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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 15, No. 90, April, 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. 90, April, 1865" ***

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_A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics._

VOL. XV.--APRIL, 1865.--NO. XC.

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


"I will go and see the oil," remarked Miselle, at the end of a reverie
of ten minutes.

Caleb laid the "Morning Journal" upon the table, and prepared himself
calmly to accept whatever new dispensation Providence and Miselle had
allotted him.

"Whaling?" inquired he.

"No, not whaling. I am going to the Oil Springs."

"By all means. They lie in the remotest portion of Pennsylvania; they
are inaccessible by railway; such conveyances and such wretched inns as
are to be found are crowded with lawless men, rushing to the wells to
seek their fortunes, or rushing away, savage at having utterly lost
them. At this season the roads are likely to be impassable from mud, the
weather to be stormy. When do you propose going?"

"Next Monday," replied Miselle, serenely.

"And with whom? You know that I cannot accompany you."

"I did not dream of incurring such a responsibility. I go alone."

Caleb resumed the "Morning Journal." Miselle wrote a letter, signed her
name, and tossed it across the table, saying,--

"There, I have written to Friend Williams, who has, as his sister tells
me, set up a shanty and a wife on Oil Creek. I will go to them and so
avoid your wretched inns, and at the same time secure a guide competent
to conduct my explorations. As for the conveyances, the roads, and the
lawless travellers, if men are not afraid to encounter them, surely a
woman need not be."

"Be cautious, Miselle. This grain of practicability in the shape of
Friend Williams is spoiling the unity of your plan. At first it was a
charmingly consistent absurdity."

"But now?"

"Now it is merely foolishly hazardous, and I suppose you will undertake
it. It is your _kismet_; it is Fate; and what am I, to resist Destiny?
Go, child,--my blessing and my bank-book are your own."

"And '_Je suis Tedesco!_'" pompously quoted Miselle; so no more was said
upon the subject, until the young woman, having received an answer to
her letter, claimed the treasures promised by Caleb, and shortly after
fared forth upon her adventurous way.

The journey from Boston to New York has for most persons lost the
excitement of novelty; but excitement of another sort is to be obtained
by choosing a route where mile after mile of the roadway is lined with
wrecks of recent accidents, and the papers sold in the cars brim over
with horrible details of death and maiming in consequence. Nor can it be
considered either wholesome or comfortable to be removed in the middle
of a November night from a warm car to a ferry-boat, and thence to
another train of cars without fire and almost without seats,--the
suggestive apology being, that so many carriages had been "smashed"
lately that the enterprising managers of the road had been obliged to
buy an old excursion-train from another company. Meantime, what became
of the unfortunate women who had no kind companion to purvey for them
blankets and pillows from the mephitic sleeping-car, and cups of hot tea
from unknown sources, Miselle cannot conjecture.

New York at midday, from the standpoint of Fifth Avenue or Central Park,
is a very splendid and attractive place, we shall all agree; but New
York involved in a wilderness of railway station at six o'clock of a
rainy autumn morning is quite the reverse. Cabmen, draymen, porters, all
assume a new ferocity of bearing, horses are more cruelly lashed,
ignorant wayfarers more crushingly snubbed, new trunks more recklessly
smashed, than would be possible at a later hour of the day; and that
large class of persons who may be denominated intermittent gentlemen
fold up their politeness with their travelling-shawls and put it away
for a future occasion.

Solaced by a breakfast and rest, Miselle bade good-bye to her attentive
escort, and set forth alone to view New York with the critical eye of a

Her first experience was significant; and in the course of a three-mile
drive down Broadway, she had time, while standing in the middle of an
omnibus, where were seated nine young gentlemen, for much complacent
comparison of the manners of the two cities. Indeed, after twelve hours
of attentive study, Miselle discovered but two points of superiority in
the New Babylon over the Modern Athens, and these were chocolate-creams
and policemen: the first were delicious, the last civil.

Six o'clock arrived, and the "Lightning Express," over the Erie Railway,
bore, among other less important freight, Miselle and her fortunes. But,
unfortunately for the interest of this narrative, she had unwittingly
selected an "off-night" for her journey; neither horrible accident nor
raid of bold marauders enlivened the occasion; and undisturbed, the
reckless passengers slept throughout the night, as men have slept who
knew that a scaffold waited for them with the morning's light.

Only Miselle could not rest. The steady rapidity of motion,--the
terrible power of this force that man has made his own, and yet not so
wholly his own but that it may at any moment break from his control,
asserting itself master,--the dim light and motionless figures about
her,--all these things wrought upon her fancy, until, through the gray
mist of morning, great round hills stood up at either hand with deep
valleys between, from whose nestling hamlets lights began to twinkle out
as if great swarms of fireflies sheltered there. Then, as morning broke,
the wild scenery, growing more distinct, told the traveller that she was
far from home.

Gray and craggy hills, wild ravines, stormy mountain-streams, dizzy
heights where the traveller looking down remembered Tarpeia, gloomy
caverns, suggesting Simms's theory of an interior world,--none of these
were homelike; and Miselle began to fancy herself an explorer, a
Franklin, a Frémont, a Speke, until the train stopped at Hornellsville
for breakfast, and she was reminded, while watching the operations of
her fellow-passengers, of Du Chaillu peeping from behind tree-trunks at
the domestic pursuits of the gorilla.

About noon the cars stopped at Corry, Pennsylvania, the entrance of the
oil region and terminus of the Oil Creek Railway; and Miselle, stepping
from the train into a dense cloud of driving rain and oily men, felt one
sudden pang of doubt as to her future course, and almost concluded it
should be to await upon the platform the Eastern-bound express due there
in a few hours. This dastardly impulse, however, was speedily put to
flight by the superior terror of the ridicule sure to greet such a
return, and, assuming a determined mien, Miselle took possession of

Three years ago the census of this place would have given so many foxes,
so many woodchucks, so many badgers, raccoons, squirrels, and
tree-toads; now it numbers four thousand men, women, and children, and
the "old families" have withdrawn to the aristocratic seclusion of the
forest beyond.

For the accommodation of these newcomers a thousand buildings of various
sorts have been erected,--much as a child takes his toy-village from the
box and sets it here or there, as the whim of the moment dictates. Here
is also a large oil-refinery belonging to Mr. Downer of Boston, where a
good many of the four thousand find employment; and here, too, are
several inns, the best one called "The Boston House."

Hither Miselle betook herself, confidently expecting to find either Mr.
Williams or a message from him awaiting her; but, behold, no friend, no

What was to be done next? Mr. Dick, asked a similar question by Miss
Betsy Trotwood, replied, "Feed him."

Miselle adopted the suggestion. The hour was one P. M., and the general
repast was concluded; but a special table was soon prepared, whereat she
and a gentleman of imposing appearance, called Viator Ignotus, were soon
seated, before a dinner, of which the intention was excellent, but the
execution as fatal as most executions.

Viator ate in silence, occasionally startling his companion by wild
plunges across the table, knife in hand. At first she was inclined to
believe him a dangerous madman; but finding that the various dishes, and
not herself, were the objects of attack, she refrained from flight, and
considerately pushed everything within convenient stabbing distance of
the blade, which unweariedly continued to wave in glittering curves from
end to end of the table long after she had finished.

The banquet over, Miselle found the drawing-room, and in company with a
woman, a girl, a baby, and a lawless stove, devoted herself to the study
of Corry as seen through a window streaming with rain. Tired at last of
this exhilarating pursuit, she engaged in single combat with the stove,
and, being signally beaten, resolved to try a course of human nature as
developed in her companions.

She soon learned that the girl was in reality a matron of seventeen, and
the actual proprietor of the baby, whom, nevertheless, she appeared to
regard as a mysterious phenomenon attached to the elder woman, whom she
addressed as "Mam." In this view the grandmother seemed to coincide, and
remarked, naïvely,--

"Why, lor, Ma'am, she and her husband a'n't nothing but two babies
theirselves. She ha'n't never been away from her folks, nor he from
hisn, till t'other day he got bit with the ile-fever, and nothing would
do but to tote down here to the Crik and make his fortin. They was chirk
enough when they started; but about a week ago he come home, and I tell
you he sung a little smaller than when he was there last. He was clean
discouraged; there wa'n't no ile to be had, 'thout you'd got money
enough to live on, to start with; and victuals and everything else was
so awful dear, a poor man would get run out 'fore he'd realized the fust
thing; wust of all was, Clementiny was so homesick she couldn't neither
sleep nor eat; and the amount was, he'd stop 'long with father in the
shop, and I should go and fetch home the two babies. So here I be, and a
time I've had gittin' 'em along, I tell _you_."

"It's hard travelling down Oil Creek, then?" asked Miselle, with a
personal interest in the question.

"Hard! Reckon you'll say that, arter you've tried it. How fur be you

"To Tarr Farm."

"Lor, yes. Well now how d'y' allow to git there?"

"I am hoping to meet a friend here who will know all about the way; but
if he fails me, I shall ask the people at the railway station."

"No need to go so fur. I kin tell ye the hull story, for it's from Tarr
Farm I fetched the gal and young 'un this very morning."

"Indeed? What is the best route, then?"

"Well, you'll take the railroad down to Schaeffer's, and from there you
start down the Crik either in a stage or a boat. But I wouldn't
recommend the stage nohow. You don't look so very rugged, and if you
wa'n't killed, you'd be scared to death. So you'll hev to look up a

"What sort of boat?" asked Miselle, faintly.

"Oh, a flatboat. They come up loaded with ile, and going back they like
fust rate to catch a passenger. But don't you give 'em too much. They'd
cheat you out of your eye-teeth, but I'll bet you they found I was too
many for 'em. Don't you give more than a dollar, nohow; and I made 'em
take the two of us for a dollar 'n' 'alf."

"How far is it from Schaeffer's to Tarr Farm? Perhaps I could walk,"
suggested Miselle, modestly distrusting her own power in dealing with a
rapacious flatboatman.

"Well, it's five mild, more or less. Think you could foot it that fur?"

"Oh, yes, very easily. Is the road pretty good?"

"My gracious goodness! Clementiny, she wants to know if the road down
the Crik is 'pretty good'!"

"Reckon you ha'n't travelled round much in these parts. Where d'y'
b'long?" asked the ingenuous Clementina, after a prolonged stare at the
benighted stranger.

Having satisfied herself for the time being with human nature, Miselle
returned to the window, and found the landscape mistier than ever.

She was still considering her probable success in finding an oil-boat
and an oil-man to take her down the Creek, and steadily turning her back
upon the vision of the Eastern-bound Lightning Express, when a lady
followed by a gentleman ran up the steps of the Boston House, and
presently entered the dreary parlor, transforming it, as she did so, to
a cheerful abiding-place, by the magic of youth, beauty, and grace.
Miselle devoured her with her eyes, as did Crusoe the human footstep on
his desert island. An answering glance, a suppressed smile on either
side, and an understanding was established, an alliance completed, a tie
more subtile than Freemasonry confessed.

In ten minutes Miselle and her new friend had conquered the lawless
stove, had seated themselves before it, and were confiding to each other
the mischances that had left them stranded upon the shore of
Corry,--Miselle for the night, Melusina until two o'clock in the

Tea-time surprised this interchange of ideas, and so sunny had Miselle's
mood become that she was able to eat and drink, even though confronted
by the baby and its youthful mother, whose knife impartially deposited
in her own mouth and the infant's portions of beefsteak, potatoes,
short-cake, toast, pie, and cake, varied with spoonfuls of hot tea, at
which the wretched little victim blinked and choked, but still

After tea, the infant, excited by refreshment nearly to the point of
convulsions, was restored to its grandmother, while the mother played
upon a mournful instrument called a melodeon, and sang various popular
songs in a powerful, but uncultivated voice.

When she was done, Miselle persuaded Melusina to take her seat at the
instrument, and straightway the house was filled with such melody of
sweet German love-songs, operatic morcaux, and stirring battle-hymns,
that the open doorway thronged with uncouth forms, gathering as did the
monsters to Arion's harp. But when at last the clear voice rang out the
melody of the "Star-Spangled Banner," the crowd took up the chorus, and
rendered it with a heartfelt enthusiasm more significant than any music;
for it was almost election-day, and the old query of "How will
Pennsylvania go?" had all day been urged among every knot of men who
gathered to talk of the country's prospects. Then came the good old
"John Brown Song," and the "Marseillaise," which should be snatched from
its Rebel appropriators, on the same principle by which Doctor Byles
adapted sacred words to popular melodies.

The music over, the little crowd dispersed, and the baby, with its brace
of mothers, gone to bed, the new friends sat cozily down and enjoyed an
hour or two of feminine gossip, exchanged kisses, cards, and
photographs, and so bade good-bye.

It seems a trifling matter enough in the telling, but to the lonely
Miselle this chance encounter with a comrade was enough to change the
whole aspect of affairs; and she sat down to breakfast the next morning,
strong in the faith of a brilliant victory over bad roads, oily boats,
and rapacious boatmen.

A plank walk from the hotel to the station elevates the foot-passenger
in Corry above the mud of the streets, through whose depths flounders a
crowd of wagons laden with crude oil for the refinery, with refined oil
for the freight-trains, with carboys of chemicals, with merchandise, and
with building materials for yet more houses.

Everything here is new. Not one of the thousand buildings is yet five
years old; and of the four thousand people, not the most easily
acclimated could yet tell how the climate agrees with him. Indeed, it is
so absolutely new that it has not yet reached the raw barrenness of a
new place.

Nature does not cede her royalty except under strong compulsion, and
still does battle in the streets of Corry with the four thousand, who
have not yet found time to get out the stumps of the hastily felled
trees, to "improve" a wild water-course that dashes down from the bluff
and crosses the main street between a tailor's shop and a restaurant, or
even to trample to death the wildwood ferns and forest flowers which
linger on its margin. When the Coriolanians have attended to these
little matters, their city will look even newer than at present. Then
shall their grandchildren bring other trees and set them along the
streets, and dig wells and fountains, where Kuhleborn may rise to bemoan
the desolation of his ancient domain.

Probably from sympathy with the bulk of their freight, the
passenger-cars upon the Oil Creek Railway are so streaked with oil upon
the outside, and so imbued with oil within, as to suggest having been
used on excursions to the bottoms of the various wells; but uninviting
as is their appearance, they are always crowded, and Miselle shared her
seat with a portly gentleman, whom at the second glance she recognized
as Viator Ignotus, and he, presently alluding to the fact of their
having dined together the previous day, a conversation grew up, through
which Miselle, much to her amusement, was initiated into the cabinet
secrets of the two or three railway companies who divide the travel of
the West, and who would appear to cherish very much the same jealousies
and avenge their grievances in much the same manner as Mrs. Jones and
Mrs. Brown with their neighborhood quarrels. Then Viator, producing from
his pocket sundry maps and charts, foretold the career of railways yet
unborn, and discoursed learnedly upon their usefulness, or, as he
phrased it, their "paying prospects." Finally, the subject of railways
exhausted, or rather run out, Viator paid his companion the compliment
of inquiring of her the condition of public feeling in her native State
as regarded the election; and the affairs of the nation were not yet
completely arranged when the train arrived at Titusville, and Viator

The city of Titusville is probably the most forlorn and dreary looking
place in these United States. To describe the irregular rows of shanties
bordering on impassable sloughs of mud, the scenery, the pigs, and the
people, were a thankless task, as the most eloquent words would fall
short of the reality. In one of the principal streets the blackened
stumps still stand so thickly that the laden wagons meander among them
as sinuously as the path which foxes and squirrels wore there only three
years ago,--while in curious contrast with this avenue and the
surrounding buildings stands a handsome brick church, with a gilded
cross upon its spire, the one thing calm and steadfast in the dismal

When the train again moved on, the seat vacated by Viator was taken by a
young woman bound for Oil City, where her husband awaited her; but the
homesickness epidemic among the female population of the Creek had
already seized upon her so strongly as to unfit her for conversation;
and Miselle devoted herself to the dismal landscape, privately agreeing
with her companion that it was "the God-forsakenest-looking place she
ever see."

On either side the road lay swamps, their gaunt trees festooned, or
rather garroted, with vines, and draped with gray moss; while all about
and among them lay their comrades already prostrate and decaying. On the
higher lands fields had been fenced in, and cleared by burning the
trees, whose charred skeletons still stood, holding black and fleshless
arms to heaven in mute appeal against man's reckless abuse of Nature's
dearest children.

Later Miselle took occasion to express her horror at the wholesale
destruction of her beloved forests to a land-owner of the region. He
laughed, and stared at the sentimental folly, and then said,

"Oh, but the land, you know,--we want to get at the land; and the
quickest way of disposing of the trees is the best."

"But even if they must be felled, it is wicked to destroy them entirely,
when so many people freeze to death every winter for want of fuel."

"Well, I suppose they do," said the land-owner, suppressing a yawn. "But
we can't send them this wood, you know, or even get it down Oil Creek,
where there is a market."

"At least, the poor people about here need never be cold. I suppose fuel
is very cheap through all this country, isn't it?"

"Down the Creek we pay ten dollars a cord for all the wood, and a dollar
a bushel for all the coal we burn, and both grow within a mile of the
wells; but the trouble is the labor. Every man about here is in oil,
somehow or another; and even the farmers back of the Creek prefer
bringing their horses down and teaming oil to working the land or
felling wood. This is emphatically the oil region."

Arrived at Schaeffer's or Shaffer's Farm, the present terminus of the
Oil Creek Railway, Miselle was relieved from much anxiety by seeing upon
the platform Friend Williams, to whom she had, in a fit of temporary
insanity, written that she should leave home on Tuesday instead of

"And how shall we go down the Creek?" asked she, when the first
greetings had been exchanged.

"In the packet-boat, to be sure. The hack-carriage will take us right
down to the wharf."

Miselle opened her eyes. Here was metropolitan luxury! Here was ultra
civilization in the heart of the wilderness! Oil-boats and
lumber-wagons, avaunt! Those women at Corry had evidently been
practising upon her ignorance, and amusing themselves with her terrors!

A sudden rush of citizens toward the edge of the platform interrupted
these meditations.

"What is it?" asked Miselle, wildly, as her companion seized her arm,
and hurried her along with the crowd.

"The carriage. There is a rush for places. There! we're too late, I'm

They halted, as he spoke, beside a long, heavy wagon, such as is used
in the Eastern States for drawing wood, springless, with boards laid
across for seats, and with no means of access save the clumsy wheels.
Upon an elevated perch in front sat the driver, grinning over his
shoulder at the scrambling crowd of passengers, most of whom were now
loaded upon the wagon, while a circle of disappointed aspirants danced
wildly around it, looking for a yet possible nook or cranny.

"Can't you make room for this lady? I will walk," vociferated Mr.

"Can't be did, Capting. Reckin, though, both on ye kin hitch on next
load," drawled the driver, turning his horses into the slough of mud
extending in every direction.

"I will walk with you. How far is it?" asked Miselle, after a brief
contemplation of the prospect.

"Not so very far; but the mud is about two feet deep all the way, and
you might soil your feet," suggested Mr. Williams, with a quizzical

The objection was unanswerable; and Miselle, folding herself in the
mantle of resignation, waited until the next troubling of the pool,
when, rushing with the rest, she was safely hoisted into the cart, and
the drive commenced.

"You had better cling to my arm here; it's a mud-hole; don't be
frightened," exclaimed Mr. Williams, as the horses suddenly disappeared
from view, and the wagon poised itself an instant on the edge of a
chasm, and then plunged madly after them.

"Heavens! what _has_ happened? Have they run away? Didn't the driver see
where they were going? There! we're going o--ver!" shrieked Miselle.

"No, no; we're all right now, don't you see? The poor nags aren't likely
to run much here; and though the driver saw it well enough, he couldn't
help going through. That's a fair specimen of the road all down the
Creek. Now here's a gully. Cling to me, and don't be frightened."

It is very easy to say, "Don't be frightened"; but when a wagon with
four wheels travels for a considerable distance upon only two, while
those on the upper side are spinning round in the air, and the whole
affair inclines at a right angle toward a bottomless gulf of mud, it is
rather difficult for a nervous person to heed the injunction.

Miselle did not shriek this time; but she fancies the "sable score of
fingers four remain on the" arm "impressed," to which she clung during
the ordeal.

Another plunge, a lurch, a twist, a sharp descent, and the breathless
horses halted on the bank of a stream whose shallow waters were crowded
with flatboats, generally laden with oil.

"Here is the packet-boat," remarked Mr. Williams, with mischievous
smile, as he lifted his charge from the "hack-carriage," and led her
toward one of these boats, a trifle dirtier than the rest, with planks
laid across for seats, and several inches of water in the bottom. In
shape and size it much resembled the mud-scows navigating the waters of
Back Bay, Boston, and was propelled by a gigantic paddle at either end.

Miselle's lingering vision of a neat little steamboat with a comfortable
cabin died away; and she placed herself without remark upon the board
selected for her, accepting from her attentive companion the luxury of a
bit of plank for her feet,--an invidious distinction, regarded with much
disapproval by her fellow-passengers.

The sad and homesick lady was again Miselle's nearest neighbor, and now
found her tongue in expressions of dismay and apprehension so vehement
and sincere that her auditor hardly knew whether to weep with her or
smile at her.

Fifty luckless souls, more or less decently clothed in bodies, having
been crowded upon the raft, the shore-line was cast off, and she drifted
magnificently out into the stream, and stuck fast about a rod from the

The most terrific oaths, the most strenuous exertion of the paddles,
failing to move her, "a team" was loudly called for by the irate
passengers, and presently appeared in the shape of two horses with a
small blue boy perched upon one of them. These were hitched to the
forward part of the boat, and the swearing and pushing recommenced, with
an accompaniment of slashing blows upon the backs of the unfortunate
horses, who strained and plunged, but all to no effect, until another
boat appeared round the bend, slowly towed up against the stream by two
more horses with a placid driver, whose less placid wife sat upon a
throne of oil-barrels in the centre of the craft, alternately smoking a
clay pipe and shouting profane instructions to her husband touching the
management of the boat. To this dual boatman the skipper of the packet
loudly appealed for aid, desiring him to "crowd along and give us a

"What in nater was ye sich a cussed fool as ter git stuck fer?" replied
the two heads; and in spite of the disapproval conveyed by the question,
the stranger boat was driven as rapidly as possible close beside the
packet, the result being a long wave or "swell," enabling that luckless
craft to float off into the deeper water.

"Now, gen'lemen, locate, if you please; please to locate, gen'lemen! You
capting with the specs on, ef yer don't sit down, I'll hev to ax yer
to," vociferated the skipper; and the passengers were nearly seated when
the boat grounded again, and was this time got off only by the aid of a
double team, a swell, and the shoulders of the captain and several of
the passengers, who walked in and out of the boat as recklessly as
Newfoundland dogs. After this style, the passage of five miles was
handsomely accomplished in six hours, and it was the gloaming of a
November day when Miselle, cold, wet, and weary, first set foot, or
rather both her feet, deep in the mud of Tarr Farm, and clambered
through briers and scrub oak up the bluff, where stood her friend's
house, and where the panacea of "a good cup of tea and a night's rest"
soon closed the eventful day.

The next morning was meant for an artist, and it is to be hoped that
there was one at Tarr Farm to see the curtain of fog slowly lifting from
the bright waters of the Creek, and creeping up the bluff beyond it,
until it melted into the clear blue sky, and let the sunshine come
glancing down the valley, where groups of derricks, long lines of tanks,
engine-houses, counting-rooms replaced the forest growth of a few years
previous, and crowds of workmen, interspersed with overseers and
proprietors on foot or horseback, superseded the wild creatures hardly
yet driven from their lifelong haunt.

Through the whole extent of Oil Creek, one picturesque feature never
fails: this is the alternation of bluff and flat on the opposite sides
of the Creek, so that the voyager never finds himself between two of
either,--but, as the bluff at his right hand sinks into a plain, he
finds the plain at the left rising sharply into a bluff.

It is in these flats that the oil is found; and each of them is thickly
studded with derricks and engine-buildings, each representing a distinct
well, with a name of its own,--as the Hyena, the Little Giant, the
Phoenix, the Sca'at Cat, the Little Mac, the Wild Rabbit, the Grant,
Burnside, and Sheridan, with several hundred more. The flats themselves
are generally known as Farms, with the names of the original proprietors
still prefixed,--as the Widow McClintock Farm, Story Farm, Tarr Farm,
and the rest.

Few of these god-parents of the soil are at present to be found upon it:
many of them in the beginning of the oil speculation having sold out at
moderate prices to shrewd adventurers, who made themselves rich men
before the dispossessed Rip Van Winkles awoke to a consciousness of what
was going on about them. Some, more fortunate or more far-sighted, still
hold possession of the land, but enjoy their enormous incomes in the
cities and places of fashionable resort, where their manners and habits
introduce a refreshing element of novelty.

Few proprietors can be persuaded to sell the golden goose outright; and
the most usual course is for the individual or company intending to
sink a well to buy what is called a working interest in the soil, the
owner retaining a land interest or royalty, through which he claims half
the proceeds of the well, while the lessee may, after months of expense
and labor, abandon the enterprise with only his labor for his pains.
These failures are also a great source of annoyance to the proprietors:
for many of these abandoned wells require only capital to render them
available; but the finances of the first speculator being exhausted, no
new one will risk his money in them, while the old lease would interfere
with his right to the proceeds.

Even the land for building purposes is only leased, with the proviso
that the tenant must move, not only himself, but his house, whenever the
landlord sees fit to explore his cellar or flower-garden for oil.

A land interest obtained, the precise spot for breaking ground is
selected somewhat by experience, but more by chance,--all "oil
territory" being expected to yield oil, if properly sought. An
engine-house and derrick are next put up, the latter of timber in the
modern wells, but in the older ones simply of slender saplings,
sometimes still rooted in the earth. A steam-engine is next set up, and
the boring commences.

By means of a spile-driver, an iron pipe, sharp at the lower edge and
about six inches in diameter, is driven down until it rests upon the
solid rock, usually at a depth of about fifty feet. The earth is then
removed from the inside of this pipe by means of a sand-pump, and the
"tools" attached to a cable are placed within it.

These tools, consisting of a centre-bit and a rammer, are each thirty or
thirty-five feet in length, and weigh about eight hundred pounds. At
short intervals these are replaced by the sand-pump, which removes the

The first three strata of rock are usually slate, sandstone, and
soapstone. Beneath these, at a depth of two hundred feet, lies the
second sandstone, and from this all the first yield of oil was taken;
but, though good in quality, this supply was speedily exhausted, and the
modern wells are carried directly through this second sandstone, through
the slate and soapstone beneath, to the third sandstone, in whose
crevices lies the largest yield yet discovered. The proprietors of old
wells are now reaming them out and sinking their shafts to the required
depth, which is about four hundred and fifty feet.

The oil announces itself in various ways: sometimes by the escape of
gas; sometimes by the appearance of oil upon the cable attached to the
tools; sometimes by the dropping of the tools, showing that a crevice
has been reached; and in occasional happy instances by a rush of oil
spouting to the top of the derrick, and tossing out the heavy tools like

Such a well as this, known as a flowing well, is the best "find"
possible, as the fortunate borer has nothing more to do than to put down
a tubing of cast-iron artesian pipe, lead the oil from its mouth into a
tank, and then, sitting under his own vine and fig-tree, leave his
fortune to accumulate by daily additions of thousands of dollars. A
flowing well, struck while Miselle was upon the Creek, yielded fifteen
hundred barrels per day, the oil selling at the well for ten dollars and
a half the barrel.

But should the oil decline to flow, or, having flowed, cease to do so, a
force-pump is introduced, and, driven by the same engine that bored the
well, brings up the oil at a rate varying from three to three hundred
barrels per day. The Phillips Well, on Tarr Farm, originally a flowing
well, producing two thousand barrels per day, now pumps about three
hundred and thirty, and is considered a first-class well.

Before reaching oil, the borer not unfrequently comes upon veins of
water, either salt or fresh; and this water is excluded from the shaft
by a leathern case applied about the pipe and filled with flax-seed. The
seed, swollen by the moisture, completely fills the space remaining
between the tube and the walls of the shaft, so that no water reaches
the oil. But whenever the tubing with its seed-bags is withdrawn, the
water rushing down "drowns" not only its own well, but all such as have
subterraneous communication with it. In this manner one of the most
important wells upon the Creek avenged itself some time ago upon a too
successful rival by drawing its tubing and letting down the water upon
both wells. The rival retaliated by drawing its own tubing, with a like
result, and the proprietors of each lost months of time and hundreds of
thousands of dollars before the quarrel could be adjusted.

From the mouth of the shaft, elevated some fifteen feet above the
surface of the ground, the oil either flows or is pumped into an immense
vat or tank, and from this is led to another and another, until a large
well will have a series of tanks connected like the joints of a
rattlesnake's tail. Into the last one is put a faucet, and the oil drawn
into barrels is either carried to the local refinery, or in its crude
condition is boated to the railway, or to Oil City, and thence down the

One of the principal perils attending oil-seeking is that of fire.
Petroleum, in its crude state, is so highly impregnated with gas and
with naphtha, or benzine as to be very inflammable,--a fact proved,
indeed, many years ago, when, as history informs us,

    "General Clarke kindled the vapor,
    Stayed about an hour, and left it a-burning,"

unconsciously turning his back upon a fortune such as probably had never
entered the worthy knight's imagination.

The petroleum once ignited, it is very hard to extinguish the flames;
and Mr. Williams told of being one of a company of men who labored
twenty-four hours in vain to subdue a burning well. They tried water,
which only aggravated the trouble; they tried covering the well with
earth, but the gas permeated the whole mass and blazed up more defiantly
than ever; they covered the mound of earth with a carpet, (paid for at
the value of cloth of gold,) and the carpet with wet sand, but a bad
smell of burned wool was the only result. Finally, some incipient
Bonaparte hit upon the expedient of dividing the Allies, who together
defied mankind, and, bringing a huge oil-tank, inverted it over the
sand, the carpet, the earth, and the well, by this time one blazing
mass. Fire thus cut off from Air succumbed, and the battle was over.

"There was no one hurt that time," pursued Friend Williams, in a tone of
airy reminiscence; "but mostly at our fires there'll be two or three
people burned up, and more women than men, I've noticed. Either it's
their clothes, or they get scared and don't look out for themselves. Now
there was the Widow McClintock owned that farm above here. She was worth
her hundreds of thousands of dollars, but she _would_ put kerosene on
her fire to make it burn. So one day it caught, and she caught, and in
half an hour there was no such thing as Widow McClintock on Oil Creek.
Still all the women keep right on pouring kerosene into their stoves,
and every little while one of them goes after the Widow.

"Then there was a woman who sent to the refinery for a pail of alkali to
clean her floor. The man thought he'd get benzine instead; and just as
he got into the house, the fire from his pipe dropped into it, and the
whole shanty was in a blaze before the poor woman knew what had
happened. The stupid fool that was to blame got off, but the woman
burned up.

"Then there was a woman whose house was afire, and she would rush back,
after she had been dragged out, to look for her pet teacups, and _she_
was burned up. And so they go."

Sometimes also the tanks of crude oil take fire, and these
conflagrations are said to present a splendid spectacle,--the resinous
parts of the oil burning with a fierce deep-red flame and sending up
volumes of smoke, through which are emitted lightning-like flashes
exploding the ignited gas.

Like some other things, including people, this unappeasable substance
conceals its terrors beneath a placid exterior, and lies in its great
tanks, or in shallow pits dug for it in the earth, looking neither
volcanic nor even combustible, but more like thin green paint than
anything else, except when it has become adulterated with water, when it
assumes a bilious, yellow appearance, exceedingly uninviting to the
spectator. In this case it is allowed to remain undisturbed in the tank
until the oil and water have separated, when the latter is drawn off at
the bottom.

Wandering one day among groves of derricks and villages of tanks,
Miselle and her guide came upon a building containing a pair of
truculent monsters in a high state of activity. These were introduced to
her as a steam force-pump and its attendant engine; and she was told
that they were at that moment sucking up whole tanks of oil from the
neighboring wells, and pumping it up the precipitous bluff, through the
lonely forest, over marsh and moor, hill and dale, to the great Humboldt
Refinery, more than three miles distant, in the town of Plummer, as it
is called,--although, in point of fact, Plummer, Tarr Farm, and several
other settlements belong to the township of Cornplanter.

There was something about this brace of monsters very fascinating to
Miselle. They seemed like subjected genii closed in these dull black
cases and this narrow shed, and yet embracing miles of territory in
their invisible arms. Even the genius of Aladdin's lamp was not so
powerful, for he was obliged to betake himself to the scene of the
wonders he was to enact,--and if imprisoned as closely as these, could
not have transferred enough oil from Tarr Farm to Plummer to fill his
own lamp.

Afterward, in rambling through the woods, Miselle often came upon the
mound raised above the buried pipe, and always regarded it with the same
admiring awe with which the fisherman of Bagdad probably looked at the
copper vessel wherein Solomon had so cunningly "canned" the rebellious

Leaving the shed of the monsters, Miselle followed her guide out of the
throng of derricks and tanks, and a short distance up the hill, to the
picturesque site of Messrs. Barrows and Hazleton's Refinery, the only
one now in operation on Tarr Farm.

Entering a low brick building called the still-house, she found herself
in a passage between two brick walls, pierced on either hand for five or
six oven-doors, while overhead the black roof was divided into panels by
a system of iron pipes through which the crude oil was conducted to the
caldrons above the iron doors.

The presiding genius of the place was a very fat, dirty, but intelligent
Irishman, known as Tommy, who came forward with the politeness of his
nation to greet the visitors, and explain to them the mysteries under
his charge.

"And give a guess, Ma'am, if ye plase, at what we've got a-burning
undher our big pot here," suggested he, with a hand upon one of the

"Soft coal," ventured Miselle, remembering her experience at the

"Not a bit of it. It's the binzole intirely. We makes the ile cook
itself, an' not a hape of fu'l does it git, but what it brings along

"Seething the kid in its mother's milk," remarked Miselle to herself.

"It's this pipe fetches the binzole from the tank outside, and the mouth
of it's widin the door; and this is the stop-cock as lets it on."

So saying, Tommy threw open the oven-door, and pointed to the black end
of a pipe just within. At the same time he turned a handle on the
outside, and let on a stream of benzine or naphtha, which blazed
fiercely up with a lurid flame strongly suggestive of the pictured
reward of evil-doers in another life.

Next, Tommy proceeded to explain, after his own fashion, how the oil in
the caldrons above, urged by these fires, departed in steam and agony
through long pipes called worms, the only outlet from the otherwise
air-tight stills, which worms, wriggling out at the end of the building,
plunged into a bath of cold water provided for them in a huge square
tank fed by a bright mountain-stream winding down from the bluff above
in a fashion so picturesque as to be quite out of keeping with its
ultimate destination.

Emerging from their cold bath, the worms, crawling along the ground
behind the still-house, arrived at the back of another building, called
the test-room; and here each one, making a sharp turn to enable him to
enter, was pierced at the angle thus formed, and a vertical pipe some
ten feet in length inserted.

The object of these pipes was to carry off the gas still mingled with
the oil; and, looking attentively, Miselle could distinguish a
flickering column ascending from each pipe and forming itself so humanly
against the evening sky as to vindicate the superstition of the Saxons,
who first named this ether _geist_.

"What a splendid illumination, if only those ten pipes were lighted some
dark night!" suggested Miselle.

"Phe-ew! An' yer lumernation wouldn't stop there long, I can tell yer,
Ma'am," retorted Tommy. "The whole works ud be in a swither 'fore iver
we'd time to ax what was comin'."

"They would? And why?"

"The binzole, Ma'am, the binzole. It's the Divil's own stuff to manage,
an' there's no thrustin' it wid so much as the light uv a pipe nigh
hand. The air is full of it; and if you was so much as to sthrike a
match here where we stand, it ud be all day wid us 'fore we'd time to
think uv it. You should know that yersilf, Sir," continued he, turning
to Mr. Williams.

"Yes," returned that gentleman, with a grimace. "I learned the nature of
benzine pretty thoroughly when I first came on the Creek. I had been at
work over one of the wells, and got my clothes pretty oily, but thought
I would not ask my wife to meddle with them. So I sent for a pail of
benzine, and, shutting myself up in my shop, set to work to wash my
clothes. I succeeded very well for a first attempt; and when I had done,
and hung them up to dry, I felt quite proud. Then, as it was pretty
cold, I thought I would put a little fire in the stove, and get them
dried to carry away before my men came in to work the next morning. So I
put some kindling in the stove, and scraped a match on my boot; but I
hadn't time to touch it to the shavings before the whole air was aflame,
not catching from one point to another, but flashing through the whole
place in an instant, and snapping all around my head like a bunch of
fire-crackers. I rushed for the door; but before I could get out I was
pretty well singed, and there was no such thing as saving a single
article. All went together,--shop, stock, tools, clothes, and everything
else. That's benzine."

"That's binzole," echoed Tommy. "An' now, Ma'am, come in, if yer plase,
to the tistin'-room."

Miselle complied, and, stepping into the little room, saw first two
parallel troughs running its entire length, and terminating at one end
in a pipe leading through the side of the building. Into each of these
troughs half the pipes were at this moment discharging a colorless,
odorless fluid, the apotheosis, as it were, of petroleum.

Tommy, perching himself upon a high stool beside the troughs, regarded
his visitors with calm superiority, and was evidently disposed, in this
his stronghold, to treat with them _ex cathedra_.

"There, thin, Ma'am," began he, "that's what I call iligant ile
intirely. Look at it jist!"

And taking from its shelf a long tubular glass, he ladled up some of the
oil, and held it to the light for inspection.

When this had been duly admired, the professor informed his audience
that the first product of the still is the gas, which is led off as
previously described. Next comes naphtha, benzine, or, as Tommy and his
comrades call it, "binzole." This dangerous substance is led from the
troughs of the testing-house to a subterraneous tank, the trap-cover of
which was subsequently lifted, that the visitors might peep, as into the
den of some malignant wild creature. From this it is again drawn, and,
mixed with the heavy oil or residuum of the still, is principally used
for fuel, as before described.

"And how soon do you cut off for oil?" inquired Mr. Williams,

The fat man gave him a look of solemn indignation, and proceeded without
heeding the interruption.

"Whin I joodge, Ma'am, that the binzole is nigh run out, I tist it with
a hyder-rometer, this a-way."

And Tommy, descending from the stool, took from the shelf first a tin
pot strongly resembling a shaving-mug, and then a little glass
instrument, with a tube divided into sections by numbered lines, and a
bulb half filled with quick-silver at the base.

Filling the shaving-mug with oil, the lecturer dropped into it his
hydrometer, which, after gracefully dancing up and down for a moment,
remained stationary.

"It's at 55° you'll find it. Look for yersilf, Ma'am," he resumed, with
the serene confidence of the prestidigitateur who informs the audience
that the missing handkerchief will be found in "that gentleman's

Miselle examined the figures at high-oil mark, and found that they were
actually 55°.

"The binzole, you see, Ma'am, is so thin that the hyder-rometer drops
right down over head an' ears in it; but as it gits to be ile, it comes
heavier an' stouter, an' kind uv buoys it up, until at lin'th an' at
last the 60° line comes crapin' up in sight. Thin I thry it by the fire
tist. I puts some in a pan over a sperit-lamp, and keep a-thryin' an'
a-thryin' it wid a thermometer; an' whin it's 'most a-bilin', I puts a
lighted match to the ile, an' if it blazes, there's still too much
binzole, an' I lets it run a bit longer. But if all's right, I cuts off
the binzole, and the nixt run is ile sech as you see it. The longer it
runs, the heavier it grows; and whin it gits so that the hyder-rometer
stands at 42°, I cuts off agin. Thin the next run is heavy ile, thick
and yaller, and that doesn't come in here at all, but is drawn from the
still, and mixed wid crude ile, and stilled over agin; and whin no more
good's to be got uv it, it's mighty good along wid the binzole to keep
the pot a-bilin' in beyant."

"You don't use the fire test in this building, I presume, do you?"

"Indade, no, Ma'am. There's niver a light nor yit a lanthern allowed

"But you run all night. How do you get light in this room?" inquired Mr.

"From widout. Did niver ye mind the windys uv this house?"

And the professor, dismounting from his stool, led the way to the
outside of the building, where he pointed to two picturesque little
windows near the roof, each furnished with a deep hood and a shelf, as
if Tommy had been expected to devote his leisure hours to the
cultivation of mignonette.

"See now!"

And the burly lecturer pointed impressively to a laborer at this moment
approaching with a large lighted lantern in each hand. These, placed
upon the mignonette shelves, and snugly protected from wind and rain by
the deep hoods, threw a clear light into the test-room, and brought out
in grotesque distinctness the arabesque pattern wrought with dust and
oil upon Tommy's broad visage.

"And that's how we gits light, Sir," remarked the professor, in
conclusion, as, with a dignified salutation of farewell, he disappeared
in the still-house.

Admonished by the lanterns and the fading glory of the west, Miselle and
her host now bent their steps homeward, deferring, like Scheherezade,
"still finer and more wonderful stories until the next morning."

At their next visit to the Refinery, the visitors were committed to a
little wiry old man, called Jimmy, who first showed them a grewsome
monster, own cousin to him who threw oil from Tarr Farm to Plummer. This
one was called an air-pump, and, with his attendant steam-engine,
inhabited a house by himself. His work will presently be explained.

The next building was the treating-house, where stand huge tanks
containing the oil as drawn from the testing-room. From these it is
conducted by pipes to the iron vats, called treating-tanks, and there
mixed with vitriol, alkali, and other chemicals, in certain exact
proportions. The monster in the next building is now set in operation,
and forces a stream of compressed air through a pipe from top to bottom
of the tank, whence, following its natural law, it loses no time in
ascending to the surface with a noisy ebullition, just like, as Jimmy
remarked, "a big pot over a sthrong fire."

This mixing operation was formerly performed by hand in a much less
effectual manner, the steam air-pump being a recent improvement.

The work of the chemicals accomplished, the oil is cleansed of them by
the introduction of water, and after an interval of quiet the mass
separates so thoroughly that the water and chemicals can be drawn off at
the bottom of the vat with very little disturbance to the oil.

From the treating-house the perfected oil is drawn to the tanks of the
barrelling-shed, and filled into casks ready for exportation. A large
cooper's shop upon the premises supplies a portion of the barrels, but
is principally used in repairing the old ones.

The oil is next teamed to the Creek, and either pumped into decked
boats, to be transported in bulk, or, still in barrels, is loaded upon
the ordinary flatboats. During a large portion of the year, however,
neither of these can make the passage of the shallow Creek without the
aid of a "pond-fresh." This occurs when the millers near the head of the
Creek open their dams, and by the sudden influx of water give a gigantic
"swell" to the boats patiently awaiting it at every "farm," from
Schaeffer's to Oil City.

Sometimes, however, the boatmen, like the necromancer's student who set
the broomstick to bringing water, but could not remember the spell to
stop it, find that it is unsafe to set great agencies at work without
the power of controlling them. Last May, for instance, occurred a
pond-fresh, long to be remembered on Oil Creek, when the stream rose
with such furious, rapidity that the loaded boats became unmanageable,
crowding and dashing together, staving in the sides of the great
oil-in-bulk boats, and grinding the floating barrels to splinters. Not
even the thousands of gallons of oil thus shed upon the stormy waters
were sufficient to assuage either their wrath or that of the boatmen,
who, as their respective craft piled one upon another, sprang to "repel
boarders" with oaths, fists, boat-hooks, or whatever other weapons
Nature or chance had provided them. This scene of anarchy lasted several
days, and some cold-blooded photographer amused himself, "after" Nero,
in taking views of it from different points. Copies of these pictures,
commemorating such destruction of property, temper, and propriety as Oil
Creek never witnessed before, are hung about the "office" of the
Refinery, with which comfortable apartment the visitors finished their

Here they were offered the compliments of the season and locality in a
collation of chestnuts; and here also they were invited to inspect a
stereoscope, which, with its accompanying views, is considered on Tarr
Farm as admirable a wonder as was, doubtless, Columbus's watch by the
aborigines of the New World. Dearer to Miselle than chestnuts or
stereoscope, however, were the information and the anecdotes placed at
her service by the gentlemen of the establishment, albeit involuntarily;
and with her friends she shortly after departed from Barrows and
Hazleton's Refinery, filled with content and gratitude.

The noticeable point in the society of Tarr Farm, or rather in the human
scenery, for society there is none, is the absurd mingling of
inharmonious material. As in the toy called Prince Rupert's Drop, a
multitude of unassimilated particles are bound together by a master
necessity. Remove the necessity, and in the flash of an eye the
particles scatter never to reunite.

In her two days' tour of Tarr Farm, Miselle talked with gentlemen of
birth and education, gentlemen whose manners contrasted oddly enough
with their coarse clothes and knee-high boots; also with intermittent
gentlemen, who felt Tarr Farm to be no fit theatre for the exercise of
their acquired politeness; also with men like Tommy and Jimmy, whose
claims lay not so much in aristocratic connection and gentle breeding as
in a thorough appreciation of the matter in hand; also with a less
pleasing variety of mankind, men who, originally ignorant and debased,
have through lucky speculations acquired immense wealth without the
habits of body and mind fitly accompanying it.

Various ludicrous anecdotes are told of this last class, but none
droller than that of the millionnaire, who, after the growth of his
fortune, sent his daughter, already arrived at woman's estate, to
school, that she might learn reading, writing, and other
accomplishments. After a reasonable time the father visited the school,
and inquired concerning his daughter's progress. This he was informed
was but small, owing to a "want of capacity."

"Capacity! capacity!" echoed the father, thrusting his hands into his
well-lined pockets; "well, by ginger, if the gal's got no capacity, I've
got the money to buy her one, cost what it may!"

Another young fellow, originally employed in a very humble position by
one of the oil companies, suddenly acquired a fortune, and removed to
another part of the country. Returning for a visit to the scene of his
former labors, he stood inspecting the operations of a cooper at work
upon an oil-barrel. The two men had formerly been comrades, but this
fact the rich man now found it convenient to forget, and the poor one
was too proud to remember.

"Pray, Cooper," inquired the former at last, tapping the barrel
superciliously with his cane, "are you able to make this thing

"I believe so," retorted Cooper, dryly. "Was you ever troubled by their
leaking, when you rolled them through the mud from the well to the

Through all this fungus growth it is rather difficult to come at the
indigenous product of the soil; and Miselle found none of whose purity
she could be sure, except the youth who drove her from Tarr Farm to
Schaeffer's on her return. Arriving in sight of the railway, this _puer
ingenuus_, pointing to the track, inquired,--

"An' be thot what the keers rides on?"

"Yes," said Mr. Williams, "that's the track."

"An' yon's the wagons whar ye'll set?" pursued he, pointing to some
platform-cars, waiting to be loaded with oil-barrels.

"Hardly. Those are where the oil sits."

"Be? Then yon's for the fowks, I reckon?" indicating a line of box
freight-cars a little farther on.

"No, not exactly. Those are the passenger-cars, away up the track, with
windows and steps."

"An' who rides in the loft up atop?" inquired the youth, after a
prolonged stare.

This question, referring to the raised portion of the roof, universal in
Western cars, being answered, Mr. Williams inquired in his turn,--

"Did you never see the railway before?"

"Never seed 'em till this minute. Fact, I never went furder from home
than Tarr Farm 'fore to-day. 'Spect there's a many won'erful sights
'twixt here an' Eri', ben't there?"

Imagine a full-grown lad, in these United States, whose ideas are
bounded by the city of Erie!

Not indigenous to the soil, but a firmly rooted, exotic growth, was the
sonsy Scotch family whom Miselle was taken to see, the Sunday after her

Two years ago their picturesque log-cabin stood almost in a wilderness,
with the farm-house of James Tarr its only neighbor. Now the derricks
are crowding up the hill toward it, until only a narrow belt of woodland
protects it from invasion. In front, a small flower-garden still showed
some autumn blooms at the time of Miselle's visit, and was the only
attempt at floriculture seen by her on Oil Creek.

With traditional Scotch hospitality, the mistress of the house, seconded
by Maggie and Belle, the elder daughters, insisted that the proposed
call should include dinner; and Miselle, nothing loath, was glad that
her friends allowed themselves to be prevailed upon to stay.

"It's no that we hae onything fit to gie ye, but ye maun just tak' the
wull for the deed," said the good mother, as she bustled about, and set
before her guests a plain and plentiful meal, where all was good enough,
and the fresh bread and newly churned butter something more.

"It's Maggie's baith baker and dairy-woman," said the well-pleased dame,
in answer to a compliment upon these viands. "And it's she'll be gay and
proud to gie ye all her ways about it, gif ye'll ask her."

So Maggie, being questioned, described the process of making
"salt-rising" bread, and to the recipe added a friendly caution, that,
if allowed to ferment too long, the dough would become "as sad and dour
as a stane, and though you br'ak your heart over it, wad ne'er be itsel'

From a regard either to etiquette or convenience, only the heads of the
family, and Jamie, the eldest son, a fine young giant, of
one-and-twenty, sat down with the guests: the girls and younger children
waiting upon table, and sitting down afterward with another visitor, an
intelligent negro farmer, one of the most pleasing persons Miselle
encountered on her travels.

Dinner over, it was proposed that Maggie and Belle should accompany Mr.
and Mrs. Williams and Miselle on a visit to some coal-mines about a mile
farther back in the forest, and, with the addition of a young man named
John, who chanced in on a Sunday-evening call to one of the young
ladies, the party set forth.

The day was the sweetest of the Indian summer, and the walk through
woods of chestnut and hemlock was as charming as possible, and none the
less so for the rustic coquetries of pretty Belle Miller, whose golden
hair was the precise shade of a lock once shown to Miselle as a
veritable relic of Prince Charlie.

