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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 15, No. 92, June, 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. 92, June, 1865" ***

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_A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics._

VOL. XV.--JUNE, 1865.--NO. XCII.

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


Dear Mr. Editor,--The name of your magazine shall not deter me from
sending you my slight reflections But you have been across, and will
agree with me that it is the great misfortune of this earth that so much
salt-water is still lying around between its various countries. The
steam-condenser is supposed to diminish its bulk by shortening the
transit from one point to another; but a delicate conscience must aver
that there is a good deal left. The ocean is chiefly remarkable as the
element out of which the dry land came. It is only when the land and sea
combine to frame the mighty coast-line of a continent, and to fringe it
with weed which the tide uncovers twice a day, that the mind is saluted
with health and beauty. The fine instinct of Mr. Thoreau furnished him
with a truth, without the trouble of a single game at pitch and toss
with the mysterious element; for he says,--

    "The middle sea contains no crimson dulse,
      Its deeper waves cast up no pearls to view,
    Along the shore my hand is on its pulse,
      And I converse with many a shipwrecked crew."

On the broad Atlantic there is no smell of the sea. That comes from the
brown rocks whence iodine is exhaled to brace the nerves and the fancy,
while summer woods chasten all the air. At best, the ocean is austere
and unsympathetic; and a sensible, that is, a sensitive, stomach
understands it to be demoralized by the monstrous krakens which are
viciously brooding in its depths. (If the pronoun "it," in the last
sentence, should refer to stomach, the sense will still be clear.) In
fact, this water has been left over from the making of the earth: like
the Dodo and the Moa, it should have evaporated. How pleasant it is to
be assured by Sir Charles Lyell that the land is still rising in so many
quarters of the globe! for we may anticipate that millennial epoch when
there shall be "no more sea."

However, the old impression which great spaces used to make upon the
imagination gives way to the new sensation of annihilating spaces. It
would be more correct now to speak of differences than of distances. The
difference between one country and another is all that now makes the
distance between them. For man is now overcoming space faster than he is
obliterating national peculiarities. And when one goes abroad, the
universal humanity in whose interest all material and political
triumphs are gained is not felt by him so soon as the specific
divergence which makes the character of lands and people. Oaks and elms,
hawthorn and beeches, are on either side the ocean; but you measure the
voyage by their unlikeness to each other, and wonder how soon you have
got so far. The strawberry ripens with a different flavor and texture.
The sun is less racy in all the common garden-stuff whose names we know.
Pears and peaches we are disappointed in recognizing; they seem as if
ripened by the sun's proxy, the moon; and our boys would hardly pick up
the apples in the fields. But England undulates with grass that seems to
fix the fluent color of the greenest waves on either hand. And our
eagle-eyed blue sky droops its lid over the island, as the moisture
gathers, with a more equable compassion than we know for all shrubs and
blades and grazing cattle.

Both the pain and the tonic in being absent from your home and country
are administered by difference. In gulping that three thousand miles the
taste is austere, but the stimulus is wholesome. We learn to appreciate,
but also to correct, the fare we have at home.

The difference is twofold between England and America. England differs,
first, in the inveterate way in which the people hold on to all that
they have inherited; second, in the gradual, but equally inveterate, way
in which they labor to improve their inheritance. The future is gained
by the same temper in which the past is held; so that, if the past is
secure, the future is also: none the less because the past seems so
irrevocably built, but rather in consequence of that, because it betrays
the method of the builders.

These two characteristics, apparently irreconcilable, are really
organic, and come of position, climate, diet, and slowly amalgamated
races of men. Herne's oak in Windsor Forest and the monarchy in Windsor
Castle grew on the same terms. Branch after branch the oak has fallen,
till on the last day of the summer of 1863 the wind brought the
shattered remnant to the ground. Whether the monarchy decay like this or
not, it has served to shelter a great people; and the English people is
still vital with its slow robustness, and is good for depositing its
annual rings these thousand years.

Let us look a little more closely at this apparent contradiction.

The superficial view of England breeds a kind of hopelessness in the
mind of the observer. He says to himself,--"All these stereotyped habits
and opinions, these ways of thinking, writing, building, living, and
dying, seem irrepealable; and the worst fault of their comparative
excellence is, that they appear determined not to yield another inch to
improvement." The Englishman says that America is forever bullying with
her restlessness and innovation. The American might at first say that
England bullied by never budging,--bullied the future, and every
rational or humane suggestion, by planting a portly attitude to
challenge the New Jerusalem in an overbearing chest voice, through which
the timid clarion of the angels is not heard.

If an observer knows anything of the history of England, he cannot deny
that vast changes have been made in every department of life: domestic
habits, social economics, the courts of law, the Church, the liberty of
the press and of speech, in short, all the roads, whether material or
mental, by which mankind travels to its ultimate purpose, have been
graded, widened, solidly equipped and built. A thousand years have
converted three or four races into one people,--and all that time and
weather have made upon it such strong imprints that you cannot see the
difference between a pyramid and a cathedral sooner than you can the
distinctive nationality of England. But for that very reason you despair
of it, just as you do of a cathedral which cannot be adapted to the
wants of a new religious age. At the same time that you venerate the
history of England, and are thankful for the great expansion which she
gave to human rights, you almost quarrel with it, because at first it
seems like an old stratum with its men and women imbedded; its
institutions, once so softly and lightly deposited, now become a tough
clay; its structures, once so curiously devised for living tenants, now
crusts and shells; its tracks of warm and bleeding feet now set in a
stiff soil that will take no future impression.

All this is due to the first glance you get at the hard, realistic
England of to-day. You have noticed a machine clutch its raw material
and twist and turn it through its relentless bowels. That is the way the
habits of England seize you when you land, and begin to appropriate your
personality. This is the first offence of England in the eyes of an
American, whose favorite phrase, "the largest liberty," is too
synonymous with the absence of any settled habits. Prescribed ways of
doing everything are the scum which a traveller first gathers in
England. Perhaps he thinks that he has caught the English nationality in
his skimmer; and as he rather contemptuously examines these topmost and
handiest traits, he grumbles to himself that these are the habits of a
very old nation, that lives on an island, and keeps up a fleet, not to
bridge, but to widen narrow seas. Such respect for routine and
observance can nowhere else be perceived. An American is so little
prepared for this that he is disposed to quarrel with it even in
railway-stations, where it is most excellent. But it penetrates all
forms and institutions; the Established Church itself is a specimen of
complete arranging and engineering; the worshippers are classified,
ticketed, and despatched safely rolling on the broad gauge of the
Liturgy, in confidence of being set down at last where the conductors
have contracted to take them. How accurately everybody in England knows
his own place!--and he accepts it, however humble, with a determined
feeling that it is inevitable. The audience is so packed that everybody
remains quiet. The demeanor of the servants is as settled and
universally deferential as Westminster Abbey is Gothic. Mr. Lindsay or
Mr. Roebuck might forget to revile America, or Lord Palmerston,
England's right hand, forget his cunning, as soon as a servant might
forget his place. A thousand years have settled him in it; and you are
supposed by him to have had the benefit of as many years in determining
your own position and relation to him. You are electrified when a waiter
first touches his hat to you; it is as if he had discharged something
into you by the gesture, which is likely to exhaust him, and you expect
to have to offer him a chair. But his deference is an integral part of
the stability of England. When he forgets it, look for a panic in the
Exchange, the collapse of credit, and the assassination of the Queen.

This mutual deference in a country that is so strictly apportioned into
castes becomes an unconscious toadyism, which is saved from being very
repulsive only by the frank and childlike ways of the people. If it is
carried too far, they are the first to see it. The "Times" could not
report a case of murder without remarking, as it described the direction
of the fatal shot, "What was a very singular fact, a part of the charge,
after crossing the apartment, entered a picture of her Majesty the Queen
on the opposite wall";--that is, in committing the murder, the charge of
powder went too far; it ought to have stuck to its business, instead of
violating one of the chief proprieties of a limited monarchy. But when
the Queen went down to Greenwich summer before last to embark for
Belgium, an over-zealous official issued an order that no person should
be admitted into the yard of the dock, no workman should cross the yard
while she was in it, and no one should look out of a window until she
had gone. This was his British sense of the behavior due to a Queen who
was in mourning for her husband, and might dislike to be observed. But
the whole press derided this order, and subjected it to indignant
criticism; the officer was styled flunky and tyrant, and the Queen
herself was obliged to rebuke and disavow it.

In doing everything in England, there is so little excitement, because
it is felt to be irregular. The temper of the people is well kept by the
smooth and even island air; the moist southwestern winds come and soothe
with calm lips the check. The thermometer, like everything else, knows
its place; and when once it succeeded in passing through twenty degrees
in the course of a day, the oldest inhabitant of London grew anxious; it
was feared that stocks, too, would fall. The thunderstorms understand
propriety, and simply growl, like the dissatisfied Englishman. Vivid
effects, sharp contrasts, violent exertions, cannot be sustained in that
insular atmosphere. It seems as if London, like a lover of the weed,
were pacified by its own smoke. I saw two huge wagons turn from opposite
quarters into a narrow lane. The drivers kept their horses moving till
the heads of the leaders touched; then they sat still and looked at each
other. Both were determined that it was a point of honor to stay where
they were. After a few words of rather substantial English had passed
between them, both subsided into a dogged equanimity. A crowd gathered
instantly, but with as little tumult as ants make; it regarded the
occurrence as a milder form of pugilism, and watched the result with
interest. A policeman passed blandly from one wagon to the other,
represented the necessities of the public traffic, hoped they would
settle it shortly, urged the matter as an intimate friend of the
parties, till at length the man who was conscious that he turned into
the lane the last gathered up his reins and backed out of it. It was a
little index of the popular disposition; and I expected that as soon as
the country became convinced that it had driven rashly into our civil
strait, it would deliberately back out of it. And this it is now slowly
engaged in doing.

The two great parties of the Church and Liberalism are blocking each
other in the same manner; but in this case Liberalism has turned into
the great thoroughfare of the world's movement, and finds the Church,
like a disabled omnibus, disputing the passage by simply lying across
it. Dr. Temple and one hundred liberal Fellows of Oxford sent up to
Parliament a petition which prayed for the abolition of the subscription
test. At Oxford two subscriptions are required as a qualification for
academic degrees: one to the Thirty-Nine Articles, and one to the third
article of the thirty-sixth Canon. Liberal clergymen and members of the
Church of England find this test odious, because it constrains the
conscience to accept ancient formulas of belief without the benefit of
private interpretation. The conservatives desire to maintain the test,
thinking that it will be a barrier to the tide of private interpretation
which is just now mounting so high. The petitioners perceive that no
test can prevent a man from having his own thoughts; that it is
therefore obsolete; that it drives out of the Church the best
men,--those, namely, who think with independent vigor, and whose
activity would put a new soul into the old Establishment. When this
petition came up for debate in the House of Commons, the conservative
speakers accused the petitioners of wishing to set up a new school of
theological belief and criticism. Mr. Gladstone made a speech, full of
grace and an even vigor, to the effect that he could not conceive of
religion disconnected from definite statements such as those which the
Church possessed; the idea was to his mind as absurd as to conceive of
manifestations of life without a body. Mr. Goschen, the new member from
London, made his maiden speech on this occasion. It was very earnest and
liberal, and reminded one of American styles of speaking, being less
even and conversational than the style which Englishmen admire. His
opinion was, that all tests should be abolished, and that inclusion was
safer than exclusion: meaning that the Church ought to keep herself so
organized as to absorb the best vitality of every generation, instead of
turning it out to become cold and hostile. The phrase which he used is
the very essence of a republican policy. It represents the tendency of
the people of England, as distinguished from its ministers and the
traditions of its government. That phrase will one day be safely driven
clear through the highway where the omnibus is now lying; but for the
present, the abolition of tests and church-rates, the recognition of
every shade of dissent, and the graver political reformation which waits
behind all these are held in check by the _vis inertiæ_ of an
Establishment that lies across the road.

During the exciting anti-church-rate contests of 1840, the Church party
in Rochdale, which had been defeated in an attempt to levy a church-rate
where for several years none had been collected, held a meeting to try
the matter over again. It was adjourned from the church to the
graveyard. The vicar, as chairman, occupied one tombstone, and John
Bright stood upon another to make one of his strong defences of the
rights of Voluntaryism. In the course of the discussion, the vicar's
warden rendered an account of the dilapidations of the building which
the proposed rate was to repair, and stated, with great simplicity, that
"the foundations were giving way,"--a significant remark, which the
meeting, though held in a grave place, received with shouts of laughter.
Such a statement may well be taken as symbolical of the condition of the
Establishment, when liberal criticism, represented by Colenso, Stanley,
Jowett, Baden Powell, and a respectable minority, is silently crumbling
the underpinning, while the full service is intoned above and the
pampered ceremonial swells the aisles.

If the opponents of liberal thinking ever bring an action against a
prominent dissenter from their views, the Privy Council gets rid of the
case by deciding it upon the purely technical position of the
Church,--as in the case of Dr. Williams, whose offence was the
publication of his Essay on Bunsen, and Mr. Wilson, whose essay was
entitled "Séances Historiques de Genève--The National Church." The
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council decide that they have no power
to define what is true and what is false doctrine, but only what has
been established to be the law of the Church upon the true and legal
construction of her Articles and Formularies.

I. The Church does not require her clergy to believe in the inspiration
of _all_ portions of the Scriptures.

II. Nor that the Atonement operates by _substitution_ of Christ's
suffering for our sins.

III. Nor that the phrase "everlasting fire," in the Athanasian Creed, is
to be received as a final and hopeless statement.

As a specimen of the popular element which is at work among the
uneducated classes to make the people itself of England its real church,
it is worth while to observe what Mr. Spurgeon is doing. His chapel
stands on the southern side of the Thames, between the Victoria and
Surrey Theatres, where the British subject is served with the domestic
and nautical drama. On those stages the language struts and aspirates,
and the effects are borrowed from Vauxhall and Cremorne for plays which
are constructed to hold the greatest possible amount of cockneyism and
grotesqueness, with the principal object of showing how villany and
murder are uniformly overcome by virtue, whose kettle sings upon the hob
above a pile of buttered muffins at last; and the pit, which came in for
a shilling, pays the extra tribute of a tear. These shop-keepers of the
Surrey side sit on Sunday beneath Mr. Spurgeon's platform, whose early
preaching betrayed the proximity of the theatres, but was for that very
reason admirably seasoned to attract his listeners. If he ever did slide
down the rail of his pulpit-stairs, as reported, in order to dramatize
the swift descent of the soul into iniquity, and then painfully climb up
again to show its difficult return, the action was received, doubtless,
in its full ethical import, and shook the suburban heart. His blunt and
ordinary language, sinning frequently against taste, and stooping
sometimes to be coarse, was the very vehicle to take his hearers up at
the pit-door, theatrical or theological, and send them in wholesomer
directions. It was a fortunate--his co-religionists would say
providential--adaptation of an earnest and religious man to the field of
his labor. For, as time passed, the phrases and demeanor of his
preaching improved,--their absurdities have, no doubt, been caricatured
by the London press,--and the temper of the man was more plainly
observed to be sincere, fervent, and devoted to a certain set of
religious preconceptions. The want of culture and of general
intelligence was not so lamentable in such a neighborhood. He led, by
many lengths, the Victoria and Surrey stage. If he had more deeply
reflected upon the subjects which he handled like a simple-hearted boy,
he would have failed to keep four thousand men and women warm in the
hollow of his hand from Sunday to Sunday, for a dozen years, and to
organize their whole moral and religious activity in forms that are
admirably adapted to carry on the work of popular dissent.

