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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 15, No. 89, March, 1865
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 15, No. 89, March, 1865" ***

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_A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics._


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, by TICKNOR AND
FIELDS, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of



My story begins as a great many stories have begun within the last three
years, and indeed as a great many have ended; for, when the hero is
despatched, does not the romance come to a stop?

       *       *       *       *       *

In early May, two years ago, a young couple I wot of strolled homeward
from an evening walk, a long ramble among the peaceful hills which
inclosed their rustic home. Into these peaceful hills the young man had
brought, not the rumor, (which was an old inhabitant,) but some of the
reality of war,--a little whiff of gunpowder, the clanking of a sword;
for, although Mr. John Ford had his campaign still before him, he wore a
certain comely air of camp-life which stamped him a very Hector to the
steady-going villagers, and a very pretty fellow to Miss Elizabeth
Crowe, his companion in this sentimental stroll. And was he not attired
in the great brightness of blue and gold which befits a freshly made
lieutenant? This was a strange sight for these happy Northern glades;
for, although the first Revolution had boomed awhile in their midst, the
honest yeomen who defended them were clad in sober homespun, and it is
well known that His Majesty's troops wore red.

These young people, I say, had been roaming. It was plain that they had
wandered into spots where the brambles were thick and the dews
heavy,--nay, into swamps and puddles where the April rains were still
undried. Ford's boots and trousers had imbibed a deep foretaste of the
Virginia mud; his companion's skirts were fearfully bedraggled. What
great enthusiasm had made our friends so unmindful of their steps? What
blinding ardor had kindled these strange phenomena: a young lieutenant
scornful of his first uniform, a well-bred young lady reckless of her

Good reader, this narrative is averse to retrospect.

Elizabeth (as I shall not scruple to call her outright) was leaning upon
her companion's arm, half moving in concert with him, and half allowing
herself to be led, with that instinctive acknowledgment of dependence
natural to a young girl who has just received the assurance of lifelong
protection. Ford was lounging along with that calm, swinging stride
which often bespeaks, when you can read it aright, the answering
consciousness of a sudden rush of manhood. A spectator might have
thought him at this moment profoundly conceited. The young girl's blue
veil was dangling from his pocket; he had shouldered her sun-umbrella
after the fashion of a musket on a march: he might carry these trifles.
Was there not a vague longing expressed in the strong expansion of his
stalwart shoulders, in the fond accommodation of his pace to hers,--her
pace so submissive and slow, that, when he tried to match it, they
almost came to a delightful standstill,--a silent desire for the whole
fair burden?

They made their way up a long swelling mound, whose top commanded the
sunset. The dim landscape which had been brightening all day to the
green of spring was now darkening to the gray of evening. The lesser
hills, the farms, the brooks, the fields, orchards, and woods, made a
dusky gulf before the great splendor of the west. As Ford looked at the
clouds, it seemed to him that their imagery was all of war, their great
uneven masses were marshalled into the semblance of a battle. There were
columns charging and columns flying and standards floating,--tatters of
the reflected purple; and great captains on colossal horses, and a
rolling canopy of cannon-smoke and fire and blood. The background of the
clouds, indeed, was like a land on fire, or a battle-ground illumined by
another sunset, a country of blackened villages and crimsoned pastures.
The tumult of the clouds increased; it was hard to believe them
inanimate. You might have fancied them an army of gigantic souls playing
at football with the sun. They seemed to sway in confused splendor; the
opposing squadrons bore each other down; and then suddenly they
scattered, bowling with equal velocity towards north and south, and
gradually fading into the pale evening sky. The purple pennons sailed
away and sank out of sight, caught, doubtless, upon the brambles of the
intervening plain. Day contracted itself into a fiery ball and vanished.

Ford and Elizabeth had quietly watched this great mystery of the

"That is an allegory," said the young man, as the sun went under,
looking into his companion's face, where a pink flush seemed still to
linger: "it means the end of the war. The forces on both sides are
withdrawn. The blood that has been shed gathers itself into a vast
globule and drops into the ocean."

"I'm afraid it means a shabby compromise," said Elizabeth. "Light
disappears, too, and the land is in darkness."

"Only for a season," answered the other. "We mourn our dead. Then light
comes again, stronger and brighter than ever. Perhaps you'll be crying
for me, Lizzie, at that distant day."

"Oh, Jack, didn't you promise not to talk about that?" says Lizzie,
threatening to anticipate the performance in question.

Jack took this rebuke in silence, gazing soberly at the empty sky. Soon
the young girl's eyes stole up to his face. If he had been looking at
anything in particular, I think she would have followed the direction of
his glance; but as it seemed to be a very vacant one, she let her eyes

"Jack," said she, after a pause, "I wonder how you'll look when you get

Ford's soberness gave way to a laugh.

"Uglier than ever. I shall be all incrusted with mud and gore. And then
I shall be magnificently sun-burnt, and I shall have a beard."

"Oh, you dreadful!" and Lizzie gave a little shout. "Really, Jack, if
you have a beard, you'll not look like a gentleman."

"Shall I look like a lady, pray?" says Jack.

"Are you serious?" asked Lizzie.

"To be sure. I mean to alter my face as you do your misfitting
garments,--take in on one side and let out on the other. Isn't that the
process? I shall crop my head and cultivate my chin."

"You've a very nice chin, my dear, and I think it's a shame to hide

"Yes, I know my chin's handsome; but wait till you see my beard."

"Oh, the vanity!" cried Lizzie, "the vanity of men in their faces! Talk
of women!" and the silly creature looked up at her lover with most
inconsistent satisfaction.

"Oh, the pride of women in their husbands!" said Jack, who of course
knew what she was about.

"You're not my husband, Sir. There's many a slip"----But the young girl
stopped short.

"'Twixt the cup and the lip," said Jack. "Go on. I can match your
proverb with another. 'There's many a true word,' and so forth. No, my
darling: I'm not your husband. Perhaps I never shall be. But if anything
happens to me, you'll take comfort, won't you?"

"Never!" said Lizzie, tremulously.

"Oh, but you must; otherwise, Lizzie, I should think our engagement
inexcusable. Stuff! who am I that you should cry for me?"

"You are the best and wisest of men. I don't care; you _are_."

"Thank you for your great love, my dear. That's a delightful illusion.
But I hope Time will kill it, in his own good way, before it hurts any
one. I know so many men who are worth infinitely more than I--men wise,
generous, and brave--that I shall not feel as if I were leaving you in
an empty world."

"Oh, my dear friend!" said Lizzie, after a pause, "I wish you could
advise me all my life."

"Take care, take care," laughed Jack; "you don't know what you are
bargaining for. But will you let me say a word now? If by chance I'm
taken out of the world, I want you to beware of that tawdry sentiment
which enjoins you to be 'constant to my memory.' My memory be hanged!
Remember me at my best,--that is, fullest of the desire of humility.
Don't inflict me on people. There are some widows and bereaved
sweethearts who remind me of the peddler in that horrible murder-story,
who carried a corpse in his pack. Really, it's their stock in trade. The
only justification of a man's personality is his rights. What rights has
a dead man?--Let's go down."

They turned southward and went jolting down the hill.

"Do you mind this talk, Lizzie?" asked Ford.

"No," said Lizzie, swallowing a sob, unnoticed by her companion in the
sublime egotism of protection; "I like it."

"Very well," said the young man, "I want my memory to help you. When I
am down in Virginia, I expect to get a vast deal of good from thinking
of you,--to do my work better, and to keep straighter altogether. Like
all lovers, I'm horribly selfish. I expect to see a vast deal of
shabbiness and baseness and turmoil, and in the midst of it all I'm sure
the inspiration of patriotism will sometimes fail. Then I'll think of
you. I love you a thousand times better than my country, Liz.--Wicked?
So much the worse. It's the truth. But if I find your memory makes a
milksop of me, I shall thrust you out of the way, without ceremony,--I
shall clap you into my box or between the leaves of my Bible, and only
look at you on Sunday."

"I shall be very glad, Sir, if that makes you open your Bible
frequently," says Elizabeth, rather demurely.

"I shall put one of your photographs against every page," cried Ford;
"and then I think I shall not lack a text for my meditations. Don't you
know how Catholics keep little pictures of their adored Lady in their

"Yes, indeed," said Lizzie; "I should think it would be a very
soul-stirring picture, when you are marching to the front, the night
before a battle,--a poor, stupid girl, knitting stupid socks, in a
stupid Yankee village."

Oh, the craft of artless tongues! Jack strode along in silence a few
moments, splashing straight through a puddle; then, ere he was quite
clear of it, he stretched out his arm and gave his companion a long

"And pray what am I to do," resumed Lizzie, wondering, rather proudly
perhaps, at Jack's averted face, "while you are marching and
countermarching in Virginia?"

"Your duty, of course," said Jack, in a steady voice, which belied a
certain little conjecture of Lizzie's. "I think you will find the sun
will rise in the east, my dear, just as it did before you were engaged."

"I'm sure I didn't suppose it wouldn't," says Lizzie.

"By duty I don't mean anything disagreeable, Liz," pursued the young
man. "I hope you'll take your pleasure, too. I wish you might go to
Boston, or even to Leatherborough, for a month or two."

"What for, pray?"

"What for? Why, for the fun of it: to 'go out,' as they say."

"Jack, do you think me capable of going to parties while you are in

"Why not? Why should I have all the fun?"

"Fun? I'm sure you're welcome to it all. As for me, I mean to make a new

"Of what?"

"Oh, of everything. In the first place, I shall begin to improve my
mind. But don't you think it's horrid for women to be reasonable?"

"Hard, say you?"

"Horrid,--yes, and hard too. But I mean to become so. Oh, girls are such
fools, Jack! I mean to learn to like boiled mutton and history and plain
sewing, and all that. Yet, when a girl's engaged, she's not expected to
do anything in particular."

Jack laughed, and said nothing; and Lizzie went on.

"I wonder what your mother will say to the news. I think I know."


"She'll say you've been very unwise. No, she won't: she never speaks so
to you. She'll say I've been very dishonest or indelicate, or something
of that kind. No, she won't either: she doesn't say such things, though
I'm sure she thinks them. I don't know what she'll say."

"No, I think not, Lizzie, if you indulge in such conjectures. My mother
never speaks without thinking. Let us hope that she may think favorably
of our plan. Even if she doesn't"----

Jack did not finish his sentence, nor did Lizzie urge him. She had a
great respect for his hesitations. But in a moment he began again.

"I was going to say this, Lizzie: I think for the present our engagement
had better be kept quiet."

Lizzie's heart sank with a sudden disappointment. Imagine the feelings
of the damsel in the fairy-tale, whom the disguised enchantress had just
empowered to utter diamonds and pearls, should the old beldame have
straightway added that for the present mademoiselle had better hold her
tongue. Yet the disappointment was brief. I think this enviable young
lady would have tripped home talking very hard to herself, and have been
not ill pleased to find her little mouth turning into a tightly clasped
jewel-casket. Nay, would she not on this occasion have been thankful for
a large mouth,--a mouth huge and unnatural,--stretching from ear to ear?
Who wish to cast their pearls before swine? The young lady of the pearls
was, after all, but a barnyard miss. Lizzie was too proud of Jack to be
vain. It's well enough to wear our own hearts upon our sleeves; but for
those of others, when intrusted to our keeping, I think we had better
find a more secluded lodging.

"You see, I think secrecy would leave us much freer," said Jack,--"leave
_you_ much freer."

"Oh, Jack, how can you?" cried Lizzie. "Yes, of course; I shall be
falling in love with some one else. Freer! Thank you, Sir!"

"Nay, Lizzie, what I'm saying is really kinder than it sounds. Perhaps
you _will_ thank me one of these days."

"Doubtless! I've already taken a great fancy to George Mackenzie."

"Will you let me enlarge on my suggestion?"

"Oh, certainly! You seem to have your mind quite made up."

"I confess I like to take account of possibilities. Don't you know
mathematics are my hobby? Did you ever study algebra? I always have an
eye on the unknown quantity."

"No, I never studied algebra. I agree with you, that we had better not
speak of our engagement."

"That's right, my dear. You're always right. But mind, I don't want to
bind you to secrecy. Hang it, do as you please! Do what comes easiest to
you, and you'll do the best thing. What made me speak is my dread of the
horrible publicity which clings to all this business. Nowadays, when a
girl's engaged, it's no longer, 'Ask mamma,' simply; but, 'Ask Mrs.
Brown, and Mrs. Jones, and my large circle of acquaintance,--Mrs.
Grundy, in short.' I say nowadays, but I suppose it's always been so."

"Very well, we'll keep it all nice and quiet," said Lizzie, who would
have been ready to celebrate her nuptials according to the rites of the
Esquimaux, had Jack seen fit to suggest it.

"I know it doesn't look well for a lover to be so cautious," pursued
Jack; "but you understand me, Lizzie, don't you?"

"I don't entirely understand you, but I quite trust you."

"God bless you! My prudence, you see, is my best strength. Now, if ever,
I need my strength. When a man's a-wooing, Lizzie, he is all feeling, or
he ought to be; when he's accepted, then he begins to think."

"And to repent, I suppose you mean."

"Nay, to devise means to keep his sweetheart from repenting. Let me be
frank. Is it the greatest fools only that are the best lovers? There's
no telling what may happen, Lizzie. I want you to marry me with your
eyes open. I don't want you to feel tied down or taken in. You're very
young, you know. You're responsible to yourself of a year hence. You're
at an age when no girl can count safely from year's end to year's end."

"And you, Sir!" cries Lizzie; "one would think you were a grandfather."

"Well, I'm on the way to it. I'm a pretty old boy. I mean what I say. I
may not be entirely frank, but I think I'm sincere. It seems to me as if
I'd been fibbing all my life before I told you that your affection was
necessary to my happiness. I mean it out and out. I never loved any one
before, and I never will again. If you had refused me half an hour ago,
I should have died a bachelor. I have no fear for myself. But I have for
you. You said a few minutes ago that you wanted me to be your adviser.
Now you know the function of an adviser is to perfect his victim in the
art of walking with his eyes shut. I sha'n't be so cruel."

Lizzie saw fit to view these remarks in a humorous light. "How
disinterested!" quoth she: "how very self-sacrificing! Bachelor indeed!
For my part, I think I shall become a Mormon!"--I verily believe the
poor misinformed creature fancied that in Utah it is the ladies who are
guilty of polygamy.

Before many minutes they drew near home. There stood Mrs. Ford at the
garden-gate, looking up and down the road, with a letter in her hand.

"Something for you, John," said his mother, as they approached. "It
looks as if it came from camp.--Why, Elizabeth, look at your skirts!"

"I know it," says Lizzie, giving the articles in question a shake. "What
is it, Jack?"

"Marching orders!" cried the young man. "The regiment leaves day after
to-morrow. I must leave by the early train in the morning. Hurray!" And
he diverted a sudden gleeful kiss into a filial salute.

They went in. The two women were silent, after the manner of women who
suffer. But Jack did little else than laugh and talk and circumnavigate
the parlor, sitting first here and then there,--close beside Lizzie and
on the opposite side of the room. After a while Miss Crowe joined in his
laughter, but I think her mirth might have been resolved into articulate
heart-beats. After tea she went to bed, to give Jack; opportunity for
his last filial _épanchements_. How generous a man's intervention makes
women! But Lizzie promised to see her lover off in the morning.

"Nonsense!" said Mrs. Ford. "You'll not be up. John will want to
breakfast quietly."

"I shall see you off, Jack," repeated the young lady, from the

Elizabeth went up stairs buoyant with her young love. It had dawned upon
her like a new life,--a life positively worth the living. Hereby she
would subsist and cost nobody anything. In it she was boundlessly rich.
She would make it the hidden spring of a hundred praiseworthy deeds. She
would begin the career of duty: she would enjoy boundless equanimity:
she would raise her whole being to the level of her sublime passion. She
would practise charity, humility, piety,--in fine, all the virtues:
together with certain _morceaux_ of Beethoven and Chopin. She would walk
the earth like one glorified. She would do homage to the best of men by
inviolate secrecy. Here, by I know not what gentle transition, as she
lay in the quiet darkness, Elizabeth covered her pillow with a flood of

Meanwhile Ford, down-stairs, began in this fashion. He was lounging at
his manly length on the sofa, in his slippers.

"May I light a pipe, mother?"

"Yes, my love. But please be careful of your ashes. There's a

"Pipes don't make ashes.--Mother, what do you think?" he continued,
between the puffs of his smoking; "I've got a piece of news."

"Ah?" said Mrs. Ford, fumbling for her scissors; "I hope it's good

"I hope you'll think it so. I've been engaging myself"--puff,--puff--"to
Lizzie Crowe." A cloud of puffs between his mother's face and his own.
When they cleared away, Jack felt his mother's eyes. Her work was in her
lap. "To be married, you know," he added.

In Mrs. Ford's view, like the king in that of the British Constitution,
her only son could do no wrong. Prejudice is a stout bulwark against
surprise. Moreover, Mrs. Ford's motherly instinct had not been entirely
at fault. Still, it had by no means kept pace with fact. She had been
silent, partly from doubt, partly out of respect for her son. As long as
John did not doubt of himself, he was right. Should he come to do so,
she was sure he would speak. And now, when he told her the matter was
settled, she persuaded herself that he was asking her advice.

"I've been expecting it," she said, at last.

"You have? why didn't you speak?"

"Well, John, I can't say I've been hoping it."

"Why not?"

"I am not sure of Lizzie's heart," said Mrs. Ford, who, it may be well
to add, was very sure of her own.

Jack began to laugh. "What's the matter with her heart?"

"I think Lizzie's shallow," said Mrs. Ford; and there was that in her
tone which betokened some satisfaction with this adjective.

"Hang it! she is shallow," said Jack. "But when a thing's shallow, you
can see to the bottom. Lizzie doesn't pretend to be deep. I want a wife,
mother, that I can understand. That's the only wife I can love. Lizzie's
the only girl I ever understood, and the first I ever loved. I love her
very much,--more than I can explain to you."

"Yes, I confess it's inexplicable. It seems to me," she added, with a
bad smile, "like infatuation."

Jack did not like the smile; he liked it even less than the remark. He
smoked steadily for a few moments, and then he said,--

"Well, mother, love is notoriously obstinate, you know. We shall not be
able to take the same view of this subject: suppose we drop it."

"Remember that this is your last evening at home, my son," said Mrs.

"I do remember. Therefore I wish to avoid disagreement."

There was a pause. The young man smoked, and his mother sewed, in

"I think my position, as Lizzie's guardian," resumed Mrs. Ford,
"entitles me to an interest in the matter."

"Certainly, I acknowledged your interest by telling you of our

Further pause.

"Will you allow me to say," said Mrs. Ford, after a while, "that I think
this a little selfish?"

"Allow you? Certainly, if you particularly desire it. Though I confess
it isn't very pleasant for a man to sit and hear his future wife pitched
into,--by his own mother, too."

"John, I am surprised at your language."

"I beg your pardon," and John spoke more gently. "You mustn't be
surprised at anything from an accepted lover.--I'm sure you misconceive
her. In fact, mother, I don't believe you know her."

Mrs. Ford nodded, with an infinite depth of meaning; and from the
grimness with which she bit off the end of her thread it might have
seemed that she fancied herself to be executing a human vengeance.

"Ah, I know her only too well!"

"And you don't like her?"

Mrs. Ford performed another decapitation of her thread.

"Well, I'm glad Lizzie has one friend in the world," said Jack.

"Her best friend," said Mrs. Ford, "is the one who flatters her least. I
see it all, John. Her pretty face has done the business."

The young man flushed impatiently.

"Mother," said he, "you are very much mistaken. I'm not a boy nor a
fool. You trust me in a great many things; why not trust me in this?"

"My dear son, you are throwing yourself away. You deserve for your
companion in life a higher character than that girl."

I think Mrs. Ford, who had been an excellent mother, would have liked to
give her son a wife fashioned on her own model.

"Oh, come, mother," said he, "that's twaddle. I should be thankful, if I
were half as good as Lizzie."

"It's the truth, John, and your conduct--not only the step you've taken,
but your talk about it--is a great disappointment to me. If I have
cherished any wish of late, it is that my darling boy should get a wife
worthy of him. The household governed by Elizabeth Crowe is not the home
I should desire for any one I love."

"It's one to which you should always be welcome, Ma'am," said Jack.

"It's not a place I should feel at home in," replied his mother.

"I'm sorry," said Jack. And he got up and began to walk about the room.
"Well, well, mother," he said at last, stopping in front of Mrs. Ford,
"we don't understand each other. One of these days we shall. For the
present let us have done with discussion. I'm half sorry I told you."

"I'm glad of such a proof of your confidence. But if you hadn't, of
course Elizabeth would have done so."

"No, Ma'am, I think not."

"Then she is even more reckless of her obligations than I thought her."

"I advised her to say nothing about it."

Mrs. Ford made no answer. She began slowly to fold up her work.

"I think we had better let the matter stand," continued her son. "I'm
not afraid of time. But I wish to make a request of you: you won't
mention this conversation to Lizzie, will you? nor allow her to suppose
that you know of our engagement? I have a particular reason."

Mrs. Ford went on smoothing out her work. Then she suddenly looked up.

"No, my dear, I'll keep your secret. Give me a kiss."


I have no intention of following Lieutenant Ford to the seat of war. The
exploits of his campaign are recorded in the public journals of the
day, where the curious may still peruse them. My own taste has always
been for unwritten history, and my present business is with the reverse
of the picture.

After Jack went off, the two ladies resumed their old homely life. But
the homeliest life had now ceased to be repulsive to Elizabeth. Her
common duties were no longer wearisome: for the first time, she
experienced the delicious companionship of thought. Her chief task was
still to sit by the window knitting soldiers' socks; but even Mrs. Ford
could not help owning that she worked with a much greater diligence,
yawned, rubbed her eyes, gazed up and down the road less, and indeed
produced a much more comely article. Ah, me! if half the lovesome
fancies that flitted through Lizzie's spirit in those busy hours could
have found their way into the texture of the dingy yarn, as it was
slowly wrought into shape, the eventual wearer of the socks would have
been as light-footed as Mercury. I am afraid I should make the reader
sneer, were I to rehearse some of this little fool's diversions. She
passed several hours daily in Jack's old chamber: it was in this
sanctuary, indeed, at the sunny south window, overlooking the long road,
the wood-crowned heights, the gleaming river, that she worked with most
pleasure and profit. Here she was removed from the untiring glance of
the elder lady, from her jarring questions and commonplaces; here she
was alone with her love,--that greatest commonplace in life. Lizzie felt
in Jack's room a certain impress of his personality. The idle fancies of
her mood were bodied forth in a dozen sacred relics. Some of these
articles Elizabeth carefully cherished. It was rather late in the day
for her to assert a literary taste,--her reading having begun and ended
(naturally enough) with the ancient fiction of the "Scottish Chiefs." So
she could hardly help smiling, herself, sometimes, at her interest in
Jack's old college tomes. She carried several of them to her own
apartment, and placed them at the foot of her little bed, on a
book-shelf adorned, besides, with a pot of spring violets, a portrait of
General McClellan, and a likeness of Lieutenant Ford. She had a vague
belief that a loving study of their well-thumbed verses would remedy, in
some degree, her sad intellectual deficiencies. She was sorry she knew
so little: as sorry, that is, as she might be, for we know that she was
shallow. Jack's omniscience was one of his most awful attributes. And
yet she comforted herself with the thought, that, as he had forgiven her
ignorance, she herself might surely forget it. Happy Lizzie, I envy you
this easy path to knowledge! The volume she most frequently consulted
was an old German "Faust," over which she used to fumble with a battered
lexicon. The secret of this preference was in certain marginal notes in
pencil, signed "J.". I hope they were really of Jack's making.

Lizzie was always a small walker. Until she knew Jack, this had been
quite an unsuspected pleasure. She was afraid, too, of the cows, geese,
and sheep,--all the agricultural _spectra_ of the feminine imagination.
But now her terrors were over. Might she not play the soldier, too, in
her own humble way? Often with a beating heart, I fear, but still with
resolute, elastic steps, she revisited Jack's old haunts; she tried to
love Nature as he had seemed to love it; she gazed at his old sunsets;
she fathomed his old pools with bright plummet glances, as if seeking
some lingering trace of his features in their brown depths, stamped
there as on a fond human heart; she sought out his dear name, scratched
on the rocks and trees,--and when night came on, she studied, in her
simple way, the great starlit canopy, under which, perhaps, her warrior
lay sleeping; she wandered through the green glades, singing snatches of
his old ballads in a clear voice, made tuneful with love,--and as she
sang, there mingled with the everlasting murmur of the trees the faint
sound of a muffled bass, borne upon the south wind like a distant
drum-beat, responsive to a bugle. So she led for some months a very
pleasant idyllic life, face to face with a strong, vivid memory, which
gave everything and asked nothing. These were doubtless to be (and she
half knew it) the happiest days of her life. Has life any bliss so great
as this pensive ecstasy? To know that the golden sands are dropping one
by one makes servitude freedom, and poverty riches.

In spite of a certain sense of loss, Lizzie passed a very blissful
summer. She enjoyed the deep repose which, it is to be hoped, sanctifies
all honest betrothals. Possible calamity weighed lightly upon her. We
know that when the columns of battle-smoke leave the field, they journey
through the heavy air to a thousand quiet homes, and play about the
crackling blaze of as many firesides. But Lizzie's vision was never
clouded. Mrs. Ford might gaze into the thickening summer dusk and wipe
her spectacles; but her companion hummed her old ballad-ends with an
unbroken voice. She no more ceased to smile under evil tidings than the
brooklet ceases to ripple beneath the projected shadow of the roadside
willow. The self-given promises of that tearful night of parting were
forgotten. Vigilance had no place in Lizzie's scheme of heavenly
idleness. The idea of moralizing in Elysium!

It must not be supposed that Mrs. Ford was indifferent to Lizzie's mood.
She studied it watchfully, and kept note of all its variations. And
among the things she learned was, that her companion knew of her
scrutiny, and was, on the whole, indifferent to it. Of the full extent
of Mrs. Ford's observation, however, I think Lizzie was hardly aware.
She was like a reveller in a brilliantly lighted room, with a
curtainless window, conscious, and yet heedless, of passers-by. And Mrs.
Ford may not inaptly be compared to the chilly spectator on the dark
side of the pane. Very few words passed on the topic of their common
thoughts. From the first, as we have seen, Lizzie guessed at her
guardian's probable view of her engagement: an abasement incurred by
John. Lizzie lacked what is called a sense of duty; and, unlike the
majority of such temperaments, which contrive to be buoyant on the
glistening bubble of Dignity, she had likewise a modest estimate of her
dues. Alack, my poor heroine had no pride! Mrs. Ford's silent censure
awakened no resentment. It sounded in her ears like a dull, soporific
hum. Lizzie was deeply enamored of what a French book terms her _aises
intellectuelles_. Her mental comfort lay in the ignoring of problems.
She possessed a certain native insight which revealed many of the
horrent inequalities of her pathway; but she found it so cruel and
disenchanting a faculty, that blindness was infinitely preferable. She
preferred repose to order, and mercy to justice. She was speculative,
without being critical. She was continually wondering, but she never
inquired. This world was the riddle; the next alone would be the answer.

So she never felt any desire to have an "understanding" with Mrs. Ford.
Did the old lady misconceive her? it was her own business. Mrs. Ford
apparently felt no desire to set herself right. You see, Lizzie was
ignorant of her friend's promise. There were moments when Mrs. Ford's
tongue itched to speak. There were others, it is true, when she dreaded
any explanation which would compel her to forfeit her displeasure.
Lizzie's happy self-sufficiency was most irritating. She grudged the
young girl the dignity of her secret; her own actual knowledge of it
rather increased her jealousy, by showing her the importance of the
scheme from which she was excluded. Lizzie, being in perfect good-humor
with the world and with herself, abated no jot of her personal deference
to Mrs. Ford. Of Jack, as a good friend and her guardian's son, she
spoke very freely. But Mrs. Ford was mistrustful of this
semi-confidence. She would not, she often said to herself, be wheedled
against her principles. Her principles! Oh for some shining blade of
purpose to hew down such stubborn stakes! Lizzie had no thought of
flattering her companion. She never deceived any one but herself. She
could not bring herself to value Mrs. Ford's good-will. She knew that
Jack often suffered from his mother's obstinacy. So her unbroken
humility shielded no unavowed purpose. She was patient and kindly from
nature, from habit. Yet I think, that, if Mrs. Ford could have measured
her benignity, she would have preferred, on the whole, the most open
defiance. "Of all things," she would sometimes mutter, "to be patronized
by that little piece!" It was very disagreeable, for instance, to have
to listen to _portions_ of her own son's letters.

These letters came week by week, flying out of the South like
white-winged carrier-doves. Many and many a time, for very pride, Lizzie
would have liked a larger audience. Portions of them certainly deserved
publicity. They were far too good for her. Were they not better than
that stupid war-correspondence in the "Times," which she so often tried
in vain to read? They contained long details of movements, plans of
campaigns, military opinions and conjectures, expressed with the
emphasis habitual to young sub-lieutenants. I doubt whether General
Halleck's despatches laid down the law more absolutely than Lieutenant
Ford's. Lizzie answered in her own fashion. It must be owned that hers
was a dull pen. She told her dearest, dearest Jack how much she loved
and honored him, and how much she missed him, and how delightful his
last letter was, (with those beautifully drawn diagrams,) and the
village gossip, and how stout and strong his mother continued to
be,--and again, how she loved, etc., etc., and that she remained his
loving L. Jack read these effusions as became one so beloved. I should
not wonder if he thought them very brilliant.

The summer waned to its close, and through myriad silent stages began to
darken into autumn. Who can tell the story of those red months? I have
to chronicle another silent transition. But as I can find no words
delicate and fine enough to describe the multifold changes of Nature,
so, too, I must be content to give you the spiritual facts in gross.

John Ford became a veteran down by the Potomac. And, to tell the truth,
Lizzie became a veteran at home. That is, her love and hope grew to be
an old story. She gave way, as the strongest must, as the wisest will,
to time. The passion which, in her simple, shallow way, she had confided
to the woods and waters reflected their outward variations; she thought
of her lover less, and with less positive pleasure. The golden sands had
run out. Perfect rest was over. Mrs. Ford's tacit protest began to be
annoying. In a rather resentful spirit, Lizzie forbore to read any more
letters aloud. These were as regular as ever. One of them contained a
rough camp-photograph of Jack's newly bearded visage. Lizzie declared it
was "too ugly for anything," and thrust it out of sight. She found
herself skipping his military dissertations, which were still as long
and written in as handsome a hand as ever. The "too good," which used to
be uttered rather proudly, was now rather a wearisome truth. When Lizzie
in certain critical moods tried to qualify Jack's temperament, she said
to herself that he was too literal. Once he gave her a little scolding
for not writing oftener. "Jack can make no allowances," murmured Lizzie.
"He can understand no feelings but his own. I remember he used to say
that moods were diseases. His mind is too healthy for such things; his
heart is too stout for ache or pain. The night before he went off he
told me that Reason, as he calls it, was the rule of life. I suppose he
thinks it the rule of love, too. But his heart is younger than
mine,--younger and better. He has lived through awful scenes of danger
and bloodshed and cruelty, yet his heart is purer." Lizzie had a
horrible feeling of being _blasée_ of this one affection. "Oh, God bless
him!" she cried. She felt much better for the tears in which this
soliloquy ended. I fear she had begun to doubt her ability to cry about


Christmas came. The Army of the Potomac had stacked its muskets and gone
into winter-quarters. Miss Crowe received an invitation to pass the
second fortnight in February at the great manufacturing town of
Leatherborough. Leatherborough is on the railroad, two hours south of
Glenham, at the mouth of the great river Tan, where this noble stream
expands into its broadest smile, or gapes in too huge a fashion to be
disguised by a bridge.

"Mrs. Littlefield kindly invites you for the last of the month," said
Mrs. Ford, reading a letter behind the tea-urn.

It suited Mrs. Ford's purpose--a purpose which I have not space to
elaborate--that her young charge should now go forth into society and
pick up acquaintances.

Two sparks of pleasure gleamed in Elizabeth's eyes. But, as she had
taught herself to do of late with her protectress, she mused before

"It is my desire that you should go," said Mrs. Ford, taking silence for

The sparks went out.

"I intend to go," said Lizzie, rather grimly. "I am much obliged to Mrs.

Her companion looked up.

"I intend you shall. You will please to write this morning."

For the rest of the week the two stitched together over muslins and
silks, and were very good friends. Lizzie could scarcely help wondering
at Mrs. Ford's zeal on her behalf. Might she not have referred it to her
guardian's principles? Her wardrobe, hitherto fashioned on the Glenham
notion of elegance, was gradually raised to the Leatherborough standard
of fitness. As she took up her bedroom candle the night before she left
home, she said,--

"I thank you very much, Mrs. Ford, for having worked so hard for
me,--for having taken so much interest in my outfit. If they ask me at
Leatherborough who made my things, I shall certainly say it was you."

Mrs. Littlefield treated her young friend with great kindness. She was a
good-natured, childless matron. She found Lizzie very ignorant and very
pretty. She was glad to have so great a beauty and so many lions to

One evening Lizzie went to her room with one of the maids, carrying half
a dozen candles between them. Heaven forbid that I should cross that
virgin threshold--for the present! But we will wait. We will allow them
two hours. At the end of that time, having gently knocked, we will enter
the sanctuary. Glory of glories! The faithful attendant has done her
work. Our lady is robed, crowned, ready for worshippers.

I trust I shall not be held to a minute description of our dear Lizzie's
person and costume. Who is so great a recluse as never to have beheld
young ladyhood in full dress? Many of us have sisters and daughters. Not
a few of us, I hope, have female connections of another degree, yet no
less dear. Others have looking-glasses. I give you my word for it that
Elizabeth made as pretty a show as it is possible to see. She was of
course well-dressed. Her skirt was of voluminous white, puffed and
trimmed in wondrous sort. Her hair was profusely ornamented with curls
and braids of its own rich substance. From her waist depended a ribbon,
broad and blue. White with coral ornaments, as she wrote to Jack in the
course of the week. Coral ornaments, forsooth! And pray, Miss, what of
the other jewels with which your person was decorated,--the rubies,
pearls, and sapphires? One by one Lizzie assumes her modest gimcracks:
her bracelet, her gloves, her handkerchief, her fan, and then--her
smile. Ah, that strange crowning smile!

An hour later, in Mrs. Littlefield's pretty drawing-room, amid music,
lights, and talk, Miss Crowe was sweeping a grand curtsy before a tall,
sallow man, whose name she caught from her hostess's redundant murmur as
Bruce. Five minutes later, when the honest matron gave a glance at her
newly started enterprise from the other side of the room, she said to
herself that really, for a plain country-girl, Miss Crowe did this kind
of thing very well. Her next glimpse of the couple showed them whirling
round the room to the crashing thrum of the piano. At eleven o'clock she
beheld them linked by their finger-tips in the dazzling mazes of the
reel. At half-past eleven she discerned them charging shoulder to
shoulder in the serried columns of the Lancers. At midnight she tapped
her young friend gently with her fan.

"Your sash is unpinned, my dear.--I think you have danced often enough
with Mr. Bruce. If he asks you again, you had better refuse. It's not
quite the thing.--Yes, my dear, I know.--Mr. Simpson, will you be so
good as to take Miss Crowe down to supper?"

I'm afraid young Simpson had rather a snappish partner.

After the proper interval, Mr. Bruce called to pay his respects to Mrs.
Littlefield. He found Miss Crowe also in the drawing-room. Lizzie and he
met like old friends. Mrs. Littlefield was a willing listener; but it
seemed to her that she had come in at the second act of the play. Bruce
went off with Miss Crowe's promise to drive with him in the afternoon.
In the afternoon he swept up to the door in a prancing, tinkling sleigh.
After some minutes of hoarse jesting and silvery laughter in the keen
wintry air, he swept away again with Lizzie curled up in the
buffalo-robe beside him, like a kitten in a rug. It was dark when they
returned. When Lizzie came in to the sitting-room fire, she was
congratulated by her hostess upon having made a "conquest."

"I think he's a most gentlemanly man," says Lizzie.

"So he is, my dear," said Mrs. Littlefield; "Mr. Bruce is a perfect
gentleman. He's one of the finest young men I know. He's not so young
either. He's a little too yellow for my taste; but he's beautifully
educated. I wish you could hear his French accent. He has been abroad I
don't know how many years. The firm of Bruce and Robertson does an
immense business."

"And I'm so glad," cries Lizzie, "he's coming to Glenham in March! He's
going to take his sister to the water-cure."

"Really?--poor thing! She has very good manners."

"What do you think of his looks?" asked Lizzie, smoothing her feather.

"I was speaking of Jane Bruce. I think Mr. Bruce has fine eyes."

"I must say I like tall men," says Miss Crowe.

"Then Robert Bruce is your man," laughs Mr. Littlefield. "He's as tall
as a bell-tower. And he's got a bell-clapper in his head, too."

"I believe I will go and take off my things," remarks Miss Crowe,
flinging up her curls.

Of course it behooved Mr. Bruce to call the next day and see how Miss
Crowe had stood her drive. He set a veto upon her intended departure,
and presented an invitation from his sister for the following week. At
Mrs. Littlefield's instance, Lizzie accepted the invitation, despatched
a laconic note to Mrs. Ford, and stayed over for Miss Bruce's party. It
was a grand affair. Miss Bruce was a very great lady: she treated Miss
Crowe with every attention. Lizzie was thought by some persons to look
prettier than ever. The vaporous gauze, the sunny hair, the coral, the
sapphires, the smile, were displayed with renewed success. The master of
the house was unable to dance; he was summoned to sterner duties. Nor
could Miss Crowe be induced to perform, having hurt her foot on the ice.
This was of course a disappointment; let us hope that her entertainers
made it up to her.

On the second day after the party, Lizzie returned to Glenham. Good Mr.
Littlefield took her to the station, stealing a moment from his precious

"There are your checks," said he; "be sure you don't lose them. Put them
in your glove."

Lizzie gave a little scream of merriment.

"Mr. Littlefield, how can you? I've a reticule, Sir. But I really don't
want you to stay."

"Well, I confess," said her companion.--"Hullo! there's your Scottish
chief! I'll get him to stay with you till the train leaves. He may be
going. Bruce!"

"Oh, Mr. Littlefield, don't!" cries Lizzie. "Perhaps Mr. Bruce is

Bruce's tall figure came striding towards them. He was astounded to find
that Miss Crowe was going by this train. Delightful! He had come to meet
a friend who had not arrived.

"Littlefield," said he, "you can't be spared from your business. I will
see Miss Crowe off."

When the elder gentleman had departed, Mr. Bruce conducted his companion
into the car, and found her a comfortable seat, equidistant from the
torrid stove and the frigid door. Then he stowed away her shawls,
umbrella, and reticule. She would keep her muff? She did well. What a
pretty fur!

"It's just like your collar," said Lizzie. "I wish I had a muff for my
feet," she pursued, tapping on the floor.

"Why not use some of those shawls?" said Bruce; "let's see what we can
make of them."

And he stooped down and arranged them as a rug, very neatly and kindly.
And then he called himself a fool for not having used the next seat,
which was empty; and the wrapping was done over again.

"I'm so afraid you'll be carried off!" said Lizzie. "What would you do?"

"I think I should make the best of it. And you?"

"I would tell you to sit down _there_"; and she indicated the seat
facing her. He took it. "Now you'll be sure to," said Elizabeth.

"I'm afraid I shall, unless I put the newspaper between us." And he took
it out of his pocket. "Have you seen the news?"

"No," says Lizzie, elongating her bonnet-ribbons. "What is it? Just look
at that party."

"There's not much news. There's been a scrimmage on the Rappahannock.
Two of our regiments engaged,--the Fifteenth and the Twenty-Eighth.
Didn't you tell me you had a cousin or something in the Fifteenth?"

"Not a cousin, no relation, but an intimate friend,--my guardian's son.
What does the paper say, please?" inquires Lizzie, very pale.

Bruce cast his eye over the report. "It doesn't seem to have amounted to
much; we drove back the enemy, and recrossed the river at our ease. Our
loss only fifty. There are no names," he added, catching a glimpse of
Lizzie's pallor,--"none in this paper at least."

In a few moments appeared a newsboy crying the New York journals.

"Do you think the New York papers would have any names?" asked Lizzie.

"We can try," said Bruce. And he bought a "Herald," and unfolded it.
"Yes, there _is_ a list," he continued, some time after he had opened
out the sheet. "What's your friend's name?" he asked, from behind the

"Ford,--John Ford, second lieutenant," said Lizzie.

There was a long pause.

At last Bruce lowered the sheet, and showed a face in which Lizzie's
pallor seemed faintly reflected.

"There _is_ such a name among the wounded," he said; and, folding the
paper down, he held it out, and gently crossed to the seat beside her.

Lizzie took the paper, and held it close to her eyes. But Bruce could
not help seeing that her temples had turned from white to crimson.

"Do you see it?" he asked; "I sincerely hope it's nothing very bad."

"_Severely_," whispered Lizzie.

"Yes, but that proves nothing. Those things are most unreliable. _Do_
hope for the best."

Lizzie made no answer. Meanwhile passengers had been brushing in, and
the car was full. The engine began to puff, and the conductor to shout.
The train gave a jog.

"You'd better go, Sir, or you'll be carried off," said Lizzie, holding
out her hand, with her face still hidden.

"May I go on to the next station with you?" said Bruce.

Lizzie gave him a rapid look, with a deepened flush. He had fancied that
she was shedding tears. But those eyes were dry; they held fire rather
than water.

"No, no, Sir; you must not. I insist. Good bye."

Bruce's offer had cost him a blush, too. He had been prepared to back it
with the assurance that he had business ahead, and, indeed, to make a
little business in order to satisfy his conscience. But Lizzie's answer
was final.

"Very well," said he, "_good_ bye. You have my real sympathy, Miss
Crowe. Don't despair. We shall meet again."

The train rattled away. Lizzie caught a glimpse of a tall figure with
lifted hat on the platform. But she sat motionless, with her head
against the window-frame, her veil down, and her hands idle.

She had enough to do to think, or rather to feel. It is fortunate that
the utmost shock of evil tidings often comes first. After that
everything is for the better. Jack's name stood printed in that fatal
column like a stern signal for despair. Lizzie felt conscious of a
crisis which almost arrested her breath. Night had fallen at midday:
what was the hour? A tragedy had stepped into her life: was she
spectator or actor? She found herself face to face with death: was it
not her own soul masquerading in a shroud? She sat in a half-stupor. She
had been aroused from a dream into a waking nightmare. It was like
hearing a murder-shriek while you turn the page of your novel. But I
cannot describe these things. In time the crushing sense of calamity
loosened its grasp. Feeling lashed her pinions. Thought struggled to
rise. Passion was still, stunned, floored. She had recoiled like a
receding wave for a stronger onset. A hundred ghastly fears and fancies
strutted a moment, pecking at the young girl's naked heart, like
sandpipers on the weltering beach. Then, as with a great murmurous rush,
came the meaning of her grief. The flood-gates of emotion were opened.

At last passion exhausted itself, and Lizzie thought. Bruce's parting
words rang in her ears. She did her best to hope. She reflected that
wounds, even severe wounds, did not necessarily mean death. Death might
easily be warded off. She would go to Jack; she would nurse him; she
would watch by him; she would cure him. Even if Death had already
beckoned, she would strike down his hand: if Life had already obeyed,
she would issue the stronger mandate of Love. She would stanch his
wounds; she would unseal his eyes with her kisses; she would call till
he answered her.

Lizzie reached home and walked up the garden path. Mrs. Ford stood in
the parlor as she entered, upright, pale, and rigid. Each read the
other's countenance. Lizzie went towards her slowly and giddily. She
must of course kiss her patroness. She took her listless hand and bent
towards her stern lips. Habitually Mrs. Ford was the most
undemonstrative of women. But as Lizzie looked closer into her face, she
read the signs of a grief infinitely more potent than her own. The
formal kiss gave way: the young girl leaned her head on the old woman's
shoulder and burst into sobs. Mrs. Ford acknowledged those tears with a
slow inclination of the head, full of a certain grim pathos: she put out
her arms and pressed them closer to her heart.

At last Lizzie disengaged herself and sat down.

"I am going to him," said Mrs. Ford.

Lizzie's dizziness returned. Mrs. Ford was going,--and she, she?

"I am going to nurse him, and with God's help to save him."

"How did you hear?"

"I have a telegram from the surgeon of the regiment"; and Mrs. Ford held
out a paper.

Lizzie took it and read: "Lieutenant Ford dangerously wounded in the
action of yesterday. You had better come on."

"I should like to go myself," said Lizzie: "I think Jack would like to
have me."

"Nonsense! A pretty place for a young girl! I am not going for
sentiment; I am going for use."

Lizzie leaned her head back in her chair, and closed her eyes. From the
moment they had fallen upon Mrs. Ford, she had felt a certain
quiescence. And now it was a relief to have responsibility denied her.
Like most weak persons, she was glad to step out of the current of life,
now that it had begun to quicken into action. In emergencies, such
persons are tacitly counted out; and they as tacitly consent to the
arrangement. Even to the sensitive spirit there is a certain meditative
rapture in standing on the quiet shore, (beside the ruminating cattle,)
and watching the hurrying, eddying flood, which makes up for the loss of
dignity. Lizzie's heart resumed its peaceful throbs. She sat, almost
dreamily, with her eyes shut.

"I leave in an hour," said Mrs. Ford. "I am going to get ready.--Do you

The young girl's silence was a deeper consent than her companion


It was a week before Lizzie heard from Mrs. Ford. The letter, when it
came, was very brief. Jack still lived. The wounds were three in number,
and very serious; he was unconscious; he had not recognized her; but
still the chances either way were thought equal. They would be much
greater for his recovery nearer home; but it was impossible to move him.
"I write from the midst of horrible scenes," said the poor lady.
Subjoined was a list of necessary medicines, comforts, and delicacies,
to be boxed up and sent.

For a while Lizzie found occupation in writing a letter to Jack, to be
read in his first lucid moment, as she told Mrs. Ford. This lady's
man-of-business came up from the village to superintend the packing of
the boxes. Her directions were strictly followed; and in no point were
they found wanting. Mr. Mackenzie bespoke Lizzie's admiration for their
friend's wonderful clearness of memory and judgment. "I wish we had that
woman at the head of affairs," said he. "'Gad, I'd apply for a
Brigadier-Generalship."--"I'd apply to be sent South," thought Lizzie.
When the boxes and letter were despatched, she sat down to await more
news. Sat down, say I? Sat down, and rose, and wondered, and sat down
again. These were lonely, weary days. Very different are the idleness of
love and the idleness of grief. Very different is it to be alone with
your hope and alone with your despair. Lizzie failed to rally her
musings. I do not mean to say that her sorrow was very poignant,
although she fancied it was. Habit was a great force in her simple
nature; and her chief trouble now was that habit refused to work. Lizzie
had to grapple with the stern tribulation of a decision to make, a
problem to solve. She felt that there was some spiritual barrier between
herself and repose. So she began in her usual fashion to build up a
false repose on the hither side of belief. She might as well have tried
to float on the Dead Sea. Peace eluding her, she tried to resign herself
to tumult. She drank deep at the well of self-pity, but found its waters
brackish. People are apt to think that they may temper the penalties of
misconduct by self-commiseration, just as they season the long
aftertaste of beneficence by a little spice of self-applause. But the
Power of Good is a more grateful master than the Devil. What bliss to
gaze into the smooth gurgling wake of a good deed, while the comely bark
sails on with floating pennon! What horror to look into the muddy
sediment which floats round the piratic keel! Go, sinner, and dissolve
it with your tears! And you, scoffing friend, there is the way out! Or
would you prefer the window? I'm an honest man forevermore.