The forest road ended abruptly in a wide glade, where stood the shanty
occupied by the miners, a shed for the donkeys employed in dragging out
the coal, and, finally, the ruinous tunnel leading horizontally into a
disused mine. The wooden tram-way on which the coal-car had formerly run
still remained; and cautiously walking upon this causeway through the
quagmire of mud, Miselle and Mr. Williams penetrated some distance into
the mine, but saw nothing more wonderful than mould and other fungi,
bats and toads. Retracing their steps, they followed the tram-way to its
termination at the top of a high bank, down which the coals were shot
into a cart stationed below. This coal is of an inferior quality,
bituminous, and largely mixed with slate. It sells readily, however,
upon the Creek, at a dollar a bushel, for use in the steam-engines.

The sight-seers having satisfied their curiosity with regard to the
mine, and having paid a short visit to the donkeys, were quietly
resuming their walk, when out from the abode of the miners poured a
tumultuous crowd of men, women, and children, who surrounded the little
party in a menacing manner, while their leader, a stalwart fellow,
called Brennan, seized John by the arm, and, shaking a sledge-hammer
fist in his face, inquired what he meant by coming to "spy round an
honest man's house, and make game of his betters?"

It was in vain that John attempted to disabuse the mind of his assailant
of this view of his visit to the old mine; and indeed his argument could
not even have been heard, as Brennan was now violently reiterating,--

"Tak' yer coorse, thin! Why don't ye tak' yer coorse?"

The advice was sensible, and the party left to themselves would
undoubtedly have followed it; in fact, the females of the party had
already taken their "coorse" along the homeward path as fast as their
feet would carry them, excepting Miselle, who contented herself with
stepping behind a great pine-tree, and watching thence this new
development of human nature.

From angry words the miners were not long in proceeding to blows, and a
short joust ensued, in which Williams and John gallantly held the lists
against six or eight assailants, who would have been more dangerous, had
they not been all day celebrating the wedding of one of their number.
Suddenly, however, the leader of the colliers darted by John, who was
opposing him, and pounced upon poor Belle Miller, who with her
companions had paused at a little distance to give vent to their
feelings in a chorus of dismal shrieks. Whether these irritated Mr.
Brennan's weakened nerves, or whether he had merely the savage instinct
of reaching the strong through the weak, cannot be certainly known; but
the fact of her forcible capture was rendered sufficiently obvious by
the cries that rent the air, and the heart of the young man John, who,
neglecting his own safety in an attempt at rescue, received a stunning
blow from his opponent, and fell bleeding to the earth.

Satisfied with the result of his experiment, Brennan, leaving his
captive in custody of his own party, attempted another raid upon the
defenceless flock; but this time Friend Williams, summoned by the voice
of his wife, darted to her rescue, and, with a happy blow, laid the
giant upon his back, where he lay for some moments admiring the evening

Brave as were the two knights, however, and manifest as was the right,
Victory would probably have "perched upon the banners of the strongest
battalions," had not an unexpected diversion put a sudden end to the

This came from the side of the assailants, in the pleasing shape of a
pretty young woman, who, rushing forward, flung her arms about the neck
of one of the leaders of the mob, crying,--

"Patrick Maloney, didn't you stand before the altar with me this day,
and vow to God to be a true and faithful husband? And is this all the
respect you show me on my wedding-day?"

The appeal was not without its force, and Patrick, pausing to consider
of it, was surrounded by the more pacific of his own party, among whom
now appeared "Big Tommy" from the Refinery, who loudly vouched for the
character of the visitors, claiming them indeed as warm and dear friends
of his own.

During the stormy council of war ensuing among the attacking party, the
womankind of the attacked ventured to approach near enough to implore
their champions to withdraw, while yet there was time. This pacific
counsel they finally consented to follow, and were led away breathing
vengeance and discontent, when John suddenly paused, exclaiming,--

"Where's Belle? They've got her. Come on, Williams! we aren't going to
leave the girl among 'em, surely!"

At this Maggie and Mrs. Williams uplifted their voices in deprecation of
further hostilities, protesting that they should die at once, if their
protectors were to desert them, and using many other feminine and
magnanimous arguments in favor of a speedy retreat.

But while yet the question of her rescue was undecided, Belle appeared,
flushed, tearful, and voluble in reproach against the friends who had
deserted her. She attributed her final escape to a free use of her
tongue, and repeated certain pointed remarks which she had addressed to
her custodian, who finally shook her, boxed her ears, and bade her

On hearing this recital, John was for returning at once and avenging the
insult; but the rest of the party, remembering the golden maxim of

    "He who fights and runs away
    May live to fight another day,"

prevailed on him to wait for retaliation until a more favorable

It may be satisfactory to the reader to hear, that, after Miselle had
left Oil Creek, she was informed that Mr. Williams, John, and a body of
men, equal in number to the colliers, paid them a visit, with authority
from the owner of the mine to pull down their house and eject them from
the premises. They also contemplated, it is supposed, a more direct and
personal vengeance; but, on making known their intentions, the pretty
bride again appeared, and, assaulting poor Williams with a whole battery
of tearful eyes, trembling lips, and eloquent appeals, vindicated once
more the superiority of woman's wiles to man's determination. An abject
apology from the colliers, and a decided intimation from the
"Regulators" of the consequences sure to follow any future incivility to
visitors, closed the affair, and the parties separated without further

The evening was so far advanced when the little party of fugitives were
once more _en route_, that a proposed visit to a working mine at some
little distance was given up, and at the door of the farm-house the
party dispersed to their respective homes.

The next day had been appointed for a visit to Oil City, the farthest
and most important station upon the Creek; and one object in visiting
the house was to engage Jamie, with his "team," for the expedition. It
fortunately happened that the old Scotchman and his wife were going to
Oil City on the same day, and it was arranged that the two parties
should unite.

At an early hour in the morning, therefore, Mr. and Mrs. Williams, with
Miselle, once more climbed the mountain to the little log-house, and
found Jamie just harnessing a pair of fine black horses to a wagon,
similar to the "hack-carriage" of Schaeffer's Farm. In the bottom was a
quantity of clean hay, and across the sides were fastened two planks,
covered with bedquilts. Upon one of these were seated Mr. and Mrs.
Williams, while Miselle was invited to the post of honor beside Mrs.
Miller, and the old Scotchman shared the driver's seat with his son.

"Dinna ye be feared now, dearie. Our Jamie's a car'fu' driver, wi' all
his wild ways," said the old woman kindly, as the wagon, with a
premonitory lurch and twist, turned into the forest road.

Road! Let the reader call to mind the most precipitous wooded mountain
of his acquaintance, and fancy a road formed over it by the simple
process of cutting off the trees, leaving the stumps and rocks
undisturbed, and then fancy himself dragged over it in a springless
wagon behind two fast horses.

"Eh, then! It maks an auld body's banes ache sair, siccan a road, as
yon!" said the Scotchwoman, with a significant grimace, as the wagon
paused a moment at the foot of a perpendicular ascent.

"I reckon ye wad nae ken whatten the Auld Country roads were med for,
gin ye suld see them. They're nae like this, ony way."

The dear old creature had entered the United States through the St.
Lawrence and the Lakes, and supposed Tarr Farm to be America. Miselle
was so weak as to try to describe the aspect of things about her native
city, and was evidently suspected of patriotic romancing for her pains.

But such magnificent views! Such glimpses of far mountain-peaks, seen
through vistas of rounded hills! Such flashing streams, tumbling heels
over head across the forest road in their haste to mingle with the blue
waters of the Alleghany! Such wide stretches of country, as the road
crept along the mountain-brow, or curved sinuously down to the far

Pictures were there, as yet uncopied, that should hold Church
breathless, with the pencil of the Andes and Niagara quivering in his
fingers,--pictures that Turner might well cross the seas to look upon;
but Miselle remembers them through a distracting mist of bodily terror
and discomfort,--as some painter showed a dance of demons encircling a
maiden's couch, while above it hung her first love-dream.

"Yon in the valley, where the wood looks so yaller, is a sulphur spring;
an' here in the road's the place where I'm going to tip you all over,"
suddenly remarked Jamie, twisting himself round on the box to enjoy the
consternation of his female passengers, while the wagon paused on the
verge of a long gully, some six feet in depth, occupying the whole
middle of the road.

"Wull ye get out?" continued he, addressing Miselle for the first time.

"Had we better?" asked she, tremulously.

"If you're easy scared. But I'm no going to upset, I'll promise you."

"Then I'll stay in," said Miselle, in the desperate courage of extreme
cowardice; and the wagon went on, two wheels deep in the gully,
crumbling down the clayey mud, two wheels high on the mountain-side,
crashing through brush and over stones. And yet there was no upset.

"Didn't I tell ye?" inquired Jamie, again twisting himself to look in
Miselle's white face, with a broad smile of delight at her evident

"Be done, you bold bairn! Isn't he a sturdy, stirring lad, Ma'am?" said
the proud mother, as Jamie, addressing himself again to his work,
shouted to the black nags, and put them along the bit of level road in
the valley at a pace precluding all further conversation.

Another precipitous ascent, where the road had been mended by felling a
large tree across it, over whose trunk the horses were obliged to pull
the heavy wagon, and then an equally precipitous descent, gave a view of
the Alleghany River and Oil Creek, with Oil City at their confluence,
and a background of bluffs and mountains cutting sharp against the clear
blue sky.

This view Miselle contemplated with one eye; but the other remained
rigidly fixed upon the road before her.

Even Jamie paused, and finally suggested,--

"Reckon, men, you'd best get out and walk alongside. The women can stay
in; and if she's going over, you can shore up."

Under these cheerful auspices the descent was accomplished, and, by some
miracle, without accident.

At the foot of the bluff commences the slough in which Oil City is set;
and as it deepened, the horses gradually sank from view, until only
their backs were visible, floundering through a sea of oily mud of a
peculiarly tenacious character. Miselle has the warning of Munchausen
before her eyes; but, in all sadness, she avers that in the principal
street of Oil City, and at the door of the principal hotel, the mud was
on that day above the hubs of the wagon-wheels.

Having refreshed themselves in body and mind at the Petroleum House,
where a lady in a soiled print dress and much jewelry kindly played at
them upon a gorgeous piano, the party went forth to view the city.

The same mingling of urgent civilization and unsubdued Nature observable
in Corry characterizes Oil City to a greater extent. On one side of the
street, crowded with oil-wagons, the freight of each worth thousands of
dollars, stand long rows of dwellings, shops, and warehouses, all built
within two years, and on the other impinges a bluff still covered with
its forest growth of shrubs and wood-plants,--while upon the frowning
front of a cliff that has for centuries faced nothing meaner than the
Alleghany, with its mountain background, some Vandal has daubed the
advertisement of a quack nostrum.

Farther on, where the bluff is less precipitous, it has been graded
after a fashion; and the houses built at the upper side of the new
street seem to be sliding rapidly across it to join their opposite
neighbors, which, in their turn, are sinking modestly into the mud.

A plank sidewalk renders it possible to walk through the principal
streets of this city; but temptation to do so is of the slightest.

Monotonous lines of frail houses, shops whose scanty assortment of goods
must be sold at enormous prices to pay the expense of transportation
from New York or Philadelphia, crowds of oil-speculators, oil-dealers,
oil-teamsters, a clumsy bridge across the Creek, a prevailing atmosphere
of petroleum,--such is Oil City.

At the water-side the view is somewhat more interesting. No wharves
have yet been built; and the swarming flatboats "tie up" all along the
bank, just as they used to do three years ago, when, with a freight of
lumber instead of oil, they stopped for the night at the solitary little
Dutch tavern then monopolizing the site of the present city.

A rakish little stern-wheel steamer lay in the stream, bound for
Pittsburg, and sorely was Miselle tempted to take passage down the
Alleghany in her; but lingering memories of home and the long-suffering
Caleb at last prevailed, and, with a sigh, she turned her back upon the
beautiful river, and retraced her steps through yards crowded with
barrels of oil waiting for shipment,--oil in rows, oil in stacks, oil in
columns, and oil in pyramids wellnigh as tall and as costly as that of
Cheops himself.

Returned to the Petroleum House, Miselle bade a reluctant good-bye to
the kindly Scots, who here took stage for Franklin, and watched them
float away, as it appeared, upon the sea of mud in a wagon-body whose
wheels and horses were too nearly submerged to make any noticeable
feature in the arrangement.

Soon after, Jamie appeared at the door of the parlor nominally to
announce himself ready to return; but, after a fierce struggle with his
natural modesty of disposition, he advanced into the room, and silently
laid two of the biggest apples that ever grew in the laps of Mrs.
Williams and Miselle. Putting aside all acknowledgments with "Ho! what's
an apple or two?" the woodsman next proceeded on a tour of inspection
round the room, serenely unconscious of the magnificent scorn withering
him from the eyes of the jewelled lady, who now reclined upon a
broken-backed sofa, taking a leisurely survey of the strangers.

Jamie paused some time at the piano.

"And what might such a thing as that cost noo?" asked he, at length,
giving the case a little back-handed blow.

"About eight hundred dollars," ventured Miselle, to whom the inquiry was

Jamie opened his wide black eyes.

"Hoot! Feyther could ha' bought Jim Tarr's whole farm for that, three
year ago," said he; and, with one more contemptuous stare at the piano,
he left the room, and was presently seen in the stable-yard, shouldering
from his path a wagon laden with coals.

Soon after, Miselle and her friends gladly bade farewell to Oil City,
leaving the scornful lady seated at the piano executing the charming
melody of "We're a band of brothers from the old Granite State."

Having entered the city by the hill-road, it was proposed to return
along the Creek, although, as Jamie candidly stated, the road "might,
like enough, be a thought worser than the other."

And it was.

Before the oil fever swept through this region, a man might have
travelled from the mouth of the Creek to its head-waters, and seen no
more buildings than he could have numbered on his ten fingers. Now the
line of derricks, shanties, engine-houses, and oil-tanks is continuous
through the whole distance; and thousands of men may be seen to-day
accumulating millions of dollars where three years ago the squirrel and
his wife, hoarding their winter stores, were the only creatures that
took thought for the morrow.

After its incongruous mixture of society, the social peculiarity of Oil
Creek is a total disregard of truth.

A mechanic, a tradesman, or a boatman makes the most solemn promise of
service at a certain time. Terms are settled, a definite hour appointed
for the fulfilment of the contract; the man departs, and is seen no
more. His employer is neither disappointed nor angry; he expects nothing

A cart laden with country produce enters the settlement from the farms
behind it. Every housewife drops her broom, and rushes out to waylay the
huckster, and induce him to sell her the provisions already engaged to
her neighbor. Happy she, if stout enough of arm to convey her booty home
with her; for if she trust the vendor to leave it at her house, even
after paying him his price, she may bid good-bye to the green delights,
as eagerly craved here as on a long sea-voyage.

This "peculiar institution" is all very well, doubtless, for those who
understand it, but is somewhat inconvenient to a stranger, as Miselle
discovered during the three days she was trying to leave Tarr Farm.

On the third morning, after waiting two hours upon the bank of the Creek
for a perjured boatman, Mr. Williams rushed desperately into a crowd of
teamsters and captured the youth whose first impressions of a railway
have been chronicled on a preceding page. Probably even he, had time
been allowed to consider the proposition at length, would have declined
the journey; but, overborne by the vehemence of his employer, he found
himself well upon the road to Schaeffer's Farm before he had by any
means decided to go thither.

The pleasantest part of the "carriage exercise" on this road is fording
the Creek, a course adopted wherever the bluff comes down to the bank,
and the flat reappears upon the opposite side, no one having yet spent
time to grade a continuous road on one side or the other. A railway
company has, however, made a beginning in this direction; and it is
promised that in another year the traveller may proceed from Schaeffer's
to Oil City by rail.

At Titusville Miselle bade good-bye to her kind friend Williams, and
once more took herself under her own protection.

Spending the night at Corry, she next day found herself in the city of
Erie, and could have fancied it Heidelberg instead, the signs bearing
such names as Schultz, Seelinger, Jantzen, Cronenberger, Heidt, and
Heybeck. Hans Preuss sells bread, Valentin Ulrich manufactures saddles,
and P. Loesch keeps a meat-market, with a sign representing one
gentleman holding a mad bull by a bit of packthread tied to his horns,
while an assistant leisurely strolls up to annihilate the creature with
a tack-hammer.

Here, too, a little beyond the middle of the town, was a girl herding a
flock of geese, precisely as did the princess in the "Brüder Grimm
Tales," while a doltish boy stared at her with just the imbecile
admiration of Kurdkin for the wily maiden who combed her golden, hair
and chanted her naughty spell in the same breath.

A little farther on stood a charming old Dutch cottage with cabbages in
the front yard, and a hop-vine clambering the porch. An infant Teuton
swung upon the gate, who, being addressed by Miselle, lisped an answer
in High Dutch, while his mother shrilly exchanged the news with her next
neighbor in the same tongue.

Two hours sufficed to exhaust the wonders of Erie, and Miselle gladly
took the cars for Buffalo, and on the road thither fell in with a good
Samaritan, who solaced her weary faintness with delicate titbits of
grouse, shot and roasted upon an Ohio prairie.

At Buffalo waited the Eastern-bound cars of the New-York Central
Railway; but only twenty miles farther on, thundered Niagara, and
Miselle could not choose but obey the sonorous summons. So, after
spending the night at a "white man's" hotel in Buffalo, the next morning
found her standing, an insignificant atom, before one of the world's
great wonders. One or two other travellers, however, have mentioned
Niagara; and Miselle refrains from expressing more than her thanks for
the kindness which enabled her to fulfil her darling wish of standing
behind the great fall on the Canada side.

Truly, it is no empty boast that places Americans preëminent over the
men of every other nation in their courtesy to women; and Miselle would
fain most gratefully acknowledge the constant attention and kindness
everywhere offered to her, while never once was she annoyed by obtrusive
or unwelcome approach; and not the vast resources of her country, not
the grandeur of Niagara, give her such pride and satisfaction as does
the new knowledge she has gained of her countrymen.



    O sailors, did sweet eyes look after you,
      The day you sailed away from sunny Spain?
    Bright eyes that followed fading ship and crew,
                              Melting in tender rain?

    Did no one dream of that drear night to be,
      Wild with the wind, fierce with the stinging snow,
    When, on yon granite point that frets the sea,
                              The ship met her death-blow?

    Fifty long years ago these sailors died:
      (None know how many sleep beneath the waves:)
    Fourteen gray headstones, rising side by side,
                              Point out their nameless graves,--

    Lonely, unknown, deserted, but for me,
      And the wild birds that flit with mournful cry,
    And sadder winds, and voices of the sea
                              That moans perpetually.

    Wives, mothers, maidens, wistfully, in vain
      Questioned the distance for the yearning sail,
    That, leaning landward, should have stretched again
                              White arms wide on the gale,

    To bring back their beloved. Year by year,
      Weary they watched, till youth and beauty passed,
    And lustrous eyes grew dim, and age drew near,
                              And hope was dead at last.

    Still summer broods o'er that delicious land,
      Rich, fragrant, warm with skies of golden glow:
    Live any yet of that forsaken band
                              Who loved so long ago?

    O Spanish women, over the far seas,
      Could I but show you where your dead repose!
    Could I send tidings on this northern breeze,
                              That strong and steady blows!

    Dear dark-eyed sisters, you remember yet
      These you have lost, but you can never know
    One stands at their bleak graves whose eyes are wet
                              With thinking of your woe!


There is an influential form of practical force, compounded of strong
will, strong sense, and strong egotism, which long waited for a strong
monosyllable to announce its nature. Facts of character, indeed, are
never at rest until they have become terms of language; and that
peculiar thing which is not exactly courage or heroism, but which
unmistakably is "Grit," has coined its own word to blurt out its own
quality. If the word has not yet pushed its way into classic usage, or
effected a lodgement in the dictionaries, the force it names is no less
a reality of the popular consciousness, and the word itself no less a
part of popular speech. Men who possessed the thing were just the men to
snub elegance and stun propriety by giving it an inelegant, though
vitally appropriate name. There is defiance in its very sound. The word
is used by vast numbers of people to express their highest ideal of
manliness, which is "real grit." It is impossible for anybody to acquire
the reputation it confers by the most dexterous mimicry of its outside
expressions; for a swift analysis, which drives directly to the heart of
the man, instantly detects the impostor behind the braggart, and curtly
declares him to lack "the true grit." The word is so close to the thing
it names, has so much pith and point, is so tart on the tongue, and so
stings the ear with its meaning, that foreigners ignorant of the
language might at once feel its significance by its griding utterance as
it is shot impatiently through the resisting teeth.

Grit is in the grain of character. It may generally be described as
heroism materialized,--spirit and will thrust into heart, brain, and
backbone, so as to form part of the physical substance of the man. The
feeling with which it rushes into consciousness is akin to physical
sensation; and the whole body--every nerve, muscle, and drop of
blood--is thrilled with purpose and passion. "Spunk" does not express
it; for "spunk," besides being _petite_ in itself, is courage in
effervescence rather than courage in essence. A person usually cowardly
may be kicked or bullied into the exhibition of spunk; but the man of
grit carries in his presence a power which spares him the necessity of
resenting insult; for insult sneaks away from his look. It is not mere
"pluck"; for pluck also comes by fits and starts, and can be
disconnected from the other elements of character. A tradesman once had
the pluck to demand of Talleyrand, at the time that trickster-statesman
was at the height of his power, when he intended to pay his bill; but he
was instantly extinguished by the impassive insolence of Talleyrand's
answer,--"My faith, how curious you are!" Considered as an efficient
force, it is sometimes below heroism, sometimes above it: below heroism,
when heroism is the permanent condition of the soul; above heroism, when
heroism is simply the soul's transient mood. Thus, Demosthenes had
flashes of splendid heroism, but his valor depended on his genius being
kindled,--his brave actions naming out from mental ecstasy rather than
intrepid character. The moment his will dropped from its eminence of
impassioned thought, he was scared by dangers which common soldiers
faced with gay indifference. Erskine, the great advocate, was a hero at
the bar; but when he entered the House of Commons, there was something
in the fixed imperiousness and scorn of Pitt which made him feel
inwardly weak and fluttered. Erskine had flashes of heroism; Pitt had
consistent and persistent grit. If we may take the judgment of Sir
Sidney Smith, Wellington had more grit than Napoleon had heroism. Just
before the Battle of Waterloo, Sir Sidney, at Paris, was told that the
Duke had decided to keep his position at all events. "Oh!" he
exclaimed, "if the Duke has said that, of course t' other fellow must
give way."

And this is essentially the sign of grit, that, when it appears, t'
other fellow or t' other opinion must give way. Its power comes from its
tough hold on the real, and the surly boldness with which it utters and
acts it out. Thus, in social life, it puts itself in rude opposition to
all those substitutes for reality which the weakness and hypocrisy and
courtesy of men find necessary for their mutual defence. It denies that
it has ever surrendered its original rights and aboriginal force, or
that it has assented to the social compact. When it goes into any
company of civilized persons, its pugnacity is roused by seeing that
social life does not rest on the vigor of the persons who compose it,
but on the authority of certain rules and manners to which all are
required to conform. These appear to grit as external defences, thrown
up to protect elegant feebleness against any direct collision with
positive character, and to keep men and women at a respectful distance
from ladies and gentlemen. Life is carried on there at one or more
removes from the realities of life, on this principle, that, "I won't
speak the truth of you, if you won't speak the truth of me"; and the
name of this principle is politeness. It is impolite to tell foolish men
that they are foolish, mean men that they are mean, wicked men that they
are wicked, traitorous men that they are traitors; for smooth lies
cement what impolite veracities would shatter. The system, it is
contended, on the whole, civilizes the individuals whose natures it may
repress, and is better than a sincerity which would set them by the
ears, and put a veto on all social intercourse whatever. But strong as
may be the argument in favor of the system, it is certainly as important
that it should be assailed as that it should exist, and that it should
be assailed from within; for, carried out unchecked to its last
consequences, it results in sinking its victims into the realm of vapors
and vacuity, its representative being the all-accomplished London man of
fashion who committed suicide to save himself from the bore of dressing
and undressing. Besides, in "good society," so called, the best
sentiments and ideas can sometimes get expression only through the form
of bad manners. It is charming to be in a circle where human nature is
pranked out in purple and fine linen, and where you sometimes see
manners as beautiful as the masterpieces of the arts; yet some people
cannot get rid of the uneasy consciousness that a subtle tyranny
pervades the room and ties the tongue,--that philanthropy is impolite,
that heroism is ungenteel, that truth, honor, freedom, humanity,
strongly asserted, are marks of a vulgar mind; and many a person, daring
enough to defend his opinions anywhere else, by speech or by the sword,
quails in the parlor before some supercilious coxcomb,

        "Weak in his watery smile
    And educated whisker,"

who can still tattle to the girls that the reformer is "no gentleman."

Now how different all this is, when a man of social grit thrusts himself
into a drawing-room, and with an easy audacity tosses out disagreeable
facts and unfashionable truths, the porcelain crashing as his words
fall, and saying everything that no gentleman ought to say, indifferent
to the titter or terror of the women and the offended looks and
frightened stare of the men. How the gilded lies vanish in his presence!
How he states, contradicts, confutes! how he smashes through proprieties
to realities, flooding the room with his aggressive vitality, mastering
by main force a position in the most exclusive set, and, by being
perfectly indifferent to their opinion, making it impossible for them to
put him down! He thus becomes a social power by becoming a social
rebel,--persecutes conventional politeness into submission to rude
veracity,--establishes an autocracy of man over the gentleman,--and
practises a kind of "Come-Outerism," while insisting on enjoying all the
advantages of _Go-Interism_. Ben Jonson in the age of Elizabeth, Samuel
Johnson in the last century, Carlyle and Brougham in the present, are
prominent examples of this somewhat insolent manhood in the presence of
social forms. It is, however, one of the rarest, as it is one of the
ugliest, kinds of human strength; it requires, perhaps, in its
combination, full as many defects as merits; and how difficult is its
justifiable exercise we see in the career of so illustrious a
philanthropist as Wilberforce,--a man whose speech in Parliament showed
no lack of vivid conceptions and smiting words, a man whom no threats of
personal violence could intimidate, and who would cheerfully have risked
his life for his cause, yet still a man who could never forget that he
was a Tory and a gentleman, who had no grit before lords and ladies,
whose Abolitionism was not sufficiently blunt and downright in the good
company of cabinet ministers, whose sensitive nature flinched at the
thought of being conscientiously impolite and heroically ill-natured,
and whose manners were thus frequently in the way of the full efficiency
of his morals. In many respects a hero, in all respects benevolent, he
still was not like Romilly, a man of grit. Politeness has been defined
as benevolence in small things. To be benevolent in great things,
decorum must sometimes yield to duty; and Draco, though in the king's
drawing-room, and loyally supporting in Parliament the measures of the
ministry, is still Draco, though cruelty in him has learned the dialect
of fashion and clothed itself in the privileges of the genteel.

Proceeding from social life to business life, we shall find that it is
this unamiable, but indomitable, quality of grit which not only acquires
fortunes, but preserves them after they have been acquired. The ruin
which overtakes so many merchants is due not so much to their lack of
business talent as to their lack of business nerve. How many lovable
persons we see in trade, endowed with brilliant capacities, but cursed
with yielding dispositions,--who are resolute in no business habits and
fixed in no business principles,--who are prone to follow the instincts
of a weak good-nature against the ominous hints of a clear intelligence,
now obliging this friend by indorsing an unsafe note, and then pleasing
that neighbor by sharing his risk in a hopeless speculation,--and who,
after all the capital they have earned by their industry and sagacity
has been sunk in benevolent attempts to assist blundering or plundering
incapacity, are doomed, in their bankruptcy, to be the mark of bitter
taunts from growling creditors and insolent pity from a gossiping
public. Much has been said about the pleasures of a good conscience; and
among these I reckon the act of that man who, having wickedly lent
certain moneys to a casual acquaintance, was in the end called upon to
advance a sum which transcended his honest means, with a dark hint,
that, if the money was refused, there was but one thing for the casual
acquaintance to do,--that is, to commit suicide. The person thus
solicited, in a transient fit of moral enthusiasm, caught at the hint,
and with great earnestness advised the casual acquaintance to do it, on
the ground that it was the only reparation he could make to the numerous
persons he had swindled. And this advice was given with no fear that the
guilt of that gentleman's blood would lie on his soul, for the mission
of that gentleman was to continue his existence by sucking out the life
of others, and his last thought was to destroy his own; and it is hardly
necessary to announce that he is still alive and sponging. Indeed, a
courageous merchant must ever by ready to face the fact that he will be
called a curmudgeon, if he will not ruin himself to please others, and a
weak fool, if he does. Many a fortune has melted away in the hesitating
utterance of the placable "Yes," which might have been saved by the
unhesitating utterance of the implacable "No!" Indeed, in business, the
perfection of grit is this power of saying "No," and saying it with such
wrathful emphasis that the whole race of vampires and harpies are scared
from you counting-room, and your reputation as unenterprising,
unbearable niggard is fully established among all borrowers of money
never meant to be repaid, and all projectors of schemes intended for the
benefit of the projectors alone. At the expense of a little temporary
obloquy, a man can thus conquer the right to mind his own business; and
having done this, he has shown his possession of that nerve which, in
his business, puts inexorable purpose into clear conceptions, follows
out a plan of operations with sturdy intelligence, and conducts to
fortune by the road of real enterprise. Many others may evince equal
shrewdness in framing a project, but they hesitate, become timid, become
confused, at some step in its development. Their character is not strong
enough to back up their intellect. But the iron-like tenacity of the
merchant of grit holds on to the successful end.

You can watch the operation of this quality in every-day business
transactions. Your man of grit seems never deficient in news of the
markets, though he may employ no telegraph-operator. Thus, about two
years ago, a great Boston holder of flour went to considerable expense
in obtaining special intelligence, which would, when generally known,
carry flour up to ten dollars and a half a barrel. Another dealer,
suspecting something, went to him and said, "What do you say flour's
worth to-day?"--"Oh," was the careless answer, "I suppose it might bring
ten dollars."--"Well," retorted the querist, gruffly, "I've got five
thousand barrels on hand, and I should like to _see_ the man who would
give me ten dollars barrel for it!"--"I will," said the other, quickly,
disclosing his secret by the eagerness of his manner, "Well," was the
reply, "all I can say is, then, that I have _seen_ the man."

The importance of this quality as a business power is most apparent in
those frightful panics which periodically occur in our country, and
which sometimes tax the people more severely than wars and standing
armies. In regard to one of the last of these financial hurricanes, that
of 1857, there can be little doubt, that, if the acknowledged holders of
financial power had been men of real grit, it might have been averted;
there can be as little doubt, that, when it burst, if they had been men
of real grit, it might have been made less disastrous. But they kept
nearly all their sails set up to the point of danger, and when the
tempest was on them ignominiously took to their boats and abandoned the
ship. And as for the crew and passengers, it was the old spectacle of a
shipwreck,--individuals squabbling to get a plank, instead of combining
to construct a raft.

Indeed, there was something pitiable in the state of things which that
panic revealed in the business centres of the country. Common sense
seemed to be disowned by mutual consent; an infectious fear went
shivering from man to man; and a strange fascination led people to
increase by suspicions and reports the peril which threatened their own
destruction. Men, being thus thrown back upon the resources of
character, were put to terrible tests. As the intellect cannot act when
the will is paralyzed, many a merchant, whose debts really bore no
proportion to his property, was seen sitting, like the French prisoner
in the iron cage whose sides were hourly contracting, stupidly gazing at
the bars which were closing in upon him, and feeling in advance the pang
of the iron which was to cut into his flesh and crush his bones.

In invigorating contrast to the panic-smitten, we had the privilege to
witness many an example of the grit-inspired. Then it was that the
grouty, taciturn, obstinate trader, so unpopular in ordinary times,
showed the stuff he was made of. Then his bearing was cheer and hope to
all who looked upon him. How he girded himself for the fight, resolved,
if he died, to die hard! How he tugged with obstacles as if they were
personal affronts, and hurled them to the right and to the left! How
grandly, amid the chatter of the madmen about him, came his few words of
sense and sanity! And then his brain, brightened, not bewildered, by the
danger, how clear and alert it was, how fertile in expedients, how firm
in principles, with a glance that pierced through the ignorant present
to the future, seeing as calmly and judging as accurately in the tempest
as it had in the sunshine. Never losing heart and never losing head,
with as strong a grip on his honor as on his property, detesting the
very thought of failure, knowing that he might be broken to pieces, but
determined that he would not weakly "go to pieces," he performed the
greatest service to the community, as well as to himself, by resolutely,
at any sacrifice, paying his debts when they became due. It is a pity
that such austere Luthers of commerce, trade-militant instead of
church-militant, who meet hard times with a harder will, had not a
little beauty in their toughness, so that grit, lifted to heroism, would
allure affection as well as enforce respect. But their sense is so
rigid, their integrity so gruff, and their courage so unjoyous, that all
the genial graces fly their companionship; and a libertine Sheridan,
with Ancient Pistol's motto of "Base is the slave that pays," will often
be more popular, even among the creditor portion of the public, than
these crabbed heroes, and, if need be, surly martyrs, of mercantile
honesty and personal honor.

In regard to public life, and the influence of this rough manliness in
politics, it is a matter of daily observation, that, in the strife of
parties and principles, backbone without brain will carry it against
brain without backbone. A politician weakly and amiably in the right is
no match for a politician tenaciously and pugnaciously in the wrong. You
cannot, by tying an opinion to a man's tongue, make him the
representative of that opinion; and at the close of any battle for
principles, his name will be found neither among the dead nor among the
wounded, but among the missing. The true motto for a party is neither
"Measures, not men," nor "Men, not measures," but "Measures _in_
men,"--measures which are in their blood as well as in their brain and
on their lips. Wellington said that Napoleon's presence in the French
army was equivalent to forty thousand additional soldiers; and in a
legislative assembly, Mirabeau and John Adams and John Quincy Adams are
not simply persons who hold a single vote, but forces whose power
thrills through the whole mass of voters. Mean natures always feel a
sort of terror before great natures; and many a base thought has been
unuttered, many a sneaking vote withheld, through the fear inspired by
the rebuking presence of one noble man.

Opinions embodied in men, and thus made aggressive and militant, are the
opinions which mark the union of thought with grit. A politician of this
class is not content to comprehend and wield the elements of power
already existing in a community, but he aims to make his individual
conviction and purpose dominant over the convictions and purposes of the
accredited exponents of public opinion. He cares little about his
unpopularity at the start, and doggedly persists in his course against
obstacles which seem insurmountable. A great, but mischievous, example
of this power appeared in our own generation in the person of Mr.
Calhoun, a statesman who stamped his individual mind on the policy and
thinking of the country more definitely, perhaps, than any statesman
since Hamilton, though his influence has, on the whole, been as evil as
Hamilton's was, on the whole, beneficent. Keen-sighted, far-sighted, and
inflexible, Mr. Calhoun clearly saw the logical foundations and logical
results of the institution of Slavery; and though at first called an
abstractionist and a fanatic by the looser thinkers of his own region,
his inexorable argumentation, conquering by degrees politicians who
could reason, made itself felt at last among politicians who could not
reason; and the conclusions of his logic were adopted by thousands whose
brains would have broken in the attempt to follow its processes. One of
those rare deductive reasoners whose audacity marches abreast their
genius, he would have been willing to fight to the last gasp for a
conclusion which he had laboriously reached by rigid deduction through
a score of intermediate steps, from premises in themselves repugnant to
the primal instincts both of reason and humanity. Always ready to meet
anybody in argument, he detested all reasoners who attempted to show the
fallacy of his argument by pointing out the dangerous results to which
it led. In this he sometimes brought to mind that inflexible professor
of the deductive method who was timidly informed that his principles, if
carried out, would split the world to pieces. "Let it split," was his
careless answer; "there are enough more planets." By pure intellectual
grit, he thus effected a revolution in the ideas and sentiments of the
South, and through the South made his mind act on the policy of the
nation. The present war has its root in the principles he advocated.
Never flinching from any logical consequence of his principles, Mr.
Calhoun did not rest until through him religion, morality,
statesmanship, the Constitution of the United States, the constitution
of man, were all bound in black. Chattel slavery, the most nonsensical
as well as detestable of oppressions, was, to him, the most beneficent
contrivance of human wisdom. He called it an institution: Mr. Emerson
has more happily styled it a destitution. At last the chains of his iron
logic were heard clanking on the whole Southern intellect. Reasoning the
most masterly was employed to annihilate the first principles of reason;
the understanding of man was insanely placed in direct antagonism to his
moral instincts; and finally the astounding conclusion was reached, that
the Creator of mankind has his pet races,--that God himself scouts his
colored children, and nicknames them "Niggers."

It is delicious to watch the exulting and somewhat contemptuous audacity
with which he hurries to the unforeseen conclusion those who have once
been simple enough to admit his premises. Towards men who have some
logical capacity his tone is that of respectful impatience; but as he
goads on the reluctant and resentful victims of his reasoning, who
loiter and limp painfully in the steps of his rapid deductions, he seems
to say, with ironic scorn, "A little faster, my poor cripples!"

So confident was Mr. Calhoun in his capacity to demonstrate the validity
of his horrible creed, that he was ever eager to measure swords with the
most accomplished of his antagonists in the duel of debate. And it must
be said that he despised all the subterfuges and evasions by which, in
ordinary controversies, the real question is dodged, and went directly
to the heart of the matter,--a resolute intellect, burning to grapple
with another resolute intellect in a vital encounter. In common
legislative debates, on the contrary, there is no vital encounter. The
exasperated opponents, personally courageous, but deficient in clear and
fixed ideas, mutually contrive to avoid the things essential to be
discussed, while wantoning in all the forms of discussion. They assert,
brag, browbeat, dogmatize, domineer, pummel each other with the
_argumentum ad hominem_, and abundantly prove that they stand for
opposite opinions; we watch them as we watch the feints and hits of a
couple of pugilists in the ring; but after the sparring is over, we find
that neither the Southern champion nor the Northern bruiser has touched
the inner reality of the question to decide which they stripped
themselves for the fight. In regard to the intellectual issue, they are
like two bullies enveloping themselves in an immense concealing dust of
arrogant words, and, as they fearfully retreat from personal collision,
shouting furiously to each other, "Let me get at him!" And this is what
is commonly called grit in politics,--abundant backbone to face persons,
deficient brain-bone to encounter principles.

Not so was it when two debaters like Mr. Calhoun and Mr. Webster engaged
in the contest of argument. Take, for example, as specimens of pure
mental manliness, their speeches in the Senate, in 1833, on the question
whether or not the Constitution is a compact between sovereign States.
Give Mr. Calhoun those two words, "compact" and "sovereign," and he
conducts you logically to Nullification and to all the consequences of
Nullification. Andrew Jackson, a man in his kind, of indomitable
resolution, intended to arrest the argument at a convenient point by the
sword, and thus save himself the bother of going farther in the chain of
inferences than he pleased. Mr. Webster grappled with the argument and
with the man; and it is curious to watch that spectacle of a meeting
between two such hostile minds. Each is confident of the strength of his
own position; each is eager for a close hug of dialectics. Far from
avoiding the point, they drive directly towards it, clearing their
essential propositions from mutual misconception by the sharpest
analysis and exactest statement. To get their minds near each other, to
think close to the subject, to feel the griding contact of pure
intellect with pure intellect, and, as spiritual beings, to conduct the
war of reason with spiritual weapons,--this is their ambition.
Conventionally courteous to each other, they are really in the deadliest
antagonism; for their contest is the tug and strain of soul with soul,
and each feels that defeat would be worse than death. No nervous
irritation, no hard words, no passionate recriminations, no flinching
from unexpected difficulties, no substitution of declamatory sophisms
for rigorous inferences--but close, calm, ruthless grapple of thought
with thought. To each, at the time, life seems to depend on the
issue--not merely the life which a sword-cut or pistol-bullet can
destroy, but immortal life, the life of immaterial minds and
personalities, thus brought into spiritual feud. They know very well,
that, whatever be the real result, the Webster-men will give the victory
of argument to Webster, the Calhoun-men the victory of argument to
Calhoun; but that consideration does not enter their thoughts as they
prepare to close in that combat which is to determine, not to the world,
but to each other, which is the stronger intellect, and which is in the
right Few ever appreciate great men in this hostile attitude, not of
their passions, but of their minds; and those who do it the least are
their furious partisans. Most people are contented with the argument
that tells, and are apt to be bored with the argument which refutes; but
a true reasoner despises even his success, if he feels that two persons,
himself and his opponent, know that he is in the wrong. And the strain
on the whole being in this contest of intellect with intellect, and the
reluctance with which the most combative enter it unless they are
consciously strong, is well illustrated by Dr. Johnson's remark to some
friends, when sickness had relaxed the tough fibre of his brain,--"If
that fellow Burke were here now, he would kill me."

A peculiar kind of grit, not falling under any of the special
expressions I have noted, yet partaking in some degree of all, is
illustrated in the character of Lieutenant-General Grant. Without an
atom of pretension or rhetoric, with none of the external signs of
energy and intrepidity, making no parade of the immovable purpose, iron
nerve, and silent, penetrating intelligence God has put into him, his
tranquil greatness is hidden from superficial scrutiny behind a cigar,
as President Lincoln's is behind a joke. When anybody tries to coax,
cajole, overawe, browbeat, or deceive Lincoln, the President nurses his
leg, and is reminded of a story; when anybody tries the same game with
Grant, the General listens and--smokes. If you try to wheedle out of him
his plans for a campaign, he stolidly smokes; if you call him an
imbecile and a blunderer, he blandly lights another cigar; if you praise
him as the greatest general living, he placidly returns the puff from
his regalia; and if you tell him he should run for the Presidency, it
does not disturb the equanimity with which he inhales and exhales the
unsubstantial vapor which typifies the politician's promises. While you
are wondering what kind of man this creature without a tongue is, you
are suddenly electrified with the news of some splendid victory, proving
that behind the cigar, and behind the face discharged of all tell-tale
expression, is the best brain to plan and the strongest heart to dare
among the generals of the Republic.

It is curious to mark a variation of this intellectual hardihood and
personal force when the premises are not in the solidities, but in the
oddities of thought and character, and whim stands stiffly up to the
remotest inferences which may be deduced from its insanest freaks of
individual opinion. Thus it is said that in one of our country towns
there is an old gentleman who is an eccentric hater of women; and this
crotchet of his character he carries to its extreme logical
consequences. Not content with general declamation against the sex, he
turns eagerly, the moment he receives the daily newspaper, to the list
of deaths; and if he sees the death of a woman recorded, he gleefully
exclaims,--"Good! good! there's another of 'em gone!"

We have heard of a man who had conceived a violent eccentric prejudice
against negroes; and he was not content with chiming in with the usual
cant of the prejudice that they ought not to be allowed in our churches
and in our rail-road-cars, but vociferated, that, if he had his way,
they should not be allowed in Africa! The advantage of grit in this
respect is in its annihilating a prejudice by presenting a vivid vision
of its theoretical consequences. Carlyle has an eccentric hatred of the
eighteenth century, its manners, morals, politics, religion, and men. He
has expressed this in various ways for thirty years; but in his last
work, the "Life of Frederick the Great," his prejudice reached its
logical climax in the assertion, that the only sensible thing the
eighteenth century ever did was blowing out its own brains in the French

Again, in discussion, some men have felicity in replying to a question,
others a felicity in replying to the motive which prompted the question.
In one case you get an answer addressed to your understanding; in the
other, an answer which smites like a slap in the face. Thus, when a pert
skeptic asked Martin Luther where God was before He created heaven,
Martin stunned his querist with the retort,--"He was building hell for
such idle, presumptuous, fluttering, and inquisitive spirits as you."
And everybody will recollect the story of the self-complacent cardinal
who went to confess to a holy monk, and thought by self-accusation to
get the reputation of a saint.

"I have been guilty of every kind of sin," snivelled the cardinal.

"It is a solemn fact," replied the impassive monk.

"I have indulged in pride, ambition, malice, and revenge," groaned the

"It is too true," answered the monk.

"Why, you fool," exclaimed the enraged dignitary, "you don't imagine
that I mean all this to the letter!"

"Ho! ho!" said the monk, "so you have been a liar, too, have you?"

This relentless rebuker of shams furnishes us with a good transition to
another department of the subject, namely, moral hardihood, or grit
organized in conscience, and applying the most rigorous laws of ethics
to the practical affairs of life. Now there is a wide difference between
moral men, so called, and men moralized,--between men who lazily adopt
and lazily practise the conventional moral proprieties of the time, and
men transformed into the image of inexorable, unmerciful moral ideas,
men in whom moral maxims appear organized as moral might. There are
thousands who are prodigal of moral and benevolent opinions, and
honestly eloquent in loud professions of what they would do in case
circumstances called upon them to act; but when the occasion is suddenly
thrust upon them, when temptation, leering into every corner and crevice
of their weak and selfish natures, connects the notion of virtue with
the reality of sacrifice, then, in that sharp pinch, they become
suddenly apprised of the difference between rhetoric and rectitude, and
find that their speeches have been far ahead of their powers of
performance. Thus, in one of Gerald Griffin's novels, there is a scene
in which a young Irish student, fresh from his scholastic ethics, amazes
the company at his father's table, who are all devout believers in the
virtues of the hair-trigger, by an eloquent declamation against the
folly and the sin of duelling. At last one of the set gets sufficient
breath to call him a coward. The hot Irish blood is up in an instant, a
tumbler is thrown at the head of the doubter of his courage, and in ten
seconds the young moralist is crossing swords with his antagonist in a

But the characteristic of moral grit is equality with the occasions
which exact its exercise. It is morality with thews and sinews and blood
and passions,--morality made man, and eager to put its phrases to the
test of action. It gives and takes hard blows,--aims not only to be
upright in deed, but downright in word,--silences with a "Thus saith the
Lord" all palliations of convenient sins,--scowls ominously at every
attempt to reconcile the old feud between the right and the expedient
and make them socially shake hands,--and when cant taints the air,
clears it with good wholesome rage and execration. On the virtues of
this stubborn conscientiousness it is needless to dilate; its
limitations spring from its tendency to disconnect morality from mercy,
and law from love,--its too frequent substitution of moral antipathies
for moral insight,--and its habit of describing individual men, not as
they are in themselves, but as they appear to its offended conscience.
Understanding sin better than it understands sinners, it sometimes
sketches phantoms rather than paints portraits,--identifies the weakly
wicked with the extreme of Satanic wickedness,--and in its assaults,
pitches _at_ its adversaries rather than really pitches _into_ them.
But, in a large moral view, the light of intellectual perception should
shine far in advance of the heat of ethical invective, and an ounce of
characterization is worth a ton of imprecations. Indeed, moral grit,
relatively admirable as it is, partakes of the inherent defect of other
and lower kinds of grit, inasmuch as its force is apt to be as
unsympathetic as it is uncompromising, as ungracious as it is
invincible. It drives rather than draws, cuffs rather than coaxes.
Intolerant of human infirmity, it is likewise often intolerant of all
forms of human excellence which do not square with its own conceptions
of right; and its philanthropy in the abstract is apt to secrete a
subtile misanthropy in the concrete. Brave, unselfish, self-sacrificing,
and flinching from no consequences which its principles may bring upon
itself, it flinches from no consequences which they may bring upon
others; and its attitude towards the laws and customs of instituted
imperfection is almost as sourly belligerent as towards those of
instituted iniquity.

Men of this austere and somewhat crabbed rectitude may be found in every
department of life, but they are most prominent and most efficient when
they engage in the reform of abuses, whether those abuses be in manners,
institutions, or religion; and here they never shrink from the rough,
rude work of the cause they espouse. They are commonly adored by their
followers, commonly execrated by their opponents; but they receive the
execration as the most convincing proof that they have performed their
duties, as the shrieks of the wounded testify to the certainty of the
shots. Indeed, they take a kind of grim delight in so pointing their
invective that the adversaries of their principles are turned into
enemies of their persons, and scout at all fame which does not spring
from obloquy. As they thus exist in a state of war, the gentler elements
of their being fall into the background; the bitterness of the strife
works into their souls, and gives to their conscientious wrath a certain
Puritan pitilessness of temper and tone. In the thick of the fight,
their battle-cry is, "No quarter to the enemies of God and man!"--and
as, unfortunately, there are few men who, tried by their standards, are
friends of man, population very palpably thins as the lava-tide of their
invective sweeps over it, and to the mental eye men, disappear as man

The gulf which yawns between uncompromising moral obligation and
compromising human conduct is so immense that these fierce servants of
the Lord seem to be fanatics and visionaries. But history demonstrates
that they are among the most practical of all the forces which work in
human affairs; for, without taking into account the response which their
inflexible morality finds in the breasts of inflexibly moral men, their
morality, in its application to common life, often becomes materialized,
and shows an intimate connection with the most ordinary human appetites
and passions. They commune with the mass of men through the subtile
freemasonry of discontent. Compelled to hurl the thunderbolts of the
moral law against injustice in possession, they unwittingly set fire to
injustice smouldering in unrealized passions; and their speech is
translated and transformed, in its passage into the public mind, into
some such shape as this:--"These few persons who are dominant in Church
and State, and who, while you physically and spiritually starve, are fed
fat by the products of your labor and the illusions of your
superstition, are powerful and prosperous, not from any virtue in
themselves, but from the violation of those laws which God has ordained
for the beneficent government of the universe. Their property and their
power are the signs, not of their merits, but of their sins." The
instinctive love of property and power are thus addressed to overturn
the present possessors of property and power; and the vices of men are
unconsciously enlisted in the service of the regeneration of man. The
motives which impel whole masses of the community are commonly different
from the motives of those reformers who urge the community to revolt;
and their fervent denunciations of injustice bring to their side
thousands of men who, perhaps unconsciously to themselves, only desire a
chance to be unjust. The annals of all emancipations, revolutions, and
reformations are disfigured by this fact. Better than what they
supplant, their good is still relative, not absolute.