His audience represents the district, and is an advertisement of the
kind of spiritual instruction which it needs and gets. Not many large
heads sit in the pews; narrowness, unreflecting earnestness, and healthy
desires are imprinted upon the faces upturned towards his clear and
level delivery. He is never exactly vapid, and he never soars. His
theology is full of British beer; but the common-sense of his points and
illustrations relative to morals and piety is a lucid interval by which
the hearers profit. They follow his textual allusions in their little
Bibles, and devoutly receive the crude and amusing interpretations as
utterances of the highest exegetical skill. But their faces shine when
the discourse moralizes; it seems to take them by the button, so
friendly it is,--but it looks them closely in the eye, without heat and
distant zeal, with great, manly expostulation, rather, and half-humorous
argument, that sometimes make the tears stand upon the lids. The florid
countenances become a shade paler with listening, the dark complexions
glow with a brooding religiosity. It is plain that he has a hungry
people, and feeds them with what suits their frames the best. His clear
voice, well fuelled by a full, though rather flabby frame, rolls into
all the galleries and corners of the vast building without effort; his
gestures are even and well balanced; and you are, in fact, surprised to
see how good a natural orator he is. You went to hear him, expecting to
find some justification for the stories which impute to him a low and
egotistic presence, and a delivery that depends upon broadness for its
effects. But he appears unpretending, in spite of the satisfied look
which he casts around the congregation when he first steps to the
railing of the platform. He is evidently conscious that he owns the
building and the audience; but, content with that, he makes no attempt
to put them in his pocket; on the contrary, he almost instantly becomes
seriously engaged in transferring into them his lesson for the day. His
style of extemporaneous speaking is conversational,--the better English
suspect all other styles,--and this of itself shows what improvement has
taken place in the Surrey region. If at first he indulged in rant, he
has now subsided into an even vein; he puts things plumply, and tells
his feelings gravely, and makes his points without quackery. So it is
plain that when he gives notice of a contribution for his college, in
which young men are trained for the ministry, and states simply, in
justification, that one hundred and fifty have already left it, and are
now engaged in preaching the dissenting word, he is to be regarded as
one of the decided influences which are now at work to bring the people
up to self-consciousness, self-respect, and political importance.

It is very characteristic that the National Church is called an
Establishment,--in other words, something that stays where it was put
some time ago. The thing which ought to move first, and move
continually through all the avenues of the public life, to keep them
clear of the obstructions of ignorance and superstition, and prevent the
great travel and intercourse of thought from stagnating, is the thing in
England which is most unwilling to stir. Already a fearful accumulation
of passengers and vehicles, whose patience is nearly exhausted, is
anxious to be let through in time to keep appointment with the world's
grave business. Young thoughts are hurrying to be indorsed; mature paper
dreads to be protested; the hour of the world's liberal exchange is
about to strike. Depend upon it, at the critical moment, when the
pressure in the rear becomes the most emphatic, the people in the
omnibus will have to get out and assist the passengers in drawing it to
one side, where it will remain a long time unmolested.

But the first thing which you say concerning the men and institutions of
England is, that they are established. In America some things are
finished before they are done; but there are no tottering
trestle-bridges in the routes of English enterprise to let the
travellers through. When a business firm becomes fairly built up, it
lasts a hundred years or more. Shop-signs are not taken down except by
the weather; new fronts grow so slowly along the ancient streets that
they appear to be deposited by secretion, like corals and shells. I took
a book to a printer, and found he was the grandson of the man who
published "Junius" in 1769, doing business in the same dingy court and
office, with the old regularity and deliberation. When I said, that, for
want of time, I should have to risk formidable errata and print at the
rate of sixty-four pages a day, he plainly suspected me of derangement
and of a desire to impart my condition to his machinery. On repeating it
with calmness, he set it down for Yankee braggadocio, and assured me
that not an author in England could print at that rate. Then he went to
work. They detest being hurried, but their latent momentum is very
great. Limited suffrage and many administrative abuses will feel it
soon, as similar things have felt it before.

But you are deceived at first, and anticipate deterioration rather than
improvement for the people of England. The city of London, with its two
and a half millions of inhabitants, looks like a huge stone that has
been pried over a sweet well; nobody need expect to draw water there any
more; fresh ones must be dug, we say, in America, in Russia, to reach
primitive human nature again, and set it free to make the wilderness
blossom. London looks as if it had slowly grown from the soil and the
climate, like a lichen that clings closely to its rocky site. The heavy,
many-storied buildings of Portland stone are blackened by the smoke till
they appear more like quarries then habitations; the swarms of human
beings look ephemeral as moths. The finest architecture becomes in a few
years indistinguishable, and delicate ornamentation is as much
superfluous as among the weather-stained cliffs and boulders of the
coast. Monumental inscriptions are smutted and half-obliterated, but the
scurf protects the monument. Under the huge pile of St. Paul's the
ceaseless traffic of human passions passes as through a defile of the
hills. When the lights spring forth towards evening, and sparkle on the
great dull masses, it seems as if the buildings had been there forever,
and forever would be, endowed with some elemental process which puts
forth the lighting. Newgate itself, without windows towards the street,
a huge angle of dead walls, with heavy iron fetters suspended over the
gateways, and statues so blackened in their niches as to dispel the
illusion that they ever did or could suggest humanity, is a settled
gloom in the midst of the city, like the thought of a discouraged and
defeated man. It has a terrible suggestion that crime is established in
London,--immutable methods of being guilty and of being condemned--all
old, old, and irrepealable.

From Primrose Hill, beyond Regent's Park, and towards the open country,
the profile of the city can be seen at one view, as it emerges from the
smoke, is heavily described athwart it, and plunges into it again, like
a great, silent feature of the earth itself, lifted in an atmosphere
whose density seems to be a part of the antiquity. Hidden in that smoke
the streets roll night and day, like great arteries, to feed, replace,
repair, business, pleasure, and misery, but to change it no more than
the blood changes the tricks of an old brain or the settled beating of a
stubborn heart.

These are some of the physical aspects which seduce a traveller into the
impression that the vigor and glory of England have culminated, and
would fall apart sooner than take on new forms or yield to the moulding
power of popular ideas.

The impression is deepened by the feeling of hostility to American
institutions, and by the special dislike of the North, which the past
four years have betrayed. The commercial and ruling classes had been
skilfully prepared, by applications of Southern sentiment, for the
declaration of neutrality, which was supposed to contain the triple
chance of destroying a dangerous republic, of securing unlimited
supplies of cotton by free-trade, and of erecting in the South an
oligarchic form of government. Under the circumstances, they felt that
neutrality was a kind of merit in them, and a magnanimity which the
declining North ought to have hailed with enthusiasm, as it showed that
England scorned to take a more deadly advantage of our perilous
position. This anti-Northern feeling is, and always has been, confined
to the Tory classes, in and out of the Government, to the rich and their
dependants, to the confirmed High-Churchmen. Even an American resident,
if he was wealthy, and liked the Church of England, and had settled down
into a British country-seat with British ways of living, would be sure
to misrepresent the North, to be pleased at its defeats and annoyed by
its successes, partly from commercial and partly from pro-slavery
considerations. The America which he remembered, and regretted that he
could not still be proud of, was the America where Pierce and Buchanan
were Presidents, where Jefferson Davis and John B. Floyd were
Secretaries of War. He had, in short, become a Tory; for Toryism is
regard for usages at the expense of men. He and the English Tory desired
the triumph of Slavery, because it was the best thing for the negro, and
the quietest thing for trade and government. The only difference between
them is, that he would own slaves, if he had an opportunity, while the
Englishman would not, partly because his own servants are so excellent.
But both of them would subscribe to the Boston "Courier." The English
Tory hates to have the poor classes of London use the railways on the
Lord's Day, to go and find God's beauty in the Crystal Palace and the
daisy-haunted fields. One of the most striking spectacles in London is
found on Sunday, by standing on some bridge that spans the Thames, to
watch the little river-steamers, black with human beings, that shoot
like big water-bugs from the piers every five minutes, and fussily elbow
their way down-stream to various places of resort. On that day people
cluster like bees all over the omnibuses, till the vehicle looks like a
mere ball of humanity stuck together, rolling down to some
excursion-train. This is a bitter sight to an old-fashioned
Churchman.[A] The American Tory will hate _any_ day that releases the
poor and the oppressed into God's glorious liberty. One of the most
worthy and offensive men you can meet in London is the American Tory of
this description: worthy, because honest and clean and free from vice;
offensive, because totally destitute of republican principle. If
stripped of his wealth, he might become a rich man's invaluable flunky,
and carry the decorous prayer-book to church, bringing up the rear of
the family with formalism. Toryism has a profound respect for external
godliness, and remembers that the Southerner sympathizes with bishops,
who, like Meade of Virginia, preach from the text, "Servants, obey your
masters," and, like Polk of Louisiana, convert old sermons upon the
divine sanction of Slavery into cartridge-paper. We must recollect, too,
that a good many educated Englishmen dislike republican institutions
because they have identified the phrase with all the atrocious things
which successive pro-slavery administrations have conceived and
perpetrated; for the Englishman is dull at understanding foreign
politics, and reads the "Times," though he strongly avers that he is not
influenced by it. An administration appears to an Englishman to be the
country; he has not yet heard an authoritative interpretation of
republicanism, for a Washington cabinet has not till lately spoken the
mind of the common people. But when he understands us better he will
dread us all the more, because the people in all countries speak the
same language in expressing the same wants; and when universal suffrage
puts universal justice on its throne in America, injustice will
everywhere uneasily await the ballot which shall place it in the
minority. The dislike of the English Tory is already passing into this
second stage, when his hope of a dissolved Union gives place to his
dread of a regenerated country that hastens to propagate its best ideas.

There were three elements in this anti-Northern feeling. First, a
sympathy with the smaller and feebler party. This is a trait which puts
the English people by the side of the Turk in the Crimea, the Circassian
in the Caucasus, the Pole, the Dane,--which inspired Milton's famous
letter, in the name of Cromwell, that espoused the cause of the
Waldenses. In fact, wherever the smaller and weaker party has no
relations with England, the country hurries to protect it. But where, as
in the case of the Irish, the Sepoy, the New-Zealander, the Caffre, and
the Chinese, England's interest is touched by the objections of people
to her own harsh and inveterate rule, she has no magnanimity, and
forgets the sentiments of her nobler minds. The same Cromwell who
threatened Europe in behalf of the Waldenses contrived the massacre of
the Irish at Drogheda. So when sympathy with the distant South
harmonized with dread of the North, she was willingly misled by Southern
agents to see a war of conquest and aggression.

The second element is a fear of the ultimate consequences of a Union
reconstructed without Slavery; for then Mr. Bright may argue in favor of
universal suffrage, uninterrupted by allusions to the arrogance and
coarseness, the boastful and aggressive spirit belonging to a
pro-slavery America. "Why do you desire the dissolution of the Union?"
asked one Englishman of another. "Oh, I have no reason, except that the
Americans are so bounceable I want to see them humbled." But we were the
weakest when Slavery made us so loud-mouthed and vaporing; we shall be
strongest when the cause of our boasting has disappeared. When a country
is fully conscious of the principles that belong to it, and sees them
cleansed with her children's blood, through eyes that stand full with
tears, she will invite, but no longer threaten; and the flag which she
once waved in the face of all mankind to exasperate will rain persuasion
as often as it is unfurled.

But it will be a long time before the Englishman appreciates the altered
condition of this country and resigns his prejudices, in consequence of
another element in this un-American feeling, namely, insular ignorance.
Among the contraband articles which are with difficulty smuggled into
any point of the English coast is an accurate knowledge of the polity
and condition of another country. Indifference is the coastguard which
protects, without moving, every inlet and harbor. The Englishman is
surprised, if all the world is not intimately acquainted with the
British Constitution, which is not a written document, but a practical
result that appears in all the administrative forms of the country, and
can be studied only on the spot; but he will not take the trouble to
inquire into the relation which the separate States bear to the Federal
government; and he seems prevented by some congenital deficiency from
understanding how the latter is the direct result of the independence of
the former. The question he asks most frequently is, "Why has not an
independent State the right to secede?" He is infected by nature with
Mr. Calhoun's fallacy. You cannot make a Tory understand that powers are
derived from the consent of the governed, and that the consent is itself
an institution. "What becomes of State rights?" he asks. And when you
reply, that the concentred function of each State is contained within a
diffused popular will whose centre is at Washington, and that
thirty-four concentrations of this kind are nothing more than
thirty-four general conveniences, he takes you slowly by the button,
looks pityingly in your face, and says, "That is a Northern crotchet,
which this civil war has come to cure," and then he leaves you. It is in
vain that you shout after him, "That is a Northern principle, which this
war has come to confirm": he was out of hearing before he left. You feel
that you are a stranger in the house of your own mother. You walk about
among these slow, good-natured men, with plump boys' faces and men's
chests, and hear them speak your language without your sense. They have
a limited one, like their monarchy. How admirably it keeps the square
miles of their own island! how shockingly it tends the acres of Ireland!
how haughtily it ignored and trampled upon the instincts of the Hindoo!
how unwilling it is to see a difference between the circumstances of
Australia and those of England! How it blundered into a neutrality which
was a recognition of infamy! This is the distance which Toryism spreads
between the mother country and our own.

But this must not be accepted as a final statement of the prospects of
England, or of its relation to America. There is, in the first place, a
great popular sympathy with the North, and it prophesies the future
condition of England. When you use the phrase, "people of England,"
understand that the Toryism which governs England is left out. Bigoted
Churchmen, who are afraid that the island will drag its anchor because
Bishop Colenso notices some errors in the Pentateuch,--shifty
politicians, like Russell and Palmerston,--sour ones, like
Roebuck,--scandalous ones, like Lindsay,--and conservatives, like Cecil
and Gladstone, now make all the political blunders which they call
governing England. Their constituents are two thirds of the merchants,
nearly all the literary men, nearly all the clergymen, half the
University fellows and professors. But the people of England have not
yet been mentioned. They govern England at this moment, and yet John
Bright sits almost alone for them in Parliament; John Stuart Mill,
Professors Cairnes, Newman, Goldwin Smith, are almost their only
powerful writers. The people of England put the broad arrow of their
Queen upon the Rebel rams. They stay at home, and by taking the penny
papers slowly undermine the "Times." They have defeated every attempt to
organize a party for Southern recognition, by simply staying away from
the public meetings which the sympathizers called. Once they uttered
their opinion by the lips of starving operatives, when the distress in
the manufacturing districts was deepest, and capitalists were chary of
their aid. The Southern agent was busy then, in all the towns and
villages where the misery dwelt. "You are starving."--"Yes."--"And it
is for want of cotton."--"So it seems."--"Well, do you mean to sit here?
Come out in great force, as in the old Chartist times; tell the
manufacturer and the minister to break that blockade and let bread into
the mouths of your little ones." And the answer was, "We prefer that
they should starve." Again and again, the answer was, "We would rather
starve." And this haggard patience was saving the manufacturer himself
from ruin, who had been engaged in over-manufacturing, till his
warehouses groaned with an enormous stock which the cotton blockade
enabled him to work off. Great fortunes have been made in this way,
while the operative slowly went to rags, road-mending, and the
poor-rates. In London, hard upon midnight, I have often been attracted
by the sound of street-music to a little group, in the centre of which
stood half a dozen pallid and threadbare men, playing gentle tunes upon
the faithful instruments which clung to their sad fortunes. And on a
square of canvas, lighted by a lantern, or set in the flaring gas, I
have read, to the sound of these paupers' music, the story of America:
"Lancashire Weavers out of Work," "Poor Operatives' Band,--a penny, if
you please." That music keeps the heart of England quiet while your
cannons roar. It is the pulse of the people of England, responding in
the faint distance to the throb of victory.

Another sight which can be seen by day in London streets belongs also to
the people of England. When there was a dearth of troops during the
Crimean War, the coast forts were stripped of their garrisons, and there
was a call made by Government for volunteers to fill their places.
Citizens came forward and manned the forts. This was the origin
of the volunteer force of England, which has grown to be very
formidable,--since jealousy of France, dread of invasion, and the need
of troops for India have always deterred the Government from recalling
the arms which it first put into the hands of the people. The force now
comprises infantry, cavalry, light and heavy artillery, organized like
the regular army, and under the control of the Horse Guards. Rifle-corps
and target-practice have become a mania. The Government encourages it by
magnificent reviews and prizes for the best shooting, utterly
unconscious that Government itself may one day be the target. But a
bloody revolution can hardly occur again in England. It will only be
necessary, at some critical moment, for the London volunteers to march
as far as Charing-Cross on their way towards Parliament and the Palace.
The concession would be there before them.