One night Lizzie had a dream, a rather disagreeable one,--which haunted
her during many waking hours. It seemed to her that she was walking in a
lonely place, with a tall, dark-eyed man who called her wife. Suddenly,
in the shadow of a tree, they came upon an unburied corpse. Lizzie
proposed to dig him a grave. They dug a great hole and took hold of the
corpse to lift him in; when suddenly he opened his eyes. Then they saw
that he was covered with wounds. He looked at them intently for some
time, turning his eyes from one to the other. At last he solemnly said,
"Amen!" and closed his eyes. Then she and her companion placed him in
the grave, and shovelled the earth over him, and stamped it down with
their feet.

He of the dark eyes and he of the wounds were the two constantly
recurring figures of Lizzie's reveries. She could never think of John
without thinking of the courteous Leatherborough gentleman, too. These
were the _data_ of her problem. These two figures stood like opposing
knights, (the black and the white,) foremost on the great chess-board of
fate. Lizzie was the wearied, puzzled player. She would idly finger the
other pieces, and shift them carelessly hither and thither; but it was
of no avail: the game lay between the two knights. She would shut her
eyes and long for some kind hand to come and tamper with the board; she
would open them and see the two knights standing immovable, face to
face. It was nothing new. A fancy had come in and offered defiance to a
fact; they must fight it out. Lizzie generously inclined to the fancy,
the unknown champion, with a reputation to make. Call her _blasée_ if you
like, this little girl, whose record told of a couple of dances and a
single lover, heartless, old before her time. Perhaps she deserves your
scorn. I confess she thought herself ill-used. By whom? by what?
wherein? These were questions Miss Crowe was not prepared to answer. Her
intellect was unequal to the stern logic of human events. She expected
two and two to make five: as why should they not for the nonce? She was
like an actor who finds himself on the stage with a half-learned part
and without sufficient wit to extemporize. Pray, where is the prompter?
Alas, Elizabeth, that you had no mother! Young girls are prone to fancy
that when once they have a lover, they have everything they need: a
conclusion inconsistent with the belief entertained by many persons,
that life begins with love. Lizzie's fortunes became old stories to her
before she had half read them through. Jack's wounds and danger were an
old story. Do not suppose that she had exhausted the lessons,
the suggestions of these awful events, their inspirations,
exhortations,--that she had wept as became the horror of the tragedy.
No: the curtain had not yet fallen, yet our young lady had begun to
yawn. To yawn? Ay, and to long for the afterpiece. Since the tragedy
dragged, might she not divert herself with that well-bred man beside

Elizabeth was far from owning to herself that she had fallen away from
her love. For my own part, I need no better proof of the fact than the
dull persistency with which she denied it. What accusing voice broke out
of the stillness? Jack's nobleness and magnanimity were the hourly theme
of her clogged fancy. Again and again she declared to herself that she
was unworthy of them, but that, if he would only recover and come home,
she would be his eternal bond-slave. So she passed a very miserable
month. Let us hope that her childish spirit was being tempered to some
useful purpose. Let us hope so.

She roamed about the empty house with her footsteps tracked by an unlaid
ghost. She cried aloud and said that she was very unhappy; she groaned
and called herself wicked. Then, sometimes, appalled at her moral
perplexities, she declared that she was neither wicked nor unhappy; she
was contented, patient, and wise. Other girls had lost their lovers: it
was the present way of life. Was she weaker than most women? Nay, but
Jack was the best of men. If he would only come back directly, without
delay, as he was, senseless, dying even, that she might look at him,
touch him, speak to him! Then she would say that she could no longer
answer for herself, and wonder (or pretend to wonder) whether she were
not going mad. Suppose Mrs. Ford should come back and find her in an
unswept room, pallid and insane? or suppose she should die of her
troubles? What if she should kill herself?--dismiss the servants, and
close the house, and lock herself up with a knife? Then she would cut
her arm to escape from dismay at what she had already done; and then her
courage would ebb away with her blood, and, having so far pledged
herself to despair, her life would ebb away with her courage; and then,
alone, in darkness, with none to help her, she would vainly scream, and
thrust the knife into her temple, and swoon to death. And Jack would
come back, and burst into the house, and wander through the empty rooms,
calling her name, and for all answer get a death-scent! These imaginings
were the more creditable or discreditable to Lizzie, that she had never
read "Romeo and Juliet." At any rate, they served to dissipate
time,--heavy, weary time,--the more heavy and weary as it bore dark
foreshadowings of some momentous event. If that event would only come,
whatever it was, and sever this Gordian knot of doubt!

The days passed slowly: the leaden sands dropped one by one. The roads
were too bad for walking; so Lizzie was obliged to confine her
restlessness to the narrow bounds of the empty house, or to an
occasional journey to the village, where people sickened her by their
dull indifference to her spiritual agony. Still they could not fail to
remark how poorly Miss Crowe was looking. This was true, and Lizzie knew
it. I think she even took a certain comfort in her pallor and in her
failing interest in her dress. There was some satisfaction in displaying
her white roses amid the apple-cheeked prosperity of Main Street. At
last Miss Cooper, the Doctor's sister, spoke to her:--

"How is it, Elizabeth, you look so pale, and thin, and worn out? What
you been doing with yourself? Falling in love, eh? It isn't right to be
so much alone. Come down and stay with us awhile,--till Mrs. Ford and
John come back," added Miss Cooper, who wished to put a cheerful face on
the matter.

For Miss Cooper, indeed, any other face would have been difficult.
Lizzie agreed to come. Her hostess was a busy, unbeautiful old maid,
sister and housekeeper of the village physician. Her occupation here
below was to perform the forgotten tasks of her fellow-men,--to pick up
their dropped stitches, as she herself declared. She was never idle, for
her general cleverness was commensurate with mortal needs. Her own story
was, that she kept moving, so that folks couldn't see how ugly she was.
And, in fact, her existence was manifest through her long train of good
deeds,--just as the presence of a comet is shown by its tail. It was
doubtless on the above principle that her visage was agitated by a
perpetual laugh.

Meanwhile more news had been coming from Virginia. "What an absurdly
long letter you sent John," wrote Mrs. Ford, in acknowledging the
receipt of the boxes. "His first lucid moment would be very short, if he
were to take upon himself to read your effusions. Pray keep your long
stories till he gets well." For a fortnight the young soldier remained
the same,--feverish, conscious only at intervals. Then came a change for
the worse, which, for many weary days, however, resulted in nothing
decisive. "If he could only be moved to Glenham, home, and old sights,"
said his mother, "I should have hope. But think of the journey!" By this
time Lizzie had stayed out ten days of her visit.

One day Miss Cooper came in from a walk, radiant with tidings. Her face,
as I have observed, wore a continual smile, being dimpled and punctured
all over with merriment,--so that, when an unusual cheerfulness was
super-diffused, it resembled a tempestuous little pool into which a
great stone has been cast.

"Guess who's come," said she, going up to the piano, which Lizzie was
carelessly fingering, and putting her hands on the young girl's
shoulders. "Just guess!"

Lizzie looked up.

"Jack," she half gasped.

"Oh, dear, no, not that! How stupid of me! I mean Mr. Bruce, your
Leatherborough admirer."

"Mr. Bruce! Mr. Bruce!" said Lizzie. "Really?"

"True as I live. He's come to bring his sister to the Water-Cure. I met
them at the post-office."

Lizzie felt a strange sensation of good news. Her finger-tips were on
fire. She was deaf to her companion's rattling chronicle. She broke into
the midst of it with a fragment of some triumphant, jubilant melody. The
keys rang beneath her flashing hands. And then she suddenly stopped, and
Miss Cooper, who was taking off her bonnet at the mirror, saw that her
face was covered with a burning flush.

That evening, Mr. Bruce presented himself at Doctor Cooper's, with whom
he had a slight acquaintance. To Lizzie he was infinitely courteous and
tender. He assured her, in very pretty terms, of his profound sympathy
with her in her cousin's danger,--her cousin he still called him,--and
it seemed to Lizzie that until that moment no one had begun to be kind.
And then he began to rebuke her, playfully and in excellent taste, for
her pale cheeks.

"Isn't it dreadful?" said Miss Cooper. "She looks like a ghost. I guess
she's in love."

"He must be a good-for-nothing lover to make his mistress look so sad.
If I were you, I'd give him up, Miss Crowe."

"I didn't know I looked sad," said Lizzie.

"You don't now," said Miss Cooper. "You're smiling and blushing. A'n't
she blushing, Mr. Bruce?"

"I think Miss Crowe has no more than her natural color," said Bruce,
dropping his eye-glass. "What have you been doing all this while since
we parted?"

"All this while? it's only six weeks. I don't know. Nothing. What have

"I've been doing nothing, too. It's hard work."

"Have you been to any more parties?"

"Not one."

"Any more sleigh-rides?"

"Yes. I took one more dreary drive all alone,--over that same road, you
know. And I stopped at the farm-house again, and saw the old woman we
had the talk with. She remembered us, and asked me what had become of
the young lady who was with me before. I told her you were gone home,
but that I hoped soon to go and see you. So she sent you her love"----

"Oh, how nice!" exclaimed Lizzie.

"Wasn't it? And then she made a certain little speech; I won't repeat
it, or we shall have Miss Cooper talking about your blushes again."

"I know," cried the lady in question: "she said she was very"----

"Very what?" said Lizzie.

"Very h-a-n-d----what every one says."

"Very handy?" asked Lizzie. "I'm sure no one ever said that."

"Of course," said Bruce; "and I answered what every one answers."

"Have you seen Mrs. Littlefield lately?"

"Several times. I called on her the day before I left town, to see if
she had any messages for you."

"Oh, thank you! I hope she's well."

"Oh, she's as jolly as ever. She sent you her love, and hoped you would
come back to Leatherborough very soon again. I told her, that, however
it might be with the first message, the second should be a joint one
from both of us."

"You're very kind. I should like very much to go again.--Do you like
Mrs. Littlefield?"

"Like her? Yes. Don't you? She's thought a very pleasing woman."

"Oh, she's very nice.--I don't think she has much conversation."

"Ah, I'm afraid you mean she doesn't backbite. We've always found plenty
to talk about."

"That's a very significant tone. What, for instance?"

"Well, we _have_ talked about Miss Crowe."

"Oh, you have? Do you call that having plenty to talk about?"

"We _have_ talked about Mr. Bruce,--haven't we, Elizabeth?" said Miss
Cooper, who had her own notion of being agreeable.

It was not an altogether bad notion, perhaps; but Bruce found her
interruptions rather annoying, and insensibly allowed them to shorten
his visit. Yet, as it was, he sat till eleven o'clock,--a stay quite
unprecedented at Glenham.

When he left the house, he went splashing down the road with a very
elastic tread, springing over the starlit puddles, and trolling out some
sentimental ditty. He reached the inn, and went up to his sister's

"Why, Robert, where have you been all this while?" said Miss Bruce.

"At Dr. Cooper's."

"Dr. Cooper's? I should think you had! Who's Dr. Cooper?"

"Where Miss Crowe's staying."

"Miss Crowe? Ah, Mrs. Littlefield's friend! Is she as pretty as ever?"

"Prettier,--prettier,--prettier. _Tara-ta! tara-ta!_"

"Oh, Robert, do stop that singing! You'll rouse the whole house."


Late one afternoon, at dusk, about three weeks after Mr. Bruce's
arrival, Lizzie was sitting alone by the fire, in Miss Cooper's parlor,
musing, as became the place and hour. The Doctor and his sister came in,
dressed for a lecture.

"I'm sorry you won't go, my dear," said Miss Cooper. "It's a most
interesting subject: 'A Year of the War.' All the battles and things
described, you know."

"I'm tired of war," said Lizzie.

"Well, well, if you're tired of the war, we'll leave you in peace. Kiss
me good-bye. What's the matter? You look sick. You are homesick, a'n't

"No, no,--I'm very well."

"Would you like me to stay at home with you?"

"Oh, no! pray, don't!"

"Well, we'll tell you all about it. Will they have programmes, James?
I'll bring her a programme.--But you really feel as if you were going to
be ill. Feel of her skin, James."

"No, you needn't, Sir," said Lizzie. "How queer of you, Miss Cooper! I'm
perfectly well."

And at last her friends departed. Before long the servant came with the
lamp, ushering Mr. Mackenzie.

"Good evening, Miss," said he. "Bad news from Mrs. Ford."

"Bad news?"

"Yes, Miss. I've just got a letter stating that Mr. John is growing
worse and worse, and that they look for his death from hour to
hour.--It's very sad," he added, as Elizabeth was silent.

"Yes, it's very sad," said Lizzie.

"I thought you'd like to hear it."

"Thank you."

"He was a very noble young fellow," pursued Mr. Mackenzie.

Lizzie made no response.

"There's the letter," said Mr. Mackenzie, handing it over to her.

Lizzie opened it.

"How long she is reading it!" thought her visitor. "You can't see so far
from the light, can you, Miss?"

"Yes," said Lizzie.--"His poor mother! Poor woman!"

"Ay, indeed, Miss,--she's the one to be pitied."

"Yes, she's the one to be pitied," said Lizzie. "Well!" and she gave him
back the letter.

"I thought you'd like to see it," said Mackenzie, drawing on his gloves;
and then, after a pause,--"I'll call again, Miss, if I hear anything
more. Good night!"

Lizzie got up and lowered the light, and then went back to her sofa by
the fire.

Half an hour passed; it went slowly; but it passed. Still lying there in
the dark room on the sofa, Lizzie heard a ring at the door-bell, a man's
voice and a man's tread in the hall. She rose and went to the lamp. As
she turned it up, the parlor-door opened. Bruce came in.

"I was sitting in the dark," said Lizzie; "but when I heard you coming,
I raised the light."

"Are you afraid of me?" said Bruce.

"Oh, no! I'll put it down again. Sit down."

"I saw your friends going out," pursued Bruce; "so I knew I should find
you alone.--What are you doing here in the dark?"

"I've just received very bad news from Mrs. Ford about her son. He's
much worse, and will probably not live."

"Is it possible?"

"I was thinking about that."

"Dear me! Well that's a sad subject. I'm told he was a very fine young

"He was,--very," said Lizzie.

Bruce was silent awhile. He was a stranger to the young officer, and
felt that he had nothing to offer beyond the commonplace expressions of
sympathy and surprise. Nor had he exactly the measure of his companion's
interest in him.

"If he dies," said Lizzie, "it will be under great injustice."

"Ah! what do you mean?"

"There wasn't a braver man in the army."

"I suppose not."

"And, oh, Mr. Bruce," continued Lizzie, "he was so clever and good and
generous! I wish you had known him."

"I wish I had. But what do you mean by injustice? Were these qualities
denied him?"

"No indeed! Every one that looked at him could see that he was perfect."

"Where's the injustice, then? It ought to be enough for him that you
should think so highly of him."

"Oh, he knew that," said Lizzie.

Bruce was a little puzzled by his companion's manner. He watched her, as
she sat with her cheek on her hand, looking at the fire. There was a
long pause. Either they were too friendly or too thoughtful for the
silence to be embarrassing. Bruce broke it at last.

"Miss Crowe," said he, "on a certain occasion, some time ago, when you
first heard of Mr. Ford's wounds, I offered you my company, with the
wish to console you as far as I might for what seemed a considerable
shock. It was, perhaps, a bold offer for so new a friend; but,
nevertheless, in it even then my heart spoke. You turned me off. Will
you let me repeat it? Now, with a better right, will you let me speak
out all my heart?"

Lizzie heard this speech, which was delivered in a slow and hesitating
tone, without looking up or moving her head, except, perhaps, at the
words "turned me off." After Bruce had ceased, she still kept her

"You'll not turn me off now?" added her companion.

She dropped her hand, raised her head, and looked at him a moment: he
thought he saw the glow of tears in her eyes. Then she sank back upon
the sofa with her face in the shadow of the mantel-piece.

"I don't understand you, Mr. Bruce," said she.

"Ah, Elizabeth! am I such a poor speaker. How shall I make it plain?
When I saw your friends leave home half an hour ago, and reflected that
you would probably be alone, I determined to go right in and have a talk
with you that I've long been wanting to have. But first I walked half a
mile up the road, thinking hard,--thinking how I should say what I had
to say. I made up my mind to nothing, but that somehow or other I should
say it I would trust,--I _do_ trust to your frankness, kindness, and
sympathy, to a feeling corresponding to my own. Do you understand that
feeling? Do you know that I love you? I do, I do, I do! You _must_ know
it. If you don't, I solemnly swear it. I solemnly ask you, Elizabeth, to
take me for your husband."

While Bruce said these words, he rose, with their rising passion, and
came and stood before Lizzie. Again she was motionless.

"Does it take you so long to think?" said he, trying to read her
indistinct features; and he sat down on the sofa beside her and took her

At last Lizzie spoke.

"Are you sure," said she, "that you love me?"

"As sure as that I breathe. Now, Elizabeth, make me as sure that I am
loved in return."

"It seems very strange, Mr. Bruce," said Lizzie.

"What seems strange? Why should it? For a month I've been trying, in a
hundred dumb ways, to make it plain; and now, when I swear it, it only
seems strange!"

"What do you love me for?"

"For? For yourself, Elizabeth."

"Myself? I am nothing."

"I love you for what you are,--for your deep, kind heart,--for being so
perfectly a woman."

Lizzie drew away her hand, and her lover rose and stood before her
again. But now she looked up into his face, questioning when she should
have answered, drinking strength from his entreaties for her replies.
There he stood before her, in the glow of the firelight, in all his
gentlemanhood, for her to accept or reject. She slowly rose and gave him
the hand she had withdrawn.

"Mr. Bruce, I shall be very proud to love you," she said.

And then, as if this effort was beyond her strength, she half staggered
back to the sofa again. And still holding her hand, he sat down beside
her. And there they were still sitting when they heard the Doctor and
his sister come in.

For three days Elizabeth saw nothing of Mr. Mackenzie. At last, on the
fourth day, passing his office in the village, she went in and asked for
him. He came out of his little back parlor with his mouth full and a
beaming face.

"Good-day, Miss Crowe, and good news!"

"_Good_ news?" cried Lizzie.

"Capital!" said he, looking hard at her, while he put on his spectacles.
"She writes that Mr. John--won't you take a seat?--has taken a sudden
and unexpected turn for the better. Now's the moment to save him; it's
an equal risk. They were to start for the North the second day after
date. The surgeon comes with them. So they'll be home--of course they'll
travel slowly--in four or five days. Yes, Miss, it's a remarkable
Providence. And that noble young man will be spared to the country, and
to those who love him, as I do."

"I had better go back to the house and have it got ready," said Lizzie,
for an answer.

"Yes, Miss, I think you had. In fact, Mrs. Ford made that request."

The request was obeyed. That same day Lizzie went home. For two days she
found it her interest to overlook, assiduously, a general sweeping,
scrubbing, and provisioning. She allowed herself no idle moment until
bed-time. Then--But I would rather not be the chamberlain of her agony.
It was the easier to work, as Mr. Bruce had gone to Leatherborough on

On the fourth evening, at twilight, John Ford was borne up to the door
on his stretcher, with his mother stalking beside him in rigid grief,
and kind, silent friends pressing about with helping hands.

    "Home they brought her warrior dead,
    She nor swooned nor uttered cry."

It was, indeed, almost a question, whether Jack was not dead. Death is
not thinner, paler, stiller. Lizzie moved about like one in a dream. Of
course, when there are so many sympathetic friends, a man's family has
nothing to do,--except exercise a little self-control. The women huddled
Mrs. Ford to bed; rest was imperative; she was killing herself. And it
was significant of her weakness that she did not resent this advice. In
greeting her, Lizzie felt as if she were embracing the stone image on
the top of a sepulchre. She, too, had her cares anticipated. Good Doctor
Cooper and his sister stationed themselves at the young man's couch.

The Doctor prophesied wondrous things of the change of climate; he was
certain of a recovery. Lizzie found herself very shortly dealt with as
an obstacle to this consummation. Access to John was prohibited.
"Perfect stillness, you know, my dear," whispered Miss Cooper, opening
his chamber-door on a crack, in a pair of very creaking shoes. So for
the first evening that her old friend was at home Lizzie caught but a
glimpse of his pale, senseless face, as she hovered outside the long
train of his attendants. If we may suppose any of these kind people to
have had eyes for aught but the sufferer, we may be sure that they saw
another visage equally sad and white. The sufferer? It was hardly Jack,
after all.

When Lizzie was turned from Jack's door, she took a covering from a heap
of draperies that had been hurriedly tossed down in the hall: it was an
old army-blanket. She wrapped it round her, and went out on the
verandah. It was nine o'clock; but the darkness was filled with light. A
great wanton wind--the ghost of the raw blast which travels by day--had
arisen, bearing long, soft gusts of inland spring. Scattered clouds were
hurrying across the white sky. The bright moon, careering in their
midst, seemed to have wandered forth in frantic quest of the hidden

Lizzie nestled her head in the blanket, and sat down on the steps. A
strange earthy smell lingered in that faded old rug, and with it a faint
perfume of tobacco. Instantly the young girl's senses were transported
as they had never been before to those far-off Southern battle-fields.
She saw men lying in swamps, puffing their kindly pipes, drawing their
blankets closer, canopied with the same luminous dusk that shone down
upon her comfortable weakness. Her mind wandered amid these scenes till
recalled to the present by the swinging of the garden-gate. She heard a
firm, well-known tread crunching the gravel. Mr. Bruce came up the path.
As he drew near the steps, Lizzie arose. The blanket fell back from her
head, and Bruce started at recognizing her.

"Hullo! You, Elizabeth? What's the matter?"

Lizzie made no answer.

"Are you one of Mr. Ford's watchers?" he continued, coming up the steps;
"how is he?"

Still she was silent. Bruce put out his hands to take hers, and bent
forward as if to kiss her. She half shook him off, and retreated toward
the door.

"Good heavens!" cried Bruce; "what's the matter? Are you moonstruck?
Can't you speak?"

"No,--no,--not to-night," said Lizzie, in a choking voice. "Go away,--go

She stood holding the door-handle, and motioning him off. He hesitated a
moment, and then advanced. She opened the door rapidly, and went in. He
heard her lock it. He stood looking at it stupidly for some time, and
then slowly turned round and walked down the steps.

The next morning Lizzie arose with the early dawn, and came down stairs.
She went into the room where Jack lay, and gently opened the door. Miss
Cooper was dozing in her chair. Lizzie crossed the threshold, and stole
up to the bed. Poor Ford lay peacefully sleeping. There was his old
face, after all,--his strong, honest features refined, but not weakened,
by pain. Lizzie softly drew up a low chair, and sat down beside him. She
gazed into his face,--the dear and honored face into which she had so
often gazed in health. It was strangely handsomer: body stood for less.
It seemed to Lizzie, that, as the fabric of her lover's soul was more
clearly revealed,--the veil of the temple rent wellnigh in twain,--she
could read the justification of all her old worship. One of Jack's
hands lay outside the sheets,--those strong, supple fingers, once so
cunning in workmanship, so frank in friendship, now thinner and whiter
than her own. After looking at it for some time, Lizzie gently grasped
it. Jack slowly opened his eyes. Lizzie's heart began to throb; it was
as if the stillness of the sanctuary had given a sign. At first there
was no recognition in the young man's gaze. Then the dull pupils began
visibly to brighten. There came to his lips the commencement of that
strange moribund smile which seems so ineffably satirical of the things
of this world. O imposing spectacle of death! O blessed soul, marked for
promotion! What earthly favor is like thine? Lizzie sank down on her
knees, and, still clasping John's hand, bent closer over him.

"Jack,--dear, dear Jack," she whispered, "do you know me?"

The smile grew more intense. The poor fellow drew out his other hand,
and slowly, feebly placed it on Lizzie's head, stroking down her hair
with his fingers.

"Yes, yes," she murmured; "you know me, don't you? I am Lizzie, Jack.
Don't you remember Lizzie?"

Ford moved his lips inaudibly, and went on patting her head.

"This is home, you know," said Lizzie; "this is Glenham. You haven't
forgotten Glenham? You are with your mother and me and your friends.
Dear, darling Jack!"

Still he went on, stroking her head; and his feeble lips tried to emit
some sound. Lizzie laid her head down on the pillow beside his own, and
still his hand lingered caressingly on her hair.

"Yes, you know me," she pursued; "you are with your friends now
forever,--with those who will love and take care of you, oh, forever!"

"I'm very badly wounded," murmured Jack, close to her ear.

"Yes, yes, my dear boy, but your wounds are healing. I will love you and
nurse you forever."

"Yes, Lizzie, our old promise," said Jack: and his hand fell upon her
neck, and with its feeble pressure he drew her closer, and she wet his
face with her tears.

Then Miss Cooper, awakening, rose and drew Lizzie away.

"I am sure you excite him, my dear. It is best he should have none of
his family near him,--persons with whom he has associations, you know."

Here the Doctor was heard gently tapping on the window, and Lizzie went
round to the door to admit him.

She did not see Jack again all day. Two or three times she ventured into
the room, but she was banished by a frown, or a finger raised to the
lips. She waylaid the Doctor frequently. He was blithe and cheerful,
certain of Jack's recovery. This good man used to exhibit as much moral
elation at the prospect of a cure as an orthodox believer at that of a
new convert: it was one more body gained from the Devil. He assured
Lizzie that the change of scene and climate had already begun to tell:
the fever was lessening, the worst symptoms disappearing. He answered
Lizzie's reiterated desire to do something by directions to keep the
house quiet and the sick-room empty.

Soon after breakfast, Miss Dawes, a neighbor, came in to relieve Miss
Cooper, and this indefatigable lady transferred her attention to Mrs.
Ford. Action was forbidden her. Miss Cooper was delighted for once to be
able to lay down the law to her vigorous neighbor, of whose fine
judgment she had always stood in awe. Having bullied Mrs. Ford into
taking her breakfast in the little sitting-room, she closed the doors,
and prepared for "a good long talk." Lizzie was careful not to break in
upon this interview. She had bidden her patroness good morning, asked
after her health, and received one of her temperate osculations. As she
passed the invalid's door, Doctor Cooper came out and asked her to go
and look for a certain roll of bandages, in Mr. John's trunk, which had
been carried into another room. Lizzie hastened to perform this task. In
fumbling through the contents of the trunk, she came across a packet of
letters in a well-known feminine handwriting. She pocketed it, and,
after disposing of the bandages, went to her own room, locked the door,
and sat down to examine the letters. Between reading and thinking and
sighing and (in spite of herself) smiling, this process took the whole
morning. As she came down to dinner, she encountered Mrs. Ford and Miss
Cooper, emerging from the sitting-room, the good long talk being only
just concluded.

"How do you feel, Ma'am?" she asked of the elder lady,--"rested?"

For all answer Mrs. Ford gave a look--I had almost said a scowl--so
hard, so cold, so reproachful, that Lizzie was transfixed. But suddenly
its sickening meaning was revealed to her. She turned to Miss Cooper,
who stood pale and fluttering beside the mistress, her everlasting smile
glazed over with a piteous, deprecating glance; and I fear her eyes
flashed out the same message of angry scorn they had just received.
These telegraphic operations are very rapid. The ladies hardly halted:
the next moment found them seated at the dinner-table with Miss Cooper
scrutinizing her napkin-mark and Mrs. Ford saying grace.

Dinner was eaten in silence. When it was over, Lizzie returned to her
own room. Miss Cooper went home, and Mrs. Ford went to her son. Lizzie
heard the firm low click of the lock as she closed the door. Why did she
lock it? There was something fatal in the silence that followed. The
plot of her little tragedy thickened. Be it so: she would act her part
with the rest. For the second time in her experience, her mind was
lightened by the intervention of Mrs. Ford. Before the scorn of her own
conscience, (which never came,) before Jack's deepest reproach, she was
ready to bow down,--but not before that long-faced Nemesis in black
silk. The leaven of resentment began to work. She leaned back in her
chair, and folded her arms, brave to await results. But before long she
fell asleep. She was aroused by a knock at her chamber-door. The
afternoon was far gone. Miss Dawes stood without.

"Elizabeth, Mr. John wants very much to see you, with his love. Come
down very gently: his mother is lying down. Will you sit with him while
I take my dinner?--Better? Yes, ever so much."

Lizzie betook herself with trembling haste to Jack's bedside.

He was propped up with pillows. His pale cheeks were slightly flushed.
His eyes were bright. He raised himself, and, for such feeble arms, gave
Lizzie a long, strong embrace.

"I've not seen you all day, Lizzie," said he. "Where have you been?"

"Dear Jack, they wouldn't let me come near you. I begged and prayed. And
I wanted so to go to you in the army; but I couldn't. I wish, I wish I

"You wouldn't have liked it, Lizzie. I'm glad you didn't. It's a bad,
bad place."

He lay quietly, holding her hands and gazing at her.

"Can I do anything for you, dear?" asked the young girl. "I would work
my life out. I'm so glad you're better!"

It was some time before Jack answered,--

"Lizzie," said he, at last, "I sent for you to look at you.--You are
more wondrously beautiful than ever. Your hair is brown,--like--like
nothing; your eyes are blue; your neck is white. Well, well!"

He lay perfectly motionless, but for his eyes. They wandered over her
with a kind of peaceful glee, like sunbeams playing on a statue. Poor
Ford lay, indeed, not unlike an old wounded Greek, who at falling dusk
has crawled into a temple to die, steeping the last dull interval in
idle admiration of sculptured Artemis.

"Ah, Lizzie, this is already heaven!" he murmured.

"It will be heaven when you get well," whispered Lizzie.

He smiled into her eyes:--

"You say more than you mean. There should be perfect truth between us.
Dear Lizzie, I am not going to get well. They are all very much
mistaken, I am going to die. I've done my work, Death makes up for
everything. My great pain is in leaving you. But you, too, will die one
of these days; remember that. In all pain and sorrow, remember that."

Lizzie was able to reply only by the tightening grasp of her hands.

"But there is something more," pursued Jack. "Life _is_ as good as
death. Your heart has found its true keeper; so we shall all three be
happy. Tell him I bless him and honor him. Tell him God, too, blesses
him. Shake hands with him for me," said Jack, feebly moving his pale
fingers. "My mother," he went on,--"be very kind to her. She will have
great grief, but she will not die of it. She'll live to great age. Now,
Lizzie, I can't talk any more; I wanted to say farewell. You'll keep me
farewell,--you'll stay with me awhile,--won't you? I'll look at you till
the last. For a little while you'll be mine, holding my hands--so--until
death parts us."

Jack kept his promise. His eyes were fixed in a firm gaze long after the
sense had left them.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the early dawn of the next day, Elizabeth left her sleepless bed,
opened the window, and looked out on the wide prospect, still cool and
dim with departing night. It offered freshness and peace to her hot head
and restless heart. She dressed herself hastily, crept down stairs,
passed the death-chamber, and stole out of the quiet house. She turned
away from the still sleeping village and walked towards the open
country. She went a long way without knowing it. The sun had risen high
when she bethought herself to turn. As she came back along the
brightening highway, and drew near home, she saw a tall figure standing
beneath the budding trees of the garden, hesitating, apparently, whether
to open the gate. Lizzie came upon him almost before he had seen her.
Bruce's first movement was to put out his hands, as any lover might; but
as Lizzie raised her veil, he dropped them.

"Yes, Mr. Bruce," said Lizzie, "I'll give you my hand once more,--in

"Elizabeth!" cried Bruce, half stupefied, "in God's name, what do you
mean by these crazy speeches?"

"I mean well. I mean kindly and humanely to you. And I mean justice to
my old--old love."

She went to him, took his listless hand, without looking into his wild,
smitten face, shook it passionately, and then, wrenching her own from
his grasp, opened the gate and let it swing behind her.

"No! no! no!" she almost shrieked, turning about in the path. "I forbid
you to follow me!"

But for all that, he went in.


    When Winter encamps on our borders,
        And dips his white beard in the rills,
    And lays his shield over highway, and field,
        And pitches his tents on the hills,--
    In the wan light I wake, and see on the lake,
        Like a glove by the night-winds blown,
    With fingers that crook up creek and brook,
        His shining gauntlet thrown.

    Then over the lonely harbor,
        In the quiet and deadly cold
    Of a single night, when only the bright,
        Cold constellations behold,
    Without trestle or beam, without mortise or seam,
        It swiftly and silently spread
    A bridge as of steel, which a Titan's heel
        In the early light might tread.

    Where Morning over the waters
        Her web of splendor spun,
    Till the wave, all a-twinkle with ripple and wrinkle,
        Hung shimmering in the sun,--
    Where the liquid lip at the breast of the ship
        Whispered and laughed and kissed,
    And the long, dark streamer of smoke from the steamer
        Trailed off in the rose-tinted mist,--

    Now all is gray desolation,
        As up from the hoary coast,
    Over snow-fields and islands her white arms in silence
        Outspreading like a ghost,
    Her feet in shroud, her forehead in cloud,
        Pale walks the sheeted Dawn:
    The sea's blue rim lies shorn and dim,
        In the purple East withdrawn.

    Where floated the fleets of commerce,
        With proud breasts cleaving the tide,--
    Like emmet or bug with its burden, the tug
        Hither and thither plied,--
    Where the quick paddles flashed, where the dropped anchor plashed,
        And rattled the running chain,
    Where the merchantman swung in the current, where sung
        The sailors their far refrain,--

    Behold! when ruddy Aurora
        Peeps from her opening door,
    Faint gleams of the sun like fairies run
        And sport on a crystal floor;
    Upon the river's bright panoply quivers
        The noon's resplendent lance;
    And by night through the narrows the moon's slanted arrows
        Icily sparkle and glance.

    Flown are the flocks of commerce,
        Like wild swans hurrying south;
    The lighter, belated, is frozen, full-freighted,
        Within the harbor's mouth;
    The brigantine, homeward bringing
        Sweet spices from afar,
    All night must wait with her fragrant freight
        Below the lighthouse star.

    The ships at their anchors are frozen,
       From rudder to sloping chain:
    Rock-like they rise: the low sloop lies
        An oasis in the plain.
    Like reeds here and there, the tall masts bare
        Upspring: as on the edge
    Of a lawn smooth-shaven, around the haven
        The shipping grows like sedge.

    Here, weaving the union of cities,
        With hoar wakes belting the blue,
    From slip to slip, past schooner and ship,
        The ferry's shuttles flew:--
    Now, loosed from its stall, on the yielding wall
        The steamboat paws and rears;
    The citizens pass on a pavement of glass,
        And climb the frosted piers.

    Where, in the November twilight,
        To the ribs of the skeleton bark
    That stranded lay in the bend of the bay,
        Motionless, low, and dark,
    Came ever three shags, like three lone hags,
        And sat o'er the troubled water,
    Each nursing apart her shrivelled heart,
        With her mantle wrapped about her,--

    Now over the ancient timbers
        Is built a magic deck;
    Children run out with laughter and shout
        And dance around the wreck;
    The fisherman near his long eel-spear
        Thrusts in through the ice, or stands
    With fingers on lips, and now and then whips
        His sides with mittened hands.

    Alone and pensive I wander
        Far out from the city-wharf
    To the buoy below in its cap of snow,
        Low stooping like a dwarf;
    In the fading ray of the dull, brief day
        I wander and muse apart,--
    For this frozen sea is a symbol to me
        Of many a human heart.

    I think of the hopes deep sunken
        Like anchors under the ice,--
    Of souls that wait for Love's sweet freight
        And the spices of Paradise:
    Far off their barks are tossing
        On the billows of unrest,
    And enter not in, for the hardness and sin
        That close the secret breast.

    I linger, until, at evening,
       The town-roofs, towering high,
    Uprear in the dimness their tall, dark chimneys,
       Indenting the sunset sky,
    And the pendent spear on the edge of the pier
       Signals my homeward way,
    As it gleams through the dusk like a walrus's tusk
       On the floes of a polar bay.

    Then I think of the desolate households
       On which the day shuts down,--
    What misery hides in the darkened tides
       Of life in yonder town!
    I think of the lonely poet
       In his hours of coldness and pain,
    His fancies full-freighted, like lighters belated,
       All frozen within his brain.

    And I hearken to the moanings
       That come from the burdened bay:
    As a camel, that kneels for his lading, reels,
       And cannot bear it away,
    The mighty load is slowly
       Upheaved with struggle and pain
    From centre to side, then the groaning tide
       Sinks heavily down again.

    So day and night you may hear it
       Panting beneath its pack,
    Till sailor and saw, till south wind and thaw,
       Unbind it from its back.
    O Sun! will thy beam ever gladden the stream
       And bid its burden depart?
    O Life! all in vain do we strive with the chain
       That fetters and chills the heart?

    Already in vision prophetic
       On yonder height I stand:
    The gulls are gay upon the bay,
       The swallows on the land;--
    'Tis spring-time now; like an aspen-bough
       Shaken across the sky,
    In the silvery light with twinkling flight
       The rustling plovers fly.

    Aloft in the sunlit cordage
       Behold the climbing tar,
    With his shadow beside on the sail white and wide,
       Climbing a shadow-spar!
    Up the glassy stream with issuing steam
       The cutter crawls again,
    All winged with cloud and buzzing loud,
       Like a bee upon the pane.

    The brigantine is bringing
        Her cargo to the quay,
    The sloop flits by like a butterfly,
        The schooner skims the sea.
    O young heart's trust, beneath the crust
        Of a chilling world congealed!
    O love, whose flow the winter of woe
        With its icy hand hath sealed!

    Learn patience from the lesson!
        Though the night be drear and long,
    To the darkest sorrow there comes a morrow,
        A right to every wrong.
    And as, when, having run his low course, the red Sun
        Comes charging gayly up here,
    The white shield of Winter shall shiver and splinter
        At the touch of his golden spear,--

    Then rushing under the bridges,
        And crushing among the piles,
    In gray mottled masses the drift-ice passes,
        Like seaward-floating isles;--
    So Life shall return from its solstice, and burn
        In trappings of gold and blue,
    The world shall pass like a shattered glass,
        And the Heaven of Love shine through.


Drake Talcott, a Union prisoner, marched with other prisoners
seventy-five miles to Danville, on thirteen crackers. They travelled
from there to Andersonville, six days by rail, on four crackers a day,
and, as a consequence of the rations, came in due course of time to a
general sense of emptiness, and an incorrigible tendency to think of
roast beef, boiled chicken, fried oysters, and other like dainties; and
many of the prisoners, after battling awhile with the emptiness and the
mental tendency, fell down exhausted, and were stowed away in the wagons
following on in the rear of the train. But Talcott, though with youth
and the brawn and muscle and lusty craving vitality of an athlete
against him in the cracker point of view, possessed likewise a mighty
will, and a stubborn, tenacious endurance, nowise weakened by the
discipline of two years of camp and battle; and not only marched with
courage and elasticity, but actually set himself, out of the abundance
of his resources, to spur the flagging spirits of his comrades, as they
huddled in disconsolate confusion about the little station at

"Boys," said our orator, "the Rebels keep their best generals for their
Home Guard. Lee and Early, and the rest of the crew, are lambs and
sucking doves to Generals Starvation, Wear-'em-out, and
Grumble,--especially that last-named fellow, who is the worst of the
three, because he comes under our own colors, and we feel shy about
firing on our own men. I believe we are all too apt to think that
muscles are the vital forces, and that man lives by beef; but, boys,
muscles are only hammers, and it takes a thought to raise them; and
though beef is good eating, and we should all like a slice uncommonly,
let me tell you, when it isn't to be had, that _backbone_ is the next
thing to it, and it is surprising how long a man can live on it. For it
is the brain that is the commander-in-chief, and does the strategy and
the planning for this precious life that we all set such store by,--the
brain, that I used to think a lazy bummer, that lived at the stomach's
expense; and when the quartermaster--that's the stomach--telegraphs up
that he's fairly cleaned out, not a half-ration left, says our little
commander, cool and calm, 'Serve out grit and backbone to the troops,
and send out the senses on a scout.' And, men, if you've got the grit,
and keep on the sharp look-out, you are likely to get on; but shut down
on grumbling,--that's a luxury for fellows that get three meals a day;
for while you are busy about that, Starvation and Wear-'em-out will sail
in at you, and once you get weak in the knees, and limp in the back, and
dizzy in the head, you're played out. Remember, we aren't going to Belle
Isle. I don't know anything about Andersonville, but it can't be so bad
as that hole."

The men cheered. Up came an officer on the double-quick.

"What's the row about now? You Yankees are always chattering like

"So you scarecrows come to look after us," retorted Drake, quick as
light: at which poor piece of wit the soldiers were pleased to laugh
vociferously,--the irritating laugh that assumes your defeat, without
granting you a hearing,--before which the man in authority, not having
the art of looking like a fool with propriety, retreated, reddening and
snarling, but turned on the platform of the cars, and flung back this
Parthian arrow at the laughing Yankees:--

"You're a bad lot of men, saucy as the Devil; but I reckon you'll get
the impudence taken out of you here, d----d quick!"

"It is all you have left them to take, anyhow," said a voice,--and
"That's so," chorused the crowd; and the whistle sounding, the Captain,
whose reign was over, departed, hard-hit and growling, but left, so to
speak, his sting behind him: for the last of his speech had one terrible
merit,--it was true.

The prisoners, over a thousand strong, were formed in line and ordered
to march. As they tramped along the dusty road, they strained their
eyes, eagerly, but furtively, for the first show of their prison. Seeing
tents on the left, there was a little stir among them, but that proved
to be a Rebel camp; then some one spied heights topped with cannon, and
"Now," said they, "we are close upon it," and then stopped short for
wonder, for here the road ended, ran butt against the wall of a huge
roofless inclosure, made of squared pines set perpendicularly and close
together in the ground.

"Is it a pen?" asked one, doubtfully.

"Yes, yours," retorted one of the guard, with a grin,--"the Stockade

The word ran down the line like a shiver, and the men stood mute, eying
each other doubtfully. And now, if I could, I would get at your hearts,
you who read this, and you should not read mistily, and hold the story
at loose ends as it were, but feel by the answering throb within
yourselves what thoughts gnawed at the hearts of these men under their
brave show of indifference: for though these be facts, facts written are
disembodied, and, like spirits, have no power to speak to you, unless
you give them the voice of your sympathy; and without that, I question
which touches you most deeply, a thousand rats following the Pied Piper
of Hamelin, and wondering, as he neared the wharves, where the Deuse
they were going, or the thousand Union soldiers standing stunned before
a gate from which should have wailed forth, as they filed through,
"_Leave all hope behind!_"

They were hardly in, when there was a scramble, and a cry of "Rations!"
and came lumbering a train of wagons, bringing the day's supplies. There
were at this time under torture twenty-eight thousand prisoners,--more
than the population of Hartford; and as the Southern Confederacy, a
Christian association, and conducting itself with many appeals to
Christian principle, believes the wind is tempered to the shorn lamb,
and so shears the Yankees as close as possible, these men had all been
formally fleeced of such worldly gear as blankets, money, and extra
clothing. Some further shearing there had been also, but irregular,
depending chiefly on the temper of the captors,--stripping them
sometimes to shirt and drawers, leaving them occasionally jacket and
shoes; so now most were barefooted, most in rags, and some had not even
rags. They had lain on the bare earth, sodden with damp or calcined into
dust, and borne storm and heat helplessly, without even the shelter of a
board, till they were burned and wasted to the likeness of haggard
ghosts; most had forgotten hope, many decency; some were dying, and
crawled over the ground with a woful persistency that it would have
broken your heart to see; they were all fasting, for the day's rations,
tossed to them the afternoon before, had been devoured, as was the
custom, at a single meal, and proved scant at that; and they crowded
wolfishly about the wagons, the most miserable, pitiable mob that ever
had mothers, wives, and sisters at home to pray for them.

The new comers looked on amazed, and "How about Belle Isle now?" they
said bitterly to Drake. He, poor fellow, was having his first despondent
chill, and sneering at himself for having it, after all his fine talk
about "backbone"; and finding reasons for despair thicken, the harder he
tried to make elbow-room for hope, till altogether confounded at the
muddle, he flung up thought, with "Brain's full and stomach's empty, and
it's ill talking between a full man and a fasting," and set about
cooking his rations. "But first catch your hare," cries Mrs. Glass.
Drake had his hare, such as it was, but found something quite as
important lacking,--wood.

"I say, my friend, where do we find fuel?" he asked of a man sitting
quietly on the ground.

"Where the Israelites found the straw for their bricks," was the answer.
"There is no special provision made, unless it be an occasional permit
to forage outside, under----Hold off there!--don't touch that, man,
unless you want to be cooked yourself for supper!--that's the 'dead

Drake drew back from a light railing running parallel with the
inclosure, on which he had nearly laid his hand.

"What the Deuse is the dead line?"

"The new way to pay old debts, and put a Yankee out of the world cheap.
Show so much as your little finger outside of that, and the guard nails
you with a bullet; and as they like that sort of thing, they blaze away
whenever they get a chance,--which is once or twice a day,--for our men
expose themselves voluntarily. When Satan said, 'Skin for skin, yea, all
that a man hath will he give for his life,' he hadn't invented the
Stockade Prison."

The man who said these things, in a quiet, unexcited way, as if
discussing some abstraction of the schools, not murder, was too wan and
wasted, too shrunken and despairing, to afford a guess as to what manner
of man he might have been, and too unkempt and ragged for any inference
concerning his rank, having neither jacket, cap, nor shoes, matted hair
and beard, torn shirt and ragged trousers: but his look of resolved
patience, and an occasional smile while he talked, sadder than tears,
made Drake's stout heart twinge with pain. "A strong soul in a feeble
body," he said to himself, as he walked on; and furthermore, "The man
that can smile here like that is near heaven, and fit for it."

Presently he came on a farmer selling wood by the stick, price in
proportion to its size, and as many times its value as the Rebel, by
his own showing, exceeds the Yankee. Drake had money, spite of shearing
and searching. He had hidden it----But I forbear to tell of what
ingenious shift he had availed himself, for I remember, that, spite of
its well-known loyalty, the "Atlantic Monthly" runs the blockade. First
he passed the man, prudence pulling him by the sleeve, and searched
lynx-eyed for chips or twigs, over ground scoured daily, in such faint
hope as his, by thousands; but he might as well have dragged a brook for
the wreck of a seventy-four among its pebbles. Having wasted a precious
half-hour of fading daylight, he came back to the dealer to find his
stock on the rise; for the influx of new comers had produced an upward
tendency in a market sensitive as that of Wall Street. Lest it should
swell quite beyond the compass of his pocket, he made haste to
buy,--scores of meagre wretches looking anxiously on. That pitiful sight
made his heart sore again; and he hardly persuaded himself to take his
wood and be off, till he remembered the poor fellow whom he had left
resigned and hopeless, sitting quietly on the ground while all was eager
stir about him, and hurried back to the spot where he had seen him to
find him gone. He had crawled away, and was lost in that great throng.

Not to be balked entirely, Drake shared his firing with those around
him; and Virtue, in place of her usual promissory note, gave him his
reward instantly, in the shape of a tin cup belonging to one of the
party, and their sole cooking-utensil,--for the prison authorities
furnish none. His rations--a day's rations, remember--were eight ounces
of Indian meal, cob and kernel ground together, (as with us for pigs,)
and sour, (a common occurrence,) and two ounces of condemned pork (not
to appear again in our pages, as it proved too strong even for poor
Drake's hunger). He brought water in the cup from a ditch that traversed
the inclosure, and filtered it through a bit of cloth torn from his
shirt; and the meal being mixed with this water, (salt was not even
hinted at, the market price of that article being four dollars a pound
at Andersonville,) it was placed on a strip of wood before the fire, to
bake up to the half-raw point, that being the highest perfection
attainable in Drake's kitchen: for a range and a steady heat find the
baking of meal, so mixed, no easy matter. Eight ounces of meal make a
cake six inches long, five broad, and half an inch thick: that is to
say, Drake's dinner and supper for that day, and his breakfast and
dinner for the next day, were in the mass six inches long, five inches
broad, and half an inch thick. Give the figures an Indian-meal
consistency, you who are not of that order of Stoics that endures its
neighbor's sufferings without a groan. Try the experiment in your own
kitchen. One baking will carry conviction farther than batches of
statistics. Drake being famished chose to take four meals in
one,--improvident man! That done, he went to bed: quite an elaborate
arrangement, as practised among us, what with taking off of clothes, and
possibly washing and combing, and pulling up of sheets and coverlets,
and fitting of pillows to neck and shoulders; but nothing can be more
simple than the way they do it there. You just lie down wherever you
are,--and sleep, if you can. Drake could and did sleep most soundly.