In the history of religious reforms, few men better illustrate this hard
moral manliness, as distinguished from the highest moral heroism, than
the sturdy Scotch reformer, John Knox. Tenacious, pugnacious, thoroughly
honest and thoroughly earnest, superior to all physical and moral fear,
destitute equally of fine sentiments and weak emotions, blurting out
unwelcome opinions to queens as readily as to peasants, and in words
which hit and hurt like knocks with the fist, he is one of those large,
but somewhat coarse-grained natures, that influence rude populations by
having so much in common with them, and in which the piety of the
Christian, the thought of the Protestant, and the zeal of the martyr are
curiously blended with the ferocity of the demagogue. Jenny Geddes, at
the time when Archbishop Laud attempted to force Episcopacy upon
Scotland, is a fair specimen of the kind of character which the
teachings and the practice of such a man would tend to produce in a
nation. This rustic heroine was present when the new bishop, hateful to
Presbyterian eyes, began the service, with the smooth saying, "Let us
read the Collect of the Day." Jenny rose in wrath, and cried out to the
surpliced official of the Lord,--"Thou foul thief, wilt thou say mass at
my lug?" and hurled her stool at his head. Then rose cries of "A Pope! a
Pope! Stone him!" And "the worship of the Lord in Episcopal decency and
order" was ignominiously stopped. And in the next reign, when the same
thing was attempted, the Covenanters, the true spiritual descendants of
Knox, opposed to the most brutal persecution a fierce, morose heroism,
strangely compounded of barbaric passion and Christian fortitude. They
were the most perfect specimens of pure moral grit the world has ever
seen. In the great theological humorist of the nineteenth century, the
Reverend Sydney Smith, the legitimate intellectual successor of the
Reverend Rabelais and the Reverend Swift and the Reverend Sterne, their
sullen intrepidity excites a mingled feeling, in which fun strives with
admiration. In arguing against all intolerance, the intolerance of the
church to which he belonged as well as the intolerance of the churches
to which he was opposed, he said that persecution and bloodshed had no
effect in preventing the Scotch, "that metaphysical people, from going
to heaven in their true way instead of our true way"; and then comes the
humorous sally,--"With a little oatmeal for food and a little sulphur
for friction, allaying cutaneous irritation with one hand and grasping
his Calvinistical creed with the other, Sawney ran away to the flinty
hills, sung his psalm out of tune his own way, and listened to his
sermon of two hours long, amid the rough and imposing melancholy of the
tallest thistles." But from the graver historian, developing the
historic significance of their determined resistance to the insolent
claims of ecclesiastical authority, their desperate hardihood elicits a
more fitting tribute. "Hunted down," he says, "like wild beasts,
tortured till their bones were beaten flat, imprisoned by hundreds,
hanged by scores, exposed at one time to the license of soldiers from
England, abandoned at another time to the mercy of bands of marauders
from the Highlands, they still stood at bay in a mood so savage that the
boldest and mightiest oppressor could not but dread the audacity of
their despair."

But the man who, in modern times, stands out most prominently as the
representative of this tough physical and moral fibre is Oliver
Cromwell, the greatest of that class of Puritans who combined the
intensest religious passions with the powers of the soldier and the
statesman, and who, in some wild way, reconciled their austere piety
with remorseless efficiency in the world of facts. After all the
materials for an accurate judgment of Cromwell which have been collected
by the malice of his libellers and the veneration of his partisans, he
is still a puzzle to psychologists; for no one, so far, has bridged the
space which separates the seeming anarchy of his mind from the executive
decision of his conduct. A coarse, strong, massive English
nature, thoroughly impregnated with Hebrew thought and Hebrew
passion,--democratic in his sympathy with the rudest political and
religious feelings of his party, autocratic in the consciousness of
superior abilities and tyrannic will,--emancipated from the illusions of
vanity, but not from those of ambition and pride,--shrinking from no
duty and no policy from the fear of obloquy or the fear of death,--a
fanatic and a politician,--a demagogue and a dictator,--seeking the
kingdom of heaven, but determined to take the kingdom of England by the
way,--believing in God, believing in himself, and believing in his
Ironsides,--clothing spiritual faith in physical force, and backing
dogmas and prayers with pikes and cannon,--anxious at once that his
troops should trust in God and keep their powder dry,--with a mind deep
indeed, but distracted by internal conflicts, and prolific only in
enormous, half-shaped ideas, which stammer into expression at once
obscure and ominous, the language a strange compound of the slang of the
camp and the mystic phrases of inspired prophets and apostles,--we still
feel throughout, that, whatever may be the contradictions of his
character, they are not such as to impair the ruthless energy of his
will. Whatever he dared to think he dared to do. No practical emergency
ever found him deficient either in sagacity or resolution, however it
might have found him deficient in mercy. He overrode the moral judgments
of ordinary men as fiercely as he overrode their physical resistance,
crushing prejudices as well as Parliaments, ideas as well as armies; and
whether his task was to cut off the head of an unmanageable king, or
disperse an unmanageable legislative assembly, or massacre an
unmanageable Irish garrison, or boldly establish himself as the
uncontrolled supreme authority of the land, he ever did it thoroughly
and unrelentingly, and could always throw the responsibility of the
deed on the God of battles and the God of Cromwell. In all this we
observe the operation of a colossal practical force rather than an ideal
power, of grit rather than heroism. However much he may command that
portion of our sympathies which thrill at the touch of vigorous action,
there are other sentiments of our being which detect something partial,
vulgar, and repulsive even in his undisputed greatness.

In truth, grit, in its highest forms, is not a form of courage deserving
of unmixed respect and admiration. Admitting its immense practical
influence in public and private life, conceding its value in the rough,
direct struggle of person with person and opinions with institutions, it
is still by no means the top and crown of heroic character; for it lacks
the element of beauty and the element of sympathy; it is individual,
unsocial, bigoted, relatively to occasions; and its force has no
necessary connection with grandeur, generosity, and enlargement of soul.
Even in great men, like Cromwell, there is something in its aspect which
is harsh, ugly, haggard, and ungenial; even in them it is strong by the
stifling of many a generous thought and tolerant feeling; and when it
descends to animate sterile and stunted natures, endowed with sufficient
will to make their meanness or malignity efficient, its unfruitful force
is absolutely hateful. It has done good work for the cause of truth and
right; but it has also done bad work for the cause of falsehood and
wrong: for evil has its grit as well as virtue. As it lacks, suppresses,
or subordinates imagination, it is shorn of an important portion of a
complete manhood; for it not only loses the perception of beauty, but
the power of passing into other minds. It never takes the point of view
of the persons it opposes; its object is victory, not insight; and it
thus fails in that modified mercy to men which springs from an interior
knowledge of their characters. Even when it is the undaunted force
through which moral wrath expresses its hatred of injustice and wrong,
its want of imaginative perception makes it somewhat caricature the
sinners it inveighs against. It converts imperfect or immoral men into
perfect demons, which humanity as well as reason refuses to accept; and
it is therefore not surprising that the prayer of its indignant morality
sometimes is, "Almighty God, condemn them, for they _know_ what they
do!" But we cannot forget that there sounds down the ages, from the
saddest and most triumphant of all martyrdoms, a different and a diviner
prayer,--"Father, forgive them, for they know _not_ what they do!"

Indeed, however much we may be struck with the startling immediateness
of effect which follows the exercise of practical force, we must not
forget the immense agency in human affairs of the ideal powers of the
soul. These work creatively from within to mould character, not only
inflaming great passions, but touching the springs of pity, tenderness,
gentleness, and love,--above all, infusing that wide-reaching sympathy
which sends the individual out of the grit-guarded fortress of his
personality into the wide plain of the race. The culmination of these
ideal powers is in genius and heroism, which draw their inspiration from
ideal and spiritual sources, and radiate it in thoughts beautifully
large and deeds beautifully brave. They do not merely exert power, they
communicate it. If you are overcome by a man of grit, he insolently
makes you conscious of your own weakness. If you are overcome by genius
and heroism, you are made participants in their strength; for they
overcome only to invigorate and uplift. They sweep on their gathering
disciples to the object they have in view, by making it an object of
affection as well as duty. Their power to allure and to attract is not
lost even when their goal is the stake or the cross. They never, in
transient ignominy and pain, lose sight and feeling of the beauty and
bliss inseparably associated with goodness and virtue; and the happiest
death-beds have often been on the rack or in the flame of the
hero-martyr. And they are also, in their results, great practical
influences; for they break down the walls which separate man from
man,--by magnanimous thought or magnanimous act shame us out of our
bitter personal contentions, and flash the sentiment of a common nature
into our individual hatreds and oppositions. As grit decomposes society
into an aggregate of strong and weak persons, genius and heroism unite
them in one humanity. Thus, not many years ago, we were all battling
about the higher law and the law to return fugitive slaves. It was
argument against argument, passion against passion, person against
person, grit against grit. The notions advanced regarding virtue and
vice, justice and injustice, humanity and inhumanity, were as different
as if the controversy had not been between men and men, but between men
and cattle. There were no signs among the combatants that they had the
common reason and the common instincts of a common nature. Then came a
woman of genius, who refused to credit the horrible conceit that the
diversity was essential, who resolutely believed that the human heart
was a unit, and whose glance, piercing the mist of opinions and
interests, saw in the deep and universal sources of humane and human
action the exact point where her blow would tell; and in a novel
unexampled in the annals of literature for popular effect, shook the
whole public reason and public conscience of the country, by the most
searching of all appeals to its heart and imagination.


My name is Esek Pettibone, and I wish to affirm in the outset that it is
a good thing to be well-born. In thus connecting the mention of my name
with a positive statement, I am not unaware that a catastrophe lies
coiled up in the juxtaposition. But I cannot help writing plainly that I
am still in favor of a distinguished family-tree. ESTO PERPETUA! To have
had somebody for a great-grandfather that was somebody is exciting. To
be able to look back on long lines of ancestry that were rich, but
respectable, seems decorous and all right. The present Earl of Warwick,
I think, must have an idea that strict justice has been done _him_ in
the way of being launched properly into the world. I saw the Duke of
Newcastle once, and as the farmer in Conway described Mount Washington,
I thought the Duke felt a propensity to "hunch up some." Somehow it is
pleasant to look down on the crowd and have a conscious right to do so.

Left an orphan at the tender age of four years, having no brothers or
sisters to prop me round with young affections and sympathies, I fell
into three pairs of hands, excellent in their way, but peculiar.
Patience, Eunice, and Mary Ann Pettibone were my aunts on my father's
side. All my mother's relations kept shady when the lonely orphan looked
about for protection; but Patience Pettibone, in her stately way,
said,--"The boy belongs to a good family, and he shall never want while
his three aunts can support him." So I went to live with my plain, but
benignant protectors, in the State of New Hampshire.

During my boyhood, the best-drilled lesson that fell to my keeping was
this:--"Respect yourself. We come of more than ordinary parentage.
Superior blood was probably concerned in getting up the Pettibones. Hold
your head erect, and some day you shall have proof of your high

I remember once, on being told that I must not share my juvenile sports
with the butcher's three little beings, I begged to know why not. Aunt
Eunice looked at Patience, and Mary Ann knew what she meant.

"My child," slowly murmured the eldest sister, "our family no doubt came
of a very old stock; perhaps we belong to the nobility. Our ancestors,
it is thought, came over laden with honors, and no doubt were
embarrassed with riches, though the latter importation has dwindled in
the lapse of years. Respect yourself, and when you grow up you will not
regret that your old and careful aunt did not wish you to play with
butchers' offspring."

I felt mortified that I had ever had a desire to "knuckle up" with any
but kings' sons or sultans' little boys. I longed to be among my equals
in the urchin-line, and fly my kite with only high-born youngsters.

Thus I lived in a constant scene of self-enchantment on the part of the
sisters, who assumed all the port and feeling that properly belong to
ladies of quality. Patrimonial splendor to come danced before their dim
eyes; and handsome settlements, gay equipages, and a general grandeur of
some sort loomed up in the future for the American branch of the House
of Pettibone.

It was a life of opulent self-delusion, which my aunts were never tired
of nursing; and I was too young to doubt the reality of it. All the
members of our little household held up their heads, as if each said, in
so many words, "There is no original sin in _our_ composition, whatever
of that commodity there may be mixed up with the common clay of

Aunt Patience was a star, and dwelt apart. Aunt Eunice looked at her
through a determined pair of spectacles, and worshipped while she gazed.
The youngest sister lived in a dreamy state of honors to come, and had
constant zoölogical visions of lions, griffins, and unicorns, drawn and
quartered in every possible style known to the Heralds' College. The
Reverend Hebrew Bullet, who used to drop in quite often and drink
several compulsory glasses of home-made wine, encouraged his three
parishioners in their aristocratic notions, and extolled them for what
he called their "stooping down to every-day life." He differed with the
ladies of our house only on one point. He contended that the unicorn of
the Bible and the rhinoceros of to-day were one and the same animal. My
aunts held a different opinion.

In the sleeping-room of my Aunt Patience reposed a trunk. Often during
my childish years I longed to lift the lid and spy among its contents
the treasures my young fancy conjured up as lying there in state. I
dared not ask to have the cover raised for my gratification, as I had
often been told I was "too little" to estimate aright what that armorial
box contained. "When you grow up, you shall see the inside of it," Aunt
Mary Ann used to say to me; and so I wondered, and wished, but all in
vain. I must have the virtue of _years_ before I could view the
treasures of past magnificence so long entombed in that wooden
sarcophagus. Once I saw the faded sisters bending over the trunk
together, and, as I thought, embalming something in camphor. Curiosity
impelled me to linger, but, under some pretext, I was nodded out of the

Although my kinswomen's means were far from ample, they determined that
Swiftmouth College should have the distinction of calling me one of her
sons, and accordingly I was in due time sent for preparation to a
neighboring academy. Years of study and hard fare in country
boarding-houses told upon my self-importance as the descendant of a
great Englishman, notwithstanding all my letters from the honored three
came freighted with counsel to "respect myself and keep up the dignity
of the family." Growing-up man forgets good counsel. The Arcadia of
respectability is apt to give place to the levity of football and other
low-toned accomplishments. The book of life, at that period, opens
readily at fun and frolic, and the insignia of greatness give the
schoolboy no envious pangs.

I was nineteen when I entered the hoary halls of Swiftmouth. I call
them hoary, because they had been built more than fifty years. To me
they seemed uncommonly hoary, and I snuffed antiquity in the dusty
purlieus. I now began to study, in good earnest, the wisdom of the past.
I saw clearly the value of dead men and mouldy precepts, especially if
the former had been entombed a thousand years, and if the latter were
well done in sounding Greek and Latin. I began to reverence royal lines
of deceased monarchs, and longed to connect my own name, now growing
into college popularity, with some far-off mighty one who had ruled in
pomp and luxury his obsequious people. The trunk in Snowborough troubled
my dreams. In that receptacle still slept the proof of our family
distinction. "I will go," quoth I, "to the home of my aunts next
vacation and there learn _how_ we became mighty, and discover precisely
why we don't practise to-day our inherited claims to glory."

I went to Snowborough. Aunt Patience was now anxious to lay before her
impatient nephew the proof he burned to behold. But first she must
explain. All the old family documents and letters were, no doubt,
destroyed in the great fire of '98, as nothing in the shape of parchment
or paper implying nobility had ever been discovered in Snowborough, or
elsewhere. _But_--there had been preserved, for many years, a suit of
imperial clothes, that had been worn by their great-grandfather in
England, and, no doubt, in the New World also. These garments had been
carefully watched and guarded; for were they not the proof that their
owner belonged to a station in life, second, if second at all, to the
royal court of King George itself? Precious casket, into which I was
soon to have the privilege of gazing! Through how many long years these
fond, foolish virgins had lighted their unflickering lamps of
expectation and hope at this cherished old shrine!

I was now on my way to the family repository of all our greatness. I
went up stairs "on the jump." We all knelt down before the
well-preserved box; and my proud Aunt Patience, in a somewhat reverent
manner, turned the key. My heart,--I am not ashamed to confess it now,
although it is forty years since the quartette, in search of family
honors, were on their knees that summer afternoon in Snowborough,--my
heart beat high. I was about to look on that which might be a duke's or
an earl's regalia. And I was descended from the owner in a direct line!
I had lately been reading Shakespeare's "Titus Andronicus"; and I
remembered, there before the trunk, the lines,--

    "O sacred receptacle of my joys,
    Sweet cell of virtue and nobility!"

The lid went up, and the sisters began to unroll the precious garments,
which seemed all enshrined in aromatic gums and spices. The odor of that
interior lives with me to this day; and I grow faint with the memory of
that hour. With pious precision the clothes were uncovered, and at last
the whole suit was laid before my expectant eyes.

Reader! I am an old man now, and have not long to walk this planet. But,
whatever dreadful shock may be in reserve for my declining years, I am
certain I can bear it; for I went through that scene at Snowborough, and
still live!

When the garments were fully displayed, all the aunts looked at me. I
had been to college; I had studied Burke's "Peerage"; I had been once to
New York. Perhaps I could immediately name the exact station in noble
British life to which that suit of clothes belonged. I could; I saw it
all at a glance. I grew flustered and pale. I dared not look my poor
deluded female relatives in the face.

"What rank in the peerage do these gold-laced garments and big buttons
betoken?" cried all three.

"_It is a suit of servant's livery!_" gasped I, and fell back with a

That evening, after the sun had gone down, we buried those hateful
garments in a ditch at the bottom of the garden. Rest there, perturbed
body-coat, yellow trousers, brown gaiters, and all!

    "Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye!"


If Sergeant Rivers was a natural king among my dusky soldiers, Corporal
Robert Sutton was the natural prime-minister. If not in all respects the
ablest, he was the wisest man in our ranks. As large, as powerful, and
as black as our good-looking Color-Sergeant, but more heavily built and
with less personal beauty, he had a more massive brain and a far more
meditative and systematic intellect. Not yet grounded even in the
spelling-book, his modes of thought were nevertheless strong, lucid, and
accurate; and he yearned and pined for intellectual companionship beyond
all ignorant men whom I have ever met. I believe that he would have
talked all day and all night, for days together, to any officer who
could instruct him, until his companion, at least, fell asleep
exhausted. His comprehension of the whole problem of Slavery was more
thorough and far-reaching than that of any Abolitionist, so far as its
social and military aspects went; in that direction I could teach him
nothing, and he taught me much. But it was his methods of thought which
always impressed me chiefly: superficial brilliancy he left to others,
and grasped at the solid truth. Of course his interest in the war and in
the regiment was unbounded; he did not take to drill with especial
readiness, but he was insatiable of it and grudged every moment of
relaxation. Indeed, he never had any such moments; his mind was at work
all the time, even when he was singing hymns, of which he had endless
store. He was not, however, one of our leading religionists, but his
moral code was solid and reliable, like his mental processes. Ignorant
as he was, the "years that bring the philosophic mind" had yet been his,
and most of my young officers seemed boys beside him. He was a Florida
man, and had been chiefly employed in lumbering and piloting on the St.
Mary's River, which divides Florida from Georgia. Down this stream he
had escaped in a "dug-out," and after thus finding the way, had returned
(as had not a few of my men, in other cases) to bring away wife and
child. "I wouldn't have leff my child, Cunnel," he said, with an
emphasis that sounded the depths of his strong nature. And up this same
river he was always imploring to be allowed to guide an expedition.

Many other men had rival propositions to urge, for they gained
self-confidence from drill and guard-duty, and were growing impatient of
inaction. "Ought to go to work, Sa,--don't believe in we lyin' in camp,
eatin' up the perwisions." Such were the quaint complaints, which I
heard with joy. Looking over my note-books of that period, I find them
filled with topographical memoranda, jotted down by a nickering candle,
from the evening talk of the men,--notes of vulnerable points along the
coast, charts of rivers, locations of pickets. I prized these
conversations not more for what I thus learned of the country than for
what I learned of the men. One could thus measure their various degrees
of accuracy and their average military instinct; and I must say that in
every respect, save the accurate estimate of distances, they stood the
test well. But no project took my fancy so much, after all, as that of
the delegate from the St. Mary's River.

The best peg on which to hang an expedition in the Department of the
South, in those days, was the promise of lumber. Dwelling in the very
land of Southern pine, the Department authorities had to send North for
it, at a vast expense. There was reported to be plenty in the enemy's
country, but somehow the colored soldiers were the only ones who had
been lucky enough to obtain any, thus far, and the supply brought in by
our men, after flooring the tents of the white regiments and our own,
was running low. An expedition of white troops, four companies, with
two steamers and two schooners, had lately returned empty-handed, after
a week's foraging; and now it was our turn. They said the mills were all
burned; but should we go up the St. Mary's, Corporal Sutton was prepared
to offer more lumber than we had transportation to carry. This made the
crowning charm of his suggestion. But there is never any danger of
erring on the side of secrecy, in a military department; and I resolved
to avoid all undue publicity for our plans, by not finally deciding on
any until we should get outside the bar. This was happily approved by my
superior officers, Major-General Hunter and Brigadier-General Saxton;
and I was accordingly permitted to take three steamers, with four
hundred and sixty-two officers and men, and two or three invited guests,
and go down the coast on my own responsibility. We were, in short, to
win our spurs; and if, as among the Araucanians, our spurs were made of
lumber, so much the better. The whole history of the Department of the
South had been defined as "a military picnic," and now we were to take
our share of the entertainment.

It seemed a pleasant share, when, after the usual vexations and delays,
we found ourselves gliding down the full waters of Beaufort River, the
three vessels having sailed at different hours, with orders to
rendezvous at St. Simon's Island, on the coast of Georgia. Until then,
the flag-ship, so to speak, was to be the "Ben De Ford," Captain
Hallett,--this being by far the largest vessel, and carrying most of the
men. Major Strong was in command upon the "John Adams," an army
gunboat, carrying a thirty-pound Parrott gun, two ten-pound Parrotts,
and an eight-inch howitzer Captain Trowbridge (since promoted
Lieutenant-Colonel of the regiment) had charge of the famous "Planter,"
brought away from the Rebels by Robert Small; she carried a ten-pound
Parrott gun, and two howitzers. The John Adams was our main reliance.
She was an old East-Boston ferry-boat, a "double-ender," admirable for
river-work, but unfit for sea-service. She drew seven feet of water; the
Planter drew only four; but the latter was very slow, and being obliged
to go to St. Simon's by an inner passage, would delay us from the
beginning. She delayed us so much, before the end, that we virtually
parted company, and her career was almost entirely separated from our

From boyhood I have had a fancy for boats, and have seldom been without
a share, usually more or less fractional, in a rather indeterminate
number of punts and wherries. But when, for the first time, I found
myself at sea as Commodore of a fleet of armed steamers,--for even the
Ben De Ford boasted a six-pounder or so,--it seemed rather an unexpected
promotion. But it is a characteristic of army life, that one adapts
one's self, as coolly as in a dream, to the most novel responsibilities.
One sits on court-martial, for instance, and decides on the life of a
fellow-creature, without being asked any inconvenient questions as to
previous knowledge of Blackstone; and after such an experience, shall
one shrink from wrecking a steamer or two in the cause of the nation? So
I placidly accepted my naval establishment, as if it were a new form of
boat-club, and looked over the charts, balancing between one river and
another, as if deciding whether to pull up or down Lake Quinsigamond. If
military life ever contemplated the exercise of the virtue of humility
under any circumstances, this would perhaps have been a good opportunity
to begin its practice. But as the "Regulations" clearly contemplated
nothing of the kind, and as I had never met with any precedent which
looked in that direction, I had learned to check promptly all such weak

Captain Hallett proved the most frank and manly of sailors, and did
everything for our comfort. He was soon warm in his praises of the
demeanor of our men, which was very pleasant to hear, as this was the
first time that colored soldiers in any number had been conveyed on
board a transport, and I know of no place where a white volunteer
appears to so much disadvantage. His mind craves occupation, his body
is intensely uncomfortable, the daily emergency is not great enough to
call out his heroic qualities, and he is apt to be surly, discontented,
and impatient even of sanitary rules. The Southern black soldier, on the
other hand, is seldom sea-sick, (at least, such is my experience,) and,
if properly managed, is equally contented, whether idle or busy; he is,
moreover, so docile that all needful rules are executed with cheerful
acquiescence, and the quarters can therefore be kept clean and
wholesome. Very forlorn faces were soon visible among the officers in
the cabin, but I rarely saw such among the men.

Pleasant still seemed our enterprise, as we anchored at early morning in
the quiet waters of St. Simon's Sound, and saw the light fall softly on
the beach and the low bluffs, on the picturesque plantation-houses which
nestled there, and the graceful naval vessels that lay at anchor before
us. When we afterwards landed, the air had that peculiar Mediterranean
translucency which Southern islands wear; and the plantation we visited
had the loveliest tropical garden, though tangled and desolate, which I
have ever seen in the South. The deserted house was embowered in great
blossoming shrubs, and filled with hyacinthine odors, among which
predominated that of the little Chickasaw roses which everywhere bloomed
and trailed around. There were fig-trees and date-palms, crape-myrtles
and wax-myrtles, Mexican agaves and English ivies, japonicas, bananas,
oranges, lemons, oleanders, jonquils, great cactuses, and wild Florida
lilies. This was not the plantation which Mrs. Kemble has since made
historic, although that was on the same island; and I could not waste
much sentiment over it, for it had belonged to a Northern renegade,
Thomas Butler King. Yet I felt then, as I have felt a hundred times
since, an emotion of heart-sickness at this desecration of a
homestead,--and especially when, looking from a bare upper window of the
empty house upon a range of broad, flat, sunny roofs, such as children
love to play on, I thought how that place might have been loved by yet
innocent hearts, and I mourned anew the sacrilege of war.

I had visited the flag-ship Wabash ere we left Port-Royal Harbor, and
had obtained a very kind letter of introduction from Admiral Dupont,
that stately and courtly potentate, elegant as one's ideal French
marquis; and under these credentials I received polite attention from the
naval officers at St. Simon's,--Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Budd, U. S. N.,
of the gunboat Potomska, and Acting Master Moses, U. S. N., of
the barque Fernandina. They made valuable suggestions in regard to the
different rivers along the coast, and gave vivid descriptions of the
last previous trip up the St. Mary's, undertaken by Captain Stevens,
U. S. N., in the gunboat Ottawa, when he had to fight his way past
batteries at every bluff in descending the narrow and rapid stream. I
was warned that no resistance would be offered to the ascent, but only
to our return; and was further cautioned against the mistake, then
common, of underrating the courage of the Rebels. "It proved impossible
to dislodge those fellows from the banks," my informant said; "they had
dug rifle-pits, and swarmed like hornets, and when fairly silenced in
one direction, they were sure to open upon us from another." All this
sounded alarming, but it was nine months before that the event had
happened; and although nothing had gone up the river since, I was
satisfied that the resistance now to be encountered was very much
smaller. And something must be risked, anywhere.

We were delayed all that day in waiting for our consort, and improved
our time by verifying certain rumors about a quantity of new
railroad-iron which was said to be concealed in the abandoned Rebel
forts on St. Simon's and Jekyll Islands, and which would have much value
at Port Royal, if we could only unearth it. Some of our men had worked
upon these very batteries, so that they could easily guide us; and by
the additional discovery of a large flatboat we were enabled to go to
work in earnest upon the removal of the treasure. These iron bars,
surmounted by a dozen feet of sand, formed an invulnerable roof for the
magazines and bomb-proofs of the fort, and the men enjoyed demolishing
them far more than they had relished their construction. Though the day
was the 24th of January, 1863, the sun was very oppressive upon the
sands; but all were in the highest spirits, and worked with the greatest
zeal. The men seemed to regard these massive bars as their first
trophies; and if the rails had been wreathed with roses, they could not
have been got out in more holiday style. Nearly a hundred were obtained
that day, besides a quantity of five-inch plank with which to barricade
the very conspicuous pilot-houses of the John Adams.

Still another day we were delayed, and could still keep at this work,
not neglecting some foraging on the island, from which horses, cattle,
and agricultural implements were to be removed, and the few remaining
colored families transferred to Fernandina. I had now become quite
anxious about the missing steamboat, as the inner passage, by which
alone she could arrive, was exposed at certain points to fire from Rebel
batteries, and it would have been unpleasant to begin with a disaster. I
remember, that, as I stood on deck, in the still and misty evening,
listening with strained senses for some sound of approach, I heard a low
continuous noise from the distance, more wild and desolate than anything
in my memory can parallel. It came from within the vast girdle of mist,
and seemed like the cry of a myriad of lost souls upon the horizon's
verge; it was Dante become audible: and yet it was but the accumulated
cries of innumerable sea-fowl at the entrance of the outer bay.

Late that night the Planter arrived. We left St. Simon's on the
following morning, reached Fort Clinch by four o'clock, and there
transferring two hundred men to the very scanty quarters of the John
Adams, allowed the larger transport to go into Fernandina, while the two
other vessels were to ascend the St. Mary's River, unless (as proved
inevitable in the end) the defects in the boiler of the Planter should
oblige her to remain behind. That night I proposed to make a sort of
trial-trip up stream, as far as Township Landing, some fifteen miles,
there to pay our respects to Captain Clark's company of cavalry, whose
camp was reported to lie near by. This was included in Corporal Sutton's
programme, and seemed to me more inviting, and far more useful to the
men, than any amount of mere foraging. The thing really desirable
appeared to be to get them under fire as soon as possible, and to teach
them, by a few small successes, the application of what they had learned
in camp.

I had ascertained that the camp of this company lay five miles from the
landing, and was accessible by two roads, one of which was a
lumber-path, not commonly used, but which Corporal Sutton had helped to
construct, and along which he could easily guide us. The plan was to go
by night, surround the house and negro cabins at the landing, (to
prevent an alarm from being given,) then to take the side path, and if
all went well, to surprise the camp; but if they got notice of our
approach, through their pickets, we should, at worst, have a fight, in
which the best man must win.

The moon was bright, and the river swift, but easy of navigation thus
far. Just below Township I landed a small advance force, to surround the
houses silently. With them went Corporal Sutton; and when, after
rounding the point, I went on shore with a larger body of men, he met me
with a silent chuckle of delight, and with the information that there
was a negro in a neighboring cabin who had just come from the Rebel
camp, and could give the latest information. While he hunted up this
valuable auxiliary, I mustered my detachment, winnowing out the men who
had coughs, (not a few,) and sending them ignominiously on board again:
a process I had regularly to perform, during this first season of
catarrh, on all occasions where quiet was needed. The only exception
tolerated at this time was in the case of one man who offered a solemn
pledge, that, if unable to restrain his cough, he would lie down on the
ground, scrape a little hole, and cough into it unheard. The ingenuity
of this proposition was irresistible, and the eager patient was allowed
to pass muster.

It was after midnight when we set off upon our excursion. I had about a
hundred men, marching by the flank, with a small advanced guard, and
also a few flankers, where the ground permitted. I put my Florida
company at the head of the column, and had by my side Captain Metcalf,
an excellent officer, and Sergeant McIntyre, his first sergeant. We
plunged presently into pine woods, whose resinous smell I can still
remember. Corporal Sutton marched near me, with his captured negro
guide, whose first fear and sullenness had yielded to the magic news of
the President's Proclamation, then just issued, of which Governor Andrew
had sent me a large printed supply;--we seldom found men who could read
it, but they all seemed to feel more secure when they held it in their
hands. We marched on through the woods, with no sound but the peeping of
the frogs in a neighboring marsh, and the occasional yelping of a dog,
as we passed the hut of some "cracker." This yelping always made
Corporal Sutton uneasy: dogs are the detective officers of Slavery's

We had halted once or twice, to close up the ranks, and had marched some
two miles, seeing and hearing nothing more. I had got all I could out of
our new guide, and was striding on, rapt in pleasing contemplation. All
had gone so smoothly that I had merely to fancy the rest as being
equally smooth. Already I fancied our little detachment bursting out of
the woods, in swift surprise, upon the Rebel quarters,--already the
opposing commander, after hastily firing a charge or two from his
revolver, (of course above my head,) had yielded at discretion, and was
gracefully tendering, in a stage attitude, his unavailing sword,--when

There was a trampling of feet among the advanced guard as they came
confusedly to a halt, and almost at the same instant a more ominous
sound, as of galloping horses in the path before us. The moonlight
outside the woods gave that dimness of atmosphere within which is more
bewildering than darkness, because the eyes cannot adapt themselves to
it so well. Yet I fancied, and others aver, that they saw the leader of
an approaching party, mounted on a white horse and reining up in the
pathway; others, again, declare that he drew a pistol from the holster
and took aim; others heard the words, "Charge in upon them! Surround
them!" But all this was confused by the opening rifle-shots of our
advanced guard, and, as clear observation was impossible, I made the men
fix their bayonets and kneel in the cover on each side the pathway, and
I saw with delight the brave fellows, with Sergeant McIntyre at their
head, settling down in the grass as coolly and warily as if wild turkeys
were the only game. Perhaps at the first shot, a man fell at my elbow. I
felt it no more than if a tree had fallen,--I was so busy watching my
own men and the enemy, and planning what to do next. Some of our
soldiers, misunderstanding the order, "Fix bayonets," were actually
_charging_ with them, dashing off into the dim woods, with nothing to
charge at but the vanishing tail of an imaginary horse,--for we could
really see nothing. This zeal I noted with pleasure, and also with
anxiety, as our greatest danger was from confusion and scattering; and
for infantry to pursue cavalry would be a novel enterprise. Captain
Metcalf stood by me well in keeping the men steady, as did
Assistant-Surgeon Minor, and Lieutenant, now Captain, Jackson. How the
men in the rear were behaving I could not tell,--not so coolly, I
afterwards found, because they were more entirely bewildered, supposing,
until the shots came, that the column had simply halted for a moment's
rest, as had been done once or twice before. They did not know who or
where their assailants might be, and the fall of the man beside me
created a hasty rumor that I was killed, so that it was on the whole an
alarming experience for them. They kept together very tolerably,
however, while our assailants, dividing, rode along on each side through
the open pine-barren, firing into our ranks, but mostly over the heads
of the men. My soldiers in turn fired rapidly,--too rapidly, being yet
beginners,--and it was evident, that, dim as it was, both sides had
opportunity to do some execution.

I could hardly tell whether the fight had lasted ten minutes or an hour,
when, as the enemy's fire had evidently ceased or slackened, I gave the
order to cease firing. But it was very difficult at first to make them
desist: the taste of gunpowder was too intoxicating. One of them was
heard to mutter, indignantly,--"Why de Cunnel order _Cease firing_, when
de Secesh blazin' away at de rate ob ten dollar a day?" Every incidental
occurrence seemed somehow to engrave itself upon my perceptions, without
interrupting the main course of thought. Thus I know, that, in one of
the pauses of the affair, there came wailing through the woods a cracked
female voice, as if calling back some stray husband who had run out to
join in the affray,--"John, John, are you going to leave me, John? Are
you going to let me and the children be killed, John?" I suppose the
poor thing's fears of gunpowder were very genuine, but it was such a
wailing squeak, and so infinitely ludicrous, and John was probably
ensconced so very safely in some hollow tree, that I could see some of
the men showing all their white teeth in the very midst of the fight.
But soon this sound, with all others, had ceased, and left us in
peaceful possession of the field.

I have made the more of this little affair because it was the first
stand-up fight in which my men had been engaged, though they had been
under fire, in an irregular way, in their small early expeditions. To me
personally the event was of the greatest value: it had given us all an
opportunity to test each other, and our abstract surmises were changed
into positive knowledge. Hereafter it was of small importance what
nonsense might be talked or written about colored troops; so long as
mine did not flinch, it made no difference to me. My brave young
officers, themselves mostly new to danger, viewed the matter much as I
did; and yet we were under bonds of life and death to form a correct
opinion, which was more than could be said of the Northern editors, and
our verdict was proportionately of greater value.

I was convinced from appearances that we had been victorious, so far,
though I could not suppose that this would be the last of it. We knew
neither the numbers of the enemy, nor their plans, nor their present
condition: whether they had surprised us or whether we had surprised
them was all a mystery. Corporal Sutton was urgent to go on and complete
the enterprise. All my impulses said the same thing; but then I had the
most explicit injunctions from General Saxton to risk as little as
possible in this first enterprise, because of the fatal effect on public
sentiment of even an honorable defeat. We had now an honorable victory,
so far as it went; the officers and men around me were in good spirits,
but the rest of the column might be nervous; and it seemed so important
to make the first fight an entire success, that I thought it wiser to
let well alone; nor have I ever changed this opinion. For one's self,
Montrose's verse may be well applied,--"To win or lose it all." But one
has no right to deal thus lightly with the fortunes of a race, and that
was the weight which I always felt as resting on our action. If my raw
infantry force had stood unflinching a night-surprise from "de hoss
cavalry," as they reverentially termed them, I felt that a good
beginning had been made. All hope of surprising the enemy's camp was now
at an end; I was willing and ready to fight the cavalry over again, but
it seemed wiser that we, not they, should select the ground.

Attending to the wounded, therefore, and making as we best could
stretchers for those who were to be carried, including the remains of
the man killed at the first discharge, (Private William Parsons of
Company G,) and others who seemed at the point of death, we marched
through the woods to the landing,--expecting at every moment to be
involved in another fight. This not occurring, I was more than ever
satisfied that we had won a victory; for it was obvious that a mounted
force would not allow a detachment of infantry to march two miles
through open woods by night without renewing the fight, unless they
themselves had suffered a good deal. On arrival at the landing, seeing
that there was to be no immediate affray, I sent most of the men on
board, and called for volunteers to remain on shore with me and hold the
plantation-house till morning. They eagerly offered; and I was glad to
see them, when posted as sentinels by Lieutenants Hyde and Jackson, who
stayed with me, pace their beats as steadily and challenge as coolly as
veterans, though of course there was some powder wasted on imaginary
foes. Greatly to my surprise, however, we had no other enemies to
encounter. We did not yet know that we had killed the first lieutenant
of the cavalry, and that our opponents had retreated to the woods in
dismay, without daring to return to their camp. This at least was the
account we heard from prisoners afterwards, and was evidently the tale
current in the neighborhood, though the statements published in Southern
newspapers did not correspond. Admitting the death of Lieutenant Jones,
the Tallahassee "Floridian" of February 14th stated that "Captain Clark,
finding the enemy in strong force, fell back with his command to camp,
and removed his ordnance and commissary and other stores, with twelve
negroes on their way to the enemy, captured on that day."

In the morning, my invaluable surgeon, Dr. Rogers, sent me his report of
killed and wounded; and I have been since permitted to make the
following extracts from his notes:--"One man killed instantly by ball
through the heart, and seven wounded, one of whom will die. Braver men
never lived. One man with two bullet-holes through the large muscles of
the shoulders and neck brought off from the scene of action, two miles
distant, two muskets; and not a murmur has escaped his lips. Another,
Robert Sutton, with three wounds,--one of which, being on the skull, may
cost him his life,--would not report himself till compelled to do so by
his officers. While dressing his wounds, he quietly talked of what they
had done, and of what they yet could do. To-day I have had the Colonel
_order_ him to obey me. He is perfectly quiet and cool, but takes this
whole affair with the religious bearing of a man who realizes that
freedom is sweeter than life. Yet another soldier did not report himself
at all, but remained all night on guard, and possibly I should not have
known of his having had a buck-shot in his shoulder, if some duty
requiring a sound shoulder had not been required of him to-day." This
last, it may be added, had persuaded a comrade to dig out the buck-shot,
for fear of being ordered on the sick-list. And one of those who were
carried to the vessel--a man wounded through the lungs--asked only if I
were safe, the contrary having been reported. An officer may be pardoned
some enthusiasm for such men as these.

The anxious night having passed away without an attack, another problem
opened with the morning. For the first time, my officers and men found
themselves in possession of an enemy's abode; and though there was but
little temptation to plunder, I knew that I must here begin to draw the
line. I had long since resolved to prohibit absolutely all
indiscriminate pilfering and wanton outrage, and to allow nothing to be
taken or destroyed but by proper authority. The men, to my great
satisfaction, entered into this view at once, and so did (perhaps a
shade less readily, in some cases) the officers. The greatest trouble
was with the steamboat-hands, and I resolved to let them go ashore as
little as possible. Most articles of furniture were already, however,
before our visit, gone from the plantation-house, which was now used
only as a picket-station. The only valuable article was a piano-forte,
for which a regular packing-box lay invitingly ready outside. I had made
up my mind to burn all picket-stations, and all villages from which I
should be covertly attacked, and nothing else; and as this house was
destined to the flames, I should have left the piano in it, but for the
seductions of that box. With such a receptacle all ready, even to the
cover, it would have seemed like flying in the face of Providence not to
put the piano in. I ordered it removed, therefore, and afterwards
presented it to the school for colored children at Fernandina. This I
mention because it was the only article of property I ever took or
knowingly suffered to be taken, in the enemy's country, save for
legitimate military uses, from first to last; nor would I have taken
this, but for the thought of the school, and, as aforesaid, the
temptation of the box. If any other officer has been more rigid, with
equal opportunities, let him cast the first stone.

I think the zest with which the men finally set fire to the house at my
order was enhanced by this previous abstemiousness; but there is a
fearful fascination in the use of fire, which every child knows in the
abstract, and which I found to hold true in the practice. On our way
down river we had opportunity to test this again.

The ruined town of St. Mary's had at that time a bad reputation, among
both naval and military men. Lying but a short distance above
Fernandina, on the Georgia side, it was occasionally visited by our
gunboats. I was informed that the only residents of the town were three
old women, who were apparently kept there as spies,--that, on our
approach, the aged crones would come out and wave white
handkerchiefs,--that they would receive us hospitably, profess to be
profoundly loyal, and exhibit a portrait of Washington,--that they would
solemnly assure us that no Rebel pickets had been there for many
weeks,--but that in the adjoining yard we should find fresh
horse-tracks, and that we should be fired upon by guerrillas the moment
we left the wharf. My officers had been much excited by these tales; and
I had assured them, that, if this programme were literally carried out,
we would straightway return and burn the town, or what was left of it,
for our share. It was essential to show my officers and men, that, while
rigid against irregular outrage, we could still be inexorable against
the enemy.

We had previously planned to stop at this town, on our way down river,
for some valuable lumber which we had espied on a wharf; and gliding
down the swift current, shelling a few bluffs as we passed, we soon
reached it. Punctual as the figures in a panorama, appeared the old
ladies with their white handkerchiefs. Taking possession of the town,
much of which had previously been destroyed by the gunboats, and
stationing the color-guard, to their infinite delight, in the cupola of
the most conspicuous house, I deployed skirmishers along the exposed
suburb, and set a detail of men at work on the lumber. After a stately
and decorous interview with the queens of society at St. Mary's,--is it
Scott who says that nothing improves the manners like piracy?--I
peacefully withdrew the men when the work was done. There were faces of
disappointment among the officers,--for all felt a spirit of mischief,
after the last night's adventure,--when, just as we had fairly swung out
into the stream and were under way, there came, like the sudden burst of
a tropical tornado, a regular little hailstorm of bullets into the open
end of the boat, driving every gunner in an instant from his post, and
surprising even those who were looking to be surprised. The shock was
but for a second; and though the bullets had pattered precisely like the
sound of hail upon the iron cannon, yet nobody was hurt. With very
respectable promptness, order was restored, our own shells were flying
into the woods from which the attack proceeded, and we were steaming up
to the wharf again, according to promise.

Who shall describe the theatrical attitudes assumed by the old ladies as
they reappeared at the front door--being luckily out of direct
range--and set the handkerchiefs in wilder motion than ever? They
brandished them, they twirled them after the manner of the domestic mop,
they clasped their hands, handkerchiefs included. Meanwhile their
friends in the wood popped away steadily at us, with small effect; and
occasionally an invisible field-piece thundered feebly from another
quarter, with equally invisible results. Reaching the wharf, one
company, under Lieutenant (now Captain) Danilson, was promptly deployed
in search of our assailants, who soon grew silent. Not so the old
ladies, when I announced to them my purpose, and added, with extreme
regret, that, as the wind was high, I should burn only that half of the
town which lay to leeward of their house, which did not, after all,
amount to much. Between gratitude for this degree of mercy and imploring
appeals for greater, the treacherous old ladies manoeuvred with
clasped hands and demonstrative handkerchiefs around me, impairing the
effect of their eloquence by constantly addressing me as "Mr. Captain";
for I have observed, that, while the sternest officer is greatly
propitiated by attributing to him a rank a little higher than his own,
yet no one is ever mollified by an error in the opposite direction. I
tried, however, to disregard such low considerations, and to strike the
correct mean betwixt the sublime patriot and the unsanctified
incendiary, while I could find no refuge from weak contrition save in
greater and greater depths of courtesy; and so melodramatic became our
interview that some of the soldiers still maintain that "dem dar ole
Secesh women been a-gwine for kiss de Cunnel," before we ended. But of
this monstrous accusation I wish to register an explicit denial, once
for all.

Dropping down to Fernandina unmolested after this affair, we were kindly
received by the military and naval commanders,--Colonel Hawley, of the
Seventh Connecticut, (now Brigadier-General Hawley,) and
Lieutenant-Commander Hughes, U. S. N., of the gunboat Mohawk. It turned
out very opportunely that both of these officers had special errands to
suggest still farther up the St. Mary's, and precisely in the region
where I wished to go. Colonel Hawley showed me a letter from the War
Department, requesting him to ascertain the possibility of obtaining a
supply of brick for Fort Clinch from the brickyard which had furnished
the original materials, but which had not been visited since the
perilous river-trip of the Ottawa. Lieutenant Hughes wished to obtain
information for the Admiral respecting a Rebel steamer--the Berosa--said
to be lying somewhere up the river, and awaiting her chance to run the
blockade. I jumped at the opportunity. Berosa and brickyard,--both were
near Woodstock, the former home of Corporal Sutton; he was ready and
eager to pilot us up the river; the moon would be just right that
evening, setting at 3h. 19m. A. M.; and our boat was precisely the one
to undertake the expedition. Its double-headed shape was just what was
needed in that swift and crooked stream; the exposed pilot-houses had
been tolerably barricaded with the thick planks from St. Simon's; and we
further obtained some sand-bags from Fort Clinch, through the aid of
Captain Sears, the officer in charge, who had originally suggested the
expedition after brick. In return for this aid, the Planter was sent
back to the wharf at St. Mary's, to bring away a considerable supply of
the same precious article, which we had observed near the wharf.
Meanwhile the John Adams was coaling from naval supplies, through the
kindness of Lieutenant Hughes; and the Ben De Ford was taking in the
lumber which we had yesterday brought down. It was a great
disappointment to be unable to take the latter vessel up the river; but
I was unwillingly convinced, that, though the depth of water might be
sufficient, yet her length would be unmanageable in the swift current
and sharp turns. The Planter must also be sent on a separate cruise, as
her weak and disabled machinery made her useless for my purpose. Two
hundred men were therefore transferred, as before, to the narrow hold of
the John Adams, in addition to the company permanently stationed on
board to work the guns. At seven o'clock on the evening of January 29th,
beneath a lovely moon, we steamed up the river.

Never shall I forget the mystery and excitement of that night. I know
nothing in life more fascinating than the nocturnal ascent of an unknown
river, leading far into an enemy's country, where one glides in the dim
moonlight between dark hills and meadows, each turn of the channel
making it seem like an inland lake, and cutting you off as by a barrier
from all behind,--with no sign of human life, but an occasional
picket-fire left glimmering beneath the bank, or the yelp of a dog from
some low-lying plantation. On such occasions, every nerve is strained to
its utmost tension; all dreams of romance appear to promise immediate
fulfilment; all lights on board the vessel are obscured, loud voices are
hushed; you fancy a thousand men on shore, and yet see nothing; the
lonely river, unaccustomed to furrowing keels, lapses by the vessel with
a treacherous sound; and all the senses are merged in a sort of anxious
trance. Three times I have had in full perfection this fascinating
experience; but that night was the first, and its zest was the keenest.
It will come back to me in dreams, if I live a thousand years.

I feared no attack during our ascent,--that danger was for our return;
but I feared the intricate navigation of the river, though I did not
fully know, till the actual experience, how dangerous it was. We passed
without trouble far above the scene of our first fight,--the Battle of
the Hundred Pines, as my officers had baptized it; and ever, as we
ascended, the banks grew steeper, the current swifter, the channel more
tortuous and more incumbered with projecting branches and drifting wood.
No piloting less skilful than that of Corporal Sutton and his mate,
James Bezzard, could have carried us through, I thought; and no
side-wheel steamer less strong than a ferry-boat could have borne the
crash and force with which we struck the wooded banks of the river. But
the powerful paddles, built to break the Northern ice, could crush the
Southern pine as well; and we came safely out of entanglements that at
first seemed formidable. We had the tide with us, which makes steering
far more difficult; and, in the sharp angles of the river, there was
often no resource but to run the bow boldly on shore, let the stern
swing round, and then reverse the motion. As the reversing machinery was
generally out of order, the engineer stupid or frightened, and the
captain excited, this involved moments of tolerably concentrated
anxiety. Eight times we grounded in the upper waters, and once lay
aground for half an hour; but at last we dropped anchor before the
little town of Woodstock, after moonset and an hour before daybreak,
just as I had planned, and so quietly that scarcely a dog barked, and
not a soul in the town, as we afterwards found, knew of our arrival.