Mr. Holyoake, who is one of the most vigorous champions of free thought
and popular rights in England, says,--"Revolution is no longer necessary
in English politics. Our wise and noble forefathers, of those old times
of which modern radicals in many towns know too little, laid broad
foundations of freedom in our midst. It only needs that we build upon
these, and the English educated classes, who always move in the grooves
of precedent, will acquiesce with a reasonable readiness."[B]

The feeling of the radical class of English workmen is elsewhere
illustrated by Mr. Holyoake with a story from the Allendale mining
district. "Four miners published a volume of poems. One of these four in
his poem talks of tyranny falling at a moment's notice. Tyranny is not
in such a hurry. A 'voice of thunder' is to proclaim its doom. Alas, it
is the voice of steady intelligent purpose, much more difficult to
elicit, and not that of 'thunder,' which is to accomplish that. The poet
of course has a vision about the 'equal share' which the fall of tyranny
is to end in. The 'equal share' system would not last a day, as
everybody who reflects knows, and would give endless trouble to renew it
every morning."[C]

It is a striking characteristic of English Toryism, that it gives way
just in time. Every reform has hitherto been granted as it was on the
point of being extorted. Official carriages roll over the very spot
where Charles I. dropped his self-willed head; Lady Macbeth might wash
her hands as soon as the English people their memories of the civil
bloodstain. Toryism knows one thing well: that no water-pipes can be
made strong enough to withstand the sudden stoppage of a long column of
water. They will burst and overflow. No matter what material may be in
motion, if the motion be suddenly arrested, heat, in a direct ratio to
the motion, is developed. A decided popular tendency will never be
peremptorily stopped in England.

It is therefore a grand sight to an American, when the well-appointed
companies of London riflemen march up Fleet Street and the Strand,
through Temple-Bar, that bars nothing any longer, and stands there a
decaying symbol of Toryism itself. The brass bands may play, "Britannia
rules the Waves," or "God save the Queen," but to the American ear they
sound, "The Waves rule Britannia," "God save the Common People!" Every
shouldered musket shall be a vote; the uniform shall represent community
of interest and sentiment. The rhythm of the living column is the march
of England's steady justice into coal-mines and factories, Church and

For this reason we ought to cultivate pacific relations with the
Government of England. Beware lest the question of the Alabama break
loose to prey upon the true commerce of mankind! A war would put back
the people of England for fifty years. When England is at war, the
people are apt to rally to the Government. The island is so small, that,
when a feeling once gets started, it sweeps all men away into an
inconsiderate and almost savage support of the public honor. If Toryism
cannot secure to itself the benefit of a war upon some point that
involves an English prejudice or interest, it cannot prevent the rising
strength of the people from going into opposition. Dissenters of every
class are emptying the pews of the Establishment; liberal thinkers now
hold University fellowships only to avoid surrendering all the ground to
a reactionary party. The abolition of the stamp-tax has freed the daily
press, and expensive newspapers no longer represent little cliques, but
belong to the people of England, who take their pennyworth of honest
criticism every morning; and the best of these newspapers have been for
three years on the side of Northern republicanism. This is the instinct
of human nature, which knows its rights and hungers to possess them.

We are maintaining half a million of men in the field, half a million
outlets of our heart's blood, because we believe that inclusion is
better than exclusion. The nation's instinct for that truth has gone
into camp. It is a belief that the life of the Republic depends upon
including every State, and including every citizen, and including every
emigrant, and including every slave, in the right to live, labor, and be
happy, and excluding none. We feel that the blood we lose in fighting
for that plain maxim of republican economy will make again fast enough
when the maxim has prevailed. The weaver of Lancashire, who plays out
his hunger in London streets, and our seamen who make the weaver wait
while they watch three thousand miles of seaboard, are both listening to
the rote of the same great truth, as it dashes on the shores of Time,
and brings bracing air to the people who are sick with waiting. If we
are gaining battles because we love the rights of the common people, our
success will include the English weaver, Dissenters will build churches
on our corner-stone of Liberty, the taxed will borrow our ballot-boxes
to contain their votes, and none shall be excluded but the betrayers of


[A] Mr. Holyoake, in an article upon the condition of the lead-miners of
Middlesborough, says, while urging the need of excursions and some forms
of recreation,--"The rough, uncultivated workman is driven to seek in
beer and licentiousness that recreation which a wise piety ought to
provide for him amid the refining scenes of Nature. If excursions were
possible and encouraged, the wife must go as well as the husband; and if
the mother went, the children would go; and if the children went, it
would be impossible to take them in rags and dirt. The pride of the
father would be awakened. His pipe and pot would often be laid upon the
shelf, and the proceeds spent in Sunday clothes for the children. The
steamboat and excursion-train are as great moralizers in their way as
the church and the preacher. We call the attention of the British
Association to this matter, for here their influence would bring about
an improvement. They will send a board of geologists to examine the
condition of the earth of Cleveland, which can very well take care of
itself. Let them send a board of their eminent physicians to look after
the condition of the people."

[B] From an admirable oration, delivered at Rochdale, Feb. 2, 1864, upon
the political services and career of the late Alderman Livesey.

[C] From a very lively and instructive report of a visit of the British
Association, in 1863, to Mr. Beaumont's lead mines at Allenheads, fifty
miles from Newcastle.


People sometimes talk about the quiet of the country. I should like to
know where they find it. I never saw any in this part of the world. The
country seems to me to be the place of all places where everything is
going on. Especially in Spring one becomes almost distracted. What is
Spring in the city? Dead bricks under your feet; dead rocks all around
you. There are beautiful things in the shop-windows, but they never do
anything. It is just the same as it was yesterday and as it will be
to-morrow. I suppose a faint sense of warmth and fragrance does
settle down into the city's old cold heart, and at a few
breathing-holes--little irregular patches, lovely, but minute, called
"Central Park," or "Boston Common"--Nature comes up to blow. And there
are the Spring bonnets. Still, as a general thing, I should not think it
could make much difference whether it were June or January.

But Spring in the country,--O season rightly named!--a goddess-queen
glides through the heavens and the earth, and all that is therein
springs up to meet her and do obeisance. We, gross and heavy, blind and
deaf, are slow to catch the flutter of her robes, the music of her
footfall, the odor of her breath; the shine of her far-off coming. We
call it cold and Winter still. We huddle about the fires and wonder if
the Spring will never come; and all the while, lo, the Spring is here!
Ten thousand watching eyes, ten thousand waiting ears, laid along the
ground, have signalled the royal approach. Ten thousand times ten
thousand voices sound the notes of preparation. Everywhere there is
hurrying and scurrying. Every tiny, sleeping germ of animal and
vegetable life springs to its feet, wide awake, and girded for the race.
Now you must be wide awake too, or you will be ignominiously left behind
among the baggage.

The time of the singing of birds is come, and the time of the cackling
of homely, honest barn-yard fowls, who have never had justice done them.
Why do we extol foreign growths and neglect the children of the soil?
Where is there a more magnificent bird than the Rooster? What a lofty
air! What a spirited pose of the head! Note his elaborately scalloped
comb, his stately steppings, the lithe, quick, graceful motions of his
arching neck. Mark his brilliant plumage, smooth and lustrous as satin,
soft as floss silk. What necklace of a duchess ever surpassed in beauty
the circles of feathers which he wears, layer shooting over layer, up
and down, hither and thither, an amber waterfall, swift and soundless as
the light, but never disturbing the matchless order of his array? What
plume from African deserts can rival the rich hues, the graceful curves,
and the palm-like erectness of his tail? All his colors are tropical in
depth and intensity. With every quick motion the tints change as in a
prism, and each tint is more splendid than the last; green more
beautiful than any green, except that of a duck's neck; brown
infiltrated with gold, and ranging through the whole gamut of its
possibilities. I am not sure that this last is correct in point of
expression, but it is correct in point of sense, as any one who ever saw
a red rooster will bear witness.

Hens are not intrinsically handsome, but they abundantly prove the truth
of the old adage, "Handsome is that handsome does." Lord Kaimes
describes one kind of beauty as that founded on the relations of
objects. And I am sure that the relation of a hen to a dozen fair,
white, pure eggs, and the relation of those eggs to puddings and
custards, and the twenty-five cents which they can have for the asking,
make even an ungainly hen, like many heroines in novels, "not beautiful,
but very interesting." "Twenty thousand dollars," said a connoisseur in
such matters, "is a handsome feature in any lady's face." And the
"cut-cut-cut-ca-D-A-H-cut" of a hen, whose word is as good as her bond
for an egg a day, is a handsome feather in any bird's coat. Once,
however, this trumpet of victory deceived me, though by no fault of the
hen's. I heard it sounding lustily, and I ransacked the barn on tiptoe
to discover the new-made nest and the exultant _mater-familias_. But
instead of a white old hen with yellow legs, who had laid her master
many eggs, there, on a barrel, stood brave Chanticleer, cackling away
for dear life,--Hercules holding the distaff among his Omphales!
Now--for there are many things to be learned from hens--mark the
injustice of the tyrant man. From time immemorial, girls--at least
country girls--have been taught that

    "A whistling girl and a crowing hen
    Always come to some bad end";

but not a word is said about a cackling rooster! Worse still, a crowing
hen is so rare a thing that its very existence is problematical. I never
heard of one out of that couplet. I have made diligent inquiry, but I
have not been able to find any person who had heard, or who had ever
seen or heard of any one who had heard, a crowing hen. But these very
hands have fed, these very eyes seen, and these ears heard a cackling
rooster! Where is manly impartiality, not to say chivalry? Why do men
overlook the crying sins of their own sex, and expend all their energies
in attempting to eradicate sins which never existed in the other?

I have lived among hens lately, and I know all about them. They are just
like people. Not a few only, but the whole human race, are

Hens are fond of little mysteries. With tons of hay at their disposal,
they will steal a nest in a discarded feeding-trough. With nobody in the
world to harbor an evil thought against them, they will hide under the
corn-stalks as carefully as if a sheriff were on their track. They will
not go to their nests while you are about, but tarry midway and meditate
profoundly on fixed fate, free-will, foreknowledge absolute, till you
are tired of watching and waiting, and withdraw. No, you did not know it
all before. The world is in a state of Cimmerian darkness regarding
hens. There were never any chickens hatched till three weeks from a week
before Fast Day. How should you, my readers, know anything about them?
Be docile, and I will enlighten you.

Hens must have a depression where the bump of locality should be, for
they have no manner of tenderness for old haunts. "Where are the birds
in last year's nests?" queries the poet; but he might have asked quite
as pertinently, "Where are the birds in last month's nests?" Echo, if
she were at all familiar with the subject, would reply, "The birds are
all right, but where are the nests?" Hens very sensibly decide that it
is easier to build a new house than to keep the old one in order; and
having laid one round of eggs, off they go to erect, or rather to
excavate, another dwelling. You have scarcely learned the way to their
nook above the great beam when it is abandoned, and they betake
themselves to a hole at the very bottom of the haystack. I wish I could
tell you a story about a Hebrew prophet crawling under a barn after
hen's eggs, and crawling out again from the musty darkness into sweet
light with his clothes full of cobwebs, his eyes full of dust, his hands
full of eggs, to find himself winking and blinking in the midst of a
party of ladies and gentlemen who had come lion-hunting from a farre
countrie. I cannot tell you, because it would be a breach of confidence;
but I am going to edit my Sheikh's Life and Letters, if I live long
enough, and he does not live too long, and then you shall have the whole
story, with names, dates, and costumes.

Another very singular habit hens have, of dusting themselves. They do
not seem to care for bathing, like canary-birds; but in warm afternoons,
when they have eaten their fill, they like to stroll into the highway,
where the dust lies ankle-deep in heaps and ridges, and settle down and
stir and burrow in it till it has penetrated through all their inmost
feathers, and so filled them, that, when they arise and shake
themselves, they stand in a cloud of dust. I do not like this habit in
the hens; yet I observe how a correspondence exists in all the
Vertebrata; for do not fine ladies similarly dust themselves? They do
not, indeed, sit in the road _à la Turque_. They box up the dust, and
take it to their dressing-rooms, and, because Nature has not provided
them with feathers, ingenuity more than supplies the deficiency with the
softest of white down brushes, that harbor and convey the coveted dust.
I doubt not through the races one resembling purpose runs; and many a
stately matron and many a lovely maiden might truly say unto the hen,
"Thou art my sister."

Did I say I knew all about hens? The half was not told you, for I am
wise about chickens too. I know their tribe from "egg to bird," as the
country people say, when they wish to express the most radical, sweeping
acquaintance with any subject,--a phrase, by the way, whose felicity is
hardly to be comprehended till experience has unfolded its meaning.

When hens have laid a certain number of eggs,--twelve or twenty,--they
evince a strong disposition, I might almost say a determination, to
sit.[D] In every such case, it is plain that they ought to be allowed to
sit. It is a violation of Nature to souse them in cold water in order to
make them change their minds; and I believe, with Marcus Antoninus, that
nothing is evil which is according to Nature. But people want eggs, and
they do not care for Nature; and the consequence is, that hens are
obliged to undergo "heroic treatment" of various kinds. Sometimes it is
the cold bath; sometimes it is the hospital. One I tied to the bottom of
a post of the standards; but, eager to escape, and ignorant of the
qualities of cord, she flew up over the top rail, and, the next time I
entered the barn, presented the unpleasing spectacle of a dignified and
deliberate fowl hanging in mid-air by one leg. Greatly alarmed, I
hurried her down. Life was not extinct, except in that leg. I rubbed it
tenderly till warmth was restored, and then it grew so hot that I feared
inflammation would set in, and made local applications to reduce the
tendency, wondering in my own mind whether, in case worse should come to
worst, she could get on at all with a Palmer leg. The next morning the
question became unnecessary, as she walked quite well with her own. The
remaining hens were put in hospital till they signified a willingness to
resume their former profitable habits,--except one who was arbitrarily
chosen to be foster-mother of the future brood. Fifteen eggs, fair and
fresh, reserved for the purpose, I counted out and put into her nest;
and there she sat day after day and all day long, with a quietness, a
silent, patient persistence, which I admired, but could not in the least
imitate; for I kept continually poking under her and prying her up to
see how matters stood. Many hens would have resented so much
interference, but she knew it was sympathy, and not malice; besides, she
was very good-natured, and so was I, and we stood on the best possible
footing towards each other. A. G. says, "A hen's time is not much to
her"; and in this case his opinion was certainly correct.

One morning I thought I heard a faint noise. Routing out the good old
creature, that I might take observations, eggs still, and no chickens,
were discernible, but the tiniest, little, silvery, sunny-hearted chirp
that you ever heard, inside the eggs, and a little, tender pecking from
every imprisoned chick, standing at his crystal door, and, with his
faint, fairy knock, knock, knock, craving admission into the great
world. Never can I forget or describe the sensations of that moment;
and, as promise rapidly culminated in performance,--as the eggs ceased
to be eggs, and analyzed themselves into shattered shells and chirping
chickens,--it seemed as if I had been transported back to the beginning
of creation. Right before my eyes I saw, in my hands I held, the mystery
of life. These eggs, that had been laid under my very eyes as it were,
that I had my own self hunted and found and confiscated and
restored,--these eggs that I had broken and eaten a thousand times, and
learned of a surety to be nothing but eggs,--were before me now; and,
lo, they were eyes and feathers and bill and claws! Yes, little
puff-ball, I saw you when you were hard and cold and had no more life
than a Lima bean. I might have scrambled you, or boiled you, or made a
pasch-egg of you, and you would not have known that anything was
happening. If you had been cooked then, you would have been only an
omelet; now you may be a fricassee. As I looked at the nest, so lately
full only of white quiet, now swarming with downy life, and vocal with
low, soft music,

    "I felt a newer life in every gale."

Oh, no one can tell, till he has chickens of his own, what delicious
emotions are stirred in the heart by their downy, appealing tenderness!