This was our hero's first taste of prison-life. But a little reading and
much talk about camp-fires and behind earth-works--when there was a lull
in the storm of shot and shell--had etched out for him certain crude
theories, for which he was as ready to do battle as any other hot-headed
lad of twenty-three. "Starvation is the masked battery that plays the
Deuse with us all," he insisted; "and we must take that, or be taken
out--feet foremost. As for your '_how_,' good Incredulity and Unbelief,
where there is an end, and the will to reach it, the means are tolerably
sure to be lying around loose somewhere." But examinations for
candidates, and the hundred-pound hail, and the sharp beak of the ram
for the untried monitor, are facts for theories; and without the proof
of these, none of the three have the positive value of a skillet that
has been tried. We have Drake's theory. Here are the facts.

No cooking-utensils were allowed the prisoner; no blankets were allowed
the prisoner; no shelter of any sort was allowed the prisoner; no tools
or materials to construct a shelter were allowed the prisoner; no means
of living as a civilized man were allowed the prisoner; no way of
helping himself as a savage was allowed the prisoner. The rations were
at all times insufficient, and frequently so foul that starvation itself
could not swallow them: consequence, stomach and body weakened by a
perpetual hunger, and in many cases utter inability to retain food, good
or bad. More than that, the sluggish water-course that served as their
reservoir crept across their pen foul and thick with the _débris_ of the
Rebel camp above, and in the centre filtered through the spongy ground,
and creamed and mantled and spread out loathsomely into a hateful swamp;
and the fierce sun, beating down on its slimy surface, drew from its
festering pools and mounds of refuse a vapor of death, and the prisoners
breathed it; and the reek of unwashed and diseased bodies crowding close
on each other, and the sickening, pestilential odor of a huge camp
without sewerage or system of policing, made the air a horror, and the
prisoners breathed it.

Drake woke, stifling with the heat and horrible steam, and turning and
throwing out his arm, only yet half awake, struck on something cold and
stiff: the corpse of some poor fellow who had died there in the night
beside him. Drake, in a two years' campaign, had grown familiar with
death, but could not yet receive him as a bed-fellow, and scrambled up
in sickening horror to a day in which there was no breakfast to eat, no
arms to clean, no shoes to black, no dress to change, no work of any
sort to do, no letters to write or hope for, no books to read, no dinner
to prepare, at least till four P.M., when they served out
rations,--nothing to fix the eye, or offer subject of thought, but the
general and utter wretchedness. Nor could Drake and his fellows take
refuge in that unconscious self-gratulation with which we see the
miseries of our neighbors; for the future here threw shadows backward.
That skeleton, (I use the word not in the exaggerated sense in which we
are apt to apply it, but advisedly; and I mean a living human being,
whose skin is literally drawn over hideously projecting bones, and who,
having actually lost all rounding-out and filling of flesh, has grown
transparent, so that by holding an arm in the light you may see the
blood-vessels and the inner edges of the bones,)--this skeleton lying
there was, perhaps, what Drake should be two months hence; those men
quarrelling, hyena-like, for the "job" of burying their dead comrades,
that scarred old man moaning for a compass, because he had lost his way
and could not find the North, were not lower or more pitiful than Drake
might yet be: for stout heart and brave blood and quick brain have no
charm against famine, pestilence, and a steady pressure of misery in all
possible forms.

The majority of his comrades sank helplessly into this quaking bog. Out
of fifty captured of his regiment, Williams, a delicate lad, sickened at
once; Dean, a stout old Scotchman, was close on idiocy in a month;
Allan, the color-bearer, was shot by the guard,--he had slipped near the
dead line, and fallen with his head outside; fourteen were dead of
disease; twelve more sank in rayless, hopeless apathy; and Drake--was
busy on "A History of the Stockade Prison." The way in which he got the
idea and his stationery is worth telling.

There had fallen upon him a dread of motion,--a sombre endurance,--a
discouraged sense of thirty thousand hopeless men dragging him down to
despair,--a dark cloud that shut out God and home and help,--an
inability to compose and fix his drowsy, reeling thought, that spun off
dizzily to times at school, and love and laughter at home, and lapsed
itself in forgetfulness, and ceased to be even dreamy speculation.
Drake, in short, was going to the bottom with his theory about his neck,
when a "Providence,"--the modern way of dodging an acknowledgment to
God, whom, by the by, our poor boy had quite omitted in his little
theory of self-preservation,--in the curious shape of an official
blunder, stepped in to his rescue. A cook-house was in erection without
the limits of their pen, and, though no carpenter, Drake was set with
others to work under guard. The first glimpse of the open country,
stretching away to meet the low horizon, brought back the half-forgotten
thought of Freedom; and the very trail of her robe is so glorious, that
even this poor savage liberty of rock and clod roused in him anew wit to
devise and courage to endure. He worked then so merrily and with such
good heart, that an admiring inspector more than hinted "at the pity it
was to see a decent young fellow like him shut up in the pen yonder."

"So I think," returned Drake, calmly, cutting away at his board.

The official edged a little closer.

"Why don't you come over to us, then? The Confederacy gives good wages.
Our Government knows how to pay its men."

"Right there!" retorted Drake. "The Confederacy pays its servants in
death and ruin, which, as you say, are the just wages of a traitor. As
for me, I want no more of Georgia soil than will make me a grave. That
is as much as a man can own here now and be honest."

It was then, from some occult connection of ideas too subtile for
searching out, that he imagined, first, a history of the Stockade
Prison. He secured a number of long, thin boards, and planed them
smooth, for foolscap, pointed bits of wood for pens, manufactured his
ink from the rust of some old nails, and made himself a knife by
grinding two pieces of iron hoop one upon the other, and, his work on
the cook-house at an end, set bravely about his history, when Fate
nipped it, as she has done many a more promising one before it; for even
when on the final flourish of his title, he heard a sound between a
groan and a sigh, and, turning, saw Corny Keegan, a strapping Irishman,
and sergeant in his regiment, lying near him. Drake put the tail on his
_n_, and then some uneasy consciousness would have him look again over
the edge of his board at the sergeant; for, though there were scores of
men lying within view on the ground, there was something in the "give"
and laxity of Corny's posture that augured ill for him in Drake's
experienced eyes, and, laying the history aside, he went over and
kneeled down beside him. The man's eyes were closed, and a dull,
yellowish pallor had taken the place of the usual brick tint of his
face. Drake essayed to lift his heavy head and shoulders; but Corny
settled back again with a groan.

"Och! wurra! Musther Talcott, lave me alone. It's dead I am, kilt
intirely, wid the wakeness. Divil's the bit of wood I've had these two
days, and not a cint or a frind to the fore, and I'm jist afther mixin'
the male here with wather, thinkin' to ate it that way, but it stuck in
me throat, and I'm all on a thrimble, and it's a gone man is Corny
Keegan; though it's not fur meself that I'd make moan, sence it's aisier
dyin' than livin', only the ould mother and Mary that'll fret
and----Holy Mother! there comes the sickness, bad scran to it!"

You see now how it happened unto the History of the Stockade Prison to
vanish in smoke; for Drake, having neither wood nor the money to buy it,
made a fire with his precious boards, and baked Corny's raw meal in a
cake, which the poor fellow devoured with a half-starved avidity that
made Drake ashamed of the reluctance with which he had offered up his
sacrifice. A little corner of his cake Corny left untouched, saying,--

"That's fur the poor crathur over beyant."

"What poor creature?" asked Drake; but Corny's eyes were fixed on the
pens and ink, and the sorry remains of his foolscap,--a half-strip of

"Och! murther! Musther Talcott, and wuz it thim bits of board ye's
writin' on? and ye's burned thim fur me, afther all the throuble ye took
wid thim? and to think of the thick head of me, to ate up all that
illigant histhry, when I'd heerd the boys talkin' on it, by the same
token, and bad scran to me! The Lord be good to ye fur your kindness,
Musther Talcott, and make your bed as soft as your heart is, and give ye
a line in the Book of Life fur the one I've ate, and"----

"But the poor creature, Corny."

"Thrue for you; and I'm a baste fur forgettin' him, and him starvin' the
while. It's jist Cap'n Ireland, if ye chance to mind him. He was the
illigant officer and the kind-hearted man; and to see him now! If ye'll
come away, Musther Talcott, I'm quite done wid the wakeness, and it's
jist over here beyant that he's lyin', poor jontleman, that'll not be
long lyin' anywhere out of his grave."

Corny pointed, as he spoke, to a man, or, rather, a bundle of rags
having some faint outlines of humanity, on the ground before
them,--limbs out helplessly, face set and ghastly, hardly a stir among
his tatters to assure them that he yet breathed; and Drake recognized
with a thrill of horror, though more wan, more woful, more shadow-like,
if possible, the man who had so moved his compassion on the night of his
arrival. Keegan knelt beside him, and put his corner of cake to the
sufferer's mouth, saying, "Ate a bit, Cap'n dear; thry now"; and then,
seeing that the food rested on white and quiet lips,--"Cap'n, don't ye
hear me? It's Corny, that spoke wid ye a while back. Saints be merciful
to us, he's gone!"

"He is not so happy," said Drake, savagely; "he has only fainted. He has
days of such torture as this before him. It would be a mercy to him, and
I'm not sure but good religion, to put him outside of the dead line. I
wonder why they don't tie us to the cannon's mouth at once. Here! you!
guard, there! holla!"

This last was addressed to a soldier in the Rebel gray, who was
proceeding leisurely past, but who, on hearing himself so
unceremoniously summoned, turned and came slowly towards them.

"Here is a man," said Drake, passionately, "who is dying, not because it
pleases God to take him, but because it pleases you to starve him. We
have no wood to make a fire, no food to give him, unless it is this
scrap of meal that he cannot swallow; but you can save him, and will, if
you are a man, and have a man's heart under that dress."

The soldier stared, but, being a phlegmatic animal, heard him quietly to
the end, and opened his jaws to answer with due deliberation.

"If you don't like our rules, you shouldn't have come here, you know.
And we haven't any orders about wood: you are to look out for
yourselves. As for the man, if he's sick, why don't you take him to the
stockade yonder, where the doctor is examining for admittance to the
hospital?--though I don't see the use: he's too far gone."

Drake and Corny lifted the poor wasted frame, that seemed all too frail
to hold the nickering, struggling breath, and carried it to a small
stockade crowded with men desirous to enter the hospital. The first
assistant to whom they applied was a nervous porcupine, fretted with
overwork, and repulsed them roughly.

"What is the use of bringing a dead man here? We have enough living ones
on hand."

"Och, and that's no raison, sence it's aisy to see thim's the kind you
like best," muttered Corny; but Drake silenced him hastily.

"Keep a civil tongue, Corny. They're the masters here; and it will only
be the worse for poor Ireland, if you anger them. Here's another; we'll
try him."

But Number Two was Sir Imperturbability, and, without even looking
towards them, answered, in a hard, even tone, "Our number is filled; you
are too late," and, without lifting an eyelash, went on with his work.

Drake grew white to the lips. The great veins started out on his
forehead, and his fingers worked nervously; but it was Corny's turn to

"Musther Talcott, sure and ye'll not mind what that spalpeen's saying;
and there's the docthor himself beyant, and a kind and pleasant
jontleman he is. Jist lift the Cap'n, aisy now, and we'll see what the
docthor'll say to him."

For the third time, then, Drake made his appeal in behalf of the poor
fellow at his feet. The doctor heard him kindly, but answered, as his
assistant had done, that their number was full for the day, and was
moving on, when Talcott caught him by the arm.

"Doctor," he said, sternly, "one of your assistants refuses my comrade
because he is a dying man; another tells me, as you have done, that your
number is full for the day. Your own eyes can tell you, that, if not
dying now, he will be before to-morrow, of want and exposure. I know
nothing of your rules; but I do know, that, if my comrade's life is to
be saved, it is to be saved _now_, and that you have the means, if means
there are, for its salvation; and let the awful guilt of the cruelty
that brought him here weigh down whose neck it will, as there is a God
above us, I do not see how you can write yourself free of murder, or
think your hands clean from blood, if you send him back to die."

"God forbid! God forbid!" answered the doctor, shrinking from Drake's
vehemence. "You are unjust, young man; it is not my will, but my power
to help, that is limited. However, he shall not be sent back; we will do
for him what we can, if I have to lodge him in my own house."

"And didn't I tell ye the docthor was the kind jontleman?" cried Corny,
joyfully. "Though the hospital is no sich great matther: jist a few
tints; but thin he'll be gettin' a bed there, and belike a dhrap of
whiskey or a sup of porridge: and if he gits on, it's you he has to
thank for it; fur if it hadn't been fur your prachement, my sowl, the
docthor would have turned him off, too; and long life to you, says Corny
Keegan, and may you niver be needin' anybody's tongue to do the like fur

Drake made no answer; after the fever comes the chill, and he was
thinking drearily of the smouldering "History," and of the intolerable
leaden hours stretching out before him; but it was not in Corny's nature
to remain silent.

"It's the ould jontleman wid the scythe that takes us down, afther all,
Musther Talcott; the hours and hours that we sit mopin', wid our fingers
as limp as a lady's, and our stomachs clatterin' like an impty can, and
sorra a thing to think of but the poor crathurs that's dead, rest their
souls! and whin our turn's comin; and it's wishin' I am that it was in
the days of the fairies, and that the quane of thim ud jist give us a
call, till I'd ask her if she'd iver a pipe and its full of tobacky
about her,--or, failin' that, if she'd hoppen to have a knife in her
pocket, till I cut out the ould divil Jeff on the gallows, and give him
what he'd git, if we iver put our hands on him."

"A knife," repeated Drake, starting from his abstraction, and fumbling
in his pocket, from which he drew an old bit of iron. "I am not the
queen of the fairies; but with this you can hang Jeff and his cabinet in
effigy, if you choose, and can find the material to carve."

"Arrah, and that's aisy, wid illigant bones like these, that chips off
like marble or wud itself; but I'm misdoubtin' I'm robbin' ye, Musther

"I have another," said Drake, producing it; and as he did so, there
breathed upon him, like a breeze from home, a recollection of the dim
light shining in an old library down on a broad-leaved volume resting on
a carved rack,--of a brown-tressed girl who stood with him before it,
her head just at his shoulder, looking at the cathedral on its page,--of
the chance touch of a little hand on his,--of the brush of a perfumed
sleeve,--of the flitting color in her clear cheek,--of a subtile magic,
interweaving blush, perfume, picture, and thought of Alice. Dainty
pinnacle and massive arch and carved buttress were photographed on his
brain, and arch and pinnacle and buttress could be notched out in bone
by his poor skill,--and if he died, some kindly comrade should carry it
to Alice, and it should tell her what he had left unsaid,--and if he
lived, he would take it to her himself, and it should serve him for the
text of his story. That the carving of a design so intricate, on so
minute a scale, must prove tedious argued in its favor; and putting off
mourning weeds for his history, he took to this new love with a
complacency that excited Corny's special admiration.

"Sure, and it's a beautiful thing is religion; and the Divil fly away
wid me, if I don't be afther gittin' it meself! Here's Musther Talcott:
if he was fur carving a fort or a big gun, the eyes and the face of him
would be little but scowls and puckers; and there he sits, though it's
only the dumb likeness of a church that he's at, by the same token that
it's no bigger than me thumb, and, by the howly piper, you'd think the
light that flings away from the big colored windy down the church was
stramin' in his face, he looks so paceful-like; and he no betther than a
heretic nayther, though he's the heart of a good Catholic, as no one
knows betther than meself."

Indeed, Corny's gratitude never grew cold. Few sentences of his that did
not end, like the one just quoted, in eulogiums on "Musther Talcott." If
Drake was busy with his cathedral, there sat Corny, a few paces distant,
hacking at Jeff Davis. If Drake, who had resolved himself into a sort of
duo-decimo edition of the Sanitary Commission, was about his work of
mercy, there was Corny, a shadow at his heels, bringing water, lifting
the poor groaning wretches, and adding his word of comfort. "Cheer up,
honey, and do jist as Musther Talcott says; for it's nixt to iverything
that he knows, and thim things that he don't know isn't worth a body's
attintion." And when Drake himself was ailing, it was Corny who tended
him with terrified solicitude, foraged for his wood, and cooked his
rations. "When Drake was ailing!"--that was often. His courage was
undaunted, his hope perhaps higher, but he had grown perceptibly weak
and languid; and there were days--many, alas!--when he lay quietly on
the ground, giving an occasional lazy touch to his cathedral, while
Corny, as he laughingly said, ruled in his stead.

It was on one of these days that there arose a sudden stir and commotion
throughout the camp, a deep and joyful hum, that went from mouth to
mouth; and men were seen running hastily from all quarters, the rush
setting towards the gate, and drawing in even the sick, who crawled and
hobbled along with the stream, at the risk of being trampled by the
excited throng, struggling and crowding on pellmell. While Drake looked
on in surprise, Corny made his appearance, his eyes sparkling with

"News, Musther Talcott dear! an ye wuz dyin', here's news to put the
strength in yer legs! Letthers from home, and they say there's five
thousand on 'em; and there's an officer chap, wid a mouth like a thrap,
countin' 'em as if he was a machine, for all the wuruld, and bad 'cess
to him! wid the poor boys crowdin', and heart-famished for only a look
at thim, the crumpled things, for it's batthered they is! and he, the
spalpeen, won't let one of 'em touch 'em, and no more feelin' with him
than if he was a gun, instead of the son of one; and I'm cock-sure I
read yer name, Musther Talcott, and there's mine too on the back of a
letther, and that's from Mary, hurra! and God bless her! and come,
Musther Talcott, fur they'll be dalin' out the letthers or iver we get

Drake rose at once; but a description of his sensations, as he hastily
made his way towards the throng that surged about the imperturbable
official like a sea, is beyond the power of words. The overwhelming
surprise and joy of a man who in that evil den had almost forgotten home
and the possibility of hearing from it, and his agonizing uncertainty,
could be fathomed only by the poor wretches suffering like him, who
anxiously pressed on the Rebel officer, and clutched at the letters,
and fell back sick with impatience and suspense at his formal delay. At
last he opened his grim jaws. The men listened breathlessly.

"All right. Men, there is ten cents postage due on each letter."

An instant's stunned pause, and then half a dozen voices speaking
together: "Why, man, you must have had ten cents on each of these
letters, before they crossed the lines"; and "How can _we_ pay postage?"
"He _knows_ we have no money"; "What good will the bits of paper do him
at all, at all?" But the man kept on like an automaton.

"My orders are to collect ten cents on each letter; and I am here to
obey orders, not to argue."

Meanwhile those in the rear ranks had heard indistinctly or not at all,
and pressed on those in front to know the meaning of the sudden
recoil,--for the men had instinctively given back,--and being told,
buzzed it on to those behind them; and there began in the crowd a low,
deep hum, growing louder, as muttering rose to curses,--growing fiercer,
for there is nothing half so savage as despair that has been fooled with
a hope,--swelling into a wave of indignation that swept and swayed the
whole throng with it, and seemed an instant to threaten and topple over
the officer in their midst. But it came to nought. The prudent nudged
their neighbors, "With the cannon, boys, they can rake us on all sides";
and the angrier ones fell apart in little groups, and talked in
whispers, and glared menacingly at the guard, but made no further
demonstration. Those who were happy enough to possess the money received
their letters: the feebler ones crawled away with tears furrowing their
wan cheeks; and the unmoved official thrust the remaining letters of
mother, father, wife, and children of these men into the bags before
their longing eyes; and even while the miserable men flung themselves
before him, and with outstretched hands tried to hold him back, the gate
clanged after him.

Drake, who long ago had spent his little hoard, had received this
terrible blow in entire silence, and turned to go without comment or
answer to Corny's vociferations. But eyes were dim, or head was reeling;
for a few paces on he stumbled, and would have fallen over a soldier
lying in his path, but for Corny, who was close behind him, and who at
once assailed the man over whom Drake had tripped, and who still lay
quietly, without even a stir or motion of his head.

"Ye lazy spalpeen! what the Divil are ye stretched out there for, to
break dacent folk's necks over the length of ye? Stir yourself, or
I'll"----Then with a sudden and total change of tone, as he looked more
closely into the quiet face, "The Saints pity us! it's Cap'n Ireland;
and in the name of Hiven, how came yer Honor here on the----Och! Lord
forgive me! Talking to a dead corpse! Och! wurra! wurra! Musther
Talcott, it's dead he is, sure! kilt this time intirely!"

"You may well say killed," said a soldier who had joined them. "If ever
a man committed murder, then that man did that kicked him out of the
hospital to die."

"What is that?" demanded Drake, who had seemed in a sort of stupor, but
roused out of it fiercely at the man's last words. "Do you know what you
are saying?"

"I think I ought," returned the soldier. "I was in the hospital at the
time; I'm only just out; and I saw it myself. The assistant surgeon
stops at his bed, where he laid only just breathing like, and says he,
'What man is this? I've seen him before'; and says some one, 'His name
is Ireland'; and says the surgeon, like a flash, 'Ireland? Ireland of
the --th? Do you know what that is? It is a colored regiment, and this
Abolition scoundrel is the captain of it. I knew I had seen him. Here!
put him out; let him go and herd with the rest'; and when some one said
he was dying any way, said the surgeon, with a string of oaths, 'Put him
out, I tell you; the bed is too good for him'; and then, Sir, when the
poor young gentleman, who was dizzy-like, and didn't understand, fell
down beside the door, from weakness, that--that infernal brute kicked
him, and swore at him, as vermin that cumbered the ground; and the men
brought him away here, Sir, it's two days back, and he's just passed
away"; and kneeling beside the body, and lifting the poor wasted hands,
"I swear, if ever I get back, to revenge his death, and never to let
sword or pistol drop while this cursed Rebellion is going on."

"Amin!" said Corny, solemnly, and "Amen" formed itself on Drake's white
lips; but by some curious mental process his thoughts would wander away
from the stiffening body before him to a vision of home, and Sabbaths
when sweet-toned bells called quiet families to church, and little
children playing about the doorsteps, and peaceful women in sunny
houses, and gay girls waving on men to battle through glittering
streets, and prayers, and looks of love, and songs, and flowers, and
Alice; and in on this rolled suddenly a sense of what was actually
around him, as under a calm sky and out of a still sea swoops sometimes
suddenly some huge wave in on the quiet beach. He saw about him rags,
filth, men sick, men dying, men dead, men groaning, men cursing, men
gibbering. There rose up before him the grim succession of days of
hunger, pain, sorrow, and loneliness, already past; there came upon him
a terrible threatening of days to come, yet worse,--without hope or
relief, unless at the dead line. He rose, staggering, and with a wild
and desperate look that startled Corny.

"Fur the Lord's sake, wud ye desthroy yerself?" cried the faithful
fellow, throwing his arms about him to hold him fast. "Och, honey! ye're
a heretic, and the good Lord's a Catholic; but thin He made us all, and
He has pity on the poor crathurs that's sufferin' here, or His heart's
harder nor Corny's: the Saints forgive me fur such a spache! Pray,
Musther Talcott, pray"----

"Pray!" exclaimed Drake; "is there a God looking down here?"--and
dropping on his knees, he gasped out,--

"O God! if Thou dost yet hear, save me--from going mad!" and fell
forward at Corny's feet, senseless.

He was carried to the hospital, and lay there weeks, lost in the
delirium of a fever; and every morning there peered in at the inner door
of the stockade a huge shock of hair, and a red, anxious face, with,--

"The top of the mornin' to ye, docthor, and it's ashamed I am to be
afther throublin' ye so often; but will yer Honor plase to tell me how
Musther Talcott is the day?"--and having received the desired
information, Corny would take himself off with blessings "on his Honor,
that had consideration for the feelings of the poor Irishman."

One morning there was a change in the programme.

"I have good news for you, Corny," said the kindly doctor. "Talcott is
out of danger."

"Hurray! and the Saints be praised fur that!" shouted Corny, cutting a

"But I have better news yet," continued the doctor, watching Corny
closely. "His name is on the list of exchanged prisoners, and he will be
sent home on Thursday next."

Corny's face fell.

"Is he, yer Honor?" very hesitatingly; and then, suddenly clearing up,
"and hurra fur that, too! and I'm an ongrateful baste to be sorry that
he's to be clear of this hole,--bad scran to it!--and long life till
him, and a blessin' go wid him! and if"--choking--"we don't mate on
earth, sure the Lord won't kape him foriver in purgatory, and he so kind
and feelin' for the sick."

The doctor could not suppress a laugh at this limited hope.

"But, Corny, what if you are to be sent home too?"

"Me?--and was it me yer Honor was sayin'? Och, Hivin bless ye fur that
word!--and it's not laughin' at me is yer Honor? Sure ye'd niver have
the heart to chate a poor boy like that. All the Saints be praised! I'm
a man agin, and not a starvin' machine; and I shall see ye, Mary,
mavourneen! but, och, the poor boys that we're lavin'! Hurra! how iver
will I ate three males a day, and slape under a blanket, and think of
thim on the ground and starvin' by inches!"

During the remainder of his stay, Corny balanced between joy and
his selfishness in being joyful, in a manner sufficiently
ludicrous,--breaking out one moment in the most extravagant
demonstration, to be twitched from it the next by a penitential spasm.
As for Drake, hardly yet clear of the shadows that haunted his fever, he
but mistily comprehended the change that was before him; and it will
need weeks and perhaps months of home-nursing and watching before body
and mind can win back their former strength and tone.

Meanwhile, people of the North, what of the poor boys left behind at
Andersonville, starving, as Corny said, by inches, with the winter
before them, and their numbers swelled by the hundreds that a late Rebel
paper gleefully announces to be on their way from more Northern prisons?



It was not easy in that day to bring together the opinions of a
Connecticut parish that had been jostled apart by a parochial quarrel,
and where old grievances were festering. Indeed, it is never easy to do
this, and unite opinions upon a new comer, unless he have some rare gift
of eloquence, which so dazes the good people that they can no longer
remember their petty griefs, or unless he manage with rare tact to pass
lightly over the sore points, and to anoint them by a careful hand with
such healing salves as he can concoct out of his pastoral charities. Mr.
Johns had neither art nor eloquence, as commonly understood; yet he
effected a blending of all interests by the simple, earnest gravity of
his character. He ignored all angry disputation; he ignored its results.
He came as a shepherd to a deserted sheepfold; he came to preach the
Bible doctrines in their literalness. He had no reproofs, save for those
who refused the offers of God's mercy,--no commendation, save for those
who sought His grace whose favor is life everlasting. There were no
metaphysical niceties in his discourses, athwart which keen disputants
might poise themselves for close and angry conflict; he recognized no
necessities but the great ones of repentance and faith; and all the
mysteries of the Will he was accustomed to solve by grand utterance of
that text which he loved above all others,--however much it may have
troubled him in his discussion of Election,--"whosoever _will_, let him
come and drink of the water of life freely."

Inheriting as he did all the religious affinities of his mother, these
were compacted and made sensitive by years of silent protest against the
proud worldly sufficiency of his father, the Major. Such qualities and
experience found repose in the unyielding dogmas of the Westminster
divines. At thirty the clergyman was as aged as most men of
forty-five,--seared by the severity of his opinions, and the unshaken
tenacity with which he held them. He was by nature a quiet, almost a
timid man; but over the old white desk and crimson cushion, with the
choir of singers in his front and the Bible under his hand, he grew into
wonderful boldness. He cherished an exalted idea of the dignity of his
office,--a dignity which he determined to maintain to the utmost of his
power; but in the pulpit only did the full measure of this exaltation
come over him. Thence he looked down serenely upon the flock of which he
was the appointed guide, and among whom his duty lay. The shepherd
leading his sheep was no figure of speech for him; he was commissioned
to their care, and was conducting them--old men and maidens, boys and
gray-haired women--athwart the dangers of the world, toward the great
fold. On one side always the fires of hell were gaping; and on the other
were blazing the great candlesticks around the throne.

But when, on some occasion, he had, under the full weight of his office,
inveighed against a damning evil, and, as he fondly hoped by the
stillness in the old meeting-house, wrought upon sinners effectually, it
was disheartening to be met by some hoary member of his flock, whom
perhaps he had borne particularly in mind, and to be greeted cheerfully
with, "Capital sermon, Mr. Johns! those are the sort that do the
business! I like those, parson!" The poor man, humiliated, would bow his
thanks. He lacked the art (if it be an art) to press the matter home,
when he met one of his parishioners thus. Indeed, his sense of the
importance of his calling and his extreme conscientiousness gave him an
air of timidity outside the pulpit, which offered great contrast to that
which he wore in the heat of his sermonizing. Not that he forgot the
dignity of his position for a moment, but he wore it too trenchantly; he
could never unbend to the free play of side-talk. Hence he could not
look upon the familiar spirit of badinage in which some of his brethren
of the profession indulged, without serious doubts of their complete
submission to the Heavenly King. Always the weight of his solemn duties
pressed sorely on him; always amid pitfalls he was conducting his little
flock toward the glories of the Great Court. There is many a man
narrowed and sharpened by metaphysical inquiry to such a degree as to
count the indirection and freedom of kindly chat irksome, and the
occasion of a needless blunting of that quick mental edger with which he
must scathe all he touches. But the stiffness of Mr. Johns was not that
of constant mental strain; he did not refine upon his dogmas; but he
gave them such hearty entertainment, and so inwrapped his spirit with
their ponderous gravity, that he could not disrobe in a moment, or
uncover to every chance comer.

It is quite possible that by reason of this grave taciturnity the
clergyman won more surely upon the respect of his people. "He is
engrossed," said they, "with greater matters; and in all secular affairs
he recognizes our superior discernment." Thus his inaptitude in current
speech was construed by them into a delicate flattery. They greatly
relished his didactic, argumentative sermonizing, since theirs was a
religion not so much of the sensibilities as of the intellect. They
agonized toward the truth, if not by intense thinking, yet by what many
good people are apt to mistake for it,--immense endurance of the prolix
thought of others.

If the idea of universal depravity had been ignored,--as it sometimes is
in these latitudinarian days,--or the notion of any available or worthy
Christian culture, as distinct from a direct and clearly defined agency,
both as to time and force, of the Spirit, had been entertained, he would
have lost half of the elements by which his arguments gained logical
sequence. But, laboring his way from stake to stake of the old dogmas of
the Westminster divines, he fastened to them stoutly, and swept round
from each as a centre a great scathing circle of deductions, that beat
wofully upon the heads of unbelievers. And if a preacher attack only
unbelievers, he has the world with him, now as then; it is only he who
has the bad taste to meddle with the caprices of believers who gets the
raps and the orders of dismissal.

Thus it happened that good Mr. Johns came to win the good-will of all
the parish of Ashfield, while he challenged their respect by his
uniform gravity. It is even possible that a consciousness of a certain
stateliness and stiffness of manner became in some measure a source of
pride to him, and that he enjoyed, in his subdued way, the disposition
of the lads of the town to give him a wide pass, instead of brushing
brusquely against him, as if he were some other than the parson.

In those days he wrote to his sister Eliza,--

     "We are fairly settled in a pleasant home upon the main street.
     The meeting-house, which you will remember, is near by; and I
     have, by the blessing of God, a full attendance every Lord's
     day. They listen to my poor sermons with commendable
     earnestness; and I trust they may prove to them 'a savor of
     life unto life.' We also find the people of the town neighborly
     and kind. Squire Elderkin has proved particularly so, and is a
     very energetic man in all matters relating to the parish. I
     fear greatly, however, that he still lacks the intimate favor
     of God, and has not humbled himself to entire submission. Yet
     he is constant in his observance of nearly all the outward
     forms of devotion and of worship; and we hear of his charities
     in every house we enter. Strange mystery of Providence, that he
     should not long since have been broken down by grace, and
     become in _all_ things a devout follower of the Master! I hope
     yet to see him brought a humble suppliant into the fold. His
     wife is a most excellent person, lowly in her faith, and
     zealous of good works. The same may also be said of their
     worthy maiden sister, Miss Joanna Meacham, who is, of a truth,
     a matron in Israel. Rachel and myself frequently take tea at
     their house; and she is much interested in the little family of
     Elderkins, who, I am glad to say, enjoy excellent advantages,
     and such of them as are of proper age are duly taught in the
     Shorter Westminster Catechism.

     "Deacon Tourtelot, another of our neighbors, is a devout man;
     and Dame Tourtelot (as she is commonly called) is a woman of
     quite extraordinary zeal and capacity. Their daughter Almira is
     untiring in attendance, and aids the services by singing
     treble. Deacon Simmons, who lives at quite a distance from us,
     is represented to be a man of large means and earnest in the
     faith. He has a large farm, and also a distillery, both of
     which are said to be managed with great foresight and prudence.
     I trust that the reports which I hear occasionally of his
     penuriousness are not wholly true, and that in due time his
     hand will be opened by divine grace to a more effectual showing
     forth of the deeds of charity. I do not allow myself to
     entertain any of the scandals which unfortunately belong more
     or less to every parish, and which so interrupt the growth of
     that Christian love which is the parent of all virtues; and I
     trust that these good people may come in time to see that it is
     better to live together in harmony than to foment those
     bickerings which have led so recently to the dismissal of my
     poor brother in the Gospel. Our home affairs are, I believe,
     managed prudently,--the two servants being most excellent
     persons, and my little Rachel a very sunbeam in the house."

And the little sunbeam writes to Mrs. Handby at about the same date,--we
will say from six to eight months after their entry,--

     "Everything goes on _delightfully_, dear mamma. Esther is a
     good creature, and helps me wonderfully. You would laugh to see
     me fingering the raw meats at the butcher's cart to choose nice
     pieces, which I really _can do_ now; and it is fortunate I can,
     for the goodman Benjamin knows _positively nothing_ of such
     things, and I am sure wouldn't be able to tell mutton from

     "The little parlor is nicely furnished; there is an elegant
     hair sofa, and over the mantel is the portrait of Major Johns;
     and then the goodman has insisted upon hanging under the
     looking-glass _my old sampler in crewel_, with a gilt frame
     around it; on the table is the illustrated 'Pilgrim's Progress'
     papa gave me, and a volume of 'Calmet's Dictionary' I have
     taken out of the study--it is full of _such beautiful
     pictures_,--and 'Mrs. Hannah More' in full gilt. The big Bible
     you gave us, the goodman says, is too large for easy handling;
     so it is kept on a stand in the corner, with the great
     fly-brush of peacock's feathers hanging over it. I have put
     charming blue chintz curtains in the spare chamber, and
     arranged everything there very nicely; so that, _before a
     certain event_, you must be sure to come and take possession.

     "Last night we took tea again with the Elderkins, and Mrs.
     Elderkin was as kind to me as ever, and Miss Meacham is an
     excellent woman, and the little ones are loves of children; and
     I wish you could see them. But you will, you know, _quite
     soon_. Sometimes I fall to crying, when I think of it all; and
     then the goodman comes and puts his hand on my head, and
     says,--'Rachel! Rachel, my dear! is this your gratitude for all
     God's mercies?' And then I jump up, and kiss his grave face,
     and laugh through my tears. He is a dear good man. This is all
     very foolish, I suppose; but, mamma, isn't it the way with all

     "Dame Tourtelot is a great storm of a creature, and she comes
     down upon us every now and then, and advises me about the
     housekeeping and the table, and the servants, and
     Benjamin,--giving me a great many good hints, I suppose; but in
     such a way, and calling me 'my child,' as makes me feel good
     for nothing, and as if I were not fit to be mistress. Miss
     Almira is a quiet thing, and has a piano. She dresses _very
     queerly_, and, I have been told, written poetry for the
     'Hartford Courant,' _over two stars_--* *. She seems a good
     creature, though, and comes to see us often. The chaise is a
     _great_ comfort, and our old horse Dobbins is a good, sober
     horse. Benjamin often takes me with him in his drives to see
     the parishioners who live out of town. He tells me about the
     trees and the flowers, and a thousand matters I never heard of.
     Indeed, he is a good man, and he knows a _world_ of things."

The tender-hearted, kind soul makes her way into the best graces of the
people of Ashfield: the older ones charmed with that blithe spirit of
hers, and all the younger ones mating easily with her simple, outspoken
naturalness. She goes freely everywhere; she is not stiffened by any
ceremony, nor does she carry any stately notions of the dignity of her
office,--some few there may be who wish that she had a keener sense of
the importance of her position; she even bursts unannounced into the
little glazed corner of the Tew partners, where she prattles away with
the sedate Mistress Tew in good, kindly fashion, winning that stiff old
lady's heart, and moving her to declare to all customers that the
parson's wife has no pride about her, and is "a dear little thing, to be

On summer evenings, Dobbins is to be seen, two or three times in the
week, jogging along before the square-topped chaise, upon some highway
that leads into the town, with the parson seated within, with slackened
rein, and in thoughtful mood, from which he rouses himself from time to
time with a testy twitch and noisy chirrup that urge the poor beast into
a faster gait. All the while the little wife sits beside him, as if a
twittering sparrow had nestled itself upon the same perch with some
grave owl, and sat with him side by side, watching for the big eyes to
turn upon her, and chirping some pretty response for every solemn
utterance of the wise old bird beside her.


On the return from one of these parochial drives, not long after their
establishment at Ashfield, it happened that the good parson and his wife
were not a little startled at sight of a stranger lounging familiarly at
their door. A little roof jutted out over the entrance to the parsonage,
without any apparent support, and flanking the door were two plank
seats, with their ends toward the street, cut away into the shape of
those "settles" which used to be seen in country taverns, and which here
seemed to invite a quiet out-of-door gossip. But the grave manner of the
parson had never invited to a very familiar use of this loitering-place,
even by the most devoted of the parishioners; and the appearance of a
stranger of some two-and-thirty years, with something in his manner, as
much as in his dress, which told of large familiarity with the world,
lounging upon this little porch, had amazed the passers-by, as much as
it now did the couple who drove up slowly in the square-topped chaise.

"Who can it be, Benjamin?" says Rachel.

"I really can't say," returns the parson.

"He seems very much at home, my dear,"--as indeed he does, with his feet
stretched out upon the bench, and eyeing curiously the approaching

As it draws near, his observation being apparently satisfactory, he
walks briskly down to the gate, and greets the parson with,--

"My dear Johns, I'm delighted to see you!"

At this the parson knew him, and greets him,--

"Maverick, upon my word!" and offers his hand.

"And this is Mrs. Johns, I suppose," says the stranger, bowing
graciously, "Allow me, Madam"; and he assists her to alight. "Your
husband and myself were old college-friends, partners of the same bench,
and I've used no ceremony, you see, in finding him out."

Rachel, eyeing him furtively, with a little rustic courtesy, "is glad to
see any of her husband's old friends."

The parson--upon his feet now--shakes the stranger's hand heartily

"I am very glad to see you, Maverick; but I thought you were out of the

"So I have been, Johns; am home only upon a visit, and hearing by
accident that you had become a clergyman--as I always thought you
would--and were settled hereabout, I determined to run down and see you
before sailing again."

"You must stop with me. Rachel, dear, will you have the spare room made
ready for Mr. Maverick?"

"My dear Madam, don't give yourself the least trouble; I am an old
traveller, and can make myself quite comfortable at the tavern yonder;
but if it's altogether convenient, I shall be delighted to pass the
night under the roof of my old friend. I shall be off to-morrow noon,"
continued he, turning to the parson, "and until then I want you to put
off your sermons and make me one of your parishioners."

So they all went into the parsonage together.

Frank Maverick, as he had said, had shared the same bench with Johns in
college; and between them, unlike as they were in character, there had
grown up a strong friendship,--one of those singular intimacies which
bind the gravest men to the most cheery and reckless. Maverick was
forever running into scrapes and consulting the cool head of Johns to
help him out of them. There was never a tutor's windows to be broken in,
or a callithumpian frolic, (which were in vogue in those days,) but
Maverick bore a hand in both; and somehow, by a marvellous address that
belonged to him, always managed to escape, or at most to receive only
some grave admonition from the academic authorities. Johns advised with
him, (giving as serious advice then as he could give now,) and added
from time to time such assistance in his studies as a plodding man can
always lend to one of quick brain, who makes no reckoning of time.

Upon a certain occasion Maverick had gone over with Johns to his home,
and the Major had taken an immense fancy to the buoyant young fellow, so
full of spirits, and so charmingly frank. "If your characters could only
be welded together," he used to say to his son, "you would both be the
better for it; he a little of your gravity, and you something of his
rollicking carelessness." This bound Johns to his friend more closely
than ever. There was, moreover, great honesty and conscientiousness in
the lad's composition: he could beat in a tutor's window for the frolic
of the thing, and by way of paying off some old grudge for a black mark;
but there was a strong spice of humanity at the bottom even of his
frolics. It happened one day, that his friend Ben Johns told him that
one of the bats which had done terrible execution on the tutor's windows
had also played havoc on his table, breaking a bottle of ink, and
deluging some half-dozen of the tutor's books; "and do you know," said
Johns, "the poor man who has made such a loss is saving up all his pay
here for a mother and two or three fatherless children?"

"The Deuse he is!" said Maverick, and his hand went to his pocket, which
was always pretty full. "I say, Johns, don't peach on me, but I think I
must have thrown that bat, (which Johns knew to be hardly possible, for
he had only come up at the end of the row,) and I want you to get this
money to him, to make those books good again. Will you do it, old

This was the sort of character to win upon the quiet son of the Major.
"If he were only more earnest," he used to say,--"if he could give up
his trifling,--if he would only buckle down to serious study, as some of
us do, what great things he might accomplish!" A common enough fancy
among those of riper years,--as if all the outlets of a man's
nerve-power could be dammed into what shape the possessor would!

Maverick was altogether his old self this night at the parsonage. Rachel
listened admiringly, as he told of his travel and of his foreign
experiences. He was the son of a merchant of an Eastern seaport who had
been long engaged in the Mediterranean trade with a branch house at
Marseilles; and thither Frank had gone two or three years after leaving
college, to fill some subordinate post, and finally to work his way into
a partnership, which he now held. Of course he had not lived there those
seven or eight years last past without his visit to Paris; and his easy,
careless way of describing what he had seen there in Napoleon's day--the
fêtes, the processions, the display--was a kind of talk not often heard
in a New England village, and which took a strong hold upon the
imagination of Rachel.

"And to think," says the parson, "that such a people are wholly

"Well, well, I don't know," says Maverick; "I think I have seen a good
deal of faith in the Popish churches."

"Faith in images; faith in the Virgin; faith in mummery," says Johns,
with a sigh. "'Tis always the scarlet woman of Babylon!"

"I know," says Maverick, smiling, "these things are not much to your
taste; but we have our Protestant chapels, too."

"Not much better, I fear," says Johns. "They are sadly impregnated with
the Genevese Socinianism."

This was about the time that the orthodox Louis Empaytaz was suffering
the rebuke of the Swiss church authorities for his "Considerations upon
the Divinity of Jesus Christ." Aside from this, all the parson's notions
of French religion and of French philosophy were of the most aggravated
degree of bitterness. That set of Voltaire, which the Major, his father,
had once purchased, had not been without its fruit,--not legitimate,
indeed, but most decided. The books so cautiously put out of sight--like
all such--had caught the attention of the son; whereupon his mother had
given him so terrible an account of French infidelity, and such a
fearful story of Voltaire's dying remorse,--current in orthodox
circles,--as had caught strong hold upon the mind of the boy. All
Frenchmen he had learned to look upon as the children of Satan, and
their language as the language of hell. With these sentiments very
sincerely entertained, he regarded his poor friend as one living at the
very door-posts of Pandemonium, and hoped, by God's mercy, to throw
around him even now a little of the protecting grace which should keep
him from utter destruction. But though this was uppermost in his mind,
it did not forbid a grateful outflow of his old sympathies and
expressions of interest in all that concerned his friend. It seemed to
him that his easy refinement of manner, in such contrast with the
ceremonious stiffness of the New England customs of speech, was but the
sliming over of the Serpent's tongue, preparatory to a dreadful
swallowing of soul and body; and the careless grace of talk, which so
charmed the innocent Rachel, appeared to the exacting Puritan a token of
the enslavement of his old friend to sense and the guile of this world.

Nine o'clock was the time for evening prayers at the parsonage, which
under no circumstances were ever omitted; and as the little clock in the
dining-room chimed the hour, Mr. Johns rose to lead the way from his
study, where they had passed the evening.

"It's our hour for family prayer," says Johns; "will you come with us?"

"Most certainly," says Maverick, rising. "I should be sorry not to have
this little scene of New England life to take back with me: it will
recall home pleasantly."

The servants were summoned, and the parson read in his wonted way a
chapter,--not selected, but designated by the old book-mark, which was
carried forward from day to day throughout the sacred volume. In his
prayer the parson asked specially for Divine Grace to overshadow all
those journeying from their homes,--to protect them,--to keep alive in
their hearts the teachings of their youth,--to shield them from the
insidious influences of sin and of the world, and to bring them in God's
own good time into the fold of the elect.

Shortly after prayers Rachel retired for the night. The parson and his
old friend talked for an hour or more in the study, but always as men
whose thoughts were unlike; Maverick filled and exuberant with the
prospects of this life; and the parson, by a settled purpose, which
seemed like instinct, making all his observations bear upon futurity.

"The poor man has grown very narrow," thought Maverick.

And yet Johns entered with friendly interest into the schemes of his

"So you count upon spending your life there?" says the parson.

"It is quite probable," says Maverick. "I am doing exceedingly well; the
climate, bating some harsh winds in winter, is enjoyable. Why shouldn't

"It's a question to put to your conscience," says Johns, "not to me. A
man can but do his duty, as well there as here perhaps. A little graft
of New Englandism may possibly work good. Do you mean to marry in
France, Maverick?"

A shade passed over the face of his friend; but recovering himself, with
a little musical laugh, he said,--

"I really can't say: there are very charming women there, Johns."

"I am afraid so," uttered the parson, dryly.

"By the way," said Maverick,--"you will excuse me,--but you will be
having a family by and by,"--at which the parson fairly blushed,--"you
must let me send over some little gift for your first boy; it sha'n't be
one that will harm him, though it comes from our heathen side of the

"There's a gift you might bestow, Maverick, that I should value beyond

"Pray what is it?"

"Live such a life, my friend, that I could say to any boy of mine,
'Follow the example of that man.'"

"Ah," said Maverick, with his easy, infectious laugh, "that's more than
I can promise. To tell the truth, Johns, I don't believe I could by any
possibility fall into the prim, stiff ways which make a man commendable
hereabout. Even if I were religiously disposed, or should ever think of
adopting your profession, I fancy I should take to the gown and
liturgy, as giving a little freer movement to my taste. You don't like
to think of that, I'll wager."

"You might do worse things," said the parson, sadly.

"I know I might," said Maverick, thoughtfully; "I greatly fear I shall.
Yet it's not altogether a bad life I'm looking forward to, Johns: we'll
say ten or fifteen more years of business on the other side; marrying
sometime in the interval,--certainly not until I have a good revenue;
then, possibly, I may come over among you again, establish a pretty home
in the neighborhood of one of your towns; look after a girl and boy or
two, who may have come into the family; get the title of Squire; give
fairly to the missionary societies; take my place in a good big
family-pew; dabble in politics, perhaps, so that people shall dub me
'Honorable': isn't that a fair show, Johns?"

