
au Tribunal de la Justice, de la Religion, de la Politique_: I. 335; II.

[27] _Gros peau_, thick skin, was the French equivalent to _Bozal_:
_peau fin_ was the Creole negro.

[28] Clarkson's _History of the Abolition of the Slave-Trade_, Vol. II.
p. 134.

[29] _Anthropologie der Naturvölker_, von Dr. Theodor Waitz. Zweiter
Theil: die Negervölker und ihre Verwandten. Leipzig, 1860. Very full,
minute, and humane in tone, though telling all the facts about the
manners and habits of native Africans.

_Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire de la Révolution de Saint Dominique._
Par le Lieutenant-Général Baron Pamphile de La Croix. 2 Tom. Generally
very fair to the negro soldier: himself a distinguished soldier.

_Le Système Colonial dévoilé._ Par le Baron de Vastey, mulatto. Terrible
account of the plantation cruelties.

_Mémoires pour servir a l'Histoire d'Hayti._ Par l'Adjutant-Général
Boisrond-Tonnerre. Written to explain the defection of Dessalines from
Toussaint, and the military movements of the former. The author was a

_Des Colonies, et particulièrement de celle de Saint-Domingue; Mémoire
Historique et Politique._ Par le Colonel Malenfant, Chevalier de la
Légion d'Honneur, etc. A pretty impartial book, by a pro-slavery man.

_L. F. Sonthonax à Bourdon de l'Oise._ Pamphlet. The vindication of
Sonthonax for declaring emancipation.

_Colonies Étrangères et Haïti._ Par Victor Schoelcher. 2 Tom. Valuable,
but leaning too much towards the negro against the mulatto.

_Histoire des Désastres de Saint-Domingue._ Paris, 1795. Journalistic,
with the coloring of the day.

_Campagnes des Français à Saint-Domingue, et Réfutation des Reproches
faits au Capitaine-Général Rochambeau._ Par Ph. Albert de Lattre,
Propriétaire, etc., 1805. Shows that Rochambeau could not help himself.

_Voyages d'un Naturaliste._ 3 Tom. Par Descourtilz. Pro-slavery, but
filled with curious information.

_Expédition à St. Domingue._ Par A. Metral. Useful.

_The Empire of Hayti._ By Marcus Rainsford, Captain in West-Indian
Regiment. Occasionally valuable.

[30] The independent Congos in the interior are more active and
courageous, expert and quarrelsome than those upon the coast, who have
been subjected by the Portuguese.

[31] When the insurgents evacuated a fort near Port-au-Prince, upon the
advance of the English, a negro was left in the powder-magazine with a
lighted match, to wait till the place was occupied. Here he remained all
night; but when the English came later than was expected, his match had
burned out. Was that insensibility to all ideas, or devotion to one?

[32] Praloto was a distinguished Italian in the French artillery
service. His battery of twenty field-pieces at Port-au-Prince held the
whole neighborhood in check, till at length a young negro named
Hyacinthe roused the slaves to attack it. In the next fight, they rushed
upon this battery, insensible to its fire, embraced the guns and were
bayoneted, still returned to them, stuffed the arms of their dead
comrades into the muzzles, swarmed over them, and extinguished the fire.
This was done against a supporting fire of French infantry. The blacks
lost a thousand men, but captured the cannon, and drove the whole force
into the city.

[33] _Think twice before you try me_: the name of a _morne_ of
extraordinary difficulty, which had to be surmounted by one of the
French columns.

[34] Negro authorities say 750.


     _Sunshine in Thought._ By CHARLES GODFREY LELAND, Author of
     "Meister Karl's Sketch-Book," and Translator of "Heine's
     Pictures of Travel." New York: Charles T. Evans. 16mo.

We do not exactly know how to characterize this jubilant volume. The
author, not content to denounce generally the poets of sentimentality
and the prophets of despair, has evidently a science of Joy latent in
his mind, of which his rich, discursive, and somewhat rollicking
sentences give but an imperfect exposition. He is in search of an ideal
law of Cheerfulness, which neither history nor literature fully
illustrates, but which he still seeks with an undoubting faith. Every
transient glimpse of his law he eagerly seizes, whether indicated in
events or in persons. And it must be admitted that he is not ignorant
either of the great annalists or the great writers of the world. He
knows Herodotus as well as he knows Hume, Thucydides as intimately as
Gibbon. Xenophon and Plutarch are as familiar to him as Michelet,
Thiers, and Guizot. He has studied Aristænetus and Lucian as closely as
Horace Walpole and Thackeray,--is as ready to quote from Plato as from
Rabelais,--and throws the results of his wide study, with an occasional
riotous disregard of prim literary proprieties, into a fierce defiance
of everything which makes against his favorite theory, that there is
nothing in pure theology, sound ethics, and healthy literature, nothing
in the historic records of human life, which can justify the discontent
of the sentimentalist or the scorn of the misanthrope.