Swarming, however, as the nest seemed, it soon transpired that only
seven chickens had transpired. Eight eggs still maintained their
integrity. I remarked to the hen, that she would better keep on awhile
longer, and I would take the seven into the house, and provide for them.
She assented, having, justly enough, all confidence in my sagacity; and
I put them into a warm old worsted hood, and brought them into the
house. But the hood was not a hen, though it was tucked around them
almost to the point of suffocation; and they filled the house with
dolorous cries,--"yapping" it is called in the rural districts. Nothing
would soothe them but to be cuddled together in somebody's lap, and
brooded with somebody's hand. Then their shrill, piercing shrieks would
die away into a contented chirp of heartfelt satisfaction. I took a
world of comfort in those chickens,--it is so pleasant to feel that you
are really making sentient beings happy. The tiny things grew so
familiar and fond in a few hours that they could hardly tell which was
which,--I or the hen. They would all fall asleep in a soft, stirring
lump for five seconds, and then rouse up, with no apparent cause, but as
suddenly and simultaneously as if the drum had beat a reveille, and go
foraging about in the most enterprising manner. One would snap at a
ring, under the impression that it was petrified dough, I suppose; and
all the rest would rush up determinedly to secure a share in the prize.
Next they would pounce upon a button, evidently thinking it curd; and
though they must have concluded, after a while, that it was the hardest
kind of coagulated milk on record, they were not restrained from
renewing the attack in squads at irregular intervals. When they first
broke camp, we put soaked and sweetened cracker into their bills; but
they developed such an appetite, that, in view of the high price of
sugar, we cut off their allowance, and economized on Indian meal and
bread-water. Every night they went to the hen, and every morning they
came in to me; and still Dame Partlett sat with stolid patience, and
still eight eggs remained. I concluded, at length, to let the eggs take
their chance with another hen, and restore the first to freedom and her
chickens. But just as I was about to commence operations, some one
announced, that, if eggs are inverted during the process of incubation,
the chickens from them will be crazy. Appalled at the thought of a brood
of chickens laboring under an aberration of mind, yet fired with the
love of scientific investigation, I inverted one by way of experiment,
and placed it in another nest. The next morning, when I entered the
barn, Biddy stretched out her neck, and declared that there was no use
in waiting any longer, and she was determined to leave the place, which
she accordingly did, discovering, to my surprise, two little dead,
crushed, flattened chickens, Poor things! I coaxed them on a shingle,
and took them into the house to show to a person whose name has been
often mentioned in these pages, and who, in all experimental matters,
considers my testimony good for nothing without the strongest
corroborative evidence. Notice now the unreasoning obstinacy with which
people will cling to their prejudices in the face of the most palpable
opposing facts.

"Where did these come from?" I asked.

"Probably the hen trod on them and killed them," he said.

"But there were seven whole eggs remaining, and the insane one was in
another nest."

"Well, he supposed some other hen might have laid in the nest after the
first had begun to sit. They often did."

"No, for I had counted them every day."

Here, then, was an equation to be produced between fifteen original eggs
on one side, and seven whole eggs, seven live chickens, two dead
chickens, and another egg on the other. My theory was, that two of the
eggs contained twins.

"But no," says Halicarnassus,--"such a thing was never known as two live
chickens from one egg.

"But these were dead chickens," I affirmed.

"But they were alive when they pecked out. They could not break the
shell when they were dead."

"But the two dead chickens may have been in the same shell with two live
ones, and, when the live ones broke the shell, the dead ones dropped


"But here are the facts, Mr. Gradgrind,--seven live chickens, two dead
chickens, seven whole eggs, and another egg to be accounted for, and
only fifteen eggs to account for them."

Yet, as if a thing that never happened on our farm is a thing that never
can happen, oblivious of the fact that "a pair of chickens" is a common
phrase enough,--simply because a man never saw twin chickens, he
maintains that there cannot be any such thing as twin chickens. This,
too, in spite of one egg I brought in large enough to hold a brood of
chickens. In fact, it does not look like an egg; it looks like the keel
of a man-of-war.

The problem remains unsolved. But never, while I remember my addition
table, can you make me believe that seven whole----But the individual
mentioned above is so sore on this point, that, the moment I get as far
as that, he leaves the room, and my equation remains unstated.

There is a great deal of human nature in hens. They have the same
qualities that people have, but unmodified. A human mother loves her
children, but she is restrained by a sense of propriety from tearing
other mothers' children in pieces. A hen has no such checks; her
motherhood exists without any qualification. Her intense love for her
own brood is softened by no social requirements. If a poor lost waif
from another coop strays into her realm, no pity, no sympathy springing
from the memory of her own offspring, moves her to kindness; but she
goes at it with a demoniac fury, and would peck its little life out, if
fear did not lend it wings. She has a self-abnegation great as that of
human mothers. Her voracity and timidity disappear. She goes almost
without food herself, that her chicks may eat. She scatters the dough
about with her own bill, that it may be accessible to the little bills,
or, perhaps, to teach them how to work. The wire-worms, the bugs, the
flies, all the choice little tidbits that her soul loves, she divides
for her chicks, reserving not a morsel for herself. All their gambols
and pranks and wild ways she bears with untiring patience. They hop up
by twos and threes on her back. They peck at her bill. One saucy little
imp actually jumped up and caught hold of the little red lappet above
her beak, and, hanging to it, swung back and forth half a dozen times;
and she was evidently only amused, and reckoned it a mark of precocity.

Yet, with all her intense, absorbing parental love, she has very serious
deficiencies,--deficiencies occasioned by the same lack of modification
which I have before mentioned. Devoted to her little ones, she will
scratch vigorously and untiringly to provide them food, yet fails to
remember that they do not stand before her in a straight line out of
harm's way, but are hovering around her on all sides in a dangerous
proximity. Like the poet, she looks not forward nor behind. If they are
beyond reach, very well; if they are not, all the same; scratch,
scratch, scratch in the soil goes her great, strong, horny claw, and up
flies a cloud of dust, and away goes a poor unfortunate, whirling
involuntary somersets through the air without the least warning. She is
a living monument of the mischief that may be done by giving undue
prominence to one idea. I only wonder that so few broken heads and
dislocated joints bear witness to the falseness of such philosophy. I am
quite sure, that, if _I_ should give the chickens such merciless
impulses, they would not recover from the effects so speedily. Unlike
human mothers, too, she has no especial tenderness for invalids. She
makes arrangements only for a healthy family. If a pair of tiny wings
droop, and a pair of tiny legs falter, so much the worse for the poor
unlucky owner; but not one journey the less does Mother Hen take. She is
the very soul of impartiality; but there is no cosseting. Sick or well,
chick must run with the others, or be left behind. Run they do, with a
remarkable uniformity. I marvel to see the perfect understanding among
them all. Obedience is absolute on the one side, and control on the
other, and without a single harsh measure. It is pure Quaker discipline,
simple moral suasion. The specks understand her every word, and so do
I--almost. When she is stepping about in a general way,--and hens always
step,--she has simply a motherly sort of cluck, that is but a general
expression of affection and oversight. But the moment she finds a worm
or a crumb or a splash of dough, the note changes into a quick, eager
"Here! here! here!" and away rushes the brood pell-mell and topsy-turvy.
If a stray cat approaches, or danger in any form, her defiant, menacing
"C-r-r-r-r!" shows her anger and alarm.

See how, in Bedford jail, John Bunyan turned to good account the lessons
learned in barn-yards. "'Yet again,' said he, 'observe and look.' So
they gave heed and perceived that the hen did walk in a fourfold method
towards her chickens. 1. She had a _common call_, and that she hath all
day long; 2. She had a _special call_, and that she had but sometimes;
3. She had a _brooding note_; and, 4. She had an _outcry_. 'Now,' said
he, 'compare this hen to your king, and these chickens to his obedient
ones. For, answerable to her, himself has his methods which he walketh
in towards his people: by his _common call_ he gives nothing; by his
_special call_ he always has something to give; he has also a _brooding
voice_ for them that are under his wing; and he has an _outcry_ to give
the alarm when he seeth the enemy come. I chose, my darlings, to lead
you into the room where such things are, because you are women, and they
are easy for you.'" Kind Mr. Interpreter!

To personal fear, as I have intimated, the hen-mother is a stranger; but
her power is not always equal to her pluck. One week ago this very
day,--ah, me! this very hour,--the cat ran by the window with a chicken
in her mouth. Cats are a separate feature in country establishments. In
the city I have understood them to lead a nomadic, disturbed, and
somewhat shabby life. In the country they attach themselves to special
localities and prey upon the human race. We have three steady and
several occasional cats quartered upon us. One was retained for the name
of the thing,--called derivatively Maltesa, and Molly "for short." One
was adopted for charity,--a hideous, saffron-hued, forlorn little
wretch, left behind by a Milesian family, called, from its color,
Aurora, contracted into Rory O'More. The third was a fierce
black-and-white unnamed wild creature, of whom one never got more than a
glimpse in her savage flight. Cats are tolerated here from a tradition
that they catch rats and mice, but they don't. We catch the mice
ourselves and put them in a barrel, and put a cat in after them; and
then she is frightened out of her wits. As for rats, they will gather
wherever corn and potatoes congregate, cats or no cats. It is said in
the country, that, if you write a polite letter to rats, asking them to
go away, they will go. I received my information from one who had tried
the experiment, or known it to be tried, with great success. Standing
ready always to write a letter on the slightest provocation, you may be
sure I did not neglect so good an opportunity. The letter acknowledged
their skill and sagacity, applauded their valor and their perseverance,
but stated, that, in the present scarcity of labor, the resident family
were not able to provide more supplies than were necessary for their own
immediate use and for that of our brave soldiers, and they must
therefore beg the Messrs. Rats to leave their country for their
country's good. It was laid on the potato-chest, and I have never seen a
rat since!

While I have been penning this quadrupedic episode, you may imagine
Molly, formerly Maltesa, as Kinglake would say, bearing off the chicken
in triumph to her domicile. But the alarm is given, and the whole
plantation turns out to rescue the victim or perish in the attempt.
Molly takes refuge in a sleigh, but is ignominiously ejected. She rushes
_per saltum_ under the corn-barn, and defies us all to follow her. But
she does not know that in a contest strategy may be an overmatch for
swiftness. She is familiar with the sheltering power of the elevated
corn-barn, but she never conjectures to what base uses a clothes-pole
may come, until one plunges into her sides. As she is not a St. Médard
Convulsionist, she does not like it, but strikes a bee-line for the
piazza, and rushes through the lattice-work into the darkness
underneath. We stoop to conquer, and she hurls Greek fire at us from her
wrathful eyes, but cannot stand against a reinforcement of poles which
vex her soul. With teeth still fastened upon her now unconscious victim,
she leaves her place of refuge, which indeed was no refuge for her, and
gallops through the yard and across the field; but an unseen column has
flanked her, and she turns back only to fall into the hands of the main
army,--too late, alas! for the tender chick, who has picked his last
worm and will never chirp again. But his death is speedily avenged.
Within the space of three days, Molly, formerly Maltesa, is taken into
custody, tried, convicted, sentenced, remanded to prison in an old
wagon-box, and transported to Botany Bay, greatly to the delight of Rory
O'More, formerly Aurora, who, in the presence of her overgrown
contemporary, was never suffered to call her soul her own, much less a
bone or a crust. Indeed, Molly never seemed half so anxious to eat,
herself, as she was to bind Rory to total abstinence. When a plate was
set for them, the preliminary ceremony was invariably a box on the ear
for poor Rory, or a grab on the neck, from Molly's spasmodic paw, which
would not release its hold till armed intervention set in and enforced a
growling neutrality. In short, like the hens, these cats held up a
mirror to human nature. They showed what men and women would be, if they
were--cats; which they would be, if a few modifying qualities were left
out. They exhibit selfishness and greed in their pure forms, and we see
and ought to shun the unlovely shapes. Evil propensities may be hidden
by a silver veil, but they are none the less evil and bring forth evil
fruit. Let cats delight to snarl and bite, but let men and women be
generous and beneficent.

Little chickens, tender and winsome as they are, early discover the same
disposition. When one of them comes into possession of the fore-quarter
of a fly, he does not share it with his brother. He does not even
quietly swallow it himself. He clutches it in his bill and flies around
in circles and irregular polygons, like one distracted, trying to find
a corner where he can gormandize alone. It is no matter that not a
single chicken is in pursuit, nor that there is enough and to spare for
all. He hears a voice we cannot hear, telling him that the Philistines
be upon him. And every chicken snatches his morsel and radiates from
every other as fast as his little legs can carry him. His selfishness
overpowers his sense,--which is, indeed, not a very signal victory, for
his selfishness is very strong and his sense is very weak. It is no
wonder that Hopeful was well-nigh moved to anger, and queried, "Why art
thou so tart, my brother?" when Christian said to him, "Thou talkest
like one upon whose head is the shell to this very day." To be compared
to a chicken is disparaging enough; but to be compared to a chicken so
very young that he has not yet quite divested himself of his shell must
be, as Pet Marjorie would say, "what Nature itself can't endure." A
little chicken's greedy crop blinds his eyes to every consideration
except that of the insect squirming in his bill. He is beautiful and
round and full of cunning ways, but he has no resources for an
emergency. He will lose his reckoning and be quite out at sea, though
only ten steps from home. He never knows enough to turn a corner. All
his intelligence is like light, moving only in straight lines. He is
impetuous and timid, and has not the smallest presence of mind or
sagacity to discern between friend and foe. He has no confidence in any
earthly power that does not reside in an old hen. Her cluck will he
follow to the last ditch, and to nothing else will he give heed. I am
afraid that the Interpreter was putting almost too fine a point upon it,
when he had Christiana and her children "into another room, where was a
hen and chickens, and bid them observe awhile. So one of the chickens
went to the trough to drink, and every time she drank she lift up her
head and her eyes towards heaven. 'See,' said he, 'what this little
chick doth, and learn of her to acknowledge whence your mercies come, by
receiving them with looking up.'" Doubtless the chick lift her eyes
towards heaven, but a close acquaintance with the race would put
anything but acknowledgment in the act. A gratitude that thanks Heaven
for favors received and then runs into a hole to prevent any other
person from sharing the benefit of those favors is a very questionable
kind of gratitude, and certainly should be confined to the bipeds that
wear feathers.