There was a thief in the candle, which the parson removed with the

"As for yourself," continued Maverick, "they'll give you the title of
Doctor after a few years!"--The parson raised his hand, as if to put
away the thought.--"I know," continued his friend, "you don't seek
worldly honors: but they will drift upon you; they'll all love you
hereabout, in spite of your seriousness (the parson smiled); you'll have
your house full of children; you'll be putting a wing here and a wing
there; and when I come back, twenty years hence, if I live, I shall find
you comfortably gray, and your pretty wife in spectacles, knitting
mittens for the youngest boy, and the oldest at college, and your girls
grown into tall village belles;--but, Johns, don't, I beg, be too strict
with them; you can't make a merry young creature the better by insisting
upon seriousness; you can't crowd goodness into a body by pounding upon
it. What are you thinking of, Johns?"

The parson was sitting with his eyes bent upon a certain figure in the
green and red Scotch carpet.

"Thinking, Maverick, that in twenty years' time, if alive, we may be
less fit for heaven than we are to-day."

There was a pitying kindliness in the tone of the minister, as he said
this, which touched Maverick.

"There's no doubt on your score, Johns, God bless you! But we must
paddle our own boats: I dare say you'll come out a long way before me;
you always did, you know. Every man to his path."

"There's but _one_," said Johns, solemnly, "that leadeth to eternal

"Yes, I know," says Maverick, with a gay smile upon his face, which the
parson remembered long after, "we are the goats; but you must have a
little pity on us, for all that."

With these words they parted for the night.

Next morning, before the minister was astir, Maverick was strolling
about the garden and the village street, and at breakfast appeared with
a little bunch of violets he had gathered from Rachel's flower-patch,
and laid them by her plate. (It was a graceful attention, that not even
the clergyman had ever paid to her.) And he further delighted her with a
description of some floral fête which he had witnessed at Marseilles, in
the year of the Restoration.

"They welcomed their old masters, then?" said the parson.

"Perhaps so; one can never say. The French express their joy with
flowers, and they bury their grief with flowers. I like them for it; I
think there's a ripe philosophy in it."

"A heathen philosophy," said the minister.

At noon Maverick left upon the old swaying stage-coach,--looking out, as
he passed, upon the parsonage, with its quaintly panelled door, and its
diamond lights, of which he long kept the image in his mind. That brazen
knocker he seemed to hear in later years, beating,--beating as if his
brain lay under it.

"I think Mr. Frank Maverick is a most charming man," said the pretty
Mrs. Johns to her husband.

"He is, Rachel, and generous and open-hearted,--and yet, in the sight
of Heaven, I fear, a miserable sinner."

"But, Benjamin, my dear, we are all sinners."

"All,--all, Rachel, God help us!"


In December of the year 1820 came about a certain event of which hint
has been already given by the party chiefly concerned; and Mrs. Johns
presented her husband with a fine boy, who was in due time

Mrs. Handby was present at this eventful period, occupying the
guest-chamber, and delighting in all the little adornments that had been
prepared by the loving hands of her daughter; and upon the following
Sabbath, Mr. Johns, for the first time since his entrance upon the
pastoral duties of Ashfield, ventured to repeat an old sermon. Dame
Tourtelot had been present on the momentous occasion, with such a
tempest of suggestions in regard to the wrappings and feeding of the new
comer, that the poor mother had quietly begged the good clergyman to
decoy her, on her next visit, into his study. This he did, and succeeded
in fastening her with a discussion upon the import of the word
_baptize_, in which he was in a fair way of being carried by storm, if
he had not retreated under cover of his Greek Lexicon.

Mrs. Elderkin had been zealous in neighborly offices, and had brought,
in addition to a great basket of needed appliances, a silver porringer,
which, with wonderful foresight, had been ordered from a Hartford
jeweller in advance. The out-of-door man, Larkin, took a well-meaning
pride in this accession to the family,--walking up and down the street
with a broad grin upon his face. He also became the bearer, in behalf of
the Tew partners, of a certain artful contrivance of tin ware for the
speedy stewing of pap, which, considering that the donors were childless
people, was esteemed a very great mark of respect for the minister.

Would it be strange, if the father felt a new ambition stirring in him,
as he listened from his study to that cry of a child in the house? He
does feel it, and struggles against it. Are not all his flock his
spiritual children? and is he not appointed of Heaven to lead them
toward the rest which is promised? Should that babe be more to him than
a hundred others who are struggling through life's snares wearily? It
may touch him, indeed, cruelly to think it; but is not the soul of the
most worthless person of his parish as large in the eye of the Master as
this of his first-born? Shall these human ties supplant the spiritual
ones by which we are all coheirs of eternal death or of eternal life?
And in this way the minister schools himself against too demonstrative a
joy or love, and prays God silently that His gift may not be a

For all this, however, there is many a walk which would have been taken
of old under the orchard trees now transferred to the chamber, where he
paces back and forth with the babe in his arms, soothing its outcry, as
he thinks out his discourse for the following Sabbath.

In due time Mrs. Handby returns to her home. The little child pushes
through its first month of venturesome encounter with the rough world it
has entered upon bravely; and the household is restored to its uniform
placidity. The affairs of the parish follow their accustomed course.
From time to time there are meetings of the "Consociation," or other
ministerial assemblages, in the town, when the parsonage is overflowing,
and Rachel, with a simple grace, is compelled to do the honors to a
corps of the Congregational brotherhood. As for the parson, he was like
a child in all household matters. Over and over he would invite his
brethren flocking in from the neighboring villages to pass the night
with him, when Rachel would decoy him into a corner, and declare, with a
most pitiable look of distress, that not a bed was unoccupied in the
house. Whereupon the goodman would quietly take his hat, and trudge
away to Squire Elderkin's, or, on rarer occasions, to Deacon
Tourtelot's, and ask the favor of lodging with them one of his clerical

At other times, before some such occasion of clerical entertainment, the
little housewife, supported by Esther with broom and a great array of
mops, would wait upon the parson in his study and order him away to his
walk in the orchard,--an order which the poor man never ventured to
resist; but, taking perhaps a pocket volume of Doddridge, or of
Cowper,--the only poet he habitually read,--he would sally out with hat
and cane,--this latter a gift of an admiring parishioner, which it
pleased Rachel he should use, and which she always brought to him at
such times, with a little childish mime of half-entreaty and
half-command that it was not in his heart to resist, and which on rare
occasions (that were subject of self-accusation afterward) provoked him
to an answering kiss. At which Rachel:--

"Now go and leave us, please; there's a good man! And mind," (shaking
her forefinger at him,) "dinner at half past twelve: Larkin will blow
the shell."

The parson, as he paced back and forth under the apple-trees, out of
sight, and feeling the need of more vigorous exercise than his usual
meditative gait afforded, would on occasions brandish his cane and
assume a military air and stride, (he remembered the Major's only too
well,) getting in a glow with the unusual movement, and in the heat of
it thanking God for all the blessings that had befallen him: a pleasant
home; a loving wife; a little boy to bear the name, in which, with all
his spiritual tendencies, he yet took a very human pride; health,--and
he whisked his cane as vigorously as ever the Major had done his
cumbrous sword,--the world's comforts; a congregation that met him
kindly, that listened kindly. Was he not leading them in the path of
salvation, and rejoicing in the leadership?

And then, to himself,--"Be careful, careful, Benjamin Johns, that you
take not too great a pride in this work and home of yours. You are but
an instrument in greater hands; He doeth with you what seemeth Him best.
Let not the enticements of the world be too near your thought." In this
way it was that the minister pruned down all the shoots of his natural
affections, lest they might prove a decoy to him, and wrapped himself
ever more closely in the rigors of his chosen theology.

As the boy Reuben grows, and gains a firmer footing, he sometimes
totters beside the clergyman in these orchard walks, clinging blindly to
his hand, and lifting his uncertain feet with great effort over the
interrupting tufts of grass, unheeded by the minister, who is pondering
some late editorial of the "Boston Recorder." But far oftener the boy is
with the mother, burying his face in that dear lap of hers,--lifting the
wet face to have tears kissed away and forgotten. And as he thrives and
takes the strength of three or four years, he walks beside her under the
trees of the village street, clad in such humble finery as the Handby
grandparents may have bestowed; and he happens oftenest, on these
strolls with Rachel, into the hospitable home of the Elderkins, where
there are little ones to romp with the boy. Most noticeable of all, just
now, one Philip Elderkin, (of whom more will have to be said as this
story progresses,) only a year the senior of Reuben, but of far stouter
frame, who looks admiringly on the minister's child, and as he grows
warm in play frights him with some show of threat, which makes the
little Reuben run for cover to the arms of Rachel. Whereat the mother
kisses him into boldness, and tells him that Phil is a good boy and
means no harm to him.

Often, too, in the square-topped chaise, the child is seated on a little
stool between the parson and his wife, as they drive away upon their
visits to the outskirts of the parish,--puzzling them with those strange
questions which come from a boy just exploring his way into the world of

"Benjamin," says Rachel, as they were nearing home upon one of these
drives, "Reuben is quite a large boy now, you know; have you ever
written to your friend, Mr. Maverick? You remember he promised a gift
for him."

"Never," said the minister, whose goodness rarely took the shape of
letter-writing,--least of all where the task would seem to remind of a
promised favor.

"You've not forgotten it? You've not forgotten Mr. Maverick?"

"Not forgotten, Rachel,--not forgotten to pray for him."

"I _would_ write, Benjamin; it might be something that would be of
service to Reuben. _Please_ don't forget it, Benjamin."

And the minister promised.

In the autumn of 1824,--the minister of Ashfield being still in good
favor with nearly all his parishioners, and his wife Rachel being still
greatly beloved,--a rumor ran through the town, one day, that there was
serious illness at the parsonage, the Doctor's horse and saddle-bags
being observed in waiting at the front gate for two hours together.
Following close upon this, the Tew partners reported--having received
undoubted information from Larkin, who still kept in his old
service--that a daughter was born to the minister, but so feeble that
there were grave doubts if the young Rachel could survive. The report
was well founded; and after three or four days of desperate struggle
with life, the poor child dropped away. Thus death came into the
parsonage with so faint and shadowy a tread, it hardly startled one. The
babe had been christened in the midst of its short struggle, and in this
the father found such comfort as he could; yet reckoning the poor,
fluttering little soul as a sinner in Adam, through whom all men fell,
he confided it with a great sigh to God.

It would have been well, if his grief had rested there. But two days
thereafter there was a rumor on the village street,--flying like the
wind, as such rumors do, from house to house,--"The minister's wife is

"I want to know!" said Mrs. Tew, lifting herself from her task of
assorting the mail, and removing her spectacles in nervous haste. "Do
tell! It a'n't possible! Miss Johns dead?"

"Yes," says Larkin, "as true as I live, she's dead"; and his voice broke
as he said it,--the kind little woman had so won upon him.

Squire Elderkin, like a good Christian, came hurrying to the parsonage
to know what this strange report could mean. The study was unoccupied.
With the familiarity of an old friend he made his way up the cramped
stairs. The chamber-door was flung wide open: there was no reason why
the whole parish might not come in. The nurse, sobbing in a corner, was
swaying back and forth, her hands folded across her lap. Reuben,
clinging to the coverlet, was feeling his way along the bed, if by
chance his mother's hand might catch hold upon his; and the minister
standing with a chair before him, his eyes turned to heaven (the same
calm attitude which he took at his evening prayer-meeting) was
entreating God to "be over his house, to strengthen him, to pour down
his Spirit on him, to bind up the bruised hearts,--to spare,--spare"----

Even the stout Squire Elderkin withdraws outside the door, that he may
the better conceal his emotion.

The death happened on a Friday. The Squire, after a few faltering
expressions of sympathy, asked regarding the burial. "Should it not be
on Sunday?"

"Not on Sunday," says Mr. Johns; "God help me, Squire,--but this is not
a work of necessity or mercy. Let it be on Monday."

"On Monday, then," said Elderkin,--"and let me take the arrangement of
it all off your thought; and we will provide some one to preach for you
on the Sabbath."

"No, Mr. Elderkin, no; I am always myself in the pulpit. I shall find
courage there."

And he did. A stranger would not have suspected that the preacher's wife
lay dead at home; the same unction and earnestness that had always
characterized him; the same unyielding rigidity of doctrine: "_Except ye
repent, ye shall all likewise perish._"

Once only--it was in the reading of the last hymn in the afternoon
service--his voice broke, and he sat down half through. But as the song
rose under the old roof of the meeting-house, his courage rose with it.
He seemed ashamed of the transitory weakness. What right had he to bring
private griefs to such a place? What right had the leader to faint, when
the army were pressing forward to the triumph God had promised to the
faithful? So it was in a kind of ecstasy that he rose, and joined with a
firm, loud voice in the final doxology.

One or two of the good old ladies, with a sad misconception of the force
that was in him, and of the divine aid which seemed vouchsafed to him
during the service, came to him, as he passed out, to give him greeting
and a word of condolence. For that time only he passed them by, as if
they had been wooden images. His spirit had been strained to its
uttermost, and would bear no more. He made his way home with an
ungainly, swift gait,--home to the dear bedside,--down upon his
knees,--struggling with his weakness,--praying.

At the tea-hour Esther knocked; but in vain. An hour after, his boy
came,--came at the old woman's suggestion, (who had now the care of
him,) and knelt by his side.

"Reuben,--my boy!"

"She's in heaven, isn't she, father?"

"God only knows, my son. He hath mercy on whom He will have mercy."

Small as he was, the boy flushed at this:--

"I think it's a bad God, if she isn't in heaven.'

"Nay, Reuben, little one, blaspheme not: His ways are not as our ways.
Kiss her now, and we will sit down to our supper."

And so they passed out together to their lonely repast. It had been a
cheerful meal in days gone, this Sunday's supper. For the dinner, owing
to the scruples of the parson, was but a cold lunch always; and in the
excited state in which the preacher found himself between services,
there was little of speech; even Reuben's prattle, if he ventured upon
it, caught a quick "Hist!" from the mamma. But with the return of Esther
from the afternoon Bible-class, there was a big fire lighted in the
kitchen, and some warm dishes served, such as diffused an appetizing
odor through the house. The clergyman, too, wore an air of relief,
having preached his two sermons, and showing a capital appetite, like
most men who have acquitted themselves of a fatiguing duty. Besides
which, the parson guarded that old New England custom of beginning his
Sabbath at sundown on Saturday,--so that, by the time the supper of
Sunday was fairly over, Reuben could be counting it no sin, if he should
steal a run into the orchard. Nay, it is quite probable that the poor
little woman who was dead had always welcomed cheerily the opened door
of Sunday evening, and the relaxing gravity, as night fell, of her
husband's starched look.

What wonder, if she had loved, even as much as the congregational
singing, the music of the birds at the dusk of a summer's day? It was
hard measure which many of the old divines meted out, in excluding from
their ideas of worship all alliance with the charms of Nature, or indeed
with any beauties save those which were purely spiritual. It is certain
that the poor woman had enjoyed immensely those Sabbath-evening strolls
through the garden and orchard, hand in hand with Reuben and the
minister,--with such keen and exhilarating sense of God's goodness, of
trust in Him, of hope, as was not invariably wakened by the sermons of
her Benjamin.

On the evening of which we speak, the father and son walked down the
orchard alone. The birds sang their merriest as day closed in; and as
they turned upon their walk, and the good man saw through the vista of
garden and orchard a bright light flitting across an upper window of
his house, the mad hope flashed upon him for an instant (such baseless
fancies will sometimes possess the calmest minds) that she had
waked,--his Rachel,--and was there to meet him. The next moment the
light and the hope were gone. His fingers gave such a convulsive grip
upon the hand of his little boy that Reuben cried out with pain, "Papa,
papa, you hurt me!"

The parson bent down and kissed him.


In the month of March, 1848, Samuel O. Knapp and J.B. Townsend
discovered, from tracks in the snow, that a hedgehog had taken up his
winter-quarters in a cavity of a ledge of rocks, about twelve miles from
Ontonagon, Lake Superior, in the neighborhood of the Minnesota Copper
Mine. In order to capture their game, they procured a pick and shovel,
and commenced an excavation by removing the vegetable mould and rubbish
that had accumulated about the mouth of what proved to be a small cavern
in the rock. At the depth of a few feet they discovered numerous stone
hammers or mauls; and they saw that the cavern was not a natural one,
but had been worked out by human agency, and that the stone implements,
found in great profusion in and about it, were the tools used in making
the excavation. Further examination developed a well-defined vein of
native copper running through the rock; and it was evidently with a view
of getting this metal that this extensive opening had been made.

This was the first instance where "ancient diggings"--as they are
familiarly called in the Lake Superior region--were ever recognized as
such; and this artificial cavern presents the most conclusive proofs
that a people in the remote past worked those mines. Upon the discovery
of this mine, attention was at once directed to numerous other cavities
and depressions in the surface of the earth at this and other points,
and the result was that nearly a hundred ancient pits were found, and in
all of them mining-tools of various kinds. These ancient mines or pits
are not restricted to one locality, but extend over the entire length of
the copper region, from the eastern extremity of Keweenaw Point to the
Porcupine Mountains, a distance of nearly one hundred miles.

In some of the ancient diggings, the stone hammers have the marks of
hard usage, fractured or battered faces, and a large proportion of them
are broken and unfit for use; but in other pits the hammers are all
sound, and many of them have the appearance of never having been used.
These hammers, or mauls, which are of various sizes, and not uniform in
shape, are water-worn stones, of great hardness, similar in all respects
to those that are found in abundance on the shore of the Lake, or in the
gravel-banks of that region. They are generally trap-rock, embracing the
varieties of gray, porphyritic, hornblendic, sienitic, and amygdaloidal
trap, and appear to have had no labor expended upon them except the
chiselling of a groove around the middle for the purpose of attaching a
withe to serve as a handle. In a few instances, I have noticed small
hammers, usually egg-shaped, without a groove; and the battered or worn
appearance at one end was all that induced the belief that they were
ever used for hammering.

These hammers are usually from six to eight inches in length, and from
eight to twelve inches in circumference, and weigh from four to eight
pounds; but I have measured specimens that were twenty-four inches in
circumference at the groove, and would weigh thirty pounds. It seems
hardly probable that one man could wield so ponderous a tool; and from
the fact that some of the large mauls have two grooves around them, it
is presumed that two men were employed in using them.

Stone hammers are found in all the ancient diggings, and in some
instances the number is almost incredible. From the pits near the
Minnesota mines it is estimated that ten cart-loads have been removed; I
was informed that a well there was entirely stoned up with them, and
from the great number still remaining I am inclined to believe the
report. A still greater number are said to have been found at the
Mesnard and Pontiac Mines, in the Portage Lake district. Farther east,
in the vicinity of the Cliff and Central Mines, they are also abundant;
and it would seem, from the circumstance of their being invariably found
in the pits, that the law among the ancient miners was similar to the
one adopted by the adventurers in California a few years since, who
established their claims by leaving their tools upon the land or in the
pits where they were digging for gold.

In addition to the stone implements, copper chisels, wedges, or "gads,"
are often found in the abandoned mines; and in the vicinity, as well as
in places more remote, other copper relics are found, consisting of
knives, spear-points, and rings, like the bracelets of the present day.
In a collection at the Douglas House, in Houghton, Portage Lake, are
ornaments of this kind, and also some spear-heads, nicely wrought and
similar in shape and size to the blade of a spontoon. But I have never
seen a copper relic that had the appearance of having been melted. They
invariably appear to have been cut and hammered into shape from a mass
of native copper.

Colonel Charles Whittlesey, of Cleveland, Ohio, who has examined these
"ancient diggings," has several interesting relics, some of which he has
figured and described in the thirteenth volume of the "Smithsonian
Contributions to Knowledge." In the Vermont State Cabinet is a
spear-head of native copper, about six inches long, which was found in
Williston, Vermont, in 1843.

It may be proper here to remark, that the copper in these relics is
tougher than that which has been fused, and so is the native copper of
Lake Superior; and occasionally in these copper relics blotches and
grains of native silver are found. These circumstances serve to
establish the fact, that the material of which the implements were made
was obtained at Lake Superior; for there, and nowhere else in America,
is native silver found in grains, and sometimes in considerable masses,
imbedded in a matrix of native copper. I well remember, when a boy,
reading an article relating to the "Lost Arts," in which the fact was
stated, that a piece of metal consisting of pure copper and silver had
been found in Hamilton County, Ohio, and that a copper knife had been
found in one of the ancient mounds at Marietta, which had distinct
blotches of pure silver in it. The writer of the article claimed that
the people who manufactured that knife were in the possession of an art,
now lost, by which copper and silver could be melted and
indiscriminately mixed, but upon cooling would separate and remain
distinct and pure, instead of forming an alloy. The discovery of native
copper and silver similarly associated in the Lake Superior mines has
not only destroyed this theory, but has established beyond a doubt the
locality whence that copper knife, and other relics found in the ancient
mounds and elsewhere, were obtained.

Billets of wood that bear the marks of a tolerably sharp-cutting tool
are often found in the old mines where water has been suffered to remain
since their abandonment. In the Waterbury Mine wooden shovels were found
about three and one half feet long, some of which were much worn upon
the blade, and appeared as though they had been used for scraping
together and throwing out the refuse rock and dirt from the mine.[A] At
the same locality a wooden bowl was found, the side being so worn as to
show conclusively that it had been used for baling water from the mine.
Similar implements have been found at the mines in the Portage Lake and
Ontonagon districts. When first found, these wooden implements appear
sound, and being thoroughly saturated with water are heavy and can be
handled without breaking; but when dried they often crack and warp so as
to retain little of their original form and appearance. It is to be
regretted that but few of these wooden relics were saved and properly
preserved by those who found them. In a few instances the wooden withe
or handle has been found attached to the hammers, but upon being dried
they usually fall to pieces.

At the Hilton Mine in the Ontonagon district, in October, 1863, as the
men were removing the vegetable mould that had accumulated in one of the
old pits, they found at the depth of about nine feet a leather bag,
which was eleven inches long and seven inches wide. It was lying upon a
mass of native copper which the ancient miners had unsuccessfully
attempted to remove from its parent vein. The bag was in a remarkable
state of preservation, the leather being quite pliable and as tough as
sheepskin. It was made up with the hair inside, was sewed across the
bottom and up one side with a leather string, and near the top holes
were cut and a leather string inserted to close the mouth by drawing it
together. The bag was empty, but from its appearance I judged that it
had been used for transporting copper or other mineral,--the leather in
places showing marks of much service, and the hair being almost entirely
worn off. I was unable to determine what kind of skin it was, but
inclined to the belief that it was from the walrus, as the short, stubby
hairs more closely resembled those of that animal than of any other with
which I am acquainted. At the time I saw the bag,--the day after it was
discovered,--it was in the possession of C. M. Sanderson, Esq., the
agent of the Knowlton Mine; but I hear it has since been taken to Boston
and sold.

In several of the ancient mines considerable masses of pure copper
detached from the main lode have been found, which were left there by
those who mined it. At the Central Mine, not far from Eagle Harbor, a
mass of copper was found in one of these old pits that weighed forty-six
tons. Every portion of the surface was smooth, and appeared as though it
had been hammered by those who detached it from its original vein. In
the Mesnard Mine, in the Portage Lake district, a detached mass of
copper was found that weighed eighteen tons, hammered smooth like the
mass before named.

But the most interesting specimen was found in an old pit near the
Minnesota Mine. In removing the accumulated leaves and vegetable mould,
the workmen, at the depth of eighteen feet, discovered a mass of copper
ten feet long, three feet wide, and more than a foot thick, weighing six
tons. On removing the earth around the mass, it was found to rest upon
skids, or timbers, piled up to the height of about five feet. These
timbers, having been constantly covered with water, were in a good state
of preservation, and at the ends showed plainly the marks of the tool
used in cutting them. It was thought by those who saw the billets when
they were plump, that they were a species of oak; but the few remaining
pieces which I have seen were so cracked and shrivelled that I have been
unable to form an opinion as to the kind of wood. This mass of copper,
like all others found in those ancient pits, was divested of all its
ragged points, and hammered perfectly smooth. There was nothing in its
appearance to show that it had ever been cut from another mass; but upon
clearing out the rubbish from the bottom of the mine, which was about
twenty-six feet below the surface, a vein of pure metal was found from
which this had evidently been taken.

A few unfinished jobs have been found in these ancient pits, which throw
some light upon the manner in which the work was carried on. In two
instances there were projecting masses somewhat resembling urns, or
inverted short-necked bottles, and completely smoothed by hammering,
especially at the thinner portion or neck. It appears that the ancient
miners first removed the rock from around the veins of copper. This was
done by building fires upon or about it, and, when heated, crumbling it
by throwing on water. By means of stone mauls the fragments were broken
up and removed. When the vein was sufficiently exposed on all sides, a
point was selected where the copper was thinner or narrower than the
average of the vein. Here they commenced cutting off a mass, and by
patient and long-continued hammering severed the two portions of the
vein. In all the ancient mines which I have visited there is abundant
evidence that fire was extensively used in the removal of rock; for not
only do the rocks give proof of having been heated, but charcoal and
ashes are invariably found at the bottom of all the rock excavations.

In general, the mining was done by surface openings along the line of
the outcrop of the vein; but occasionally adits are driven into the
rock, similar to the one first discovered at the Minnesota Mine before
alluded to.

The surface mines are usually nearly filled with leaves and vegetable
mould that have accumulated during the centuries that have elapsed since
their abandonment, and till within a few years a heavy growth of timber
covered the land; hence the numerous slight depressions that occurred
along the line of the vein excited no suspicion that they were
artificial excavations. By the closest observers they were regarded as
natural depressions, caused either by the disintegration of the
underlying rock or the peculiar manner in which the overlying drift was
deposited. In many of these depressions, which have proved to be
abandoned mines, trees of enormous size are found growing, some of which
are ascertained, by counting their concentric rings, to be four hundred
years old. At the Hilton Mine, directly over the leather bag before
alluded to, there was a hemlock-tree about three feet in diameter. I
noticed the stump of a tree nearly four feet in diameter in a gap near
the Rockland Mine, where a hill had been actually cut asunder by these
ancient miners, and a deep valley formed by the removal of the rock.
Until very recently this valley was not recognized as an ancient mine;
for, being ten rods in width, and cutting nearly at right angles across
the strata of the rock that formed the hill, it was considered too
extensive to have been made by human hands, and was supposed to be the
result of natural causes. But about two years since, during a very dry
time, a destructive fire swept through the woods, and so completely
burned up all the vegetable matter accumulated there as to expose the
underlying rock, and reveal its true character. After the fire had done
its work, it was found that copper veins, which had been worked, ran
through the rock in the gap, and that the great bank upon the south side
of the hill, which was supposed to be a terraced gravel bank, proved to
be a vast accumulation of "attle," or refuse stone, that had been taken
from the artificial gap and deposited there. The stones forming this
immense pile are generally small, and appear to have been broken up by
heating to facilitate their removal from the mine, and possibly may have
been again broken, with the hope of finding copper in them. In the midst
of the pile I noticed several stone hammers, or mauls, some of them
measuring twenty inches in girth around their grooves, and one I brought
away weighing thirty pounds.

When examining this locality, I was struck with a significant fact,
tending to show the long time that must have elapsed since the
abandonment of these mines. I noticed in many instances that the
artificial groove around the hammers was nearly obliterated upon the
upper side, while upon the lower side, less exposed to the abrading
agency of the atmosphere and rains, the groove presented a comparatively
fresh appearance, and even the slight markings made by the tool that cut
them were quite distinct. When I removed the overlying rock, and found a
grooved maul in a protected spot, the groove was generally as fresh as
though it had been made but a few months before. The compact nature of
the stone of which these hammers are made, and their ability to resist
the action of weather and moisture, prove conclusively that much time
has been required to disintegrate their surface so as to obliterate the
artificial work which has been expended upon them.

I feel unwilling to leave this subject without instituting an inquiry
relative to the time when these mines were wrought, and the people who
worked them. Many who have been taught to regard the present roving
tribes of Indians as instinctively wise in matters of medicine and
mining are ready to award to that race the credit of having worked these
mines; but, inasmuch as even a traditional knowledge of their existence
was unknown to the Indians at the time the Jesuit missionaries visited
that region in the sixteenth century, we incline to the opinion that an
other and distinct race worked them. I am unable to see why the
descendants of a people residing in the same country, and subject to the
same wants, should abandon the half-worked mines which their ancestors
had opened, and even fail to hand down to their posterity a tradition of
their existence. If copper was in such demand that the ancestors of the
present race of Chippeways were induced to work so perseveringly to
obtain it, why did not the children continue to work, at least enough to
finish the jobs already commenced by their progenitors? We cannot
consistently attribute the Herculean labor expended on these mines to
the ancestors of the indolent race of North American Indians. We
incline, rather, to the opinion that the miners were the mound-builders,
who resided south of the mines, and ultimately found a home in Mexico.
The condition in which the mines were left favors this theory; for in
many instances unfinished jobs are found,--as in the case of the mass of
copper upon skids at the Minnesota Mine, and the half-severed veins in
other mines. May we not reasonably suppose that the miners came from the
South and worked during the summer months, returning to their homes in
winter? The circumstance that no traces of their habitations or
burial-places have ever been discovered in the immediate vicinity of the
mines leads to the inference that they came from a distance; and the
fact that copper rings, chisels, and knives, and occasionally stone
hammers, are found in the ancient mounds that extend in an unbroken line
from Ohio to Mexico, induces the belief that the ancient miners and the
ancient mound-builders were the same people.

It is said that artificial mounds are found in British America; and I
was informed of one upon the banks of the Ontonagon River, about six
miles from its mouth, but was unable to visit the spot. It is well known
that they are quite abundant in Wisconsin, and extend the entire length
of the Mississippi Valley.

It is a noticeable fact that as we proceed south we find the mounds
generally larger and more symmetrical than those in more northern
latitudes. It would seem that the people who constructed those in
British America, in moving southward, (for we strongly suspect that this
people originally crossed Behring's Strait from Asia,) improved in their
style of building, and, on arriving at the Ohio River, had so far
improved as to be able to construct those interesting works at Marietta,
Moundville, and other points in that region. It was not till about the
time they reached the Ohio Valley that they manufactured pottery. In
that valley, and thence to Mexico, fragments of earthen ware are very
common; and in the mounds entire vessels are not unfrequently found.
Upon reaching Mexico, the mounds are seen to be still further improved
in size and form, and specimens of ancient pottery are more abundant.
The great mound or pyramid at Cholula, which is a fair type of the
mounds in Mexico, is fourteen hundred and twenty-three feet square at
the base, and one hundred and seventy-seven feet high, being larger than
the celebrated pyramids of Egypt. This immense structure is said to have
been built by the Toltecs, a people who, according to tradition, as
communicated to the Spaniards, entered Mexico from the North in the year
A.D. 648, and established their capital on the northern confines of the
great valley of Mexico, at Tula, the remains of which city were visible,
and a record made of them, at the time of the Conquest by Cortés.

This people were said to have possessed a good knowledge of agriculture,
and were well instructed in many useful mechanic arts. They mixed gold
and copper, and were experts in working these metals. For a period of
four hundred years they occupied the territory of Mexico or Anahuac; but
secession, and the attendant evils of war, pestilence, and famine,
greatly reduced their numbers, and the race disappeared from the land to
give place to their successors, the Aztecs, who also emigrated from the
North. Remnants of the Toltec race are said to have migrated still
farther south, and to have spread over Central America; and the
remarkable correspondence of dates inclines us to the belief that the
famous Manco Capac, whom the Peruvians worshipped as the founder of
their empire, may have been a wanderer from that once happy, but then
unfortunate people. The useful arts, which he made known to the
semi-barbarous people among whom he settled, instead of originating in
the great luminary of the day, and being brought to earth by a "child of
the Sun," as they were taught, are far more likely to have been
cultivated by the Toltecs in the days of their prosperity, and, on the
dissolution of their government, transmitted by those who, fearing the
result, had fled and taken refuge with the credulous Peruvians. Whether
the stupendous ruins of temples found at Mitla, Palenque, and Uxmal were
the work of the Toltecs or the Aztecs, is immaterial. It is sufficient
for the purposes of this paper to show that a people inhabited Mexico
prior to and at the time of the Conquest, who were far in advance of the
roving tribes of Indians that subsisted in the more northern and eastern
portions of North America.

At the time of the conquests of Mexico and Peru, numerous cities were
found in those countries, and magnificent temples and palaces abounded,
some of which were richly decorated with massive images of solid gold,
others ornamented with fantastic and sometimes hideous figures carved
out of the solid rock. But what is remarkable, no _iron_ implements were
used, nor did the inhabitants have the least knowledge of its use,
notwithstanding iron ore was plentifully distributed through the country
in which they lives. Not a trace of iron has ever been found in those
grand ruins of Yucatan visited by Stephens and Catherwood; nor do the
ruins of the holy city, Cuzco, give evidence that implements of iron
were used in its construction. But the people of these countries were
acquainted with many of the metals, and the Spanish invaders found
numerous silver, tin, and copper mines that had been worked by them. All
the deep, winding galleries of these mines were driven without the aid
of iron, steel, or gunpowder. It is said that an alloy of tin and copper
was used for their edge-tools; and with the aid of a silicious sand or
dust, they were enabled to cut and polish amethysts, emeralds, porphyry,
and other hard substances. With these implements the elaborate carving
in the stone temples of Palenque and the other ruined cities of Central
America was executed. The great calendar-stone, which in 1790 was
disinterred in the city of Mexico, was nicely wrought out of a block of
dark porphyry, that is estimated to have weighed fifty tons, and must
have been transported several leagues; for the nearest point where
porphyry of that character is found is upon the shores of Lake Chalco,
many miles distant from the city of Mexico. In the absence of iron, some
tough metal would be in requisition for the tools and machinery
necessary in the execution and removal of such a gigantic and elaborate
work. In many abandoned quarries in Mexico and Central America
unfinished blocks of granite and porphyry are found, which are supposed
to have been the work of the Toltecs, and abandoned by them at the time
of the invasion of the fierce Aztec. Assuming this to be the fact, we
can readily conceive why the half-raised mass of copper in the Minnesota
Mine should also be abandoned; for a people suddenly scattered as the
Toltecs were--so suddenly as to leave temples half finished, and blocks
of stone half hewn--would have no further use for copper tools; and
hence the raw material would no longer have a value. In the abandoned
quarries near Mitla, amid fragments of pillars and architraves and
half-finished blocks of granite, copper axes, chisels, and wedges were
found in abundance; but the same inordinate love of money that prompted
adventurers to flock to Chiriqui, a few years since, to rob the ancient
burying-grounds of their golden idols, induced others to search the old
quarries and mines of Mexico and Central America, and take from them any
relics that were intrinsically valuable.

In Mexico, the mounds were built so that their summits were visible from
every portion of the surrounding city, in order that the inhabitants
might continually have in view the sacred fires that were ever kept
burning on each side of the sacrificial altar. The same is strikingly
true of the mounds at the West; for they are invariably placed so that
their summits occupy a commanding position,--a circumstance that has
induced many to suppose them to have been built for military purposes,
and to have served as watch-towers. But when we reflect that the attacks
of savage or half-civilized peoples are usually made in the night-time,
we shall hardly suppose these structures were raised for any such
purpose. The Pyramid of Cholula is composed of alternate layers of brick
and clay, or possibly of burnt and unburnt brick; and others in Mexico
are built of unburnt brick. Many of the mounds in the West are of
clay,--perhaps of unburnt brick,--in situations where clay is not so
abundant as other earths.

I recollect visiting Circleville, Ohio, when it was really a
_Circle_-ville. An octagonal court-house stood upon an ancient mound,
and the dwellings and stores were built upon an ancient circular wall of
earth that encompassed an area around the mound. South of this circular
inclosure, and joining it, was a square inclosure of several acres,
surrounded by a wall about ten feet high. What is remarkable, this
square wall--and we presume the same is true also of the mound and
circular wall--was built of clay, perhaps of unburnt brick, that must
have been transported a considerable distance; for no clay exists upon
that alluvial bottom, and the nearest point where it is found is three
fourths of a mile distant, across a considerable creek. On a subsequent
visit to this place, I found the people using the clay from the wall of
the square inclosure for making brick, and streets had been cut across
the circular inclosure, so that the city is no longer entitled to the
name of Circleville. In many instances, the ruined cities of Central
America have inclosures resembling those at Circleville, surrounding the
Teocallis, or sacred temples, which almost invariably stand upon mounds,
or, as they are commonly called, pyramids.

With these many points of resemblance, the conclusion is irresistible,
that the mounds of the West were but the germs of the more symmetrical
pyramids of Mexico and Central America, and that the people who
constructed them were, in intelligence and civilization, far in advance
of the roving tribes of North American Indians who inhabited the country
at the time of its discovery.

If it be true, as tradition informs us, that the Toltecs were a
cultivated race, even more advanced than the Aztecs who occupied Mexico
at the time of the Conquest, we may reasonably suppose that a metal so
valuable to them as copper would be in great demand, and that mines of
it, even at a remote distance, would be worked by a people, the
construction of whose religious temples and royal palaces, and, it would
seem, their nationality even, depended upon its possession.

Other evidence might be adduced to show that the extensive mining-pits
on the shores of Lake Superior were not the work of the indolent and
untutored race of Indians who now inhabit that region, nor of their
ancestors, but of a people comparatively well acquainted with the
mechanic arts. Our article, however, has already extended beyond the
limits contemplated. I therefore leave the subject, with the hope that
the few hints here thrown out may awaken other and abler minds to its


[A] See Col. Whittlesey's Report, Vol. XIII. _Smithsonian



    O singer, musical and strong,
      Why should a faint and faltering line
    Seek through the happy realms of song
      To celebrate thy voice divine?

    The tribute bears its own reply,
      And speaks for many a voiceless one,
    Of hearts disburdened of a sigh
      Wherever thy brave accents run;

    And blessing brings for youthful hours,
      When maidens dreamed their early dreams,
    And boys awakened, crowned with flowers,
      Plucked walking by thy sunlit streams;

    For all of Nature's pictured calm,
      The children's hour, the fireside scene,
    For our frail lives' undying psalm,
      And wandering sweet Evangeline;

    Praises for all; yet first for thee,
      O lover with the kindling eye!
    Quick to discern the minstrelsy
      Where planets sway and star-fires die.

    O prophet of a nobler world!
      Thy song shall cheer the hill and plain,
    Till sunset's glowing wings are furled
      On faded joys and vanished pain.





My experience as a seamstress thus far subjected me to mere trials of
temper, or mortifications of personal pride, but never to the calamities
which sometimes fall so heavily on others in a like position. Hence,
while spared the latter, I was too much disposed to magnify the former:
for, let our trials be few and light as they may, we are generally prone
to consider them the greatest that could befall. The griefs of others,
their losses, their calamities, as has often been well said, we can all
bear with surprising fortitude: it is only our own that we are disposed
to regard as unendurable. But in this time of discouragement there were
cases brought to my notice, the severity of which fairly humbled me in
the dust, filling my heart with thankfulness at the exemption extended
to us, and showing me that afflictions are really great or insignificant
only by comparison.

One sleety wintry night the low wail of a new-born infant was heard
issuing from a bundle of ragged clothing which some poor creature had
laid down on the doorstep of a house in a small by-street not many
squares from our own. The house was occupied in part by a man named
Varick, who had a wife and several children. This man had been an
industrious mechanic, but had for two years been pursuing the downward
path to ruin, a confirmed victim of the bottle. He had been forced by
the destitution thus brought upon himself to abandon a snug abode in a
decent street for the squalor of a rickety shell in a mean locality, and
was now prostrate on his bed, dying of rapid consumption. By what
mysterious providence a new-born babe should thus be sent to such a
man's door is beyond my comprehension. But the wife of Varick, softer of
heart than its mother, took in the shivering waif, adopted it in place
of one only a few weeks older, which she had buried two days previous,
and resisted all urgency of the few friends she had to send it to the

My mother had long known Mrs. Varick. She regarded her with great
interest, and had frequently visited the family, watching the progress
of her husband's decline, and sympathizing with her in her incessant
labor as a seamstress. Varick did nothing but drink,--she did nothing
but work. The trials, the sufferings, the absolute privations which she
underwent for two years, it would be difficult to describe. Her domestic
labors, with the care of a sick husband, watching him by night as well
as by day, left her little time or energy to devote to the needle. Yet
she toiled unceasingly for the shops. Scanty indeed were their prices,
scantier were her earnings, and scantier still the daily fare which the
poor needle-woman was able to set before her children. Many times they
cried themselves to sleep with hunger. I doubt not that the dying
husband shared in these privations, as well as suffered for want of many
comforts which his situation demanded. Strangely enough, in the midst of
this accumulated misery, the woman's heart went out with an
unconquerable sympathy for the foundling so unexpectedly left at her
door. So far from proving an additional incumbrance, it seemed to be a
positive comfort.

Hearing of the circumstance, my mother went immediately to see the
family, taking me with her. They were quartered in a single large room
of an old frame-house which was crowded with tenants of all
descriptions. We found Varick on his bed, evidently very near his end.
But, alas! the unhappy man, expressed the utmost horror of dying. He
made no request for spiritual aid or counsel,--no mention of religion,
no reference to eternity. The Saviour's name, or any allusion to the
salvation which came by him, never passed his lips. Every thought was of
the earth,--how to live, not how to die. I shuddered as I saw and heard
him. At intervals he reached out his hand impatiently for a vial of
medicine, then inquired when the doctor would come. His whole dependence
was on the arm of flesh. Neither wife nor visitor ventured to direct his
attention to the fact of his rapidly approaching end; for he was
stubborn and repulsive. The door seemed to be shut, no more to be
opened,--we could do nothing for him.

Yet while this horrible scene was passing before us, there were loud
noises in the next room, penetrating the thin board partition at the
head of Varick's bed. A drunken brawl was going on, with oaths and
imprecations that alarmed all but the sick man and his wife, with now
and then a sharp pounding on the partition, as if some one's head were
being violently beaten against it. Overhead another similar disturbance
occurred. Then there was a crowd of squalid faces peering in at the
windows at us; for decent visitors were rare in the depraved locality of
that forlorn tenant-house. Altogether, the scene sickened and almost
frightened me.

My mother gave Mrs. Varick a basket filled with simple comforts she had
brought with her; and we were about taking our leave, when the door
opened, and a religious-looking man, dressed in black, entered the room,
bowed to us, spoke familiarly to Mrs. Varick, and approached the bedside
of the dying man. Presently he sank upon his knees, and in language most
appropriate to the spiritual hardness and destitution of poor Varick,
invoked the Throne of Grace in his behalf. Though the outcries and
turmoil around and above were continued, yet I lost no word of this
deeply affecting prayer. It touched my heart and heightened the
solemnity of the occasion. My own supplications went up in silence to
the mercy-seat on behalf of the dying man. I knew that my mother's would
be equally fervent; and from the reverential responses of the sobbing
wife, it was clear to me that hers were not withheld.

She was standing very near to me when the minister rose to his feet.
Turning to her, he said in a low voice,--

"Madam, I perceive that you are to have a funeral here very shortly. I
am an undertaker, and shall be glad to take charge of furnishing the
coffin and whatever else may be needed."

He put a card into her hand, and left us. I cannot describe the
revulsion of feeling which this uncouth and abrupt transition from
spiritual to carnal things occasioned in my mind. The shock was so
violent as to dissipate at once the solemn impression which the man's
excellent prayer had made. The heart-stricken wife could make no reply,
except by tears. It was well that the dying man was unable to catch the
mercenary drift of the religious exercises he had heard.

That night he died. When we reached there the next morning, several of
the low crowd who herded in other apartments of this great
tenement-house were already offering to bargain with the widow for her
husband's clothes. The thing was so inexpressibly shocking that my
mother interposed and compelled them to desist and leave us alone. By
degrees we learned more of the actual condition of the family. It
appeared that Varick had in better days become a member of a beneficial
society which allowed forty dollars to a widow for the funeral expenses
of her husband. The harpies of the tenement-house had become acquainted
with this circumstance, and while one set was seeking to obtain
possession of the dead man's clothes, another was practising every art
to steal from the widow the little beneficiary fund with which he was
to be buried. Through all her difficulties the poor needle-woman had
managed to pay the society's dues, foreseeing what the end would be, and
she was now entitled to draw the forty dollars. My mother immediately
obtained from her an order for the money, drew it, kept it from the
rapacious set who watched for it, and made it an efficient means of
immediate comfort.

The ministerial undertaker was of course present at the funeral. He was
evidently as keen after business as he was powerful in prayer. When the
hour for moving from the house had arrived, he approached the widow and
whispered to her that he could not think of letting the coffin leave the
premises until some one had become surety for the payment of his bill!
My mother and myself both sat near the widow, and heard this
extraordinary and ill-timed demand. I was amazed and disgusted at the
indecency of the man in not urging it at the proper time, and pressing
it at so improper a one. But my mother told him to proceed, and that she
would pay the bill.

All these enormities were new things to me. I had seen nothing, I had
imagined nothing, so every way terrible as came within my notice under
the squalid roof of this poor needle-woman. But my mother had long been
in the habit of penetrating into the abodes of the sick and destitute;
and though shocked by the new combination of religion and trade which
she here witnessed, yet she regarded it only as a fresh development of
the selfishness and hypocrisy of human nature. This poor woman and her
family must live. How, thought I, is she to do so in this season of
declining prices of the only work she is able to perform? If she could
survive such a crisis so uncomplainingly, and be willing to take to her
bosom the helpless foundling left upon her doorstep, what cause was
there for me to complain? Sorrows gathered all round her pathway, while
only blessings clustered about mine. I learned a lesson of thankfulness
that has never been forgotten.

If there had been need of such exhibitions of positive distress as
teachers of contentment, others were not wanting within my little
circle. One of my cousins, a girl of my own age, ambitious to support
herself, had been successful in obtaining a situation as saleswoman in a
highly fashionable shop, where the most costly goods were sold in large
quantities, and to which, of course, the most dashing customers
resorted. I always thought her a truly beautiful girl. She was tall and
eminently graceful, her face expressing the virtue and intelligence of
her mind: for I cannot understand that true beauty can exist without
these corresponding mental harmonies, any more than a shadow without the

My taste in such matters may be defective, because it lacks the
cultivation which fashion gives. Such as I possess is altogether
natural. To my primitive apprehension, therefore, the attractions of a
finely formed neck or arm receive no addition from being encircled by
chains of gold or bracelets of pearls. When charmed with the appearance
of a beautiful woman in simple robes, who is there, if told that the
profuse expenditure that would have been required to cover her with
brilliants had been employed in charity,--that she had used it as a fund
to relieve the wants of the needy, to minister to the sick, to comfort
the widow, to support and educate the destitute orphan,--who is there
that would not feel the loftier emotions of his nature mingling with his

At home my cousin had been seated at her needle, but in her new
employment she found herself compelled to stand. There was neither bench
nor chair nor stool behind the counter, on which she could for a moment
rest a body which had never been accustomed to so long-continued and
unnatural a strain upon its powers. It was the peremptory order of the
wealthy proprietor that no girl employed in the shop should on any
occasion sit down. There were soft stools for the repose of customers
who had money to spend, but not even a block for the weary saleswoman
who had money to earn. The rich lady, who had promenaded the street
until fatigued by the exertion of displaying her new bonnet over miles
of pavement, came in and rested herself while pricing goods she did not
intend to buy. There was a seat for all such. The unoccupied saleswoman
had been seeking relief from the strain upon her muscles by leaning back
against the shelves, but on the entrance of a customer she must be all
obsequiousness. While she might have rested, she was unfeelingly
forbidden to do so. Now the customer must be waited on, no matter how
completely she may be overcome by fatigue or prostrated by lassitude.
Either was sufficient to destroy her spirits; the combination of the
two, springing from a fixed cause, was sure to undermine her health.

My cousin suffered keenly from this almost unexampled cruelty. She came
home at night worn out by the strain upon her muscular system. Her spine
was the seat of a chronic uneasiness. All day she was upon her feet,
being allowed no other rest than such as she might get by leaning
against the shelving. At the week's end she was fairly overcome. Sunday
was hardly a day of recreation, because she was rarely free from pain
induced by this unintermitted standing. All this was suffered for the
sum of four dollars a week. It is true that she had earned less at her
needle, but then her health had been remarkable for its robustness. Her
increased earnings now were the price of that health.