As silently as possible, the great flatboat which we had brought from
St. Simon's was filled with men. Major Strong was sent on shore with two
companies,--those of Captain James and Captain Metcalf,--with
instructions to surround the town quietly, allow no one to leave it,
molest no one, and hold as temporary prisoners every man whom he found.
I watched them push off into the darkness, got the remaining force ready
to land, and then paced the deck for an hour in silent watchfulness,
waiting for rifle-shots. Not a sound came from the shore, save the
barking of dogs and the morning crow of cocks; the time seemed
interminable; but when daylight came, I landed, and found a pair of
scarlet trousers pacing on their beat before every house in the village,
and a small squad of prisoners, stunted and forlorn as Falstaff's ragged
regiment, already in hand. I observed with delight the good demeanor of
my men towards these forlorn Anglo-Saxons, and towards the more
tumultuous women. Even one soldier, who threatened to throw an old
termagant into the river, took care to append the courteous epithet

I took a survey of the premises. The chief house, a pretty one with
picturesque outbuildings, was that of Mrs. A., who owned the mills and
lumber-wharves adjoining. The wealth of these wharves had not been
exaggerated. There was lumber enough to freight half a dozen steamers,
and I half regretted that I had agreed to take down a freight of bricks
instead. Further researches made me grateful that I had already
explained to my men the difference between public foraging and private
plunder. Along the river-bank I found building after building crowded
with costly furniture, all neatly packed, just as it was sent up from
St. Mary's when that town was abandoned. Pianos were a drug; china,
glass-ware, mahogany, pictures, all were here. And here were my men, who
knew that their own labor had earned for their masters these luxuries,
or such as these; their own wives and children were still sleeping on
the floor, perhaps, at Beaufort or Fernandina; and yet they submitted,
almost without a murmur, to the enforced abstinence. Bed and bedding for
our hospitals they might take from those store-rooms,--such as the
surgeon selected,--also an old flag which we found in a corner, and an
old field piece, (which the regiment still possesses,)--but after this
the doors were closed and left unmolested. It cost a struggle to some of
the men, whose wives were destitute, I know; but their pride was very
easily touched, and when this abstinence was once recognized as a rule,
they claimed it as an honor, in this and all succeeding expeditions. I
flatter myself, that, if they had once been set upon wholesale
plundering, they would have done it as thoroughly as their betters; but
I have always been infinitely grateful, both for the credit and for the
discipline of the regiment,--as well as for the men's subsequent
lives,--that the opposite method was adopted.

When the morning was a little advanced, I called on Mrs. A., who
received me in quite a stately way at her own door with "To what am I
indebted for the honor of this visit, Sir?" The foreign name of the
family, and the tropical look of the buildings, made it seem (as,
indeed, did all the rest of the adventure) like a chapter out of "Amyas
Leigh"; but as I had happened to hear that the lady herself was a
Philadelphian and her deceased husband a New-Yorker, I could not feel
even that modicum of reverence due to sincere Southerners. However, I
wished to present my credentials; so, calling up my companion, I said
that I believed she had been previously acquainted with Corporal Robert
Sutton? I never saw a finer bit of unutterable indignation than came
over the face of my hostess, as she slowly recognized him. She drew
herself up, and dropped out the monosyllables of her answer as if they
were so many drops of nitric acid. "Ah," quoth my lady, "_we_ called him

It was a group for a painter. The whole drama of the war seemed to
reverse itself in an instant, and my tall, well-dressed, imposing,
philosophic Corporal dropped down the immeasurable depth into a mere
plantation "Bob" again. So at least in my imagination; not to that
personage himself. Too essentially dignified in his nature to be moved
by words where substantial realities were in question, he simply turned
from the lady, touched his hat to me, and asked if I would wish to see
the slave-jail, as he had the keys in his possession.

If he fancied that I was in danger of being overcome by blandishments
and needed to be recalled to realities, it was a master-stroke.

I must say, that, when the door of that villainous edifice was thrown
open before me, I felt glad that my main interview with its lady
proprietor had passed before I saw it. It was a small building, like a
Northern corn-barn, and seemed to have as prominent and as legitimate a
place among the outbuildings of the establishment. In the middle of the
floor was a large staple with a rusty chain, like an ox-chain, for
fastening a victim down. When the door had been opened after the death
of the late proprietor, my informant said a man was found padlocked in
that chain. We found also three pairs of stocks of various construction,
two of which had smaller as well as larger holes, evidently for the feet
of women or children. In a building near by we found something far more
complicated, which was perfectly unintelligible till the men explained
all its parts: a machine so contrived that a person once imprisoned in
it could neither sit, stand, nor lie, but must support the body half
raised, in a position scarcely endurable. I have since bitterly
reproached myself for leaving this piece of ingenuity behind; but it
would have cost much labor to remove it, and to bring away the other
trophies seemed then enough. I remember the unutterable loathing with
which I leaned against the door of that prison-house; I had thought
myself seasoned to any conceivable horrors of Slavery, but it seemed as
if the visible presence of that den of sin would choke me. Of course it
would have been burned to the ground by us, but that this would have
involved the sacrifice of every other building and all the piles of
lumber, and for the moment it seemed as if the sacrifice would be
righteous. But I forbore, and only took as trophies the instruments of
torture and the keys of the jail.

We found but few colored people in this vicinity; some we brought away
with us, and an old man and woman preferred to remain. All the white
males whom we found I took as hostages, in order to shield us, if
possible, from attack on our way down river, explaining to them that
they would be put on shore when the dangerous points were passed. I knew
that their wives could easily send notice of this fact to the Rebel
forces along the river. My hostages were a forlorn-looking set of
"crackers," far inferior to our soldiers in _physique_, and yet quite
equal, the latter declared, to the average material of the Southern
armies. None were in uniform, but this proved nothing as to their being
soldiers. One of them, a mere boy, was captured at his own door, with
gun in hand. It was a fowling-piece, which he used only, as his mother
plaintively assured me, "to shoot little birds with." As the guileless
youth had for this purpose loaded the gun with eighteen buck-shot, we
thought it justifiable to confiscate both the weapon and the owner, in
mercy to the birds.

We took from this place, for the use of the army, a flock of some thirty
sheep, forty bushels of rice; some other provisions, tools, oars, and a
little lumber, leaving all possible space for the bricks which we
expected to obtain just below. I should have gone farther up the river,
but for a dangerous boom which kept back a great number of logs in a
large brook that here fell into the St. Mary's; the stream ran with
force, and if the Rebels had wit enough to do it, they might in ten
minutes so choke the river with drift-wood as infinitely to enhance our
troubles. So we dropped down stream a mile or two, found the very
brickyard from which Fort Clinch had been constructed,--still stored
with bricks, and seemingly unprotected. Here Sergeant Rivers again
planted his standard, and the men toiled eagerly, for several hours, in
loading our boat to the utmost with the bricks. Meanwhile we questioned
black and white witnesses, and learned for the first time that the
Rebels admitted a repulse at Township Landing, and that Lieutenant Jones
and ten of their number were killed,--though this I fancy to have been
an exaggeration. They also declared that the mysterious steamer Berosa
was lying at the head of the river, but was a broken-down and worthless
affair, and would never get to sea. The result has since proved this;
for the vessel subsequently ran the blockade and foundered near shore,
the crew barely escaping with their lives. I had the pleasure, as it
happened, of being the first person to forward this information to
Admiral Dupont, when it came through the pickets, many months
after,--thus concluding my report on the Berosa.

Before the work at the yard was over, the pickets reported mounted men
in the woods near by, as had previously been the report at Woodstock.
This admonished us to lose no time; and as we left the wharf, immediate
arrangements were made to have the gun-crews all in readiness, and to
keep the rest of the men below, since their musketry would be of little
use now, and I did not propose to risk a life unnecessarily. The chief
obstacle to this was their own eagerness; penned down on one side, they
popped up on the other; their officers, too, were eager to see what was
going on, and were almost as hard to cork down as the men. Add to this,
that the vessel was now very crowded, and that I had to be chiefly on
the hurricane-deck with the pilots. Captain Clifton, master of the
vessel, was brave to excess, and as much excited as the men; he could no
more be kept in the little pilot-house than they below; and when we had
passed one or two bluffs, with no sign of an enemy, he grew more and
more irrepressible, and exposed himself conspicuously on the upper deck.
Perhaps we all were a little lulled by apparent safety; for myself, I
lay down for a moment on a settee in a state-room, having been on my
feet, almost without cessation, for twenty-four hours.

Suddenly there swept down from a bluff above us, on the Georgia side, a
mingling of shout and roar and rattle as of a tornado let loose; and as
a storm of bullets came pelting against the sides of the vessel and
through a window, there went up a shrill answering shout from our own
men. It took but an instant for me to reach the gun-deck. After all my
efforts, the men had swarmed once more from below, and already, crowding
at both ends of the boat, were loading and firing with inconceivable
rapidity, shouting to each other, "Neber gib it up!" and of course
having no steady aim, as the vessel glided and whirled in the swift
current. Meanwhile the officers in charge of the large guns had their
crews in order, and our shells began to fly over the bluffs, which, as
we now saw, should have been shelled in advance, only that we had to
economize ammunition. The other soldiers I drove below, almost by main
force, with the aid of their officers, who behaved exceedingly well,
giving the men leave to fire from the open port-holes which lined the
lower deck, almost at the water's level. In the very midst of the
_mêlée_, Major Strong came from the upper deck, with a face of horror,
and whispered to me,--"Captain Clifton was killed at the first shot by
my side."

If he had said that the vessel was on fire, the shock would hardly have
been greater. Of course, the military commander on board a steamer is
almost as helpless as an unarmed man, so far as the risks of water go. A
seaman must command there. In the hazardous voyage of last night, I had
learned, though unjustly, to distrust every official on board the
steamboat except this excitable, brave, warm-hearted sailor; and now,
among these added dangers, to lose him! The responsibility for his life
also thrilled me; he was not among my soldiers, and yet he was killed. I
thought of his wife and children, of whom he had spoken; but one learns
to think rapidly in war, and, cautioning the Major to silence, I went up
to the hurricane-deck and drew in the helpless body, that it should be
safe from further desecration, and then looked to see where we were.

We were now gliding past a safe reach of marsh, while our assailants
were riding by cross-paths to attack us at the next bluff. It was Reed's
Bluff where we were first attacked, and Scrubby Bluff, I think, was
next. They were shelled in advance, but swarmed manfully to the banks
again as we swept round one of the sharp angles of the stream beneath
their fire. My men were now pretty well imprisoned below in the hot and
crowded hold, and actually fought each other, the officers afterwards
said, for places at the open port-holes, from which to aim. Others
implored to be landed, exclaiming that they "supposed de Cunnel knew
best," but it was "mighty mean" to be shut up down below, when they
might be "fightin' de Secesh _in de clar field_." This clear field, and
no favor, was what they thenceforward sighed for. But in such difficult
navigation it would have been madness to think of landing, although one
daring Rebel actually sprang upon the large boat which we towed astern,
where he was shot down by one of our sergeants. This boat was soon after
swamped and abandoned, then taken and repaired by the Rebels at a later
date, and finally, by a piece of dramatic completeness, was seized by a
party of fugitive slaves, who escaped in it to our lines, and some of
whom enlisted in my own regiment.

It has always been rather a mystery to me why the Rebels did not fell a
few trees across the stream at some of the many sharp angles where we
might so easily have been thus imprisoned. This, however, they
did not attempt, and with the skilful pilotage of our trusty
Corporal--philosophic as Socrates through all the din, and occasionally
relieving his mind by taking a shot with his rifle through the high
port-holes of the pilot-house--we glided safely on. The steamer did not
ground once on the descent, and the mate in command, Mr. Smith, did his
duty very well. The plank sheathing of the pilot-house was penetrated by
few bullets, though struck by so many outside that it was visited as a
curiosity after our return; and even among the gun-crews, though they
had no protection, not a man was hurt. As we approached some wooded
bluff, usually on the Georgia side, we could see galloping along the
hillside what seemed a regiment of mounted riflemen, and could see our
shell scatter them ere we approached. Shelling did not, however, prevent
a rather fierce fusilade from our old friends of Captain Clark's company
at Waterman's Bluff, near Township Landing; but even this did no serious
damage, and this was the last.

It was of course impossible, while thus running the gauntlet, to put our
hostages ashore, and I could only explain to them that they must thank
their own friends for their inevitable detention. I was by no means
proud of their forlorn appearance, and besought Colonel Hawley to take
them off my hands; but he was sending no flags of truce at that time,
and liked their looks no better than I did. So I took them to Port
Royal, where they were afterwards sent safely across the lines. Our men
were pleased at taking them back with us, as they had already said,
regretfully, "S'pose we leave dem Secesh at Fernandina, General Saxby
won't see 'em,"--as if they were some new natural curiosity, which
indeed they were. One soldier further suggested the expediency of
keeping them permanently in camp, to be used as marks for the guns of
the relieved guard every morning. But this was rather an ebullition of
fancy than a sober proposition.

Against these levities I must put a piece of more tragic eloquence,
which I took down by night on the steamer's deck from the thrilling
harangue of Corporal Adam Ashton, one of our most gifted prophets, whose
influence over the men was unbounded. "When I heard," he said "de
bombshell a-screamin' troo de woods like de Judgment Day, I said to
myself, 'If my head was took off to-night, dey couldn't put my soul in
de torments, perceps [except] God was my enemy!' And when de
rifle-bullets came whizzin' across de deck, I cried aloud, 'God help my
congregation! Boys, load and fire!'"

I must pass briefly over the few remaining days of our cruise. At
Fernandina we met the Planter, which had been successful on her separate
expedition, and had destroyed extensive salt-works at Crooked River,
under charge of the energetic Captain Trowbridge, efficiently aided by
Captain Rogers. Our commodities being in part delivered at Fernandina,
our decks being full, coal nearly out, and time up, we called once more
at St. Simon's Sound, bringing away the remainder of our railroad-iron,
with some which the naval officers had previously disinterred, and then
steamed back to Beaufort. Arriving there at sunrise, (February 2, 1863,)
I made my way with Dr. Rogers to General Saxton's bed-room, and laid
before him the keys and shackles of the slave-prison, with my report of
the good conduct of the men,--as Dr. Rogers remarked, a message from
heaven and another from hell.

Slight as this expedition now seems among the vast events of the war,
the future student of the newspapers of that day will find that it
occupied no little space in their columns, so intense was the interest
which then attached to the novel experiment of employing black troops.
So obvious, too, was the value, during this raid, of their local
knowledge and their enthusiasm, that it was impossible not to find in
its successes new suggestions for the war. Certainly I would not have
consented to repeat the enterprise with the bravest white troops,
leaving Corporal Sutton and his mates behind, for I should have expected
to fail. For a year after our raid the Upper St. Mary's remained
unvisited, till in 1864 the large force with which we held Florida
secured peace upon its banks; then Mrs. A. took the oath of allegiance,
the Government bought her remaining lumber, and the John Adams again
ascended with a detachment of my men under Lieutenant Parker, and
brought a portion of it to Fernandina. By a strange turn of fortune,
Corporal Sutton (now Sergeant) was at this time in jail at Hilton Head,
under sentence of court-martial for an alleged act of mutiny,--an affair
in which the general voice of our officers sustained him and condemned
his accusers, so that he soon received a full pardon, and was restored
in honor to his place in the regiment, which he has ever since held.

Nothing can ever exaggerate the fascinations of war, whether on the
largest or smallest scale. When we settled down into camp-life again, it
seemed like a butterfly's folding its wings to re-enter the chrysalis.
None of us could listen to the crack of a gun without recalling
instantly the sharp shots that spilled down from the bluffs of the St.
Mary's, or hear a sudden trampling of horsemen by night without
recalling the sounds which startled us on the Field of the Hundred
Pines. The memory of our raid was preserved in the camp by many legends
of adventure, growing vaster and more incredible as time wore on,--and
by the morning appeals to the surgeon of some veteran invalids, who
could now cut off all reproofs and suspicions with "Doctor, I's been a
sickly pusson eber since de _expeditions_." But to me the most vivid
remembrancer was the flock of sheep which we had "lifted." The Post
Quartermaster discreetly gave us the charge of them, and they filled a
gap in the landscape and in the larder,--which last had before presented
one unvaried round of impenetrable beef. Mr. Obadiah Oldbuck, when he
decided to adopt a pastoral life, and assumed the provisional name of
Thyrsis, never looked upon his flocks and herds with more unalloyed
contentment than I upon that fleecy family. I had been familiar, in
Kansas, with the metaphor by which the sentiments of an owner were
credited to his property, and had heard of a pro-slavery colt and an
anti-slavery cow. The fact that these sheep were but recently converted
from "Secesh" sentiments was their crowning charm. Methought they
frisked and fattened in the joy of their deliverance from the shadow of
Mrs. A.'s slave-jail, and gladly contemplated translation into
mutton-broth for sick or wounded soldiers. The very slaves who once,
perchance, were sold at auction with yon aged patriarch of the flock,
had now asserted their humanity and would devour him as hospital
rations. Meanwhile our shepherd bore a sharp bayonet without a crook,
and I felt myself a peer of Ulysses and Rob Roy,--those sheep-stealers
of less elevated aims,--when I met in my daily rides these wandering
trophies of our wider wanderings.


    Four bluish eggs all in the moss!
     Soft-lined home on the cherry-bough!
    Life is trouble, and love is loss,--
     There's only one robin now!

    You robin up in the cherry-tree,
     Singing your soul away,
    Great is the grief befallen me,
     And how can you be so gay?

    Long ago when you cried in the nest,
     The last of the sickly brood,
    Scarcely a pin-feather warming your breast,
     Who was it brought you food?

    Who said, "Music, come fill his throat,
     Or ever the May be fled"?
    Who was it loved the wee sweet note
     And the bosom's sea-shell red?

    Who said, "Cherries, grow ripe and big,
     Black and ripe for this bird of mine"?
    How little bright-bosom bends the twig,
     Drinking the black-heart's wine!

    Now that my days and nights are woe,
     Now that I weep for love's dear sake,
    There you go singing away as though
     Never a heart could break!




_July 30._--At Hopedale, lat. 55° 30', we come upon an object of
first-class interest, worthy of the gravest study,--an original and
pre-Adamite man. In two words I give the reader a key to my final
conclusions, or impressions, concerning the Esquimaux race.

Original: Shakspeare is a copyist, and England a plagiarism, in
comparison with this race. The Esquimaux has done all for himself: he
has developed his own arts, adjusted himself by his own wit to the
Nature which surrounds him. Heir to no Rome, Greece, Persia, India, he
stands there in the sole strength of his native resources, rich only in
the traditionary accomplishments of his own race. Cut off equally from
the chief bounties of Nature, he has small share in the natural wealth
of mankind. When Ceres came to the earth, and blessed it, she forgot
him. The grains, the domestic animals, which from the high plateaus of
Asia descended with the fathers of history to the great fields of the
world, to him came not. The sole domestic animal he uses, the dog, is
not the same with that creature as known elsewhere; he has domesticated
a wolf, and made a dog for himself.

Not only is he original, but one of the most special of men, related
more strictly than almost any other to a particular aspect of Nature.
Inseparable from the extreme North, the sea-shore, and the seal, he is
himself, as it were, a seal come to feet and hands, and preying upon his
more primitive kindred. The cetacean of the land, he is localized, like
animals,--not universal, like civilized man. He is no inhabitant of the
globe as a whole, but is contained within special poles. His needle does
not point north and south; it is commanded by special attractions, and
points only from shore to sea and from sea to shore in the arctic zone.
Nor is this relation to particular phases of Nature superficial merely,
a relation of expedient and convenience; it penetrates, saturates, nay,
anticipates and moulds him. Whether he has come to this correspondence
by original creation or by slow adjustment, he certainly does now
correspond in his whole physical and mental structure to the limited and
special surroundings of his life,--the seal itself or the eider-duck not

He is pre-Adamite, I said,--and name him thus not as a piece of
rhetorical smartness, but in gravest characterization.

The first of human epochs is that when the thoughts, imaginations,
beliefs of men become to them _objects_, on which further thought and
action are to be adjusted, on which further thought and action may be
based. So long as man is merely responding to outward and physical
circumstances, so long he is living by bread alone, and has no history.
It is when he begins to respond _to himself_--to create necessities and
supplies out of his own spirit,--to build architectures on foundations
and out of materials that exist only in virtue of his own spiritual
activity,--to live by bread which grows, not out of the soil, but out of
the soul,--it is then, then only, that history begins. This one may be
permitted to name the Adamite epoch.

The Esquimaux belongs to that period, more primitive, when man is simply
responding to outward Nature, to physical necessities. He invents, but
does not create; he adjusts himself to circumstances, but not to ideas;
he works cunningly upon materials which he has _found_, but never on
material which owes its existence to the productive force of his own

In going to look upon the man of this race, you sail, not merely over
seas, but over ages, epochs, unknown periods of time,--sail beyond
antiquity itself, and issue into the obscure existence that antedates
history. Arrived there, you may turn your eye to the historical past of
man as to a barely possible future. Palestine and Greece, Moses and
Homer, as yet are not. Who shall dare to say that they can be? Surely
that were but a wild dream! Expel the impossible fancy from your mind!
Go, spear a seal, and be a reasonable being!--Never enthusiast had a
dream of the future so unspeakably Utopian as actual history becomes,
when seen from the Esquimaux, or pre-Adamite, point of view.

Swiss lakes are raked, Belgian caves spaded and hammered, to find relics
of old, pre-historical races. Go to Labrador, and you find the object
sought above ground. There he is, preserving all the characters of his
extinct congeners,--small in stature, low and smooth in cranium, held
utterly in the meshes of Nature, skilled only to meet ingeniously the
necessities she imposes, and meeting them rudely, as man ever does till
the ideal element comes in: for any fine feeling of even physical wants,
any delicacy of taste, any high notion of comfort, is due less to the
animal than to the spiritual being of man.

A little sophisticated he is now, getting to feel himself obsolete in
this strange new world. He begins to borrow, and yet is unable radically
to change; outwardly he gains a very little from civilization, and grows
inwardly poorer and weaker by all that he gains. His day wanes apace;
soon it will be past. He begins to nurse at the breasts of the civilized
world; and the foreign aliment can neither sustain his ancient strength
nor give him new. Civilization forces upon him a rivalry to which he is
unequal; it wrests the seal from his grasp, thins it out of his waters;
and he and his correlative die away together.

       *       *       *       *       *

We reached Hopedale, as intimated above, on the morning of the 30th of
July, at least a month later than had been hoped. The reader will see by
the map that this place is about half way from the Strait of Belle Isle
to Hudson's Strait. We were to go no farther north. This was a great
disappointment; for the expectation of all, and the keen desire of most,
had been to reach at least Cape Chudleigh, at the opening of Hudson's
Strait. Ice and storm had hindered us: they were not the only

"The Fates are against us," said one.

"It is true," answered the Elder,--"the Fates are against us: I know of
nothing more fatal than imbecility."

However, we should be satisfied; for here we have fairly penetrated the
great solitudes of the North. Lower Labrador is visited by near forty
thousand fishermen annually, and vessels there are often more frequent
than in Boston Bay. But at a point not far from the fifty-fifth parallel
of latitude you leave all these behind, and leave equally the white
residents of the coast: to fishermen and residents alike the region
beyond is as little known as the interior of Australia. There their
world comes to an end; there the unknown begins. Knowledge and curiosity
alike pause there; toward all beyond their only feeling is one of vague
dislike and dread. And so I doubt not it was with the ordinary
inhabitant of Western Europe before the discovery of America. The
Unknown, breaking in surf on his very shores, did not invite him, but
dimly repelled. Thought about it, attraction toward it, would seem to
him far-fetched, gratuitous, affected, indicating at best a
feather-headed flightiness of mind. The sailors of Columbus probably
regarded him much as Sancho Panza does Don Quixote, with an obscure,
overpowering awe, and yet with a very definite contempt.

On our return we passed two Yankee fishermen in the Strait of Belle
Isle. The nearer hailed.

"How far _down_ [up] have you been?"

"To Hopedale."

"WHERE?"--in the tone of one who hears distinctly enough, but cannot
believe that he hears.


"H-o-p-e-d-a-l-e! Where the Devil's that?"

"A hundred and fifty miles beyond Cape Harrison." (Cape Weback on the

Inarticulate gust of astonishment in response.

"Where did he say?" inquires some one in the farther schooner.

"----! He's been to the North Pole!"

To him it was all North Pole beyond Cape Harrison, and he evidently
looked upon us much as he might upon the apparition of the Flying
Dutchman, or some other spectre-ship.

The supply-ship which yearly visits the Moravian stations on this coast
anchored in the harbor of Hopedale ten minutes before us: we had been
rapidly gaining upon her in our Flying Yankee for the last twenty miles.
Signal-guns had answered each other from ship and shore; the
missionaries were soon on board, and men and women were falling into
each other's arms with joyful, mournful kisses and tears. The ship
returned some missionaries after long absence; it brought also a
betrothed lady, next day to be married: there was occasion for joy, even
beyond wont on these occasions, when, year by year, the
missionary-exiles feel with bounding blood the touch of civilization
and fatherland. But now those who came on board brought sad
tidings,--for one of their ancient colaborers, closely akin to the new
comers, had within a day or two died. Love and death the world over; and
also the hope of love without death.

Our eyes have been drawn to them; it is time to have a peep at Hopedale.

I had been so long looking forward to this place, had heard and thought
of it so much as an old mission-station, where was a village of
Christian Esquimaux, that I fully expected to see a genuine village,
with houses, wharves, streets. It would not equal our towns, of course.
The people were not cleanly; the houses would be unpainted, and poor in
comparison with ours. I had taken assiduous pains to tone down my
expectations, and felt sure that I had moderated them liberally,--nay,
had been philosophical enough to make disappointment impossible, and
open the opposite possibility of a pleasant surprise. I conceived that
in this respect I had done the discreet and virtuous thing, and silently
moralized, not without self-complacency, upon the folly of carrying
through the world expectations which the fact, when seen, could only put
out of countenance. "Make your expectations zero," I said with Sartor.

I need not put them _below_ zero. That would be too cold an anticipation
to carry even to this latitude. Zero: a poor, shabby village these
Christian Esquimaux will have built, even after nigh a century of
Moravian tuition. Still it will be a real village, not a distracted
jumble of huts, such as we had seen below.

The prospect had been curiously pleasing. True, I desired much to see
the unadulterated Esquimaux. But that would come, I had supposed, in the
further prosecution of our voyage. Here I could see what they would
become under loving instruction,--could gauge their capabilities, and
thus answer one of the prime questions I had brought.

A real Hopedale, after all this wild, sterile, hopeless coast! A touch
of civilization, to contrast with the impression of that Labradorian
rag-tag existence which we had hitherto seen, and which one could not
call human without coughing! I like deserts and wilds,--but, if you
please, by way of condiment or sauce to civilization, not for a full
meal. I have not the heroic Thoreau-digestion, and grow thin after a
time on a diet of moss and granite, even when they are served with ice.
Lift the curtain, therefore, and let us look forthwith on your Hopedale.

"Hopedale? Why, here it is,--look!"

Well, I have been doing nothing less for the last half-hour. If looking
could make a village, I should begin to see one. There, to be sure, is
the mission-house, conspicuous enough, quaint and by no means
unpleasing. It is a spacious, substantial, two-story edifice, painted in
two shades of a peculiar red, and looking for all the world as if a
principal house, taken from one of those little German toy-villages
which are in vogue about Christmas, had been enormously magnified, and
shipped to Labrador. There, too, and in similar colors, is the long
chapel, on the centre of whose roof there is a belfry, which looks like
two thirds of immense red egg, drawn up at the top into a spindle, and
this surmounted by a weathercock,--as if some giant had attempted to
blow the egg from beneath, and had only blown out of it this small bird
with a stick to stand on! Ah, yes! and there is the pig-sty,--not in
keeping with the rest, by any means! It must be that they keep a pig
only now and then, and for a short time, and house it any way for that
little while. But no, it is not a piggery; it is not a building at all;
it is some chance heap of rubbish, which will be removed to-morrow.

The mission-station, then, is here; but the village must be elsewhere.
Probably it is on the other side of this point of land on which the
house and chapel are situated; we can see that the water sweeps around
there. That is the case, no doubt; Hopedale is over there. After dinner
we will row around, and have a look at it.

After dinner, however, we decide to go first and pay our respects to the
missionaries. They are entitled to the precedence. We long, moreover, to
take the loving, self-sacrificing men by the hand; while, aside from
their special claims to honor, it will be _so_ pleasant to meet
cultivated human beings once more! They are Germans, but their
head-quarters are at London; they will speak English; and if their
vocabulary prove scanty, we will try to eke it out with bits of German.

We row ashore in our own skiff, land, and--Bless us! what is this now?
To the right of the large, neat, comfortable mission-house is a
wretched, squalid spatter and hotch-potch of--what in the world to call
them? Huts? Hovels? One has a respect for his mother-tongue,--above all,
if he have assumed obligations toward it by professing the function of a
writer; and any term by which human dwellings are designated must be
taken _cum grano salis_, if applied to these structures. "It cannot be
that this is Christian Hopedale!" Softly, my good Sir; it can be, for it

Reader, do you ever say, "Whew-w-w"? There were three minutes, on the
30th of July last, during which that piece of interjectional eloquence
seemed to your humble servant to embody the whole dictionary!

To get breath, let us turn again to the mission-mansion, which now,
under the effect of sudden contrast, seems too magnificent to be real,
as if it had been built by enchantment rather than by the labor of man.
This is situated half a dozen rods from the shore, at a slight elevation
above it, and looks pleasantly up the bay to the southwest. The site has
been happily chosen. Here, for a wonder, is an acre or two of land which
one may call level,--broader toward the shore, and tapering to a point
as it runs back. To the right, as we face it, the ground rises not very
brokenly, giving a small space for the hunch of huts, then falls quickly
to the sea; while beyond, and toward the ocean, islands twenty miles
deep close in and shelter all. To the left go up again the perpetual
hills, hills. Everywhere around the bay save here, on island and main,
the immitigable gneiss hills rise bold and sudden from the water, now
dimly impurpled with lichen, now in nakedness of rock surface, yet
beautified in their bare severity by alternating and finely waving
stripes of lightest and darkest gray,--as if to show sympathy with the
billowy heaving of the sea.

Forward to the mansion. In front a high, strong, neat picket-fence
incloses a pretty flower-yard, in which some exotics, tastefully
arranged, seem to be flourishing well. We knock; with no manner of
haste, and with no seeming of cordial willingness, we are admitted, are
shown into a neat room of good size, and entertained by a couple of the

One of these only, and he alone among the missionaries, it appeared,
spoke English. This was an elderly, somewhat cold and forbidding
personage, of Secession sympathies. He had just returned from Europe
after two years' absence, was fresh from London, and put on the true
Exeter-Hall whine in calling ours "a n-dreadful n-war." He did not press
the matter, however, nor in any manner violate the _rôle_ of cold
courtesy which he had assumed; and it was chiefly by the sudden check
and falling of the countenance, when he found us thorough Unionist, that
his sympathies were betrayed. Wine and rusks were brought in, both
delicious,--the latter seeming like ambrosia, after the dough
cannon-balls with which our "head cook at the Tremont House" had regaled
us. After a stay of civil brevity we took our leave, and so closed an
interview in which we had been treated with irreproachable politeness,
but in which the heart was forbidden to have any share.

First the missionaries; now the natives. The squat and squalid huts,
stuck down upon the earth without any pretence of raised foundation, and
jumbled together, corner to side, back to front, any way, as if some
wind had blown them there, did not improve on acquaintance. The walls,
five feet high, were built of poles some five inches in diameter; the
low roof, made of similar poles, was heavily heaped with earth. What
with this deep earth-covering, and with their grovelling toward the
earth in such a flat and neighborly fashion, they had a dreadfully
under-foot look, and seemed rather dens than houses. Many were ragged
and rotten, all inconceivably cheerless. No outhouses, no inclosures, no
vegetation, no relief of any kind. About and between them the swardless
ground is all trodden into mud. Prick-eared Esquimaux dogs huddle,
sneak, bark, and snarl around, with a free fight now and then, in which
they all fall upon the one that is getting the worst of it. Before the
principal group of huts, in the open space between them and the mansion,
a dead dog lies rotting; children lounge listlessly, and babies toddle
through the slutch about it. Here and there a full-grown Esquimaux, in
greasy and uncouth garb, loiters, doing nothing, _looking_ nothing.

I, for one, was completely overcrowed by the impression of a bare and
aimless existence, and could not even wonder. Christian Hopedale! "Leave
all hope, ye that enter here!"

At 5 P. M. the chapel-bell rings, and at once the huts swarm. We follow
the crowd. They enter the chapel by a door at the end nearest their
dens, and seat themselves, the women at the farther, the men at the
hither extreme, all facing a raised desk at the middle of one side.
Behind them, opposite this pulpit, is an organ. Presently, from a door
at the farther end, the missionaries file in, some twelve in number; one
enters the pulpit, the others take seats on either side of him, facing
the audience, and at a dignified remove. The conductor of the service
now rises, makes an address in Esquimaux a minute and a half long, then
gives out a hymn,--the hymns numbered in German, as numbers, to any
extent, are wanting to the Esquimaux language. All the congregation join
in a solid old German tune, keeping good time, and making, on the whole,
better congregational music than I ever heard elsewhere,--unless a
Baptist conventicle in London, Bloomsbury Chapel, furnish the exception.
After this another, then another; at length, when half a dozen or more
have been sung, missionaries and congregation rise, the latter stand in
mute and motionless respect, the missionaries file out with dignity at
their door; and when the last has disappeared, the others begin quietly
to disperse.

This form of worship is practised at the hour named above on each
weekday, and the natives attend with noticeable promptitude. There are
no prayers, and the preliminary address in this case was exceptional.

_Sunday, July 31._--I had inquired at what hour the worship would begin
this day, and, with some hesitancy, had been answered, "At half past
nine." But the Colonel also had asked, and his interlocutor, after
consulting a card, said, "At ten o'clock." At ten we went ashore.
Finding the chapel-door still locked, I seated myself on a rock in front
of the mission-house, to wait. The sun was warm (the first warm day for
a month); the mosquitoes swarmed in myriads; I sat there long, wearily
beating them off. Faces peeped out at me from the windows, then
withdrew. Presently Bradford joined me, and began also to fight
mosquitoes. More faces at the windows; but when I looked towards them,
thinking to discover some token of hospitable invitation, they quickly
disappeared. After half an hour, the master of the supply-ship came up,
and entered into conversation; in a minute one of the brethren appeared
at the door, and invited him to enter, but without noticing Bradford and
myself. I took my skiff and rowed to the schooner. Fifteen minutes later
the chapel-bell rang.

I confess to some spleen that day against the missionaries. When I
expressed it, Captain French, the pilot, an old, prudent, pious man,
"broke out."

"Them are traders," said he. "I don't call 'em missionaries; I call 'em
traders. They live in luxury; the natives work for 'em, and get for pay
just what they choose to give 'em. They fleece the Esquimaux; they take
off of 'em all but the skin. They are just traders!"

My spleen did not last. There was some cause of coldness,--I know not
what. The missionaries afterwards became cordial, visited the schooner,
and exchanged presents with us. I believe them good men. If their
relation to the natives assume in some degree a pecuniary aspect, it is
due to the necessity of supporting the mission by the profits of
traffic. If they preserve a stately distance toward the Esquimaux, it is
to retain influence over them. If they allow the native mind to confound
somewhat the worship of God with the worship of its teachers, it is that
the native mind cannot get beyond personal relations, and must worship
something tangible. That they are not at all entangled in the routine
and material necessities of their position I do not assert; that they do
not carry in it something of noble and self-forgetful duty nothing I
have seen will persuade me.

_August 1._--We go to push our explorations among the Esquimaux, and
invite the reader to make one of the party. Enter a hut. The door is
five feet high,--that is, the height of the wall. Stoop a little,--ah,
there goes a hat to the ground, and a hand to a hurt pate! One must move
carefully in these regions, which one hardly knows whether to call sub-
or supra-terranean.

This door opens into a sort of porch occupying one end of the den; the
floor, earth. Three or four large, dirty dogs lie dozing here, and start
up with an aspect of indescribable, half-crouching, mean malignity, as
we enter; but a sharp word, with perhaps some menace of stick or cane,
sends the cowardly brutes sneaking away. In a corner is a circle of
stones, on which cooking is done; and another day we may find the family
here picking their food out of a pot, and serving themselves to it, with
the fingers. Save this primitive fireplace, and perhaps a kettle for the
dogs to lick clean, this porch is bare.

From this we crouch into the living-room through a door two and a half
or three feet high, and find ourselves in an apartment twelve feet
square, and lighted by a small, square skin window in the roof. The only
noticeable furniture consists of two board beds, with skins for
bed-clothes. The women sit on these beds, sewing upon seal-skin boots.
They receive us with their characteristic fat and phlegmatic
good-nature, a pleasant smile on their chubby cheeks and in their dark,
dull eyes,--making room for us on the bedside. Presently others come in,
mildly curious to see the strangers,--all with the same aspect of
unthinking, good-tempered, insensitive, animal content. The head is low
and smooth; the cheekbones high, but less so than those of American
Indians; the jowl so broad and heavy as sometimes to give the _ensemble_
of head and face the outline of a cone truncated and rounded off above.
In the females, however, the cheek is so extremely plump as perfectly to
pad these broad jaws, giving, instead of the prize-fighter physiognomy,
an aspect of smooth, gentle heaviness. Even without this fleshy cheek,
which is not noticeable, and is sometimes noticeably wanting, in the
men, there is the same look of heavy, well-tempered lameness. The girls
have a rich blood color in their swarthy cheeks, and some of them are
really pretty, though always in a lumpish, domestic-animal style. The
hands and feet are singularly small; the fingers short, but nicely
tapered. Take hold of the hand, and you are struck with its _cetacean_
feel. It is not flabby, but has a peculiar blubber-like, elastic
compressibility, and seems not quite of human warmth.

See them in their houses, and you see the horizon of their life. In
these fat faces, with their thoughtless content, in this pent-up,
greasy, wooden den, the whole is told. The air is close and fetid with
animal exhalations. The entrails and part of the flesh of a seal, which
lie on the floor in a corner,--to furnish a dinner,--do not make the
atmosphere nor the aspect more agreeable. Yet you see that to them this
is comfort, this is completeness of existence. If they are hungry, they
seek food. Food obtained, they return to eat and be comfortable until
they are again hungry. Their life has, on this earth at least, no
farther outlook. It sallies, it returns, but here is the fruition; for
is not the seal-flesh dinner there, nicely and neatly bestowed on the
floor? Are they not warm? (The den is swelteringly hot.) Are they not
fed? What would one have more?

Yes, somewhat more, namely, tobacco,--and also second-hand clothes, with
which to be fine in church. For these they will barter seal-skins,
dog-skins, seal-skin boots, a casual bear-skin, bird-spears,
walrus-spears, anything they have to vend,--concealing their traffic a
little from the missionaries. Colored glass beads were also in request
among the women. Ph---- had brought some large, well-made pocket-knives,
which, being useful, he supposed would be desired. Not at all; they were
fumbled indifferently, then invariably declined. But a plug of
tobacco,--ah, that now _is_ something!

The men wear tight seal-skin trousers and boots, with an upper garment
of the same material, made like a Guernsey frock. In winter a hood is
added, but in summer they all go bareheaded,--the stiff, black hair
chopped squarely off across the low forehead, but longer behind. The
costume of the females is more peculiar,--seal-skin boots, seal-skin
trousers, which just spring over the hips, and are there met by a
body-garment of seal-skin more lightly colored. Over this goes an
astonishing article of apparel somewhat resembling the dress-coat in
which unhappy civilization sometimes compels itself to masquerade,
but--truth stranger than fiction!--_considerably_ more ugly. A long tail
hangs down to the very heels; a much shorter peak comes down in front;
at the sides it is scooped out below, showing a small portion of the
light-colored body-garment, which irresistibly suggests a very dirty
article of lady-linen whereon the eyes of civilized decorum forbear to
look, while an adventurous imagination associates it only with snowy
whiteness. The whole is surmounted by an enormous peaked hood, in which
now and then one sees a baby carried.

This elegant garment was evidently copied from the skin of an
animal,--so Ph---- acutely suggested. The high peak of the hood
represents the ears; the arms stand for the fore legs; the downward peak
in front for the hind legs sewed together; the rear dangler represents
the tail. I make no doubt that our dress-coat has the same origin,
though the primal conception has been more modified. It is a bear-skin
_plus_ Paris.

Is the reader sure of his ribs and waistcoat-buttons? If so, he may
venture to look upon an Esquimaux woman walking,--which I take to be the
most ludicrous spectacle in the world. Conceive of this short, squat,
chunky, lumpish figure in the costume described,--grease _ad libitum_
being added. The form is so plump and heavy as very much to project the
rear dangler at the point where it leaves the body, while below it falls
in, and goes with a continual muddy slap, slap, against the heels. The
effect of this, especially in the profile view, is wickedly laughable,
but the gait makes it more so. The walk is singularly slow, unelastic,
loggy, and is characterized at each step by an indescribable, sudden sag
or _slump_ at the hip. As she thus slowly and heavily _churns_ herself
along, the nether slap emphasizes each step, as it were, with an
exclamation-point; while, as the foot advances, the shoulder and the
whole body on the same side turn and sag forward, the opposite shoulder
and side dragging back,--as if there were a perpetual debate between the
two sides whether to proceed or not. It was so laughable that it made
one sad; for this, too, was a human being. The gait of the men, on the
contrary, is free and not ungraceful.

_August 3._--An Esquimaux wedding! In the chapel,--Moravian
ceremony,--so far not noticeable. Costume same as above, only of white
cloth heavily embroidered with red. Demeanor perfect. Bride obliged to
sit down midway in the ceremony, overpowered with emotion. She did so
with a simple, quiet dignity, that would not have misbecome a duchess.

When the ceremony was ended, the married pair retired into the
mission-house, and half an hour later I saw them going home. This was
the curious part of the affair. The husband walked before, taking care
not to look behind, doing the indifferent and unconscious with great
assiduity, and evidently making it a matter of serious etiquette not to
know that any one followed. Four rods behind comes the wife, doing the
unconscious with equal industry. She is not following this man here in
front,--bless us, no, indeed!--but is simply walking out, or going to
see a neighbor, this nice afternoon, and does not observe that any one
precedes her. Following that man? Pray, where were you reared, that you
are capable of so discourteous a supposition? It gave me a malicious
pleasure to see that the pre-Adamite man, as well as the rest of us,
imposes upon himself at times these difficult duties, _toting_ about
that foolish face, so laboriously vacant of precisely that with which it
is brimming full.

To adjust himself to outward Nature,--that, we said, is the sole task of
the primitive man. The grand success of the Esquimaux in this direction
is the _kayak_. This is his victory and his school. It is a seal-skin
Oxford or Cambridge, wherein he takes his degree as master of the
primeval arts. Here he acquires not only physical strength and
quickness, but self-possession also, mental agility, the instant use of
his wits,--here becomes, in fine, a _cultivated_ man.

It is no trifling matter. Years upon years must be devoted to these
studies. Oxford and Cambridge do not task one more, nor exhibit more
degrees of success. Some fail, and never graduate; some become
illustrious for kayak-erudition.

This culture has also the merit of entire seriousness and sincerity.
Life and death, not merely a name in the newspapers, are in it. Of all
vehicles, on land or sea, to which man intrusts himself, the kayak is
safest and unsafest. It is a very hair-bridge of Mohammed: security or
destruction is in the finest poise of a moving body, the turn of a hand,
the thought of a moment. Every time that the Esquimaux spears a seal at
sea, he pledges his life upon his skill. With a touch, with a moment's
loss of balance, the tipsy craft may go over; over, the oar, with which
it is to be restored, may get entangled, may escape from the hand,
may--what not? For all _what-nots_ the kayaker must preserve instant
preparation; and with his own life on the tip of his fingers, he must
make its preservation an incidental matter. He is there, not to save his
life, but to capture a seal, worth a few dollars! It is his routine
work. Different from getting up a leading article, making a plea in
court, or writing Greek iambics for a bishopric!

Probably there is no race of men on earth whose ordinary avocations
present so constantly the alternative of rarest skill on the one hand,
or instant destruction on the other. And for these avocations one is
fitted only by a _scholarship_, which it requires prolonged schooling,
the most patient industry, and the most delicate consent of mind and
body to attain. If among us the highest university-education were
necessary, in order that one might live, marry, and become a
householder, we should but parallel in our degree the scheme of their

Measured by post-Adamite standards, the life of the Esquimaux is a sorry
affair; measured by his own standards, it is a piece of perfection. To
see the virtue of his existence, you must, as it were, look at him with
the eyes of a wolf or fox,--must look up from that low level, and
discern, so far above, this skilled and wondrous creature, who by
ingenuity and self-schooling has converted his helplessness into power,
and made himself the plume and crown of the physical world.

In the kayak the Esquimaux attains to beauty. As he rows, the extremes
of the two-bladed oar revolve, describing rhythmic circles; the body
holds itself in airy poise, and the light boat skims away with a look of
life. The speed is greater than our swiftest boats attain, and the
motion graceful as that of a flying bird. Kayak and rower become to the
eye one creature; and the civilized spectator must be stronger than I in
his own conceit not to feel a little humble as he looks on.

We had racing one calm evening. Three kayaks competed: the prize--O
Civilization!--was a plug of tobacco. How the muscles swelled! How the
airy things flew! "Hi! Hi!" jockey the lookers-on: they fly swifter
still. Up goes another plug,--another!--another!--and the kayaks half
leap from the water. It was sad withal.

The racing over, there was a new feat. One of the kayakers placed
himself in his little craft directly across the course; another
stationed himself at a distance, and then, pushing his kayak forward at
his utmost speed, drove it directly over the other! The high sloping bow
rose above the middle of the stationary kayak on which it impinged, and,
shooting up quite out of water, the boat skimmed over.

The Esquimaux is an honest creature. I had engaged a woman to make me a
pair of fur boots, leaving my name on a slip of paper. L----, next day,
roaming among the huts, saw her hanging them out to dry. Enamored of
them, and ignorant of our bargain, he sought to purchase them; but at
the first token of his desire, the woman rushed into the hut, and
brought forth the slip of paper, as a sufficient answer to all question
on that matter. L---- having told me of the incident, and informed me
that he had elsewhere bargained for a similar pair, I was wicked enough
to experiment upon this fidelity, desirous of learning what I could.
Taking, therefore, some clothes, which I knew would be desired, and
among them a white silk handkerchief bordered with blue, which had been
purchased at Port Mulgrave, all together far exceeding in value the
stipulated price, I sought the hut, and began admiring the said boots,
now nearly finished. Instantly came forth the inevitable slip with
L----'s name upon it. Making no sign, I proceeded to unroll my package.
The good creature was intensely taken with its contents, and gloated
over them with childish delight. But though she rummaged every corner to
find somewhat to exchange with me for them, it evidently did not even
enter her thoughts to offer me the boots. I took them up and admired
them again; she immediately laid her hand on the slip of paper. So I
gave her the prettiest thing I had, and left with a cordial _okshni_

This honesty is attributed to missionary instruction, and with the more
color as the untaught race is noted for stealing from Europeans
everything they can lay hands on. It is only, however, from foreigners
that they were ever accustomed to steal. Toward each other they have
ever been among the most honest of human beings. Civilization and the
seal they regarded as alike lawful prey. The missionaries have not
implanted in them a new disposition, but only extended the scope of an
old and marked characteristic.

At the same time their sense of pecuniary obligation would seem not to
extend over long periods. Of the missionaries in winter they buy
supplies on credit, but show little remembrance of the debt when summer
comes. All must be immediate with them; neither their thought nor their
moral sense can carry far; they are equally improvident for the future
and forgetful of the past. The mere Nature-man acts only as Nature and
her necessities press upon him; thought and memory are with him the
offspring of sensation; his brain is but the feminine spouse of his
stomach and blood,--receptive and respondent, rather than virile and

Partly, however, this seeming forgetfulness is susceptible of a
different explanation. They evidently feel that the mission-house owes
them a living. They make gardens, go to church and save their souls, for
the missionaries; it is but fair that they should be fed at a pinch in

This remark may seem a sneer. Not so; my word for it. I went to Hopedale
to study this race, with no wish but to find in them capabilities of
spiritual growth, and with no resolve but to see the fact, whatever it
should be, not with wishes, but with eyes. And, pointedly against my
desire, I saw this,--that the religion of the Esquimaux is, nine parts
in ten at least, a matter of personal relation between him and
the missionaries. He goes to church as the dog follows his
master,--expecting a bone and hoping for a pat in return. He comes
promptly at a whistle (the chapel-bell); his docility and decorum are
unimpeachable; he does what is expected of him with a pleased wag of the
tail; but it is still, it is always, the dog and his master.

The pre-Adamite man is not distinctively religious; for religion implies
ideas, in the blood at least, if not in the brain, as imagination, if
not as thought; and ideas are to him wanting, are impossible. His whole
being is summed and concluded in a relationship to the external, the
tangible, to things or persons; and his relation to persons goes beyond
animal instinct and the sense of physical want only upon the condition
that it shall cling inseparably to them. The spiritual instincts of
humanity are in him also, but obscure, utterly obscure, not having
attained to a circulation in the blood, much less to intellectual
liberation. Obscure they are, fixed, in the bone, locked up in phosphate
of lime. Ideas touch them only as ideas lose their own shape and hide
themselves under physical forms.

Will he outgrow himself? Will he become post-Adamite, a man to whom
ideas are realities? I desire to say yes, and cannot. Again and again,
in chapel and elsewhere, I stood before a group, and questioned,
questioned their faces, to find there some prophecy of future growth.
And again and again these faces, with their heavy content, with their
dog-docility, with their expression of utter limitation, against which
nothing in them struggled, said to me,--"Your quest is vain; we are once
and forever Esquimaux." Had they been happy, had they been unhappy, I
had hoped for them. They were neither: they were contented. A
half-animal, African exuberance, token of a spirit obscure indeed, but
rich and effervescent, would open for them a future. One sign of dim
inward struggle and pain, as if the spirit resented his imprisonment,
would do the same. Both were wanting. They ruminate; life is the cud
they chew.