Yet, if you take away selfishness from a chicken's moral make-up, and
fatuity from his intellectual, you have a very charming little creature
left. For, apart from their excessive greed, chickens seem to be
affectionate. They have sweet social ways. They huddle together with
fond caressing chatter, and chirp soft lullabies. Their toilet
performances are full of interest. They trim each other's bills with
great thoroughness and dexterity, much better indeed than they dress
their own heads,--for their bungling, bungling little claws make sad
work of it. It is as much as they can do to stand on two feet, and they
naturally make several revolutions when they attempt to stand on one.
Nothing can be more ludicrous than their early efforts to walk. They do
not really walk. They sight their object, waver, balance, decide, and
then tumble forward, stopping all in a heap as soon as the original
impetus is lost, generally some way ahead of the place to which they
wished to go. It is delightful to watch them as drowsiness films their
round, bright, black eyes, and the dear old mother croons them under her
ample wings, and they nestle in perfect harmony. How they manage to
bestow themselves with such limited accommodations, or how they manage
to breathe in a room so close, it is difficult to imagine. They
certainly deal a staggering blow to our preconceived notions of the
necessity of oxygen and ventilation, but they make it easy to see whence
the Germans derived their fashion of sleeping under feather-beds. But
breathe and bestow themselves they do. The deep mother-heart and the
broad mother-wings take them all in. They penetrate her feathers, and
open for themselves unseen little doors into the mysterious, brooding,
beckoning darkness. But it is long before they can arrange themselves
satisfactorily. They chirp, and stir, and snuggle, trying to find the
warmest and softest nook. Now an uneasy head is thrust out, and now a
whole tiny body, but it soon reënters in another quarter, and at length
the stir and chirr grow still. You see only a collection of little legs,
as if the hen were a banyan-tree, and presently even they disappear, she
settles down comfortably, and all are wrapped in a slumberous silence.
And as I sit by the hour, watching their winning ways, and see all the
steps of this sleepy subsidence, I can but remember that outburst of
love and sorrow from the lips of Him who, though He came to earth from a
dwelling-place of ineffable glory, called nothing unclean because it was
common, found no homely detail too trivial or too homely to illustrate
the Father's love, but from the birds of the air, the fish of the sea,
the lilies of the field, the stones in the street, the foxes in their
holes, the patch on a coat, the oxen in the furrow, the sheep in the
pit, the camel under his burden, drew lessons of divine pity and
patience, of heavenly duty and delight. Standing in the presence of the
great congregation, seeing, as never man saw, the hypocrisy and the
iniquity gathered before Him,--seeing too, alas! the calamities and the
woe that awaited this doomed people, a god-like pity overbears His
righteous indignation, and cries out in passionate appeal, "O Jerusalem,
Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are
sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together,
even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"

       *       *       *       *       *

The agriculturist says that women take care of young chickens much
better than men. I do not know how that may be, but I know that my
experiments with chickens have been attended with a success so brilliant
that unfortunate poultry-fanciers have appealed to me for assistance. I
have even taken ailing chickens from the city to board. A brood of
nineteen had rapidly dwindled down to eleven when it was brought to me,
one even then dying. His little life ebbed away in a few hours; but of
the remaining ten, nine, now in the third week of their abode under my
roof, have recovered health, strength, and spirits, and bid fair to live
to a good old age, if not prematurely cut off. One of them, more feeble
than the others, needed and received especial attention. Him I tended
through dreary days of east wind and rain in a box on the mantel-piece,
nursing him through a severe attack of asthma, feeding and amusing him
through his protracted convalescence, holding him in my hand one whole
Sunday afternoon to relieve him of home-sickness and hen-sickness, and
being rewarded at last by seeing animation and activity come back to his
poor sickly little body. He will never be a robust chicken. He seems to
have a permanent distortion of the spine, and his crop is one-sided; and
if there is any such thing as blind staggers, he has them. Besides, he
has a strong and increasing tendency not to grow. This, however, I
reckon a beauty rather than a blemish. It is the one fatal defect in
chickens that they grow. With them, youth and beauty are truly
inseparable terms. The better they are, the worse they look. After they
are three weeks old, every day detracts from their comeliness. They lose
their plump roundness, their fascinating, soft down, and put out the
most ridiculous little wings and tails and hard-looking feathers, and
are no longer dear, tender chicks, but small hens,--a very uninteresting
Young America. It is said, that, if you give chickens rum, they will not
grow, but retain always their juvenile size and appearance. Under our
present laws it is somewhat difficult, I suppose, to obtain rum, and I
fear it would be still more difficult to administer it. I have concluded
instead to keep some hen sitting through the summer, and so have a
regular succession of young chickens. The growth of my little patient
was not arrested at a sufficiently early stage to secure his perpetual
good looks, and, as I intimated, he will never, probably, be the
Windship of his race; but he has found his appetite, he is free from
acute disease, he runs about with the rest, under-sized, but bright,
happy, and enterprising, and is therefore a well-spring of pleasure.
Indeed, in view of the fact that I have unquestionably saved his life,
we talk seriously of opening a _Hôtel des Invalides_, a kind of
Chicken's Home, that the benefits which he has received may be extended
to all his unfortunate brethren who stand in need.


[D] I say _sit_ out of regard to the proprieties of the occasion; but I
do not expose myself to ridicule by going about among the neighbors and
talking of a _sitting_ hen! Everywhere, but in the "Atlantic," hens


    "The rest is silence."--HAMLET.


    The message of the god I seek
      In voice, in vision, or in dream,--
    Alike on frosty Dorian peak,
      Or by the slow Arcadian stream:
    Where'er the oracle is heard,
      I bow the head and bend the knee;
    In dream, in vision, or in word,
      The sacred secret reaches me.


    Athwart the dim Trophonian caves,
      Bat-like, the gloomy whisper flew;
    The lisping plash of Paphian waves
      Bathed every pulse in fiery dew:
    From Phoebus, on his cloven hill,
      A shaft of beauty pierced the air,
    And oaks of gray Dodona still
      Betrayed the Thunderer's presence there.


    The warmth of love, the grace of art,
      The joys that breath and blood express,
    The desperate forays of the heart
      Into an unknown wilderness,--
    All these I know: but sterner needs
      Demand the knowledge which must dower
    The life that on achievement feeds,
      The grand activity of power.


    What each reveals the shadow throw
      Of something unrevealed behind;
    The Secret's lips forever close
      To mock the secret undivined:
    Thence late I come, in weary dreams
      The son of Isis to implore,
    Whose temple-front of granite gleams
      Across the Desert's yellow floor.


    Lo! where the sand, insatiate, drinks
      The steady splendor of the air,
    Crouched on her heavy paws, the Sphinx
      Looks forth with old, unwearied stare!
    Behind her, on the burning wall,
      The long processions flash and glow:
    The pillared shadows of the hall
      Sleep with their lotus-crowns below.


    A square of dark beyond, the door
      Breathes out the deep adytum's gloom:
    I cross the court's deserted floor,
      And stand within the awful room.
    The priests repose from finished rite;
      No echo rings from pavements trod;
    And sits alone, in swarthy light,
      The naked child, the temple's god.


    No sceptre, orb, or mystic toy
      Proclaims his godship, young and warm:
    He sits alone, a naked boy,
      Clad in the beauty of his form.
    Dark, solemn stars, of radiance mild,
      His eyes illume the golden shade,
    And sweetest lips that never smiled
      The finger hushes, on them laid.


    Oh, never yet in trance or dream
      That falls when crowned desire has died,
    So breathed the air of power supreme,
      So breathed, and calmed, and satisfied!
    Did then those mystic lips unclose,
      Or that diviner silence make
    A seeming voice? The flame arose,
      The deity his message spake:


    "If me thou knowest, stretch thy hand
      And my possessions thou shalt reach:
    I grant no help, I break no band,
      I sit above the gods that teach.
    The latest-born, my realm includes
      The old, the strong, the near, the far,--
    Serene beyond their changeful moods,
      And fixed as Night's unmoving star.


    "A child, I leave the dance of Earth
      To be my hornèd mother's care:
    My father Ammon's Bacchic mirth,
      Delighting gods, I may not share.
    I turn from Beauty, Love, and Power,
      In singing vale, on laughing sea;
    From Youth and Hope, and wait the hour
      When weary Knowledge turns to me.


    "Beneath my hand the sacred springs
      Of Man's mysterious being burst,
    And Death within my shadow brings
      The last of life, to greet the first.
    There is no god, or grand or fair,
      On Orcan or Olympian field,
    But must to me his treasures bear,
      His one peculiar secret yield.


    "I wear no garment, drop no shade
      Before the eyes that all things see;
    My worshippers, howe'er arrayed,
      Come in their nakedness to me.
    The forms of life like gilded towers
      May soar, in air and sunshine drest,--
    The home of Passions and of Powers,--
      Yet mine the crypts whereon they rest.


    "Embracing all, sustaining all,
      Consoling with unuttered lore,
    Who finds me in my voiceless hall
      Shall need the oracles no more.
    I am the knowledge that insures
      Peace, after Thought's bewildering range;
    I am the patience that endures;
      I am the truth that cannot change!"


I went down to the farm-yard one day last month, and as I opened the
gate I heard Pat Malony say, "Biddy! Biddy!" I thought at first he was
calling a hen, but then I remembered the hens were all shut into the
poultry-house that day, to be sorted, and numbered, and condemned: so I
looked again, thinking perhaps Pat's little lame sister had strayed up
from the village and gone into the barn after Sylvy's kittens, or a
pigeon-egg, or to see a new calf; but, to my surprise, I saw a red cow,
of no particular beauty or breed, coming out of the stable-door, looking
about her as if in search of somebody or something; and when Pat called
again, "Biddy! Biddy! Biddy!" the creature walked up to him across the
yard, stretched out her awkward neck, sniffed a little, and cropped from
his hand the wisp of rowen hay he held, as composedly as if she were a
tame kitten, and then followed him all round the yard for more, which I
am sorry to say she did not get. Pat had only displayed her
accomplishments to astonish me, and then shut her in her stall again. I
afterward hunted out Biddy's history, and here it is.

On the Derby turnpike, just before you enter Hanerford, everybody that
ever travelled that road will remember Joseph German's bakery. It was a
red brick house, with dusty windows toward the street, and just inside
the door a little shop, where Mr. German retailed the scalloped cookies,
fluted gingerbread, long loaves of bread, and scantly filled pies, in
which he dealt, and which were manufactured in the long shop, where in
summer you caught glimpses of flour-barrels all a-row, and men who might
have come out of those barrels, so strewed with flour were all their
clothes,--paper-cap and white apron scarcely to be distinguished from
the rest of the dress, as far as color and dustiness went. Here, too,
when her father drove out the cart every afternoon, sitting in front of
the counter with her sewing or her knitting, Dely German, the baker's
pretty daughter, dealt out the cakes and rattled the pennies in her
apron-pocket with so good a grace, that not a young farmer came into
Hanerford with grain or potatoes or live stock, who did not cast a
glance in at the shop-door, going toward town, and go in on his return,
ostensibly to buy a sheet of gingerbread or a dozen cookies for his
refreshment on the drive homeward. It was a curious thing to see how
much hungrier they were on the way home than coming into town. Though
they might have had a good dinner in Hanerford, that never appeased
their appetites entirely, while in the morning they had driven their
slow teams all the way without so much as thinking of cakes and cheese!
So by the time Dely was seventeen, her black eyes and bright cheeks were
well known for miles about, and many a youth, going home to the clean
kitchen where his old mother sat by the fire knitting, or his spinster
sister scolded and scrubbed over his muddy boot-tracks, thought how
pretty it would look to see Dely German sitting on the other side, in
her neat calico frock and white apron, her black hair shining smooth,
and her fresh, bright face looking a welcome.

But Dely did not think about any one of them in a reciprocal manner; she
liked them all pretty well, but she loved nobody except her father and
mother, her three cats and all their kittens, the big dog, the old
horse, and a wheezy robin that she kept in a cage, because her favorite
cat had half killed it one day, and it never could fly any more. For all
these dumb things she had a really intense affection: as for her father
and mother, she seemed to be a part of them; it never occurred to her
that they could leave her, or she them; and when old Joe German died one
summer day, just after Dely was seventeen, she was nearly distracted.
However, people who must work for their living have to get over their
sorrows, practically, much sooner than those who can afford time to
indulge them; and as Dely knew more about the business and the shop than
anybody but the foreman, she had to resume her place at the counter
before her father had been buried a week. It was a great source of
embarrassment to her rural admirers to see Dely in her black frock, pale
and sober, when they went in; they did not know what to say; they felt
as if their hands and feet had grown very big all at once, and as if the
cents in their pockets never could be got at, at which they turned red
and hot and got choked, and went away, swearing internally at their own
blundering shyness, and deeper smitten than ever with Dely, because they
wanted to comfort her so very much, and didn't know how!

One, however, had the sense and simplicity to know how, and that was
George Adams, a fine healthy young fellow from Hartland Hollow, who came
in at least once a week with a load of produce from the farm on which he
was head man. The first time he went after his rations of gingerbread,
and found Dely in her mourning, he held out his hand and shook hers
heartily. Dely looked up into his honest blue eyes and saw them full of

"I'm real sorry for you!" said George, "My father died two years ago."

Dely burst into tears, and George couldn't help stroking her bright hair
softly and saying, "Oh, don't!" So she wiped her eyes, and sold him the
cookies he wanted; but from that day there was one of Dely's customers
that she liked best, one team of white horses she always looked out for,
and one voice that hurried the color into her face, if it was ever so
pale and the upshot of pity and produce and gingerbread was that George
Adams and Dely German were heartily in love with each other, and Dely
began to be comforted for her father's loss six months after he died.
Not that she knew why, or that George had ever said anything to her more
than was kind and friendly, but she felt a sense of rest, and yet a
sweet restlessness, when he was in her thoughts or presence, that
beguiled her grief and made her unintentionally happy: it was the old,
old story; the one eternal novelty that never loses its vitality, its
interest, its bewitching power, nor ever will till Time shall be no

But the year had not elapsed, devoted to double crape and triple
quillings, before Dely's mother, too, began to be consoled. She was a
pleasant, placid, feeble-natured woman, who liked her husband very well,
and fretted at him in a mild, persistent way a good deal. He swore and
chewed tobacco, which annoyed her; he also kept a tight grip of his
money, which was not pleasant; but she missed him very much when he
died, and cried and rocked, and said how afflicted she was, as much as
was necessary, even in the neighbors' opinion. But as time went on, she
found the business very hard to manage; even with Dely and the foreman
to help her, the ledger got all astray, and the day-book followed its
example; so when old Tom Kenyon, who kept the tavern half a mile farther
out, took to coming Sunday nights to see the "Widder German," and
finally proposed to share her troubles and carry on the bakery in a
matrimonial partnership, Mrs. German said she "guessed she would," and
announced to Dely on Monday morning that she was going to have a
step-father. Dely was astonished and indignant, but to no purpose. Mrs.
German cried and rocked, and rocked and cried again, rather more
saliently than when her husband died, but for all that she did not
retract; and in due time she got into the stage with her elderly lover
and went to Meriden, where they got married, and came home next day to
carry on the bakery.

Joe German had been foolish enough to leave all his property to his
wife, and Dely had no resource but to stay at home and endure her
disagreeable position as well as she could, for Tom Kenyon swore and
chewed, and smoked beside; moreover, he drank,--not to real
drunkenness, but enough to make him cross and intractable; worse than
all, he had a son, the only child of his first marriage, and it soon
became unpleasantly evident to Dely that Steve Kenyon had a mind to
marry her, and his father had a mind he should. Now it is all very well
to marry a person one likes, but to go through that ceremony with one
you dislike is more than anybody has a right to require, in my opinion,
as well as Dely's; so when her mother urged upon her the various
advantages of the match, Steve Kenyon being the present master and
prospective owner of his father's tavern, a great resort for
horse-jockeys, cattle-dealers, and frequenters of State and County
fairs, Dely still objected to marry him. But the more she objected, the
more her mother talked, her step-father swore, and the swaggering lover
persisted in his attentions at all times, so that the poor girl had
scarce a half-hour to herself. She grew thin and pale and unhappy
enough; and one day George Adams, stepping in unexpectedly, found her
with her apron to her eyes, crying most bitterly. It took some
persuasion, and some more daring caresses than he had yet ventured on,
to get Dely's secret trouble to light. I am inclined to think George
kissed her at least once before she would tell him what she was crying
about; but Dely naturally came to the conclusion, that, if he loved her
enough to kiss her, and she loved him enough to like it, she might as
well share her troubles, and the consequence was, George asked her then
and there to share his. Not that either of them thought there would be
troubles under that copartnership, for the day was sufficient to them;
and it did not daunt Dely in the least to know that George's only
possessions were a heifer calf, a suit of clothes, and twenty dollars.

About a month after this eventful day, Dely went into Hanerford on an
errand, she said; so did George Adams. They stepped into the minister's
together and were married; so Dely's errand was done, and she rode out
on the front seat of George's empty wagon, stopping at the bakery to
tell her mother and get her trunk: having wisely chosen a day for her
errand when her step-father had gone away after a load of flour down to
Hanerford wharves. Mrs. Kenyon went at once into wild hysterics, and
called Dely a jade-hopper, and an ungrateful child; but not
understanding the opprobrium of the one term, and not deserving the
other, the poor girl only cried a little, and helped George with her
trunk, which held all she could call her own in the world,--her clothes,
two or three cheap trinkets, and a few books. She kissed the cats all
round, hugged the dog, was glad her robin had died, and then said
good-bye to her mother, who refused to kiss her, and said George Adams
was a snake in the grass. This was too much for Dely; she wiped her
eyes, and clambered over the wagon-wheel, and took her place beside
George with a smile so much like crying that he began to whistle, and
never stopped for two miles. By that time they were in a piece of thick
pine woods, when, looking both before and behind to be certain no one
was coming, he put his arm round his wife and kissed her, which seemed
to have a consoling effect; and by the time they reached his mother's
little house, Dely was as bright as ever.

A little bit of a house it was to bring a wife to, but it suited Dely.
It stood on the edge of a pine wood, where the fragrance of the resinous
boughs kept the air sweet and pure, and their leaves thrilled responsive
to every breeze. The house was very small and very red, it had two rooms
below and one above, but it was neater than many a five-story mansion,
and far more cheerful; and when Dely went in at the door, she thought
there could be no prettier sight than the exquisitely neat old woman
sitting in her arm-chair on one side of the fireplace, and her beautiful
cat on the other, purring and winking, while the tea-kettle sang and
sputtered over the bright fire of pine-cones, and the tea-table at the
other side of the room was spread with such clean linen and such shining
crockery that it made one hungry even to look at the brown bread and
butter and pink radishes that were Dely's wedding-supper.