Nor were others among the saleswomen less dangerously affected than
herself. Some, of feeble organization, quickly broke down, under this
unnatural discipline, and abandoned the shop, sometimes rendered
temporary invalids, sometimes permanently disabled, while but few
returned to fill their thankless places. Reading, while in the shop,
whether employed or not, was out of the question, as that also was
strictly prohibited. There was therefore no recreation either of body or
mind, even when it might have been harmlessly permitted. It was either
work or absolute idleness, but in no case rest or relaxation.

Under this monstrous system of torture my cousin at length broke down so
completely that she, too, was compelled to leave the establishment. Her
resolute spirit led her to endure it too long. When she did give up, it
was in the hope that entire rest would bring relief. But it never came.
Her physical organization, strong as it was by nature, had been so
deranged that recuperation was impossible. Medicine could do nothing for
her. A curvature of the spine had been established,--she soon became
unable to sit up,--and at this writing she lies comparatively helpless
in her bed, still beautiful in her helplessness. Her health was
permanently ruined by the barbarism of a man so destitute of sympathy
for a working-girl as to deny her the cheap privilege of sitting down
when she could do him no good by standing up. Yet the great
establishment is still continued, with all its gorgeous display of
plate-glass windows, its polished counters, its wealth of costly goods,
and its long array of tortured saleswomen.

These instances of complicated affliction among needle-women by no means
embrace all that came under my notice. They were so numerous that it was
impossible for me to avoid seeing and feeling that no such grief had
been permitted to come over me. I trust that my heart was sufficiently
grateful for this immunity,--for I became satisfied, that, if we were to
thank God for all His blessings, we should have little time to complain
of misfortunes. I know that I endeavored to be so. I labored to take a
cheering view of what we then considered a very gloomy prospect. And
this disposition to contrast our condition with that of others, while it
taught me wisdom, brought with it a world of consolation. I saw that
there was a bright side to everything,--that the sky was oftener blue
than black; and my floral experiences in the garden taught me that it
was the sunshine, and not the cloud, that makes the flower. It became
my study to look only on the bright side of things, convinced, that, if
the present were a little overcast, there was a future for us that would
be all delightful. I was full of hope; and the eye of hope can discover
a star in the thickest darkness, a rainbow even in the blackest cloud.

Hence I went cheerfully to learn the art of operating a sewing-machine,
in which I soon became so expert as to prove a profitable pupil. There
were from a dozen to twenty learners beside myself, some few of whom
were educated and agreeable girls, the daughters of families moving in
genteel circles, who had come there with a sensible ambition to acquire
a thorough knowledge of the art. With these I formed a very pleasant
acquaintance, so that my apprenticeship of a few weeks, instead of being
a dull and lifeless probation, calculated to depress my spirits, was
really an agreeable episode in my quiet career, cheering by its new
associations, and invigorating by reason of the unmistakable evidences
occurring almost daily that a sewing-girl was probably the last machine
whose labor was to become obsolete.

The fame of these schools for female operatives went all over the
country, and attracted crowds of visitors. Some of these were fine
ladies of superficial minds, who came from mere curiosity, so as to be
able to say that they had seen a sewing-machine. I was often struck with
the shallow, unmeaning questions which these butterflies of fashion
propounded to us. Some of them made the supercilious, but disreputable
boast, that they had never taken a stitch in the whole course of their
lives. But the great throng of inquirers consisted of women who had
families dependent on their needles, and of young girls like myself,
obliged also to depend upon the labor of their fingers. All such were
deeply interested in the new art, and their inquiries were practical and
to the point. They expressed the same astonishment, on seeing the
rapidity with which the machine performed its work, that I had felt when
first beholding it.

With so great a throng continually around us, asking questions, stopping
the machines to examine the sewing, and begging for scraps with a row of
stitches made in them, which they might take away to inspect at leisure,
as well as to exhibit to others, there were days when the pupils were
able to produce only a very small amount of work. But we soon discovered
that this deficiency made but little difference to our teacher. The
school was in reality a mere show-shop, a place of exhibition
established by the machine-makers, in which to display and advertise
their wares more thoroughly to the public. We pupils were the
unconscious mouthpieces of the manufacturers. We paid the teacher for
the privilege of learning to work the machines, and the manufacturers
paid her a commission for all that she disposed of. Between the two sets
of contributors to her purse she must have done a profitable business.
She was at no expense except for rent, as the manufacturers loaned her
the machines, while we did all the work. She had more orders for the
latter than we could get through with, as the demand from the tailors
was so urgent as to show very plainly that the great proportion of all
the future sewing was to be done by the machine instead of by hand.

When I first went into this schoolroom I noticed a number of unemployed
machines arranged in one part of it. After a week's apprenticeship, I
observed some of them leaving the room every day, while new ones came in
to occupy the vacant places. The first had been sold, the last were also
to be disposed of, and this active sale continued as long as I remained.
The fact was very apparent, that this public exhibition of the capacity
of the new machine was operating on the community as the most efficient
mode of advertising that could have been adopted. The machines went
everywhere, over city and country, even at the monstrous prices demanded
for them. Many fashionable ladies became purchasers, thinking, no doubt,
that clothing could be made up by merely cutting it out and placing it
before the machine.

Thus the most ingeniously potent agencies were invoked to bring the new
invention rapidly and extensively into use. Its real merit happened to
be such that it fulfilled all the promises with which it had been
presented to the public. Hence it became a fixture in every great
establishment where sewing-women were usually employed. As the latter
acquired a knowledge of the machine, each of these establishments became
a school in which new hands were converted into skilful operatives,
until the primary schools, like that where I had been instructed, were
abandoned from lack of pupils.

But I picked up a great many useful ideas at the school, besides
acquiring, as already remarked, a new and assured confidence in the
future prospects of the sewing-woman. It seemed clear to my mind, that,
under the new order of things, the needle was still to be plied by her;
whatever work it was to do would be superintended and directed by her.
It was in reality only a new turn given to an old employment. Moreover,
it struck me that more of it would be called for than ever, because I
had noticed that the speed of the machine in making stitches had already
led to putting treble and quadruple the usual number into some garments.
Having achieved the useful, it was quickly applied to the ornamental.
Clothing was not to be made up, in the future, as plainly as it had been
in the past. Hence the prospect of more work being required involved the
probability of a greater demand for female labor. But whether it was to
be more remunerative,--whether the sewing-girl who might turn out ten
times as much in a day as she formerly did would receive an increase of
wages in any degree proportioned to the increase of work performed, was
a problem which the future alone could solve. I did not believe that any
such measure of justice would be accorded to her. It would be to the
men, but not to the women. Yet I was willing to take the future on
trust, for it now looked infinitely brighter than ever.

Among the pupils of this school was a young lady of twenty, whose
affable and sociable disposition won strongly on my admiration, while
her robust good sense commanded my utmost respect. The machines we
operated were close to each other, so that I had the good fortune to
have constant opportunities of conversing with her. Her name was Effie
Logan, and she was one of three daughters of a merchant who had acquired
an ample competency. In company with his wife, he came once or twice a
week to visit the school and see his daughter at work. With great
consideration for me, Miss Effie introduced me to her parents, at the
same time adding some highly complimentary explanations as to who I was,
and how attentive I had been in teaching her to use the machine. This
adoption of me as her friend established a sort of good feeling in the
parents toward me, so that at each visit to the school they greeted me
in a way so cordial as greatly to attach me to them. It was an
unexpected kindness from an entirely new quarter, and increased my
affection for Miss Effie.

Her parents, it appeared, were having all their children taught an art
or profession of some kind. One of the daughters, having a talent for
drawing, was learning the art of engraving on wood. The youngest, being
passionately fond of flowers, and possessed of great artistic genius,
was a regular apprentice in an artificial-flower manufactory. Miss
Effie, the eldest, had had her musical talent so cultivated under a
competent master, that she was now qualified to act as organist in a
church, or to teach a class of pupils at the piano; but not satisfied
with this, she had insisted on being instructed in the use of the
sewing-machine. Both she and her parents seemed so wholly free from the
false pride which wealth so frequently engenders in the American mind,
that she came, without the least hesitation, to a public school, and sat
down as a learner beside the very humblest of us. When her parents came
to inspect her work, I am certain they were gratified with all they saw
of what she was doing.

I confess that the whole conduct of this family was as great a surprise
to me as it was a comfort and encouragement. Mrs. Logan always made the
kindest inquiries about my parents, but in the politest way
imaginable,--no impertinent questions, but such as showed that she felt
some interest in me. I think that Effie must have spoken very favorably
of me to her parents when at home, but I could not understand why, as I
was not near so affable and pleasant in my manners as she was. But an
intimacy had grown up between us; she had won my whole confidence; and
as confidence usually begets confidence, so she probably took to me from
the force of that harmony of thought and feeling which comes
spontaneously from communion of congenial souls.

One day the teacher of the school had been called out on other business,
leaving me to attend to visitors and customers. The throng that morning
was so great that it was full two o'clock before I found time to sit
down, hungry enough, to the slight dinner I had brought with me in a
little basket. I had taken only the first mouthful, when Miss Effie came
in from dining at home. She drew her chair close up to me, her sweet
face blooming with the roses of perfect health, and her bright eyes
sparkling with animation and intelligence. Much as I admired and loved
her, I thought she had never before looked so perfectly beautiful.

"Lizzie," she said, taking in her hand a spool of cotton to adjust on
her machine, "how I like this work! Pa intends to buy me a machine as
soon as I have completed my apprenticeship here. He don't believe there
is any real gentility in the idleness of a girl who, because she happens
to be rich, or to have great expectations, chooses to do nothing but
fritter away her time on company and parties and dress and trifles
unworthy of a sensible woman. He has brought us all up to think as he
does. He tells us that every woman should be so educated, that, if at
any time compelled by reverse of fortune to support herself, she would
be able to do so. Why, he made us all learn the old story of the
Basket-Maker before we were ten years old. It was only last week that he
said there was no knowing what might happen to us girls,--you know,
Lizzie, there are three of us,--that some day we might possibly be

I am sure that the faintest of all innocent blushes rose up from the
half-conscious heart of the truly lovely speaker as she uttered the
word, giving to her cheeks a tinge of crimson that added new beauty to
the soft expression which her countenance habitually wore.

"_Possibly_, did you say, Miss Effie?" I interposed. "You might have
said _probably_,--but would have been nearer the truth, if you had said

"Oh, Lizzie, how you talk!" she rejoined; and there was an unmistakable
deepening of her blushes. But in a moment she resumed:--

"Pa remembers how his mother was left a widow with five young children,
but with neither trade nor money, and how both she and he had to
struggle for a mere subsistence, she at keeping boarders, and he as
apprentice to a mean man, who gave him only the smallest weekly
pittance. He says that we shall never go out into the world as destitute
of resources as his mother was, and so we all have what may really be
called trades. My brother is in the counting-house, keeping the books,
and is provided for. But you don't know how we have all been laughed at
by our acquaintances, and sneered at by impudent people, who, though not
at all acquainted with us, undertake to prescribe what we should and
what we should not do. They call us work-women! With them, work of any
kind is regarded as degrading, especially if done by a woman, and more
especially if she is to be paid for it."

"Ah, Miss Effie, you have touched the weak spot of our national
character," I responded.

"Yes," she resumed, "it is the misfortune of American women to entertain
the idea that working for a living is dishonorable, and never to be
done, unless one be driven to it by actual want. Why, even when
positively suffering for want of food and fuel, I have known some to
conceal or disguise the fact of their working for others by all sorts of
artifice. To suffer in secret was genteel enough, but to work openly was
disgraceful! A girl of my acquaintance was accidentally discovered to be
selling her work at a public depository, and forthwith went to
apologizing for doing so, as if she had been guilty of a crime, instead
of having nobly striven to earn a living. The ridiculous pride of
another seduced her into a falsehood: she declared that the work she had
been selling for her own support was for the benefit of a church. This
senseless pride exists in all classes. From the sham gentility it
spreads to the daughters of workingmen. They are educated to consider
work as a disgrace, and hence the idle lives so many of them lead. It is
the strangest thing imaginable, that parents who rose from poverty to
independence by the hardest kind of bodily labor should thus bring up
their children. No such teaching was ever given to me. I can sit here at
my machine, and look the finest lady of my acquaintance in the face. She
may some day wish that she had been my fellow-apprentice."

"Where do our girls learn this notion of its being disgraceful for a
woman to support herself?" I inquired.

"Learn it? It is taught them everywhere," she responded. "I sometimes
think it is born with them. They drink it in with their mother's milk.
They grow up with it as a daily lesson,--the lesson of avoiding work,
and of considering it delicate and genteel and refined to say that they
never cooked a meal, or swept the parlor, or took a stitch with the
needle, actually priding themselves upon the amount of ignorance of
useful things that they can exhibit. They make the grand mistake of
assuming that sensible men will admire them for this display of folly.
So they drag on until there occurs a prospect of marriage, when they
suddenly wake up to a consciousness of their utter unfitness to become
the head of a family. Why, I know at this moment a young lady of this
description, who expects in a few months to become a wife, and whose
cultivated ignorance of household duties is now the ridicule of her
mother's cook and chambermaid. The prospect of marriage alarmed her for
her total ignorance of domestic duties. She had never made her own bed,
or dusted the furniture; and as to getting up a dinner, she knew even
less than a squaw. She is now vainly seeking to acquire, within a few
months, those branches of domestic knowledge which she has been a whole
life neglecting and despising. She hated work: it was not genteel. Yet
she is eagerly plunging into marriage with the first man who has offered
himself, foolish enough, no doubt, to suppose that in her new position
she will have even less to look after. Formerly, she did nothing: now,
she expects to do even less.

"But what," continued Miss Effie, "is this poor creature to do, if death
or poverty or vice should overtake her husband, and she should be thrown
on her own slender resources? She is driven, to seek employment of some
kind,--to attend in a shop, (for somehow that is considered rather more
genteel than, most other occupations,) or to sew, or to fold books, or
do something else. But she knows nothing of these several arts; and
employers want skilled labor, not novices. She once boasted that she had
never been obliged to work, and now she realizes how much such absurd
boasting is worth. What then? Why, greater privation and suffering,
because of her total unfitness for any station in which she might
otherwise, obtain a living,--the extremity of this destitution being
sometimes such that she is driven to the last shame to which female
virtue can be made to submit."

"You say, Miss Effie, that these foolish lessons are taught by the
mothers; but do the fathers inculcate no wiser ones? Have _they_ nothing
to say as to the proper training of their daughters?" I inquired, deeply
interested in all she said. She knew a great deal more than I did. And
why should she not know more? Was she not full two years older?

"The fathers do, in many cases, teach better lessons than these; but
their good effects are too commonly neutralized by the persistent vanity
and pride of the mothers. Even the fathers are too neglectful of the
future welfare of their daughters. The sons are suitably cared for,
because of the generally accepted understanding that every man must
support himself. They are therefore trained to a profession, or to some
useful branch of business. But the daughters are expected to be
supported by their future husbands, hence are taught to wait and do
nothing until the husbands come along. If these conveniences should
offer within a reasonable time, and do well and prosper, the result is
agreeable enough. But no sort of provision is made for the husband's not
showing himself, or, if he does, for his subsequent loss by death, or
for his turning out either unfortunate or a vagabond. Even the
daughter's natural gifts, often very brilliant ones, are left
uncultivated. If she has a talent for music, she receives only a
superficial knowledge of the piano, instead of such an education as
would qualify her to teach. No one expects her to work, it is true; but
why not fit her for it, nevertheless? Another develops a talent for
nursing, the rare and priceless qualification of being efficient in the
sick-room. Why not cultivate this talent, and enlarge its value by the
study of medicine? The parents are rich enough to give to these talents
the fullest development. They do so with those of their sons; why refuse
in the case of their daughters? Our sex renders us comparatively
helpless, excluding us from many avenues to profitable employment where
we should be at all times welcome, if the unaccountable pride of parents
did not shut us out by refusing to have us so taught that we could enter
them. The prejudice against female labor begins with parents; and the
unreflecting vanity and rashness of youth give it a fatal hold on us. My
parents have never entertained it. They have taught us that there is
more to be proud of in being dependent solely on our own exertions than
in living idle lives on either their means or those of any husband who
may happen to have enough of his own."

"It is very odd, Miss Effie," I replied, "for you to entertain these
opinions, they are so different from those of rich people; and it is
very encouraging to me to hear you express them. But I should have
expected nothing less noble from you, you are so good and generous."

"Why, Lizzie, what do you mean?" she exclaimed. "It is not goodness, but
merely common sense. What brought me here to be a pupil in this school?
Not the desire to do good to others, but to improve myself,--a little
selfishness, after all."

"But," I inquired, "will this unnatural prejudice against the
respectability of female labor ever die out? You know that I am to be a
sewing-girl, not from choice, like you, but from necessity. You learn
the use of a machine only as a prop to lean upon in a very remote
contingency; I, to make it the staff for all my future life. You will
continue to be a lady,--indeed, Miss Effie, you never can be anything
else,--but I shall be only a sewing-girl. The prejudice will never
attach to you, but it will always cling to me. How cruel it seems that
the world should consider as ladies all who can afford to be idle, and
all working-women as belonging to a lower class, because God compels
them to labor for the life He has given them!"

"Dear Lizzie," she exclaimed, in tones so modulated to extreme softness
as to show that her feelings had been deeply touched both by the matter
and the manner of my inquiry, "you must banish all such thoughts from
your mind. For His own wise purposes, God has placed you in a position
in which you have a mission of some kind to fulfil. That position is an
honorable one, because it requires you to labor, and it is none the less
honorable because others are not required to do so. They also have their
several missions, which we cannot understand. If it be regarded as mean
for women to work, it is in the pride of man that so false a standard of
respectability has been set up, not in the word or wisdom of God. To
which shall we pay the most respect? The former, we know, brings
constant bitterness; the latter, we know equally well, is unchangeably
good. As it is our duty to submit to it here, so, through the Saviour,
is it our only trust hereafter. It is not labor that degrades us, but
temper, behavior, character. If all these be vicious, can mere money or
exemption from labor make them respectable? You know it cannot.

"You," she continued, in a tone so impressive, that, even amid the
clatter of twenty machines around me, not a word was lost,--"you may be
sure that this prejudice against women working for their own support
will never die out. It is one of those excrescences of the human mind
that cannot be extirpated. It is a distortion of the reasoning faculty
itself, unworthy of a sensible person, and is generally exhibited only
by those who, while boasting of exemption for themselves, have really
little or nothing else to boast of. It is the infirmity of small minds,
not a peculiarity of great ones. Prejudices are like household vermin,
and the human mind is like the traps we set for them. They get in with
the greatest facility, but find it impossible to get out. Beware of
entertaining them yourself, Lizzie. Shun everything like repining at
what you call your position as a sewing-girl. Take care of your
conscience, for it will be your crown. Labor for contented thoughts and
aspirations, for they will bring you rest. Your heart can be made happy
in itself, if you so choose, and your best happiness will always be
found within your own bosom."

"Do not misunderstand me, Miss Effie," I replied; "I was not repining,
but merely asking an explanation. My mother has sought to teach me not
only contentment, but thankfulness for for my condition."

"Indeed," she responded, "both you and I have abundant cause for
thankfulness to God for the multitude of mercies He is extending to us.
You know how this poor girl behind us, Lucy Anderson, is situated,"
raising her hand and pointing over her shoulder toward a thin, pale girl
of seventeen, who was working a machine.

"I do not know her history," I answered.

"Well," said Miss Effie, "that girl's mother was a washerwoman." She did
the heavy washing for a very rich man's family. They put her into an
open shed, on a cold, damp pavement. This work she had been doing for
them for several years, in the same bleak place, and in all weathers.
While warm and comfortable herself, the pampered mistress of the family
gave no thought to the dangerous exposure to which she subjected this
slave of the washtub. Thus working all day, in thin shoes, on damp
bricks, and while a penetrating easterly rain was falling, the poor
woman was next morning laid up with the worst form of rheumatism.
Medicine and nursing were of no avail. She became bedridden,--the
disease attacked all the joints of her frame, ossification succeeded,
and in the end she was unable to move either her body or limbs. Every
joint was stiff and rigid. The vital organs alone were spared. For
twelve years she has been in that condition,--she is so now,--my mother
saw her only yesterday. Can you imagine anything more terrible? Poor,
dependent on her daily earnings, with young children around her, and a
widow, only think of her agonies of mind and body! Yet, among the vital
powers still left to this afflicted woman, was the power to approach the
Throne of Grace in prayer so acceptable that the answer was that peace
which passeth all understanding. The body had been disabled; but the
mind had been quickened to a new and saving activity, she had drawn
nearer to God."

What could I do but listen in mute attention to this heart-awakening
recital? I looked round at Lucy Anderson in lively sympathy with what I
had heard. How little did her appearance give token of the deep domestic
grief that must have settled upon her young heart! How deceptive is the
human countenance! Though pale and fragile, yet her face sparkled with

Miss Effie went on with her story; she was mistress of the art of
conversation; and conversation is sometimes a serious matter; for there
are persons with whom an hour's talk would weaken one more than a day's
fasting, but not so with Miss Effie. She resumed by saying,

"Would you believe that the rich family in whose service this poor
washerwoman destroyed her health have never called, nor even sent, to
know how she was getting on? When she first failed to take her usual
two-days' stand at the washtub, they inquired the reason of her absence,
but there all concern ended. They sought out a new drudge; the gap was
filled to their liking, and the world moved on as gayly as aforetime.
They gave up no personal ease or comfort that they might see or minister
to the suffering woman ; they denied themselves no luxury for her sake.
Yet the money they spent in giving a single party would have kept this
family for a twelvemonth. The cost of their ostentatious greenhouse
would have paid for a nurse, and educated the two orphan boys until able
to go to trades. They had seen these twin boys tied to the washtub in
their own bleak shed, that the mother might pursue her labor without
interruption; yet as they gave no thought to the widow, so the orphans
never intruded on their recreations. Now, Lizzie, such people are
unprofitable servants in the sight of God. And if the ostrich were to
strip off their feathers, the silkworm their dresses, the kid their
gloves, and the marten demand his furs, what would be their state in the
sight of man? Bare unto nakedness! This unlawful love for lawful things
is one of the besetting snares of the great enemy of souls."

If I had ever been addicted to repining, or had had no lessons to teach
me how wrong the habit was, here was a new one to induce contentment.
But I had been preserved from all such temptations. The strong good
sense displayed by Miss Logan in our frequent conversations not only
informed my understanding on a variety of subjects, but gave my thoughts
a new turn, and powerfully encouraged me to perseverance. She infused
into me new life and cheerfulness. Such women are the jewels of society.
Their strong minds, regulated by a judicious education at the hands of
sensible parents, become brilliant as well as trustworthy guides to all
who may be fortunate enough to come within the circle which they
illuminate. It is such women that have been, and must continue to be,
the mothers of great men. Mind must be transmissible by inheritance, and
chiefly from the mother; else the histories of statesmen, heroes, and
distinguished men in the various walks of life, would not so uniformly
record the virtues of the women from whose maternal teachings their
eminence was to be traced.

The company of sewing-girls collected together in this school-room was
of course a very miscellaneous one. The faces were changing almost
daily, some by expiration of their apprenticeship, and some by being
sent away as troublesome, incompetent, or vicious. All who left us had
their places immediately filled from a list of candidates which the
teacher had in a book, so that, while one throng of learners was
departing, another was entering. If one could have gone into the
domestic history of all the girls who came and went even during my short
stay, he would have found some experiences to surpass anything that has
ever occurred to me. I do not know how it happened, but most of these
girls were quite desirous of making my acquaintance, and of their own
motion became extremely sociable. I was sociable in return, from an
instinct of my nature. I never lost anything by thus meeting them
halfway in the endeavor to be polite and affable, but on the contrary
learned much, gained much, and secured invaluable friends. Nor did I
ever repel the amicable approaches even of the most humble, as I very
early discovered that none were so ignorant as not to be able to
communicate some little item of knowledge to which I had been a

There was a lady among these pupils who was in many respects very
different from all the others. I think her age must have been at least
thirty-five. I did not ask if it were so; and as she never mentioned it
herself, that circumstance was hint enough for me to remain silent. I
never could understand why so many women are so amusingly anxious to
conceal their age, sometimes becoming quite affronted when even a
conjecture is hazarded on the subject. This lady was unmarried; perhaps
that may have been one reason for her unwillingness to speak of her age.
But was not I unmarried, and what repugnance have I ever felt to avowing

However, Miss Hawley was extremely sociable with me, though certainly
old enough to be my mother, and made me the depositary of many incidents
in her life. She was the eldest of three sisters, all orphans, all
unmarried, all dependent on themselves for a living, and all, at one
time, so absurdly proud, that, in the struggle to keep up appearances,
and conceal from their acquaintances the fact that they were doing this
or that thing for a maintenance, they subjected themselves to privations
which embarrassed much of their efforts, while they failed to secure the
concealment they sought. Though women of undoubted sense and excellent
education, yet they acted as foolishly as the ostrich, which, when
hunted to cover, thrusts his head into a bush, and is weak enough to
think that his whole body is concealed, when it stands out not only a
target, but a fixed one, for the hunter's rifle. So these women took it
for granted, that, if they ran to the cover of a chamber from which all
visitors should be excluded, their acquaintances would be ignorant of
how they occupied their time, or by what means they lived.

Yet they could not fail to be aware that everybody who knew anything of
them knew their history also,--that it was notorious that their father,
a merchant, had died not worth a cent, and that they had been compelled
to abandon the fine house in which he had kept up a style so expensive
as greatly to increase the hardship of their subsequent destitution.
Like a thousand others, he had lived up to the limit of his income. No
doubt, all of them might have been well married, but for the lavish
habits as to fashion and expenditure in which they indulged themselves.
These might be afforded by their father so long as his annual gains
continued large. But the many worthy young men who visited and admired
them refused to entertain the idea of marriage with girls whose mere
personal outfit cost a sum equal to the year's salary of a first-class
clerk, or the annual profits of one who had just commenced business for
himself. They held that the girl whose habits were so expensive should
bring with her a fortune large enough to support them, or remain as she
was, taking the sure consequences on her own shoulders, and not throwing
them on theirs. They were in fact afraid of girls who manifestly had no
prudence, no economy, and who appeared to be wholly unconscious that the
only admiration worth securing is that of the good and wise.

But the vices of the old mode of living clung to them in their new and
humbler abode, keeping them slaves to a new set of appearances. They had
never done any work of consequence, hardly their own sewing. What was
even worse, they had been brought up to consider work, for a lady,
disgraceful. Women might work, but not ladies; or when the latter
undertook it, they ceased to be such, and certainly so, if working for a
living. No pride could have been more tyrannous or absurd than this.
For a whole year after their father's death, it ruled them with despotic
supremacy. They prided themselves on doing nothing, and subsisted on the
sale of trinkets, jewelry, and books, which they had acquired in palmier
days. The circle of acquaintances for whose good opinion they submitted
to these humiliating sacrifices knew all the while that the life they
were living was a sham; but they themselves seemed wholly unconscious of
it, as well as of the light in which it was regarded by those about

Why should such a woman come to a school like this, where a willingness
to work was a condition of admission, and that work to be done in
public? What could bring about so strange a reversal of thought and
habit? One of her sisters had recently died, after a protracted illness,
during which her heart had been mercifully smitten with a conviction of
the hollowness and sinfulness of her previous life. Its idle, trifling,
aimless tendency had been set before her in all its emptiness. She saw
that she had been living without God, bound up in the love of temporal
things, and so effectually ensnared by worldly pride that her whole fear
had been of man, instead of her Creator. Thus in mercy called to
judgment, that grace, of whose saving efficacy we have the divine
assurance, brought repentance of sin, and led her to the Saviour, and,
abasing herself at his cross, the heavy burden was lifted from her
heart. Her condemnation of the frivolous lives that she and her sisters
had been leading was so earnest and impressive, that, aided by the
continual prayers of a truly contrite heart for pardon for herself and
awakened consciences for them, they also were brought to Christ. This
mighty transformation accomplished, her mission seemed to be fulfilled,
and she passed into the unseen world in peaceful assurance of
forgiveness and acceptance. Thus, though our lots are cast in places
seemingly diverse and barren, each has his own specific duty to perform,
some appointed mission to fulfil, though exactly what it is may not be
apparent to us. As fellow-workers in the world, if we make it our chief
study to do the Master's will, that which is thus required of us will in
His own time so unfold itself to our spiritual understanding that we
cannot be deceived respecting it.

I am satisfied that between the functions of life, as developed in the
material and moral world, there is an analogy as instructive as it is
beautiful. It overcomes external circumstances by the power of an
invisible law. Philosophers have discovered that the human body
maintains a uniform temperature, whether it shiver in the snow-hut of
the Esquimaux, or drip with perspiration in the cane-fields of the
tropics. But let life depart, and it falls to that of the surrounding
objects. Decay immediately begins. So, when religious vitality is
maintained in the heart, the corrupting influences of the world remain
inoperative. This vitality having been infused into the heart of Miss
Hawley, the fervor of her spirit rose to a higher temperature than that
of all surrounding objects. She could no longer assimilate with them.

If her strong personal pride, her obsequious deference to appearances
and the opinion of the world, were henceforth overcome or kept in
subjection, it was only as she took up the cross in obedience to the
convictions of duty. She told me it was the hardest trial of her life to
come to this public school; it was the greatest cross to her natural
affections she had ever experienced. But the bitterness of the cup had
now measurably passed away from her. Strength came with animating
promptitude as the answer to prayer. Her spiritual life became more
healthy and vigorous as her approaches to the mercy-seat were humble and
frequent. Cheerfulness became an ever-present attendant. She had put all
pride behind her, and because of her abasement had risen above the
world. Henceforth she was to support herself by her own acknowledged
labor. She had been so changed by the grace of God in her heart, that
she regarded with astonishment the secret insincerities she had
formerly been guilty of in seeking to conceal the extent of the
necessity to which she had been reduced. I have never seen nor heard of
her since I left the school; but the remembrance of her subdued and
patient spirit cannot soon be effaced.

How true it is, as some one has beautifully said, that infinite toil
would not enable us to sweep away a mist, but that by ascending a little
we may often look over it altogether,--and that so it is with our moral
improvement! We wrestle fiercely with vicious habits that would have no
hold on us, if we ascended to a higher moral atmosphere. Another has
declared that at five years of age the father begins to rub the mother
out of his child; that at ten the schoolmaster rubs out the father; that
at twenty a trade or a profession rubs out the schoolmaster; that at
twenty-five the world rubs out all its predecessors, and gives a new
education, till we are old enough and wise enough to take religion and
common sense for our pastors, when we employ the rest of our lives in
unlearning what we have previously learned.

The contrast between the two ladies with whom I was thus fortunate
enough to become intimately acquainted was so remarkable that it could
not fail to make an impression on me. It was evident that education, the
training which each had received at the parental fireside, had led them
into widely divergent paths of thought and conduct. Both were possessed
of sterling good sense; both had lived in affluence; both, so far as
mere school-learning was concerned, had been thoroughly educated. Had
Miss Logan received the same training as Miss Hawley, it may be fairly
assumed that she would have fallen a victim to the same pride and folly;
and had the latter been trained at home as carefully and as sensibly as
the former, who can doubt, that, with the same substratum of good sense,
she would have proved as great a comfort to herself and as shining an
example to others? I am sure it was a lesson to me, convincing me anew,
that, where faith and works do not go together, both are wanting, and
that, if they once part company, each of them must die.

When, at the termination of my brief apprenticeship, the time came for
me to leave the school and to part from Miss Effie,--she to go to her
elegant home, I to the little old brick house in the fields, and with
prospects so entirely different from hers,--I am sure it was the hardest
trial I had yet been called upon to bear. I should never see her again.
I had no longings for the life she led; for as yet I had harbored no
other thought than that of perfect contentment with my own. But her
society was so delightful, the tone of her mind so lofty, her
condescension so grateful, her whole manners so captivating, that I
looked upon her as my guide, philosopher, and friend, and I cried
bitterly when I left her.




With unmingled pain I write the name of Lætitia Elizabeth Landon,--the
L. E. L., whose poems were for so long a period the delight of all
readers, old and young.

We were among the few friends who knew her intimately. But it was not in
her nature to open her heart to any one; her large organ of
"secretiveness" was her bane; she knew it and deplored it; it was the
origin of that misconception which embittered her whole life, the
mainspring of that calumny which made fame a mockery and glory a deceit.
But I may say, that, when slander was busiest with her reputation, we
had the best means to confute it,--and did. For some years there was not
a single week during which, on some day or other, morning or evening,
she was not a guest at our house; yet this blight in her spring-time
undoubtedly led to the fatal marriage which eventuated in her mournful
and mysterious death.

The calumny was of that kind which most deeply wounds a woman. How it
originated, it was at the time, and is of course now, impossible to say.
Probably its source was nothing more than a sneer, but it bore Dead-Sea
fruit. A slander more utterly groundless never was propagated. It broke
off an engagement that promised much happiness with a gentleman, then
eminent, and since famous, as an author: not that _he_ at any time gave
credence to the foul and wicked rumor; but to _her_ "inquiry" was a
sufficient blight, and by _her_ the contract was annulled.

The utter impossibility of its being other than false could have been
proved, not only by us, but by a dozen of her intimate friends, whose
evidence would have been without question and conclusive. She was living
in a school for young ladies: seen daily by the ladies who kept that
school, and by the pupils. In one of her letters to Mrs. Hall, she
writes, "I have lived nearly all my life, since childhood, with
the same people. The Misses Lance were strict, scrupulous, and
particular,--moreover, from having kept a school so long, with habits of
minute observation. The affection they feel for me can hardly be
undeserved. I would desire nothing more than to refer to their opinion."
Dr. Thomson, her constant medical friend and adviser, testified long
afterwards to her "estimable qualities, generous feelings, and exalted
virtues." It would, indeed, have been easy to obtain proof abundant; but
in such cases the very effort to lessen the evil augments it; there was
no way of fighting with a shadow; it was found impossible to trace the
rumor to any actual source. Few then, and perhaps none now, can tell how
deeply the poisoned arrow entered her heart. If ever woman was, Lætitia
Landon was, "done to death by slanderous tongues."

I have touched upon this theme reluctantly,--perhaps it might have been
omitted altogether,--but it seems to me absolutely necessary, in order
to comprehend the character of the poet towards her close of life, and
the secret of her marriage, which so "unequally yoked" her to one
utterly unworthy.

Here is a passage from one of her letters to Mrs. Hall,--without a
date,--but it must have been written in 1837, when she was suffering
terribly under the blight of evil tongues:--

"I have long since discovered that I must be prepared for enmity I have
never provoked, and unkindness I have little deserved. God knows, that,
if, when I do go into society, I meet with more homage and attention
than most, it is dearly bought. What is my life? One day of drudgery
after another; difficulties incurred for others, which have ever pressed
upon me; health, which every year, by one severe illness after another,
shows is taxed beyond its strength; envy, malice, and all
uncharitableness: these are the fruits of a successful literary career
for a woman."

She was slow to believe that false and bitter words could harm her. At
first they seemed but to inspire her with a dangerous bravery in her
innocence, and to increase a practice we always deplored, of saying
things for effect in which she did not believe. It was no use telling
her this; she would argue that a conversation of facts would be as dull
as a work on algebra, and that all she did was to put her poetry into
practice. In these moods you might as well attempt to imprison a sunbeam
as keep her to matter-of-fact; and the misery was, that gradually the
number of detractors increased, who caught up these "effective" scraps,
and set them in circulation.

She was not more than fifteen years old when the letters "L. E.
L."--appended to some verses in the "Literary Gazette"--riveted public
attention; and when it became known that the author was scarcely in her
teens, a full gush of popularity burst upon her that might have turned
older heads and steadier dispositions. She became a "lion," courted and
flattered and fêted; yet never was she misled by the notion that
popularity is happiness, or lip-service the true homage of the heart.

She was residing at Old Brompton, when her first poem appeared in the
"Literary Gazette," which Mr. Jerdan had not long previously
established. It would be difficult to conceive the enthusiasm excited by
the magical three letters appended to the poems, whenever they appeared.
Mr. Jerdan was a near neighbor of the Landons, and he thus refers to
their residence at Old Brompton:--

"My cottage overlooked the mansion and grounds of Mr. Landon, the father
of 'L. E. L.,' at Old Brompton, a narrow lane only dividing our
residences. My first recollection of the future poetess is that of a
plump girl, grown enough to be almost mistaken for a woman, bowling a
hoop round the walks, with a hoop-stick in one hand and a book in the
other, reading as she ran, and as well as she could managing both
exercise and instruction at the same time."

She was born on the 14th of August, 1802, at Hans Place, Chelsea, where
her father, a junior partner in the prosperous house of Adair,
army-agents, then resided. And in that locality, with few brief
intervals, the whole of her life was passed.

When we first knew her, in 1825, she lived with her grandmother in Sloane
Street; subsequently she was a boarder in the school-establishment
of the Misses Lance, at No. 22, Hans Place, the house in which she had
been a pupil when but six years old; and here she was residing up to
within a few months of her marriage, when, in consequence of the
retirement of the Misses Lance, she became an inmate in the family of
Mrs. Sheddon.

Her grandmother's grave was, if I recollect rightly, the third that was
made in the graveyard of Holy Trinity, Brompton. Her lines on this "new"
churchyard will be remembered. I attended the old lady's funeral, Mrs.
Hall having received from Miss Landon this letter:--

"I have had time to recover the first shock,--and it was great weakness
to feel so sorry, though even now I do not like to think of her very
sudden death. I am thankful for its giving her so little confinement or
pain; she had never known illness, and would have borne it
impatiently,--a great addition to suffering. I am so very grateful to
Mr. Hall, for I really did not know what to do. Her funeral is fixed for
Friday; the hour will be arranged to his and Mr. Jerdan's convenience."

Mrs. Hall supplies me with the following particulars concerning her
early acquaintance and intercourse with Miss Landon.

"I forget how it came about, but my husband was introduced to a certain
little Miss Spence, who, on the strength of having written something
about the Highlands, was most decidedly BLUE, when blue was by no means
so general a color as it is at present. She had a lodging of two rooms
in Great Quebec Street, and '_patronized_' young _littérateurs_,
inviting them to her 'humble abode,' where tea was made in the bedroom,
and where it was whispered the butter was kept cool in the
wash-handbasin! There were 'lots' of such-like small scandals about poor
Miss Spence's 'humble abode'; still people liked to go; and my husband
was invited, with a sort of apology to poor me, who, never having
published anything at that time, was considered ineligible; it was 'a
rule,' and Miss Spence, in her 'humble abode,' lived by rule.

"Of course I had an account of the party when Mr. Hall came home. I
coveted to know who was there, and what everybody wore and said. I was
told that Lady Caroline Lamb was there, enveloped in the folds of an
ermine cloak, which she called a 'cat-skin,' and that she talked a great
deal about a periodical she wished to get up, to be called 'Tabby's
Magazine'; and with her was an exceedingly haughty, brilliant, and
beautiful girl, Rosina Wheeler,--since well known as Lady Bulwer
Lytton,--and who sat rather impatiently at the feet of her eccentric
'Gamaliel.' Miss Emma Roberts was one of the favored ladies, and Miss
Spence (who, like all 'Leo-hunters,' delighted in novelty) had just
caught the author of 'The Mummy,' Jane Webb, who was as gentle and
unpretending then as she was in after-years, when, laying aside romance
for reality, she became a great helper of her husband, Mr. London, in
his laborious and valuable works. When I heard Miss Benger was there, in
her historic turban, I thought how fortunate that I had remained at
home! I had always a terror of tall, commanding women, who blink down
upon you, and have the unmistakable air about them of 'Behold me! have I
not pronounced sentence upon Queen Elizabeth, and set my mark on the
Queen of Scots?' Still, I quite appreciated the delight of meeting under
the same roof so many celebrities, and was cross-questioning my husband,
when he said, 'But there was one lady there whom I promised you should
call on to-morrow.'

"Imagine my mingled delight and dismay!--delight at the bare idea of
seeing _her_, who must be wellnigh suffocated with the perfume of her
own 'Golden Violet,' the idol of my imagination,--dismay! for what
should I say to her? what would she say to me?

"And now I must look back,--back to the 'long ago.'

"And yet I can hardly realize the sweep of years that have gone over so
many who have since become near and dear to us. At that first visit, I
saw Lætitia Landon in her grandmamma's modest lodging in Sloane
Street,--a bright-eyed, sparkling, restless little girl, in a pink
gingham frock,--grafting clever things on commonplace nothings,
frolicking from subject to subject with the playfulness of a spoiled
child,--her dark hair put back from her low, but sphere-like forehead,
only a little above the most beautiful eyebrows that a painter could
imagine, and falling in curls around her slender throat. We were nearly
of the same age, but I had been almost a year married, and if I had not
supported myself on my dignity as a married woman, should have been more
than nervous, on my first introduction to a 'living poet,' though the
poet was so different from what I had imagined. Her movements were as
rapid as those of a squirrel. I wondered how anyone so quick could be so
graceful. She had been making a cap for grandmamma, and would insist
upon the old lady's putting it on, that I might see 'how pretty it was.'
To this grandmamma (Mrs. Bishop) objected,--she 'couldn't' and she
'wouldn't' try it on,--'how could Lætitia be so silly?'--and then
Lætitia put the great beflowered, beribboned thing on her own dainty
little head, with a grave look, like a cloud on a rose, and folding her
pretty little hands over her pink frock, made what she called a 'Sir
Roger de Coverley' curtsy, skipping backwards into the bedroom, and
rushing in again, having deposited out of sight the cap she was so proud
of constructing, took my hands in hers, and asked me 'if we should be

"'Friends!' I do not think that during the long intimacy that followed
that child-like meeting, extending from the year '26 to her leaving
England in '38, during which time I saw her frequently every day, and
certainly every week,--I do not think she ever loved me as I loved
her,--how could she?--but I was proud of the confidence and regard she
did accord me, and would have given half my own happiness to shelter her
from the envy and evil that embittered the spring and summer-time of her
blighted life. It always seemed to me impossible not to love her, not to
cherish her. Perhaps the greatest magic she exercised was, that, after
the first rush of remembrance of all that wonderful young woman had
written had subsided, she rendered you completely oblivious of what she
had done by the irresistible charm of what she was. You forgot all about
her books,--you only felt the intense delight of life with her; she was
penetrating and sympathetic, and entered into your feelings so entirely
that you wondered how 'the little witch' could read you so readily and
so rightly,--and if, now and then, you were startled, perhaps dismayed,
by her wit, it was but the prick of a diamond arrow. Words and thoughts
that she flung hither and thither, without design or intent beyond the
amusement of the moment, come to me still with a mingled thrill of
pleasure and pain that I cannot describe, and that my most friendly
readers, not having known her, could not understand.

"When I knew her first, she certainly looked much younger than she was.
When we talked of ages, which we did the first day, I found it difficult
to believe she was more than seventeen,--she was so slight, so fragile,
so girlish in her gestures and manners. In after-days I often wondered
what made her so graceful. Her neck was short, her shoulders high. You
saw these defects at the first glance, just as you did that her nose was
_retroussé_, and that she was underhung, which ought to have spoiled the
expression of her mouth,--but it did not; you saw all this at once, but
you never thought about it after the first five minutes. Her complexion
was clear, her hair dark and silken, and the lashes that sheltered her
gray eyes long and slightly upturned. Her voice was inexpressibly sweet
and modulated, but there was a melancholy cadence in it,--a fall so full
of sorrow that I often looked to see if tears were coming: no, the smile
and eyes were beaming in perfect harmony, but it was next to impossible
to believe in her happiness, with the memory of that cadence still in
the ear.

"Like all workers I have known intimately, she had a double existence,
an inner and an outer life. Many times, when I have witnessed her
suffering, either from those spasmodic attacks that sapped the
foundation of her life, or from the necessity for work to provide for
the comforts and luxuries of those who never spared her, I have seen her
enter the long, narrow room that opened on the garden at Hans Place, and
flash upon a morning visitor as if she had not a pain or a care in the
world, dazzling the senses and captivating the affections of some new
acquaintance, as she had done mine, and sending them away in the firm
belief of her individual happiness, and the conviction that the
melancholy which breathes through her poems was assumed, and that her
real nature was buoyant and joyous as that of a lark singing between
earth and heaven! If they could but have seen how the cloud settled down
on that beaming face, if they had heard the deep-drawn sigh of relief
that the little play was played out, and noted the languid step with
which she mounted to her attic, and gathered her young limbs on the
common seat, opposite the common table, whereon she worked, they would
have arrived at a directly opposite and a too true conclusion, that the
melancholy was real, the mirth assumed.

"My next visit to her was after she left her grandmamma's, and went to
reside at 22, Hans Place. Miss Emma Roberts and her sister at that time
boarded in Miss Lance's school, and Miss Landon found there a room at
the top of the house, where she could have the quiet and seclusion her
labor required, and which her kind-natured, but restless grandmother
prevented. She never could understand how 'speaking one word to Letty,
just one word, and not keeping her five minutes away from that desk,
where she would certainly grow humped or crooked,' could interfere with
her work! She was one of those stolid persons who are the bane of
authors, who think nothing of the lost idea, and the unravelling of the
web, when a train of thought is broken by the 'only one word,' 'only a
moment,' which scatters thoughts to the wind,--thoughts that can no more
be gathered home than the thistledown that is scattered by a passing

"She continued to reside in that unostentatious home, obedient to the
rules of the school as the youngest pupil, dining with the children at
their early hour, and returning to her sanctuary, whence she sent forth
rapidly and continuously what won for her the adoration of the young and
the admiration of the old. But though she ceased to reside with her
grandmother, she was most devoted in her attentions to her aged
relative, and trimmed her caps and bonnets and quilled her frills as
usual. I have seen the old lady's borders and ribbons mingled with pages
of manuscript, and known her to put aside a poem to 'settle up'
grandmamma's cap for Sunday. These were the minor duties in which she
indulged; but her grandmother owed the greater part, if not the entire,
of her comfort to the generous and unselfish nature of that gifted girl.
Her mother I never saw: _morally_ right in all her arrangements, she was
_mentally_ wrong,--and the darling poet of the public had no loving
sympathy, no tender care from her. L. E. L. had passed through the
sufferings of a neglected childhood, and but for the love of her
grandmother she would have known next to nothing of the love of
motherhood. Thus she was left alone with her genius: for admiration,
however grateful to a woman's senses, never yet filled a woman's heart.

"When I first knew her, and for some time after, she was childishly
untidy and negligent in her dress: her frocks were tossed on, as if
buttons and strings were unnecessary incumbrances,--one sleeve off the
shoulder, the other on,--and her soft, silky hair brushed 'any how': but
Miss Emma Roberts, whose dress was always in good taste, determined on
her reformation, and gradually the young poet, as she expressed it, 'did
not know herself.' I use the epithet 'young,' because she was
wonderfully youthful in appearance, and positively as she grew older
looked younger,--her delicate complexion, the transparent tenderness of
her skin, and the playful expression of her child-like features adding
to the deception.

"I was one day suddenly summoned to Hans Place, and drawn into a
consultation on the important subject of a fancy-ball, which Miss Landon
and Miss Emma Roberts had 'talked over' Miss Lance to let them give to
their friends. They wished me to appear as the 'wild Irish girl,' or the
genius of Erin, with an Irish harp, to which I was to sing snatches of
the melodies. Miss Spence was there in consultation, as she 'knew
everybody.' She congratulated me on my _début_ as an authoress, (I had
recently published my first book, 'Sketches of Irish Character,') and
politely added, 'Now you are one of us, I shall be happy to receive you
at my humble abode.'