The Esquimaux are celebrated as gluttons. This, however, is but one half
the fact. They can eat, they can also fast, indefinitely. For a week
they gorge themselves without exercise, and have no indigestion; for a
week, exercising vigorously, they live on air, frozen air, too, and
experience no exhaustion. Last winter half a dozen appeared at
Square-Island Harbor, sent out their trained dogs, drove in a herd of
deer, and killed thirteen. They immediately encamped, gathered fuel,
made fires, began to cook and eat,--ate themselves asleep; then waked to
cook, eat, and sleep again, until the thirteenth deer had vanished.
Thereupon they decamped, to travel probably hundreds of miles, and
endure days on days of severe labor, before tasting, or more than
tasting, food again.

The same explanation serves. These physical capabilities, not to be
attained by the post-Adamite man, belong to the primitive races, as to
hawks, gulls, and beasts of prey. The stomach of the Esquimaux is his
cellar, as that of the camel is a cistern, wherein he lays up stores.

_August 4._--This day we sailed away from Hopedale, heading
homeward,--leaving behind a race of men who were, to me a problem to be
solved, if possible. All my impressions of them are summed in the
epithet, often repeated, pre-Adamite. In applying, this, I affirm
nothing respecting their physical origin. All that is to me an open
question, to be closed when I have more light than now. It may be, that,
as Mr. Agassiz maintains, they were created originally just as they are.
For this hypothesis much may be said, and it may be freely confessed
that in observing them I felt myself pressed somewhat toward the
acceptance of it as a definite conclusion. It may be that they have
become what they are by slow modification of a type common to all
races,--that, with another parentage, they have been made by adoption
children of the icy North, whose breath has chilled in their souls the
deeper powers of man's being. This it will be impossible for me to deny
until I have investigated more deeply the influence of physical Nature
upon man, and learned more precisely to what degree the traditions of a
people, constituting at length a definite social atmosphere, may come to
penetrate and shape their individual being. I do not pronounce; I wait
and keep the eyes open. Doubtless they are God's children; and knowing
this, one need not be fretfully impatient, even though vigilantly
earnest, to know the rest.

In naming them pre-Adamite I mean two things.

First, that they have stopped short of ideas, that is, of the point
where human history begins. They belong, not to spiritual or human, but
to outward and physical Nature. There they are a great success.

Secondly, in this condition of mere response to physical Nature, their
whole being has become shapen, determined, fixed. They have no future.
Civilization affects them, but only by mechanical modification, not by
vital refreshment and renewal. The more they are instructed, the weaker
they become.

They change, and are unchangeable.

Unchangeable: if they assume in any degree the ideas and habits of
civilization, it is only as their women sometimes put on calico gowns
over their seal-skin trousers. The modification is not even skin-deep.
It is a curious illustration of this immobility, that no persuasion, no
authority, can make them fishermen. Inseparable from the sea-shore, the
Esquimaux will not catch a fish, if he can catch a dinner otherwise. The
missionaries, both as matter of paternal care and as a means of
increasing their own traffic,--by which the station is chiefly
sustained,--have done their utmost to make the natives bring in fish for
sale, and have failed. These people are first sealers, then hunters;
some attraction in the blood draws them to these occupations; and at
last it is an attraction in the blood which they obey.

Yet on the outermost surface of their existence they change, and die. At
Hopedale, out of a population of some two hundred, _twenty-four died in
the month of March last!_ At Nain, where the number of inhabitants is
about the same, twenty-one died in the same month; at Okkak, also
twenty-one. More than decimated in a month!

The long winter suffocation in their wooden dens, which lack the
ventilation of the _igloe_ that their untaught wit had devised, has
doubtless much to do with this mortality. But one feels that there is
somewhat deeper in the case. One feels that the hands of the great
horologe of time have hunted around the dial, till they have found the
hour of doom for this primeval race. Now at length the tolling bell says
to them, "No more! on the earth no more!"

Farewell, geological man, _chef-d'oeuvre_, it may be, of some earlier
epoch, but in this a grotesque, grown-up baby, never to become adult! As
you are, and as in this world you must be, I have seen you; but in my
heart is a hope for you which is greater than my thought,--a hope which,
though deep and sure, does not define itself to the understanding, and
must remain unspoken. There is a Heart to which you, too, are dear; and
its throbs are pulsations of Destiny.



There were scores of people in Ashfield who would have been delighted to
speak consolation to the bereaved clergyman; but he was not a man to be
approached easily with the ordinary phrases of sympathy. He bore himself
too sternly under his grief. What, indeed, can be said in the face of
affliction, where the manner of the sufferer seems to say, "God has done
it, and God does all things well"? Ordinary human sympathy falls below
such a standpoint, and is wasted in the utterance.

Yet there are those, who delight in breaking in upon the serene dignity
which this condition of mind implies with a noisy proffer of
consolation, and an aggravating rehearsal of the occasion for it; as if
such comforters entertained a certain jealousy of the serenity they do
not comprehend, and were determined to test its sufficiency. Dame
Tourtelot was eminently such a person.

"It's a dreadful blow to ye, Mr. Johns," said she, "I know it is. Almiry
is a'most as much took down by it as you are. 'She was such a lovely
woman,' she says; and the poor, dear little boy,--won't you let him come
and pass a day or two with us? Almiry is very fond of children."

"Later, later, my good woman," says the parson. "I can't spare the boy
now; the house is too empty."

"Oh, Mr. Johns,--the poor lonely thing!" (And she says this, with her
hands in black mits, clasped together.) "It's a bitter blow! As I was
a-sayin' to the Deacon, 'Such a lovely young woman, and such a good
comfortable home, and she, poor thing, enjoyin' it so much!' I do hope
you'll bear up under it, Mr. Johns."

"By God's help, I will, my good woman."

Dame Tourtelot was disappointed to find the parson wincing so little as
he did under her stimulative sympathy. On returning home, she opened her
views to the Deacon in this style:--

"Tourtelot, the parson is not so much broke down by this as we've been
thinkin'; he was as cool, when I spoke to him to-day, as any man I ever
see in my life. The truth is, she was a flighty young person, noways
equal to the parson. I've been a-suspectin' it this long while; she
never, in my opinion, took a real hard hold upon him. But, Tourtelot,
you should go and see Mr. Johns; and I hope you'll talk consolingly and
Scripterally to him. It's your duty."

And hereupon she shifted the needles in her knitting, and, smoothing
down the big blue stocking-leg over her knee, cast a glance at the
Deacon which signified command. The dame was thoroughly mistress in her
own household, as well as in the households of not a few of her
neighbors. Long before, the meek, mild-mannered little man who was her
husband had by her active and resolute negotiation been made a deacon of
the parish,--for which office he was not indeed ill-fitted, being
religiously disposed, strict in his observance of all duties, and
well-grounded in the Larger Catechism. He had, moreover, certain secular
endowments which were even more marked,--among them, a wonderful
instinct at a bargain, which had been polished by Dame Tourtelot's
superior address to a wonderful degree of sharpness; and by reason of
this the less respectful of the townspeople were accustomed to say, "The
Deacon is very small at home, but great in a trade." Not that the Deacon
could by any means be called an avaricious or miserly man: he had always
his old Spanish milled quarter ready for the contribution-box upon
Collection-Sundays; and no man in the parish brought a heavier turkey to
the parson's larder on donation-days: but he could no more resist the
sharpening of a bargain than he could resist a command of his wife. He
talked of a good trade to the old heads up and down the village street
as a lad talks of a new toy.

"Squire," he would say, addressing a neighbor on the Common, "what do
you s'pose I paid for that brindle ye'rlin' o' mine? Give us a guess."

"Waäl, Deacon, I guess you paid about ten dollars."

"Only eight!" the Deacon would say, with a smile that was fairly
luminous,--"and a pootty likely critter I call it for eight dollars."

"Five hogs this year," (in this way the Deacon was used to
soliloquize,)--"I hope to make 'em three hundred apiece. The
price works up about Christmas: Deacon Simmons has sold his'n at
five,--distillery-pork; that's sleezy, wastes in bilin'; folks know it:
mine, bein' corn-fed, ought to bring half a cent more,--and say, for
Christmas, six; that'll give a gain of a cent,--on five hogs, at three
hundred apiece, will be fifteen dollars. That'll pay half my pew-rent,
and leave somethin' over for Almiry, who's always wantin' fresh ribbons
about New-Year's."

The Deacon cherished a strong dread of formal visits to the parsonage:
first, because it involved his Sunday toilet, in which he was never
easy, except at conference or in his pew at the meeting-house; and next,
because he counted it necessary on such occasions to give a Scriptural
garnish to his talk, in which attempt he almost always, under the
authoritative look of the parson, blundered into difficulty. Yet
Tourtelot, in obedience to his wife's suggestion, and primed with a text
from Matthew, undertook the visit of condolence,--and, being a really
kind-hearted man, bore himself well in it. Over and over the good parson
shook his hand in thanks.

"It'll all be right," says the Deacon. "'Blessed are the mourners,' is
the Scripteral language, 'for they shall inherit the earth.'"

"No, not that, Deacon," says the minister, to whom a misquotation was
like a wound in the flesh; "the last thing I want is to inherit the
earth. 'They shall be comforted,'--that's the promise, Deacon, and I
count on it."

It was mortifying to his visitor to be caught napping on so familiar a
text; the parson saw it, and spoke consolingly. But if not strong in
texts, the Deacon knew what his strong points were; so, before leaving,
he invites a little offhand discussion of more familiar topics.

"Pootty tight spell o' weather we've been havin', Parson."

"Rather cool, certainly," says the unsuspecting clergyman.

"Got all your winter's stock o' wood in yit?"

"No, I haven't," says the parson.

"Waäl, Mr. Johns, I've got a lot of pastur'-hickory cut and corded,
that's well seared over now,--and if you'd like some of it, I can let
you have it _very reasonable indeed_."

The sympathy of the Elderkins, if less formal, was none the less hearty.
The Squire had been largely instrumental in securing the settlement of
Mr. Johns, and had been a political friend of his father's. In early
life he had been engaged in the West India trade from the neighboring
port of Middletown; and on one or two occasions he had himself made the
voyage to Porto Rico, taking out a cargo of horses, and bringing back
sugar, molasses, and rum. But it was remarked approvingly in the
bar-room of the Eagle Tavern that this foreign travel had not made the
Squire proud,--nor yet the moderate fortune which he had secured by the
business, in which he was still understood to bear an interest. His
paternal home in Ashfield he had fitted up some years before with
balustrade and other architectural adornments, which, it was averred by
the learned in those matters, were copied from certain palatial
residences in the West Indies.

The Squire united eminently in himself all those qualities which a
Connecticut observer of those times expressed by the words, "right down
smart man." Not a turnpike enterprise could be started in that quarter
of the State, but the Squire was enlisted, and as shareholder or
director contributed to its execution. A clear-headed, kindly, energetic
man, never idle, prone rather to do needless things than to do nothing;
an ardent disciple of the Jeffersonian school, and in this combating
many of those who relied most upon his sagacity in matters of business;
a man, in short, about whom it was always asked, in regard to any
question of town or State policy, "What does the Squire think?" or "How
does the Squire mean to vote?" And the Squire's opinion was sure to be a
round, hearty one, which he came by honestly, and about which one who
thought differently might safely rally his columns of attack. The
opinion of Giles Elderkin was not inquired into for the sake of a tame
following-after,--that was not the Connecticut mode,--but for the sake
of discussing and toying with it: very much as a sly old grimalkin toys
with a mouse,--now seeming to entertain it kindly, then giving it a run,
then leaping after it, crunching a limb of it, bearing it off into some
private corner, giving it a new escape, swallowing it perhaps at last,
and appropriating it by long process of digestion. And even then, the
shrewd Connecticut man, if accused of modulating his own opinions after
those of the Squire, would say, "No, I allers thought so."

Such a man as Giles Elderkin is of course ready with a hearty, outspoken
word of cheer for his minister. Nay, the very religion of the Squire,
which the parson had looked upon as somewhat discursive and
human,--giving too large a place to good works,--was decisive and to the
point in the present emergency.

"It's God's doing," said he; "we must take the cup He gives us. For the
best, isn't it, Parson?"

"I do, Squire. Thank God, I can."

There was good Mrs. Elderkin--who made up by her devotion to the special
tenets of the clergyman many of the shortcomings of the Squire--insisted
upon sending for the poor boy Reuben, that he might forget his grief in
her kindness, and in frolic with the Elderkins through that famous
garden, with its huge hedges of box,--such a garden as was certainly not
to be matched elsewhere in Ashfield. The same good woman, too, sends
down a wagon-load of substantial things from her larder, for the present
relief of the stricken household; to which the Squire has added a little
round jug of choice Santa Cruz rum,--remembering the long watches of the
parson. This may shock us now; and yet it is to be feared that in our
day the sin of hypocrisy is to be added to the sin of indulgence: the
old people nestled under no cover of liver specifics or bitters. Reform
has made a grand march indeed; but the Devil, with his square bottles
and Scheidam schnapps, has kept a pretty even pace with it.


The boy Reuben, in those first weeks after his loss, wandered about as
if in a maze, wondering at the great blank that death had made; or,
warming himself at some out-door sport, he rushed in with a pleasant
forgetfulness,--shouting,--up the stairs,--to the accustomed door, and
bursts in upon the cold chamber, so long closed, where the bitter
knowledge comes upon him fresh once more. Esther, good soul that she is,
has heard his clatter upon, the floor, his bound at the old latch, and,
fancying what it may mean, has come up in time to soothe him and bear
him off with her. The parson, forging some sermon for the next Sabbath,
in the room at the foot of the stairs, hears, may-be, the stifled
sobbing of the boy, as the good Esther half leads and half drags him
down, and opens his door upon them.

"What now, Esther? Has Reuben caught a fall?"

"No, Sir, no fall; he's not harmed, Sir. It's only the old room, you
know, Sir, and he quite forgot himself."

"Poor boy! Will he come with me, Esther?"

"No, Mr. Johns. I'll find something'll amuse him; hey, Ruby?"

And the parson goes back to his desk, where he forgets himself in the
glow of that great work of his. He has taught, as never before, that
"all flesh is grass." He accepts his loss as a punishment for having
thought too much and fondly of the blessings of this life; henceforth
the flesh and its affections shall be mortified in him. He has
transferred his bed to a little chamber which opens from his study in
the rear, and which is at the end of the long dining-room, where every
morning and evening the prayers are said, as before. The parishioners
see a light burning in the window of his study far into the night.

For a time his sermons are more emotional than before. Oftener than in
the earlier days of his settlement he indulges in a forecast of those
courts toward which he would conduct his people, and which a merciful
God has provided for those who trust in Him; and there is a coloring in
these pictures which his sermons never showed in the years gone.

"We ask ourselves," said he, "my brethren, if we shall knowingly meet
there--where we trust His grace may give us entrance--those from whom
you and I have parted; whether a fond and joyous welcome shall greet us,
not alone from Him whom to love is life, but from those dear ones who
seem to our poor senses to be resting under the sod yonder. Sometimes I
believe that by God's great goodness," (and here he looked, not at his
people, but above, and kept his eye fixed there)--"I believe that we
shall; that His great love shall so delight in making complete our
happiness, even by such little memorials of our earthly affections
(which must seem like waifs of thistle-down beside the great harvest of
His abounding grace); that all the dear faces of those written in the
Golden Book shall beam a welcome, all the more bounteous because
reflecting His joy who has died to save."

And the listeners whispered each other as he paused, "He thinks of

With his eyes still fixed above, he goes on,--

"Sometimes I think thus; but oftener I ask myself, 'Of what value shall
human ties be, or their memories, in His august presence whom to look
upon is life? What room shall there be for other affections, what room
for other memories, than those of 'the Lamb that was slain'?

"Nay, my brethren," (and here he turns his eyes upon them again,) "we do
know in our hearts that many whom we have loved fondly--infants,
fathers, mothers, wives, may-be--shall never, never sit with the elect
in Paradise; and shall we remember these in heaven, going away to dwell
with the Devil and his angels? Shall we be tortured with the knowledge
that some poor babe we looked upon only for an hour is wearing out ages
of suffering? 'No,' you may say, 'for we shall be possessed in that day
of such sense of the ineffable justice of God, and of His judgments,
that all shall seem right.' Yet, my brethren, if this sense of His
supreme justice shall overrule all the old longings of our hearts, even
to the suppression of the dearest ties of earth, where they conflict
with His ordained purpose, will they not also overrule all the longings
in respect of friends who are among the elect, in such sort that the man
we counted our enemy, the man we avoided on earth, if so be he have an
inheritance in heaven, shall be met with the same yearning of the heart
as if he were our brother? Does this sound harshly, my brethren? Ah, let
us beware,--let us beware how we entertain any opinions of that future
condition of holiness and of joy promised to the elect, which are
dependent upon these gross attachments of earth, which are colored by
our short-sighted views, which are not in every iota accordant with the
universal love of Him who is our Master!"

"This man lives above the world," said the people; and if some of them
did not give very cordial assent to these latter views, they smothered
their dissent by a lofty expression of admiration; they felt it a duty
to give them open acceptance, to venerate the speaker the more by
reason of their utterance. And yet their limited acceptance diffused a
certain chill, very likely, over their religious meditations. But it was
a chill which unfortunately they counted it good to entertain,--a rigor
of faith that must needs be borne. It is doubtful, indeed, if they did
not make a merit of their placid intellectual admission of such beliefs
as most violated the natural sensibilities of the heart. They were so
sure that affectionate instincts were by nature wrong in their
tendencies, so eager to cumulate evidences of the original depravity,
that, when their parson propounded a theory that gave a shock to their
natural affections, they submitted with a kind of heroic pride, however
much their hearts might make silent protest, and the grounds of such a
protest they felt a cringing unwillingness to investigate. There was a
determined shackling of all the passional nature. What wonder that
religion took a harsh aspect? As if intellectual adhesion to theological
formulas were to pave our way to a knowledge of the Infinite!--as if our
sensibilities were to be outraged in the march to Heaven!--as if all the
emotional nature were to be clipped away by the shears of the doctors,
leaving only the metaphysic ghost of a soul to enter upon the joys of

Within eight months after his loss, Mr. Johns thought of Rachel only as
a gift that God had bestowed to try him, and had taken away to work in
him a humiliation of the heart. More severely than ever he wrestled with
the dogmas of his chosen divines, harnessed them to his purposes as
preacher, and wrought on with a zeal that knew no abatement and no rest.

In the spring of 1825 Mr. Johns was invited by Governor Wolcott to
preach the Election Sermon before the Legislature convened at Hartford:
an honorable duty, and one which he was abundantly competent to fulfil.
The "Hartford Courant" of that date said,--"A large auditory was
collected last week to listen to the Election Sermon by Mr. Johns,
minister of Ashfield. It was a sound, orthodox, and interesting
discourse, and won the undivided attention of all the listeners. We have
not recently listened to a sermon more able or eloquent."

In that day even country editors were church-goers and God-fearing men.


In the latter part of the summer of 1826,--a reasonable time having now
elapsed since the death of poor Rachel,--the gossips of Ashfield began
to discuss the lonely condition of their pastor, in connection with any
desirable or feasible amendment of it. The sin of such gossip--if it be
a sin--is one that all the preaching in the world will never extirpate
from country towns, where the range of talk is by the necessity of the
case exceedingly limited. In the city, curiosity has an omnivorous maw
by reason of position, and finds such variety to feed upon that it is
rarely--except in the case of great political or public
scandal--personal in its attentions; and what we too freely reckon a
perverted and impertinent country taste is but an ordinary appetite of
humanity, which, by the limitation of its feeding-ground, seems to
attach itself perversely to private relations.

There were some invidious persons in the town who had remarked that Miss
Almira Tourtelot had brought quite a new fervor to her devotional
exercises in the parish within the last year, as well as a new set of
ribbons to her hat; and two maiden ladies opposite, of distinguished
pretensions and long experience of life, had observed that the young
Reuben, on his passage back and forth from the Elderkins, had sometimes
been decoyed within the Tourtelot yard, and presented by the admiring
Dame Tourtelot with fresh doughnuts. The elderly maiden ladies were
perhaps uncharitable in their conclusions; yet it is altogether probable
that the Deacon and his wife may have considered, in the intimacy of
their fireside talk, the possibility of some time claiming the minister
as a son-in-law. Questions like this are discussed in a great many
families even now.

Dame Tourtelot had crowned with success all her schemes in life, save
one. Almira, her daughter, now verging upon her thirty-second year, had
long been upon the anxious-seat as regarded matrimony; and with a
sentimental turn that incited much reading of Cowper and Montgomery and
(if it must be told) "Thaddeus of Warsaw," the poor girl united a
sickly, in-door look, and a peaked countenance, which had not attracted
wooers. The wonderful executive capacity of the mother had unfortunately
debarred her from any active interest in the household; and though the
Tourtelots had actually been at the expense of providing a piano for
Almira, (the only one in Ashfield,)--upon which the poor girl thrummed,
thinking of "Thaddeus," and, we trust, of better things,--this had not
won a roseate hue to her face, or quickened in any perceptible degree
the alacrity of her admirers.

Upon a certain night of later October, after Almira has retired, and
when the Tourtelots are seated by the little fire, which the autumn
chills have rendered necessary, and into the embers of which the Deacon
has cautiously thrust the leg of one of the fire-dogs, preparatory to a
modest mug of flip, (with which, by his wife's permission, he
occasionally indulges himself,) the good dame calls out to her husband,
who is dozing in his chair,--


But she is not loud enough.

"TOURTELOT! you're asleep!"

"No," says the Deacon, rousing himself,--"only thinkin'."

"What are you thinkin' of, Tourtelot?"

"Thinkin'--thinkin'," says the Deacon, rasped by the dame's sharpness
into sudden mental effort,--"thinkin', Huldy, if it isn't about time to
butcher: we butchered last year nigh upon the twentieth."

"Nonsense!" says the dame; "what about the parson?"

"The parson? Oh! Why, the parson'll take a side and two hams."

"Nonsense!" says the dame, with a great voice; "you're asleep,
Tourtelot. Is the parson goin' to marry, or isn't he? that's what I want
to know"; and she rethreads her needle.

(She can do it by candle-light at fifty-five, that woman!)

"Oh, marry!" replies the Deacon, rousing himself more
thoroughly,--"waäl, I don't see no signs, Huldy. If he _doos_ mean to,
he's sly about it; don't you think so, Huldy?"

The dame, who is intent upon her sewing again,--she is never without her
work, that woman!--does not deign a reply.

The Deacon, after lifting the fire-dog, blowing off the ashes, and
holding it to his face to try the heat, says,--

"I guess Almiry ha'n't much of a chance."

"What's the use of your guessin'?" says the dame; "better mind your

Which the Deacon accordingly does, stirring it in a mild manner, until
the dame breaks out upon him again explosively:--

"Tourtelot, you men of the parish ought to _talk_ to the parson; it
a'n't right for things to go on this way. That boy Reuben is growin' up
wild; he wants a woman in the house to look arter him. Besides, a
minister ought to have a wife; it a'n't decent to have the house empty,
and only Esther there. Women want to feel they can drop in at the
parsonage for a chat, or to take tea. But who's to serve tea, I want to
know? Who's to mind Reuben in meetin'? He broke the cover off the best
hymn-book in the parson's pew last Sunday. Who's to prevent him
a-breakin' all the hymn-books that belong to the parish? You men ought
to speak to the parson; and, Tourtelot, if the others won't do it, you

The Deacon was fairly awake now. He pulled at his whiskers
deprecatingly. Yet he clearly foresaw that the emergency was one to be
met; the manner of Dame Tourtelot left no room for doubt; and he was
casting about for such Scriptural injunctions as might be made
available, when the dame interrupted his reflections in more amiable

"It isn't Almiry, Samuel, I think of, but Mr. Johns and the good of the
parish. I really don't know if Almiry would fancy the parson; the girl
is a good deal taken up with her pianny and books; but there's the
Hapgoods, opposite; there's Joanny Meacham"----

"You'll never make that do, Huldy," said the Deacon, stirring his flip
composedly; "they're nigh on as old as parson."

"Never you mind, Tourtelot," said the dame, sharply; "only you hint to
the parson that they're good, pious women, all of them, and would make
proper ministers' wives. Do you think I don't know what a man is,
Tourtelot? Humph!" And she threads her needle again.

The Deacon was apt to keep in mind his wife's advices, whatever he might
do with Scripture quotations. So when he called at the parsonage, a few
days after,--ostensibly to learn how the minister would like his pork
cut,--it happened that little Reuben came bounding in, and that the
Deacon gave him a fatherly pat upon the shoulder.

"Likely boy you've got here, Mr. Johns,--likely boy. But, Parson, don't
you think he must feel a kind o' hankerin' arter somebody to be motherly
to him? I 'most wonder that you don't feel that way yourself, Mr.

"God comforts the mourners," said the clergyman, seriously.

"No doubt, no doubt, Parson; but He sometimes provides comforts ag'in
which we shet our eyes. You won't think hard o' me, Parson, but I've
heerd say about the village that Miss Meacham or one of the Miss
Hapgoods would make an excellent wife for the minister."

The parson is suddenly very grave.

"Don't repeat such idle gossip, Deacon. I'm married to my work. The
Gospel is my bride now."

"And a very good one it is, Parson. But don't you think that a godly
woman for helpmeet would make the work more effectooal? Miss Meacham is
a pattern of a person in the Sunday school. The women of the parish
would rather like to find the doors of the parsonage openin' for 'em

"That is to be thought of certainly," said the minister, musingly.

"You won't think hard o' me, Mr. Johns, for droppin' a word about this
matter?" says the Deacon, rising to leave. "And while I think on 't,
Parson, I see the sill under the no'theast corner o' the meetin'-house
has a little settle to it. I've jest been cuttin' a few sticks o' good
smart chestnut timber; and if the Committee thinks best, I could haul
down one or two on 'em for repairs. It won't cost nigh as much as pine
lumber, and it's every bit as good."

Even Dame Tourtelot would have been satisfied with the politic way of
the Deacon, both as regarded the wife and the prospective bargain. The
next evening the good woman invited the clergyman--begging him "not to
forget the dear little boy"--to tea.

This was by no means the first hint which the minister had had of the
tendency of village gossip. The Tew partners, with whom he had fallen
upon very easy terms of familiarity,--both by reason of frequent visits
at their little shop, and by reason of their steady attendance upon his
ministrations,--often dropped hints of the smallness of the good man's
grocery account, and insidious hopes that it might be doubled in size at
some day not far off.

Squire Elderkin, too, in his bluff, hearty way, had occasionally
complimented the clergyman upon the increased attendance latterly of
ladies of a certain age, and had drawn his attention particularly to the
ardent zeal of a buxom, middle-aged widow, who lived upon the skirts of
the town, and was "the owner," he said, "of as pretty a piece of
property as lay in the county."

"Have you any knack at farming, Mr. Johns?" continued he, playfully.

"Farming? why?" says the innocent parson, in a maze.

"Because I am of opinion, Mr. Johns, that the widow's little property
might be rented by you, under conditions of joint occupancy, on very
easy terms."

Such badinage was so warded off by the ponderous gravity which the
parson habitually wore, that men like Elderkin loved occasionally to
launch a quiet joke at him, for the pleasure of watching the rebound.

When, however, the wide-spread gossip of the town had taken the shape
(as in the talk of Deacon Tourtelot) of an incentive to duty, the grave
clergyman gave to it his undivided and prayerful attention. It was
over-true that the boy Reuben was running wild. No lad in Ashfield, of
his years, could match him in mischief. There was surely need of womanly
direction and remonstrance. It was eminently proper, too, that the
parsonage, so long closed, should be opened freely to all his flock; and
the truth was so plain, he wondered it could have escaped him so long.
Duty required that his home should have an established mistress; and a
mistress he forthwith determined it should have.

Within three weeks from the day of the tea-drinking with the Tourtelots,
the minister suggested certain changes in the long-deserted chamber
which should bring it into more habitable condition. He hinted to his
man Larkin that an additional fire might probably be needed in the house
during the latter part of winter; and before January had gone out, he
had most agreeably surprised the delighted and curious Tew partners with
a very large addition to his usual orders,--embracing certain condiments
in the way of spices, dried fruits, and cordials, which had for a long
time been foreign to the larder of the parsonage.

Such indications, duly commented on, as they were most zealously, could
not fail to excite a great buzz of talk and of curiosity throughout the

"I knew it," says Mrs. Tew, authoritatively, setting back her spectacles
from her postal duties;--"these 'ere grave widowers are allers the first
to pop off, and git married."

"Tourtelot!" said the dame, on a January night, when the evidence had
come in overwhelmingly,--"Tourtelot! what does it all mean?"

"D'n' know," says the Deacon, stirring his flip,--"d'n' know. It's my
opinion the parson has his sly humors about him."

"Do you think it's true, Samuel?"

"Waäl, Huldy,--I _du_."

"Tourtelot! finish your flip, and go to bed; it's past ten."

And the Deacon went.


Toward the latter end of the winter there arrived at the parsonage the
new mistress,--in the person of Miss Eliza Johns, the elder sister of
the incumbent, and a spinster of the ripe age of three-and-thirty. For
the last twelve years she had maintained a lonely, but matronly, command
of the old homestead of the late Major Johns, in the town of Canterbury.
She was intensely proud of the memory of her father, and of _his_ father
before him,--every inch a Johns. No light cause could have provoked her
to a sacrifice of the name; and of weightier causes she had been spared
the trial. The marriage of her brother had always been more or less a
source of mortification to her. The Handbys, though excellent plain
people, were of no particular distinction. Rachel had a pretty face,
with which Benjamin had grown suddenly demented. That source of
mortification and of disturbed intimacy was now buried in the grave.
Benjamin had won a reputation for dignity and ability which was
immensely gratifying to her. She had assured him of it again and again
in her occasional letters. The success of his Election Sermon had been
an event of the greatest interest to her, which she had expressed in an
epistle of three pages, with every comma in its place, and full of
gratulations. Her commas were _always_ in place; so were her stops of
all kinds: her precision was something marvellous. This precision had
enabled her to manage the little property which had been left her in
such a way as to maintain always about her establishment an air of
well-ordered thrift. She concealed adroitly all the shifts--if there
were any--by which she avoided the reproach of seeming poor.

In person she was not unlike her father, the Major,--tall, erect, with a
dignified bearing, and so trim a figure, and so elastic a step even at
her years, as would have provoked an inquisitive follower to catch sight
of the face. This was by no means attractive. Her features were thin,
her nose unduly prominent; and both eye and mouth, though well formed,
carried about them a kind of hard positiveness that would have
challenged respect, perhaps, but no warmer feeling. Two little curls
were flattened upon either temple; and her neck-tie, dress, gloves, hat,
were always most neatly arranged, and ordered with the same precision
that governed all her action. In the town of Canterbury she was an
institution. Her charities and all her religious observances were
methodical, and never omitted. Her whole life, indeed, was a discipline.
Without any great love for children, she still had her Bible-class; and
it was rare that the weather or any other cause forbade attendance upon
its duties. Nor was there one of the little ones who listened to that
clear, sharp, metallic voice of hers but stood in awe of her; not one
that could say she was unkind; not one who had ever bestowed a childish
gift upon her,--such little gifts as children love to heap on those who
have found the way to their hearts.

Sentiment had never been effusive in her; and it was now limited to
quick sparkles, that sometimes flashed into a page of her reading. As
regarded the serious question of marriage, implying a home, position,
the married dignities, it had rarely disturbed her; and now her
imaginative forecast did not grapple it with any vigor or longing. If,
indeed, it had been possible that a man of high standing, character,
cultivation,--equal, in short, to the Johnses in every way,--should woo
her with pertinacity, she might have been disposed to yield a dignified
assent, but not unless he could be made to understand and adequately
appreciate the immense favor she was conferring. In short, the suitor
who could abide and admit her exalted pretensions, and submit to them,
would most infallibly be one of a character and temper so far inferior
to her own that she would scorn him from the outset. This dilemma,
imposed by the rigidity of her smaller dignities, that were never
mastered or overshadowed either by her sentiment or her passion, not
only involved a life of celibacy, but was a constant justification of
it, and made it eminently easy to be borne. There are not a few maiden
ladies who are thus lightered over the shoals of a solitary existence by
the buoyancy of their own intemperate vanities.

Miss Johns did not accept the invitation of her brother to undertake the
charge of his household without due consideration. She by no means left
out of view the contingency of his possible future marriage; but she
trusted largely to her own influences in making it such a one, if
inevitable, as should not be discreditable to the family name. And under
such conditions she would retire with serene contentment to her own more
private sphere of Canterbury,--or, if circumstances should demand, would
accept the position of guest in the house of her brother. Nor did she
leave out of view her influence in the training of the boy Reuben. She
cherished her own hopes of moulding him to her will, and of making him a
pride to the family.

There was of course prodigious excitement in the parsonage upon her
arrival. Esther had done her best at all household appliances, whether
of kitchen or chamber. The minister received her with his wonted
quietude, and a brotherly kiss of salutation. Reuben gazed wonderingly
at her, and was thinking dreamily if he should ever love her, while he
felt the dreary rustle of her black silk dress swooping round as she
stooped to embrace him. "I hope Master Reuben is a good boy," said she;
"your Aunt Eliza loves all good boys."

He had nothing to say; but only looked back into that cold gray eye, as
she lifted his chin with her gloved hand.

"Benjamin, there's a strong look of the Handbys; but it's your forehead.
He's a little man, I hope," and she patted him on the head.

Still Reuben looked--wonderingly--at her shining silk dress, at her hat,
at the little curls on either temple, at the guard-chain which hung from
her neck with a glittering watch-key upon it, at the bright buckle in
her belt, and most of all at the gray eye which seemed to look on him
from far away. And with the same stare of wonderment, he followed her up
and down throughout the house.

At night, Esther, who has a chamber near him, creeps in to say
good-night to the lad, and asks,--

"Do you like her, Ruby, boy? Do you like your Aunt Eliza?"

"I d'n know," says Reuben, "She says she likes good boys; don't you like
bad uns, Esther?"

"But you're not _very_ bad," says Esther, whose orthodoxy does not
forbid kindly praise.

"Didn't mamma like bad uns, Esther?"

"Dear heart!" and the good creature gives the boy a great hug; it could
not have been warmer, if he had been her child.

The household speedily felt the presence of the new comer. Her
precision, her method, her clear, sharp voice,--never raised in anger,
never falling to tenderness,--ruled the establishment. Under all the
cheeriness of the old management, there had been a sad lack of any
economic system, by reason of which the minister was constantly
overrunning his little stipend, and making awkward appeals from time to
time to the Parish Committee for advances. A small legacy that had
befallen the late Mrs. Johns, and which had gone to the purchase of the
parsonage, had brought relief at a very perplexing crisis; but against
all similar troubles Miss Johns set her face most resolutely. There was
a daily examination of butchers' and grocers' accounts, that had been
previously unknown to the household. The kitchen was placed under strict
regimen, into the observance of which the good Esther slipped, not so
much from love of it, as from total inability to cope with the magnetic
authority of the new mistress. Nor was she harsh in her manner of

"Esther, my good woman, it will be best, I think, to have breakfast a
little more promptly,--at half past six, we will say,--so that prayers
may be over and the room free by eight; the minister, you know, must
have his morning in his study undisturbed."

"Yes, Marm," says Esther; and she would as soon have thought of flying
over the house-top in her short gown as of questioning the plan.

Again, the mistress says,--"Larkin, I think it would be well to take up
those scattered bunches of lilies, and place them upon either side of
the walk in the garden, so that the flowers may be all together."

"Yes, Marm," says Larkin.

And much as he had loved the little woman now sleeping in her grave, who
had scattered flowers with an errant fancy, he would have thought it
preposterous to object to an order so calmly spoken, so evidently
intended for execution. There was something in the tone of Miss Johns in
giving directions that drew off all moral power of objection as surely
as a good metallic conductor would free an overcharged cloud of its

The parishioners were not slow to perceive that new order prevailed at
the quiet parsonage. Curiosity, no less than the staid proprieties which
governed the action of the chief inhabitants, had brought them early
into contact with the new mistress. She received all with dignity and
with an exactitude of deportment that charmed the precise ones and that
awed the younger folks. The bustling Dame Tourtelot had come among the
earliest, and her brief report was,--"Tourtelot, Miss Johns's as smart
as a steel trap."

Nor was the spinster sister without a degree of cultivation which
commended her to the more intellectual people of Ashfield. She was a
reader of "Rokeby" and of Miss Austen's novels, of Josephus and of
Rollin's "Ancient History." The Miss Hapgoods, who were the
blue-stockings of the place, were charmed to have such an addition to
the cultivated circle of the parish. To make the success of Miss Johns
still more decided, she brought with her a certain knowledge of the
conventionalisms of the city, by reason of her occasional visits to her
sister Mabel, (now Mrs. Brindlock of Greenwich Street,) which to many
excellent women gave larger assurance of her position and dignity than
all besides. Before the first year of her advent had gone by, it was
quite plain that she was to become one of the prominent directors of the
female world of Ashfield.

Only in the parsonage itself did her influence find its most serious
limitations,--and these in connection with the boy Reuben.


There is a deep emotional nature in the lad, which, by the time he has
reached his eighth year,--Miss Eliza having now been in the position of
mistress of the household a twelvemonth,--works itself off in explosive
tempests of feeling, with which the prim spinster has but faint
sympathy. No care could be more studious and complete than that with
which she looks after the boy's wardrobe and the ordering of his little
chamber; his supply of mittens, of stockings, and of underclothing is
always of the most ample; nay, his caprices of the table are not wholly
overlooked, and she hopes to win upon him by the dishes that are most
toothsome; but, however grateful for the moment, his boyish affections
can never make their way with any force or passionate flow through the
stately proprieties of manner with which the spinster aunt is always
hedged about.

He wanders away after school-hours to the home of the Elderkins,--Phil
and he being sworn friends, and the good mother of Phil always having
ready for him a beaming look of welcome and a tender word or two that
somehow always find their way straight to his heart. He loiters with
Larkin, too, by the great stable-yard of the inn, though it is forbidden
ground. He breaks in upon the precise woman's rule of punctuality sadly;
many a cold dish he eats sulkily,--she sitting bolt upright in her place
at the table, looking down at him with glances which are every one a
punishment. Other times he is straying in the orchard at the hour of
some home-duty, and the active spinster goes to seek him, and not
threateningly, but with an assured step and a firm grip upon the hand of
the loiterer, which he knows not whether to count a favor or a
punishment, (and she as much at a loss, so inextricably interwoven are
her notions of duty and of kindness,) leads him homeward, plying him
with stately precepts upon the sin of negligence, and with earnest story
of the dreadful fate which is sure to overtake all bad boys who do not
obey and keep "by the rules"; and she instances those poor lads who were
eaten by the bears, of whom she has read to him the story in the Old

"Who was it they called 'bald-head,' Reuben? Elisha or Elijah?"

He, in no mood for reply, is sulkily beating off the daisies with his
feet, as she drags him on; sometimes hanging back, with impotent, yet
concealed struggle, which she--not deigning to notice--overcomes with
even sharper step, and plies him the more closely with the dire results
of badness,--has not finished her talk, indeed, when they reach the
door-step and enter. There he, fuming now with that long struggle,
fuming the more because he has concealed it, makes one violent
discharge with a great frown on his little face, "You're an ugly old
thing, and I don't like you one bit!"

Esther, good soul, within hearing of it, lifts her hands in apparent
horror, but inwardly indulges in a wicked chuckle over the boy's spirit.

But the minister has heard him, too, and gravely summons the offender
into his study.

"My son, Reuben, this is very wrong."

And the boy breaks into a sob at this stage, which is a great relief.

"My boy, you ought to love your aunt."

"Why ought I?" says he.

"Why? why? Don't you know she's very good to you, and takes excellent
care of you, and hears you say your catechism every Saturday? You ought
to love her."

"But I can't make myself love her, if I don't," says the boy.

"It is your duty to love her, Reuben; and we can all do our duty."

Even the staid clergyman enjoys the boy's discomfiture under so orthodox
a proposition. Miss Johns, however, breaks in here, having overheard the
latter part of the talk:--

"No, Benjamin, I wish no love that is given from a sense of duty. Reuben
sha'n't be forced into loving his Aunt Eliza."

And there is a subdued tone in her speech which touches the boy. But he
is not ready yet for surrender; he watches gravely her retirement, and
for an hour shows a certain preoccupation at his play; then his piping
voice is heard at the foot of the stairway,--

"Aunt Eliza! Are you there?"

"Yes, Master Reuben!"

Master! It cools somewhat his generous intent; but he is in for it; and
he climbs the stair, sidles uneasily into the chamber where she sits at
her work, stealing a swift, inquiring look into that gray eye of hers,--

"I say--Aunt Eliza--I'm sorry I said that--you know what."

And he looks up with a little of the old yearning,--the yearning he used
to feel when another sat in that place.

"Ah, that is right, Master Reuben! I hope we shall be friends, now."

Another disturbed look at her,--remembering the time when he would have
leaped into a mother's arms, after such struggle with his self-will, and
found gladness. That is gone; no swift embrace, no tender hand toying
with his hair, beguiling him from play. And he sidles out again, half
shamefaced at a surrender that has wrought so little. Loitering, and
playing with the balusters as he descends, the swift, keen voice comes
after him,--

"Don't soil the paint, Reuben!"

"I haven't."

And the swift command and as swift retort put him in his old, wicked
mood again, and he breaks out into a defiant whistle. (Over and over the
spinster has told him it was improper to whistle in-doors.) Yet, with a
lingering desire for sympathy, Reuben makes his way into his father's
study; and the minister lays down his great folio,--it is Poole's
"Annotations,"--and says,--

"Well, Reuben!"

"I told her I was sorry," says the boy; "but I don't believe she likes
me much."

"Why, my son?"

"Because she called me Master, and said it was very proper."

"But doesn't that show an interest in you?"

"I don't know what interest is."

"It's love."

"Mamma never called me Master," said Reuben.

The grave minister bites his lip, beckons his boy to him,--"Here, my
son!"--passes his arm around him, had almost drawn him to his heart,--

"There, there, Reuben; leave me now; I have my sermon to finish. I hope
you won't be disrespectful to your aunt again. Shut the door."

And the minister goes back to his work, ironly honest, mastering his
sensibilities, tearing great gaps in his heart, even as the anchorites
once fretted their bodies with hair-cloth and scourgings.

In the summer of 1828 Mr. Johns was called upon to preach a special
discourse at the Commencement exercises of the college from which he
had received his degree; and so sterlingly orthodox was his sermon, at a
crisis when some sister colleges were bolstering up certain new
theological tenets which had a strong taint of heresy, that the old
gentlemen who held rank as fellows of his college, in a burst of zeal,
bestowed upon the worthy man the title of D. D. It was not an honor he
had coveted; indeed, he coveted no human honors; yet this was more
wisely given than most: his dignity, his sobriety, his rigid, complete
adherence to all the accepted forms of religious belief made him a safe
recipient of the title.

The spinster sister, with an ill-concealed pride, was most zealous in
the bestowal of it; and before a month had passed, she had forced it
into current use throughout the world of Ashfield.

Did a neglectful neighbor speak of the good health of "Mr. Johns," the
mistress of the parsonage said,--"Why, yes, the Doctor is working very
hard, it is true; but he is quite well; the Doctor is remarkably well."

Did a younger church-sister speak in praise of some late sermon of "the
minister," Miss Eliza thanked her in a dignified way, and was sure "the
Doctor" would be most happy to hear that his efforts were appreciated.

As for Larkin and Esther, who stumbled dismally over the new title, the
spinster plied them urgently.

"Esther, my good woman, make the Doctor's tea very strong to-night."

"Larkin, the Doctor won't ride to-day; and mind, you must cut the wood
for the Doctor's fire a little shorter."

Reuben only rebelled, with the mischief of a boy:--

"What for do you call papa Doctor? He don't carry saddle-bags."

To the quiet, staid man himself it was a wholly indifferent matter. In
the solitude of his study, however, it recalled a neglected duty, and in
so far seemed a blessing. By such paltry threads are the colors woven
into our life! It recalled his friend Maverick and his jaunty
prediction; and upon that came to him a recollection of the promise
which he had made to Rachel, that he would write to Maverick.

So the minister wrote, telling his old friend what grief had stricken
his house,--how his boy and he were left alone,--how the church, by
favor of Providence, had grown under his preaching,--how his sister had
come to be mistress of the parsonage,--how he had wrought the Master's
work in fear and trembling; and after this came godly counsel for the

He hoped that light had shone upon him, even in the "dark places" of
infidel France,--that he was not alienated from the faith of his
fathers,--that he did not make a mockery, as did those around him, of
the holy institution of the Sabbath.

"My friend," he wrote, "God's word is true; God's laws are just; He will
come some day in a chariot of fire. Neither moneys nor high places nor
worldly honors nor pleasures can stay or avert the stroke of that sword
of divine justice which will 'pierce even to the dividing asunder of the
joints and marrow.' Let no siren voices beguile you. Without the gift of
His grace who died that we might live, there is no hope for kings, none
for you, none for me. I pray you consider this, my friend; for I speak
as one commissioned of God."

Whether these words of the minister were met, after their transmission
over seas, with a smile of derision,--with an empty gratitude, that
said, "Good fellow!" and forgot their burden,--with a stitch of the
heart, that made solemn pause and thoughtfulness, and short, in struggle
against the habit of a life, we will not say; our story may not tell,
perhaps. But to the mind of the parson it was clear that at some great
coming day it _would_ be known of all men where the seed that he had
sown had fallen,--whether on good ground or in stony places.

The cross-ocean mails were slow in those days; and it was not until
nearly four months after the transmission of the Doctor's letter--he
having almost forgotten it--that Reuben came one day bounding in from
the snow in mid-winter, his cheeks aflame with the keen, frosty air, his
eyes dancing with boyish excitement:--

"A letter, papa! a letter!--and Mr. Troop" (it is the new postmaster
under the Adams dynasty) "says it came all the way from Europe. It's got
a funny post-mark."

The minister lays down his book,--takes the letter,--opens
it,--reads,--paces up and down the study thoughtfully,--reads again, to
the end.

"Reuben, call your Aunt Eliza."

There is matter in the letter that concerns her,--that in its issues
will concern the boy,--that may possibly give a new color to the life of
the parsonage, and a new direction to our story.


    Winter's cold drift lies glistening o'er his breast;
      For him no spring shall bid the leaf unfold:
    What Love could speak, by sudden grief oppressed,
      What swiftly summoned Memory tell, is told.

    Even as the bells, in one consenting chime,
      Filled with their sweet vibrations all the air,
    So joined all voices, in that mournful time,
      His genius, wisdom, virtues, to declare.

    What place is left for words of measured praise,
      Till calm-eyed History, with her iron pen,
    Grooves in the unchanging rock the final phrase
      That shapes his image in the souls of men?

    Yet while the echoes still repeat his name,
      While countless tongues his full-orbed life rehearse,
    Love, by his beating pulses taught, will claim
      The breath of song, the tuneful throb of verse,--

    Verse that, in ever-changing ebb and flow,
      Moves, like the laboring heart, with rush and rest,
    Or swings in solemn cadence, sad and slow,
      Like the tired heaving of a grief-worn breast.

    This was a mind so rounded, so complete,--
      No partial gift of Nature in excess,--
    That, like a single stream where many meet,
      Each separate talent counted something less.

    A little hillock, if it lonely stand,
      Holds o'er the fields an undisputed reign;
    While the broad summit of the table-land
      Seems with its belt of clouds a level plain.

    Servant of all his powers, that faithful slave,
      Unsleeping Memory, strengthening with his toils,
    To every ruder task his shoulder gave,
      And loaded every day with golden spoils.

    Order, the law of Heaven, was throned supreme
      O'er action, instinct, impulse, feeling, thought;
    True as the dial's shadow to the beam,
      Each hour was equal to the charge it brought.

    Too large his compass for the nicer skill
      That weighs the world of science grain by grain;
    All realms of knowledge owned the mastering will
      That claimed the franchise of his whole domain.

    Earth, air, sea, sky, the elemental fire,
      Art, history, song,--what meanings lie in each
    Found in his cunning hand a stringless lyre,
      And poured their mingling music through his speech.

    Thence flowed those anthems of our festal days,
      Whose ravishing division held apart
    The lips of listening throngs in sweet amaze,
      Moved in all breasts the self-same human heart.

    Subdued his accents, as of one who tries
      To press some care, some haunting sadness down;
    His smile half shadow; and to stranger eyes
      The kingly forehead wore an iron crown.

    He was not armed to wrestle with the storm,
      To fight for homely truth with vulgar power;
    Grace looked from every feature, shaped his form,--
      The rose of Academe,--the perfect flower!

    Such was the stately scholar whom we knew
      In those ill days of soul-enslaving calm,
    Before the blast of Northern vengeance blew
      Her snow-wreathed pine against the Southern palm.

    Ah, God forgive us! did we hold too cheap
      The heart we might have known, but would not see,
    And look to find the nation's friend asleep
      Through the dread hour of her Gethsemane?

    That wrong is past; we gave him up to Death
      With all a hero's honors round his name;
    As martyrs coin their blood, he coined his breath,
      And dimmed the scholar's in the patriot's fame.

    So shall we blazon on the shaft we raise,--
      Telling our grief, our pride, to unborn years,--
    "He who had lived the mark of all men's praise
      Died with the tribute of a nation's tears."


[A] Read at the meeting of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Jan.
30, 1865.