It is very odd how happy people can be, when they are as poor as
poverty, and don't know where to look for their living but to the work
of their own hands. Genteel poverty is horrible; it is impossible for
one to be poor, and elegant, and comfortable; but downright, simple,
unblushing poverty may be the most blessed of states; and though it was
somewhat of a descent in the social scale for Dely to marry a farm-hand,
foreman though he might be, she loved her George so devoutly and
healthily that she was as happy as a woman could be. George's mother,
the sweetest and tenderest mother to him, took his wife to a place
beside his in her heart, and the two women loved each other the more for
this man's sake; he was a bond between them, not a division; hard work
left them no thought of rankling jealousy to make their lives bitter,
and Dely was happier than ever she had thought she should be away from
her mother. Nor did the hard work hurt her; for she took to her own
share all of it that was out of doors and troublesome to the infirmities
of the old lady. She tended the calf in its little log hut, shook down
the coarse hay for its bed, made its gruel till it grew beyond gruel,
then drove it daily to the pasture where it fed, gave it extra rations
of bread and apple-parings and carrot-tops, till the creature knew her
voice and ran to her call like a pet kitten, rubbing its soft, wet nose
against her red cheek, and showing in a dozen blundering, calfish ways
that it both knew and loved her.

There are two sorts of people in the world,--those who love animals, and
those who do not. I have seen them both, I have known both; and if sick
or oppressed, or borne down with dreadful sympathies for a groaning
nation in mortal struggle, I should go for aid, for pity, of the relief
of kindred feeling, to those I had seen touched with quick tenderness
for the lower creation,--who remember that "the whole creation
travaileth in pain together," and who learn God's own lesson of caring
for the fallen sparrow, and the ox that treadeth out the corn. With men
or women who despise animals and treat them as mere beasts and brutes I
never want to trust my weary heart or my aching head; but with Dely I
could have trusted both safely, and the calf and the cat agreed with me.

So, in this happy, homely life, the sweet centre of her own bright
little world, Dely passed the first year of her wedded life, and then
the war came! Dreadful pivot of almost all our late lives! On it also
this rude idyl turned. George enlisted for the war.

It was not in Dely or his mother to stop him. Though tears fell on every
round of his blue socks and sprinkled his flannel shirts
plentifully,--though the old woman's wan and wrinkled face paled and
saddened, and the young one's fair throat quivered with choking sobs
when they were alone,--still, whenever George appeared, he was greeted
with smiles and cheer, strengthened and steadied from this home armory
better than with sabre and bayonet, "with might in the inner man."
George was a brave fellow, no doubt, and would do good service to his
free country; but it is a question with me, whether, when the Lord calls
out his "noble army of martyrs" before the universe of men and angels,
that army will not be found officered and led by just such women as
these, who fought silently with the flesh and the Devil by their own
hearth, quickened by no stinging excitement of battle, no thrill of
splendid strength and fury in soul and body, no tempting delight of
honor or even recognition from their peers,--upheld only by the dull,
recurrent necessities of duty and love.

At any rate, George went, and they stayed. The town made them an
allowance as a volunteer's family; they had George's bounty to begin
with; and a friendly boy from the farm near by came and sawed their
wood, took care of the garden, and, when Dely could not go to pasture
with the heifer, drove her to and fro daily.

After George had been gone three months, Dely had a little baby. Tiny
and bright as it was, it seemed like a small star fallen down from some
upper sky to lighten their darkness. Dely was almost too happy; and the
old grandmother, fast slipping into that other world whence baby seemed
to have but newly arrived, stayed her feeble steps a little longer to
wait upon her son's child. Yet, for all the baby, Dely never forgot her
dumb loves. The cat had still its place on the foot of her bed; and her
first walk was to the barn, where the heifer lowed welcome to her
mistress, and rubbed her head against the hand that caressed her with as
much feeling as a cow can show, however much she may have. And Biddy,
the heifer, was a good friend to that little household, all through that
long ensuing winter. It went to Dely's heart to sell her first calf to
the butcher, but they could not raise it, and when it was taken away she
threw her check apron over her head, and buried her face deep in the
pillow, that she might not hear the cries of appeal and grief her
favorite uttered. After this, Biddy would let no one milk her but her
mistress; and many an inarticulate confidence passed between the two
while the sharp streams of milk spun and foamed into the pail below, as
Dely's skilful hands coaxed it down.

They heard from George often: he was well, and busy with drill and camp
life,--not in active service as yet. Incidentally, too, Dely heard of
her mother. Old Kenyon was dead of apoplexy, and Steve like to die of
drink. This was a bit of teamster's gossip, but proved to be true.
Toward the end of the winter, old Mother Adams slept quietly in the
Lord. No pain or sickness grasped her, though she knew she was dying,
kissed and blessed Dely, sent a mother's message to George, and took the
baby for the last time into her arms; then she laid her head on the
pillow, smiled and drew a long breath,--no more.

Poor Dely's life was very lonely; she buried her dead out of her sight,
wrote a loving, sobbing letter to George, and began to try to live
alone. Hard enough it was! March revenged itself on the past toleration
of winter; snow fell in blinding fury, and drifts hid the fences and
fenced the doors all through Hartland Hollow. Day after day Dely
struggled through the path to the barn to feed Biddy and milk her; and a
warm mess of bread and milk often formed her only meal in that bitter
weather. It is not credible to those who think no more of animals than
of chairs and stones how much society and solace they afford to those
who do love them, Biddy was really Dely's friend. Many a long day passed
when no human face but the baby's greeted her from dawn till dusk, But
the cow's beautiful purple eyes always turned to welcome her as she
entered its shed-door; her wet muzzle touched Dely's cheek with a velvet
caress; and while her mistress drew from the downy bag its white and
rich stores, Biddy would turn her head round, and eye her with such mild
looks, and breathe such fragrance toward her, that Dely, in her solitary
and friendless state, came to regard her as a real sentient being,
capable of love and sympathy, and had an affection for her that would
seem utter nonsense to half, perhaps three quarters, of the people in
this unsentimental world. Many a time did the lonely little woman lay
her head on Biddy's neck, and talk to her about George with sobs and
silences interspersed; and many a piece of dry bread steeped in warm
water, or golden carrot, or mess of stewed turnips and bran flavored the
dry hay that was the staple of the cow's diet. The cat was old now, and
objected to the baby so strenuously that Dely regarded her as partly
insane from age; and though she was kind to her of course, and fed her
faithfully, still a cat that could growl at George's baby was not
regarded with the same complacent kindness that had always blessed her
before; and whenever the baby was asleep at milking-time, Pussy was
locked into the closet,--a proceeding she resented. Biddy, on the
contrary, seemed to admire the child,--she certainly did not object to
her,--and necessarily obtained thereby a far higher place in Dely's
heart than the cat.

As I have already said, Dely had heard of her step-father's death some
time before; and one stormy day, the last week in March, a team coming
from Hanerford with grain stopped at the door of the little red house,
and the driver handed Dely a dirty and ill-written letter from her
mother. Just such an epistle it was as might have been expected from
Mrs. Kenyon,--full of weak sorrow, and entreaties to Dely to come home
and live; she was old and tired, the bakery was coming to trouble for
want of a good manager, the foreman was a rogue, and the business
failing fast, and she wanted George and Dely there: evidently, she had
not heard, when the letter began, of George's departure or baby's birth;
but the latter half said, "Cum, anyway. I want to se the Baby. Ime an
old critur, a sinking into my graiv, and when george cums back from the
wars he must liv hear the rest off his life."

Dely's tender heart was greatly stirred by the letter, yet she was
undecided what to do. Here she was alone and poor; there would be her
mother,--and she loved her mother, though she could not respect her;
there, too, was plenty for all; and if George should ever come home, the
bakery business was just the thing for him,--he had energy and courage
enough to redeem a sinking affair like that. But then what should she do
with the cow? Puss could go home with her; but Biddy?--there was no
place for Biddy. Pasture was scarce and dear about Hanerford; Dely's
father had given up keeping a cow long before his death for that reason;
but how could Dely leave and sell her faithful friend and companion? Her
heart sank at the thought; it almost turned the scale, for one pitiful
moment, against common-sense and filial feeling. But baby
coughed,--nothing more than a slight cold, yet Dely thought, as she had
often thought before, with a quick thrill of terror, What if baby were
ever sick? Seven miles between her and the nearest doctor; nobody to
send, nobody to leave baby with, and she herself utterly inexperienced
in the care of children. The matter was decided at once; and before the
driver who brought her mother's letter had come, on his next journey,
for the answer he had offered to carry, Dely's letter was written,
sealed, and put on the shelf, and she was busy contriving and piecing
out a warm hood and cloak for baby to ride in.

But every time she went to the barn to milk Biddy or feed her, the tears
sprang to her eyes, and her mind misgave her. Never before had the
dainty bits of food been so plentiful for her pet, or her neck so
tenderly stroked. Dely had written to her mother that she would come to
her as soon as her affairs were settled, and she had spoken to Orrin
Nye, who brought the letter, to find a purchaser for her cow.
Grandfather Hollis, who bought Biddy, and in whose farm-yard I made her
acquaintance, gave me the drover's account of the matter, which will be
better in his words than mine. It seems he brought quite a herd of milch
cows down to Avondale, which is twenty miles from Hanerford, and hearing
that Grandfather wanted a couple of cows, he came to "trade with him,"
as he expressed it. He had two beautiful Ayrshires in the lot,--clean
heads, shining skins, and good milkers,--that mightily pleased the old
gentleman's fancy; for he had long brooded over his favorite scheme of a
pure-blooded herd, and the red and white clouded Ayrshires showed
beautifully on his green hillside pastures, and were good stock besides.
But Aaron Stow insisted so pertinaciously that he should buy this red
cow, that the Squire shoved his hat back and put both his hands in his
pockets, a symptom of determination with him, and began to question him.
They fenced awhile, in true Yankee fashion, till at last Grandfather
became exasperated.

"Look here, Aaron Stow!" said he, "what in thunder do you pester me so
about that cow for? She's a good enough beast, I see, for a native; but
those Ayrshires are better cows and better blood, and you know it. What
are you navigating round me for, so glib?"

"Well, now, Squire," returned Aaron, whittling at the gate with sudden
vehemence, "fact is, I've set my mind on your buyin' that critter, an'
you jes' set down on that 'ere milkin'-stool an' I'll tell ye the rights
on 't, though I feel kinder meechin' myself, to be so soft about it as I

"Leave off shaving my new gate, then, and don't think I'm going to trust
a hundred and eighty-five solid flesh to a three-legged stool. I'm too
old for that. I'll sit on the step here. Now go ahead, man."

So Grandfather sat down on the step, and Aaron turned his back against
the gate and kicked one boot on the other. He was not used to narration.

"Well, you know we had a dreadful spell o' weather a month ago, Squire.
There ha'n't never been such a March in my day as this last; an' 't was
worse up our way 'n' 't was here, an' down to Hartland Holler was the
beat of all. Why, it snowed an' it blowed an' it friz till all Natur'
couldn't stan' it no more! Well, about them days I was down to Hartland
Centre a-buyin' some fat cattle for Hanerford market, an' I met Orrin
Nye drivin' his team pretty spry, for he see it was comin' on to snow;
but when he catched sight o' me, he stopped the horses an' hollered out
to me, so I stepped along an' asked what he wanted; an' he said there
was a woman down to the Holler that had a cow to sell, an' he knowed I
was apt to buy cow-critters along in the spring, so he'd spoke about it,
for she was kinder in a hurry to sell, for she was goin' to move. So I
said I'd see to 't, an' he driv along. I thought likely I should git it
cheap, ef she was in a hurry to sell, an' I concluded I'd go along next
day; 't wa'n't more 'n' seven mile from the Centre, down by a piece o'
piny woods, an' the woman was Miss Adams. I used ter know George Adams
quite a spell ago, an' he was a likely feller. Well, it come on to snow
jest as fine an' dry as sand, an' the wind blew like needles, an', come
next day, when I started to foot it down there, I didn't feel as though
I could ha' gone, ef I hadn't been sure of a good bargain; the snow
hadn't driv much, but the weather had settled down dreadful cold; 't was
dead still, an' the air sorter cut ye to breathe it; but I'm naterally
hardy, an' I kep' along till I got there. I didn't feel so all-fired
cold as I hev sometimes, but when I stepped in to the door, an' she
asked me to hev a cheer by the fire, fust I knew I didn't know nothin';
I come to the floor like a felled ox. I expect I must ha' been nigh on
to dead with clear cold, for she was the best part o' ten minutes
bringin' on me to. She rubbed my hands an' face with camphire an' gin me
some hot tea; she hadn't got no sperits in the house, but she did
everything a little woman could do, an' I was warmed through an' through
afore long, an' we stepped out into the shed to look at the cow.

"Well, Squire, I ha'n't got much natur' into me noway, an' it 's well I
ha'n't; but that cow beat all, I declare for 't! She put her head round
the minute Miss Adams come in; an' if ever you see a dumb beast pleased,
that 'ere cow was tickled to pieces. She put her nose down to the
woman's cheek, an' she licked her hands, an' she moved up agin' her an'
rubbed her ear on her,--she all but talked; an' when I looked round an'
see them black eyes o' Miss Adams's with wet in 'em, I 'most wished I
had a pocket-handkercher myself.

"'You won't sell her to a hard master, will you?' says she. 'I want her
to go where she'll be well cared for, an' I shall know where she is; for
if ever things comes right agin, I want to hev her back. She's been half
my livin' an' all my company for quite a spell, an' I shall miss her

"'Well,' says I, 'I'll take her down to Squire Hollis's in Avondale;
he's got a cow-barn good enough for a Representative to set in, an'
clean water, an' chains to halter 'em up with, an' a dry yard where the
water all dreens off as slick as can be, an' there a'n't such a piece o'
land nowhere round for root-crops; an' the Squire he sets such store by
his cows an' things, I've heerd tell he turned off two Irishmen for
abusin' on 'em; an' they has their bags washed an' their tails combed
every day in the year,--an' I don't know but what they ties 'em up with
a blew ribbin.'"

"Get out!" growled Grandfather.

"Can't, jest yet, Squire, not t'll I've done. Anyway, I figgered it off
to her, an' she was kinder consoled up to think on 't; for I told her I
thought likely you'd buy her cow, an' when we come to do the tradin'
part, why, con-found it! she wa'n't no more fit to buy an' sell a
critter than my three-year-old Hepsy. I said a piece back I ha'n't got
much natur', an' a man that trades dumb beasts the biggest part o' the
time hedn't oughter hev; but I swan to man! natur' was too much for me
this time; I couldn't no more ha' bought that cow cheap than I could ha'
sold my old gran'ther to a tin-peddler. Somehow, she was so innocent,
an' she felt so to part with the critter, an' then she let me know 't
George was in the army; an' thinks I, I guess I'll help the Gov'ment
along some; I can't fight, 'cause I'm subject to rheumatiz in my back,
but I can look out for them that can; so, take the hull on 't, long an'
broad, why, I up an' gin her seventy-five dollars for that cow,--an' I'd
ha' gin twenty more not to ha' seen Miss Adams's face a-lookin' arter me
an' her when we went away from the door.

"So now, Squire, you can take her or leave her."

Aaron Stow knew his man. Squire Hollis pulled out his pocket-book and
paid seventy-five dollars on the spot for a native cow called Biddy.

"Now clear out with your Ayrshires!" said he, irascibly. "I'm a fool,
but I won't buy them, too."

"Well, Squire, good day," said Aaron, with a grin.

But I am credibly informed that the next week he did come back with the
two Ayrshires, and sold them to Grandfather, remarking to the farmer
that he "should ha' been a darned fool to take the old gentleman at his
word; for he never knowed a man hanker arter harnsome stock but what he
bought it, fust or last."