"I begged to decline the proposal concerning the wild Irish girl and the
Irish harp, but agreed to carry a basket of flowers. Certainly the
_fête_-givers worked 'with a will,' turned the great house 'out of
windows,' converting the two school-rooms, big and little, into a
ball-room, and decorating it richly with green leaves and roses, real
and artificial. I congratulated them on the prospect. 'Yes,' said Miss
Landon, 'the mechanical getting-up is all very well; I wish all that is
termed "dashing" did not lie in the tomb of the Duchess of Gordon. A
quadrille is but still life put into motion. Our faces, like our
summers, want sunshine. Old Froissart complained in his day, that the
English, after their fashion, "_s'amusent moult tristement_." A
ball-room is merely "Arithmetic and the use of figures taught here." A
young lady in a quadrille might answer,--"I am too busy to laugh,--I am
making my calculations." And yet ours is not a marrying age; the men
have discovered that servants and wives are _so_ expensive,--still a
young lady's delight in a ball, if not _raisonnable_, has
always--_quelque raison!_ and I am determined, if I die in the cause,
that ours shall be a success!' Her conversation was always epigrammatic.

"It seems absurd that a ball should be the first great event of my
literary life. There I saw for the first time many persons who became in
after-years intimate friends, and whose names are now parts of the
history of the literature of their country. 'Mr.' Edward Bulwer, then on
the threshold of fame, 'came out' in military uniform. L. E. L. assured
me he was very clever, had written a novel, and 'piles of poetry,' and
would be wonderful soon, but that he was much too handsome for an
author; at which opinion, little Miss Spence, in a plum-pudding sort of
turban, with a bird-of-paradise bobbing over the front, and a fan even
larger than poor Lady Morgan's, agitated her sultana's dress, and
assured me that 'nothing elevated the expression of beauty so much as
literature,' and that 'young things, like many of the present company,
would not look as well in ten years!' Mr. Bulwer was certainly
pronounced by the ladies the handsomest youth in the room. The gentlemen
endeavored to put him down as 'effeminate,' but all in vain. They called
him 'a fair, delicate, very, _very_ young man,'--'a boy,' in fact. I
remember wondering at the searching expression of his large, wandering,
bluish eyes, that seemed looking in and out at everybody and at
everything. The lady of his love was there, and she ought to have been
dressed as the Sultana poor Miss Spence burlesqued. Nature had bestowed
on her an Oriental style of beauty, and she would have come out well in
Oriental costume; but she chose the dress of a Swiss peasant, which,
being more juvenile, brought her nearer to her lover's age. She
certainly was radiantly beautiful. She had a mouth like 'chiselled
coral,' and eyes fierce as an eagle's or tender as a dove's, as passion
moved her. Her uncle, Sir John Milly Doyle, then an old man of mark in
the military world, was naturally proud of his beautiful charge, and
companioned her that evening.

"Miss Benger's turban was a formidable rival to that of Miss Spence. The
historian was long and lanky, according to the most approved historical
fashion; consequently her turban was above the crowd, while poor Miss
Spence's was nearly crushed by it, and was all too frequently shoved on
one side by the whirling dancers. At last, in despair, she donned a
handkerchief, tying it under her chin, and wherever she went she wished
the gentle-hearted Miss Webb to follow, appealing after this fashion to
the merry crowd:--'Please let me pass; I am Miss Spence, and this lady
is Miss Webb, author of "The Mummy,"--"The Mummy," Sir.' But Miss Webb
effected her escape; and the last time I saw little Miss Spence that
evening, she had scrambled up into one of those so-called
'education-chairs,' in which poor girls were compelled to sit bolt
upright for several hours of the day, by way of keeping their shoulders
flat and strengthening their spine.

"I remember 'Father Prout of Watergrass Hill' that evening,--then a
smooth-faced, rosy-cheeked young man. Jane and Anna Maria Porter joined
the party late in the evening. They came from Esher, and, though not in
direct fancy-dresses, added to the effect of the gathering. Jane was
dressed in black, which was only relieved by a diamond sparkling on her
throat. Her sweet, melancholy features and calm beauty contrasted well
with the bright sunshine of her sister's round, girlish face. She was
dressed in white, soft blue gauze floating round her like a haze. L. E.
L. (who personated a flower-girl in a white chip hat) called the sisters
'the Evening and Morning Stars.' I was so proud of a compliment Jane
paid me on my new dignity of authorship,--a compliment from the author
of the 'Scottish Chiefs,'--the book that in childhood I had read
stealthily by moonlight, coiled up in my nursery-window, just near
enough to the sea to hear its music, while the fate of Sir William
Wallace made my heart pant and my tears flow!

"I saw there for the first time Julia Pardoe. She had just returned from
Portugal, and was escorted by her little, round father, the Major. She
was then in her dawn of life and literature, having published two
volumes about Portugal,--a pretty little fairy of a girl, with a wealth
of flaxen hair, a complexion made up of lilies and roses, with tiny feet
in white satin _bottines_ with scarlet heels, and a long, sweeping veil
of blue gauze spangled with silver stars. I think she dressed as some
Portuguese or Spanish character; for I remember a high comb in her hair.
I can only now recall her floating about under the blue gauze veil.

"I remember one group of Quakers among the glittering throng, who looked
sufficiently quaint to attract attention, while the matron of the party
said clever, caustic things, differing in quality as well as quantity
from the sparkling, playful jests and repartees, that, as the evening
passed, were flung about by Mr. Jerdan, the popular editor of the
'Literary Gazette,' the oracle of that time, and stammered forth by Dr.
Maginn. "The Doctor" and Mr. Jerdan and Theodore Hook entered together,
three men of mark, from whom much was expected--after supper.

"The Quaker matron was Mrs. Trollope, a portly lady, of any age between
thirty and forty, staid and sedate, as became her character, and
attentive to her 'thees' and 'thous,' which lent their cloak for plain
speaking, of which she was not chary. She frequently admonished her
daughters--perhaps adopted for the evening--against the vanities by
which they were encompassed on every side,--satirizing and striking
home, but never exhibiting ill-temper or actual bitterness. The
character was well sustained throughout the evening, and occasioned
quite as much fear as fun. When Theodore Hook asked her, according to
the fashion of those days, to take wine with him, she answered, 'Friend,
I think thou hast had enough already, and so have I.' There was nothing
particularly wise or witty in the words; but their truth was so evident,
and the manner in which they were spoken so clear and calm, that they
were followed by a roar of laughter that for a little time upset the
mighty humorist, though, in the extempore song in which he rallied, he
did not forget that

    'He had just received a wallop
    From the would-be Quaker Trollope.'

"We enjoyed most thoroughly the intercourse commenced thus early in our
married life with the spirits of our time; and I remember entering into
grave debate with L. E. L. whether it would be possible for _us_ to give
a party that might be, as it were, the shadow of hers. A fancy-ball was
out of the question. We proposed a _conversazione_, with first-rate
music; but in that Miss Landon could not sympathize. 'It was all very
well,' she said; 'I had a talent for listening; she had not; and if I
must have music, let there be a room where the talkers could congregate,
and neither disturb others nor be themselves disturbed.' The only thing
she disliked in dancing was the trial of keeping time; and to do this,
she was obliged to count.

"The _conversazione_ was determined on, and the invitations issued; and
then my husband and I began to count the cost. Of course, if done, it
must be well done. The method was not clear; it was very cloudy; and
there was only one way to make it clear. We were but 'children of a
larger growth,' and we had a 'money-box,'--not one of those pretty cedar
inventions, with a lock and key and a slit in the cover, that we now use
at bazaars, but a big, shapeless, roundabout thing of earthen-ware, with
a slit in the middle. We had intended its contents should gratify
another fancy, but now it would be the very thing to sacrifice; so we
locked ourselves into the drawing-room, placed the box on the
hearth-rug, and in a moment the brown roundabout was smashed,--and there
was quite a heap of silver, and a little brightening of gold! _We_ had
never put in any gold. We were astonished, and counted our treasure with
great delight. My husband accused me of conveying the gold by some
cunning art into the box; and _I_ was indignant that he should have done
so without my knowledge. A quarrel was imminent, when we thought perhaps
it was the hand of the dear mother that had dropped in the gold. Yes,
that was her _ruse_; and we would have it that the party cost us
_nothing_, because the contents of the money-box never had been counted
on: it was a treasure-trove,--nothing more. We were particularly anxious
to be thought _prudent_; and, in our triumph, (for the party, every one
said, was a brilliant success,) we communicated the fact to L. E. L.
that the party had cost nothing! She laughed, and determined to set up a
money-box, on her own account; but, poor girl, her money was anticipated
by her dependants before she received it.

"I remember once meeting her coming out of Youngman's shop, in Sloane
Street, and walking home with her. 'I have been,' she said, 'to buy a
pair of gloves,--the only money spent on myself out of the three hundred
pounds I received for "Romance and Reality."' That same day she spoke of
having lived in Sloane Street when a child. Her mother's _ménage_ must
have been curiously conducted; for I remember her saying, 'On Sundays my
brother and myself were often left alone in the house with one servant,
who always went out, locking us in; and we two children used to sit at
the open parlor-window to catch the smell of the one-o'clock dinners
that went past from the bake-house, well knowing that no dinner awaited

       *       *       *       *       *

In the zenith of her fame, and towards her terrible close of life, the
personal appearance of Miss Landon was highly attractive. Though small
of stature, her form was remarkably graceful; and in society she paid
special attention to dress. She would have been of perfect symmetry,
were it not that her shoulders were rather high.

There were few portraits of Miss Landon painted, although she was
acquainted with many artists, and had intense love of Art. Her friend
Maclise painted her three or four times; but I know of no other
portraits of her, except that by Mr. Pickersgill, which I always thought
the most to resemble her, albeit the likeness is not flattering.

She first met the Ettrick Shepherd at our house. When Hogg was presented
to her, he looked earnestly _down_ at her, for perhaps half a minute,
and then exclaimed, in a rich, manly, Scottish voice, "Eh, I did na
think ye'd been sae bonnie. I've said mony hard things aboot ye. I'll do
sae na mair. I did na think ye'd been sae bonnie."

Mrs. Opie, who also met her at our dwelling, paid her a questionable
compliment,--that she was "the prettiest butterfly she had ever seen":
and I remember the staid Quaker shaking her finger at the young poetess,
and remarking, "What thou art saying thou dost not mean."

Miss Jewsbury, (the elder sister of the accomplished authoress,
Geraldine,) whose fate somewhat resembled her own, said of her, "She was
a gay and gifted thing"; but Miss Jewsbury knew her only "in the

In short, I have rarely known a woman so entirely fascinating as Miss
Landon; and this arose mainly from her large sympathy. She was playful
with the young, sedate with the old, and considerate and reflective with
the middle-aged. She could be tender and she could be severe, prosaic or
practical, and essentially of and with whatever party she happened to be
among. I remember this faculty once receiving an illustration. She was
taking lessons in riding, and had so much pleased the riding-master that
at parting he complimented her by saying,--"Well, Madam, we are all born
with a genius for something, and yours is for horsemanship."

One of the many writers who mourned her wrote,--"Apart from her literary
abilities and literary labors, she was, in every domestic relation of
life, honorable, generous, dutiful, self-denying,--zealous,
disinterested, and untiring in her friendship."

Her industry was wonderful. She was perpetually at work, although
often--nay, generally--with little of physical strength, and sometimes
utterly prostrated by illness. Yet the work _must_ be done, as her poems
and prose were usually for periodical publications, and a given day of
the month it was impossible to postpone.

Poetry she wrote with great ease and rapidity. In one of her letters to
Mrs. Hall she says,--"I write poetry with far more ease than I do prose.
In prose, I often stop and hesitate for a word; in poetry, never. Poetry
always carries me out of myself. I forget everything in the world but
the subject that has interested my imagination. It is the most subtile
and insinuating of pleasures; but, like all pleasures, it is dearly
bought. It is always succeeded by extreme depression of spirits, and an
overpowering sense of bodily fatigue." And in one of her letters to me,
she observes,--"Writing poetry is like writing one's own native
language, and writing prose is like writing in a strange tongue." In
fact, she could have improvised admirable verses without hesitation or

She married Mr. Maclean, then Governor of the Gold Coast[B],--a man who
neither knew, felt, nor estimated her value. He wedded her, I am
convinced, only because he was vain of her celebrity; and she married
him only because he enabled her to change her name, and to remove from
that society in which just then the old and infamous slander had been
revived. There was in this case no love, no esteem, no respect,--and
there could have been no discharge of duty that was not thankless and

They were married a fortnight, at least, before the wedding was
announced, even to friends. A sad story was some time afterwards
circulated,--the truth of which I have no means of knowing,--that Mr.
Maclean had been engaged to a lady in Scotland, which engagement he had
withdrawn, and that she was in the act of sealing a letter to him when
her dress caught fire, and she was burnt to death.

The last time I saw L. E. L. was in Upper Berkeley Street, Connaught
Square, on the 27th of June, 1838, soon after her marriage, when she was
on the eve of her fatal voyage. A farewell party was given to some of
her friends by Mrs. Sheddon, with whom she then boarded,--the Misses
Lance having resigned their school. When the proper time arrived, there
was a whisper round the table, and, as I was the oldest of her friends
present, it fell to my lot to propose her health. I did so with the
warmth I felt. The chances were that we should never meet again; and I
considered myself free to speak of her in terms such as could not but
have gratified any husband,--except the husband she had chosen,--and
sought to convey to Maclean's mind the high _respect_, as well as
affection, with which we all regarded her. The reader may imagine the
chill that came over the party when Maclean rose to return thanks. He
merely said, "If Mrs. Maclean has as many friends as Mr. Hall says she
has, I only wonder they allowed her to leave them." One by one the
guests rose and departed, with a brief and mournful farewell. Probably
not one of them all ever saw her again.

She sailed with her husband for Africa on the 5th of July, 1838. On the
15th of August she landed, and on the 15th of October she was
dead!--dying, according to a coroner's jury, "of having incautiously
taken a dose of prussic acid."

The circumstances of her death will be forever a mystery; for her
husband has since "died and made no sign"; but no one ever heard of her
having had this horrible medicine in her possession. Dr. Thomson, who
made up her medicine-chest, and who had been her attendant for many
years, declared he never prescribed it for her; and it was next to
impossible she could have possessed it. To the various rumors that arose
out of her death I do not allude. I do not believe she committed
suicide; nay, I am sure she did not, although I know she was most
wretched in her mournful banishment, most miserable in her changed
condition, and that, if her past years had been gloomy, her future was
very dark; but I believe that poison in some shape--not from the small
vial which it was _said_ was found in her hand--was administered by the
African woman who is known to have been her predecessor,--one of those

          "Children of the South
    With whom revenge is virtue."

The following letter from L. E. L. was received by Mrs. Hall on the 3d
of January, 1839. It is without a date. On the 1st we had heard of her
death. It was a "ship-letter," but the mark of the place at which it was
posted is indistinct.

     "MY DEAR MRS. HALL,--I must send you one of my earliest
     epistles from the tropics; and as a ship is just sailing, I
     will write, though it can only be a few hurried lines. I can
     tell you my whole voyage in three words,--six weeks'
     sea-sickness; but I am now as well as possible, and have been
     ever since I landed. The castle is a very noble building, and
     all the rooms large and cool, while some would be pretty even
     in England. That where I am writing is painted a deep blue,
     with some splendid engravings; indeed, fine prints seem quite a
     passion with the gentlemen here. Mr. Maclean's library is
     filled up with bookcases of African mahogany, and portraits of
     distinguished authors. I, however, never approach it without
     due preparation and humility, so crowded is it with scientific
     instruments, telescopes, chronometers, barometers, gasometers,
     etc., none of which may be touched by hands profane. On three
     sides, the batteries are dashed against by the waves; on the
     fourth is a splendid land view. The hills are covered to the
     top with what we should call wood, but is here called bush.
     This dense mass of green is varied by some large, handsome,
     white houses belonging to different gentlemen, and on two of
     the heights are small forts built by Mr. Maclean. The
     cocoa-trees with their long fan-like leaves are very beautiful.
     The natives seem to be obliging and intelligent, and look very
     picturesque with their fine dark figures, with pieces of the
     country cloth flung round them. They seem to have an excellent
     ear for music: the band plays all the old popular airs, which
     they have caught from some chance hearing. The servants are
     very tolerable, but they take so many to work. The prisoners do
     the scouring, and fancy three or four men cleaning a room that
     an old woman in England would do in an hour,--besides the
     soldier who stands by, his bayonet drawn in his hand. All my
     troubles have been of a housekeeping kind, and no one could
     begin on a more plentiful stock of ignorance than myself.
     However, like Sindbad the Sailor in the cavern, I begin to see
     daylight. I have numbered and labelled my keys, (their name is
     Legion,) and every morning I take my way to the store, give out
     flour, sugar, butter, etc., and am learning to scold, if I see
     any dust or miss customary polish on the tables. I am actually
     getting the steward of the ship, who is my right hand, to teach
     me how to make pastry. I will report progress in the next. We
     live almost entirely on ducks and chickens; if a sheep be
     killed, it must be eaten the same day. The bread is very good,
     palm wine being used for yeast; and yams are an excellent
     substitute for potatoes. The fruit generally is too sweet for
     my liking; but the oranges and pine-apples are delicious. You
     cannot think the complete seclusion in which I live; but I have
     a great resource in writing, and I am very well and very happy.
     But I think even more than I expected, if that be possible, of
     my English friends."

    Your truly affectionate

    L. E. MACLEAN.

She had signed her name "L. E. Landon," but had erased "Landon," and
written in "Maclean," adding, "How difficult it is to leave off an old

Poor girl! She thus fulfilled her own mournful prediction, though
speaking of another:--

    Where my father's bones are lying,
      There my bones will never lie!

       *   *   *   *

    Mine shall be a lonelier ending,
      Mine shall be a wilder grave,
    Where the shout and shriek are blending,
      Where the tempest meets the wave:
    Or perhaps a fate more lonely,
      In some drear and distant ward,
    Where my weary eyes meet only
      Hired nurse and sullen guard.


[B] She was married on the 7th of June, 1838, to Mr. Maclean, at St.
Mary's, Bryanston Square,--her brother, the Rev. Whittington Landon,
officiating. The bride was given away by her long and attached friend,
Sir Bulwer Lytton.


READ TO "THE BOYS OF '29," JAN. 5, 1865.

    I give you the health of the oldest friend
    That, short of eternity, earth can lend,--
    A friend so faithful and tried and true
    That nothing can wean him from me and you.

    When first we screeched in the sudden blaze
    Of the daylight's blinding and blasting rays,
    And gulped at the gaseous, groggy air,
    This old, old friend stood waiting there.

    And when, with a kind of mortal strife,
    We had gasped and choked into breathing life,
    He watched by the cradle, day and night,
    And held our hands till we stood upright.

    From gristle and pulp our frames have grown
    To stringy muscle and solid bone;
    While we were changing, he altered not;
    We might forget, but he never forgot.

    He came with us to the college class,--
    Little cared he for the steward's pass!
    All the rest must pay their fee,
    But the grim old dead-head entered free.

    He stayed with us while we counted o'er
    Four times each of the seasons four;
    And with every season, from year to year,
    The dear name Classmate he made more dear.

    He never leaves us,--he never will,
    Till our hands are cold and our hearts are still;
    On birthdays, and Christmas, and New-Year's too,
    He always remembers both me and you.

    Every year this faithful friend
    His little present is sure to send;
    Every year, wheresoe'er we be,
    He wants a keepsake from you and me.

    How he loves us! he pats our heads,
    And, lo! they are gleaming with silver threads;
    And he's always begging one lock of hair,
    Till our shining crowns have nothing to wear.

    At length he will tell us, one by one,
    "My child, your labor on earth is done;
    And now you must journey afar to see
    My elder brother,--Eternity!"

    And so, when long, long years have passed,
    Some dear old fellow will be the last,--
    Never a boy alive but he
    Of all our goodly company!

    When he lies down, but not till then,
    Our kind Class-Angel will drop the pen
    That writes in the day-book kept above
    Our lifelong record of faith and love.

    So here's a health in homely rhyme
    To our oldest classmate, Father Time!
    May our last survivor live to be
    As bald, but as wise and tough as he!


At the funeral of Mr. Everett, on the 19th of January, the persons who
acted as pall-bearers, and accompanied the body to the grave, had been
appointed to that service by the government of the city of Boston.

They represented respectively the Commonwealth, the City, the Supreme
Bench, the University, the American Academy, the Historical Society, the
Public Library, the Union Club, and the United States Army and Navy. The
officers of the Army and Navy highest in rank on this station
represented these services; the other organizations were represented, in
each case, by their highest officers.

The Governor received at the same time the following despatch:--

"It is impracticable for the President and the Cabinet to leave the
capital to attend the funeral.

"The President of the United States and the heads of departments tender
to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts their condolence on the lamented
death of Edward Everett, who was worthy to be enrolled among the noblest
of the nation's benefactors."

Why do you call that man a private citizen, to whom every officer in the
Nation, in the Commonwealth, and in the City, unites in paying homage?
Why do you select the leading man in every class of service to be
present to represent you at his open grave?

The true answer to these questions, and the true explanation of the
universal feeling expressed in public and in private when he died, are
not found without reference to some traits of moral constitution, to
which it is well, I believe, to call attention now. To those traits of
character,--as shown through life,--rather than to specific gifts of
intellectual power, is Mr. Everett's singularly varied success to be
ascribed. You may say, if you please, that it requires a very rare
mental genius and even very rare physical endowment to carry out the
behests of such resolution as I am to describe. This, of course, is
true. But unless you have the moral determination which compels your
vivid mind to plan, and your well-built machine to work for you, you get
no such life. The secret--if it is to be called such--of this wonderful
life, is the determination to do the special thing which at the moment
is to be done. Mr. Everett was no admirer of Carlyle. But long before
Carlyle began to tell men "to do the thing that came next them," Mr.
Everett had been doing it, with a steady confidence that he could do it.
Now the things that come next men in America are very various. That is
the reason why he has been doing very various things. That is the reason
why President and Cabinet, Navy and Army, University, Bench, and
Academy, City and Commonwealth, meet, by their first representatives, at
his grave, in recognition of specific service of the most eminent
character which he has rendered to each of them, and which it would be a
shame for them to fail to own.

In a little sketch of his college life, which he once sent me, there is
an estimate--made at the age of sixty-one--of his own standing when he
was a Sophomore, in comparison with some of his classmates. Some of
those he names have passed on before him; two of them remain with us, to
be honored always for the fruits of that scholarship which he observed
so young. I think there can be nothing wrong in publishing a
recollection, which, by accident, gives a hint as to the method of his
own after-life to which I have alluded.

"I was considered, I believe, as taking rank among the few best scholars
of the [Sophomore] class, although there was no branch in which I was
not equalled--and in several I was excelled--by some of my classmates,
except perhaps Metaphysics. Thus, I was surpassed by Cooper in Latin,
but he was wholly deficient in Mathematics, and regarded with pity, not
altogether unmixed with contempt, all who had a taste for that study.
Story, a brother of Mr. Justice Story, excelled me in Greek, but he
neglected everything else, and seemed to get at the Greek rather by
intuition than study. Fuller, Gray, and Hunt were my superiors in
Mathematics; but in other studies I was the rival of Fuller, and Hunt
made no pretensions to general scholarship;--for the branch in which he
excelled he had a decided genius. Gilman was a more practised writer
than I; so was Damon; and Frothingham greatly excelled me in speaking,
and was in everything a highly accomplished scholar. If I had any strong
point, it was that _of neglecting no branch_ and _doing about equally
well in all_."

He had occasion enough to show in all life that it is a very strong
point, this "of neglecting no branch, and doing equally well in all."
And in his estimates of other men, I think,--though he was more
charitable in his judgments than any man I have ever known,--he always
had latent the feeling that men could do almost anything they really
resolved to do. You could never persuade him that a public speaker could
not learn to speak well. He did not pretend that all men could speak
equally well, but he really thought that it was the duty of a man, who
meant to speak in public, to train himself, in voice, in intonation, in
emphasis, so as to speak simply, and without attracting attention to any
failure. He thought any man could do this as truly as any man could
acquire a good handwriting. And any one who knew him knows that he
considered this art as easily attained as the arts by which we clean our
faces or our hands.[C]

Starting upon life with this principle, that he would do what had to be
done,--if nobody else appeared to do it,--and that he could do it,
too,--he soon found himself with work enough on his hands. English's
flippant attack on the New Testament Scriptures appeared while Mr.
Everett was minister of Brattle-Street Church. Because it appeared, he
considered it his place to defend the New Testament against that
specific attack; and he did it. The "Defence of Christianity," which he
then published, is of value, chiefly as a piece of controversy belonging
to the history of opinion in this neighborhood at that moment.
Controversy has long since taken other grounds. For that purpose, at
that moment, the book did its work completely. It exhausted the points
which Mr. English raised, and exhausted them in a way which required
very patient study. Mr. Everett once said that to compile the chapter on
the quotations of the Old Testament by the New Testament writers, he
went through the whole of the Mischna in the edition of Surenhusius, in
six volumes folio. This chapter, I may say in passing, is the chapter of
most permanent value in the "Defence." Now this "Defence," the work of a
boy of twenty years of age, was written in the midst of the demands made
upon the popular preacher in one of the largest parishes in Boston, in a
few months' time,--sent to the printer chapter by chapter. And Mr.
Everett said of it, in after-life, that, if it did not seem like
affectation, he would say that it was relaxation from the work he was
doing in the pulpit. I have no doubt it was. I have no thought that he
was specially fitted for that work. It illustrates rather his moral
force of determination. He thought that particular charge of Mr.
English's ought to be answered. Nobody else answered it. And therefore
he did it himself. He knew he could do it, if it must be done. If he had
not prepared for it, he must prepare for it then.

But the reader will observe, I hope, that he does not in the "Defence"
attempt anything else than the task he had assigned. Here is no general
Apology. It is no discussion of the Evidences. It is a specific
duty,--which he had assigned to himself,--cleanly, neatly, and
thoroughly done. He knew what he was going to do, when he began; and he
knew, when he had finished what he could do. His victories, his life
through, will all be found, I think, to illustrate that sort of steady,
but determined resolution,--determined, in the sense that, before he
began, the bounds were established for the work which was to be done.

When he went to Congress, for instance, in 1824, he had been widely
known, in this part of the country at least, as a scholar who had
travelled in Europe, and as one of the leaders in the movement in favor
of the Greeks. Very naturally, Mr. Taylor appointed him on the Committee
on Foreign Relations, and in that capacity he served all the time he was
in the House. "I devoted myself," he said of that part of his life,
"mainly to the discharge of that part of the public business which was
intrusted to me"; that is, to the foreign relations. There were enough
other interests in those years to which he might have devoted himself.
But this was the sub-department which had been assigned to him, and
therefore he devoted himself to it. If it had been Indian Affairs, or
the Militia, he would have devoted himself to either of those; and I
think he would have distinguished himself in either of them as much as
he did in the other.

In this connection, it is to be observed, that, though few men worked as
rapidly or as easily as he, this same moral determination appeared in
the resoluteness with which he refused to do anything till he was
satisfied with his own preparation. The thing might not require any, and
then he made none. But if it was an occasion which he thought deserved
preparation, no haste nor pressure nor other excuse availed to induce
him to attempt what he had not made the fit preparation for. I think
nothing really made him so indignant with us who were his juniors, as
that we would half do things, instead of taking time to do them as well
as we could. Yet, when the necessity came, he could achieve things that
no other man would have dreamed of on such short notice. There are
stories of his feats in this way which need not be repeated here.

I have heard people speak of his political life, especially of late
years, as if it were a great riddle; and, in eulogies on him since his
death, I find men speaking as if he underwent some great revulsion of
character when Fort Sumter was attacked in 1861. I think there is no
such mystery about it. The secret--if secret it is to be called--of his
politics was blazoned in almost every speech he ever made, if people
could only train themselves to think that a public man really believes
what he says. It was this, that at heart he believed in the people. He
believed they had virtue enough and good sense enough to carry them
through any difficulty they would ever get into. He did not believe in
total depravity. He did not, therefore, believe in theirs. And when he
had any appeal to make to the people, he appealed to their supposed
virtue, and not to their supposed vices,--he spoke to their good sense,
and not to their folly. Mr. Emerson says somewhere, that he gave people
no new thoughts. I do not think this is true. It is, however, very
certain that he gave them no _buncombe_. He believed in them, in their
good sense, and in their average virtue. He knew that everything
depended on them. He was eager to educate the people, therefore, and all
the people. He did not believe it possible to educate any of them too
well. And if you had asked him, the day he died, what had been the
central idea of his life, he would have said it was the education of the
people. His life was full of it. His speeches were full of it. Nothing
so provoked him as any snobbism which wanted to hinder it. When he was
President of the College,--I think in 1848,--there was a black boy in
the High School at Cambridge, fitting for college. Some gentlemen in
Alabama, who had sons there, or on their way there, wrote to Mr. Everett
to remonstrate against the boy's entering. He replied, that the College
was endowed to educate all comers; that, if the black boy could pass his
examination, as he hoped he could, he would be admitted; and that, if,
as they seemed to suppose, all the white students withdrew, the College
would then be conducted on its endowments for the black boy alone. And
that was no exceptional reply. It was his way of looking at such things.

Now it is very true that a man like that makes no demagogue appeals to
the people. He will not be apt to ally himself with any specially
radical party. He will never say that an unwashed man has as good chance
for godliness as a washed man, because he will not believe it. He will
never say that an ignorant man's vote is as good as a sensible man's,
because he will not believe that. But in any question where the rights
of men are on one side and the rights of classes on the other, he will
pronounce for the rights of men. Accordingly, his verdict was stiffly
against the Missouri Compromise in 1820 and 1821. He said it was unwise
and unjust. When, in 1836, it came time, under that Compromise, to admit
the State of Arkansas,--the next Slave State after Missouri,--he said
that we were not bound to admit her with slavery, that the Compromise
was not binding, and never could be made binding; it was unwise and
unjust. Because he had said so, he considered himself estopped from
saying that it was binding, and sacred, and inviolable, and all that, in
1854, when the rest of us made it into a new-found palladium of liberty.
He would not argue the Nebraska question on the Compromise, but on the
original principles of the popular rights involved. It is the same
confidence in the people which shines through the letter to Baron
Hülsemann, which he wrote at the request of Mr. Webster, and through his
answer to the proposal of the Three Powers that we should guaranty Cuba
to Spain. It may be necessary for popular freedom that Spain shall not
have Cuba. The same thing is in all his reviews of the Basil Halls and
other travellers. I do not suppose he liked a dirty table-cloth better
than Mrs. Trollope did. I do not suppose he liked a Virginia fence
better than Cobbett did. But he knew that table-cloths could be washed,
and Virginia fences changed in time for hedges and walls. And he was
willing to wait for such changes,--even with all the elegance people
talk of,--if he were sure that the education of the people was going
forward, and the lines of promotion were kept open.

When, therefore, the issue of 1861 came, there was no question, to
anybody who knew him well, where he would stand. He would stand with the
democratic side against the aristocratic side. And the issue of this war
is the issue between democracy and oligarchy. Persons who did not
believe in the people did not stand on the democratic side. Persons who
thought a republican government had been forced on us by misfortune, and
that we must simply make the best of it, did not stand there. They did
not believe that this time the people could get through. So they thought
it best to stop before beginning. He knew the people could go through
anything. So he thought it best to hold firm to the end.

Some of the most amusing of the details of his early life, which, with
his wonderful memory, he was rather fond of relating, belong to his
experiences in education.

Here is his account of his first attendance at the central town-school
of Dorchester, after he had left a dame-school.

"In this school, on first entering it, I was placed at the bottom of the
lowest class; but even that was a position beyond my previous
attainments. Unable to spell the words which formed the lesson, I used,
when they came down to me from the boy above, to say just what he did,
not being far enough advanced to insinuate a blunder of my own. But in
the course of a few months I made great progress. In writing I was
rather forward. I can remember writing 1799 at the bottom of the page in
my copybook; and this is the oldest date which as a date I can
recollect. I was then five years old.[D] My father having, as a reward
for my improvement, promised me a boughten 'writing-book,' as it was
called, instead of a sheet of paper folded at home, with which children
usually began, the brilliant prospect melted me almost to tears.

"Each boy in those days provided his own 'ink-horn,' as it was called.
Mine was a ponderous article of lead, cast by myself at the kitchen
fire, with a good deal of aid from the hired man who was employed in the
summer to work the little farm. For pens we bought two goose-quills
fresh from the wing, for a cent; older boys paid that sum for a single
'Dutch quill.'...

"In the year 1802, a new district school-house was built near our
residence, to which I was transferred from the school on the
meeting-house hill. It was kept by Mr. Wilkes Allen, afterwards a
respectable clergyman at Chelmsford. I was now between eight and nine
years old. My eldest brother had left school, and was in a counting-room
in Boston; my second brother had entered college; and as we were, almost
all of us little folks at Mr. Allen's, I was among the most advanced. I
began the study of arithmetic at this time, using Pike as the text-book.
I recollect proceeding to the extraction of the cube-root, without the
slightest comprehension of the principle of that or any of the simplest
arithmetical operations. I could have comprehended them, had they been
judiciously explained, but I could not penetrate them without aid. At
length I caught a glimpse of the principle of decimals. I thought I had
made a discovery as confidently as Pythagoras did when he demonstrated
the forty-seventh proposition of the first book of Euclid. I was
proportionately annoyed when I afterwards discovered that I had been
anticipated in finding out that 'a decimal is a fraction whose
denominator is a unit with as many ciphers annexed as the numerator has
places,' or rather in finding out precisely what this meant."

He entered college in 1807, and thus describes his first experiences

"I was thirteen years old in April, and entered a Freshman the following
August, being the youngest member of my class. I lived the first year
with my classmate, Charles P. Curtis, in a wooden building standing at
the corner of the Main and Church Streets. It was officially known as
the 'College House,' but known by the students as 'Wiswall's Den,' or,
more concisely, 'The Den,'--whether from its comfortless character as a
habitation or from some worse cause I do not know. There was a tradition
that it had been the scene of a horrid domestic tragedy, and that it was
haunted by the ghosts of the Wiswalls; but I cannot say that during the
twelvemonth I lived in 'The Den' this tale was confirmed by my own

"We occupied the southwest corner-chamber, up two flights of stairs,--a
room about fourteen feet square, in which were contained two beds and
the rest of our furniture, and our fuel, which was wood, and was kept
under the beds. Two very small closets afforded a little additional
space; but the accommodations were certainly far from brilliant. A good
many young men who go to college are idlers; some, worse than idlers. I
suppose my class in this respect was like other classes; but there was a
fair proportion of faithful, studious students, and of well-conducted
young men. I was protected in part, perhaps, by my youth, from the
grosser temptations. I went through the prescribed studies of the
year--which were principally a few books of Livy and Horace for the
Latin, and 'Collectanea Græca Majora' for the Greek--about as well as
most of the class; but the manner in which the ancient languages were
then studied was deplorably superficial. It was confined to the most
cursory reading of the text. Besides the Latin and Greek languages, we
had a weekly recitation in Lowth's English Grammar, and in the Hebrew
Grammar, _without points_; also in Arithmetic and History, the last from
Millot's Compend as a text-book. In all these branches there was an
entire want of apparatus; and the standard, compared with that which now
exists, was extremely low. And yet, in all respects, I imagine a great
improvement had taken place, in reference to college education, on the
state of things which existed in the previous generation. The intense
political excitement of the Revolutionary period seems to have unsettled
the minds of men from the quiet pursuits of life."

Reminiscences like these of his own lead one to speak of his memory,
which was of all kinds, and wonderful in all. His memory for things was
as remarkable as that for words,--a parallel I have known in very few
men. In this double memory lay his power, which often excited the
surprise of other speakers, of introducing into a discourse which he had
written out, and, as men said, committed to memory, a passage purely
extempore, so precisely that no patch could be observed at the
junctures. The truth is, that it was not a matter of much account with
him whether he had written out a statement of a fact or not. He was sure
of the fact. And in simple narrative he was as willing to use extempore
language as language prepared. Mr. Emerson says, in some not very
flattering criticisms on him,--"It was remarked, for a man who threw out
so many facts, he was seldom convicted of a blunder." I do not think he
had any system of training memory, beyond that of using it and calling
on it pitilessly, which is, I believe, the central rule regarding it.

Here is a curious story of a feat of memory, in his sketch of his
Sophomore year.

"I have mentioned Metaphysics as a study in which I succeeded. I mean,
of course, only that I prepared myself thoroughly in the text-books.
Watts's Logic was the first book studied in this branch,--not a very
inviting treatise, compared with that of Archbishop Whately, but easily
comprehended, and not repulsive. The account of the syllogistic method
amused me; and the barbarous stanza describing the various syllogistic
modes and figures dwelt for a long time in my memory, and has not wholly
faded away. Locke's 'Essay concerning Human Understanding' came next.
This was more difficult. I recollect we used to make sport of the first
sentence in the 'Epistle to the Reader,' which was, 'I here put into thy
hands what has been the diversion of some of my idle and heavy hours: if
it has the good luck to prove so of any of thine, and thou hast but half
so much pleasure in reading as I had in writing it, thou wilt as little
think thy money, as I do my pains, ill bestowed.' I cannot say that we
any of us derived much diversion from it; but I overcame its difficulty
by the resolute purpose to accomplish whatever was required. We recited
from it three times a day, the four first days of the week, the
recitation of Thursday afternoon being a review of the rest. We were
expected to give the substance of the author's remarks, but were at
liberty to condense them, and to use our own words. Although the style
of Mr. Locke is not remarkably compact, it required a greater maturity
of mind than is possessed by many boys of fourteen to abridge his
paragraphs, or state his principles or their illustrations more
concisely than he does himself. I had at that time a memory which
recoiled from nothing; and I soon found that the shortest process was to
learn the text by heart nearly _verbatim_. I recollect particularly, on
one occasion of the review on Thursday afternoon, that I was called upon
to recite early, and, commencing with the portion of the week's study
which came next, I went on repeating word for word and paragraph after
paragraph, and finally, not being stopped by our pleased tutor,[E] page
after page, till I finally went through in that way the greater part of
the eleven recitations of the week. The celebrated passage on the Memory
happened to be included. A portion of it, after the lapse of forty-seven
years, remains in my recollection as distinctly as it did the day after
I learned it. I refer to the passage beginning, 'Thus the ideas, as well
as children, of our youth often die before us; and our minds represent
to us those tombs to which we are approaching, where, though the brass
and marble remain, yet the inscriptions are effaced by time, and the
imagery moulders away.'

"I may observe, that, beautiful as is this language beyond anything else
in the work of Locke, it will not stand the test of criticism. There is
no resemblance between what befalls the ideas and the children of our
youth; and supposing there were such a resemblance, there is not the
slightest analogy between the premature decease of the ideas and the
children of our youth and the disappearance of monumental inscriptions
and imagery from the brass and marble of tombs. But I feel ashamed of
this attempt to pick flaws in this beautiful passage."

But I must not dwell on these reminiscences. I am tempted to refer any
reader interested in his work in the education of the people to an
article on that subject in the seventh volume of Mr. Barnard's "Journal
of Education."

I once heard him say that the mental faculty which had been of most use
to him and had given him most pleasure was his facility in acquiring
language. He said this on occasion of a visit to a county prison, where
they had taken him to the cell of a person whom no one could understand.
I think he had been called a Greek; but he proved to be an Italian. Mr.
Everett was then Governor of the Commonwealth, and this was an official
visit. It was a pretty illustration of republican institutions, that
this poor prisoner in his solitude should first hear his own language
from the chief magistrate. Mr. Everett addressed him first in the
language of his supposed country,--I think in Greek,--and changed to
Italian, when the prisoner spoke to him. He spoke French, German,
Italian, and the Romaic with ease. He read the whole Hebrew Testament in
his youth, and in Germany made considerable progress in Arabic; but I do
not think that he kept up his Oriental languages in later years. He was
fond of exercising himself in the other languages named, and almost
always had some stated correspondence on his hands in each of them.

Unless he really loved correspondence, as some men do, I believe, I
cannot conceive that even so conscientious a man as he should have kept
his correspondence in such perfect order, answered letters of every kind
so faithfully, so fully, and so agreeably. The last day of his life, a
sick man as he was, he seems to have written a dozen letters. Everybody
had an answer, and a kind one. He was, I think, the last man living who
courteously acknowledged printed documents. Certainly there is no one
left to do so among men whose habits I have heard of. But he would not
fail in any kindness or courtesy. At times his correspondence rose into
a position of real dignity. Thus, after Fort Sumter, while we still
carried the Rebels' mails for them, he wrote steadily through all his
working-hours of every day to his Southern correspondents, who were
sending him all sorts of Billingsgate. And he wrote them the truth. "It
is the only way they see a word of truth," he said. "Look at that
newspaper, and that, and that." Till the mails stopped, they had not to
blame him, if they were benighted. I wish that series of letters might,
even now, be published separately.

In such duties, coming next his hand, he spent a busy life. Every life
has a dream, a plan, of what we are going to do, when we can do what we
will. I think his was the preparation of his work on International Law.
As I have said, it became his duty to study this as early as 1825. I
remember hearing him speak of his plans regarding it in 1839. He set his
work aside, most unwillingly, when, in face of his own first
determination and the advice of his best friends, he became President of
Harvard College. As soon as he was released from that position he turned
to it again. During this last winter he had hoped to deliver at the Law
School a course of lectures on the subject; and a part of these are
certainly in form ready for delivery. But from this thread, or this
dream, the demands of present duty have constantly called him away. He
has done, from day to day, what had to be done, rather than what he
wanted to do. A better record this, though men forget him to-morrow,
than the fame of any Grotius even, if Grotius had not deserved like
praise, better than the fame of any book-man of them all.

The brave man,--and he was a brave man, though in personal intercourse
he was really shy,--the brave man, who, with all his might, and all
God's strength assisting, will lend body and mind to such daily duty for
other men, earns his laurels, when he wins them, in more fields than one
or two. It is because Mr. Everett so lived, that in his death his memory
receives such varied honors. He had served the Navy; the last
interruption to his favorite study had been the devotion of the autumn
months to the great charity which builds the Sailors' Home. He had
served the Army, not merely by sending a son into it,--by "personal
representatives," I know not how many, whose bounties he had paid,--but
by the steady effort in all the charities for the wounded, and by the
counsel, private as often as public, for which every department of the
State turned to him. He had served the Union, all men know how. He had
served the Bench, not simply as a student of the branch of law which he
had chosen to illustrate, but in the steady training of the people to
the sacredness of law. He had insisted on the higher education of the
people; and so had fairly won the honors of the Academy, in those early
days when men believed that there were Moral Sciences, and did not
debase the name of Science by confining it to the mere chaff of things
weighed and measured. His studies of History are remembered, for some
special cause, in almost every Historical Society in the land. He had
served the University in every station known to her constitution. He was
in the service of the City in that Public Library of which he was, more
than any man, the founder, which completes her system of universal
education. He had served the State as her chief magistrate. And in every
work of life he served the Nation as her first citizen. These varied
lines of duty--in which "he neglected no branch, but did about equally
well in all"--were fitly called to men's memories, as they saw the
circle of distinguished friends and fellow-laborers who met around his


[C] "For if one has anything worth writing, it is really worth while to
write it so it can be read."--_Address at Barre._

[D] In another scrap of his reminiscences, he says: "The oldest
political event of which I have any recollection is that of the _quasi_
French War of 1798. This I remember only in connection with the family
talk of the price of flour, which it was said would cost twenty dollars
a barrel. As we used principally brown bread, this was of less
consequence; although the price of Indian corn and meal was probably
increased also."

[E] Mr. Hedge, with whom this was a favorite passage.



Written without method, dotted down carelessly and _currente calamo_ on
the leaves of my pocket-book, the notes I now publish were never
intended to be read by any one but myself. A wanderer for many long
years, I have contracted the habit of making daily memoranda of the
fleeting, evanescent impressions of my travels, and thus giving them a
more tangible form. These notes, drawn up hastily and for myself alone,
have no literary merit whatever, but they most unequivocally tell the
truth. Is this an adequate compensation for the numerous negligences of
style which criticism may discover in them? You answer my question
affirmatively, my dear M----. Be that as it may, these reminiscences of
travel have often solaced the ennui and fatigue of my erratic life. In
writing of the present, the bitterness of the past vanished; and again,
if the present were tedious or fraught with care, I reverted to the
sunny pages of the time that is no more, and revived the sweet emotions
of the long-forgotten past.

Under your patronage I now place these poor leaves. They have been the
partners of my joys and my griefs, of my toils and my leisure, during
the last three years that have whirled me relentlessly in that most
monotonous, yet agitated circle, yclept "a life of concerts." Should you
find evidence too flagrant, even for your prepossessed eyes, of the
inexperience of my pen, bear in mind, I pray you, that I am but a
musician, and only a pianist at that.

       *       *       *       *       *

_January, 1862._ Once more in New York, after an absence of six
years!--Six years madly squandered, scattered to the winds, as if life
were infinite, and youth--eternal! Six years, in the space of which I
have wandered at random beneath the blue skies of the tropics, yielding
myself up indolently to the caprice of Fortune, giving a concert
wherever I happened to find a piano, sleeping wherever night overtook
me, on the green grass of the savanna, or under the palm-leafed roof of
a _veguero_, who shared with me his corn-_tortilla_, coffee, and
bananas, and thought himself amply renumerated, when, at dawn, I took my
departure with a "_Dios se lo pague á V._" (May God reward you!) to
which he responded by a "_Vaya V. con Dios!_" (God be with you!)--these
two formulæ constituting, in such unsophisticated countries, the entire
operation, so ingeniously perfected by civilized nations, which
generally is known by the name of "settling the hotel-bill." And when at
last I became weary of the same horizon, I crossed an arm of the sea,
and landed on some neighboring isle, or on the Spanish Main. Thus, in
succession, I have visited all the Antilles,--Spanish, French, English,
Dutch, Swedish, Danish; the Guianas, and the coasts of Para. At times,
having become the idol of some obscure _pueblo_, whose untutored ears I
had charmed with its own simple ballads, I would pitch my tent for five,
six, eight months, deferring my departure from day to day, until finally
I began seriously to entertain the idea of remaining there forevermore.
Abandoning myself to such influences, I lived without care, as the bird
sings, as the flower expands, as the brook flows, oblivious of the past,
reckless of the future, and sowed both my heart and my purse with the
ardor of a husbandman who hopes to reap a hundred ears for every grain
he confides to the earth. But, alas! the fields, where is garnered the
harvest of expended doubloons, and where vernal loves bloom anew, are
yet to be discovered; and the result of my double prodigality was, that
one fine morning I found myself a bankrupt in heart, with my purse at

Suddenly disgusted with the world and with myself, weary, discouraged,
mistrusting men, (ay, and women, too,) I fled to a desert on the extinct
volcano of M----, where, for several months, I lived the life of a
cenobite, with no companion but a poor lunatic, whom I had met on a
small island, and who had attached himself to me. He followed me
everywhere, and loved me with that absurd and touching constancy of
which dogs and madmen alone are capable. My friend, whose insanity was
of a mild and harmless character, fancied himself the greatest genius in
the world. He was, moreover, under the impression that he suffered from
a gigantic, monstrous tooth. Of the two idiosyncrasies, the latter alone
made his lunacy discernible,--too many individuals being affected with
the other symptom to render it an anomalous feature of the human mind.
My friend was in the habit of protesting that this enormous tooth
increased periodically and threatened to encroach upon his entire jaw.
Tormented, at the same time, with the desire of regenerating humanity,
he divided his leisure between the study of dentistry, to which he
applied himself in order to impede the progress of his hypothetical
tyrant, and a voluminous correspondence which he kept up with the Pope,
his brother, and the Emperor of the French, his cousin. In the latter
occupation he pleaded the interests of humanity, styled himself "the
prince of thought," and exalted me to the dignity of his illustrious
friend and benefactor. In the midst of the wreck of his intellect, one
thing still survived,--his love of music. He played the violin, and,
strange as it may appear, although insane, he could not understand the
so-called _music of the future_.