I quitted the sewing-school on a Friday evening, intending to put my
things in order the following day: for Monday was my birthday,--I should
then be eighteen, and was to go with my father and select a

As before mentioned, he had usually employed all his spare time in
winter, when there was no garden-work to be done, in making seines for
the fishermen. These were very great affairs, being used in the
shad-fishery on the Delaware; and as they were many hundred yards in
length, they required a large gang of men to manage them. This
employment naturally brought him an extensive acquaintance among the
fishermen, by whom he was always invited to participate in their first
hauling of the river, at the breaking up of winter. As he was quite as
fond of this exciting labor as we had been of fishing along the ditches,
he never failed to accept these invitations. He not only enjoyed the
sport, but he was anxious to see how well the seines would operate which
he had sat for weeks in making. In addition to this, there was the
further gratification of being asked to accept of as many of the
earliest shad as he could carry away in his hand. It was a perquisite
which we looked for and prized as much as he did himself. This
recreation was of course attended with much exposure, being always
entered on in the gusty, chilly weather of the early spring.

The morning after my quitting school saw him leaving us by daybreak to
go on one of these fishing-excursions, taking my brother with him. It
was in April, a cold, raw, and blustering time, and they would be gone
all day. I had put my little matters in order,--though there was really
very little to do in this way, as neither my wardrobe nor chamber was
crowded with superfluities,--and having decided among ourselves where
the machine should stand, I sat down with my mother and sister to sew.
The weather had changed to quite a snow-storm, with angry gusts of wind;
but our small sitting-room was warm and cheerful. We drew round the
stove, and discussed the events of the coming week. We were to try the
machine on the work which my mother and sister then had in the
house,--for Jane had long since left school, and was actively employed
at home. She had gone through a similar training with myself. I was to
teach both mother and her the use of the machine; and we had determined,
that, as soon as Jane had become sufficiently expert as an operator, she
was to obtain a situation in some establishment, and our earnings were
to be saved, until, with father's assistance, we could purchase machines
for her and mother. We made up our minds that we could accomplish this
within a year at farthest. Thus there was much before and around us to
cheer our hearts and fill them with the brightest anticipations. It
seemed to me, that, if I had been travelling in a long lane, I was now
approaching a delightful turn,--for it has been said that there is none
so long as to be without one.

We had dined frugally, as usual, and mother had set away an ample
provision for the two absentees, who invariably came home with great
appetites. Our work had been resumed around the stove, and all was calm
and comfortable within the little sitting-room, though without the wind
had risen higher and the snow fell faster and faster, when the door was
suddenly opened, and as suddenly shut, by the wife of a neighbor, who,
with hands clasped together, as if overcome by some terrible grief,
rushed toward where my mother was sitting, and exclaimed,--

"Oh, Mrs. Lacey! how can I tell you?"

"What is it?" eagerly inquired my mother, starting from her seat, and
casting from her the work on which she had been engaged. "What is it?
Speak! What has happened?" she cried, wild at the woman's apparent
inability to communicate the tidings she had evidently come to relate.

Regaining her composure in some measure, the latter, covering her face
with her hands, and bursting into tears, sobbed out,--

"He's drowned!"

"Oh! which of them?" shrieked my mother, wringing her hands, and every
vestige of color in her cheeks supplanted by a pallor so frightful that
it struck dismay to my heart.

A mysterious instinct had warned her, the moment the woman spoke the
first words, that some calamity had overtaken us.

"Which of them?" she repeated, with frantic impetuosity, "Is it my
husband or my son? Speak! speak! My heart breaks!"

"Your husband, Mrs. Lacey," the woman replied; and as if relieved from
the crushing burden she had thus transferred from her own spirit to
ours, she sank back exhausted into a chair.

"Oh! when, where, and how?" demanded my mother. "Are you sure it is
true? Who brought the news?"

"Your own son, Ma'am; he sent me here to tell you," answered the woman.

The door opened at the moment, and Fred, accompanied by several of the
neighbors, entered the room. Crying as if his heart would break, he
called out,--

"Oh, mother! it's too true,--father is gone!"

This confirmation of the withering blow broke her down. I saw that she
was tottering to a fall, and threw my arms round her just in time to
prevent it. We laid her on the settee, insensible to everything about

As the news of our great bereavement spread, the neighbors crowded in,
offering their sympathy and aid. It was very kind of them, but, alas!
could do nothing towards lightening its weight. The story of how my dear
father came to his untimely end was at length related to us. He had gone
out upon the river in a boat from which a seine was being cast, and by
accident, no one could tell exactly how, had fallen overboard. Being no
swimmer, and the water of icy coldness, he sank immediately, without
again coming to the surface. Strong arms were waiting to seize him, upon
rising, but the deep had closed over him.

I know not how it was, but the prostration of my poor mother seemed to
give me new strength to bear up under this terrible affliction. Oh! that
was a sad evening for us, and the birthday to which all had looked
forward with so much pleasure as the happiest of my life was to be the
saddest. Morning--it was Sunday--brought comparative calmness to my
mother. But she was broken down by the awful suddenness of the blow. She
wept over the thought that he had died without _her_ being near
him,--that there had been no opportunity for parting words,--that _she_
was not able to close his dying eyes. She could have borne it better, if
she had been permitted to speak to him, to hear him say farewell, before
death shut out the world from his view. Then there was the painful
anxiety as to recovering the body. It had sunk in deep water, in the
middle of the river, and it was uncertain how far the strong current
might have swept it away from the spot where the accident occurred. The
neighbors had already begun to search for it with drags, and all through
that gloomy Sunday had continued their labor without success; for they
were not watermen, and therefore knew little of the proper methods of

Days passed away in this distressing uncertainty. Our pastor, Mr.
Seeley, missing Fred and Jane from Sunday-school, as well as myself from
the charge of my class, and learning the cause of our absence, came down
to see us. His consolations to my mother, his sympathy, his prayers,
revived and strengthened her. Finding that her immediate anxiety was
about the recovery of the body, he told her that the bodies of drowned
persons were seldom found without a reward being offered for them, and
that one must be promised in the present case. This suggestion brought
up the question of payment, and for the first time in our affliction it
was recollected that my father had always persisted in carrying in his
pocket-wallet all the money he had saved, and thus whatever he might
have accumulated was with him at the time of his death. Following,
nevertheless, the advice of our excellent pastor, a reward of fifty
dollars was advertised, and just one week from the fatal day the body
was brought to our now desolated home. But the wallet, with its
contents, had been abstracted. The little fund my mother had always
managed to keep on hand was too small to meet this heavy draft of the
reward in addition to that occasioned by the funeral, so that, when that
sad ceremony was over, we found ourselves beginning the world that now
opened on us incumbered with a debt of fifty dollars.

But though borne down by the weight of our affliction, we were far from
being hopelessly discouraged. It is true that my young hopes had been
suddenly blasted. The bright pictures of the future which we had painted
in our little sitting-room the very morning of the day that our calamity
overtook us had all faded from sight, and were remembered only in
contrast with the dark shadows that now filled their places. The cup,
brimming with joyous anticipations, had been dashed from my lips. My
birthday passed in sorrow and gloom. But I roused myself from a torpor
which would have been likely to increase by giving way to it, and put on
all the energy of which I was capable. I felt, that, while I had griefs
for the dead, I had duties to perform to the living. The staff on which
we had mainly leaned for support had been taken away, and we were now
left to depend exclusively on our own exertions. I saw that the
condition of my mother devolved the chief burden on me, and I determined
that I would resolutely assume it.

I had Fred immediately apprenticed to an iron-founder in the
neighborhood; and thenceforward, by his weekly allowance for board, he
became a contributor to the common support. My knowledge of the
sewing-machine secured for me a situation in a large establishment, in
which more than thirty other girls were employed in making bosoms,
wristbands, and collars for shirts; and I gradually recovered from what
at first was the bitter disappointment of having no machine of my own.

I have seen it stated in the newspaper, that, when some cotton had been
imported into a certain manufacturing town in England, where all the
mills had long been closed for want of a supply from this country, the
people, who were previously in the greatest distress, went out to meet
it as it was approaching the town, and the women wept over the bales,
and kissed them, and then sang a hymn of thanksgiving for the welcome
importation. It would give them work! It was with a feeling akin to this
that I took my position in the great establishment referred to, having
also succeeded in obtaining a situation for my sister, whom I instructed
in the use of the machine until she became as expert an operator as

The certainty of employment, even at moderate wages, relieved my mind of
many domestic cares, while the employment itself was a further relief.
It was, moreover, infinitely more agreeable than working for the
slop-shops, or even for the most fashionable tailors. Our duties were
defined and simple, and there was no unreasonable hurry, and no
night-work: we had our evenings to ourselves. As usual with
sewing-women, the pay was invariably small. The old formula had been
adhered to,--that because the cost of a sewing-woman's board was but
trifling, therefore her wages should be graduated to a figure just above
it. She was not permitted, as men are, to earn too much. My sister and I
were sometimes able to earn eight dollars a week between us, sometimes
only six. But this little income was the stay of the family. And it was
well enough, so long as we had no sickness to interrupt our work and
lessen the moderate sum.

They paid off the girls by gas-light on Saturday evening. As we had a
long walk to reach home, the streets through which we passed presented,
on that evening, an animated appearance. A vast concourse of work-women,
laborers, mechanics, clerks, and others, who had also received their
weekly wages, thronged the streets. There were crowds of girls from the
binderies, mostly well dressed, and sewing-women carrying great bundles
to the tailors, many of them, without doubt uncertain as to whether
their work would be accepted, just as we had been in former days. As the
evening advanced, the shops of all descriptions for the supply of
family-stores were crowded by the wives of workmen thus paid off, and
the sewing-girls or their mothers, all purchasing necessaries for the
coming week, thus immediately disbursing the vast aggregate paid out on
Saturday for wages.

The quickness with which I secured employment on the sewing-machine,
because of my having qualified myself to operate it, was a new
confirmation of my idea that women are engaged in so few occupations
only because they have not been taught. Employers want skilful workers,
not novices to whom they are compelled to teach everything. But what was
to be the ultimate effect on female labor of the introduction of this
machine had been a doubtful question with me until now, I worked so
steadily in this establishment, the occupation was so constant, as well
as so light, with far more bodily exercise than formerly when sitting in
one position over the needle, and the wages were paid so punctually,
with no mean attempts to cut us down on the false plea of imperfect
work, that I came insensibly to the conclusion that a vast benefit had
been conferred on the sex by its introduction. Yet the apprehensions
felt by all sewing-women, when the new instrument was first brought out,
were perfectly natural. I have read that similar apprehensions were
entertained by others on similar occasions. When the lace-machines were
first introduced in Nottingham, they were destroyed by riotous mobs of
hand-loom weavers, who feared the ruin of their business. But where,
fifty years ago, there were but a hundred and forty lace-machines in use
in England, there are now thirty-five hundred, while the price of lace
has fallen from a hundred shillings the square yard to sixpence. Before
this lace-machinery was invented, England manufactured only two million
dollars' worth per annum, and in doing so employed only eight
thousand-hands; whereas now she produces thirty million dollars' worth
annually, and employs a hundred and thirty thousand hands. It has been
the same with power-looms, reapers, threshing-machines, and every other
contrivance to economize human labor. I am sure that my brother would be
thrown out of employment, if there were no steam-engine to operate the
foundry where he is at work, and that, if there were no sewing-machines,
my sister and myself would be compelled to join the less fortunate army
of seamstresses who still labor so unrequitedly for the slop-shops.

To satisfy my mind on this subject, I have looked into such books as I
have had time and opportunity to consult, and have found evidence of the
fact, that, the more we increase our facilities for performing work with
speed and cheapness, the more we shall have to do, and so the more hands
will be required to do it. The time was when it was considered so great
an undertaking for a man to farm a hundred acres, that very few persons
were found cultivating a larger tract. But now, with every farming
process facilitated by the use of labor-saving machines, there are farms
of ten thousand acres better managed than were formerly those of only a
hundred acres. There would be no penny paper brought daily to our door,
unless the same wonderful revolution had been made in all the processes
of the paper-mill, and in the speed of printing-presses. If I had
doubted what was to be the consequence of bringing machinery into
competition with the sewing-women, it was owing to my utter ignorance of
how other great revolutions had affected the labor of different classes
of workers.

This doubt thus satisfactorily resolved, it very soon became with me a
question for profound wonder, what became of the immensely increased
quantity of clothing which was manufactured by so many thousands of
machines. I could not learn that our population had suddenly increased
to an extent sufficient to account for the enlarged consumption that was
evidently taking place. I had heard that there were nations of savages
who considered shirts a sort of superfluity, and who moved about in very
much the same costume as that in which our primal mother clothed herself
just previously to indulging in the forbidden fruit. But they could not
have thus suddenly taken to the wearing of machine-made shirts. There
was a paragraph also in our paper which stated that the usual dress in
hot weather, in some parts of our own South, was only a hat and spurs.
This, however, I regarded as a piece of raillery, and was not inclined
to place much faith in it. But I had never heard that any other portion
of our people were in the habit of going without shirts or pantaloons.
If such had been the practice, and if it had on the instant been
renounced, it would have accounted for the sudden and unprecedented
demand which now sprang up for these indispensable articles of dress. Or
if the fashion had so changed that men had taken to wearing two shirts
instead of one, that also might account for it,--though the wearing of
two would be considered as great an eccentricity as the wearing of none.

I found that others with whom I conversed on the subject were equally
surprised with myself. Even some who were concerned in carrying on the
establishment in which we were employed could not account for the
immediate absorption of the vastly increased quantities of work that
were turned out. Few could tell exactly why more was wanted than
formerly, nor where it went. The only fact apparent was that there was a
demand for thrice as much as before sewing-machines were brought into
use. My own conclusion was eventually this,--that distant sections of
our country were supplied exclusively from these manufactories in the
great cities, which combined capital, energy, and enterprise in the
creation of an immense business. Yet I could not understand why people
in those distant sections did not establish manufactories of their own.
They had quite as much capital, and could procure machines as readily,
while the population to be supplied was immediately at their doors.

I had always heard that the South and West had never at any time
manufactured their own clothing. I knew that the Southern women,
particularly, were so ignorant and helpless that they had always been
dependent on the North for almost everything they wore, from the most
elaborate bonnet down to a pocket pin-cushion, and that the supplying of
their wardrobes, by the men-milliners of this section, was a highly
lucrative employment. As it is a difficult matter to divert any business
from a channel in which it has long flowed, I concluded that our
Northern dealers, having always commanded these distant markets, would
easily retain them by adapting their business to the change of
circumstances. They had the trade already, and could keep it flowing in
its old channels by promptly availing themselves of the new invention.

They did so without hesitation,--indeed, the great struggle was as to
who should be first to do it,--and not only kept their business, but
obtained for it an unprecedented increase. In doing this they must have
displaced thousands of sewing-women all over the country, as their
cheaper fabrics enabled them to undersell the latter everywhere. I know
that this was the first effect here, and it is difficult to understand
how in other places it should have been otherwise. These sewing-women
must have been deprived of work, or the consumers of clothing must have
immediately begun to purchase and wear double or treble as much as they
had been accustomed to. I do not doubt that the consumption increased
from the mere fact of increased cheapness. I believe it is an invariable
law of trade, that consumption increases as price diminishes. If silks
were to fall to a shilling a yard, everybody would turn away from cotton
shirts. As it was, shirts were made without collars, and the collars
were produced in great manufactories by steam. They were made by
millions, and by millions they were consumed. They were sold in boxes of
a dozen or a hundred, at two or three cents apiece, according to the
wants of the buyer. He could appear once or twice a day in all the glory
of an apparently clean shirt, according to his ambition to shine in a
character which might be a very new one. Judging by the consumption of
these conveniences, it would seem, that, if one had only a clean collar
to display, it was of little consequence whether he had a shirt or not.

To digress a moment, I will observe, that, when I first saw these
ingenious contrivances to escape the washerwoman's bill, as well as the
cuffs made by the same process for ladies' use, they both struck me so
favorably, while their cheapness was so surprising, that my curiosity
was inflamed to see and know how they were made. In company with my
sister, I visited the manufactory. It was in a large building, and
employed many hands, who operated with machinery that exceeds my ability
to describe. They took a whole piece of thin, cheap muslin, to each side
of which they pasted a covering of the finest white paper by passing the
three layers between iron rollers. The paper and muslin were in rolls
many hundred feet long. The beautiful product of this union was then
parted into strips of the proper width and dried, then passed through
hot metal rollers, combining friction with pressure, whence it was
delivered with a smooth, glossy, enamelled surface. The material for
many thousand collars was thus enamelled in five minutes. It was then
cut by knives into the different shapes and sizes required, and so
rapidly that a man and boy could make more than ten thousand in an hour.
Every collar was then put through a machine which printed upon it
imitation stitches, so exactly resembling the best work of a
sewing-machine as to induce the belief that the collar was actually
stitched. Two girls were working or attending two of these machines, and
the two produced nearly a hundred collars per minute, or about sixty
thousand daily. The button-holes were next punched with even greater
rapidity, then the collar was turned over so nicely that no break
occurred in the material. Then they were counted and put in boxes, and
were ready for market.

Besides these shirt-collars, there was a great variety of ladies' worked
cuffs and collars, adapted to every taste, and imitating the finest
linen with the nicest exactness, but all made of paper. Some hundreds of
thousands of these were piled up around, ready for counting and packing,
sufficient, it appeared to me, to supply our whole population for a
twelvemonth. They were sold so cheaply, also, that it cost no more to
buy a new collar than to wash an old one. Like friction-matches, they
were used only once and then thrown away; hence, the consumption being
perpetual, the production was continuous the year round.

I inquired of the proprietor how he accounted for the immense
consumption of these articles, without which the world had been getting
on comfortably for so many thousand years.

"Why," said he, "we have been fortunate enough to create a new want.
Perhaps we did not really create the want, but only discovered that an
unsatisfied one existed. It is all the same in either case. Any great
convenience, or luxury, heretofore unknown to the public, when fairly
set before them is sure to come into general use. It has been so, in my
experience, with many things that were not thought of twenty years ago.
I have been as much puzzled to account for the unlimited consumption of
cuffs and collars as you are to know why so much more clothing is used
now than before sewing-machines came into operation. But the increased
cheapness of a thing, whether old or new, and the convenience of getting
it, are the great stimulants to enlarged consumption,--and as these
conditions are present, so will be the latter."

"But when you began this business, did you expect to sell so many?" I

"We did not," he replied, "and are ourselves surprised at the quantity
we sell. Besides, there are several other factories, which produce
greater numbers than we do. But when I reflect on the extent to which
the business has already gone, I find the facts to be only in keeping
with results in other cases. I have thought and read much on the very
subject which so greatly interests you. Some years ago I was puzzled to
account for the immensely increased circulation of newspapers,--rising,
in some instances, from one thousand up to forty thousand. I knew that
our population had not grown at one tenth that rate, yet the circulation
went on extending. One day I asked a country postmaster how _he_
accounted for it 'Why,' he replied, 'the question is easily
answered;--where a man formerly took only one paper, he now takes seven.
Cheap postage, and the establishment of news-agents all over the
country, enable the people to get papers at less cost and with only half
the trouble of twenty years ago. The power of production is complete,
and the machinery of distribution has kept pace with it. The people
don't actually need the papers any more now than they did then, but the
convenience of having them brought to their doors induces them to buy
six or seven where they formerly bought only one. That's the way it

"Then," continued my polite and communicative informant, "look at the
article of pins. You ladies, who use so many more than our sex, have
never been able to tell what becomes of them. You know that of late
years you have been using the American solid-head pins, which were
produced so cheaply as immediately to supersede the foreign article.
Now," said he, with a smile, "don't you think you use up six pins you
formerly used only one? Careful people, twenty years ago, when they saw
one on the pavement, or on the parlor-floor, stopped and picked it up;
but now they pass it by, or sweep it into the dust-pan. Is it not so,
and have not careful people ceased to exist?"

I confess that the illustration was so full of point that some
indistinct conviction of its truth came over me; it was really my own

"So you see," he continued, "that, while of all these new and cheaply
manufactured articles there is a vast consumption, there is also a vast
waste. People--that is, prudent people--generally take care of things
according to their cost. You don't wear your best bonnet in the rain. It
is precisely so with our cuffs and collars. We sell them so cheaply that
some people wear three or four a day, while a careful person would make
one suffice. When the collar was attached to the shirt, it served for a
much longer time; what but cheapness and convenience can tempt to such
wastefulness now? My family, at least the female portion, use these
articles about as extravagantly, and I think your whole sex must be
equally fond of indulging in the same lavish use of them,--otherwise the
consumption could not be so great as you see it is."

I could not but inwardly plead guilty to this weakness of indulging in
clean cuffs and collars,--neither could I fail to recognize the
soundness of this reasoning, which must have grown out of superior
knowledge. It gave me new light, and settled a great many doubts.

"I suppose, Miss," he resumed, as if unwilling to leave anything
unexplained, "you use friction-matches at home? Now you know how cheap
they are,--two boxes for a cent. But I remember when one box sold for
twenty-five cents. People were then careful how they used them, and it
was not everybody who could afford to do so. The flint and tinder-box
were long in going out of use. But how is it now? Instead of one match
serving to light a cigar, the smokers use two or three. They waste them
because they are cheap, carrying them loose in their pockets, that they
may always have enough, with some to throw away.

"Take the article of hoop-skirts. Women did very well without them, and
looked quite as well, at least in my opinion. But some ingenious man
conceived the idea of tempting them with a new want, and they were at
once persuaded into believing that hoop-skirts were indispensable to a
genteel appearance. They were adopted all over the country with a
rapidity that outstripped that of the cuffs and collars,--not, perhaps,
that as many were manufactured, because, if that had been the case, they
could not have been consumed, unless each woman had worn two or three.
And they may in fact wear two or three each,--I don't know how that
is,--but look at the waste already visible. Every week or two, new
patterns are brought out, better, lighter, or prettier than the last;
whereupon the old ones are thrown aside, though not half worn. Why,
Miss, do you know that your sex are carrying about them some thousands
of tons of brass and steel in the shape of these skirts? As to the
waste, it is already so large as to have become a public nuisance. An
old hat or shoe may be given away to somebody,--an old scrubbing-brush
may be disposed of by putting it into the stove; but as to an old skirt,
who wants it? You cannot burn it; the very beggars will not take it; and
hence it is thrown into the street, or into the alley close to your
door, where it continues for months to trip up the feet of every
wayfaring man quite as provokingly as it sometimes tripped up those of
the wearer. It is the waste of hoop-skirts, as much as anything else,
that keeps the manufacture so brisk.

"Then, again," he continued, as if expanded by the skirts he had just
been speaking of, "look at the long dresses which the ladies now wear.
See how the most costly stuffs are dragging over the pavement, sweeping
up the filth with which it is covered. To speak of the foul condition
into which such draggletailed dresses must soon get is positively
sickening. If a dozen of them were thrown into a closet and left there
for a few hours, I have no doubt they would burn of spontaneous

I was half inclined to take fire myself at hearing this, but remained
silent, and he proceeded.

"See, too, what a constant fidget the wearers are in, under the
incumbrance of a dress so foolishly long as to require the use of both
hands to keep it at a cleanly elevation. I presume the ladies wear these
ridiculous trains because they think they look more graceful in them.
But do you know, Miss, that our sex feel the most profound contempt for
a woman who is so weak as to make such an exhibition of folly? It might
do for great people, at a great party,--but in dirty, sloppy, muddy
streets, by servant-girls as well as by fashionable women, it is
considered not only indecent, but as evincing a want of common sense.
Moreover, the quantity of material destroyed by thus dragging over the
pavement is very great. It must amount to thousands of yards annually,
and it appears to me that the more it costs per yard, the more of it is
devoted to street-sweeping. Here is wastefulness by wholesale."

"But do you think the same remarks apply to the case of the greatly
increased amount of clothing that is now manufactured by the
sewing-machines?" I inquired.

"Certainly, Miss," he responded. "There are not a great many more
people in this country now to be clothed than there were three years
ago; yet at least three times as much clothing is manufactured. The
question is as to how it is consumed. I do not suppose that men wear two
coats or shirts, or that any ever went without them. But the increased
cheapness has led to increased waste, exactly as in the case of pins and
matches. Clothing being obtainable at lower prices than were ever known
before in this country, it is purchased in unnecessary quantities, just
like the newspapers, and not taken care of. Thousands of men now have
two or three coats where they formerly had only one. It is these extra
outfits, and this continual waste, that keep up the production at which
you are so much astonished. The facts afford you another illustration of
the great law of supply and demand,--that as you cheapen and multiply
products or manufactures of any kind, so will the consumption of them
increase. If pound-cake could be had at the price of corn-bread, does it
not strike you that the community would consume little else? The cry for
pound-cake would be universal,--it would be, in fact, in everybody's

"But," I again inquired, "will this extraordinary demand for the
products of the sewing-machine continue? I have told you that I am a
sewing-girl, and hence feel a deep interest in learning all I can upon
the subject."

"Judging from appearances, it must," was his reply. "We are the most
extravagant people in the world. We consume, per head, more coffee, tea,
and sugar, jewelry, silks, and cotton, than the people of any other
country on the face of the earth. Our women wear more satins and laces,
and our men smoke more high-priced cigars, than those of any other part
of the world. They eat more meat, drink more liquor, and spend more in
trifles. And it is not likely that they contemplate any reformation of
these lavish habits, at least while wages keep up to the present rates.
Were it proposed, I think that coats and shirts would be about the last
things the men would begin with, and paper cuffs and collars among the
last the women would repudiate. They are fond enough of changing their
clothes, but have no idea of doing without them."

"I notice," I observed, "that you employ girls in your establishment,
several being occupied in feeding the stamping-rollers. Could a man feed
those rollers more efficiently than a girl? or would they turn out more
work in a week, if attended by a man than by a girl?"

"Not any more," he answered.

"Do the girls receive as much wages as the men?" I added.

"About one third as much," he replied.

"But," I suggested, "if they perform as much work as men could, why do
you pay them so much less?"

"Competition, Miss," he answered, "There is a constant pressure on us
from girls seeking employment, and this keeps down wages. Besides, those
whom we do employ come here wholly ignorant of what they are required to
do. Some have never worked a day in their lives. It requires time to
teach them, and while being taught they spoil a great deal of material.
It is a long time before they become really skilled hands. You can have
no conception of the kind of help that offers itself to us every week.
Parents don't seem to educate their daughters to anything useful; and
our girls nowadays appear to have little or nothing to do in-doors.
Formerly they had plenty of household duties, as a multitude of things
were done at home which even the poorest old woman never thinks of doing
now. The baker now makes their bread; the spinning, the weaving, the
knitting, and sewing are taken out of their hands by machinery; and if
women want to work, they must go out and seek it, just as those do who
apply to us. Machinery has undoubtedly effected a great revolution in
all home-employments for women, compelling many to be idle; and not
being properly encouraged to adopt new employments in place of the old
ones, they remain idle until forced to work for bread, and then go out
in search of occupation, knowing no more of one half the things we want
them to do than mere children."

"But when they become skilled," I again asked, "you do not pay them as
high wages as you pay the men, though they do as much and as well?"

"Women don't need as much," he replied. "They can live on less, they pay
less board, have fewer wants, and less occasion for money."

"But don't you think," I rejoined, "that, if you gave them the money,
they would find the wants, and that the scarcity of the former is the
true reason for the limitation of the latter? Do not working-women live
on the little they get only because they are compelled to?"

"It may be so," he answered. "Our wants are born with us,--and as one
set is supplied, another rises up to demand gratification. But they
offer to work for these wages, and why should we give them more than
they ask?"

"But how is it with the women with families, the widows?" I suggested.
"Have they no more wants than young girls? If the fewer necessities of
the girls be a reason for giving them low wages, why should not the more
numerous ones of the widows be as potent a reason for giving them better

"Competition again, Miss," he responded. "The prices at which the girls
work govern the market."

There was no getting over facts like these. Let me look at the subject
in whatever aspect I might, it seemed impossible that female labor
should be adequately paid by any class of employers. But on the present
occasion this was an incidental question. The primary one, why so much
more sewing was required for the people now than formerly, was answered
measurably to my satisfaction. I thought a great deal on this subject,
because now, since the loss of our main family-dependence, I was more
interested in its solution. I think I settled down into accepting the
foregoing facts and opinions as embodying a satisfactory explanation;
and although not exactly set at ease, yet the conclusion then embraced
has not been changed by any subsequent discovery.

The gentleman referred to may have been altogether wrong in some parts
of his argument, but I was too little versed in matters of trade, and
the laws of supply and demands to show wherein he was so. It seemed to
me a strange argument, that the consumption of things was to be so
largely attributed to wastefulness. But I suppose this must be what
people call political economy, and how should I be expected to know
anything of that? I knew that in our little family the utmost economy
was practised. I have turned or fixed up the same bonnet as many as four
times, putting on new trimmings at very little expense, and making it
look so different every time that none suspected it of being the old
bonnet altered, while many of my acquaintances admired it as a new one,
some of them even inquiring what it cost, and who was the milliner that
made it. We never thought of giving one away until it had gone through
many such transformations, nor, in fact, until it was actually used up,
at least for me. Even when mine had seen such long and severe service,
my sister Jane fell heir to it, though without knowing it,--for she had
more pride than myself, and was much more particular about her good
looks. Hence, when the thing was at all feasible, my veteran bonnet was
transformed, in private, into a very fair new one for her. She had been
familiar with my head-gear for so many years that I often wondered how
she failed to detect the disguises I put upon it; and I had as much as I
could do to keep from laughing, when I brought to her what we invariably
called her new bonnet. As she grew older, she became more exacting in
her tastes, and at the same time foolishly suspicious of the mysterious
origin of her new bonnets,--just as if they were any worse for my having
worn them for years! I presume her mortification will be extreme, when
she comes to read this. As to old clothes, they were nursed up quite as
carefully, though Jane had her full inheritance of both mine and
mother's. When entirely past service, they were cut up into carpet-rags,
from which we obtained the warmest covering for our floors. Thus
practising no wastefulness ourselves, it was difficult to understand how
the national wastefulness could be great enough to insure the prosperity
of a multitude of extensive manufacturing establishments. But our
premises were very humble ones from which to start an argument of any

Yet, when the attention of an inquiring mind is directed toward any
given subject, it is astonishing how, if only a little observation is
practised, it will unfold and expand itself. In my walks to and from the
factory there lay numerous open lots or commons, all of which afforded
abundant evidence of the extent to which this public wastefulness was
carried. Heretofore I had passed on without noticing much about them.
But now I observed that they were heaped up with great piles of
coal-ashes, from which cropped out large quantities of the unburnt
mineral, as black and shining as when it came from the mines. There were
thousands of loads of this residuum, in which many hundred tons of pure
coal must have been thus wastefully thrown away. In other parts of the
city the same evidence of carelessness existed, so that the waste of a
single city in the one article of coal must be enormous. Then, over
these commons were scattered, almost daily, the remains of clothing, old
hats, bonnets, and the indestructible hoop-skirts, of which the
collar-maker had complained as being in everybody's way, as much so when
out of use as when in. Somebody had been guilty of wastefulness in thus
casting these things away. But though losses to some, they were gains to
others. By early daylight the rag-pickers came in platoons to gather up
all these waifs. The hats, the bonnets, and the clothing were quickly
appropriated by women and children who had come out of the narrow courts
and hovels of the city in search of what they knew was an every-day
harvest. These small gatherings of the rag-pickers amounted to hundreds
of dollars daily. Then there was another class of searchers after
abandoned treasure, in the persons of other women and children, who,
with pronged or pointed sticks, worked their way into the piles of
ashes, and picked out basketfuls of coal as heavy as they could carry,
and in this laborious way provided themselves with summer and winter

There was living near us a man who made a business of gathering up the
offal of several hundred kitchens in the city, as food for pigs. I know
that he grew rich at this vocation. He lived in a much better house than
ours, and his wife and daughters dressed as expensively as the
wealthiest women. They had a piano, and music in abundance. He had
several carts which were sent on their daily rounds through the city,
collecting the kitchen-waste of boarding-houses, hotels, and private
families. The quantity of good, wholesome food which these carts brought
away to be fed to pigs was incredible. It was a common thing to see
whole loaves of bread taken out of the family swill-tub, with joints of
meat not half eaten, sound vegetables, and fragments of other food, as
palatable and valuable as the portion that had been consumed on the
table. It seemed as if there were hundreds of families who made it a
point never to have food served up a second time. The waste by this
thriftlessness was great. I doubt not that some men must have been kept
poor by such want of proper oversight on the part of their wives, as I
know that it enriched the individual who gathered up the fat crumbs
which fell from their tables. I think it must be quite true that "fat
kitchens make lean wills."

These slight incidental confirmations of the theory of national
wastefulness came under my daily notice. I had heretofore overlooked
them, but now they attracted my attention. Then I had only to direct my
eye to other and higher fields of observation to be sure that it had
some foundation. The streets, the shop-windows, were eloquent witnesses
for it. The waste of clothing material consequent on the introduction of
hoop-skirts was seen to be prodigious. It was not only the poor thin
body that was now to be covered with finery, but the huge balloon in
which fashion required that that body should be enveloped. I thought,
now that the subject was one for study, that I could see it running
through almost every thing.

This wastefulness, then, was to be the ground on which the sewing-woman
was to rest her hopes of continued employment. It might be good
holding-ground in times of high general prosperity, when money was
abundant and circulation active; but how would it be when reverses of
any kind overtook the nation? As extravagance was the rule now, it
occurred to me that so would a stringent economy be the rule then, The
old hats that were usually thrown away upon the commons would be
rejuvenated and worn again,--the parsimony of one crisis seeking to make
up for the wastefulness of another; for when a sharp turn of hard times
comes round, everybody takes to economizing. There are older heads and
more observant minds than my own, that must remember how these things
have worked in bygone years. These have had the experience of a whole
lifetime to enable them to judge: I was a mere inquirer on the threshold
of a very brief one.

       *       *       *       *       *

Our employment at the factory kept us comfortable. In time we were able
to earn something more than when we began. Our good pastor had lent us
the money with which to pay the reward for recovering my dear father's
body; and as my mother had a great dread of being in debt, we had
practised a most rigid economy at home in order to save enough to repay
him. This we did, a few dollars at a time, until we had finally paid the
whole. Though he frequently came down to see my mother in her
loneliness, yet he never alluded to the matter of the loan, and actually
declined taking any part of it until it was almost forced upon him. He
even offered, on one occasion, to increase the loan to any extent that
my mother might think necessary for her comfort, and in various ways
manifested a strong disposition to do everything far us that he could.
We had all been favorite pupils in his Sunday school, where I had soon
been promoted to the position of a teacher. Finding, also, that we were
fond of reading, he had lent us books from his own library, and even
invited me to come and select for myself. I sometimes accepted these
invitations, and occasionally chose books on subjects that seemed to
surprise him very much But, after all, are not a few books well chosen
better than a great library?

The lending of the money at the time we were in so much distress was of
inexpressible value to us. But as every-day life is a leaf in one's
history, so was this pecuniary experience in ours. I had innocently
supposed that the chief value of money was to supply one's own wants,
but I now learned that its highest capacity for good lay in its power of
ministering to the necessities of others. I have read that in prosperity
it is the easiest thing to find a friend; but that in adversity it is of
all things the most difficult. I know that in trouble we often come off
better than we expect, and always better than we deserve. But men of the
noblest dispositions are apt to consider themselves happiest when others
share their happiness with them. Our pastor lent us this little sum of
money at a time when it was of the utmost value to us; but it was done
in a way so hearty, and so unobtrusive, as to add immeasurably to the
obligation. Indeed, I sometimes think that a pecuniary favor which is
granted grudgingly is no favor at all.

Still, while at work in the factory, there were many things to think of,
and some inconveniences to submit to. The long walks to it were
unpleasant in stormy weather, and occasionally we were compelled to lose
a day or two from this cause. But then the out-door exercise in fine
weather was beneficial to health, and we were spared the public
mortification of carrying great bundles of made-up clothing through the
streets: for, let a sewing-girl feel as independent as she may, she does
not covet the being everywhere known as belonging to that class of
workers. Her bundle is the badge of her profession. My sister had a
great deal of pride on this point. She was extremely nice about her
looks, There was a neat jauntiness in her appearance, of which she
seemed to be fully conscious; and as she grew up to womanhood, I think
it became more apparent in all her actions. She was really a very
attractive girl,--certainly so to me,--and she must have been more so to
the other sex, as I noticed that the men about the establishment were
more courteous to her than they were to me. Even our employer treated
her with a deferential politeness that he did not extend to others, and
when paying us our wages, always had a complimentary remark for Jane, as
if seeking to win the good opinion of one who seemed to be a general

But I confess that during all the time we were working in the factory I
sighed for the possession of a machine of my own, so that I could be
more at home with my mother in her loneliness: for when we left her in
the morning we carried our dinners with us, leaving her to her own
thoughts during the whole day. The grief at my father's loss had by no
means been overcome, for with all of us it was something more than the
shadow of a passing cloud. Personally, I cared nothing for the carrying
of a bundle through the streets, even though it made proclamation of my
being a sewing-girl. Then as to exercise or recreation, I could have
abundance in the garden. As it was, I still continued to see it kept in
order. Fred was very good in doing all I wanted. He would rise early
before breakfast, and do any digging it required, and in the evening,
after returning from the foundry, would attend to many other things
about it as they needed. I was equally industrious; and now that it was
wholly left for me to see to, my fondness for it increased, while I came
to understand its management more thoroughly than when my father was
sole director. The more I had to do, the more I learned. Then there were
times when I rose in the morning feeling so poorly that it was a tax
upon both spirits and strength to tramp the long distance to the
factory; yet it would have been no hardship to work at a machine at
home, or to do an hour's gardening. I think my earnings could have been
made quite as large as they were at the factory, as the owner of a
machine generally received a little more pay than when working on one
belonging to her employer; and I felt quite sure that there would be no
difficulty in obtaining abundance of work. My doubts on this point had
been pretty well settled.

But we had no hundred and thirty or forty dollars to lay out for a
machine now, and there was no prospect of our being able to save enough
to purchase one. Hence I never even hinted to my mother what my wishes
were, as it would only be to her a fresh anxiety. I did mention the
subject to my sister, but she did not seem to favor my plans. She was a
great favorite at the factory, and why should not the factory be as
great a favorite with her? I have no doubt that our pastor, who was as
wealthy as he was generous and good, would have promptly loaned us, or
even me, the money; but he had heard nothing of the fact that my
father's sudden death had alone prevented my obtaining a machine, nor
during his frequent visits to our house did we ever mention what we had
then expected or what I now so much desired. Besides, it would be a
great debt, so large that I should have hesitated about incurring it. We
had been a long while in getting clear of the other, and the apparent
hopelessness of discharging one nearly three times as great, and that,
too, from my individual earnings, was such, that in the end I concluded
it would be better for me to avoid the debt by doing without the
machine, than to have it only on condition of buying it on credit.




Theodore Edward Hook was born in Charlotte Street, Bedford Square, on
the 22d of September, 1788. His father was an eminent musical composer,
who "enjoyed in his time success and celebrity"; his elder brother James
became Dean of Windsor, whose son is the present learned and eloquent
Dean of Chichester; the mother of both was an accomplished lady, and
also an author.

His natural talent, therefore, was early nursed. Unfortunately, the
green-room was the too frequent study of the youth; for his father's
fame and income were chiefly derived from the composition of operetta
songs, for which Theodore usually wrote the libretti. When little more
than a boy he had produced perhaps thirty farces, and in 1808 gave birth
to a novel. Those who remember the two great actors of a long period,
Mathews and Liston, will be at no loss to comprehend the popularity of
Hook's farces: for they were his "props."

In 1812, when his finances were low, and the chances of increasing them
limited, and when, perhaps, also, his constitution had been tried by
"excesses," he received the appointment of Accountant-General and
Treasurer at the Mauritius,--a post with an income of two thousand
pounds a year. Hook seems to have derived his qualifications for this
office from his antipathy to arithmetic and his utter unfitness for

The result might have been easily foreseen. In 1819 he returned to
England: the cause may be indicated by his very famous pun, when, the
Governor of the Cape having expressed a hope that he was not returning
because of ill health, he was "sorry to say they think there is
something wrong in the _chest_." He was found guilty of owing twelve
thousand pounds to the Government: yet he was "without a shilling in his
pocket." If public funds had been abstracted, he was none the richer,
and there was certainly no suspicion that the money had been dishonestly
advantageous to him.

Although kept for years in hot water, battling with the Treasury, it was
not until 1823 that the penalty was exacted,--sometime after the "John
Bull" had made him a host of enemies. Of course, as he could not pay in
purse, he was doomed to "pay in person." After spending some months
"pleasantly" at a dreary sponging-house in Shoe Lane, where there was
ever "an agreeable prospect, _barring_ the windows," he was removed to
the "Rules of the Bench," residing there a year, being discharged from
custody in 1825.

Hook, while in the Rules, was under very little restraint; he was almost
as much in society as ever, taking special care not to be seen by any of
his creditors, who might have pounced upon him and made the Marshal
responsible for the debt. The danger was less in Hook's case than in
that of others, for his principal "detaining creditor" was the King. I
remember his telling me, that, during his "confinement" in the Rules, he
made the acquaintance of a gentleman, who, while a prisoner there, paid
a visit to India. The story is this. The gentleman called one morning on
the Marshal, who said,--

"Mr. ----, I have not had the pleasure to see you for a long time."

"No wonder," was the answer; "for since you saw me last I have been to

In reply to a look of astonished inquiry, he explained,--

"I knew my affairs there were so intricate and involved that no one but
myself could unravel them; so I ran the risk, and took my chance. I am
back with ample funds to pay all my debts, and to live comfortably for
the rest of my days."

Mr. Hook did not say if the gentleman had obtained from his securities a
license for what he had done; but the anecdote illustrates the extreme
laxity enjoyed by prisoners in the Rules, (which extended to several
streets,) as compared with the doleful incarceration to which _poor_
debtors were subjected, who in those days often had their miserable home
in a jail for debts that might have been paid by shillings.

Hook then took up his residence at Putney, from which he afterwards
removed to a "mansion" in Cleveland Street, but subsequently to Fulham,
where the remainder of his life was passed, and where he died. It was a
small, detached cottage. It is of this cottage that Lockhart says, "We
doubt if its interior was ever seen by half a dozen people besides the
old confidential worshippers of Bull's mouth."

He resided here in comparative obscurity. It gave him a pleasant
prospect of Putney Bridge, and of Putney on the opposite side of the
river. As the Thames flowed past the bottom of his small and narrow
garden, he had a perpetually cheerful and changing view of the many gay
passers-by in small boats, yachts, and steamers. The only room of the
cottage I ever saw was somewhat coarsely furnished: a few prints hung on
the walls, but there was no evidence of those suggestive refinements
which substitute intellectual for animal gratifications, in the internal
arrangements of a domicile that becomes necessarily a workshop.

Hook's love of practical joking seems to have commenced early. Almost of
that character was his well-known answer to the Vice-Chancellor at
Oxford, when asked whether he was prepared to subscribe to the
Thirty-Nine Articles,--"Certainly, to forty of them, if you please"; and
his once meeting the Proctor dressed in his robes, and being questioned,
"Pray, Sir, are you a member of this University?" he replied, "No, Sir;
pray are you?"

In the Memoirs of Charles Mathews by his widow abundant anecdotes are
recorded of these practical jokes; but, in fact, "Gilbert Gurney," which
may be regarded as an autobiography, is full of them. Mr. Barham, his
biographer, also relates several, and states, that, when a young man, he
had a "museum" containing a large and varied collection of knockers,
sign-paintings, barbers' poles, and cocked hats, gathered together
during his predatory adventures; but its most attractive object was "a
gigantic Highlander," lifted from the shop-door of a tobacconist on a
dark, foggy night. These "enterprises of great pith and moment" are
detailed by himself in full. The most "glorious" of them has been often
told: how he sent through the post some four thousand letters, inviting
on a given day a huge assemblage of visitors to the house of a lady of
fortune, living at 54, Berners Street. They came, beginning with a dozen
sweeps at daybreak, and including lawyers, doctors, upholsterers,
jewellers, coal-merchants, linen-drapers, artists, even the Lord Mayor,
for whose behoof a special temptation was invented. In a word, there was
no conceivable trade, profession, or calling that was not summoned to
augment the crowd of foot-passengers and carriages by which the street
was thronged from dawn till midnight; while Hook and a friend enjoyed
the confusion from a room opposite.[B] Lockhart, in the "Quarterly,"
states that the hoax was merely the result of a wager that Hook would in
a week make the quiet dwelling the most famous house in all London. Mr.
Barham affirms that the lady, Mrs. Tottenham, had on some account fallen
under the displeasure of the formidable trio, Mr. Hook and two unnamed

His conversation was an unceasing stream of wit, of which he was
profuse, as if he knew the source to be inexhaustible. He never kept it
for display, or for company, or for those only who knew its value: wit
was, indeed, as natural to him as commonplace to commonplace characters.
It was not only in puns, in repartees, in lively retorts, in sparkling
sentences, in brilliant illustrations, or in apt or exciting anecdote,
that this faculty was developed. I have known him string together a
number of graceful verses, every one of which was fine in composition
and admirable in point, at a moment's notice, on a subject the most
inauspicious, and apparently impossible either to wit or rhyme,--yet
with an effect that delighted a party, and might have borne the test of
criticism the most severe. These verses he usually sang in a sort of
recitative to some tune with which all were familiar,--and if a piano
were at hand, he accompanied himself with a gentle strain of music.

Mrs. Mathews relates that she was present once when Hook dined with the
Drury-Lane Company, at a banquet given to Sheridan in honor of his
return for Westminster. The guests were numerous, yet he made a verse
upon every person in the room:--"Every action was turned to account;
every circumstance, the look, the gesture, or any other accidental
effect, served as occasion for wit." Sheridan was astonished at his
extraordinary faculty, and declared that he could not have imagined such
power possible, had he not witnessed it.

People used to give him subjects the most unpromising to test his
powers. Thus, Campbell records that he once supplied him with a theme,
"Pepper and Salt," and that he amply seasoned the song with both.

I was present when this rare faculty was put to even a more severe test,
at a party at Mr. Jerdan's, at Grove House, Brompton,--a house long
since removed to make room for Ovington Square. It was a large
supper-party, and many men and women of mark were present: for the
"Literary Gazette" was then in the zenith of its power, worshipped by
all aspirants for fame, and courted even by those whose laurels had been
won. Its editor, be his shortcomings what they might, was then, as he
had ever been, ready with a helping hand for those who needed help: a
lenient critic, a generous sympathizer, who preferred pushing a dozen
forward to thrusting one back.

Hook, having been asked for his song, and, as usual, demanding a theme,
one of the guests, either facetiously or maliciously, called out, "Take
Yates's big nose." (Yates, the actor, was one of the party.) To any one
else such a subject would have been appalling: not so to Hook. He rose,
glanced once or twice round the table, and chanted (so to speak) a
series of verses perfect in rhythm and rhyme: the incapable theme being
dealt with in a spirit of fun, humor, serious comment, and absolute
philosophy, utterly inconceivable to those who had never heard the
marvellous improvisator,--each verse describing something which the
world considered great, but which became small, when placed in
comparison with

    "Yates's big nose!"

It was the first time I had met Hook, and my astonishment was unbounded.
I found it impossible to believe the song was improvised; but I had
afterwards ample reason to know that so thorough a triumph over
difficulties was with him by no means rare.

I had once a jovial day with him on the Thames,--fishing in a punt on
the river opposite the Swan at Thames-Ditton. Hook was in good health
and good spirits, and brimful of mirth. He loved the angler's craft,
though he seldom followed it; and he spoke with something like affection
of a long-ago time, when bobbing for roach at the foot of Fulham Bridge,
the fisherman perpetually raising or lowering his float, according to
the ebb and flow of the tide.

A record of his "sayings and doings," that glorious day, from early morn
to set of sun, would fill a goodly volume. It was fine weather, and
fishing on the Thames is lazy fishing; for the gudgeons bite freely, and
there is little labor in "landing" them. It is therefore the perfection
of the _dolce far-niente_, giving leisure for talk, and frequent desire
for refreshment. Idle time _is_ idly spent; but the wit and fun of Mr.
Hook that day might have delighted a hundred by-sitters, and it was a
grief to me that I was the only listener. Hook then conceived--probably
then made--the verses he afterwards gave the "New Monthly," entitled
"The Swan at Ditton."

The last time I saw Hook was at Prior's Bank, Fulham, where his
neighbors, Mr. Baylis and Mr. Whitmore, had given an "entertainment,"
the leading feature being an amateur play,--for which, by the way, I
wrote the prologue. Hook was then in his decadence,--in broken
health,--his animal spirits gone,--the cup of life drained to the dregs.
It was morning before the guests departed, yet Hook remained to the
last; and a light of other days brightened up his features, as he opened
the piano, and began a recitative. The theme was, of course, the
occasion that had brought the party together, and perhaps he never, in
his best time, was more original and pointed. I can recall two of the

    "They may boast of their Fulham omnibus,
      But _this_ is the Fulham stage."

There was a fair young boy standing by his side, while he was singing.
One of the servants suddenly opened the drawing-room shutters, and a
flood of light felt upon the lad's head: the effect was very touching,
but it became a thousand times more so, as Hook, availing himself of the
incident, placed his hand upon the youth's brow, and in tremulous tones
uttered a verse, of which I recall only the concluding lines,--

    "For _you_ is the dawn of the morning.
      For _me_ is the solemn good-night."

He rose from the piano, burst into tears, and left the room. Few of
those who were present saw him afterwards.[C]

All the evening Hook had been low in spirits. It seemed impossible to
stir him into animation, until the cause was guessed at by Mr. Blood, a
surgeon, who was at that time an actor at the Haymarket. He prescribed a
glass of Sherry, and retired to procure it, returning presently with a
bottle of pale brandy. Having administered two or three doses, the
machinery was wound up, and the result was as I have described it.