Now I also discovered that the regiment George enlisted in was one whose
Colonel I knew well: so I wrote and asked about Sergeant Adams. My
report was highly honorable to George, but had some bad news in it: he
had been severely wounded in the right leg, and, though recovering,
would be disabled from further service. A fortnight after I drove into
Hanerford with Grandfather Hollis, and we stopped at the old bakery. It
looked exquisitely neat in the shop, as well as prosperous externally,
and Dely stood behind the counter with a lovely child in her arms.
Grandfather bought about half a bushel of crackers and cookies, while I
played with the baby. As he paid for them, he said in his kind old voice
that nobody can hear without pleasure,--

"I believe I have a pet of yours in my barn at Avondale, Mrs. Adams."

Dely's eyes lighted up, and a quick flush of feeling glowed on her
pretty face.

"Oh, Sir! you did buy Biddy, then? and you are Squire Hollis?"

"Yes, Ma'am, and Biddy is well, and well cared for, as fat and sleek as
a mole, and still comes to her name."

"Thank you kindly, Sir!" said Dely, with an emphasis that gave the
simple phrase most earnest meaning.

"And how is your husband, Mrs. Adams?" said I.

A deeper glow displaced the fading blush Grandfather had called out, and
her beautiful eyes flashed at me.

"Quite well, I thank you, and not so very lame. And he's coming home
next week."

She took the baby from me, as she spoke, and, looking in its bright
little face, said,--

"Call him, Baby!"

"Pa-pa!" said the child.

"If ever you come to Avondale, Mrs. Adams, come and see my cows," said
Grandfather, as he gathered up the reins. "You maybe sure I won't sell
Biddy to anybody but you."

Dely smiled from the steps where she stood; and we drove away.





I cannot tell why the price of everything we eat or drink or wear has so
much increased during the last year or two. I have heard many reasons
given, and have read of so many more, all differing, as to lead me to
suspect that no one really knows. Yet there is a general, broad
admission that it must in some way be owing to the war, for every one
knows that such enhancement did not previously exist. But among the
strange, the unaccountable, the utterly heartless facts of this eventful
crisis is the reduction of the wages of the sewing-woman, while the cost
of everything necessary to keep her alive is threefold greater than
before. The salaries of clerks have been raised, the wages of the
working-man increased, in some cases doubled, the labor of men in every
department of business is better paid, yet that of the sewing-woman is
reduced in price.

The heartlessness of the fact is equalled only by its strangeness. Every
article of clothing which the sewing-woman makes commands a higher price
than formerly, yet she receives much less for her work than when it sold
for a lower one. And while thus meagrely paid, there has been a demand
for the labor of her hands so urgent that the like was never seen among
us. A customer, in the person of the Government, came into the market
and created a demand for clothing, that swept every factory clear of its
accumulated stock, and bound the proprietors in contracts for more,
which required them to run night and day. All this unexampled product
was to be made up into tents, accoutrements, and army-clothing, and
principally by women. One would suppose, that, with so unusual a call
for female labor, there would be an increase of female wages. It was so
in the case of those who fabricated cannon, muskets, powder, and all
other articles which a government consumes in time of war, and which men
produce: they demanded higher wages for their work, and obtained them:
the increase showing itself to the buyer in the enhanced price of the

This enhancement became contagious: it spread to everything,--doubling
and trebling the price of whatever the community required, except the
single item of the sewing-woman's labor. Had the price of this remained
even stationary, it would have excited surprise; but that her wages
should be cut down at a time when everybody's else went up excited
astonishment among such as became aware of it, while the reduction
coming contemporaneously with an unprecedented rise in the price of all
the necessaries of life overwhelmed this deserving class with
indescribable misery. Multitudes of them gave up the commonest articles
of food,--coffee, tea, butter, and sugar,--and others dispensed even
with many of the actual necessaries. How could they eat butter at sixty
cents a pound, when earning only fifteen cents a day?

Finally the reduction of sewing-women's wages became so shamefully great
as to raise a wailing cry from these poor victims of cupidity, which
attracted public attention. It was shown that as the price of food rose,
their wages went down. In 1861 the sewing-woman received seventeen and a
half cents for making a shirt, sugar being then thirteen cents a pound;
but in 1864, when sugar was up to thirty cents, the price for making a
shirt had been ground down to eight cents! It was nearly the same with
all other articles of her work, as the following list of cruel
reductions in the prices paid at our arsenal and by contractors will


                           _Arsenal._     _Arsenal._    _Contractors._
                             1861.          1864.          1864.
    Shirts,                  17-1/2          15               8
    Drawers,                 12-1/2          10          7 @  8
    Infantry Pantaloons,     42-1/2          27         17 @ 20
    Cavalry Pantaloons,      60              50         28 @ 30
    Lined Blouses,           45              40              20
    Unlined Blouses,         40              35         15 @ 20
    Cavalry Jackets,       1.12-1/2        1.00         75 @ 80
    Overalls,                25              20               8
    Bed Sacks,               20              20               7
    Covering Canteens,        4               2-1/2          --

Here was a state of things wholly without parallel in our previous
social history. On such wages women could not exist; they were the
strongest and surest temptation to the abandonment of a virtuous course
of life. Labor was here evidently cheated of its just reward. The
Government gave out the work by contract at the prices indicated in the
first two columns, and the contractors put it out among the sewing-women
at the inhuman rates set down in the third column. In this wrong the
Government participated; for it reduced its prices to the sewing-women,
while it was constantly increasing those it paid to every other class of
work-people. Even the freedmen on the sea-islands or in the contraband
camps made better wages,--while the liberated negro washer-woman, who
had never been paid wages during a life of sixty years, was suddenly
elevated to a position about the camps which enabled her to earn more,
every day, than thousands of intelligent and exemplary needle-women in

An extraordinary feature of the case was, that, while there was probably
four times as much sewing to be done, there were at least ten times as
many women to do it as before. The condition of things showed that this
must be the fact, because, though the work to be given out was enormous
in amount, yet there was a crowd and pressure to obtain it which was
even greater. I saw this myself on more than one occasion.

While congratulating ourselves that our women have not yet been degraded
to working at coal-mining, dressed in men's attire, or at gathering up
manure in the streets of a great city, we may be sure, that, if, in this
emergency, they were saved from actual starvation, it was not through
any generous, spontaneous outpouring of that sympathy whose fountain is
in the bottom of men's pockets. They pined, and worked, and saved

At last they met together in public, common sufferers under a common
calamity, interchanged their experiences, and mingled their tears. If
the personal history of the pupils in my sewing-school was diversified,
in this assembly the domestic experience of each individual was in
mournful harmony with that of all. The great majority were wives of
soldiers who had gone forth to uphold the flag of our country. Hundreds
of them were clad in mourning,--their husbands had died in
battle,--their remittances of pay had ceased,--their dependence had been
suddenly cut off,--and they were thus thrown back upon the needle, which
they had laid down on getting married. Oh, how many hollow cheeks and
attenuated figures were to be seen in that sad meeting of working-women!
There was the dull eye, the pinched-up face, which betokened absolute
deprivation of necessary food,--yet withal, the careful adjustment of a
faded shawl or dress, the honest pride, even in the depth of misery, to
be at least decent, after the effort to preserve the old gentility had
been found vain.

It was the extraordinary number of the wives and daughters of the killed
and wounded in battle, who, suddenly added to the standing army of
sewing-women, had glutted the labor-market of the city, and whose
impatient necessity for employment had enabled heartless contractors to
cut down the making of a shirt to eight cents. I remember, when the
first rumor of the first battle reached our city, how the news-resorts
were thronged by these women to know whether they had been made widows
or not,--how the crowd pressed up to and surged around the placards
containing the lists of killed and wounded,--how those away off from
these centres of early intelligence waited feverishly for the morning
paper to tell them whether they were to be miserable or happy. I
remember, too, how, as the bloody contest went on, this impatient
anxiety died out,--use seemed to have made their condition a sort of
second nature,--they kept at home, hopeful, but resigned. Alas! how
many, in the end, needed all the resignation that God mercifully extends
to the stricken deer of the great human family!

They came together on the occasion referred to to compare grievances,
and devise whatever poor remedy might be found to be in the power of a
body of friendless needle-women. The straits to which many of these
deserving widows had been reduced were awful. The rich men of my native
city may hang their heads in shame over the recital of sufferings at
their very door. No generous movement had been made by any of them in

One widow, taking out shirts at the arsenal, earned two dollars and
forty cents in two weeks, but was denied permission to take them in when
done, though urgently needing her pay, being told that she would be
making too much money. Another made vests with ten button-holes and
three pockets for fifteen cents, furnishing her own cotton at twenty
cents a spool. A third, whose husband was then in the army, found the
price of infantry-pantaloons reduced from forty-two to twenty-seven
cents,--reduced by the Government itself,--but she made eight pair a
week, took care of five children, and was always on the verge of
starvation. She declared, that, if it were not for her children, she
would gladly lie down and die! A fourth worked for contractors on
overalls at five cents a pair! Having the aid of a sewing-machine, she
made six pair daily, but was the object of insult and abuse from her

The widow of a brave man who gave up his life at Fredericksburg worked
for the Government, and made eight pair of pantaloons a week, receiving
two dollars and sixteen cents for the uninterrupted labor of six days of
eighteen hours each. Another made thirteen pair of drawers for a dollar,
and by working early and late could sometimes earn two dollars in the
week. The wife of another soldier, still fighting to uphold the flag,
worked on great-coats for the contractors at thirty cents each, and
earned eighty cents a week, keeping herself and three children on that!
A wounded hero came home to die, and did so, after lingering six months
dependent on his wife. With six children, she could earn only two
dollars and a quarter a week, though working incessantly. She did
contrive to feed them, but they went barefoot all winter.

An aged woman worked on tents, making in each tent forty-six
button-holes, sewing on forty-six buttons, then buttoning them together,
then making twenty eyelet-holes,--all for sixteen cents. After working a
whole day without tasting food, she took in her work just five minutes
after the hour for receiving and paying for the week's labor. She was
told there was no more work for her. Then she asked them to pay her for
what she had just delivered, but was refused. She told them she was
without a cent, and that, if forced to wait till another pay-day, she
must starve. The reply was, "Starve and be d----d! That is none of my
business. We have our rules, and shall not break them for any ----."

A soldier's wife had bought coal by the bucketful all winter, at the
rate of sixteen dollars a ton, and worked on flannel shirts at a dollar
and thirty cents a dozen. She was never able to eat a full meal, and
many times went to bed hungry. A tailor gave to another sewing-woman a
lot of pantaloons to make up. The cloth being rotten, the stitches of
one pair tore out, but by exercising great care she succeeded in getting
the others made up. When she took them in, he accused her of having
ruined them, and refused to pay her anything. She threatened suit,
whereupon he told her to "sue and be d----d," and finally offered a
shilling a pair, which her necessities forced her to accept. Another
needle-woman worked on hat-leathers at two and a half cents a dozen. She
found her own silk and cotton, and put upwards of five thousand stitches
into the dozen leathers. How could such a slave exist? Her four children
and herself breakfasted on bread and molasses, with malt coffee
sweetened with molasses. They dined on potatoes, and made a quarter peck
serve for three meals!

So much for the mercy of the Government and the conduct of the trade.
Now for the doings of those who claimed to belong to the religious
class. One public praying man paid less than any other contractor, and
frequently allowed his hands to go unpaid for two or three weeks
together. Another would give only a dollar for making thirteen shirts
and drawers, of which a woman could finish but three in a day. One of
those in his employ, becoming weary of such low pay, applied for work at
another tailor's. There she found the inspector cursing an aged woman.
When solicited for work, he told the applicant to "clear out and be
d----d; he didn't want to see anything in bonnet or hoops again that

What but fallen women must some of the subjects of such atrocious
treatment become? It was ascertained from a letter sent by one of this
class, that she had given way under the pressure of starvation. She

"I was once an innocent girl, the daughter of a clergyman. Left an
orphan at an early age, I tried hard to make a living, but, unable to
endure the hard labor and live upon the poor pay I received, I fell into
sin. Tell your public that thousands like me have been driven by want to
crime. Tell them, that, though it is well to save human souls from
pollution, it is better that they shall be kept pure, and know no

Another confessed as much; but how many more were driven to the same
alternative, who remained mute under their shame, no one can tell. Yet
the men who thus drove virtuous women to despair were amassing large
fortunes. Their names appeared in the newspapers as liberal contributors
to every public charity that was started,--to sanitary fairs, to
women's-aid societies, to the sick and wounded soldiers, to everything
that would be likely to bring their names into print. They figured as
respectable and spirited citizens. Of all men they were supremely loyal.
Loyal to what? Not to the cause of poor famishing women, but to their
own interest. Some of them were church-members, famous as class-leaders
and exhorters, powerful in prayer, especially when made in public,
counterparts of the Pharisees of old. Their wives and daughters wore
silk dresses, hundred-dollar shawls, and had boxes at the opera.

What would have been said of this unheard-of robbery by the men who won
victories at Gettysburg and Atlanta, had they known that it was
committed on the wives and mothers whom they had left behind? These
women gave up husbands and sons to fight the battles of the nation,
never dreaming that those who remained at home to make fortunes would
seek to do so by starving them. They considered the first sacrifice
great enough; but here was another. Who but they can describe how
terrible it was?

On this subject employers have generally remained silent, offering few
rebuttals to these charges of cruelty, extortion, and robbery. The
sewing-women and their friends have remonstrated, but the oppressors
have rarely condescended to reply. Even those of the same sex, who have
large establishments and employ numbers of women, have seldom done so.
This silence has been significant of inability, an admission of the
facts alleged.

Philanthropy has not been idle, however, while these impositions on
sewing-women have been practised. Numerous plans for preventing them,
and for otherwise improving the condition of the sex, have been
proposed, some of which have been put into successful operation,--the
object sought for being to diversify employment by opening other
occupations than that of the needle. It is a settled truism, that the
measure of civilization in a nation is the condition of its women. While
heathen and savage, they are drudges; when enlightened by education and
moulded by Christianity, they rise to the highest plane of humanity.
When a Neapolitan woman gave birth to a girl, it was, until very
recently, the custom of the poorer classes to display a black flag from
an upper window of the house, to avoid the unpleasant necessity of
informing inquirers of the sex of the infant. Even at the birth of a
child in the higher ranks, the midwife and physician who are in
attendance never announce to the anxious mother the sex of the newly
born, if a girl, until pressed to disclose it, because a female child is
never welcome.

It is much the fashion of the times to say that the sphere of woman is
exclusively within the domestic circle. It is highly probable that the
great majority desire no wider range; but even in the obscure quietude
of that circle they are subject to a thousand chances. We see what kind
of husbands many women obtain,--and that even the most deserving are at
times overtaken by sickness or poverty, and then are left with no
certain means of living. Poets and novelists may limit their destiny to
that of being beautiful and charming, but the wise and considerate have
long since seen that some comprehensive improvement in their condition
is needed. Their resources must be enlarged and made available. It will
increase their self-respect, and make them spurn dependence on the
charity of friends. I am inclined to think that all true women are
working-women,--at least they would be such, if they could obtain the
proper employment. American girls cannot all become house-servants,
and few of them are willing to be such. Their aspirations are
evidently higher. They have sought the factory, the bindery, the
printing-office,--thus graduating, by force of their own inherent
aptitude for better things, to a higher and more intellectual
occupation, leaving the Irish and Germans in undisputed possession of
the kitchen.