My hut, perched on the verge of the crater, at the very summit of the
mountain, commanded a view of all the surrounding country. The rock upon
which it was built projected over a precipice, whose abysses were
concealed by creeping plants, cactus, and bamboos. The species of
table-rock thus formed had been encircled with a railing and transformed
into a terrace, on a level with the sleeping-room, by my predecessor in
this hermitage. His last wish had been to be buried there; and from my
bed I could see his white tombstone gleaming in the moonlight, a few
steps from my window. Every evening I rolled my piano out upon the
terrace, and there, facing the most incomparably beautiful landscape,
all bathed in the soft and limpid atmosphere of the tropics, I poured
forth on the instrument, and for myself alone, the thoughts with which
that scene inspired me. And what a scene! Picture to yourself a gigantic
amphitheatre hewn out of the mountains by an army of Titans: right and
left, immense virgin forests, full of those subdued and distant
harmonies which are, as it were, the voices of Silence; before me, a
prospect of twenty leagues, marvellously enhanced by the extreme
transparency of the air; above, the azure of the sky; beneath, the
creviced sides of the mountain sweeping down to the plain; afar, the
waving savannas; beyond them, a grayish speck (the distant city); and
encompassing them all, the immensity of the ocean, closing the horizon
with its deep blue line. Behind me was a rock on which a torrent of
melted snow dashes its white foam, and there, diverted from its course,
rushes with a mad leap and plunges headlong into the gulf that yawns
beneath my window.

Amid such scenes I composed "Réponds-moi la Marche des Gibaros,"
"Polonia," "Columbia," "Pastorella e Cavaliere," "Jeunesse," and many
other unpublished works. I allowed my fingers to run over the keys,
wrapped up in the contemplation of these wonders, while my poor friend,
whom I heeded but little, revealed to me, with a childish loquacity, the
lofty destiny he held in reserve for humanity. Can you conceive the
contrast produced by this shattered intellect, expressing at random its
disjointed thoughts, as a disordered clock strikes by chance any hour,
and the majestic serenity of the scene around me? I felt it
instinctively. My misanthropy gave way; I became indulgent towards
myself and mankind, and the wounds of my heart closed once more. My
despair was soothed, and soon the sun of the tropics, which tinges all
things with gold, dreams as well as fruits, restored me with new
confidence and vigor to my wanderings.

I relapsed into the life and manners of these primitive countries; if
not strictly virtuous, they are, at all events, terribly attractive.
Existence in a tropical wilderness, in the midst of a voluptuous and
half-civilized race, bears no resemblance to that of a London cockney, a
Parisian lounger, or an American Quaker. Times there were, indeed, when
a voice was heard within me that spoke of nobler aims. It reminded me of
what I once was, of what I yet might be, and commanded imperatively a
return to a healthier and more active life. But I had allowed myself to
be enervated by this baneful languor, this insidious _far niente_, and
my moral torpor was such that the mere thought of reappearing before a
polished audience struck me as superlatively absurd. "Where was the
object?" I would ask myself. Moreover, it was too late; and I went on
dreaming with open eyes, careering on horseback through the savannas,
listening at break of day to the prattle of the parrots in the
guava-trees, at nightfall to the chirp of the _grillos_ in the
cane-fields, or else smoking my cigar, taking my coffee, rocking myself
in a hammock,--in short, enjoying all the delights that are the very
heart-blood of a _guajiro_, and out of the sphere of which he can see
but death, or, what is worse to him, the feverish agitation of our
Northern society. Go and talk of the funds, of the landed interest, of
stock-jobbing to this Sybarite, lord of the wilderness, who can live all
the year round on luscious bananas and delicious cocoa-nuts, which he is
not even at the trouble of planting,--who has the best tobacco in the
world to smoke,--who replaces to-day the horse he had yesterday by a
better one chosen from the first _caballada_ he meets,--who requires no
further protection from the cold, than a pair of linen trousers, in that
favored clime where the seasons roll on in one perennial summer,--who,
more than all this, finds at eve, under the rustling palm-trees, pensive
beauties eager to reward with their smiles the one who murmurs in their
ears those three words, ever new, ever beautiful, "_Yo te quiero_."

Moralists, I am aware, condemn this life of inaction and mere pleasure;
and they are right. But poetry is often in antagonism with virtuous
purposes; and now that I am shivering under the icy wind and dull sky of
the North,--that I must needs listen to discussions on Erie, Prairie du
Chien, Harlem, and Cumberland,--that I read in the papers the lists of
the killed and wounded,--that havoc and conflagration, violence and
murder, are perpetrated all around me,--I find myself excusing the
half-civilized inhabitant of the savanna, who prefers his poetical
barbarism to our barbarous progress.

Unexpectedly brought back to the stern realities of life by a great
affliction, I wished to destroy every link that connected me with the
six years I had thrown away. It was at this period that Strakosch wrote
to me, offering an engagement for a tour of concerts through the United
States. I hesitated an instant; one sad look was cast upon the vanished
days, I breathed a regret, and--signed. The dream was over; I was saved;
but who could say, if, in the rescue, youth and poetry had not perished?
Poetry and youth are of a volatile mood,--they are butterflies. Shut
them up in a cage, and they will dash their delicate wings to pieces
against its bars. Endeavor to direct them as they soar, and you cramp
their flight, you deprive them of their audacity,--two qualities which
are often to be met with in inexperience, and the loss of which--am I
wrong in saying so?--is not always compensated by maturity of talent.




It was that Christmas-day that did it; I'm quite convinced of that; and
the way it was is what I am going to tell you.

You see, among the various family customs of us Crowfields, the
observance of all sorts of _fêtes_ and festivals has always been a
matter of prime regard; and among all the festivals of the round ripe
year, none is so joyous and honored among us as Christmas.

Let no one upon this, prick up the ears of Archaeology, and tell us that
by the latest calculations of chronologists our ivy-grown and
holly-mantled Christmas is all a hum,--that it has been demonstrated, by
all sorts of signs and tables, that the august event it celebrates did
not take place on the 25th of December. Supposing it be so, what have we
to do with that? If so awful, so joyous an event ever took place on our
earth, it is surely worth commemoration. It is the _event_ we celebrate,
not the _time_. And if all Christians for eighteen hundred years, while
warring and wrangling on a thousand other points, have agreed to give
this one 25th of December to peace and good-will, who is he that shall
gainsay them, and for an historic scruple turn his back on the friendly
greetings of all Christendom? Such a man is capable of rewriting
Milton's Christmas Hymn in the style of Sternhold and Hopkins.

In our house, however, Christmas has always been a high day, a day whose
expectation has held waking all the little eyes in our bird's nest, when
as yet there were only little ones there, each sleeping with one eye
open, hoping to be the happy first to wish the merry Christmas and grasp
the wonderful stocking.

This year our whole family train of married girls and boys, with the
various toddling tribes thereto belonging, held high festival around a
wonderful Christmas-tree, the getting-up and adorning of which had kept
my wife and Jennie and myself busy for a week beforehand. If the little
folks think these trees grow up in a night, without labor, they know as
little about them as they do about most of the other blessings which
rain down on their dear little thoughtless heads. Such scrambling and
clambering and fussing and tying and untying, such alterations and
rearrangements, such agilities in getting up and down and everywhere to
tie on tapers and gold balls and glittering things innumerable, to hang
airy dolls in graceful positions, to make branches bear stiffly up under
loads of pretty things which threaten to make the tapers turn bottom
upward! Part and parcel of all this was I, Christopher, most reckless of
rheumatism, most careless of dignity, the round, bald top of my head to
be seen emerging everywhere from the thick boughs of the spruce, now
devising an airy settlement for some gossamer-robed doll, now adjusting
far back on a stiff branch Tom's new little skates, now balancing bags
of sugar-plums and candy, and now combating desperately with some
contumacious taper that would turn slantwise or crosswise, or anywise
but upward as a Christian taper should,--regardless of Mrs. Crowfield's
gentle admonitions and suggestions, sitting up to most dissipated hours,
springing out of bed suddenly to change some arrangement in the middle
of the night, and up long before the lazy sun at dawn to execute still
other arrangements. If that Christmas-tree had been a fort to be taken,
or a campaign to be planned, I could not have spent more time and
strength on it. My zeal so far outran even that of sprightly Miss
Jennie, that she could account for it only by saucily suggesting that
papa must be fast getting into second childhood.

But didn't we have a splendid lighting-up? Didn't I and my youngest
grandson, little Tom, head the procession magnificent in paper
soldier-caps, blowing tin trumpets and beating drums, as we marched
round the twinkling glories of our Christmas-tree, all glittering with
red and blue and green tapers, and with a splendid angel on top with
great gold wings, the cutting-out and adjusting of which had held my
eyes waking for nights before? I had had oceans of trouble with that
angel, owing to an unlucky sprain in his left wing, which had required
constant surgical attention through the week, and which I feared might
fall loose again at the important and blissful moment of exhibition: but
no, the Fates were in our favor; the angel behaved beautifully, and kept
his wings as crisp as possible, and the tapers all burned splendidly,
and the little folks were as crazy with delight as my most ardent hopes
could have desired; and then we romped and played and frolicked as long
as little eyes could keep open, and long after; and so passed away our

I had forgotten to speak of the Christmas-dinner, that solid feast of
fat things, on which we also luxuriated. Mrs. Crowfield outdid all
household traditions in that feast: the turkey and the chickens, the
jellies and the sauces, the pies and the pudding, behold, are they not
written in the tablets of Memory which remain to this day?

The holidays passed away hilariously, and at New-Year's I, according to
time-honored custom, went forth to make my calls and see my fair
friends, while my wife and daughters stayed at home to dispense the
hospitalities of the day to their gentlemen friends. All was merry,
cheerful, and it was agreed on all hands that a more joyous holiday
season had never flown over us.

But, somehow, the week after, I began to be sensible of a running-down
in the wheels. I had an article to write for the "Atlantic," but felt
mopish and could not write. My dinner had not its usual relish, and I
had an indefinite sense everywhere of something going wrong. My coal
bill came in, and I felt sure we were being extravagant, and that our
John Furnace wasted the coal. My grandsons and granddaughters came to
see us, and I discovered that they had high-pitched voices, and burst in
without wiping their shoes, and it suddenly occurred powerfully to my
mind that they were not being well brought up,--evidently, they were
growing up rude and noisy. I discovered several tumblers and plates with
the edges chipped, and made bitter reflections on the carelessness of
Irish servants; our crockery was going to destruction, along with the
rest. Then, on opening one of my paper-drawers, I found that Jennie's
one drawer of worsted had overflowed into two or three; Jennie was
growing careless; besides, worsted is dear, and girls knit away small
fortunes, without knowing it, on little duds that do nobody any good.
Moreover, Maggie had three times put my slippers into the hall-closet,
instead of leaving them where I wanted, under my study-table. Mrs.
Crowfield ought to look after things more; every servant, from end to
end of the house, was getting out of the traces; it was strange she did
not see it.

All this I vented, from time to time, in short, crusty sayings and
doings, as freely as if I hadn't just written an article on "Little
Foxes" in the last "Atlantic," till at length my eyes were opened on my
own state and condition.

It was evening, and I had just laid up the fire in the most approved
style of architecture, and, projecting my feet into my slippers, sat
spitefully cutting the leaves of a caustic review.

Mrs. Crowfield took the tongs and altered the disposition of a stick.

"My dear," I said, "I do wish you'd let the fire alone,--you always put
it out."

"I was merely admitting a little air between the sticks," said my wife.

"You always make matters worse, when you touch the fire."

As if in contradiction, a bright tongue of flame darted up between the
sticks, and the fire began chattering and snapping defiance at me. Now,
if there's anything which would provoke a saint, it is to be jeered and
snapped at in that way by a man's own fire. It's an unbearable
impertinence. I threw out my leg impatiently, and hit Rover, who yelped
a yelp that finished the upset of my nerves. I gave him a hearty kick,
that he might have something to yelp for, and in the movement upset
Jennie's embroidery-basket.

"Oh, papa!"

"Confound your baskets and balls! they are everywhere, so that a man
can't move; useless, wasteful things, too."

"Wasteful?" said Jennie, coloring indignantly; for if there's anything
Jennie piques herself upon, it's economy.

"Yes, wasteful,--wasting time and money both. Here are hundreds of
shivering poor to be clothed, and Christian females sit and do nothing
but crochet worsted into useless knicknacks. If they would be working
for the poor, there would be some sense in it. But it's all just alike,
no real Christianity in the world,--nothing but organized selfishness
and self-indulgence."

"My dear," said Mrs. Crowfield, "you are not well to-night. Things are
not quite so desperate as they appear. You haven't got over

"I am well. Never was better. But I can see, I hope, what's before my
eyes; and the fact is, Mrs. Crowfield, things must not go on as they are
going. There must be more care, more attention to details. There's
Maggie,--that girl never does what she is told. You are too slack with
her, Ma'am. She will light the fire with the last paper, and she won't
put my slippers in the right place; and I can't have my study made the
general catch-all and menagerie for Rover and Jennie, and her baskets
and balls, and for all the family litter."

Just at this moment I overheard a sort of aside from Jennie, who was
swelling with repressed indignation at my attack on her worsted. She sat
with her back to me, knitting energetically, and said, in a low, but
very decisive tone, as she twitched her yarn,--

"Now if _I_ should talk in that way, people would call me _cross_,--and
that's the whole of it."

I pretended to be looking into the fire in an absent-minded state; but
Jennie's words had started a new idea. Was _that_ it? Was that the whole
matter? Was it, then, a fact, that the house, the servants, Jennie and
her worsteds, Rover and Mrs. Crowfield, were all going on pretty much as
usual, and that the only difficulty was that I was _cross_? How many
times had I encouraged Rover to lie just where he was lying when I
kicked him! How many times, in better moods, had I complimented Jennie
on her neat little fancy-works, and declared that I liked the social
companionship of ladies' work-baskets among my papers! Yes, it was
clear. After all, things were much as they had been; only I was cross.

_Cross._ I put it to myself in that simple, old-fashioned word, instead
of saying that I was out of spirits, or nervous, or using any of the
other smooth phrases with which we good Christians cover up our little
sins of temper. "Here you are, Christopher," said I to myself, "a
literary man, with a somewhat delicate nervous organization and a
sensitive stomach, and you have been eating like a sailor or a
ploughman; you have been gallivanting and merry-making and playing the
boy for two weeks; up at all sorts of irregular hours, and into all
sorts of boyish performances; and the consequence is, that, like a
thoughtless young scapegrace, you have used up in ten days the capital
of nervous energy that was meant to last you ten weeks. You can't eat
your cake and have it too, Christopher. When the nervous-fluid source of
cheerfulness, giver of pleasant sensations and pleasant views, is all
spent, you can't feel cheerful; things cannot look as they did when you
were full of life and vigor. When the tide is out, there is nothing but
unsightly, ill-smelling tide-mud, and you can't help it; but you can
keep your senses,--you can know what is the matter with you,--you can
keep from visiting your overdose of Christmas mince-pies and candies and
jocularities on the heads of Mrs. Crowfield, Rover, and Jennie, whether
in the form of virulent morality, pungent criticisms, or a free kick,
such as you just gave the poor brute."

"Come here, Rover, poor dog!" said I, extending my hand to Rover, who
cowered at the farther corner of the room, eying me wistfully,--"come
here, you poor doggie, and make up with your master. There, there! Was
his master cross? Well, he knows it. We must forgive and forget, old
boy, mustn't we?" And Rover nearly broke his own back and tore me to
pieces with his tumultuous tail-waggings.

"As for you, puss," I said to Jennie, "I am much obliged to you for your
free suggestion. You must take my cynical moralities for what they are
worth, and put your little traps into as many of my drawers as you

In short, I made it up handsomely all around,--even apologizing to Mrs.
Crowfield, who, by the bye, has summered and wintered me so many years,
and knows all my airs and cuts and crinkles so well, that she took my
irritable unreasonable spirit as tranquilly as if I had been a baby
cutting a new tooth.

"Of course, Chris, I knew what the matter was; don't disturb yourself,"
she said, as I began my apology; "we understand each other. But there is
one thing I have to say; and that is, that your article ought to be

"Ah, well, then," said I, "like other great writers, I shall make
capital of my own sins, and treat of the second little family fox; and
his name is--"


Irritability is, more than most unlovely states, a sin of the flesh. It
is not, like envy, malice, spite, revenge, a vice which we may suppose
to belong equally to an embodied or a disembodied spirit. In fact, it
comes nearer to being physical depravity than anything I know of. There
are some bodily states, some conditions of the nerves, such that we
could not conceive of even an angelic spirit confined in a body thus
disordered as being able to do any more than simply endure. It is a
state of nervous torture; and the attacks which the wretched victim
makes on others are as much a result of disease as the snapping and
biting of a patient convulsed with hydrophobia.

Then, again, there are other people who go through life loving and
beloved, desired in every circle, held up in the church as examples of
the power of religion, who, after all, deserve no credit for these
things. Their spirits are lodged in an animal nature so tranquil, so
cheerful, all the sensations which come to them are so fresh and
vigorous and pleasant, that they cannot help viewing the world
charitably and seeing everything through a glorified medium. The
ill-temper of others does not provoke them; perplexing business never
sets their nerves to vibrating; and all their lives long they walk in
the serene sunshine of perfect animal health.

Look at Rover there. He is never nervous, never cross, never snaps or
snarls, and is ready, the moment after the grossest affront, to wag the
tail of forgiveness,--all because kind Nature has put his dog's body
together so that it always works harmoniously. If every person in the
world were gifted with a stomach and nerves like his, it would be a far
better and happier world, no doubt. The man said a good thing who made
the remark that the foundation of all intellectual and moral worth must
be laid in a good healthy animal.

Now I think it is undeniable that the peace and happiness of the
home-circle are very generally much invaded by the recurrence in its
members of these states of bodily irritability. Every person, if he
thinks the matter over, will see that his condition in life, the
character of his friends, his estimate of their virtues and failings,
his hopes and expectations, are all very much modified by these things.
Cannot we all remember going to bed as very ill-used, persecuted
individuals, all whose friends were unreasonable, whose life was full of
trials and crosses, and waking up on a bright bird-singing morning to
find all these illusions gone with the fogs of the night? Our friends
are nice people, after all; the little things that annoyed us look
ridiculous by bright sunshine; and we are fortunate individuals.

The philosophy of life, then, as far as this matter is concerned, must
consist of two things: first, to keep ourselves out of irritable bodily
states; and, second, to understand and control these states, when we
cannot ward them off.

Of course, the first of these is the most important; and yet, of all
things, it seems to be least looked into and understood. We find
abundant rules for the government of the tongue and temper; it is a
slough into which, John Bunyan hath it, cart-loads of wholesome
instructions have been thrown; but how to get and keep that healthy
state of brain, stomach, and nerves which takes away the temptation to
ill-temper and anger is a subject which moral and religious teachers
seem scarcely to touch upon.

Now, without running into technical, physiological language, it is
evident, as regards us human beings, that there is a power by which we
live and move and have our being,--by which the brain thinks and wills,
the stomach digests, the blood circulates, and all the different
provinces of the little man-kingdom do their work. This something--call
it nervous fluid, nervous power, vital energy, life-force, or anything
else that you will--is a perfectly understood, if not a definable thing.
It is plain, too, that people possess this force in very different
degrees: some generating it as a high-pressure engine does steam, and
using it constantly, with an apparently inexhaustible flow; and others
who have little, and spend it quickly. We have a common saying, that
this or that person is soon used up. Now most nervous, irritable states
of temper are the mere physical result of a used-up condition. The
person has overspent his nervous energy,--like a man who should eat up
on Monday the whole food which was to keep him for a week, and go
growling and faint through the other days; or the quantity of nervous
force which was wanted to carry on the whole system in all its parts is
seized on by some one monopolizing portion, and used up to the loss and
detriment of the rest, Thus, with men of letters, an exorbitant brain
expends on its own workings what belongs to the other offices of the
body: the stomach has nothing to carry on digestion; the secretions are
badly made; and the imperfectly assimilated nourishment, that is
conveyed to every little nerve and tissue, carries with it an acrid,
irritating quality, producing general restlessness and discomfort. So
men and women go struggling on through their three-score and ten years,
scarcely one in a thousand knowing through life that perfect balance of
parts, that appropriate harmony of energies, that make a healthy, kindly
animal condition, predisposing to cheerfulness and good-will.

We Americans are, to begin with, a nervous, excitable people. Multitudes
of children, probably the great majority in the upper walks of life, are
born into the world with weaknesses of the nervous organization, or of
the brain or stomach, which make them incapable of any strong excitement
or prolonged exertion without some lesion or derangement; so that they
are continually being checked, laid up, and invalided in the midst of
their drugs. Life here in America is so fervid, so fast, our climate is
so stimulating, with its clear, bright skies, its rapid and sudden
changes of temperature, that the tendencies to nervous disease are
constantly aggravated.

Under these circumstances, unless men and women make a conscience, a
religion, of saving and sparing something of themselves expressly for
home-life and home-consumption, it must follow that home will often be
merely a sort of refuge for us to creep into when we are used up and

Papa is up and off, after a hasty breakfast, and drives all day in his
business, putting into it all there is in him, letting it drink up brain
and nerve and body and soul, and coming home jaded and exhausted, so
that he cannot bear the cry of the baby, and the frolics and pattering
of the nursery seem horrid and needless confusion. The little ones say,
in their plain vernacular, "Papa is cross."

Mamma goes out to a party that keeps her up till one or two in the
morning, breathes bad air, eats indigestible food, and the next day is
so nervous that every straw and thread in her domestic path is

Papas that pursue business thus day after day, and mammas that go into
company, as it is called, night after night, what is there left in or of
them to make an agreeable fireside with, to brighten their home and
inspire their children?

True, the man says he cannot help himself,--business requires it. But
what is the need of rolling up money at the rate at which he is seeking
to do it? Why not have less, and take some time to enjoy his home, and
cheer up his wife, and form the minds of his children? Why spend himself
down to the last drop on the world, and give to the dearest friends he
has only the bitter dregs?

Much of the preaching which the pulpit and the Church have levelled at
fashionable amusements has failed of any effect at all, because wrongly
put. A cannonade has been opened upon dancing, for example, and all for
reasons that will not, in the least, bear looking into. It is vain to
talk of dancing as a sin because practised in a dying world where souls
are passing into eternity. If dancing is a sin for this reason, so is
playing marbles, or frolicking with one's children, or enjoying a good
dinner, or doing fifty other things which nobody ever dreamed of
objecting to.

If the preacher were to say that anything is a sin which uses up the
strength we need for daily duties, and leaves us fagged out and
irritable at just those times and in just those places when and where we
need most to be healthy, cheerful, and self-possessed, he would say a
thing that none of his hearers would dispute. If he should add, that
dancing-parties, beginning at ten o'clock at night and ending at four
o'clock in the morning, do use up the strength, weaken the nerves, and
leave a person wholly unfit for any home duty, he would also be saying
what very few people would deny; and then his case would be made out. If
he should say that it is wrong to breathe bad air and fill the stomach
with unwholesome dainties, so as to make one restless, ill-natured, and
irritable for days after, he would also say what few would deny, and his
preaching might have some hope of success.

The true manner of judging of the worth of amusements is to try them by
their effects on the nerves and spirits the day after. True amusement
ought to be, as the word indicates, recreation,--something that
refreshes, turns us out anew, rests the mind and body by change, and
gives cheerfulness and alacrity to our return to duty.

The true objection to all stimulants, alcoholic and narcotic, consists
simply in this,--that they are a form of overdraft on the nervous
energy, which helps us to use up in one hour the strength of whole days.

A man uses up all the fair, legal interest of nervous power by too much
business, too much care, or too much amusement. He has now a demand to
meet. He has a complicate account to make up, an essay or a sermon to
write, and he primes himself by a cup of coffee, a cigar, a glass of
spirits. This is exactly the procedure of a man who, having used the
interest of his money, begins to dip into the principal. The strength a
man gets in this way is just so much taken out of his life-blood; it is
borrowing of a merciless creditor, who will exact, in time, the pound of
flesh nearest his heart.

Much of the irritability which spoils home happiness is the letting-down
from the over-excitement of stimulus. Some will drink coffee, when they
own every day that it makes them nervous; some will drug themselves with
tobacco, and some with alcohol, and, for a few hours of extra
brightness, give themselves and their friends many hours when amiability
or agreeableness is quite out of the question. There are people calling
themselves Christians who live in miserable thraldom, forever in debt to
Nature, forever overdrawing on their just resources, and using up their
patrimony, because they have not the moral courage to break away from a
miserable appetite.

The same may be said of numberless indulgences of the palate, which tax
the stomach beyond its power, and bring on all the horrors of
indigestion. It is almost impossible for a confirmed dyspeptic to act
like a good Christian; but a good Christian ought not to become a
confirmed dyspeptic. Reasonable self-control, abstaining from all
unseasonable indulgence, may prevent or put an end to dyspepsia, and
many suffer and make their friends suffer only because they will persist
in eating what they know is hurtful to them.

But it is not merely in worldly business, or fashionable amusements, or
the gratification of appetite, that people are tempted to overdraw and
use up in advance their life-force. It is done in ways more insidious,
because connected with our moral and religious faculties. There are
religious exaltations beyond the regular pulse and beatings of ordinary
nature, that quite as surely gravitate downward into the mire of
irritability. The ascent to the third heaven lets even the Apostle down
to a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet him.

It is the temptation of natures in which the moral faculties predominate
to overdo in the outward expression and activities of religion till they
are used up and irritable, and have no strength left to set a good
example in domestic life.

The Reverend Mr. X. in the pulpit to-day appears with the face of an
angel; he soars away into those regions of exalted devotion where his
people can but faintly gaze after him; he tells them of the victory that
overcometh the world, of an unmoved faith that fears no evil, of a
serenity of love that no outward event can ruffle; and all look after
him and wonder, and wish they could so soar.

Alas! the exaltation which inspires these sublime conceptions, these
celestial ecstasies, is a double and treble draft on Nature,--and poor
Mrs. X. knows, when she hears him preaching, that days of miserable
reaction are before her. He has been a fortnight driving before a gale
of strong excitement, doing all the time twice or thrice as much as in
his ordinary state he could, and sustaining himself by the stimulus of
strong coffee. He has preached or exhorted every night, and conversed
with religious inquirers every day, seeming to himself to become
stronger and stronger, because every day more and more excitable and
excited. To his hearers, with his flushed sunken cheek and his
glittering eye, he looks like some spiritual being just trembling on his
flight for upper worlds; but to poor Mrs. X., whose husband he is,
things wear a very different aspect. Her woman and mother instincts tell
her that he is drawing on his life-capital with both hands, and that the
hours of a terrible settlement must come, and the days of darkness will
be many. He who spoke so beautifully of the peace of a soul made perfect
will not be able to bear the cry of his baby or the pattering feet of
any of the poor little Xs., who must be sent

    "Anywhere, anywhere,
    Out of his sight";

he who discoursed so devoutly of perfect trust in God will be nervous
about the butcher's bill, sure of going to ruin because both ends of the
salary don't meet; and he who could so admiringly tell of the silence of
Jesus under provocation will but too often speak unadvisedly with his
lips. Poor Mr. X. will be morally insane for days or weeks, and
absolutely incapable of preaching Christ in the way that is the most
effective, by setting Him forth in his own daily example.

What then? must we not do the work of the Lord?

Yes, certainly; but the first work of the Lord, that for which provision
is to be made in the first place, is to set a good example as a
Christian man. Better labor for years steadily, diligently, doing every
day only what the night's rest can repair, avoiding those cheating
stimulants that overtax Nature, and illustrating the sayings of the
pulpit by the daily life in the family, than to pass life in exaltations
and depressions.

The same principles apply to hearers as to preachers. Religious services
must be judged of like amusements, by their effect on the life. If an
overdose of prayers, hymns, and sermons leaves us tired, nervous, and
cross, it is only not quite as bad as an overdose of fashionable folly.

It could be wished that in every neighborhood there might be one or two
calm, sweet, daily services which should morning and evening unite for a
few solemn moments the hearts of all as in one family, and feed with a
constant, unnoticed daily supply the lamp of faith and love. Such are
some of the daily prayer-meetings which for eight or ten years past have
held their even tenor in some of our New England cities, and such the
morning and evening services which we are glad to see obtaining in the
Episcopal churches. Everything which brings religion into habitual
contact with life, and makes it part of a healthy, cheerful average
living, we hail as a sign of a better day. Nothing is so good for health
as daily devotion. It is the best soother of the nerves, the best
antidote to care; and we trust erelong that all Christian people will be
of one mind in this, and that neighborhoods will be families gathering
daily around one altar, praying not for themselves merely, but for each

The conclusion of the whole matter is this: Set apart some provision to
make merry with _at home_, and guard that reserve as religiously as the
priests guarded the shew-bread in the temple. However great you are,
however good, however wide the general interests that you may control,
you gain nothing by neglecting home-duties. You must leave enough of
yourself to be able to bear and forbear, give and forgive, and be a
source of life and cheerfulness around the hearthstone. The great sign
given by the Prophets of the coming of the Millennium is,--what do you
suppose?--"He shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and
the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the
earth with a curse."

Thus much on avoiding unhealthy, irritable states.

But it still remains that a large number of people will be subject to
them unavoidably for these reasons.

_First._ The use of tobacco, alcohol, and other kindred stimulants, for
so many generations, has vitiated the brain and nervous system, so that
it is not what it was in former times. Michelet treats of this subject
quite at large in some of his late works; and we have to face the fact
of a generation born with an impaired nervous organization, who will
need constant care and wisdom to avoid unhealthy, morbid irritation.

There is a temperament called the HYPOCHONDRIAC, to which many persons,
some of them the brightest, the most interesting, the most gifted, are
born heirs,--a want of balance of the nervous powers, which tends
constantly to periods of high excitement and of consequent
depression,--an unfortunate inheritance for the possessor, though
accompanied often with the greatest talents. Sometimes, too, it is the
unfortunate lot of those who have not talents, who bear its burdens and
its anguish without its rewards.

People of this temperament are subject to fits of gloom and despondency,
of nervous irritability and suffering, which darken the aspect of the
whole world to them, which present lying reports of their friends, of
themselves, of the circumstances of their life, and of all with which
they have to do.

Now the highest philosophy for persons thus afflicted is to understand
themselves and their tendencies, to know that these fits of gloom and
depression are just as much a form of disease as a fever or a toothache,
to know that it is the peculiarity of the disease to fill the mind with
wretched illusions, to make them seem miserable and unlovely to
themselves, to make their nearest friends seem unjust and unkind, to
make all events appear to be going wrong and tending to destruction and

The evils and burdens of such a temperament are half removed when a man
once knows that he has it and recognizes it for a disease, when he does
not trust himself to speak and act in those bitter hours as if there
were any truth in what he thinks and feels and sees. He who has not
attained to this wisdom overwhelms his friends and his family with the
waters of bitterness; he stings with unjust accusations, and makes his
fireside dreadful with fancies which are real to him, but false as the
ravings of fever.

A sensible person, thus diseased, who has found out what ails him, will
shut his mouth resolutely, not to give utterance to the dark thoughts
that infest his soul.

A lady of great brilliancy and wit, who was subject to these periods,
once said to me, "My dear Sir, there are times when I know I am
possessed of the Devil, and then I never let myself speak." And so this
wise woman carried her burden about with her in a determined, cheerful
reticence, leaving always the impression of a cheery, kindly temper,
when, if she had spoken out a tithe of what she thought and felt in her
morbid hours, she would have driven all her friends from her, and made
others as miserable as she was herself. She was a sunbeam, a life-giving
presence in every family, by the power of self-knowledge and

Such victories as this are the victories of real saints.

But if the victim of these glooms is once tempted to lift their heavy
load by the use of _any stimulus whatever_, he or she is a lost man or
woman. It is from this sad class more than any other that the vast army
of drunkards and opium-eaters is recruited. The hypochondriacs belong to
the class so well described by that brilliant specimen of them, Dr.
Johnson,--those who can practise ABSTINENCE, but not TEMPERANCE. They
cannot, they will not be moderate. Whatever stimulant they take for
relief will create an uncontrollable appetite, a burning passion. The
temperament itself lies in the direction of insanity. It needs the most
healthful, careful, even regime and management to keep it within the
bounds of soundness; but the introduction of stimulants deepens its
gloom almost to madness.

All parents, in the education of their children, should look out for and
understand the signs of this temperament. It appears in early childhood;
and a child inclined to fits of depression should be marked as a subject
of the most thoughtful, painstaking physical and moral training. All
over-excitement and stimulus should be carefully avoided, whether in the
way of study, amusement, or diet. Judicious education may do much to
mitigate the unavoidable pains and penalties of this most undesirable

The second class of persons who need wisdom in the control of their
moods is that large class whose unfortunate circumstances make it
impossible for them to avoid constantly overdoing and overdrawing upon
their nervous energies, and who therefore are always exhausted and worn
out. Poor souls, who labor daily under a burden too heavy for them, and
whose fretfulness and impatience are looked upon with sorrow, not anger,
by pitying angels. Poor mothers, with families of little children
clinging round them, and a baby that never lets them sleep; hard-working
men, whose utmost toil, day and night, scarcely keeps the wolf from the
door; and all the hard-laboring, heavy-laden, on whom the burdens of
life press far beyond their strength.

There are but two things we know of for these,--two only remedies for
the irritation that comes of these exhaustions: the habit of silence
towards men, and of speech towards God. The heart must utter itself or
burst; but let it learn to commune constantly and intimately with One
always present and always sympathizing. This is the great, the only
safeguard against fretfulness and complaint. Thus and thus only can
peace spring out of confusion, and the breaking chords of an overtaxed
nature be strung anew to a celestial harmony.


The popular lecture, in the Northern States of America, has become, in
Yankee parlance, "an institution"; and it has attained such prevalence
and power that it deserves more attention and more respect from those
who assume the control of the motive influences of society than it has
hitherto received. It has been the habit of certain literary men, (more
particularly of such as do not possess a gift for public speech,) and of
certain literary magazines, (managed by persons of delicate habit and
weak lungs,) to regard and to treat the popular lecture with a measure
of contempt. For the last fifteen years the downfall of what has been
popularly denominated "The Lecture System" has been confidently
predicted by those who, granting them the wisdom which they assume,
should have been so well acquainted with its nature and its adaptation
to a permanent popular want as to see that it must live and thrive until
something more practicable can be contrived to take its place. If
anything more interesting, cheaper, simpler, or more portable can be
found than a vigorous man, with a pleasant manner, good voice, and
something to say, then the popular lecture will certainly be superseded;
but the man who will invent this substitute is at present engaged on a
new order of architecture and the problem of perpetual motion, with such
prospect of full employment for the present as will give "the lecture
system" sufficient time to die gracefully. An institution which can
maintain its foothold in the popular regard throughout such a war as has
challenged the interest and taxed the energies of this nation during the
last three years is one which will not easily die; and the history of
the popular lecture proves, that, wherever it has been once established,
it retains its place through all changes of social material and all
phases of political and religious influence. Circumstances there may be
which will bring intermissions in its yearly operations; but no instance
can be found of its permanent relinquishment by a community which has
once enjoyed its privileges, and acquired a taste for the food and
inspiration which it furnishes.

An exposition of the character of the popular lecture, the machinery by
which it is supported, and the results which it aims at and
accomplishes, cannot be without interest to thoughtful readers.

What is the popular lecture in America? It will not help us in this
inquest to refer to a dictionary; for it is not necessary that the
performance which Americans call a lecture should be an instructive
discourse at all. A lecture before the Young Men's Associations and
lecture organizations of the country is any characteristic utterance of
any man who speaks in their employment. The word "lecture" covers
generally generically all the orations, declamations, dissertations,
exhortations, recitations, humorous extravaganzas, narratives of travel,
harangues, sermons, semi-sermons, demi-semi-sermons, and lectures
proper, which can be crowded into what is called "a course," but which
might be more properly called a bundle, the bundle depending for its
size upon the depth of the managerial purse. Ten or twelve lectures are
the usual number, although in some of the larger cities, beginning early
in "the lecture season," and ending late, the number given may reach

The machinery for the management and support of these lectures is as
simple as possible, the lecturers themselves having nothing to do with
it. There are library associations or lyceum associations, composed
principally of young men, in all the cities and large villages, which
institute and manage courses of lectures every winter, for the double
purpose of interesting and instructing the public and replenishing their
treasury. The latter object, it must be confessed, occupies the
principal place, although, as it depends for its attainment on the
success of the former, the public is as well served as if its
entertainment were alone consulted. In the smaller towns there are
usually temporary associations, organized for the simple purpose of
obtaining lecturers and managing the business incident to a course. Not
unfrequently, ten, twenty, or thirty men pledge themselves to make up
any deficiency there may be in the funds required for the season's
entertainments, and place the management in the hands of a committee.
Sometimes two or three persons call themselves a lecture-committee, and
employ lecturers, themselves risking the possible loss, and dividing
among themselves any profits which their course may produce. The
opposition or independent courses in the larger cities are often
instituted by such organizations,--sometimes, indeed, by a single
person, who has a natural turn for this sort of enterprise. The
invitations to lecturers are usually sent out months in advance, though
very few courses are definitely provided for and arranged before the
first of November. The fees of lecturers range from fifty to a hundred
dollars. A few uniformly command the latter sum, and lecture-committees
find it for their interest to employ them. It is to be presumed that the
universal rise of prices will change these figures somewhat.

The popular lecture is the most purely democratic of all our democratic
institutions. The people hear a second time only those who interest
them. If a lecturer cannot engage the interest of his audience, his fame
or greatness or learning will pass for nothing. A lecture-audience will
forgive extravagance, but never dulness. They will give a man one chance
to interest them, and if he fails, that is the last of him. The
lecture-committees understand this, and gauge the public taste or the
public humor as delicately as the most accomplished theatrical manager.
The man who receives their invitation may generally be certain that the
public wish either to see or hear him. Popularity is the test. Only
popularity after trial, or notoriety before, can draw houses. Only
popularity and notoriety can pay expenses and swell the balance of
profit. Notoriety in the various walks of life and the personal
influence of friends and admirers can usually secure a single hearing,
but no outside influence can keep a lecturer permanently in the field.
If the people "love to hear" him, he can lecture from Maine to
California six months in the year; if not, he cannot get so much as a
second invitation.

One of the noticeable features of the public humor in this matter is the
aversion to professional lecturers,--to those who make lecturing a
business, with no higher aim than that of getting a living. No calling
or profession can possibly be more legitimate than that of the lecturer;
there is nothing immodest or otherwise improper in the advertisement of
a man's literary wares; yet it is true, beyond dispute, that the public
do not regard with favor those who make lecturing their business,
particularly if they present themselves uninvited. So well is this
understood by this class of lecturers that a part of their machinery
consists of invitations numerously signed, which invitations are written
and circulated by themselves, their interested friends, or their
authorized agents, and published as their apology for appearing. A man
who has no other place in the world than that which he makes for himself
on the platform is never a popular favorite, unless he uses the platform
for the advocacy of some great philanthropic movement or reform, into
which he throws unselfishly the leading efforts of his life. Referring
to the history of the last twenty years, it will readily be seen that
those who have undertaken to make lecturing a business, without side
pursuit or superior aim, are either retired from the field or are very
low in the public favor. The public insist, that, in order to be an
acceptable lecturer, a man must be something else, that he must begin
and remain something else; and it will be found to-day that those only
who work worthily in other fields have a permanent hold upon the
affections of lecture-going people. It is the public judgment or caprice
that the work of the lecturer shall be incidental to some worthy
pursuit, from which that work temporarily calls him. There seems to be a
kind of coquetry in this. The public do not accept of those who are too
openly in the market or who are too easily won. They prefer to entice a
man from his chosen love, and account his favors sweeter because the
wedded favorite is deprived of them.

A lecturer's first invitation, in consonance with these facts, is almost
always suggested by his excellence or notoriety in some department of
life that may or may not be allied to the platform. If a man makes a
remarkable speech, he is very naturally invited to lecture; but he is no
more certain to be invited than he who wins a battle. A showman gets his
first invitation for the same reason that an author does,--because he is
notorious. Nearly all new men in the lecture-field are introduced
through the popular desire to see notorious or famous people. A man
whose name is on the popular tongue is a man whom the popular eye
desires to see. Such a man will always draw one audience; and a single
occasion is all that he is engaged for. After getting a place upon the
platform, it is for him to prove his power to hold it. If he does not
lecture as well as he writes, or fights, or walks, or lifts, or leaps,
or hunts lions, or manages an exhibition, or plays a French horn, or
does anything which has made him a desirable man for curious people to
see, then he makes way for the next notoriety. Very few courses of
lectures are delivered in the cities and larger villages that do not
present at least one new man, who is invited simply because people are
curious to see him. The popular desire is strong to come in some way
into personal contact with those who do remarkable things. They cannot
be chased in the street; they can be seen only to a limited extent in
the drawing-room; but it is easy to pay twenty-five cents to hear them
lecture, with the privilege of looking at them for an hour and
criticizing them for a week.

It is a noteworthy fact, in this connection, that, while there are
thousands of cultivated men who would esteem it a privilege to lecture
for the lecturer's usual fee, there are hardly more than twenty-five in
the country whom the public considers it a privilege worth paying for to
hear. It is astonishing, that, in a country so fertile as this in the
production of gifted and cultivated men, so few find it possible to
establish themselves upon the platform as popular favorites. If the
accepted ones were in a number of obvious particulars alike, there could
be some intelligent generalizing upon the subject; but men possessing
fewer points of resemblance, or presenting stronger contrasts, in style
of person and performance, than the established favorites of
lecture-going people, cannot be found in the world; and if any
generalization be attempted, it must relate to matters below the surface
and beyond the common apprehension. It is certain that not always the
greatest or the most brilliant or the most accomplished men are to be
found among the popular lecturers. A man may make a great, even a
brilliant speech on an important public question, and be utterly dreary
in the lecture-room. There are multitudes of eloquent clergymen who in
their pulpits command the attention of immense congregations, yet who
meet with no acknowledgment of power upon the platform.

In a survey of those who are the established favorites, it will be found
that there are no slaves among them. The people will not accept those
who are creed-bound, or those who bow to any authority but God and
themselves. They insist that those who address them shall be absolutely
free, and that they shall speak only for themselves. Party and sectarian
spokesmen find no permanent place upon the platform. It is only when a
lecturer cuts loose from all his conventional belongings, and speaks
with thought and tongue unfettered, that he finds his way to the popular
heart. This freedom has sometimes been considered dangerous by the more
conservative members of society; and they have not unfrequently managed
to get the lectures into their own hands, or to organize courses
representing more moderate views in matters of society, politics, and
religion; but their efforts have uniformly proved failures. The people
have always refused to support lectures which brought before them the
bondmen of creeds and parties. Year after year men have been invited to
address audiences three fourths of whom disagreed utterly with the
sentiments and opinions which it was well understood such men would
present, simply because they were free men, with minds of their own and
tongues that would speak those minds or be dumb. Names could be
mentioned of those who for the last fifteen years have been established
favorites in communities which listened to them respectfully, nay,
applauded them warmly, and then abused them for the remainder of the

It is not enough, however, that a lecturer be free. He must have
something fresh to say, or a fresh and attractive way of saying that
which is not altogether new. Individuality, and a certain personal
quality which, for lack of a better name, is called magnetism, are also
essential to the popular lecturer. People desire to be moved, to be
acted upon by a strong and positive nature. They like to be furnished
with fresh ideas, or with old ideas put into a fresh and practical form,
so that they can be readily apprehended and appropriated.

And here comes the grand difficulty which every lecturer encounters, and
over which so many stumble into failure,--that of interesting and
refreshing men and women of education and culture, and, at the same
time, of pleasing, moving, and instructing those of feebler acquirements
or no acquirements at all. Most men of fine powers fail before a popular
audience, because they do not fully apprehend the thing to be done. They
almost invariably write above the level of one half of their audience,
and below the level of the other half. In either event, they fail, and
have the mortification of seeing others of inferior gifts succeed
through a nicer adaptation of their literary wares to the wants of the
market. Much depends upon the choice of a subject. If that be selected
from those which touch universal interests and address common motives,
half the work is done. A clear, simple, direct style of composition, apt
illustration, (and the power of this is marvellous,) and a distinct and
pleasant delivery, will do much to complete the success.

It is about equally painful and amusing to witness the efforts which
some men make to write down to the supposed capacity of a popular
audience. The puerilities and buffooneries that are sometimes undertaken
by these men, for the purpose of conciliating the crowd, certainly amuse
the crowd, and so answer their end, though not in a way to bring
reputation to the actors. No greater mistake can possibly be made than
that of regarding an American lecture-going audience with contempt.
There is no literary tribunal in this country that can more readily and
justly decide whether a man has anything to say, and can say it well,
than a lecture-audience in one of the smaller cities and larger
villages of the Northern States. It is quite common to suppose that a
Western audience demands a lower grade of literary effort, and a rougher
style of speech, than an Eastern audience. Indeed, there are those who
suppose that a lecture which would fully meet the demands of an average
Eastern audience would be beyond the comprehension of an average Western
audience; but the lecturer who shall accept any such assumption as this
will find himself very unpleasantly mistaken. At the West, the lecture
is both popular and fashionable, and the best people attend it. A
lecturer may always be certain, then, that the best he can do will be
thoroughly appreciated. The West is not particularly tolerant of dull
men; but if a man be alive, he will find a market there for the best
thought he produces.

In the larger cities of the East, the opera, the play, the frequent
concert, the exhibition, the club-house, the social assembly, and a
variety of public gatherings and public excitements, take from the
lecture-audiences the class that furnishes the best material in the
smaller cities; so that a lecturer rarely or never sees his best
audiences in New York, or Boston, or Philadelphia.

Another requisite to popularity upon the platform is earnestness. Those
who imagine that a permanent hold upon the people can be obtained by
amusing them are widely mistaken. The popular lecture has fallen into
disrepute with many worthy persons in consequence of the admission of
buffoons and triflers to the lecturer's platform; and it is an evil
which ought to be remedied. It is an evil, indeed, which is slowly
working its own remedy. It is a disgraceful fact, that, in order to draw
together crowds of people, men have been admitted to the platform whose
notoriety was won by the grossest of literary charlatanism,--men whose
only hold upon the public was gained by extravagances of thought and
expression which would compromise the dignity and destroy the
self-respect of any man of character and common sense. It is not enough
that these persons quickly disgust their audiences, and have a brief
life upon the list. They ought never to be introduced to the public as
lecturers; and any momentary augmentation of receipts that may be
secured from the rabble by the patronage of such mountebanks is more
than lost by the disgrace they bring and the damage they do to what is
called "The Lecture System." It is an insult to any lyceum-audience to
suppose that it can have a strong and permanent interest in a trifler;
and it is a gross injustice to every respectable lecturer in the field
to introduce into his guild men who have no better motive and no higher
mission than the stage-clown and the negro-minstrel.

But the career of triflers is always short. Only he who feels that he
has something to do in making the world wiser and better, and who, in a
bold and manly way, tries persistently to do it, is always welcome; and
this fact--an incontrovertible one--is a sufficient vindication of the
popular lecture from all the aspersions that have been cast upon it by
disappointed aspirants for its honors, and shallow observers of its
tendencies and results.

The choice of a subject has already been spoken of as a matter of
importance, and a word should be said touching its manner of treatment.
This introduces a discussion of the kind of lecture which at the present
time is mainly in demand. Many wise and good men have questioned the
character of the popular lecture. In their view, it does not add
sufficiently to the stock of popular knowledge. The results are not
solid and tangible. They would prefer scientific, or historical, or
philosophical discourses. This conviction is so strong with these men,
and the men themselves are so much respected, that the people are
inclined to coincide with them in the matter of theory, while at the
same time they refuse to give their theory practical entertainment. One
reason why scientific and historical lectures are not popular is to be
found in the difficulty of obtaining lecturers who have sufficient
ingenuity and enthusiasm to make such lectures interesting. The number
of men in the United States who can make such lectures attractive to
popular audiences can be counted on the fingers of a single hand. We
have had but one universally popular lecturer on astronomy in twenty
years, and he is now numbered among the precious sacrifices of the war.
There is only one entirely acceptable popular lecturer on the natural
sciences in New England; and what is he among so many?