I give one more instance of his ready wit and rapid power of rhyme. He
had been idle for a fortnight, and had written nothing for the "John
Bull" newspaper. The clerk, however, took him his salary as usual, and
on entering his room said, "Have you heard the news? the king and queen
of the Sandwich Islands are dead," (they had just died in England of the
small-pox.) "and," added the clerk, "we want something about
them."--"Instantly," cried Hook, "you shall have it:--

    "'Waiter, two Sandwiches,' cried Death.
    And their wild Majesties resigned their breath."

The "John Bull" was established at the close of the year 1820, and it is
said that Sir Walter Scott, having been consulted by some leader among
"high Tories," suggested Hook as the person precisely suited for the
required task. The avowed purpose of the publication was to extinguish
the party of the Queen,--Caroline, wife of George IV.; and in a reckless
and frightful spirit the work was done. She died, however, in 1821, and
persecution was arrested at her grave. Its projectors and proprietors
had counted on a weekly sale of seven hundred and fifty copies, and
prepared accordingly. By the sixth week it had reached a sale of ten
thousand, and became a valuable property to "all concerned." Of course,
there were many prosecutions for libels, damages and costs and
incarceration for breaches of privilege; but all search for actual
delinquents was vain. Suspicions were rife enough, but positive proofs
there were none.

Hook was of course In no way implicated in so scandalous and slanderous
a publication! On one occasion there appeared among the answers to
correspondents a paragraph purporting to be a reply from Mr. Theodore
Hook, "disavowing all connection with the paper." The gist of the
paragraph was this:--"Two things surprise us in this business: the
first, that anything we have thought worthy of giving to the public
should have been mistaken for Mr. Hook's; and secondly, that _such a
person as Mr. Hook_ should think himself disgraced by a connection with
'John Bull.'"

Even now, at this distance of time, few of the contributors are actually
known; among them were undoubtedly John Wilson Croker, and avowedly
Haynes Bayly, Barham, and Dr. Maginn.

In 1836, when I had resigned the "New Monthly" into the hands of Mr.
Hook, he proposed to me to take the sub-editorship and general literary
management of the "John Bull." That post I undertook, retaining it for a
year. Our "business" was carried on, not at the "John Bull" office, but
at Easty's Hotel, in Southampton Street, Strand, in two rooms on the
first floor of that tavern. Mr. Hook was never seen at the office; his
existence, indeed, was not recognized there. If any one had asked for
him by name, the answer would have been that no such person was known.
Although at the period of which I write there was no danger to be
apprehended from his walking in and out of the small office in Fleet
Street, a time had been when it could not have been done without
personal peril. Editorial work was therefore conducted with much
secrecy, a confidential person communicating between the editor and the
printer, who never knew, or rather was assumed not to know, by whom the
articles were written. In 1836, some years before, and during the years
afterwards, no paragraph was inserted that in the remotest degree
assailed private character. Political hatreds and personal hostilities
had grown less in vogue, and Hook had lived long enough to be tired of
assailing those whom he rather liked and respected. The bitterness of
his nature (if it ever existed, which I much doubt) had worn out with
years. Undoubtedly much of the brilliant wit of the "John Bull" had
evaporated, in losing its distinctive feature. It had lost its power,
and as a "property" dwindled to comparative insignificance. Mr. Hook
derived but small income from the editorship during the later years of
his life. I will believe that higher and more honorable motives than
those by which he had been guided during the fierce and turbulent
party-times, when the "John Bull" was established, had led him to
relinquish scandal, slander, and vituperation, as dishonorable weapons.
I know that in my time he did not use them; his advice to me, on more
than one occasion, while acting under him, was to remember that "abuse"
seldom effectually answered a purpose, and that it was wiser as well as
safer to act on the principle that "praise undeserved is satire in
disguise." All that was evil in the "John Bull" had been absorbed by two
infamous weekly newspapers, "The Age" and "The Satirist." They were
prosperous and profitable. Happily, no such newspapers now exist; the
public not only would not buy, they would not tolerate, the
personalities, the indecencies, the gross outrages on public men, the
scandalous assaults on private character, that made these publications
"good speculations" at the period of which I write, and undoubtedly
disgraced the "John Bull" during the early part of its career.

No wonder, therefore, that no such person as Mr. Theodore Hook was
connected with the "John Bull." He invariably denied all such
connection, and perseveringly protested against the charge that he had
ever written a line in it. I have heard it said, that, during the
troublous period of the Queen's trial, Sir Robert Wilson met Hook in the
street, and said, in a sort of confidential whisper,--"Hook, I am to be
traduced and slandered in the 'John Bull' next Sunday." Hook, of course,
expressed astonishment and abhorrence. "Yes," continued Wilson, "and if
I am, I mean to horsewhip _you_ the first time you come in my way. Now
stop; I know you have nothing to do with that newspaper,--you have told
me so a score of times; nevertheless, if the article, which is purely of
a private nature, appears, let the consequences be what they may, I will
horsewhip _you_!" The article never did appear. I can give no authority
for this anecdote, but I do not doubt its truth.

I knew Sir Robert Wilson in 1823, and was employed by him to copy and
arrange a series of confidential documents, relative to the Spanish war
of independence, between the Cortes and the Government, the result of
which was an engagement to act as his private secretary, and to receive
a commission in the Spanish service, in the event of Sir Robert's taking
a command in Spain. He went to Spain, leaving me as secretary to the
fund raised in that year in England to assist the cause. Fortunately for
me, British aid began and ended with these subscriptions; no force was
raised. Sir Robert returned without taking service in Spain, and I was
saved from the peril of becoming a soldier. Sir Robert was a tall,
slight man, of wiry form and strong constitution, handsome both in
person and features, with the singularly soldier-like air that we read
so much of in books. In those days of fervid and hopeful youth, the
story of Sir Robert's chivalric and successful efforts to save the life
of Lavalette naturally touched my heart, and if I had remained in his
service, he would have had no more devoted follower. During my
engagement as Secretary to the Spanish Committee, (leading members of
which were John Cam Hobhouse, Joseph Hume, and John Bowring,) I
contributed articles to the "British Press,"--a daily newspaper, long
since deceased,--and this led to my becoming a Parliamentary reporter.

I apologize for so much concerning myself,--a subject on which I desire
to say as little as possible,--but in this "Memory" it is more a
necessity to do so than it will be hereafter.

I have another story to tell of these editorial times. One day a
gentleman entered the "John Bull" office, evidently in a state of
extreme exasperation, armed with a stout cudgel. His application to see
the editor was answered by a request to walk up to the second-floor
front room. The room was empty; but presently there entered to him a
huge, tall, broad-shouldered fellow, who, in unmitigated brogue,

"What do you plase to want, Sir?"

"Want!" said the gentleman,--"I want the editor."

"I'm the idditur, Sir, at your sarvice."

Upon which the gentleman, seeing that no good could arise from an
encounter with such an "editor," made his way down stairs and out of the
house without a word.

In 1836 Mr. Hook succeeded me in the editorship of the "New Monthly
Magazine." The change arose thus. When Mr. Colburn and Mr. Bentley had
dissolved partnership, and each had his own establishment, much
jealousy, approaching hostility, existed between them. Mr. Bentley had
announced a comic miscellany,--or rather, a magazine of which humor was
to be the leading feature. Mr. Colburn immediately conceived the idea of
a rival in that line, and applied to Hook to be its editor. Hook readily
complied. The terms of four hundred pounds per annum having been
settled, as usual he required payment in advance, and "then and there"
received bills for his first year's salary. Not long afterwards Mr.
Colburn saw the impolicy of his scheme. I had strongly reasoned against
it,--representing to him that the "New Monthly" would lose its most
valuable contributor, Mr. Hook, and other useful allies with him,--that
the ruin of the "New Monthly" must be looked upon as certain, while the
success of his "Joker's Magazine" was problematical at best. Such
arguments prevailed; and he called upon Mr. Hook with a view to
relinquish his design. Mr. Hook was exactly of Mr. Colburn's new
opinion. He had received the money, and was not disposed, even if he
had been able, to give it back, but suggested his becoming editor of the
"New Monthly," and in that way working it out. The project met the views
of Mr. Colburn; and so it was arranged.

But when the plan was communicated to me, I declined to be placed in the
position of sub-editor. I knew, that, however valuable Mr. Hook might be
as a large contributor, he was utterly unfitted to discharge editorial
duties, and that, as sub-editor, I could have no power to do aught but
obey the orders of my superior, while, as co-editor, I could both
suggest and object, as regarded articles and contributors. This view was
the view of Mr. Colburn, but not that of Mr. Hook. The consequence was
that I retired. As to the conduct of the "New Monthly" in the hands of
Mr. Hook, until it came into those of Mr. Hood, and, not long
afterwards, was sold by Mr. Colburn to Mr. Harrison Ainsworth, it is not
requisite to speak.

A word here of Mr. Colburn. I cherish the kindliest memory of that
eminent bibliopole. He has been charged with many mean acts as regards
authors; but I know that he was often liberal, and always considerate
towards them. He could be implacable, but also forgiving; and it was
ever easy to move his heart by a tale of sorrow or a case of distress.
For more than a quarter of a century he led the general literature of
the kingdom; and I believe his sins of omission and commission were very
few. Such is my impression, resulting from six years' continual
intercourse with him. He was a little, sprightly man, of mild and kindly
countenance, and of much bodily activity. His peculiarity was, that he
rarely or never finished a sentence, appearing as if he considered it
hazardous to express fully what he thought. Consequently one could
seldom understand what was his real opinion upon any subject he debated
or discussed. His debate was always a "possibly" or "perhaps"; his
discussion invariably led to no conclusion for or against the matter in

It was during my editorship of the "New Monthly" that the best of all
Hook's works, "Gilbert Gurney," was published in that magazine. The part
for the ensuing number was rarely ready until the last moment, and more
than once at so late a period of the month, that, unless in the
printer's hands next morning, its publication would have been
impossible. I have driven to Fulham to find not a line of the article
written; and I have waited, sometimes nearly all night, until the
manuscript was produced. Now and then he would relate to me one of the
raciest of the anecdotes before he penned it down,--sometimes as the raw
statement of a fact before it had received its habiliments of fiction,
but more often as even a more brilliant story than the reader found it
on the first of the month.[D]

Hook was in the habit of sending pen-and-ink sketches of himself in his
letters. I have one of especial interest, in which he represented
himself down upon knees, with handkerchief to eyes. The meaning was to
indicate his grief at being late with his promised article for the "New
Monthly," and his begging pardon thereupon. He had great facility for
taking off likenesses, and it is said was once suspected of being the
"H. B." whose lithographic drawings of eminent or remarkable persons
startled society a few years ago by their rare graphic power and their
striking resemblance,--barely bordering on caricature.

Here is Hook's contribution to Mrs. Hall's album:--

"Having been requested to do that which I never did in my life
before,--write two charades upon two given and by no means sublime
words,--here are they. It is right to say that they are to be taken with
reference to each other.

    "My first is in triumphs most usually found;
      Old houses and trees show my second;
    My whole is long, spiral, red, tufted, and round,
      And with beef is most excellent reckoned.

    My first for age hath great repute;
      My second is a tailor;
    My whole is like the other root,--
      Only a _little_ paler.

            "THEODORE E. HOOK.

    "September 4, 1835.

    "Do you give them up?

            "_Car-rot._   _Par-snip._"

The reader will permit me here to introduce some memories of the
immediate contemporaries and allies of Hook, whose names are, indeed,
continually associated with his, and who, on the principle of "'birds of
a feather," may be properly considered in association with this
master-spirit of them all.

The Reverend Mr. Barham, whose notes supplied material for the "Memoirs
of Hook," edited by his son, and whose "Ingoldsby Legends" are famous,
was a stout, squat, and "hearty-looking" parson of the old school. His
face was full of humor, although when quiescent it seemed dull and
heavy; his eyes were singularly small and inexpressive, whether from
their own color or the light tint of the lashes I cannot say, but they
seemed to me to be what are called white eyes. I do not believe that in
society he had much of the sparkle that characterized his friend, or
that might have been expected in so formidable a wit of the pen. Sam
Beazley, on the contrary, was a light, airy, graceful person, who had
much refinement, without that peculiar manner which bespeaks the
well-bred gentleman. He was the Daly of "Gilbert Gurney," whose epitaph
was written by Hook long before his death,--

    "Here lies Sam Beazeley,
    Who lived and died easily."[E]

When I knew him, he was practising as an architect in Soho Square. He
was one of Hook's early friends, but I believe they were not in close
intimacy for many years previous to the death of Hook. It was by Beazley
that the present Lyceum Theatre was built.

Tom Hill was another of Hook's more familiar associates. He is the Hull
of "Gilbert Gurney," and is said to have been the original of Paul Pry,
(which Poole, however, strenuously denied,)--a belief easily entertained
by those who knew the man. A little, round man he was, with straight and
well-made-up figure, and rosy cheeks that might have graced a milkmaid,
when his years numbered certainly fourscore.[F] But his age no one ever
knew. The story is well known of James Smith asserting that it never
could be ascertained, for that the register of his birth was lost in the
fire of London, and Hook's comment,--"Oh, he's much older than that:
he's one of the little Hills that skipped in the Bible." He was a merry
man, _toujours gai_, who seemed as if neither trouble nor anxiety had
ever crossed his threshold or broken the sleep of a single night of his
long life. His peculiar faculty was to find out what everybody did, from
the minister of state to the stable-boy; and there are tales enough told
of his chats with child-maids in the Park, to ascertain the amounts of
their wages, and with lounging footmen in Grosvenor Square, to learn how
many guests had dined at a house the day previous. His curiosity seemed
bent upon prying into small things; for secrets that involved serious
matters he appeared to care nothing. "Pooh, pooh, Sir, don't tell me; I
happen to know!" That phrase was continually coming from his lips.

Of a far higher and better order was Hook's friend, Mr. Brodrick,--so
long one of the police magistrates,--a gentleman of large acquirements
and sterling rectitude. Nearly as much may be said of Dubois, more than
half a century ago the editor of a then popular magazine, "The Monthly
Mirror." Dubois, in his latter days, enjoyed a snug sinecure, and lived
in Sloane Street. He was a pleasant man in face and in manners, and
retained to the last much of the humor that characterized the
productions of his earlier years. To the admirable actor and estimable
gentleman, Charles Mathews, I can merely allude. His memory has received
full honor and homage from his wife; but there are few who knew him who
will hesitate to indorse her testimony to his many excellences of head
and heart.

Among leading contributors to the "New Monthly," both before and after
the advent of Mr. Hook, was John Poole, the author of "Little
Pedlington," "Paul Pry," and many other pleasant works, not witty, but
full of true humor. He was, when in his prime, a pleasant companion,
though nervously sensitive, and, like most professional jokers,
exceedingly irritable whenever a joke was made to tell against himself.
It is among my memories, that, during the first month of my editorship
of the "New Monthly," I took from a mass of submitted manuscripts one
written in a small, neat hand, entitled "A New Guide-Book." I had read
it nearly half through, and was about to fling it with contempt among
"the rejected" before I discovered its point. I had perused it so far as
an attempt to describe an actual watering-place, and to bring it into
notoriety. When, however, I did discover the real purpose of the writer,
my delight was large in proportion. The manuscript was the first part of
"Little Pedlington," which subsequently grew into a book.

It is, and was at the time, generally believed that Tom Hill suggested
the character of Paul Pry. Poole never would admit this. In a sort of
rambling autobiography which he wrote to accompany his portrait in the
"New Monthly," he thus gives the origin of the play.

"The idea of the character of Paul Pry was suggested to me by the
following anecdote, related to me several years ago by a beloved friend.
An idle old lady, living in a narrow street, had passed so much of her
time in watching the affairs of her neighbors, that she at length
acquired the power of distinguishing the sound of every knocker within
hearing. It happened that she fell ill and was for several days confined
to her bed. Unable to observe in person what was going on without, she
stationed her maid at the window, as a substitute, for the performance
of that duty. But Betty soon grew weary of that occupation; she became
careless in her reports, impatient and tetchy when reprimanded for her

"'Betty, what _are_ you thinking about? Don't you hear a double knock at
No. 9? Who is it?'

"'The first-floor lodger, Ma'am.'

"'Betty, Betty, I declare I must give you warning. Why don't you tell me
what that knock is at No. 54?'

"'Why, lor, it's only the baker with pies.'

"'Pies, Betty? What _can_ they want with pies at 54? They had pies

Poole had the happy knack of turning every trifling incident to valuable
account. I remember his telling me an anecdote in illustration of this
faculty. I believe he never printed it. Being at Brighton one day, he
strolled into an hotel to get an early dinner, took his seat at a table,
and was discussing his chop and ale, when another guest entered, took
his stand by the fire, and began whistling. After a minute or two,--

"Fine day, Sir," said he.

"Very fine," answered Poole.

"Business pretty brisk?"

"I believe so."

"Do anything with Jones on the Parade?"

"Now," said Poole, "it so happened that Jones was the grocer from whom I
occasionally bought a quarter of a pound of tea; so I answered,--

"'A little.'

"'Good man, Sir,' quoth the stranger.

"'Glad to hear it, Sir.'

"'Do anything with Thomson in King Street?'

"'No, Sir.'

"'Shaky, Sir.'

"'Sorry to hear it, Sir; recommend Mahomet's baths!'

"'Anything with Smith in James Street?'

"'Nothing,--I have heard the name of Smith before, certainly; but of
this particular Smith I know nothing.'"

The stranger looked at Poole earnestly, advanced to the table, and with
his arms a-kimbo said,--

"By Jove, Sir, I begin to think you are a gentleman!"

"I hope so, Sir," answered Poole; "and I hope you are the same!"

"Nothing of the kind," said the stranger; "and if you are a gentleman,
what business have you here?"

Upon which he rang the bell, and, as the waiter entered, indignantly

"That's a gentleman,--turn him out!"

Poole had unluckily entered and taken his seat in the commercial room of
the hotel!

All who knew Poole know that he was ever full of himself,--believing his
renown to be the common talk of the world. A whimsical illustration of
this weakness was lately told me by a mutual friend. When at Paris
recently, he chanced to say to Poole, "Of course you are full of all the
theatres."--"No, Sir, I am not," he answered, solemnly and indignantly.
"Will you believe _this_? I went to the Opéra Comique, told the Director
I wished a free admission; he asked me who I was; I said, 'John Poole.'
Sir, I ask you, will you believe _this_? He said, _he didn't know me_!"

The Queen gave him a nomination to the Charter-House, where his age
might have been passed in ease, respectability, comfort, and competence;
but it was impossible for one so restless to bear the wholesome and
necessary restraint of that institution. He came to me one day, boiling
over with indignation, having resolved to quit its quiet cloisters, his
principal ground for complaint being that he must dine at two o'clock
and be within walls by ten. He resigned the appointment, but
subsequently obtained one of the Crown pensions, took up his final abode
in Paris, where, during the last ten years of his life, he lived, if
that can be called "life" which consisted of one scarcely ever
interrupted course of self-sacrifice to _eau-de-vie_. His mind was of
late entirely gone. I met him in 1861, in the Rue St. Honoré, and he did
not recognize me, a circumstance I could scarcely regret.

I am not aware of any details concerning his death. When I last inquired
concerning him, all I could learn was that he had gone to live at
Boulogne,--that two quarters had passed without any application from him
for his pension,--and that therefore, of course, he was dead. His death,
however, was a loss to none, and I believe not a grief to any.

He was a tall, handsome man, by no means "jolly," like some of his
contemporary wits,--rather, I should say, inclined to be taciturn; and I
do not think his habits of drinking were excited by the stimulants of
society.[G] Little, I believe, is known of his life, even to the actors
and playwrights, with whom he chiefly associated, from the time when his
burlesque of "Hamlet Travestie" (printed in 1810) commenced his career
of celebrity, if not of fame, to his death, (in the year 1862, I
believe,) being then probably about seventy years old.

I knew Dr. Maginn when he was a schoolmaster in Cork. He had even then
established a high reputation for scholastic knowledge, and attained
some eminence as a wit; and about the year 1820 astounded "the beautiful
city" by poetical contributions to "Blackwood's Magazine," in which
certain of its literary citizens were somewhat scurrilously assailed. I
was one of them. There were two parties, who had each their "society."
Maginn and a surgeon named Gosnell were the leaders of one: they were,
for the most part, wild and reckless men of talent. The other society
was conducted by the more sedate and studious. Gosnell wrote the _ottava
rima_ entitled "Daniel O'Rourke," which passed through three or four
numbers of "Blackwood": he died not long afterwards in London, one of
the many unhappy victims of misgoverned passions.

Maginn was also one of the earlier contributors to the "Literary
Gazette," and Jerdan has recorded with what delight he used to open a
packet directed in the well-known hand, with the post-mark Cork. The
Doctor, it is said, was invited to London in order to share with Hook
the labors of the "John Bull." I believe, however, he was but a very
limited help. Perhaps the old adage, "Two of a trade," applied in this
case; certain it is that he subsequently found a more appreciative
paymaster in Westmacott, who conducted "The Age," a newspaper then
greatly patronized, but, as I have said, one that now would be
universally branded with the term "infamous."

It is known also that he became a leading contributor to "Fraser's
Magazine,"--a magazine that took its name less from its publisher,
Fraser, than from its first editor, Fraser, a barrister, whose fate, I
have understood, was as mournful as his career had been discreditable.
The particulars of Maginn's duel with Grantley Berkeley are well known.
It arose out of an article in "Fraser," reviewing Berkeley's novel, in
the course of which he spoke in utterly unjustifiable terms of
Berkeley's mother. Mr. Berkeley was not satisfied with inflicting on the
publisher so severe a beating that it was the proximate cause of his
death, but called out the Doctor, who manfully avowed the authorship.
Each, it is understood, fired five shots, without further effect than
that one ball struck the whisker of Mr. Berkeley and another the boot of
Maginn, and when Fraser, who was Maginn's second, asked if there should
be another shot, Maginn is reported to have said, "Blaze away, by ----!
a barrel of powder!"

The career of Maginn in London was, to say the least, mournful. Few men
ever started with better prospects; there was hardly any position in the
state to which he might not have aspired. His learning was profound; his
wit of the tongue and of the pen ready, pointed, caustic, and brilliant;
his writings, essays, tales, poems, scholastic disquisitions, in short,
his writings upon all conceivable topics, were of the very highest
order; "O'Doherty" is one of the names that made "Blackwood" famous. His
acquaintances, who would willingly have been his friends, were not only
the men of genius of his time, but among them were several noblemen and
statesmen of power as well as rank. In a word, he might have climbed to
the highest round of the ladder, with helping hands all the way up: he
stumbled at its base.

Maginn's reckless habits soon told upon his character, and almost as
soon on his constitution. They may be illustrated by an anecdote related
of him in Barham's Life of Hook. A friend, when dining with him, and
praising his wine, asked where he got it. "At the tavern, close by,"
said the Doctor. "A very good cellar," said the guest; "but do you not
pay rather an extravagant price for it?" "I don't know, I don't know,"
returned the Doctor; "I believe they do put down something in a book."
And I have heard of Maginn a story similar to that told of Sheridan,
that, once when he accepted a bill, he exclaimed to the astonished
creditor, "Well, thank Heaven, _that_ debt is off my mind!"

It is notorious that Maginn wrote at the same time for the "Age,"
outrageously Tory, and for the "True Sun," a violently Radical paper.
For many years he was editor of the "Standard." It was, however, less
owing to his thorough want of principle than to his habits of
intoxication that his position was low, when it ought to have been
high,--that he was indigent, when he might have been rich,--that he lost
self-respect, and the respect of all with whom he came in contact,
except the few "kindred spirits" who relished the flow of wit, and
little regarded the impure source whence it issued. The evil seemed
incurable; it was indulged not only at noon and night, but in the
morning. He was one of the eight editors engaged by Mr. Murray to edit
the "Representative" during the eight months of its existence. I was a
reporter on that paper of great promise and large hopes. One evening
Maginn himself undertook to write a notice of a fancy-ball at the
Opera-House in aid of the distressed weavers of Spitalfields. It was a
grand affair, patronized by the royal family and a vast proportion of
the aristocracy of England. Maginn went, of course inebriated, and
returned worse. He contemplated the affair as if it had taken place
among the thieves and demireps of Whitechapel, and so described it in
the paper of the next morning. Well I remember the wrath and indignation
of John Murray, and the universal disgust the article excited.

I may relate another anecdote to illustrate this sad characteristic. It
was told to me by one of the Doctor's old pupils and most intimate and
steady friends, Mr. Quinten Kennedy of Cork. A gentleman was anxious to
secure Maginn's services for a contemplated literary undertaking of
magnitude, and the Doctor was to dine with him to arrange the affair.
Kennedy was resolved, that, at all events, he should go to the dinner
sober, and so called upon him before he was up, never leaving him for a
moment all day, and resolutely resisting every imploring appeal for a
dram. The hour of six drew near, and they sallied out. On the way,
Kennedy found it almost impossible, even by main force, to prevent the
Doctor entering a public-house. Passing an undertaker's shop, the Doctor
suddenly stopped, recollected he had a message there, and begged Kennedy
to wait for a moment outside,--a request which was readily complied
with, as it was thought there could be no possible danger in such a
place. Maginn entered, with his handkerchief to his eyes, sobbing
bitterly. The undertaker, recognizing a prospective customer, sought to
subdue his grief with the usual words of consolation,--Maginn blubbering
out, "Everything must be done in the best style, no expense must be
spared,--she was worthy, and I can afford it." The undertaker, seeing
such intense grief, presented a seat, and prescribed a little brandy.
After proper resistance, both were accepted; a bottle was produced and
emptied, glass after glass, with suggested "instructions" between
whiles. At length the Doctor rose to join his wondering and impatient
friend, who soon saw what had happened. He was, even before dinner, in
such a state as to preclude all business-talk; and it is needless to add
that the contemplated arrangement was never entered into.

He lived in wretchedness, and died in misery in 1842. His death took
place at Walton-on-Thames, and in the churchyard of that village he is
buried. Not long ago I visited the place, but no one could point out to
me the precise spot of his interment. It is without a stone, without a
mark, lost among the clay sepulchres of the throng who had no friends to
inscribe a name or ask a memory.[H]

Maginn was rather under than above the middle size; his countenance was
swarthy, and by no means genial in expression. He had a peculiar
thickness of speech, not quite a stutter. Latterly, excesses told upon
him, producing their usual effects: the quick intelligence of his face
was lost; his features were sullied by unmistakable signs of an
ever-degrading habit; he was old before his time.

He is another sad example to "warn and scare"; a life that might have
produced so much yielded comparatively nothing; and although there have
been several suggestions, from Lockhart and others, to collect his
writings, they have never been gathered together from the periodical
tombs in which they lie buried, and now, probably, they cannot be all

       *       *       *       *       *

From what I have written, the reader will gather that I knew Hook only
in his decline, the relic of a manly form, the decadence of a strong
mind, and the comparative exhaustion of a brilliant wit. Leigh Hunt,
speaking of him at a much earlier period, thus writes:--"He was tall,
dark, and of a good person, with small eyes, and features more round
than weak: a face that had character and humor, but no refinement." And
Mrs. Mathews describes him as with sparkling eyes and expressive
features, of manly form, and somewhat of a dandy in dress. When in the
prime of manhood and the zenith of fame, Mr. Barham says, "He was not
the tuft-hunter, but the tuft-hunted"; and it is easy to believe that
one so full of wit, so redolent of fun, so rich in animal spirits, must
have been a marvellously coveted acquaintance in the society where he
was so eminently qualified to shine: from that of royalty to the major
and minor clubs,--from "The Eccentrics" to "The Garrick," of which he
was all his life long a cherished member.

In 1825, when I first saw him, he was above the middle height, robust of
frame, and broad of chest, well-proportioned, with evidence of great
physical capacity. His complexion was dark, as were his eyes; there was
nothing fine or elevated in his expression; indeed, his features, when
in repose, were heavy; it was otherwise when animated; yet his manners
were those of a gentleman, less perhaps from inherent faculty than from
the polish which refined society ever gives.

He is described as a man of "iron energies," and certainly must have had
an iron constitution; for his was a life of perpetual stimulants,
intellectual as well as physical.

When I saw him last,--it was not long before his death,--he was aged,
more by care than time; his face bore evidence of what is falsely termed
"a gay life"; his voice had lost its roundness and force, his form its
buoyancy, his intellect its strength,--

      "Alas! how changed from him,
    That life of pleasure, and that soul of whim!"

Yet his wit was ready still; he continued to sparkle humor even when
exhausted nature failed; and his last words are said to have been a
brilliant jest.

At length the iron frame wore down. He was haunted by pecuniary
difficulties, yet compelled to daily work, not only for himself, but for
a family of children by a person to whom he was not married. He then
lived almost entirely on brandy, and became incapable of digesting
animal food.

Well may his friend Lockhart say, "He came forth, _at best_, from a long
day of labor at his writing-desk, after his faculties had been at the
stretch,--feeling, passion, thought, fancy, excitable nerves, suicidal
brain, all worked, perhaps wellnigh exhausted."

And thus, "at best," while "seated among the revellers of a princely
saloon," sometimes losing at cards among his great "friends" more money
than he could earn in a month, his thoughts were laboring to devise some
mode of postponing a debt only from one week to another. Well might he
have compared, as he did, his position to that of an alderman who was
required to relish his turtle-soup while forced to eat it sitting on a
tight rope!

The last time he went out to dinner was with Colonel Shadwell Clarke, at
Brompton Grove. While in the drawing-room he suddenly turned to the
mirror and said, "Ay! I see I look as I am,--done up in purse, in mind,
and in body, too, at last!"

He died on the 24th of August, 1841.

Yes, when I knew most of him, he was approaching the close, not of a
long, but of a "fast" life; he had ill used Time, and Time was not in
his debt! He was tall and stout, yet not healthfully stout; with a round
face which told too much of jovial nights and wasted days,--of toil when
the head aches and the hand shakes,--of the absence of self-respect,--of
mornings of ignoble rest to gather strength for evenings of useless
energy,--of, in short, a mind and constitution vigorous and powerful:
both had been sadly and grievously misapplied and misused.

No writer concerning Hook can claim for him an atom of respect. His
history is but a record of written or spoken or practical jokes that
made no one wiser or better; his career "points a moral" indeed, but it
is by showing the wisdom of virtue. In the end, his friends, so called,
were ashamed openly to give him help,--and although bailiffs did not, as
in the case of Sheridan,

    "Seize his last blanket,"

his death-bed was haunted by apprehensions of arrest; and it was a
relief, rather than a loss to society, when a few comparatively humble
mourners laid him in a corner of Fulham churchyard.

Alas! let not those who read the records of many distinguished, nay,
many illustrious lives, imagine, that, because men of genius have too
often cherished the perilous habit of seeking consolation or inspiration
from what it is a libel on Nature to call "the social glass," it is
therefore reasonable or excusable, or can ever be innocuous. Talfourd
may gloss it over in Lamb, as averting a vision terrible; Seattle may
deplore it in Campbell, as having become a dismal necessity; the
biographer of Hook may lightly look upon the curse as the springhead of
his perpetual wit. I will not continue the list,--it is frightfully
long. Hook is but one of many men of rare intellect, large mental
powers, with faculties designed and calculated to benefit mankind, who
have sacrificed character, life, I had almost said SOUL, to habits which
are wrongly and wickedly called pleasures,--the pleasures of the table.
Many, indeed, are they who have thus made for themselves miserable
destinies, useless or pernicious lives, and unhonored or dishonorable
graves. I will add the warning of Wordsworth, when addressing the sons
of Burns:--

    "But ne'er to a seductive lay
      Let faith be given,
    Nor deem the light that leads astray
      Is light from heaven."


[B] In "Gilbert Gurney," Hook makes Daly say, "I am the man; I did it;
for originality of thought and design, I _do_ think that was perfect."

[C] Mr. Barham has a confused account of this incident. He was not
present on the occasion, as I was, standing close by the piano when it

[D] His biographer does not seem aware that for several months before he
became editor of the "New Monthly" he wrote the "Monthly Commentary" for
that magazine,--a pleasant, piquant, and sometimes severe series of
comments on the leading topics or events of the month.

[E] Mr. Peake, the dramatist, who wrote most of the "Mathews at Home,"
attributes this epitaph to John Hardwicke. Lockhart gives it to Hook.
Hook pictures Beazley in "Gilbert Gurney":--"His conversation was full
of droll conceits, mixed with a considerable degree of superior talent,
and the strongest evidence of general acquirements and accomplishments."

[F] "He was plump, short, with an intelligent countenance, and
near-sighted, with, a constitution and complexion fresh enough to look
forty, when _I_ believed him to be at least four times that
age."--_Gilbert Gurney._

[G] He played a practical joke upon the actors of the Brighton Theatre,
who were defective of a letter in their dialogue, by sending to them a
packet, containing, on cards of various sizes, the letter H.

[H] While on his death-bed, Sir Robert Peel sent him a sum of money,
probably not the first. It arrived in time to pay his funeral expenses.
In September, 1842, a subscription was made for the widow and children
of Dr. Maginn,--Dr. Giffard (then editor of the "Standard") and Lockhart
being trustees in England, the Bishop of Cork and the Provost of Trinity
College, Dublin, in Ireland, and Professor Wilson in Scotland. The card
that was issued said truly,--"No one ever listened to Maginn's
conversation, or perused even the hastiest of his minor writings,
without feeling the interest of very extraordinary talent; his classical
learning was profound and accurate; his mastery of modern languages
almost unrivalled; his knowledge of mankind and their affairs great and
multifarious"; but it did not state truly, that, "in all his essays,
verse or prose, serious or comic, he never trespassed against decorum or
sound morals," or that "the keenness of his wit was combined with such
playfulness of fancy, good-humor, and kindness of natural sentiment,
that his merits were ungrudgingly acknowledged even by those of politics
most different from his own."




Being the true copy of a paper read in my library to my wife and Jennie.


I am going now to write on another cause of family unhappiness, more
subtile than either of those before enumerated.

In the General Confession of the Church, we poor mortals all unite in
saying two things: "We have left undone those things which we ought to
have done, and we have done those things which we ought not to have
done." These two heads exhaust the subject of human frailty.

It is the things left undone which we ought to have done, the things
left unsaid which we ought to have said, that constitute the subject I
am now to treat of.

I remember my school-day speculations over an old "Chemistry" I used to
study as a text-book, which informed me that a substance called Caloric
exists in all bodies. In some it exists in a latent state: it is there,
but it affects neither the senses nor the thermometer. Certain causes
develop it, when it raises the mercury and warms the hands. I remember
the awe and wonder with which, even then, I reflected on the vast amount
of blind, deaf, and dumb comforts which Nature had thus stowed away. How
mysterious it seemed to me that poor families every winter should be
shivering, freezing, and catching cold, when Nature had all this latent
caloric locked up in her store-closet,--when it was all around them, in
everything they touched and handled!

In the spiritual world there is an exact analogy to this. There is a
great life-giving, warming power called Love, which exists in human
hearts dumb and unseen, but which has no real life, no warming power,
till set free by expression.

Did you ever, in a raw, chilly day, just before a snow-storm, sit at
work in a room that was judiciously warmed by an exact thermometer? You
do not freeze, but you shiver; your fingers do not become numb with
cold, but you have all the while an uneasy craving for more positive
warmth. You look at the empty grate, walk mechanically towards it, and,
suddenly awaking, shiver to see that there is nothing there. You long
for a shawl or cloak; you draw yourself within yourself; you consult the
thermometer, and are vexed to find that there is nothing there to be
complained of,--it is standing most provokingly at the exact temperature
that all the good books and good doctors pronounce to be the proper
thing,--the golden mean of health; and yet perversely you shiver, and
feel as if the face of an open fire would be to you as the smile of an

Such a lifelong chill, such an habitual shiver, is the lot of many
natures, which are not warm, when all ordinary rules tell them they
ought to be warm,--whose life is cold and barren and meagre,--which
never see the blaze of an open fire.

I will illustrate my meaning by a page out of my own experience.

I was twenty-one when I stood as groomsman for my youngest and favorite
sister Emily. I remember her now as she stood at the altar,--a pale,
sweet, flowery face, in a half-shimmer between smiles and tears, looking
out of vapory clouds of gauze and curls and all the vanishing mysteries
of a bridal morning.

Everybody thought the marriage such a fortunate one!--for her husband
was handsome and manly, a man of worth, of principle good as gold and
solid as adamant,--and Emmy had always been such a flossy little kitten
of a pet, so full of all sorts of impulses, so sensitive and nervous, we
thought her kind, strong, composed, stately husband made just on purpose
for her. "It was quite a Providence," sighed all the elderly ladies, who
sniffed tenderly, and wiped their eyes, according to approved custom,
during the marriage ceremony.

I remember now the bustle of the day,--the confused whirl of white
gloves, kisses, bridemaids, and bridecakes, the losing of trunk-keys and
breaking of lacings, the tears of mamma--God bless her!--and the jokes
of irreverent Christopher, who could, for the life of him, see nothing
so very dismal in the whole phantasmagoria, and only wished he were as
well off himself.

And so Emmy was wheeled away from us on the bridal tour, when her
letters came back to us almost every day, just like herself, merry,
frisky little bits of scratches,--as full of little nonsense-beads as a
glass of Champagne, and all ending with telling us how perfect he was,
and how good, and how well he took care of her, and how happy, etc.,

Then came letters from her new home. His house was not yet built; but
while it was building, they were to live with his mother, who was "such
a good woman," and his sisters, who were also "such nice women."

But somehow, after this, a change came over Emmy's letters. They grew
shorter; they seemed measured in their words; and in place of sparkling
nonsense and bubbling outbursts of glee, came anxiously worded praises
of her situation and surroundings, evidently written for the sake of
arguing herself into the belief that she was extremely happy.

John, of course, was not as much with her now: he had his business to
attend to, which took him away all day, and at night he was very tired.
Still he was very good and thoughtful of her, and how thankful she ought
to be! And his mother was very good indeed, and did all for her that she
could reasonably expect,--of course she could not be like her own mamma;
and Mary and Jane were very kind,--"in their way," she wrote, but
scratched it out, and wrote over it, "very kind indeed." They were the
best people in the world,--a great deal better than she was; and she
should try to learn a great deal from them.

"Poor little Em!" I said to myself, "I am afraid these very nice people
are slowly freezing and starving her." And so, as I was going up into
the mountains for a summer tour, I thought I would accept some of John's
many invitations and stop a day or two with them on my way, and see how
matters stood. John had been known among us in college as a taciturn
fellow, but good as gold. I had gained his friendship by a regular
siege, carrying parallel after parallel, till, when I came into the fort
at last, I found the treasures worth taking.

I had little difficulty in finding Squire Evan's house. It was _the_
house of the village,--a true, model, New England house,--a square,
roomy, old-fashioned mansion, which stood on a hillside under a group of
great, breezy old elms, whose wide, wind-swung arms arched over it like
a leafy firmament. Under this bower the substantial white house, with
all its window-blinds closed, with its neat white fences all tight and
trim, stood in its faultless green turfy yard, a perfect Pharisee among
houses. It looked like a house all finished, done, completed, labelled,
and set on a shelf for preservation; but, as is usual with this kind of
edifice in our dear New England, it had not the slightest appearance of
being lived in, not a door or window open, not a wink or blink of life:
the only suspicion of human habitation was the thin, pale-blue smoke
from the kitchen-chimney.

And now for the people in the house.

In making a New England visit in winter, was it ever your fortune to be
put to sleep in the glacial spare-chamber, that had been kept from time
immemorial as a refrigerator for guests,--that room which no ray of
daily sunshine and daily living ever warms, whose blinds are closed the
whole year round, whose fireplace knows only the complimentary blaze
which is kindled a few moments before bed-time in an atmosphere where
you can see your breath? Do you remember the process of getting warm in
a bed of most faultless material, with linen sheets and pillow-cases,
slippery and cold as ice? You did get warm at last, but you warmed your
bed by giving out all the heat of your own body.

Such are some families where you visit. They are of the very best
quality, like your sheets, but so cold that it takes all the vitality
you have to get them warmed up to the talking-point. You think, the
first hour after your arrival, that they must have heard some report to
your disadvantage, or that you misunderstood your letter of invitation,
or that you came on the wrong day; but no, you find in due course that
you _were_ invited, you were expected, and they were doing for you the
best they know how, and treating you as they suppose a guest ought to be

If you are a warm-hearted, jovial fellow, and go on feeling your way
discreetly, you gradually thaw quite a little place round yourself in
the domestic circle, till, by the time you are ready to leave, you
really begin to think it is agreeable to stay, and resolve that you will
come again. They are nice people; they like you; at last you have got to
feeling at home with them.

Three months after, you go to see them again, when, lo! there you are,
back again just where you were at first. The little spot which you had
thawed out is frozen over again, and again you spend all your visit in
thawing it and getting your hosts limbered and in a state for
comfortable converse.

The first evening that I spent in the wide, roomy front-parlor, with
Judge Evans, his wife, and daughters, fully accounted for the change in
Emmy's letters. Rooms, I verily believe, get saturated with the aroma of
their spiritual atmosphere; and there are some so stately, so correct,
that they would paralyze even the friskiest kitten or the most impudent
Scotch terrier. At a glance, you perceive, on entering, that nothing but
correct deportment, an erect posture, and strictly didactic conversation
is possible there.

The family, in fact, were all eminently didactic, bent on improvement,
laboriously useful. Not a good work or charitable enterprise could put
forth its head in the neighborhood, of which they were not the support
and life. Judge Evans was the stay and staff of the village and township
of ----; he bore up the pillars thereof. Mrs. Evans was known in the
gates for all the properties and deeds of the virtuous woman, as set
forth by Solomon; the heart of her husband did safely trust in her. But
when I saw them, that evening, sitting, in erect propriety, in their
respective corners each side of the great, stately fireplace, with its
tall, glistening brass andirons, its mantel adorned at either end with
plated candlesticks, with the snuffer-tray in the middle,--she so
collectedly measuring her words, talking in all those well-worn grooves
of correct conversation which are designed, as the phrase goes, to
"entertain strangers," and the Misses Evans, in the best of grammar and
rhetoric, and in most proper time and way possible, showing themselves
for what they were, most high-principled, well-informed, intelligent
women,--I set myself to speculate on the cause of the extraordinary
sensation of stiffness and restraint which pervaded me, as if I had been
dipped in some petrifying spring and was beginning to feel myself
slightly crusting over on the exterior.

This kind of conversation is such as admits quite easily of one's
carrying on another course of thought within; and so, as I found myself
like a machine, striking in now and then in good time and tune, I looked
at Judge Evans, sitting there so serene, self-poised, and cold, and
began to wonder if he had ever been a boy, a young man,--if Mrs. Evans
ever was a girl,--if he was ever in love with her, and what he did when
he was.

I thought of the lock of Emmy's hair which I had observed in John's
writing-desk in days when he was falling in love with her,--of sundry
little movements in which at awkward moments I had detected my grave and
serious gentleman when I had stumbled accidentally upon the pair in
moonlight strolls or retired corners,--and wondered whether the models
of propriety before me had ever been convicted of any such human
weaknesses. Now, to be sure, I could as soon imagine the stately tongs
to walk up and kiss the shovel as conceive of any such bygone effusion
in those dignified individuals. But how did they get acquainted? how
came they ever to be married?

I looked at John, and thought I saw him gradually stiffening and
subsiding into the very image of his father. As near as a young fellow
of twenty-five can resemble an old one of sixty-two, he was growing to
be exactly like him, with the same upright carriage, the same silence
and reserve. Then I looked at Emmy: she, too, was changed,--she, the
wild little pet, all of whose pretty individualities were dear to
us,--that little unpunctuated scrap of life's poetry, full of little
exceptions referable to no exact rule, only to be tolerated under the
wide score of poetic license. Now, as she sat between the two Misses
Evans, I thought I could detect a bored, anxious expression on her
little mobile face,--an involuntary watchfulness and self-consciousness,
as if she were trying to be good on some quite new pattern. She seemed
nervous about some of my jokes, and her eye went apprehensively to her
mother-in-law in the corner; she tried hard to laugh and make things go
merrily for me; she seemed sometimes to look an apology for me to them,
and then again for them to me. For myself, I felt that perverse
inclination to shock people which sometimes comes over one in such
situations. I had a great mind to draw Emmy on to my knee and commence a
brotherly romp with her, to give John a thump on his very upright back,
and to propose to one of the Misses Evans to strike up a waltz, and get
the parlor into a general whirl, before the very face and eyes of
propriety in the corner: but "the spirits" were too strong for me; I
couldn't do it.

I remembered the innocent, saucy freedom with which Emmy used to treat
her John in the days of their engagement,--the little ways, half loving,
half mischievous, in which she alternately petted and domineered over
him. _Now_ she called him "Mr. Evans," with an anxious affectation of
matronly gravity. Had they been lecturing her into these conjugal
proprieties? Probably not. I felt sure, by what I now experienced in
myself, that, were I to live in that family one week, all such little
deviations from the one accepted pattern of propriety would fall off,
like many-colored sumach-leaves after the first hard frost. I began to
feel myself slowly stiffening, my courage getting gently chilly. I tried
to tell a story, but had to mangle it greatly, because I felt in the air
around me that parts of it were too vernacular and emphatic; and then,
as a man who is freezing makes desperate efforts to throw off the spell,
and finds his brain beginning to turn, so I was beginning to be slightly
insane, and was haunted with a desire to say some horribly improper or
wicked thing which should start them all out of their chairs. Though
never given to profane expressions, I perfectly hankered to let out a
certain round, unvarnished, wicked word, which I knew would create a
tremendous commotion on the surface of this enchanted mill pond,--in
fact, I was so afraid that I should make some such mad demonstration,
that I rose at an early hour and begged leave to retire. Emmy sprang up
with apparent relief, and offered to get my candle and marshal me to my

When she had ushered me into the chilly hospitality of that stately
apartment, she seemed suddenly disenchanted. She set down the candle,
ran to me, fell on my neck, nestled her little head under my coat,
laughing and crying, and calling me her dear old boy; she pulled my
whiskers, pinched my ear, rummaged my pockets, danced round me in a sort
of wild joy, stunning me with a volley of questions, without stopping to
hear the answer to one of them; in short, the wild little elf of old
days seemed suddenly to come back to me, as I sat down and drew her on
to my knee.

"It does look so like home to see you, Chris!--dear, dear home!--and the
dear old folks! There never, never was such a home!--everybody there did
just what they wanted to, didn't they, Chris?--and we love each other,
don't we?"

"Emmy," said I, suddenly, and very improperly, "you aren't happy here."

"Not happy?" she said, with a half-frightened look,--"what makes you say
so? Oh, you are mistaken. I have everything to make me happy. I should
be very unreasonable and wicked, if I were not. I am very, very happy, I
assure you. Of course, you know, everybody can't be like our folks at
home. _That_ I should not expect, you know,--people's ways are
different,--but then, when you know people are so good, and all that,
why, of course you must be thankful, be happy. It's better for me to
learn to control my feelings, you know, and not give way to impulses.
They are all so good here, they never give way to their feelings,--they
always do right. Oh, they are quite wonderful!"

"And agreeable?" said I.

"Oh, Chris, we mustn't think so much of that. They certainly aren't
pleasant and easy, as people at home are; but they are never cross, they
never scold, they always are good. And we oughtn't to think so much of
living to be happy; we ought to think more of doing right, doing our
duty, don't you think so?"

"All undeniable truth, Emmy; but, for all that, John seems stiff as a
ramrod, and their front-parlor is like a tomb. You mustn't let them
petrify him."

Her face clouded over a little.

"John is different here from what he was at our house. He has been
brought up differently,--oh, entirely differently from what we were; and
when he comes back into the old house, the old business, and the old
place between his father and mother and sisters, he goes back into the
old ways. He loves me all the same, but he does not show it in the same
ways, and I must learn, you know, to take it on trust. He is _very_
busy,--works hard all day, and all for me; and mother says women are
unreasonable that ask any other proof of love from their husbands than
what they give by working for them all the time. She never lectures me,
but I know she thought I was a silly little petted child, and she told
me one day how she brought up John. She never petted him; she put him
away alone to sleep, from the time he was six months old; she never fed
him out of his regular hours when he was a baby, no matter how much he
cried; she never let him talk baby-talk, or have any baby-talk talked to
him, but was very careful to make him speak all his words plain from the
very first; she never encouraged him to express his love by kisses or
caresses, but taught him that the only proof of love was exact
obedience. I remember John's telling me of his running to her once and
hugging her round the neck, when he had come in without wiping his
shoes, and she took off his arms and said, 'My son, this isn't the best
way to show love. I should be much better pleased to have you come in
quietly and wipe your shoes than to come and kiss me when you forget to
do what I say.'"

"Dreadful old jade!" said I, irreverently, being then only twenty-three.

"Now, Chris, I won't have anything to say to you, if this is the way you
are going to talk," said Emily, pouting, though a mischievous gleam
darted into her eyes. "Really, however, I think she carried things too
far, though she is so good. I only said it to excuse John, and show how
he was brought up."

"Poor fellow!" said I. "I know now why he is so hopelessly shut up, and
walled up. Never a warmer heart than he keeps stowed away there inside
of the fortress, with the drawbridge down and moat all round."

"They are all warm-hearted inside," said Emily. "Would you think she
didn't love him? Once when he was sick, she watched with him seventeen
nights without taking off her clothes; she scarcely would eat all the
time: Jane told me so. She loves him better than she loves herself. It's
perfectly dreadful sometimes to see how intense she is when anything
concerns him; it's her _principle_ that makes her so cold and quiet."

"And a devilish one it is!" said I.