Engaged thus in an almost Quixotic assault on the palpable miseries of
human existence,--miseries which are as much acknowledged by Homer as by
Euripides, by Ariosto as by Dante, by Shakspeare as by Milton, by Goethe
as by Lamartine,--he has a difficult work to perform. Still he does not
bate a jot of heart and hope. He discriminates, with the art of a true
critic, between objective representations of human life and subjective
protests against human limitations, errors, miseries, and sins. As far
as either representation embodies the human principle of Joy,--whether
Greek or Roman, ancient or modern, Christian or Pagan,--he is content
with the evidence. The moment a writer of either school insinuates a
principle or sentiment of Despair, whether he be a dramatist or a
sentimentalist, the author enters his earnest protest. Classical and
Romantic poets, romancers and historians, when they slip into
misery-mongers, are equally the objects of his denunciations. Keats and
Tennyson fare nearly as ill as Byron and Heine. Mr. Leland feels assured
that the human race is entitled to joy, and there is something almost
comical in his passionate assault on the morbid genius of the world. He
seems to say, "Why do you not accept the conditions of happiness? The
conditions are simple, and nothing but your pestilent wilfulness
prevents your compliance with them."

This "pestilent wilfulness" is really the key to the whole position. All
objective as well as subjective writers have been impotent to provide
the way by which the seeker after perfect and permanent content can
attain and embody it. It has been sought through wit, humor, fancy,
imagination, reason; but it has been sought in vain. Our author, who,
after nearly exhausting all the concrete representatives of the
philosophy of Joy, admits that nobody embodies his ideal of happiness,
surrenders his ideal, as far as it has been practically expressed in
life or thought. Rabelais dissatisfies him; Scarron dissatisfies him;
Molière, Swift, Sterne, not to mention others, dissatisfy him. Every
ally he brings forward to sustain his position is reduced by analysis
into a partial enemy of his creed. But while we cannot concur in Mr.
Leland's theory in his exclusive statement of it, and confess to a
strong liking for many writers whom he considers effeminate, we
cordially agree with him in his plea for "Sunshine in Thought," and
sympathize in his vigorous and valorous assault on the morbid elements
of our modern literature. We think that poets should be as cheerful as
possible; whereas some of them seem to think it is their duty to be as
fretful as possible, and to make misery an invariable accompaniment of
genius. The primary object of all good literature is to invigorate and
to cheer, not to weaken and depress; it should communicate mental and
moral life, as well as convey sentiments and ideas,--should brace and
strengthen the mind, as well as fill it; and when it whimpers and wails,
when it teaches despair as philosophy, especially when it uses the
enchantments of imagination to weaken the active powers, its effect is
mischievous. Woe, considered as a luxury, is the most expensive of all
luxuries; and there is danger to the mental and moral health even in the
pensive sadness which, to some readers, sheds such a charm over the
meditations of that kind of genius which is rather thoughtful than full
of thought. For the melodious miseries which mediocrity mimics, for the
wretchedness which some fifth-rate rhymers assume in order to make
themselves interesting, there can, of course, be no toleration. Mr.
Leland pounds them as with the hammer of Thor, and would certainly beat
out their brains, had not Nature fortunately neglected to put such
perilous matter into craniums exposed to such ponderous blows.

Apart from the general theory and purpose of the book, there is a great
deal of talent and learning exhibited in the illustrations of the
subject. The remarks on Aristophanes, Rabelais, Swift, Sterne, and
Heine,--half analysis, half picture,--are very striking; and there are,
throughout the volume, continual flashes of suggestive thought and vivid
portraiture, which both delight and detain the reader. The style is that
of animated conversation,--the conversation of a man whose veins are as
full of blood as his mind is of ideas, who is hilarious from abounding
health, and whose occasional boisterousness of manner proceeds from the
robustness of his make and the cheer of his soul. The whole volume tends
to create in thought that "sunshine" which it so joyously recommends and
celebrates. The reader is warmed by the ardor and earnestness with which
propositions he may distrust are urged upon his attention, and closes
the volume with that feeling of pleased excitement which always comes
from contact with a fresh and original mind.