But this class of lectures has not been widely successful, even under
the most favorable circumstances, and with the very best lecturers; and
it is to be observed, that they grow less successful with the increasing
intelligence of the people. In this fact is to be found an entirely
rational and competent explanation of their failure. The schools have
done so much toward popularizing science, and the circulating-library
has rendered so familiar the prominent facts of history, that men and
women do not go to the lecture to learn, and, as far as any appreciably
practical benefit is concerned, do not need to go. It is only when some
eminent enthusiast in these walks of learning consents to address them
that they come out, and then it is rather to place themselves under the
influence of his personality than to acquire the knowledge which he
dispenses. Facts, if they are identified in any special way with the
experience and life of the lecturer, are always acceptable; but facts
which are recorded in books find a poor market in the popular
lecture-room. Thus, while purely historical and scientific lectures are
entirely neglected, narratives of personal travel, which, combine much
of historical and scientific interest, have been quite popular, and,
indeed, have been the specialties of more than one of the most popular
of American lecturers, whose names will be suggested at once by this

Twenty years ago the first popular lectures on anatomy and physiology
were given, and a corps of lecturers came up and swept over the whole
country, with much of interest and instruction to the people and no
small profit to themselves. These lectures called the attention of
educators to these sciences. Text-books for schools and colleges were
prepared, and anatomy and physiology became common studies for the
young. In various ways, through school-books and magazines and
newspapers, there has accumulated a stock of popular knowledge of these
sciences, and an apprehension of the limit of their practical
usefulness, which have quite destroyed the demand for lectures upon
them. Though a new generation has risen since the lecture on anatomy and
physiology was the rage, no leaner field could possibly be found than
that which the country now presents to the popular lecturer on these
sciences. These facts are interesting in themselves, and they serve to
illustrate the truth of that which has been stated touching lectures
upon general historical and scientific subjects.

For facts alone the modern American public does not go hungry. American
life is crowded with facts, to which the newspaper gives daily record
and diffusion. Ideas, motives, thoughts, these are always in demand. Men
wish for nothing more than to know how to classify their facts, what to
do with them, how to govern them, and how far to be governed by them;
and the man who takes the facts with which the popular life has come
into contact and association, and draws from them their nutritive and
motive power, and points out their relations to individual and universal
good, and organizes around them the popular thought, and uses them to
give direction to the popular life, and does all this with masterly
skill, is the man whose houses are never large enough to contain those
who throng to hear him. This is the popular lecturer, _par excellence_.
The people have an earnest desire to know what a strong, independent,
free man has to say about those facts which touch the experience, the
direction, and the duty of their daily life; and the lecturer who with
a hearty human sympathy addresses himself to this desire, and enters
upon the service with genuine enthusiasm, wins the highest reward there
is to be won in his field of effort.

The more ill-natured critics of the popular lecturer have reflected with
ridicule upon his habit of repetition, A lecturer in full employment
will deliver the same discourse perhaps fifty or a hundred times in a
single season. There are probably half a dozen favorite lectures which
have been delivered from two hundred to five hundred times within the
last fifteen years. It does, indeed, at first glance, seem ridiculous
for a man to stand, night after night, and deliver the same words, with
the original enthusiasm apparently at its full height; and some
lecturers, with an extra spice of mirthfulness in their composition,
have given public record of their impressions in this respect. There
are, however, certain facts to be considered which at least relieve him
from the charge of literary sterility. A lecture often becomes famous,
and is demanded by each succeeding audience, whatever the lecturer's
preferences may be. There are lectures called for every year by
audiences and committees which the lecturer would be glad never to see
again, and which he never would see again, if he were to consult his own
judgment alone. Then the popular lecturer, as has been already
intimated, is usually engaged during two thirds of the year in some
business or profession whose duties forbid the worthy preparation of
more than one discourse for winter use. Then, if he has numerous
engagements, he has neither time nor strength to do more than his
nightly work; for, among all the pursuits in which literary men engage,
none is more exhaustive in its demands upon the nervous energy than that
of constant lecturing. The fulfilment of from seventy-five to ninety
engagements involves, in round numbers, ten thousand miles of
railroad-travel, much of it in the night, and all of it during the most
unpleasant season of the year. There is probably nothing short of a
military campaign that is attended by so many discomforts and genuine
hardships as a season of active lecturing. Unless a man be young and
endowed with an extraordinary amount of vital power, he becomes entirely
unfitted by his nightly work, and the dissipation consequent upon
constant change of scene, for consecutive thought and elaborate

It is fortunate for the lecturer that there is no necessity for variety.
The oft-repeated lecture is new to each new audience, and, being
thoroughly in hand, and entirely familiar, is delivered with better
effect than if the speaker were frequently choosing from a
well-furnished repertory. It is popularly supposed that a lecturer loses
all interest in a performance which he repeats so many times. This
supposition is correct, in certain aspects of the matter, but not in any
sense which detracts from his power to make it interesting to others. It
is the general experience of lecturers, that, until they have delivered
a discourse from ten to twenty times, they are themselves unable to
measure its power; so that a performance which is offered at first
timidly and with many doubts comes at length to be delivered
confidently, and with measurable certainty of acceptance and success.
The grand interest of a lecturer is in his new audience, in his
experiment on an assembly of fresh minds. The lecture itself is regarded
only as an instrument by which a desirable and important result is to be
achieved; and familiarity with it, and steady use in its elocutionary
handling, are conditions of the best success. Having selected the
subject which, at the time, and for the times, he considers freshest and
most fruitful, and with thorough care written out all he has to say upon
it, there is no call for recurrence to minor themes, either as regards
the credit of the lecturer or the best interests of those whom he

What good has the popular lecture accomplished? Its most enthusiastic
advocates will not assert that it has added greatly to the stock of
popular knowledge, in science or art, in history, philosophy, or
literature; yet the most modest of them may claim that it has bestowed
upon American society a permanent good of incalculable value. The
relentless foe of all bigotry in politics and religion, the constant
opponent of every form of bondage to party and sect, the practical
teacher of the broadest toleration of individual opinion, it has had
more to do with the steady melioration of the prejudices growing out of
denominational interests in Church and State than any other agency
whatever. The platform of the lecture-hall has been common ground for
the representatives of all our social, political, and religious
organizations. It is there that orthodox and heterodox, progressive and
conservative, have won respect for themselves and toleration for their
opinions by the demonstration of their own manhood, and the recognition
of the common human brotherhood; for one has only to prove himself a
true man, and to show a universal sympathy with men, to secure popular
toleration for any opinion he may hold. Hardly a decade has passed away
since, in nearly every Northern State, men suffered social depreciation
in consequence of their political and religious opinions. Party and
sectarian names have been freely used as reproachful and even as
disgraceful epithets. To call a man by the name which he had chosen as
the representative of his political or religious opinions was considered
equivalent to calling him a knave or a fool; and if it happened that he
was in the minority, his name alone was regarded as the stamp of social
degradation. Now, thanks to the influence of the popular lecture mainly,
men have made, and are rapidly making, room for each other. A man may be
in the minority now without consequently being in personal disgrace. Men
of liberal and even latitudinarian views are generously received in
orthodox communities, and those of orthodox faith are gladly welcomed by
men who subscribe to a shorter creed and bear a broader charter of life
and liberty. There certainly has never been a time in the history of
America when there was such generous and general toleration of all men
and all opinions as now; and as the popular lecture has been universal,
with a determined aim and a manifest influence toward this end, it is
but fair to claim for it a prominent agency in the result.

Another good which may be counted among the fruits of the popular
lecture is the education of the public taste in intellectual amusements.
The end which the lecture-goer seeks is not always improvement, in any
respect. Multitudes of men and women have attended the lecture to be
interested, and to be interested intellectually is to be intellectually
amused. Lecturers who have appealed simply to the emotional nature,
without attempting to engage the intellect, have ceased to be popular
favorites. So far as the popular lecture has taken hold of the
affections of a community, and secured its constant support, it has
destroyed the desire for all amusements of a lower grade; and it will be
found, that, generally, those who attend the lecture rarely or never
give their patronage and presence to the buffooneries of the day. They
have found something better,--something with more of flavor in the
eating, with more of nutriment in the digestion. How great a good this
is those only can judge who realize that men will have amusements of
some sort, and that, if they cannot obtain such as will elevate them,
they will indulge in such as are frivolous and dissipating. The lecture
does quite as much for elevated amusement out of the hall as in it. The
quickening social influence of an excellent lecture, particularly in a
community where life flows sluggishly and all are absorbed in manual
labor, is as remarkable as it is beneficent. The lecture and the
lecturer are the common topics of discussion for a week, and the
conversation which is so apt to cling to health and the weather is
raised above the level of commonplace.

Notwithstanding the fact that a moiety, or a majority, of the popular
lecturers are clergymen, the lecture has not always received the favor
of the cloth. Indeed, there has often been private and sometimes public
complaint on the part of preachers, that the finished productions of the
lecturer, the results of long and patient elaboration, rendered doubly
attractive by a style of delivery to be won only by frequent repetition
of the same discourse, have brought the hastily prepared and plainly
presented Sunday sermon into an unjust and damaging comparison. The
complaint is a strange one, particularly as no one has ever claimed that
the highest style of eloquence or the most remarkable models of rhetoric
are to be found in the lecture-hall. There has, at least, been no
general conviction that a standard of excellence in English and its
utterance has been maintained there too high for the comfort and credit
of the pulpit. It is possible, therefore, that the pulpit betrays its
weak point, and needs the comparison which it deprecates. A man of
brains will gratefully receive suggestions from any quarter. That
impulses to a more familiar and direct style of sermonizing, a brighter
and better elocution, and a bolder utterance of personal convictions,
have come to the pulpit from the platform, there is no question. This
feeling on the part of preachers is by no means universal, however; for
some of them have long regarded the lecture with contempt, and have
sometimes resented it as an impertinence. And it may be (for there shall
be no quarrel in the matter) that lecturers are quacks, and that
lectures, like homoeopathic remedies, are very contemptible things; but
they have pleasantly modified the doses of the old practice, however
slow the doctors are to confess it; and so much, at least, may be
counted among the beneficent results of the system under discussion.

Last in the brief enumeration of the benefits of the popular lecture, it
has been the devoted, consistent, never tiring champion of universal
liberty. If the popular lecturer has not been a power in this nation for
the overthrow of American Slavery,--for its overthrow in the
conscientious convictions and the legal and conventional fastnesses of
the nation,--then have the friends of oppression grossly lied; for none
have received their malicious and angry objurgations more unsparingly
than our plain-speaking gentleman who makes his yearly circuit among the
lyceums. No champion of slavery, no advocate of privilege, no apologist
for systematized and legalized wrong has ever been able to establish
himself as a popular lecturer. The people may listen respectfully to
such a man once; but, having heard him, they drop him forever. In truth,
a man cannot be a popular lecturer who does not plant himself upon the
eternal principles of justice. He must be a democrat, a believer in and
an advocate of the equal rights of men. A slavery-loving,
slavery-upholding lecturer would be just as much of an anomaly as a
slavery-loving and slavery-singing poet. The taint so vitiates the whole
æsthetic nature, so poisons the moral sense, so palsies the finer
powers, so destroys all true sympathy with universal humanity, that the
composition of an acceptable lecture becomes impossible to the man who
bears it. The popular lecture, as it has been described in this article,
has never existed at the South, and could not be tolerated there. Until
within three years it has never found opportunity for utterance in the
capital of the nation; but where liberty goes, it makes its way, and
helps to break the way for liberty everywhere.

It is a noteworthy fact, that the popular lecturer, though the devoted
advocate of freedom to the slave, has rarely been regarded as either a
trustworthy or an important man in the party which has represented his
principles in this country. He has always been too free to be a
partisan, too radical and intractable for a party seeking power or
striving to preserve it. No party of any considerable magnitude has ever
regarded him as its expositor. A thousand times have party-speakers and
party-organs, professing principles identical with his own, washed their
hands of all responsibility for his utterances. Even now, when the
sound of falling shackles is in the air, and the smoke of the torment of
the oppressor fills the sky, old partisans of freedom cannot quite
forget their stupid and hackneyed animosities, but still bemoan the
baleful influence of this fiery itinerant. Representative of none but
himself, disowned or hated by all parties, acknowledging responsibility
to God and his own conscience only, he has done his work, and done it
well,--done it amid careful questionings and careless curses,--done it,
and been royally paid for it, when speakers who fairly represented the
political and religious prejudices of the people could not have called
around them a baker's dozen, with tickets at half-price or at no price
at all.

When the cloud which now envelops the country shall gather up its
sulphurous folds and roll away, tinted in its retiring by the smile of
God beaming from a calm sky upon a nation redeemed to freedom and
justice, and the historian, in the light of that smile, shall trace home
to their fountains the streams of influence and power which will then
join to form the river of the national life, he will find one, starting
far inland among the mountains, longer than the rest and mightier than
most, and will recognize it as the confluent outpouring of living,
Christian speech, from ten thousand lecture-platforms, on which free men
stood and vindicated the right of man to freedom.


    Meridian moments! grandly given
    To cheer the warrior's soul from heaven!
    God's ancient boon, vouchsafed to those
    Who battle long with Freedom's foes,--
    Oh, what in life can claim the power
    To match with that divinest hour?

    I see the avenging angel wave
    His banner o'er the embattled brave;
    I hear above Hate's trumpet-blare
    The shout that rends the smoking air,
    And then I know at whose command
    The victor sweeps the Rebel land!

    Enduring Valor lifts his head
    To count the flying and the dead;
    Returning Virtue still maintains
    The right to break unhallowed chains;
    While sacred Justice, born of God,
    Walks regnant o'er the bleeding sod.


The hostility of foreign governments to the United States is due as much
at least to dread of their growing power as dislike of their democracy;
and accordingly the theory of the Secessionists as to the character of
our Union has been as acceptable to the understandings of our foreign
enemies as the acts of the Rebels against its government have been
pleasing to their sympathies. They well know that a union of States
whose government recognized the right of Secession would be as weak as
an ordinary league between independent sovereignties; and as the rapid
growth of the States in population, wealth, and power is certain, they
naturally desire, that, if united, these States shall be an aggregation
of forces, neutralizing each other, rather than a fusion of forces,
which, for general purposes, would make them a giant nationality.
Accordingly, centralized France reads to us edifying homilies on the
advantages of disintegration; and England, rich with the spoils of
suppressed insurrections, adjures us most plaintively to respect the
sacred rights of rebellion. The simple explanation of this hypocrisy or
irony is, that both France and England are anxious that the strength of
the United States shall not correspond to their bulk. The looser the tie
of union, the greater the number of confederacies into which the nation
should split, the safer they would feel. The doctrine of the inherent
and undivided sovereignty of the States will therefore find resolute
champions abroad as long as it has the most inconsiderable faction to
support it at home.

The European nations are kept in order by what is called the Balance of
Power, and this policy they would delight to see established on this
continent. Should the different States of the American Union be
occupied, like the European states, in checking each other, they could
not act as a unit, and their terrific rate of growth in wealth and
population, as compared with that of the nations across the Atlantic,
would not excite in the latter such irritation and alarm. The magic
which has changed English abolitionists into partisans of slaveholders,
and French imperialists into champions of insurrection, came from the
figures of the Census Reports. It is calculated that the United States,
if the rate of growth which obtained between 1850 and 1860 is continued,
will have, forty years hence, a hundred millions of inhabitants, and
four hundred and twenty thousand millions of dollars of taxable
wealth,--over three times the present population, and over ten times the
present wealth, of the richest of European nations. It is probable that
this concrete fact exerts more influence on the long-headed statesmen of
Europe than any abstract dislike of democracy. The only union which they
could bring against such a power would be a league, a confederacy, a
continuous and subsisting treaty, between sovereign powers. Is it
surprising that they should wish our union to be of the same character?
Is it surprising that the contemplation of a government, whether
despotic or democratic, which could act directly on a hundred millions
of people, with the supreme right of taxing property to the amount of
four hundred and twenty billions of dollars, should fill them with

The inherent weakness of a league, even when its general object is such
as to influence the passions of the nations which compose it, is well
known to all European statesmen. The various alliances against France
show the insuperable difficulties in the way of giving to confederacies
of sovereign states a unity and efficiency corresponding to their
aggregate strength, and the necessity which the leaders of such
alliances are always under of expending half their skill and energy in
preventing the loosely compacted league from falling to pieces. The
alliance under the lead of William III. barely sustained itself against
Louis XIV., though William was the ablest statesman in Europe, and had
been trained in the tactics of confederacies from his cradle. The
alliance under the lead of Marlborough owed its measure of success to
his infinite address and miraculous patience as much as to his
consummate military genius; and the ignominious "secession" of England,
in the treaty of Utrecht, ended in making it one of the most conspicuous
examples of the weakness of such combinations. When the exceptional
military genius, as in the case of Frederick and Napoleon, has been on
the side of the single power assailed, the results have been all the
more remarkable. The coalition against Frederick, the ruler of five
millions of people, was composed of sovereigns who ruled a hundred
millions; and at the end of seven years of war they had not succeeded in
wringing permanently from his grasp a square mile of territory. The
first coalitions against Napoleon resulted only in making him the master
of Europe; and he was crushed at last merely by the dead weight of the
nations which the senselessness of his political passions brought down
upon his empire. Indeed, the trouble with all leagues is, that they are
commanded, more or less, by debating-societies; and a debating-society
is weak before a man. The Southern Confederacy is a confederacy only in
name; for no despotism in Europe or Asia has more relentless unity of
purpose, and in none does debate exercise less control over executive
affairs. All the powers of the government are practically absorbed in
Jefferson Davis, and a rebellion in the name of State Rights has ended
in a military autocracy, in which all rights, personal and State, are

Now, as it is impossible for European governments to combine efficiently
against such a colossal power as the United States promise within a few
generations to be, provided the unity of the nation is preserved with
its growth, they naturally favor every element of disintegration which
will reduce the separate States to the condition of European states.
Earl Russell's famous saying, that "the North is fighting for power, the
South for independence," is to be interpreted in this sense. What he
overlooked was the striking fact which distinguishes the States of the
American Republic from the states of Europe. The latter are generally
separated by race and nationality, or, where composed of heterogeneous
materials, are held together by military power. The people of the United
States are homogeneous, and rapidly assimilate into American citizens
the foreigners they so cordially welcome. No man has lifted his hand
against the government as an Irishman, a Frenchman, a German, an
Italian, a Dane, but only as a slaveholder, or as a citizen of a State
controlled by slaveholders. The insurrection was started in the interest
of an institution, and not of a race. To compare such a rebellion with
European rebellions is to confuse things essentially distinct. The
American government is so constituted that nobody has an interest in
overturning it, unless his interest is opposed to that of the mass of
the citizens with whom he is place on an equality; and hence his treason
is necessarily a revolt against the principle of equal rights. In
Europe, it is needless to say, every rebellion with which an American
can sympathise is a rebellion in favor of the principle against which
the slaveholders' rebellion is an armed protest. An insurrection in
Russia to restore serfdom, an insurrection in Italy to restore the
dethroned despots, an insurrection in England to restore the Stuart
system of kingly government, an insurrection anywhere to restore what
the progress of civilization had made contemptible or accursed, would be
the only fit parallel to the insurrection of the Southern Confederates.
The North is fighting for power which is its due, because it is just and
right; the South is fighting for independence, in order to remove all
checks on its purpose to oppress and enslave. The fact that the power
for which the North fights is a very different thing from the power
which a European monarchy struggles to preserve and extend, the fact
that it is the kind of power which oppressed nationalities seek in their
efforts for independence, only makes our foreign critics more
apprehensive of its effects. It is a dangerous power to them, because,
founded in the consent of the people, there is no limit to its possible
extension, except in the madness or guilt of that portion of the people
who are restive under the restraints of justice and impatient under the
rule of freedom.

It would be doing cruel wrong to Earl Russell's intelligence to suppose
that he really believed what he said, when he drew a parallel between
the American Revolution and the Rebellion of the Confederate States, and
asserted that the right of the Southern States to secede from the
American Union was identical with the right of the Colonies to sever
their connection with Great Britain. We believe the Colonies were right
in their revolt. But if the circumstances had been different,--if since
the reign of William III. they had nominated or controlled almost every
Prime Minister, had shaped the policy of the British Empire, had enjoyed
not only a representation in Parliament, but in the basis of
representation had been favored with a special discrimination in their
favor against Kent and Yorkshire,--if both in the House of Lords and the
House of Commons they had not only been dominant, but had treated the
Bentincks, Cavendishes, and Russells, the Montagus, Walpoles, and Pitts,
with overbearing insolence,--and if, after wielding power so long and so
arrogantly, they had rebelled at the first turn in political affairs
which seemed to indicate that they were to be reduced from a position of
superiority to one of equality,--if our forefathers had acted after this
wild fashion, we should not only think that the Revolution they achieved
was altogether unjustifiable, but we should blush at the thought of
being descended from such despot-demagogues. This is a very feeble
statement of the case which would connect the Revolt of the American
Colonies with the Revolt of the American Liberticides; and Earl Russell
is too well-informed a statesman not to know that his parallel fails in
every essential particular. He threw it out, as he threw out his
sounding antithesis about "power" and "independence," to catch ears not
specially blessed with brains between them.

But European statesmen, in order to promote the causes of American
dissensions, are willing not only to hazard fallacies which do not
impose on their own understandings, but to give aid and comfort to
iniquities which in Europe have long been antiquated. They thus tolerate
chattel slavery, not because they sympathize with it, but because it is
an element of disturbance in the growth of American power. Though it has
for centuries been outgrown by the nations of Western Europe, and is
repugnant to all their ideas and sentiments, they are willing to give it
their moral support, provided it will break up the union of the people
of the States, or remain as a constantly operating cause of enmity
between the sections of a reconstructed Union. They would tolerate
Mormonism or Atheism or Diabolism, if they thought it would have a
similar effect; but at the same time they would not themselves legalize
polygamy, or deny the existence of God, or inaugurate the worship of the
Devil. Indeed, while giving slavery a politic sanction, they despise in
their hearts the people who are so barbarous as to maintain such an
institution; and the Southern rebel or Northern demagogue who thinks his
championship of slavery really earns him any European respect is under
that kind of delusion which it is always for the interest of the plotter
to cultivate in the tool. It was common, a few years ago, to represent
the Abolitionist as the dupe or agent of the aristocracies of Europe. It
certainly might be supposed that persons who made this foolish charge
were competent at least to see that the present enemy of the unity of
the American people is the pro-slavery fanatic, and that it is on his
knavery or stupidity that the ill-wishers to American unity now chiefly

For the war has compelled these ill-wishers to modify their most
cherished theory of democracy in the United States. They thought that
the marvellous energy for military combination, developed by a democracy
suddenly emancipated from oppression, such as was presented by the
French people in the Revolution of 1789, was not the characteristic of a
democracy which had grown up under democratic institutions. The first
was anarchy _plus_ the dictator; the second was merely "anarchy _plus_
the constable." They had an obstinate prepossession, that, in a settled
democracy like ours, the selfishness of the individual was so stimulated
that he became incapable of self-sacrifice for the public good. The ease
with which the government of the United States has raised men by the
million and money by the billion has overturned this theory, and shown
that a republic, of which individual liberty and general equality form
the animating principles, can still rapidly avail itself of the property
and personal service of all the individuals who compose it, and that
self-seeking is not more characteristic of a democracy in time of peace
than self-sacrifice is characteristic of the same democracy in time of
war. The overwhelming and apparently unlimited power of a government
thus _of_ the people and _for_ the people is what the war has
demonstrated, and it very naturally excites the fear and jealousy of
governments which are based on less firm foundations in the popular mind
and heart and will.

It is doubtless true that many candid foreign thinkers favor the
disintegration of the American Union because they believe that the
consolidation of its power would make it the meddlesome tyrant of the
world. They admit that the enterprise, skill, and labor of the people,
applied to the unbounded undeveloped resources of the country, will
enable them to create wealth very much faster than other nations, and
that the population, fed by continual streams of immigration, will also
increase with a corresponding rapidity. They admit, that, if kept
united, a few generations will be sufficient to make them the richest,
largest, and most powerful nation in the world. But they also fear that
this nation will be an armed and aggressive democracy, deficient in
public reason and public conscience, disposed to push unjust claims with
insolent pertinacity, and impelled by a spirit of propagandism which
will continually disturb the peace of Europe. It is curious that this
impression is derived from the actions of the government while it was
controlled by the traitors now in rebellion against it, and from the
professions of those Northern demagogues who are most in sympathy with
European opinion concerning the justice and policy of the war. Mr.
Fernando Wood, the most resolute of all the Northern advocates of peace,
recommended from his seat in Congress but a month ago, that a compromise
be patched up with the Rebels on the principle of sacrificing the negro,
and then that both sections unite to seize Canada, Cuba, and Mexico. The
kind of "democracy" which Mr. Jefferson Davis and Mr. Fernando Wood
represent is the kind of democracy which has always been the great
disturber of our foreign relations, and it is a democracy which will be
rendered powerless by the triumph of the national arms. The United
States of 1900, with their population of a hundred millions, and their
wealth of four hundred and twenty billions, will, we believe, be a power
for good, and not for evil. They will be strong enough to make their
rights respected everywhere; but they will not force their ideas on
other nations at the point of the bayonet; they will not waste their
energies in playing the part of the armed propagandist of democratic
opinions in Europe; and the contagion of their principles will only be
the natural result of the example of peace, prosperity, freedom, and
justice, which they will present to the world. In Europe, where power
commonly exists only to be abused, this statement would be received with
an incredulous smile; but we have no reason to doubt, that, among the
earnest patriots who are urging on the present war for Liberty and Union
to a victorious conclusion, it would be considered the most commonplace
of truths.


     _The Seer, or Commonplaces Refreshed._ By LEIGH HUNT. In Two
     Volumes. Boston: Roberts Brothers.

Among the books most prized, in our modest private book-room, are some
which bear the delicate and graceful autograph of Leigh Hunt, having
floated from his deserted library to these American shores. There is the
Apollonius from which came the text of his poem of "The Panther";--this
is his mark against the legend, on page sixty-nine; and here is the old
engraving of Apollonius, which he no doubt inserted as a frontispiece to
the book. Here again is his copy of Rousseau's "Confessions," Holyoake's
translation, annotated through and through with Hunt's humane and
penetrating criticisms on nature with which his own had much in common,
though purer and sweeter. This volume of Milton's "Minor Poems" was his
also, with the rich and varied notes of Warton, the edition of whose
literary charms he somewhere speaks with such delight. Here also is
Forster's "Perennial Calendar," a book of rural gossip, such as Leigh
Hunt thoroughly enjoyed; and this copy of Aubrey de Vere's Poems was a
present from the author. Above all, perhaps, one dwells with interest on
a volume of Hennell's "Christianity and Infidelity," riddled through and
through by pen-and-ink underscorings, extending sometimes to every line
upon a page. The book ends with a generous paragraph in assertion of the
comfort and sufficiency of Natural Religion; and after it comes, written
originally in pencil, then in ink again, always with the same firm and
elegant handwriting, the indorsement, "Amen. So be it. L. H. July 14th,
1857." This was written in his seventy-third year, two years before his
death, and this must have been about the time of Hawthorne's visit to
him. Read the "Amen" in the light of that beautiful description of
patient and frugal old age, and it is a touching and noble memorial.

Americans often fancied that they noticed something American in Leigh
Hunt's _physique_ and manners, without knowing how near he came to
owning a Cisatlantic birth. His mother was a Philadelphian; and his
father, a West-Indian, resided in this country until within a few years
of his death. It is fitting, therefore, that our publishers should keep
his writings in the market, and this is well done in this handsome
edition of "The Seer." These charming essays will bear preservation;
none are more saturated with cultivated taste and literary allusion, and
in none are more graceful pictures painted on a slighter canvas. If
there is an occasional impression of fragility and superficiality, it is
yet wholly in character, and seems not to interfere with the peculiar
charm. Hunt, for instance, writes a delightful paper on the theme of
"Cricket," without ten allusions to the game, or one indication of ever
having stopped to watch it. He discourses deliciously upon Anacreon's
"Tettix,"--the modern Cicada,--and then calls it a beetle. There is apt,
indeed, to be a pervading trace of that kind of conscious effort which
is technically called "book-making," and one certainly finds the
entertainment a little frothy, at times, compared with the elder
essayists. Nevertheless, Leigh Hunt's roses always bloom, his breezes
are always "redolent of joy and youth," and his sunny spirit pervades
even a rainy day. Chaucer and Keats never yet have found a more delicate
or discriminating critic; and his paper on Wordsworth, beside the fine
touches, has solider qualities that command one's admiration. The
personal memorials of the author's literary friends have a peculiar
charm to us in this land and generation, for whom Hazlitt and Keats are
names almost as shadowy and romantic as Amadis or Lancelot; but best of
all is his noble tribute to Shelley. After speaking (Vol. II. p. 38) of
the deep philanthropy which lay beneath the apparent cynicism of
Hazlitt, he thus continues:--"But only imagine a man who should feel
this interest too, and be deeply amiable, and have great sufferings,
bodily and mental, and know his own errors, and waive the claim of his
own virtues, and manifest an unceasing considerateness of the comforts
of those about him, in the very least as well as greatest
things,--surviving, in the pure life of his heart, all mistake, all
misconception, all exasperation, and ever having a soft word in his
extremity, not only for those who consoled, but for those who distressed
him; and imagine how we must have loved _him_. It was Mr. Shelley."

Such an epitaph writes the character not only of him who receives the
tribute, but of him who pays it. And if there ever lived a literary man
who might fitly claim for his funeral stone the inscription, "Lord, keep
my memory green," it was the sweet-tempered, flower-loving Leigh Hunt.

_Christ and his Salvation._ In sermons variously related thereto. By
HORACE BUSHNELL. New York: Charles Scribner.

These sermons are distinguished from the ordinary discourses of the
pulpit by being the product not merely of religious faith and feeling,
but of religious genius. They embody the thought and experience of a
life, and the ideas they inculcate are not so much the dogmas of a sect
as the divinations of an individual. "This is Christianity as it has
been verified in my consciousness," might be taken as the motto of the
volume. The result is, that the collection is an addition to religious
literature, and will be read with satisfaction for its stimulating
effect on the religious sense by hundreds who may disagree with its
direct teachings.

The two most striking and characteristic sermons in the volume are the
first and the last, respectively entitled, "Christ waiting to find
Room," a masterly analysis of the worldliness of the so-called Christian
world, and "Heaven Opened," a plea equally masterly for the existence in
man of a supernatural sense to discern supernatural things. Between
these come the sermons entitled, "The Gentleness of God," "The Insight
of Love," "Salvation for the Lost Condition," "The Bad Mind makes a Bad
Element," and "The Wrath of the Lamb," which illustrate so well the
union in Dr. Bushnell's mind of practical sagacity and force of thought
with keenness and reach of spiritual vision, that we select them from
the rest as particularly worthy of the reader's attention. Indeed, to
have written these discourses is to have done the work of a ministry.

The peculiarity of the whole volume, and a singular peculiarity in a
collection of sermons, is the absence of commonplace. The writer's
method is to bring his mind into close contact with things instead of
phrases,--to think round his subject, and think into his subject, and,
if possible, think through his subject to the law on which it depends;
and thus, when his thinking results in no novelty of view, it is still
the indorsement of an accepted truth by a fresh perception of it. Truths
in such a process never put on the character of truisms, but are as
vital to the last observer as to the first. There is hardly a page in
the volume which is not original, in the sense of recording original
impressions of objects, individually seen, grasped, and examined. There
are numerous originalities of a different kind, which may not be so
pleasing to some classes of Christians,--as when he aims to show that an
accredited spiritual form does not express a corresponding spiritual
fact, or as when he splits some shell of creed which imprisons rather
than embodies the kernel of faith, and lets the oppressed truth go free.

This power of penetrating thought, so determined as at times to wear a
look of doggedness,--this analysis which shrinks from no problems, which
is provoked by obstacles into intenser effort, and which is almost
fanatical in its desire to get at the idea and reason of everything it
probes,--is relieved by a richly sympathetic and imaginative
nature,--indeed, is so welded with it, that insight and analysis serve
each other, and cool reason gives solidity to ecstatic experience.
Perhaps as a seer Dr. Bushnell may be more certain of recognition than
as a reasoner. Whatever may be thought of the orthodoxy of the doctrines
he has rationalized, there can be no doubt as to the reality of the
spiritual states he has described. His intellectual method may be wrong
or incomplete, but it in some way enables him to reach the substance of
Christian life and light and love and joy. There are passages in the
volume which are all aglow with the sacred fire of that rapture which
rewards only those souls that soar into the regions where the objects
that kindle it abide; and this elevation which touches ecstasy, this
effluence from the spiritual mood of the writer, is not limited to
special bursts of eloquence, but gleams along the lines of many a
clinching argument, and flashes out from many an uncadenced period.

The style of the book is what might be expected from the character of
the author and the processes of his thinking. The mental state dictates
the form of the sentence and the selection of the words. Thought and
expression, so to speak, breed in and in. There is a certain roughness
in the strength of the man, which is ever asserting itself through his
cultured vigor; and in the diction, rustic plainness of speech
alternates with the nomenclature of metaphysics, rugged sense with
lifting raptures, and curt, blunt, homely expression with vivid,
whatever may be his form of words, he always loads them with meaning,
and with his own meaning. He is not a fluent writer, but his resources
of expression ever correspond to his richness of thought. And if his
style cannot be said to bend gracefully to the variations of his
subject, it still bends and does not break. In felicity and originality
of epithet, the usual sign of a writer's genuineness of perception, he
is excelled by no theologian of the time. He also has that power of
pithy and pointed language which so condenses a statement of a fact or
principle that it gives forth the diamond sparkle of epigram. The effect
of wit is produced while the purpose is the gravest possible: as when he
tells some brother religionists, who base their creeds on the hyperboles
of Scripture, that they mistake interjections for propositions,--or as
when he reproves those pretenders to grace who count it apparently "a
kind of merit that they live loosely enough to make salvation by merit

The animating spirit of the volume is a desire to bring men's minds into
contact with what is vital in religion, and this leads to many a sharp
comment both on the dogmatism of sects and the rationalism of critics.
Dr. Bushnell always seeks that in religion which not merely illumines
the mind, but invigorates the will. It is not the form of a doctrine,
but the force in the believer, which engages his attention. In pursuing
this method he displays alternately the qualities of an interpreter and
of an iconoclast; but his object is the same, whether he evolves
unexpected meanings from an accredited dogma, or assails the sense in
which it is generally received. And so tenacious is his hold on the life
of Christianity, and so vivid his mode of presenting it, that both
dogmatist and rationalist must feel, in reading his volume, that he has
given its proper prominence to much in Christianity which their methods
tempt them to overlook.

     _The Morrisons, a Story of Domestic Life._ By MRS. MARGARET
     HOSMER. New York: John Bradburn.

Full of improbabilities, and becoming lurid with domestic tragedies at
the end, this story has yet a sincerity and earnestness of style that
may entitle it to be called respectable, among the mass of American
stories. Novels are being sold by the five thousand which have far less
ability in characterization or in grouping. The persons remain in one's
memory as real individuals, which is saying a good deal; the dialogue,
though excessive in quantity, is neither tame nor flippant; and there is
an attractive compactness in the plot, which is all comprised within one
house in an unknown city. But this plot soon gets beyond the author's
grasp, nevertheless; she creates individualities, and can do nothing
with them but kill them. The defects, however, are those of
inexperience, the merits are the author's own. The value of her next
book will probably be in inverse ratio to the success of this: should
this fail, she may come to something; should this succeed, there is
small hope for her.

     _Studies for Stories._ By JEAN INGELOW. Boston: Roberts

These narratives are probably called "Studies for Stories," as the
catalogue of the Boston Public Library is called an "Index to a
Catalogue": this being a profession of humility, implying that a proper
story, like a regular catalogue, should be a much more elaborate affair.
Nevertheless, a story, even if christened a study, must be criticized by
the laws of stories and no other.

Tried by this standard, we must admit that Miss Ingelow's prose, though
possessing many merits, has not quite the charm of her verses. With a
good deal of skill in depicting character, and with a style that is not
unpleasing, though rather formal and old-fashioned, she has no serious
drawback except a very prominent and unpleasant moral tendency, which
is, indeed, made so conspicuous that one rather resents it, and feels a
slight reaction in favor of vice. One is disposed to apply to so
oppressively didactic an author the cautious criticism of Talleyrand on
his female friend,--"She is insufferable, but that is her only fault."
For this demonstrativeness of ethics renders it necessary for her to
paint her typical sinners in colors of total blackness, and one seldom
finds, even among mature offenders, such unmitigated scoundrels as she
exhibits in their teens. They do not move or talk like human beings, but
like lay figures into which certain specified sins have been poured.
This is an artistic as well as ethical error. As Porson finely said to
Rogers, "In drawing a villain, we should always furnish him with
something that may seem to justify him to himself"; and Schiller, in his
æsthetic writings, lays down the same rule. Yet this censurable habit
does not seem to proceed from anything cynical in the author's own
nature, but rather from inexperience, and from a personal directness
which moves only in straight lines. It seems as if she were so
single-minded in her good intents as to assume all bad people equally
single-minded in evil; but they are not.

Thus, in "The Cumberers," the fault to be assailed is selfishness, and,
in honest zeal to show it in its most formidable light, she builds up
her typical "Cumberer" into such a complicated monster, so stupendous in
her self-absorption, as to be infinitely less beneficial to the reader
than a merely ordinary inconsistent human being would have been. The
most selfish younger sister reading this story would become a Pharisee,
and thank God, that, whatever her peccadilloes, she was not so bad as
this Amelia. "My Great-Aunt's Picture" does the same for the vice of
envy; "Dr. Deane's Governess" for discontent, and so on; only that this
last story is so oddly mixed up with English class-distinctions and
conventionalisms that one hardly knows when the young lady is supposed
to be doing right and when doing wrong. The same puzzle occurs in the
closing story, "Emily's Ambition," where the censurable point of the
aspiration consists in being dissatisfied with the humbler vocation of
school-teaching, and in pining after the loftier career of milliner,
which in this community would seem like turning social gradations

By far the ablest of the five "studies," at least in its opening, is the
school-story of "The Stolen Treasure," which, with a high-flown name,
and a most melodramatic and commonplace ending, shows yet great power in
the delineation and grouping of characters. The young school-girls are
as real as those of Charlotte Bronté; and although the typical maidenly
desperado is present,--lying and cheating with such hopeless obviousness
that it seems as if they must all have had to look very hard the other
way to avoid finding her out,--yet there is certainly much promise and
power in the narrative. Let us hope that the modesty of the title of
this volume really indicates a lofty purpose in its author, and that she
will learn to avoid exaggeration of character as she avoids exaggeration
of style.

     _Collection De Vries._ German Series. Vols. I.-X. Boston: De
     Vries, Ibarra, & Co.

The present high price of imported books, which is stimulating our
publishers to rival their English compeers in typographical triumphs, is
also creating an important class of German reprints, to which attention
should certainly be called. Until lately the chief business in this line
has been done by Philadelphia houses, but we now have editions from
Boston publishers which surpass all predecessors in accuracy and beauty.
Indeed, the average issues of the German press abroad do not equal these
in execution; and though the books issued are thus far small, yet the
taste shown in the selection gives them a peculiar value.

First comes Hans Andersen's ever-charming "Picture-Book without
Pictures,"--tales told by the Moon, as she looks in at the window of a
poor student. There is also a separate edition of this little work,
issued by the same house, with English notes for students, by Professor
Simonson of Trinity College.

Next comes "Prinzessin Ilse," a graceful little story by Von Ploennies,
almost as charming as "Undine,"--with its scene laid in the Hartz
Forest, by the legend-haunted Ilsenstein. Then follows a similar wreath
of fancies, called "Was sich der Wald erzählt," by Gustav zu Putlitz, in
which fir-trees and foxgloves tell their tales, and there are sermons
in stones and all the rest of it. Why is it that no language but the
German can possibly construct a _Mährchen_, so that Englishmen and
Americans grow dull, and Frenchmen insufferable, whenever they attempt
that delicious mingling of the ideal and the real?

Then we have two of the most popular novelettes of Paul Heyse, "Die
Einsamen" and "Anfang und Ende,"--two first-class æsthetic essays by
Hermann Grimm, on the Venus of Milo and on Raphael and Michel
Angelo,--and two comedies by Gustav zu Putlitz. There is also Von
Eichendorff's best novel, which in Berlin went through four editions in
a year, "Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts," or "Memoirs of a
Good-for-Nothing,"--and, finally, Tieck's well-known story of "The
Elves," and his "Tragedy of Little Red Riding-Hood."

Among these various attractions every reader of German books will
certainly find something to enjoy; and these editions should be
extensively used by teachers, as the separate volumes can be easily
obtained by mail, and the average cost of each is but about half a
dollar. We hope yet to see editions equally good of the complete works
of the standard German authors, printed in this country and for American
readers. Under present circumstances, they can be more cheaply produced
than imported.

     _Reynard the Fox._ A Burlesque Poem, from the Low-German
     Original of the Fifteenth Century. Boston: De Vries, Ibarra, &

The mocking legends of the Wolf and the Fox were wielded without mercy
by many mediæval satirists, against the human animals of those species,
then prevailing in courts and cloisters. But the jokes took their most
permanent form in the fable of "Reyneke de Vos," first published in the
year 1498. Written in Low-German by Nicholas Bauman, under the pseudonym
of Hinrek van Alkmer, the satire did a similar work to that done by
Rabelais, and Boccaccio, and Piers Plowman. It has since been translated
into many languages, and as Goethe at last thought it worth putting into
German hexameters, one may still find it worth reading in English
Hudibrastic rhymes. The present attractive edition is a reprint of the
paraphrase of Von Soltau, published at Hamburg in 1826,--though, for
some reason, this fact is not stated in the present issue. New or old,
the version is executed with much spirit, and is, to say the least,
easier reading than Goethe's hexameters.

     _The Cradle of Rebellions: A History of the Secret Societies of
     France._ By LUCIEN DE LA HODDE. New York: John Bradburn.

The translator of this sharp and pungent sketch of the later French
revolutionists is understood to be General John W. Phelps of Vermont,--a
man whose personal services, despite some eccentric traits, will give
him an honorable place in the history of these times. It is possible
that readers may not agree with him in his estimate of the dangers to be
incurred by American institutions from secret societies. They are a
thing essentially alien to our temperament. The Southern plotters of
treason were certainly open enough; it was we who were blind. The
"Know-Nothing" movement was a sort of political carnival, half jest,
half earnest, and good for that trip only. If anything could have
created secret societies, it would have been the Fugitive-Slave-Law
excitement: that, indeed, produced them by dozens, but they almost
always died still-born, and whatever was really done in the
revolutionary line was effected by very informal coöperation.

Indeed, even the French nation is, by its temperament, less inclined to
deep plotting than any nation of Southern Europe, and as De la Hodde
himself admits, "not one of our revolutions during the last sixty years
has been the work of conspirators." "There is but one maker of
revolutions in France, and that is Paris,--idle, sophistical,
disappointed, restless, evil-minded Paris. We all know her." "Of one
thing we may rest assured: the greater part of our revolutions signify
nothing." And this has been notoriously true since the days of the

Yet the moral of the book is not without value, and its historic
interest is considerable, taken in connection with the other memoirs of
the same epoch. The style is rather piquant, and the translation good,
though a little stiff. The writer is an Orleanist, and thinks the
Revolution of 1848 a mere whim of the populace, favored by a "vertigo"
on the part of Louis Philippe. It was "an incomprehensible
contingency,--sovereign power giving way to a revolt, without the test
of a combat."

The book was first published under the Republic, to which the author
professes due loyalty. He suggests, however, that, as no one is required
by duty to fall in love with a very ugly woman who may have been imposed
on him in marriage, so he is not yet very much smitten with the
Republic. But he is ready to respect the dame, if she proves to deserve
it, as a legitimate connection.

     _Cape Cod._ By HENRY D. THOREAU. Boston: Ticknor and Fields.

Cape Cod is photographed at last, for Thoreau has been there. Day by
day, with his stout pedestrian shoes, he plodded along that level
beach,--the eternal ocean on one side, and human existence reduced to
its simplest elements on the other,--and he pitilessly weighing each.
His mental processes never impress one with opulence and luxuriance, but
rather with a certain sublime tenacity, which extracts nutriment from
the most barren soil. He is therefore admirably matched against Cape
Cod; and though his books on softer aspects of Nature may have a
mellower charm, there is none in which the very absence of mellowness
can so well pass for an added merit.

No doubt there are passages which err upon the side of bareness. Cape
Cod itself certainly errs that way, and so often does our author; and
when they are combined, the result of desiccation is sometimes
astounding. But so much the truer the picture. If Vedder's "Lair of the
Sea-Serpent" had the rank verdure of the "Heart of the Andes," the
kraken would still be as unimpressive on canvas as in the newspapers. No
one ever dared to exhibit Cape Cod "long, and lank, and brown" enough
before, and hence the value of the book. For those who insist on
_chlorophylle_, is there not "Azarian"? If the dear public will tolerate
neither the presence of color in a picture, nor its absence, it is hard
to suit.

Yet it is worth remembering, that Thoreau's one perfect poem,--and one
of the most perfect in American literature,--"My life is like a stroll
upon the beach," must have been suggested by Cape Cod or some kindred
locality. And it is not the savage grandeur of the sea alone, but its
delicate loveliness and its ever-budding life, which will be found
recorded forever in some of these wondrous pages, intermixed with the
statistics of fish-flakes and the annals of old men's diseases.

But in his stern realism, the author employs what he himself calls
"Panurgic" plainness of speech, and deals with the horrors of the
sea-shore as composedly as with its pearls. His descriptions of the
memorials of shipwrecks, for instance, would be simply repulsive, but
that his very dryness has a sort of disinfectant quality, like the air
of California, where things the most loathsome may lie around us without
making the air impure.

He shows his wonted formidable accuracy all through these pages, and the
critic feels a sense of bewildered exultation in detecting him even in a
slip of the pen,--as when in the note on page 228 he gives to the town
of Rockport, on Cape Ann, the erroneous name of Rockland. After this
discovery, one may dare to wonder at his finding a novelty in the
"Upland Plover," and naming it among the birds not heard in the interior
of the State, when he might be supposed to have observed it, in summer,
near Mount Wachusett, where its wail adds so much, by day or night, to
the wildness of the scenery. Yet by the triviality of these our
criticisms one may measure the astonishing excellence of his books.

This wondrous eye and hand have passed away, and left no equal and no
second. Everything which Thoreau wrote has this peculiar value, that no
other observing powers were like his; no one else so laboriously
verified and exhausted the facts; and no other mind rose from them, at
will, into so subtile an air of meditation,--meditation too daring to be
called devout, by church or world, yet too pure and lofty to merit any
lower name. Lycidas has died once more, and has not left his peer.

Cape Cod does not change in its traits, but only in its boundaries, and
this book will stand for it, a century hence, as it now does. It is the
Cape Odyssey. Near the end, moreover, there is a remarkable chapter on
previous explorers, which shows, by its patient thoroughness, and by the
fearless way in which the author establishes facts which had eluded
Hildreth and Bancroft, that, had he chosen history for his vocation, he
could have extracted its marrow as faithfully as that of his more
customary themes. Yet the grand ocean-pictures which this book contains
remind us that it was the domain of external Nature which was his
peculiar province; and this sublime monotone of the surges seems his
fitting dirge, now that--to use the fine symbol of one who was his
comrade on this very excursion--his bark has "sunk to another sea."


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*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 15, No. 89, March, 1865" ***

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