"Chris, you are really growing wicked!"

"I use the word seriously, and in good faith," said I. "Who but the
Father of Evil ever devised such plans for making goodness hateful, and
keeping the most heavenly part of our nature so under lock and key that
for the greater part of our lives we get no use of it? Of what benefit
is a mine of love burning where it warms nobody, does nothing but
blister the soul within with its imprisoned heat? Love repressed grows
morbid, acts in a thousand perverse ways. These three women, I'll
venture to say, are living in the family here like three frozen
islands, knowing as little of each other's inner life as if parted by
eternal barriers of ice,--and all because a cursed principle in the
heart of the mother has made her bring them up in violence to Nature."

"Well," said Emmy, "sometimes I do pity Jane; she is nearest my age,
and, naturally, I think she was something like me, or might have been.
The other day I remember her coming in looking so flushed and ill that I
couldn't help asking if she were unwell. The tears came into her eyes;
but her mother looked up, in her cool, business-like way, and said, in
her dry voice,--

"'Jane, what's the matter?'

"'Oh, my head aches dreadfully, and I have pains in all my limbs!'

"I wanted to jump and run to do something for her,--you know at our
house we feel that a sick person must be waited on,--but her mother only
said, in the same dry way,--

"'Well, Jane, you've probably got a cold; go into the kitchen and make
yourself some good boneset tea, soak your feet in hot water, and go to
bed at once'; and Jane meekly departed.

"I wanted to spring and do these things for her; but it's curious, in
this house I never dare offer to do anything; and mother looked at me,
as she went out, with a significant nod,--

"'That's always _my_ way; if any of the children are sick, I never
coddle them; it's best to teach them to make as light of it as

"Dreadful!" said I.

"Yes, it is dreadful," said Emmy, drawing her breath, as if relieved
that she might speak her mind; "it's dreadful to see these people, who I
know love each other, living side by side and never saying a loving,
tender word, never doing a little loving thing,--sick ones crawling off
alone like sick animals, persisting in being alone, bearing everything
alone. But I won't let them; I will insist on forcing my way into their
rooms. I would go and sit with Jane, and pet her and hold her hand and
bathe her head, though I knew it made her horridly uncomfortable at
first; but I thought she ought to learn to be petted in a Christian way,
when she was sick. I will kiss her, too, sometimes, though she takes it
just like a cat that isn't used to being stroked, and calls me a silly
girl; but I know she is getting to like it. What is the use of people's
loving each other in this horridly cold, stingy, silent way? If one of
them were dangerously ill now, or met with any serious accident, I know
there would be no end to what the others would do for her; if one of
them were to die, the others would be perfectly crushed: but it would
all go inward,--drop silently down into that dark, cold, frozen well;
they couldn't speak to each other; they couldn't comfort each other;
they have lost the power of expression; they absolutely _can't_."

"Yes," said I, "they are like the fakirs who have held up an arm till it
has become stiffened,--they cannot now change its position; like the
poor mutes, who, being deaf, have become dumb through disuse of the
organs of speech. Their education has been like those iron suits of
armor into which little boys were put in the Middle Ages, solid,
inflexible, put on in childhood, enlarged with every year's growth, till
the warm human frame fitted the mould as if it had been melted and
poured into it. A person educated in this way is hopelessly crippled,
never will be what he might have been."

"Oh, don't say that, Chris; think of John; think how good he is."

"I do think how good he is,"--with indignation,--"and how few know it,
too. I think, that, with the tenderest, truest, gentlest heart, the
utmost appreciation of human friendship, he has passed in the world for
a cold, proud, selfish man. If your frank, impulsive, incisive nature
had not unlocked gates and opened doors, he would never have known the
love of woman: and now he is but half disenchanted; he every day tends
to go back to stone."

"But I sha'n't let him; oh, indeed, I know the danger! I shall bring him
out. I shall work on them all. I know they are beginning to love me a
good deal: in the first place, because I belong to John, and everything
belonging to him is perfect; and in the second place,"----

"In the second place, because they expect to weave, day after day, the
fine cobweb lines of their cold system of repression around you, which
will harden and harden, and tighten and tighten, till you are as stiff
and shrouded as any of them. You remind me of our poor little duck:
don't you remember him?"

"Yes, poor fellow! how he would stay out, and swim round and round,
while the pond kept freezing and freezing, and his swimming-place grew
smaller and smaller every day; but he was such a plucky little fellow

"That at last we found him one morning frozen tight in, and he has
limped ever since on his poor feet."

"Oh, but I won't freeze in," she said, laughing.

"Take care, Emmy! You are sensitive, approbative, delicately organized;
your whole nature inclines you to give way and yield to the nature of
those around you. One little lone duck such as you, however
warm-blooded, light-hearted, cannot keep a whole pond from freezing.
While you have any influence, you must use it all to get John away from
these surroundings, where you can have him to yourself."

"Oh, you know we are building our house; we shall go to housekeeping

"Where? Close by, under the very guns of this fortress, where all your
housekeeping, all your little management, will be subject to daily

"But mamma, never interferes, never advises,--unless I ask advice."

"No, but she influences; she lives, she looks, she is there; and while
she is there, and while your home is within a stone's throw, the old
spell will be on your husband, on your children, if you have any; you
will feel it in the air; it will constrain, it will sway you, it will
rule your house, it will bring up your children."

"Oh, no! never! never! I never could! I never will! If God should give
me a dear little child, I will not let it grow up in these hateful

"Then, Emmy, there will be a constant, still, undefined, but real
friction of your life-power, from the silent grating of your wishes and
feelings on the cold, positive millstone of their opinion; it will be a
life-battle with a quiet, invisible, pervading spirit, who will never
show himself in fair fight, but who will be around you in the very air
you breathe, at your pillow when you lie down and when you rise. There
is so much in these friends of yours noble, wise, severely good,--their
aims are so high, their efficiency so great, their virtues so
many,--that they will act upon you with the force of a conscience,
subduing, drawing, insensibly constraining you into their moulds. They
have stronger wills, stronger natures than yours; and between the two
forces of your own nature and theirs you will be always oscillating, so
that you will never show what you can do, working either in your own way
or yet in theirs: your life will be a failure."

"Oh, Chris, why do you discourage me?"

"I am trying tonic treatment, Emily; I am showing you a real danger; I
am rousing you to flee from it. John is making money fast; there is no
reason why he should always remain buried in this town. Use your
influence as they do,--daily, hourly, constantly,--to predispose him to
take you to another sphere. Do not always shrink and yield; do not
conceal and assimilate and endeavor to persuade him and yourself that
you are happy; do not put the very best face to him on it all; do not
tolerate his relapses daily and hourly into his habitual, cold,
inexpressive manner; and don't lay aside your own little impulsive,
outspoken ways. Respect your own nature, and assert it; woo him, argue
with him; use all a woman's weapons to keep him from falling back into
the old Castle Doubting where he lived till you let him out. Dispute
your mother's hateful dogma, that love is to be taken for granted
without daily proof between lovers; cry down latent caloric in the
market; insist that the mere fact of being a wife is not enough,--that
the words spoken once, years ago, are not enough,--that love needs new
leaves every summer of life, as much as your elm-trees, and new branches
to grow broader and wider, and new flowers at the root to cover the

"Oh, but I have heard that here is no surer way to lose love than to be
exacting, and that it never comes for a woman's reproaches."

"All true as Gospel, Emmy. I am not speaking of reproaches, or of
unreasonable self-assertion, or of ill-temper,--you could not use any of
these forces, if you would, you poor little chick! I am speaking now of
the highest duty we owe our friends, the noblest, the most sacred,--that
of keeping their own nobleness, goodness, pure and incorrupt.
Thoughtless, instinctive, unreasoning love and self-sacrifice, such as
many women long to bestow on husband and children, soil and lower the
very objects of their love. _You_ may grow saintly by self-sacrifice;
but do your husband and children grow saintly by accepting it without
return? I have seen a verse which says,--

    'They who kneel at woman's shrine
      Breathe on it as they bow.'

Is not this true of all unreasoning love and self-devotion? If we _let_
our friend become cold and selfish and exacting without a remonstrance,
we are no true lover, no true friend. Any good man soon learns to
discriminate between the remonstrance that comes from a woman's love to
his soul, her concern for his honor, her anxiety for his moral
development, and the pettish cry which comes from her own personal
wants. It will be your own fault, if, for lack of anything you can do,
your husband relapses into these cold, undemonstrative habits which have
robbed his life of so much beauty and enjoyment. These dead, barren ways
of living are as unchristian as they are disagreeable; and you, as a
good Christian sworn to fight heroically under Christ's banner, must
make headway against this sort of family Antichrist, though it comes
with a show of superior sanctity and self-sacrifice. Remember, dear,
that the Master's family had its outward tokens of love as well as its
inward life. The beloved leaned on His bosom; and the traitor could not
have had a sign for his treachery, had there not been a daily kiss at
meeting and parting with His children."

"I am glad you have said all this," said Emily, "because now I feel
stronger for it. It does not now seem so selfish for me to want what it
is better for John to give. Yes, I must seek what will be best for him."

And so the little one, put on the track of self-sacrifice, began to see
her way clearer, as many little women of her sort do. Make them look on
self-assertion as one form of martyrdom, and they will come into it.

But, for all my eloquence on this evening, the house was built in the
self-same spot as projected; and the family life went on, under the
shadow of Judge Evan's elms, much as if I had not spoken. Emmy became
mother of two fine, lovely boys, and waxed dimmer and fainter; while
with her physical decay came increasing need of the rule in the
household of mamma and sisters, who took her up energetically on eagles'
wings, and kept her house, and managed her children: for what can be
done when a woman hovers half her time between life and death?

At last I spoke out to John, that the climate and atmosphere were too
severe for her who had become so dear to him,--to them all; and then
they consented that the change much talked of and urged, but always
opposed by the parents, should be made.

John bought a pretty cottage in our neighborhood, and brought his wife
and boys; and the effect of change of moral atmosphere verified all my
predictions. In a year we had our own blooming, joyous, impulsive little
Emily once more,--full of life, full of cheer, full of energy,--looking
to the ways of her household,--the merry companion of her growing
boys,--the blithe empress over her husband, who took to her genial sway
as in the old happy days of courtship. The nightmare was past, and John
was as joyous as any of us in his freedom. As Emmy said, he was turned
right side out for life; and we all admired the pattern. And that is the
end of my story.

And now for the moral,--and that is, that life consists of two
parts,--_Expression_ and _Repression_,--each of which has its solemn
duties. To love, joy, hope, faith, pity, belongs the duty of
_expression_: to anger, envy, malice, revenge, and all uncharitableness
belongs the duty of _repression_.

Some very religious and moral people err by applying _repression_ to
both classes alike. They repress equally the expression of love and of
hatred, of pity and of anger. Such forget one great law, as true in the
moral world as in the physical,--that repression lessens and deadens.
Twice or thrice mowing will kill off the sturdiest crop of weeds; the
roots die for want of expression. A compress on a limb will stop its
growing; the surgeon knows this, and puts a tight bandage around a
tumor; but what if we put a tight bandage about the heart and lungs, as
some young ladies of my acquaintance do,--or bandage the feet, as they
do in China? And what if we bandage a nobler inner faculty, and wrap
_love_ in grave-clothes?

But again there are others, and their number is legion,--perhaps you and
I, reader, may know something of it in ourselves,--who have an
instinctive habit of repression in regard to all that is noblest and
highest, within them, which they do not feel in their lower and more
unworthy nature.

It comes far easier to scold our friend in an angry moment than to say
how much we love, honor, and esteem him in a kindly mood. Wrath and
bitterness speak themselves and go with their own force; love is
shamefaced, looks shyly out of the window, lingers long at the

How much freer utterance among many good Christians have anger,
contempt, and censoriousness, than tenderness and love! _I hate_ is said
loud and with all our force. _I love_ is said with a hesitating voice
and blushing cheek.

In an angry mood we do an injury to a loving heart with good, strong,
free emphasis; but we stammer and hang back when our diviner nature
tells us to confess and ask pardon. Even when our heart is broken with
repentance, we haggle and linger long before we can

    "Throw away the worser part of it."

How many live a stingy and niggardly life in regard to their richest
inward treasures! They live with those they love dearly, whom a few more
words and deeds expressive of this love would make so much happier,
richer, and better; and they cannot, will not, turn the key and give it
out. People who in their very souls really do love, esteem, reverence,
almost worship each other, live a barren, chilly life side by side,
busy, anxious, preoccupied, letting their love go by as a matter of
course, a last year's growth, with no present buds and blossoms.

Are there not sons and daughters who have parents living with them as
angels unawares,--husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, in whom the
material for a beautiful life lies locked away in unfruitful
silence,--who give time to everything but the cultivation and expression
of mutual love?

The time is coming, they think in some far future when they shall find
leisure to enjoy each other, to stop and rest side by side, to discover
to each other these hidden treasures which lie idle and unused.

Alas! time flies and death steals on, and we reiterate the complaint of
one in Scripture,--"It came to pass, while thy servant was busy hither
and thither, the man was gone."

The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds
left undone. "She never knew how I loved her." "He never knew what he
was to me." "I always meant to make more of our friendship." "I did not
know what he was to me till he was gone." Such words are the poisoned
arrows which cruel Death shoots backward at us from the door of the

How much more we might make of our family life, of our friendships, if
every secret thought of love blossomed into a deed! We are not now
speaking merely of personal caresses. These may or may not be the best
language of affection. Many are endowed with a delicacy, a
fastidiousness of physical organization, which shrinks away from too
much of these, repelled and overpowered. But there are words and looks
and little observances, thoughtfulnesses, watchful little attentions,
which speak of love, which make it manifest, and there is scarce a
family that might not be richer in heart-wealth for more of them.

It is a mistake to suppose that relations must of course love each other
because they are relations. Love must be cultivated, and can be
increased by judicious culture, as wild fruits may double their bearing
under the hand of a gardener; and love can dwindle and die out by
neglect, as choice flower-seeds planted in poor soil dwindle and grow

Two causes in our Anglo-Saxon nature prevent this easy faculty and flow
of expression which strike one so pleasantly in the Italian or the
French life: the dread of flattery, and a constitutional shyness.

"I perfectly longed to tell So-and-so how I admired her, the other day,"
says Miss X.

"And why in the world didn't you tell her?"

"Oh, it would seem like flattery, you know."

Now what is flattery?

Flattery is _insincere_ praise given from interested motives, not the
sincere utterance to a friend of what we deem good and lovely in him.

And so, for fear of flattering, these dreadfully sincere people go on
side by side with those they love and admire, giving them all the time
the impression of utter indifference. Parents are so afraid of exciting
pride and vanity in their children by the expression of their love and
approbation, that a child sometimes goes sad and discouraged by their
side, and learns with surprise, in some chance way, that they are proud
and fond of him. There are times when the open expression of a father's
love would be worth more than church or sermon to a boy; and his father
cannot utter it, will not show it.

The other thing that represses the utterances of love is the
characteristic _shyness_ of the Anglo-Saxon blood. Oddly enough, a race
born of two demonstrative, outspoken nations--the German and the
French--has an habitual reserve that is like neither. There is a
powerlessness of utterance in our blood that we should fight against,
and struggle outward towards expression. We can educate ourselves to it,
if we know and feel the necessity; we can make it a Christian duty, not
only to love, but to be loving,--not only to be true friends, but to
_show_ ourselves friendly. We can make ourselves say the kind things
that rise in our hearts and tremble back on our lips,--do the gentle and
helpful deeds which we long to do and shrink back from; and, little by
little, it will grow easier,--the love spoken, will bring back the
answer of love,--the kind deed will bring back a kind deed in
return,--till the hearts in the family-circle, instead of being so many
frozen, icy islands, shall be full of warm airs and echoing bird-voices
answering back and forth with a constant melody of love.


    Dear Sir,--Your letter come to han',
      Requestin' me to please be funny;
    But I a'n't made upon a plan
      Thet knows wut 's comin', gall or honey:
    Ther' 's times the world doos look so queer,
      Odd fancies come afore I call 'em;
    An' then agin, for half a year,
      No preacher 'thout a call 's more solemn.

    You 're 'n want o' sunthin' light an' cute,
      Rattlin' an' shrewd an' kin' o' jingleish,
    An' wish, pervidin' it 'ould suit,
      I 'd take an' citify my English.
    I _ken_ write long-tailed, ef I please,--
      But when I 'm jokin', no, I thankee;
    Then, 'fore I know it, my idees
      Run helter-skelter into Yankee.

    Sence I begun to scribble rhyme,
      I tell ye wut, I ha'n't ben foolin';
    The parson's books, life, death, an' time
      Hev took some trouble with my schoolin';
    Nor th' airth don't git put out with me,
      Thet love her 'z though she wuz a woman;
    Why, th' a'n't a bird upon the tree
      But half forgives my bein' human.

    An' yit I love th' unhighschooled way
      Ol' farmers hed when I wuz younger;
    Their talk wuz meatier, an' 'ould stay,
      While book-froth seems to whet, your hunger,
    For puttin' in a downright lick
      'Twixt Humbug's eyes, ther' 's few can match it,
    An' then it helves my thoughts ez slick
      Ez stret-grained hickory doos a hatchet.

    But when I can't, I can't, thet 's all,
      For Natur' won't put up with gullin';
    Idees you hev to shove an' haul
      Like a druv pig a'n't wuth a mullein;
    Live thoughts a'n't sent for; thru all rifts
      O' sense they pour an' resh ye onwards,
    Like rivers when south-lyin' drifts
      Feel thet the airth is wheelin' sunwards.

    Time wuz, the rhymes come crowdin' thick
      Ez office-seekers arter 'lection,
    An' into ary place 'ould stick
      Without no bother nor objection;
    But sence the war my thoughts hang back
      Ez though I wanted to enlist 'em,
    An' substitutes,--wal, _they_ don't lack,
      But then they 'll slope afore you 've mist 'em.

    Nothin' don't seem like wut it wuz;
      I can't see wut there is to hinder,
    An' yit my brains 'jes' go buzz, buzz,
      Like bumblebees agin a winder;
    'Fore these times come, in all airth's row,
      Ther' wuz one quiet place, my head in,
    Where I could hide an' think,--but now
      It 's all one teeter, hopin', dreadin'.

    Where 's Peace? I start, some clear-blown night,
      When gaunt stone walls grow numb an' number,
    An', creakin' 'cross the snow-crust white,
      Walk the col' starlight into summer;
    Up grows the moon, an' swell by swell
      Thru the pale pasturs silvers dimmer
    Than the last smile thet strives to tell
      O' love gone heavenward in its shimmer.

    I hev ben gladder o' sech things
      Than cocks o' spring or bees o' clover,
    They filled my heart with livin' springs,
      But now they seem to freeze 'em over;
    Sights innercent ez babes on knee,
      Peaceful ez eyes o' pastur'd cattle,
    Jes' coz they be so, seem to me
      To rile me more with thoughts o' battle.

    In-doors an' out by spells I try;
      Ma'am Natur' keeps her spin-wheel goin',
    But leaves my natur' stiff an' dry
      Ez fiel's o' clover arter mowin';
    An' her jes' keepin' on the same,
      Calmer than clock-work, an' not carin',
    An' findin' nary thing to blame,
      Is wus than ef she took to swearin'.

    Snow-flakes come whisperin' on the pane
      The charm makes blazin' logs so pleasant,
    But I can't hark to wut they 're say'n',
      With Grant or Sherman oilers present;
    The chimbleys shudder in the gale,
      Thet lulls, then suddin takes to flappin'
    Like a shot hawk, but all's ez stale
      To me ez so much sperit-rappin'.

    Under the yaller-pines I house,
      When sunshine makes 'em all sweet-scented,
    An' hear among their furry boughs
      The baskin' west-wind purr contented,--
    While 'way o'erhead, ez sweet an' low
      Ez distant bells thet ring for meetin',
    The wedged wil' geese their bugles blow,
      Further an' further South retreatin'.

    Or up the slippery knob I strain
      An' see a hunderd hills like islan's
    Lift their blue woods in broken chain
      Out o' the sea o' snowy silence;
    The farm-smokes, sweetes' sight on airth,
      Slow thru the winter air a-shrinkin',
    Seem kin' o' sad, an' roun' the hearth
      Of empty places set me thinkin'.

    Beaver roars hoarse with meltin' snows,
      An' rattles di'mon's from his granite;
    Time wuz, he snatched away my prose,
      An' into psalms or satires ran it;
    But he, nor all the rest thet once
      Started my blood to country-dances,
    Can't set me goin' more 'n a dunce
      Thet ha'n't no use for dreams an' fancies.

    Rat-tat-tat-tattle thru the street
      I hear the drummers makin' riot,
    An' I set thinkin' o' the feet
      Thet follered once an' now are quiet,--
    White feet ez snowdrops innercent,
      Thet never knowed the paths o' Satan,
    Whose comin' step ther' 's ears thet won't,
      No, not lifelong, leave off awaitin'.

    Why, ha'n't I held 'em on my knee?
      Did n't I love to see 'em growin',
    Three likely lads ez wal could be,
      Handsome an' brave an' not tu knowin'?
    I set an' look into the blaze
      Whose natur', jes' like their'n, keeps climbin',
    Ez long 'z it lives, in shinin' ways,
      An' half despise myself for rhymin'.

    Wut 's words to them whose faith an' truth
      On War's red techstone rang true metal,
    Who ventered life an' love an' youth
      For the gret prize o' death in battle?
    To him who, deadly hurt, agen
      Flashed on afore the charge's thunder,
    Tippin' with fire the bolt of men
      Thet rived the Rebel line asunder?

    'T a'n't right to hev the young go fust,
      All throbbin' full o' gifts an' graces,
    Leavin' life's paupers dry ez dust
      To try an' make b'lieve fill their places:
    Nothin' but tells us wut we miss,
      Ther' 's gaps our lives can't never fay in,
    An' thet world seems so fur from this
      Lef' for us loafers to grow gray in!

    My eyes cloud up for rain; my mouth
      Will take to twitchin' roun' the corners;
    I pity mothers, tu, down South,
      For all they sot among the scorners:
    I 'd sooner take my chance to stan'
      At Jedgment where your meanest slave is,
    Than at God's bar hol' up a han'
      Ez drippin' red ez your'n, Jeff Davis!

    Come, Peace! not like a mourner bowed
      For honor lost an' dear ones wasted,
    But proud, to meet a people proud,
      With eyes thet tell o' triumph tasted!
    Come, with han' grippin' on the hilt,
      An' step thet proves ye Victory's daughter!
    Longin' for you, our sperits wilt
      Like shipwrecked men's on raf's for water!

    Come, while our country feels the lift
      Of a gret instinct shoutin' forwards,
    An' knows thet freedom a'n't a gift
      Thet tarries long in hans' o' cowards!
    Come, sech ez mothers prayed for, when
      They kissed their cross with lips thet quivered,
    An' bring fair wages for brave men,
      A nation saved, a race delivered!


The record of any one American who has grown up in the nurture of
Abolitionism has but little value by itself considered; but as a
representative experience, capable of explaining all enthusiasms for
liberty which have created "fanatics" and martyrs in our time, let me
recall how I myself came to hate Slavery.

The training began while I was a babe unborn. A few months before I saw
the light, my father, mother, and sister were driven from their house in
New York by a furious mob. When they came cautiously back, their home
was quiet as a fortress the day after it has been blown up. The
front-parlor was full of paving-stones; the carpets were cut to pieces;
the pictures, the furniture, and the chandelier lay in one common
wreck; and the walls were covered with inscriptions of mingled insult
and glory. Over the mantel-piece had been charcoaled "Rascal"; over the
pier-table, "Abolitionist." We did not fare as badly as several others
who rejoiced in the spoiling of their goods. Mr. Tappan, in Rose Street,
saw a bonfire made of all he had in the world that could make a home or
ornament it.

Among the earliest stories which were told me in the nursery, I
recollect the martyrdom of Nat Turner,--how Lovejoy, by night, but in
light, was sent quite beyond the reach of human pelting,--and all the
things which Toussaint did, with no white man, but with the whitest
spirit of all, to help him. As to minor sufferers for the cause of
Freedom, I should know that we must have entertained Abolitionists at
our house largely, since even at this day I find it hard to rid myself
of an instinctive impression that the common way of testifying
disapprobation of a lecturer in a small country-town is to bombard him
with obsolete eggs, carried by the audience for that purpose. I saw many
at my father's table who had enjoyed the honors of that ovation.

I was four years old when I learned that my father combined the two
functions of preaching in a New England college town and ticket-agency
on the Underground Railroad. Four years old has a sort of literal
mindedness about it. Most little boys that I knew had an idea that
professors of religion and professors in college were the same, and that
a real Christian always had to wear black and speak Greek. So I could be
pardoned for going down cellar and watching behind old hogsheads by the
hour to see where the cars came in.

A year after that I casually saw my first passenger, but regretted not
also to have seen whether he came up by the coal-bin or the meat-safe.
His name was Isidore Smith; so, to protect him from Smith, my father,
being a conscientious man, baptized him into a liberty to say that his
name was John Peterson. I held the blue bowl which served for font. To
this day I feel a sort of semi-accountability for John Peterson. I have
asked after him every time I have crossed the Suspension Bridge since I
grew up. In holding that baptismal bowl I suppose I am, in a sense, his
godfather. Half a godfather is better than none, and in spite of my size
I was a very earnest one.

There are few godchildren for whom I should have had to renounce fewer
sins than for thee, brave John Peterson!

John Peterson had been baptized before. No sprinkling that, but an
immersion in hell! He had to strip to show it to us. All down his back
were welts in which my father might lay his finger; and one gash healed
with a scar into which I could put my small, boyish fist. The former
were made by the whip and branding-irons of a Virginia planter,--the
latter by the teeth of his bloodhounds. When I saw that black back, I
cried; and my father might have chosen the place to baptize in, even as
John Baptist did Ænon, "because there was much water there."

John stayed with us three or four weeks and then got moody. Nobody in
the town twitted him as a runaway. He was inexhaustibly strong in
health, and never tired of doing us service as gardener, porter,
errand-boy, and, on occasion, cook. In few places could his hard-won
freedom be less imperilled than with us. At last the secret of his
melancholy came out. He burst into tears, one morning, as he stood with
the fresh-polished boots at the door of my father's study, and sobbed,--

"Massa, I's got to go an' fetch dat yer gal 'n' little Pompey, 'r I's be
done dead afore de yeah's out!"

As always, a woman in the case!

Had it been his own case, I think I know my father well enough to
believe that he would have started directly South for "dat yer gal 'n'
little Pompey," though he had to face a frowning world. But being John's
counsellor, his _rôle_ was to counsel moderation, and his duty to put
before him the immense improbability of his ever making a second
passage of the Red Sea, if he now returned. If he were caught and
whipped to death, of what benefit could he be to his wife and child? Why
not stay North and buy them?

But the marital and the parental are also the automatic and the
immediate. Reason with love! As well with orange-boughs for bearing
orange-buds, or water upon its boiling-point! When John's earnestness
made my father realize that this is the truth, he gave John all the
available funds in the underground till, and started him off at six in
the morning. I was not awake when he went, and felt that my luck was
down on me. I never should see that hole where the black came up.

For six months the Care-Taker of Ravens had under His sole keeping a
brave head as black as theirs, and a heart like that of the pious negro,
who, in a Southern revival-hymn is thus referred to:--

          "O! O!
    Him hab face jus' like de crow,
    But de Lor' gib him heart like snow."

(The most Southern slaves, who had never travelled and seen snow, found
greater reality in the image of "cotton wool," and used to sing the hymn
with that variation.) At the end of that time, contrary to our most
sanguine expectations, John Peterson appeared. Nor John Peterson alone,
for when he rang our door-bell he put into the arms of a nice-looking
mulatto woman of thirty a little youngster about two years old.

A new servant, with some trepidation, showed them up to "Massa's" study.
We had weeded John's dialect of that word before he went away, but he
had been six months since then in a servile atmosphere. He stood at the
open study-door. My father stopped shaving, and let the lather dry on
his face, as he shielded with his hand the eyes he in vain tried to
believe. Yes, veritably, John Peterson!

But John Peterson could not speak. He choked visibly; and then, pointing
to the two beside him, blurted out,--

"I's done did it, Massa!" and broke entirely down.

Again it was Ænon generally, and there was more baptizing done.

John had made a march somewhat like Sherman's. He had crossed the entire
States of Virginia and Maryland, carrying two non-combatants, and no
weapon of his own but a knife,--subsisting his army on the enemy all the
way,--using negro guides freely, but never sending them back to their
masters,--and terminating his brilliant campaign with an act of bold,
unconstitutional confiscation. He couldn't have found a Chief-Justice in
the world to uphold him in it at that time.

Hiding by day and walking by night, with his boy strapped to his back
and his wife by his side, he had come within thirty miles of the
Maryland line, when one night the full moon flashed its Judas lantern
full upon him, and, being in the high-road, he naturally enough "tuk a
scar'." Freedom only thirty miles off,--that vast territory behind him,
three times traversed for her dear sake and Love's,--a slave-owner's
stable close by,--a wife and a baby crouching in the thicket,--God above
saying, "The laborer is worthy of his hire." No Chief-Justice in the
world could have convinced that man.

With an inspired touch,--the _tactus eruditus_ of a bitter memory and a
glorious hope,--John felt for and found the best horse in the stable,
saddled him, led him out without awakening a soul, and, mounting, took
his wife before him with the baby in her arms. A pack of deerhounds came
snuffing about him as he rode off; but, for a wonder, they never howled.

"Oh, Massa!" said John, "when I see dat, I knowed we was safe anyhow.
Dat Lor' dat stop de moufs of dem dogs was jus' de same as Him dat shut
de moufs of de lions in Dannelindelinesden." (I write it as he
pronounced it. I think he thought it was a place in the Holy Land.)
"When I knowed dat was de same Lor', an' He come down dar to help me, I
rode along jus' as quiet as little Pompey dar, an' neber feared no

When he reached the Pennsylvania border he turned back the horse, and
proceeded on his way through a land where as yet there was no
Fugitive-Slave Law, and those who sought to obstruct the progress of the
negro-hunter were, as they ever have been, many.

       *       *       *       *       *

After that I got by accident into a Northern school with Southern

Æsthetically it was a good school. We wore kid gloves when we went to
meeting, and sat in a gallery like a sort of steamer over the boiler, in
which deacons and other large good people were stewing, through long,
hot Sunday afternoons. If we went to sleep, or ate cloves not to go to
sleep, we were punched in the back with a real gold-headed cane. The
cane we felt proud of, because it had been presented by the boys, and it
was a perpetual compliment to us to see that cane go down the street
with our principal after it; but nothing could have exceeded our
mortification at being punched with it in full sight of the
girls'-school gallery opposite, we having our kid gloves on at the time,
and in some instances coats with tails, like men.

When I say "Southern" principals, I do not mean to indicate their
nativity; for I suppose no Southerner ever taught a Northerner anything
until Bull Run, when the lesson was, not to despise one's enemy, but to
beat him. Nor do I intend to call them pro-slavery men in the obnoxious
sense. Like many good men of the day, they depended largely on Southern
patronage, and opposed all discussion of what they called "political
differences." At that day, in most famous schools, "Liberty" used to be
cut out of a boy's composition, if it meant anything more than an
exhibition-day splurge with reference to the eagle and the banner in the
immediate context.

Among the large crowd of young Southerners sent to this school, I began
preaching emancipation in my pinafore. Mounted upon a window-seat in an
alcove of the great play-hall, I passed recess after recess in
haranguing a multitude upon the subject of Freedom, with as little
success as most apostles, and with only less than their crown of
martyrdom, because, though small boys are more malicious than men, they
cannot hit so hard.

On one occasion, brought to bay by a sophism, I answered unwisely, but
made a good friend. A little Southerner (as often since a large one)
turned on me fiercely and said,--

"Would you marry a nigger?"

Resolved to die by my premises, I gave a great gulp and said,--


Of course one general shout of derision ascended from the throng.
Nothing but the ringing of the bell prevented me from accepting on the
spot the challenge to a fist-fight of a boy whom Lee has since cashiered
from his colonelcy for selling the commissions in his regiment. After
school I was taken in hand by a gentleman, then one of our
belles-lettres teachers, but now a well-known and eloquent divine in New
York city, who for the first time showed me how to beat an antagonist by
avoiding his deductions.

"Tell G. the next time," said the present Rev. Dr. W., "that, if you saw
a poor beggar-woman dying of cold and hunger, you would do all in your
power to help her, though you might be far enough from wanting to marry

How many a _non-sequitur_ of people who didn't sit in the boys' gallery
has this simple little formula of Dr. W.'s helped me to shed aside since

       *       *       *       *       *

Just after the John Brown raid, I went to Florida. I remained in the
State from the first of January till the first week of the May
following. I found there the climate of Utopia, the scenery of Paradise,
and the social system of Hell.

I am inclined to think that the author of the pamphlet which last spring
advocated amalgamation was a Floridian. The most open relations of
concubinage existed between white chevaliers and black servants in the
town of Jacksonville. I was not surprised at the fact, but was
surprised at its openness. The particular friend of one family belonging
to the cream of Florida society was a gentleman in thriving business who
had for his mistress the waiting-maid of the daughters. He used to sit
composedly with the young ladies of an evening,--one of them playing on
the piano to him, the other smiling upon him over a bouquet,--while the
woman he had afflicted with the burdens, without giving her the
blessings, of marriage, came in curtsying humbly with a tea-tray.
Everybody understood the relation perfectly; but not even the pious
shrugged their shoulders or seemed to care. One day, a lank Virginian,
wintering South in the same hotel with myself, began pitching into me on
the subject of "Northern amalgamators." I called to me a pretty little
boy with the faintest tinge of umber in his skin, and pointed him to the
lank Virginian without a word. The lank Virginian understood the answer,
and sat down to read Bledsoe on the Soul. Bledsoe, as a slave-labor
growth in metaphysics, (indeed, the only Southern metaphysician, if we
except Governor Wise,) is much coddled at the South. I believe, besides,
that he proves the divine right of Slavery _a priori_. If he begins with
the "Everlasting Me," he must be just the kind of reading for a slave

       *       *       *       *       *

It is very amusing to hear the Southerners talk of arming their slaves.
I often heard them do it in Florida. I have read such Richmond Congress
debates as have transpired upon the subject. I do not believe that any
important steps will be taken in the matter. I have known a master mad
with fear, when he saw an old gun-stock protruding from beneath one of
those dog-heaps of straw and sacking called beds, in the negro-quarters.
The fact that it had been thrown away by himself, had no barrel attached
to it, and was picked up by a colored boy who had a passion for carving,
hardly prevented the man from giving the innocent author of his fright a
round "nine-and-thirty." When I was in Florida, a peculiar set of marks,
like the technical "blaze," were found on certain trees in that and the
adjoining State westward. The people were alive in an instant. There
were editorials and meetings. The Southern heart was fired, and fired
off. There was every indication of a negro uprising, and those marks
pointed the way to the various rendezvous. When they were discovered to
be the work of some insignificant rodent, who had put himself on
bark-tonic to a degree which had never chanced to be observed before,
nobody seemed ashamed, for everybody said,--"Well, it was best to be on
the safe side; the thing might have happened just as well as not." I do
not believe that one thinking Southern man (if any such there be in the
closing hours of a desperate conspiracy) has any more idea of arming his
negroes than of translating San Domingo to the threshold of his home. I
should like to see the negroes whom I knew most thoroughly intrusted
with blockade-run rifles, just by way of experiment. Let me recall a
couple of these acquaintances.

       *       *       *       *       *

The St. John's River is one of the most picturesque and beautiful
streams in the world. Its bluffs never rise higher than fifty or sixty
feet; it has no abrupt precipices; the whole formation about it is
tertiary and drift or modern terrace; but its first eighty miles from
its mouth are broad as a bay of the sea, and its narrow upper course
above Pilatka, where current supersedes tide, is all one dream of
Eden,--an infinitely tortuous avenue, peopled with myriads of beautiful
wild-birds, roofed by overhanging branches of oak, magnolia, and
cypress, draped with the moss that tones down those solitudes into a
sort of day-moonlight, and, in the greatest contrast with this,
festooned by the lavish clusters of odorous yellow jasmine and many-hued
morning-glory,--the latter making a pillar heavy with triumphal wreaths
of every old stump along the plashy brink,--the former swinging from
tree-top to tree-top to knit the whole tropic wilderness into a tangle
of emerald chains, drooping lamps of golden fire, and censers of
bewildering fragrance.

To the hunting, fishing, and exploration of such a river I was never
sorry that I had brought my own boat. It was one of the
_chefs-d'oeuvres_ of my old schoolmate Ingersoll,--a copper-fastened,
clinker-built pleasure-boat, pulling two pairs of sculls, fifteen feet
long, comfortably accommodating six persons, and adorned by the builder
with a complimentary blue and gilt backboard of mahogany and a pair of
presentation tiller-ropes twisted from white and crimson silk.

In this boat I and the companion of my exile took much comfort. When we
intended only a short row,--some trifle of ten or twelve miles,--we
always pulled for ourselves; but on long tours, where the faculties of
observation would have been impaired by the fatigue of action, we
employed as our oarsman a black man whom I shall call Sol Cutter,--not
knowing on which side of the lines he may be at present.

Sol, when we first discovered him, was hovering around the Jacksonville
wharves, looking for a job. It is so novel to see that kind of thing in
the South, that I asked him if he was a free negro. He replied, that he
was the slave of a gentleman who allowed him to buy his time. He said
"allowed"; but I suspect that the truer, though less delicate, way of
putting it would have been to say "obliged" him to, for the sake of a
living. Sol's "Mossa Cutter" had remaining to him none of the paternal
acres; and it never having occurred to him, that, when lands and houses
all are spent, then learning is most excellent, he possessed none of
that _nous_ which would have enabled a Northern man to outflank
embarrassments by directing his forces into new channels. Having worked
a plantation, when he had no longer any plantation to work he was
compelled to send his negroes into the street to earn an eleëmosynary
living for him. This was no obloquy. How many such men has every
Southern traveller seen,--"sons of the first South Carolina
families,"--parodying the Caryatides against the sunny wall of some low
grog-shop during a whole winter afternoon,--their eyes listless, their
hands in their pockets, their legs outstretched, their backs bent, their
conversation a languid mixture of Cracker dialect and overseer slang,
their negroes' earnings running down their throats at intervals, as they
change their outside for a temporary inside position,--and all the
well-dressed citizens addressing them cheerfully as "Colonel" and
"Major," without a blush of shame, as they go by! Goldwin Smith was
right in pointing at such men as one of the former palliations for the
social invectives of the foreign tourist,--though any such tourist with
brains need not have mistaken them for sample Americans, having already
been in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. The trouble is, that foreign
tourists, as a rule, do _not_ have brains. At any rate, they may say to
us, as Artemus Ward of his gifts of eloquence,--"I _have_ them, but--I
haven't got them with me."

Sol Cutter paid his master eight dollars a week. As he had to keep
himself out of his remainder earnings, he was naturally more
enterprising than most slaves, and I took a fancy to him immediately.
From the day I found him, he always went out with me on my long rows.

The middle of a river six miles wide is the safest place that can be
found at the South for insurrectionary conversation. Even there I used
to wonder whether the Southerners had not given secret-service money to
the alligators who occasionally stuck their knobby noses above the flood
to scent our colloquies.

Sol was pulling away steadily, having "got his second wind" at the end
of the first mile. I was sitting with tiller-ropes in hand, and studying
his strong-featured, but utterly expressionless face, with deep
curiosity. His face was one over which the hot roller of a great agony
has passed, smoothing out all its meaning.

"So your master sells you your time?"

"Yes, Mossa." (Always "_Mossa_" never "_Massa_," so far South as this.)

"Do you support your wife and children as well as yourself?"

A convulsive gulp on the part of Sol, but no reply.

"Have you never been married?"

"Yes, Mossa."

"Is your wife dead?"

"I hope so,--to de good God, I hope so, Mossa!"

Sol leaned forward on his oars and stopped rowing. He panted, he gnashed
his teeth, he frothed at the mouth, and when I thought he must be an
epileptic, he lifted himself up with one strong shudder, and turning on
me a face stern as Cato's,--

"Nebber, _nebber_, NEBBER, shall I see wife or chil' agin!"

I then said openly that I was an Abolitionist,--that I believed in every
man's right to freedom,--and that, as to the safest friend in the world,
he might tell me his story,--which he thereupon did, and which was
afterward abundantly corroborated by pro-slavery testimony on shore.

"Mossa Cutter" had fallen heir in South Carolina to a good plantation
and thirty likely "niggers." At the age of twenty-five he sold out the
former and emigrated to Florida with the latter. The price of the
plantation rapidly disappeared at horse-races, poker-parties,
cock-fights, and rum-shops. If Mossa Cutter speculated, he was always
unsuccessful, because he was always hotheaded and always drunk.

In process of time "debts of honor" and the sheriff's hammer had
dissipated his entire clientage of blacks, with the exception of Sol, a
pretty yellow woman with a nice baby, who were respectively Sol's wife
and child, and a handsome quadroon boy of seventeen, who was Mossa
Cutter's body-servant.

Sol came to the quarters one night and found his wife and child gone.
They were on their way to Tallahassee in a coffle which had been made up
as a sudden speculation on the cheerful Bourse of Jacksonville. Four
doors away Mossa Cutter could be seen between the flaunting red curtains
of a bar-room window, drinking Sol's heart's blood at sixpence the

Sol, I hear they are going to put an English musket in your hands!

Sol fell paralyzed to the ground. A moment after, he was up on his feet
again, and, without thought of nine o'clock, pass, patrol, or
whipping-house, rushing on the road likely to be taken by chain-gangs to
Tallahassee. He reached the "Piny Woods" timber on the outskirts of the
town. No one had noticed him, and he struck madly through the sand that
floors those forests, knowing no weariness, for his heart-strings pulled
that way. He travelled all night without overtaking them; but just as
the first gray dawn glimmered between the piny plumes behind him, he
heard the coarse shout of drivers close ahead, and found himself by the
fence of a log-hut where the gang had huddled down for its short sleep.
It was now light enough to travel, and the drivers were "geeing" up
their human cattle.

Sol rushed to his wife and baby. As the man and woman clasped each other
in frantic caress, the driver came up, and, kicking them, bade them with
an oath to have done.

"Whose nigger are you?" (to Sol.)

"I belong to Mossa Cutter. I's come to be taken along."

"Did he send you?"

"He did so, Sah. He tol' me partic'lar. I done run hard to catch up wid
you gemplemen, Mossa. Mossa Cutter he sell me to-day to be sol' in de
same lot wid Nancy."

The drivers went aside and talked for a while, then took him on with
them, and, for a wonder, did sell Sol and Nancy in the same lot. Nancy's
and the baby's price had one good use to Sol, for it kept Mossa Cutter
for a week too drunk to know of his loss or care for his recovery.

Sol was the coachman, Nancy the laundress, of a gentleman residing at
the capital. Their master had the happy eccentricity of getting more
amiable with every rum-toddy; and as he never for any length of time
discontinued rum-toddies, the days of Sol and Nancy at Judge Q.'s were

They had not counted on one of the drivers going back to Jacksonville,
meeting Mossa Cutter over his libations, and confidentially confessing
to him,--

"I tuk a likely boy o'yourn over to Tallahassee in that gang month afore

Sol, if they had put a British gun in your hands _then_!

Mossa Cutter swooped down on them in the midst of their
happiness,--refused to let Judge Q. ransom Sol at twice his value,--and
tore him from his wife and child. Returning with him to Jacksonville, he
beat him almost to death,--after which, he sent him out on the wharves
to earn their common living.

A few nights after the return of Sol, Mossa Cutter came home with _mania
a potu_. His handsome quadroon body-servant was sitting up for him.
Mossa Cutter said to him,--

"You have the sideboard-keys,--bring me that decanter of brandy."

The boy replied,--

"Oh, don't, _dear_ Mossa! you surely kill you'self!"

Upon this, his master, damning him for a "saucy, disobedient nigger,"
drew his bowie-knife and inflicted on him a frightful wound across the
abdomen, from which he died next day. A Jacksonville jury brought in a
verdict of accidental death.

That might have been another good occasion to hand Sol a musket!

Not having any, he remained in the proud and notorious position of
"Mossa Cutter's Larst Niggah."

       *       *       *       *       *

In a certain part of Florida (obvious reasons will show themselves for
leaving it indefinite) I enjoyed the acquaintance of two Southern
gentlemen,--gentlemen, however, of widely different kinds. One was a
general, a lawyer, a rake, a drunkard, and white; the other was a
body-servant, a menial, an educated man, a fine man-of-business, a Sir
Roger in his manners, and black. The two had been brought up together,
the black having been given to the white gentleman during the latter's
second year. "They had played marbles in the same hole," the General
said. I know that Jim was unceasing in his attentions to his master, and
that his master could not have lived without them. A sort of attachment
of fidelity certainly did exist on Jim's side; and the most selfish man
must feel an attachment of need for the servant who could manage his
bank-account and superintend his entire interests much more successfully
than himself,--who could tend him without complaint through a week's
sleeplessness, when he had the horrors,--who was in fact, to all intents
and purposes, his own only responsible manifestation to the world.

Jim's wife was dead, but had left him two sons and a daughter. When I
first saw him, none of them had been sold from him. The boys were
respectively eighteen and twenty years old. Their sister had just turned
sixteen, and was a nice-looking, modest, mulatto girl, whom her father
idolized because she was looking more and more every day "like de oder
Sally dat's gone, Mossa."

A week after he said that to me, Sally on earth might well have prayed
to Sally in heaven to take her, for she was sold away into the horrors
of concubinage to one of the wickedest men on the river.

To describe the result of this act upon Jim is beyond my power, if
indeed my heart would allow me to repeat such sorrow. It was not
violent,--but, O South, South, lying on a volcano, if all your negroes
had been violent, how much better for you!

Jim, I hear they intend to give you a rifle!

Well, as to that, I remember Jim had heard of such things.

Boarding at the same hotel with the General, I sat also at the same
table. When he was well enough to come down to his meals, he occupied
the third chair below me on the opposite side.

One night, when all the boarders but ourselves had left the tea-room,
the General, being confidentially sober, (I say _sober_, for when he
reached the confidential he was on the rising scale,) began talking
politics with me.

"I see in the 'Mercury,'" said the General, "that some of your Northern
scum are making preparations for another John Brown raid into Virginia."

"Oh no, I fancy not. That's sensation."

"Well, now, you just look h'y'ere! If they do come, d'ye know what _I_'m
gwine to do! If I'm too feeble to walk or ride a hoss, I'll crawl on my
knees to the banks of the Potomac, and"----

"What, with those new Northern-made pantaloons on?"

"D'interrupt me, Sir. I'll crawl on my knees to the bank of the Potomac
and defend Old Virginny to the last gasp. She's my sister, Sir! So'll
all the negroes fight for her. Talk about our not trusting 'em! Here's
Jim. He's got all the money I have in the world; takes care of me when
I'm sick; comes after me, to the Gem when I'm--a little not myself, you
know; sees me home; puts me to bed, and never leaves me. Faithful as a
hound, by Heavens! Why, I'd trust him with my life in a minute, Sir!
Yes, Sir, and----Oh, yes! we'll just arm our niggers, and put 'em in the
front ranks to make 'em shoot their brothers, Sir!"

I said, "Ah?" and the General went out to take a drink, leaving Jim and
myself alone together at the table. The remaining five minutes, before I
finished my tea, Jim seemed very restless. Just as I rose to go, he said
to me,--

"Mossa, could you hab de great kin'ness to come out to de quarters to
see Peter?" (his eldest boy,)--"he done catch bery bad col', Sah."

I was physician in ordinary to the servants in that hotel. In every
distress they called on me. I told Jim that I would gladly accompany
him. When we got to a considerable distance from the main houses, Jim
stopped under an immense magnolia, and, drawing me into its shade, said,
after a sweeping glance in all directions,--

"Oh, Mossa! _is_ dat true, dat dem dere Abolitionists is a-comin' down
here to save us,--to redeem us, Mossa? Is dey a-comin' to take pity on
us, Mossa, an' take dis people out of hell? Oh, _is_ dey, _is_ dey,

I told Jim that they were very weak and few in number just now; but that
in a few years there would be nobody but them at the North, and then
they'd come down a hundred thousand strong. (I said _one_ hundred
thousand, the modern army not yet having been dreamed of.) I told him to
bide the Lord's time.

He cast a fainting glance over to that window in the negro quarters,
dark now, where his little Sally used to ply her skilful needle. Then he
tossed his hands wildly into the air, and cried out,--

"_Lord's_ time! Oh, _is_ der any Lord?"

I clasped him by the hand and said,--

"_Yes_, my poor, broken-hearted--_brother_!"

That word fell on his ear for the first time from a white man's lips,
and the stupefaction of it was a countercheck to his grief.

He became perfectly calm, and clasped me by the hands gently, like a

"Mossa, you mean dat? To _me_, Mossa? Dear Mossa, den I _will_ try for
to bide de Lord's time! But," (here his face grew black in the growing
moonlight, with a deeper blackness than complexion,)--"but, if de Mossas
only _do_ put de guns into our han's, _oh, dey'll find out which side
we'll turn 'em on!_"

Jim, I hope you have arms in your hands long ere this, and have done
good work with them! I hope Sol has also. Either of you has enough of
the _vis ab intra_ to make a good soldier. As you won't know what that
means, Jim and Sol, I'll tell you,--it's a broken heart.

But whether Sol and Jim have arms in their hands or not, by all means
arm the rest.

Wanted, two hundred thousand British muskets to arm as many likely
niggers,--all warranted equal to samples, Sol and Jim,--same make, same
temper. Blockade-runners had better apply immediately.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 15, No. 90, April, 1865" ***

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