     _The Gentleman._ By GEORGE H. CALVERT. Boston: Ticknor &

Paradoxical as it may appear, we believe there never was a time when the
true and pure standard of gentlemanhood could be more impressively
raised and upheld in this republic than now. The vast and keen civil
conflict which so deeply agitates our political life has laid bare the
groundwork and brought to the surface the latent elements of our social
life, so that a new, an obvious, and a searching test is instinctively
applied to character; as in all times of profound moral excitement,
_shams_ grow fantastic and contemptible, and _principles_ of action and
being rise to superlative worth. The question, What constitutes the
Gentleman? suggested at first by the preposterous and exclusive claims
thereto arrogantly put forth by a little community, in justification of
profane and destructive violence to a nation's welfare, has come to be
regarded as embracing all the obligations, responsibilities, and
humanities that make up and certify Christian manhood and genuine
patriotism; the wide and deep significance of a word too often
confounded with mere manners is thus practically found to indicate the
most vital elements of personal worth and social well-being.
Accordingly, a comprehensive, philosophical definition and illustration
of the Gentleman, in the ideal grace and greatness and in the real
authority and use of that so much misunderstood and seldom achieved
character, is doubly welcome at this hour, the strife and discussion
whereof bring out in such strong relief the true _animus_ and equipment
of statesmen, soldiers, citizens, men and women, and force us to realize
the poverty of soul, the inherent baseness, or the magnanimity and
rectitude of our fellow-creatures, with a vividness never before
experienced. How indispensable to the welfare of the State is a society
based on higher motives than those of material ambition, and how
impossible is the existence of such a society, except through individual
probity and disinterestedness, is a lesson written in blood and tears
before our eyes to-day; and thrice welcome, we repeat, is the clear and
emphatic exposition of the Gentleman, as an incarnation of the justice,
love, and honor, whereon, in the last analysis, rest the hopes and
welfare of the nation. No ethical or æsthetical treatise could be more
seasonable than this of Mr. Calvert's. We regard it as the best
lay-sermon thus far evoked by the moral exigencies of the hour; however
appropriate it may also be and is to any and all times and readers of
taste and thought, a superficial, merely dilettante essay on such a
subject and at such a time would repel instead of alluring.

The charming little volume before us, while made genially attractive by
occasional playfulness and anecdote, is yet pervaded by an earnestness
born of strong conviction and deep sympathies. It analyzes the springs
of character, traces conduct to its elemental source, and follows it to
its ultimate influence. To a concise style it unites an expansive
spirit; with a tone of rich and high culture it blends the vivacity and
grace of the most genial colloquy. From the etymology of the word to the
humanity of the character, a full, forcible, frank, and fervent
discussion of the Gentleman is given, as he figures in history, in
society, in domestic life, and in literature,--and as he lives, a grand
and gracious ideal, in the consciousness of the author. Beginning with
the meaning, origin, and use of the word Gentleman, Mr. Calvert gives a
critical analysis of its historical personation. As a chevalier type, in
such men as Sidney and Bayard. Its ethical and æsthetical meaning is
finely exemplified in the contrast between Charles Lamb and George IV.,
Leicester and Hampden, Washington and Napoleon. The Gentleman in St.
Paul is well illustrated. The relation of this character to antiquity is
defined with a scholar's zest: whatever of its force and flavor is
discernible in Socrates and Brutus is gracefully indicated; the
deficiency of Homer's heroes, excepting Hector, therein, is ably
demonstrated. These and like illustrations of so prolific a theme
inevitably suggest episodes of argument, incidental, yet essential to
the main question; and the just and benign remarks on the Duel, the
Position of Women in Ancient and Modern Society, and the Influence of
Christianity upon Manners, are striking in their scope and style, and
breathe the lofty and tender spirit of that Faith which inculcates
_disinterestedness_ as the latent and lasting inspiration of the
Gentleman. Perhaps the most delectable illustrations, which give both
form and beauty to this essay, are those drawn from modern literature:
they are choice specimens of criticism, and full of subtile
discrimination in tracing the relation of literature to life. We would
instance especially the chapters on Shakspeare's Gentleman; the
recognition of the Gentleman in Sir Roger de Coverley, Uncle Toby, and
Don Quixote; and the admirable distinction pointed out between the
characters of Scott, Byron, Shelley, and Keats. There is no part of the
volume more worthy attention than the remarks of a "high-bred tone in
writing." The hollowness of Chesterfield's code is keenly exposed; Honor
and Vulgarity are freshly and ably defined; Fashion, Pride, and Vanity,
the conventional elements of the Gentleman, are treated with
philosophical justice; the favorite characters of fiction, and the most
renowned poets and heroes, beaux and braves, pass before us, and are
subjected to the test of that Christian ideal of the Gentleman so
clearly defined and firmly applied by the intrepid author; and many a
disguised coxcomb is stripped of his borrowed plumes, imperial
_parvenus_ exposed as charlatans in manners as well as morals, and
heroic, but modest souls, of whom the world's court-calendar gives no
hint, stand forth exemplars of the highest, because the most soulful

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 11, No. 68, June, 1863" ***

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