A volume has been printed, giving a list of employments suitable for
women, but meagre in practical suggestions how to secure them. It was
thought that the war would bring about a brisk demand for female labor,
as great armies cannot be collected without causing a corresponding
drain from many occupations into which women would thus find admission.
But the melancholy facts already recited show how fallacious the idea
is, that war can be in any way a blessing to the sex. If some have been
employed in consequence, multitudes who had been previously supported by
their husbands have been compelled to beg for work. The war has
everywhere brought poverty and grief to the humbler classes of American

It is true that in the West, where the foreign population is large, the
German women go into the fields, and plough, and sow, and reap, and
harvest, with all the skill and activity of the men. It is equally true
of other sections of our country, in which no harvests would be
gathered, but for female help. But these are exceptional cases; and
these women can live without working on shirts at five to eight cents

While the distress was greatest in our city, some one advertised for two
men, to be employed in a millinery establishment, who were acquainted
with trimmings, and before the day had passed, sixty applicants had
presented themselves for the situation: the men had not become scarcer.
Another shop, which advertised for three girls, at a dollar and a half a
week, "intelligent, genteel girls," as the advertisement read, was so
overrun before night with applications for even that pitiful
compensation, that the proprietor lost his temper under the annoyance,
and drove many away with insult and abuse. If the war gives employment
to women in the fields, it affords an insufficient amount of it in the

There are more female beggars in our streets, with infants in their
arms, than ever before. The saloons and beer-shops, stripped of their
male bar-tenders, have adopted female substitutes, driven by necessity
to take up with an employment that always demoralizes a woman. The
surgical records of the army show, that, among the wounded brought into
the hospitals, many women have thus been discovered as soldiers. Others
have been detected and sent home, Many of these heroines declared that
they entered the army because they could find no other employment. The
incognito they had preserved was strongly confirmatory of their
truthfulness. These are some of the minor effects of the war upon our
sex. Many have been sadly demoralizing, while probably very few have
been in any way beneficial.

It is one of the curiosities of the study how to improve the condition
of women, that the most eccentric plans have originated with their own
sex. The deportation of girls from England to Australia and other
colonies, where the majority of settlers are single men, is patronized
and presided over by ladies. It has been so extensive as to confer the
utmost benefit on distant settlements, equalizing the disparity of the
sexes, promoting a higher civilization by a proper infusion of female
society, and providing homes for thousands of virtuous, but friendless
and dependent girls, who had found the utmost difficulty in obtaining
even a precarious living. The exodus of American girls from New England
to California, as teachers first and wives afterwards, which some years
ago took place, originated with an American lady, who personally
superintended the enterprise. All through the West there are families
whose mothers are of the same enterprising class, while the South is not
without its representatives. There is a tribe of writers whose study it
is to ridicule and sneer at these humane and truly noble efforts to make
dependent women comfortable; but happily their sarcasm has been

I knew a young girl who was without a single relation in the world, so
far as she was aware. She had been picked up from a curb-stone in the
street, at the foot of a lamp-post, when perhaps only a week old,--her
mother having abandoned her to the charity of the first passer. She was
found by the watchman on his midnight beat, who, having no children,
adopted her as his own. One may feel surprised that foundlings are so
frequently adopted into respectable families, especially when infants of
only a few weeks old. But there are solitary couples whose hearts
instinctively yearn for the possession of children. Providence having
denied them offspring, they fill the void in their affections by taking
to their bosoms the helpless, friendless, and abandoned waifs of others.
Foundlings are preferred, because there is no chance of their
reclamation; the mother never troubles herself to demand possession of
her child; she may remember it, but it is only to rejoice at having cast
it off. The new parents are not annoyed by outside interference. The
foundling grows in their affections; they love it as they would their
own offspring; it cannot be torn away from them.

When only ten years of age, the protectors of the child referred to both
died, and she was turned loose to shift for herself. For three years she
underwent all the hardships incident to changing one bad mistress for
another, being poorly clothed, half fed, her education discontinued,
even the privilege of the Sunday school denied her, a total stranger to
kindness or sympathy.

An agent of a children's-aid society one day saw her washing the
pavement in front of her mistress's house, and being struck by her
shabby dress and evidently uncared-for condition, accosted her and
ascertained the principal facts of her little history. She was of just
the class whom it was the mission of the society to save from the
destitution and danger of a totally friendless position, by sending them
to good homes in the West. Thither she went, liberated from an
uncompensated bondage to the scrubbing-brush and washtub, and was
ushered into a new and joyous existence by the agency of one of the
noblest charities that Christian benevolence ever put it into the human
heart to extend to orphan children. The foundling of the lamp-post, thus
having an opening made for her, improved it and prospered. Out of the
atmosphere of city life, she grew up virtuous and respected. Her true
origin had been charitably concealed; she was known as an orphan; it
would have done no good to have it said that she was a foundling. She
married well, and became the mother of a family.

Hundreds of street-tramping orphan girls, with surroundings more
unfriendly to female purity than those of this foundling, have been
taken from the lowest haunts of a shocking city-life by the same noble
charity, and introduced into peaceful country homes, where they have
grown up to be respectable members of society. In this emigration effort
women have been conspicuous actors. In England they have been equally
prominent in promoting the emigration of nearly half a million of
unmarried females to the various colonies. They publish books, and
pamphlets, and magazines, and newspapers, in advocacy of the movement.
Educated and intellectual ladies leave wealthy homes and accompany their
emigrants on voyages of thousands of miles, to see that they are
comfortably cared for.

It would seem that in the ordering of Divine Providence there will
always be a multitude of women who do not marry. It is shown by the
census of every country in which the population is numbered
periodically, that there is an excess of females. In England there are
thirty women in every hundred who never marry, and there are three
millions who earn their own living. It is there contended that all
effort is improper which is directed toward making celibacy easy for
women, and that marriage, their only true vocation, should be promoted
at any cost, even at that of distributing through the colonies England's
half million of unmarried ones. Some declare that it is impossible to
make the labor of single women remunerative, or their lives free and
happy. But if the occupations of women were raised and diversified as
much as they might be, such impossibility would of itself be impossible.
If it is to be granted that a woman possesses only inferior powers, let
her be taught to use such powers as she has.

I doubt not that He who created woman has some mission, some purpose,
for those who, in His divine ordering, remain single. There is a church
which has taken note of this great fact, and devotes its single women to
cloisters or to hospitals, sometimes to useful objects, sometimes to
improper ones,--but seeing that they are a numerous class, it has
specifically appropriated them. I presume the lesson of a single life,
the necessity of living alone, must be a difficult one to learn. The
heart, the young heart always, is perpetually seeking for something to
love. Amid the duties of the household, around the domestic fireside,
this loving spirit has room for growth, expansion, and intensity. The
soft tendrils which it is ever throwing out find gentle objects to which
they may cling with indissoluble attachment. Solitude is fatal to the
household affections. The single woman lives in a comparative
solitude,--a solitude of the heart.

Yet it cannot be denied that even such hermitesses find compensations in
their retirement. If one resolve to remain single,--and it must require
strength of mind to come to this determination,--it is remarkable how
Nature fits such a woman for a position for which she could not have
been created. She takes her stand with a power of endurance not exceeded
by that of the other sex, and becomes more independent and at ease than
they. Let man's condition be what it may, whether rich or poor, he will
find his home cheerless and uncomfortable without the presence of a
woman. His desolateness at an hotel or boarding-house is proverbial. He
is unceasingly conscious that he has no home. But the single woman can
create one for herself.

Go into the cells of any prison for women, and those who never visited
such abodes will be astonished at the neatness, the order, the
embellishments, which many of them display. The home feeling that seems
to be natural to most of us develops itself here with affecting energy.
No man could surround his penitential cell with graces so profuse and
pleasing as do some of these unfortunate women.

Thus, go where a woman may, a native instinct teaches and qualifies her
to make a home for herself. If single, taste and housewifery are
combined within even the narrow limits of one or two rooms. Her
singleness need not chill the heart,--for there are other things to love
than men. The power to make tender friendships was born with her, and is
part of her nature; nor does it leave her now. She has, moreover, the
proud satisfaction of knowing that she has never lived to tempt others
to an act of sin and shame. But are the men who live equally solitary
lives as guiltless as she?



    The light is fading down the sky,
    The shadows grow and multiply,
      I hear the thrushes' evening song;
      But I have borne with toil and wrong
                   So long, so long!
    Dim dreams my drowsy senses drown,--
    So, darling, kiss my eyelids down!


    My life's brief spring went wasted by,--
    My summer ended fruitlessly;
        I learned to hunger, strive, and wait,--
        I found you, love,--oh, happy fate!--
                   So late, so late!
    Now all my fields are turning brown,--
    So, darling, kiss my eyelids down!


    Oh, blessed sleep! oh, perfect rest!
    Thus pillowed on your faithful breast,
        Nor life nor death is wholly drear,
        O tender heart, since you are here,
                   So dear, so dear!
    Sweet love, my soul's sufficient crown!
    Now, darling, kiss my eyelids down!



Miss Johns meets the new-comer with as large a share of kindness as she
can force into her manner; but her welcome lacks, somehow, the
sympathetic glow to which Adèle has been used; it has not even the
spontaneity and heartiness which had belonged to the greeting of that
worldly woman, Mrs. Brindlock. And as the wondering little stranger
passes up the path, and into the door of the parsonage, with her hand in
that of the spinster, she cannot help contrasting the one cold kiss of
the tall lady in black with the shower of warm ones which her old
godmother had bestowed at parting. Yet in the eye of the Doctor sister
Eliza had hardly ever worn a more beaming look, and he was duly grateful
for the strong interest which she evidently showed in the child of his
poor friend. She had equipped herself indeed in her best silk and with
her most elaborate toilet, and had exhausted all her strategy,--whether
in respect of dress, of decorations for the chamber, or of the profuse
supper which was in course of preparation,--to make a profound and
favorable impression upon the heart of the stranger.

The spinster was not a little mortified at her evident want of success,
most notably in respect to the elaborate arrangements of the chamber of
the young guest, who seemed to regard the dainty hangings of the little
bed, and the scattered ornaments, as matters of course; but making her
way to the window which commanded a view of both garden and orchard,
Adèle clapped her hands with glee at sight of the flaming hollyhocks and
the trees laden with golden pippins. It was, indeed, a pretty scene:
silvery traces of the brook sparkled in the green meadow below the
orchard, and the hills beyond were checkered by the fields of buckwheat
in broad patches of white bloom, and these again were skirted by masses
of luxuriant wood that crowned all the heights. To the eye of Adèle,
used only to the bare hill-sides and scanty olive-orchards of
Marseilles, the view was marvellously fair.

"_Tiens!_ there are chickens and doves," said she, still gazing eagerly
out; "oh, I am sure I shall love this new home!"

And thus saying, she tripped back from the window to where Miss Eliza
was admiringly intent upon the unpacking and arranging of the little
wardrobe of her guest. Adèle, in the flush of her joyful expectations
from the scene that had burst upon her out of doors, now prattled more
freely with the spinster,--tossing out the folds of her dresses, as they
successively came to light, with her dainty fingers, and giving some
quick, girlish judgment upon each.

"This godmother gave me, dear, good soul!--and she sewed this bow upon
it; isn't it coquette? And there is the white muslin,--oh, how
crushed!--that was for my church-dress, first communion, you know; but
papa said, 'Better wait,'--so I never wore it."

Thus woman and child grew into easy acquaintance over the great trunk of
Adèle: the latter plunging her little hands among the silken folds of
dress after dress with the careless air of one whose every wish had been
petted; and the spinster forecasting the pride she would herself take in
accompanying this little sprite, in these French robes, to the house of
her good friends, the Hapgoods, or in exciting the wonderment of those
most excellent people, the Tourtelots.

Meantime Reuben, with a resolute show of boyish indifference, has been
straying off with Phil Elderkin, although he has caught a glimpse of the
carriage at the door. Later he makes his way into the study, where the
Doctor, after giving him kindly reproof for not being at home to welcome
them, urges upon him the duty of kindness to the young stranger who has
come to make her home with them, and trusts that Providence may overrule
her presence there to the improvement and blessing of both. It is, in
fact, a little lecture which the good, but prosy Doctor pronounces to
the boy; from which he slipping away, so soon as a good gap occurs in
the discourse, strolls with a jaunty affectation of carelessness into
the parlor. His Aunt Eliza is there now seated at the table, and Adèle
standing by the hearth, on which a little fire has just been kindled.
She gives a quick, eager look at him, under which his assumed
carelessness vanishes in an instant.

"This is Adèle, our little French guest, Reuben."

The lad throws a quick, searching glance upon her, but is abashed by the
look of half-confidence and half-merriment that he sees twinkling in her
eye. The boy's awkwardness seems to infect her, too, for a moment.

"I should think, Reuben, you would welcome Adèle to the parsonage," said
the spinster.

And Reuben, glancing again from under his brow, sidles along the table,
with far less of ease than he had worn when he came whistling through
the hall,--sidles nearer and nearer, till she, with a coy approach that
seems to be full of doubt, meets him with a little furtive hand-shake.
Then he, retiring a step, leans with one elbow on the friendly table,
eying her curiously, and more boldly when he discovers that her look is
downcast, and that she seems to be warming her feet at the blaze.

Miss Johns has watched narrowly this approach of her two _protégés_,
with an interest quite uncommon to her; and now, with a policy that
would have honored a more adroit tactician, she slips quietly from the

Reuben feels freer at this, knowing that the gray eye is not upon the
watch; Adèle too, perhaps; at any rate, she lifts her face with a look
that invites Reuben to speech.

"You came in a ship, didn't you?"

"Oh, yes! a big, big ship!"

"I should like to sail in a ship," said Reuben; "did you like it?"

"Not very much," said Adèle, "the deck was so slippery, and the waves
were so high, oh, so high!"--and the little maid makes an explanatory
gesture with her two hands, the like of which for grace and
expressiveness Reuben had certainly never seen in any girl of Ashfield.
His eyes twinkled at it.

"Were you afraid?" said he.

"Oh, not much."

"Because you know," said Reuben, consolingly, "if the ship had sunk, you
could have come on shore in the small boats." He saw a merry laugh of
wonderment threatening in her face, and continued authoritatively, "Nat
Boody has been in a sloop, and he says they always carry small boats to
pick up people when the big ships go down."

Adèle laughed outright. "But how would they carry the bread, and the
stove, and the water, and the anchor, and all the things? Besides, the
great waves would knock a small boat in pieces."

Reuben felt a humiliating sense of being no match for the little
stranger on sea topics, so he changed the theme.

"Are you going to Miss Onthank's?"

"_That's_ a funny name," says Adèle; "that's the school, isn't it? Yes,
I suppose I'll go there: you go, don't you?"

"Yes," says Reuben, "but I don't think I'll go very long."

"Why not?" says Adèle.

"I'm getting too big to go to a girls' school," said Reuben.

"Oh!"--and there was a little playful malice in the girl's observation
that piqued the boy.

"Do the scholars like her?" continued Adèle.

"Pretty well," said Reuben; "but she hung up a little girl about as big
as you, once, upon a nail in a corner of the school-room."

"_Quelle bête!_" exclaimed Adèle.

"That's French, isn't it?"

"Yes, and it means she's a bad woman to do such things."

In this way they prattled on, and grew into a certain familiarity: the
boy entertaining an immense respect for her French, and for her
knowledge of the sea and ships; but stubbornly determined to maintain
the superiority which he thought justly to belong to his superior age
and sex.

That evening, after the little people were asleep, the spinster and the
Doctor conferred together in regard to Adèle. It was agreed between them
that she should enter at once upon her school duties, and that
particular inquiry concerning her religious beliefs, particular
instruction on that score,--further than what belonged to the judicious
system of Miss Onthank,--should be deferred for the present. At the same
time the Doctor enjoined upon his sister the propriety of commencing
upon the next Saturday evening the usual instructions in the Shorter
Catechism, and of insisting upon punctual attendance upon the family
devotions. The good Doctor hoped by these appointed means gradually to
ripen the religious sensibilities of the little stranger, so that she
might be prepared for that stern denunciation of those follies of the
Romish Church amid which she had been educated, and that it would be his
duty at no distant day to declare to her.

The spinster had been so captivated by a certain air of modish elegance
in Adèle as to lead her almost to forget the weightier obligations of
her Christian duty toward her. She conceived that she would find in her
a means of recovering some influence over Reuben,--never doubting that
the boy would be attracted by her frolicsome humor, and would be eager
for her companionship. It was possible, moreover, that there might be
some appeal to the boy's jealousies, when he found the favors which he
had spurned were lavished upon Adèle. It was therefore in the best of
temper and with the airiest of hopes (though not altogether spiritual
ones) that Miss Eliza conducted the discussion with the Doctor. In two
things only they had differed, and in this each had gained and each lost
a point. The Doctor utterly refused to conform his pronunciation to the
rigors which Miss Eliza prescribed; for him Adèle should be always and
only Adaly. On the other hand, the parson's exactions in regard to
sundry modifications of the little girl's dress miscarried: the spinster
insisted upon all the furbelows as they had come from the hands of the
French modiste; and in this she left the field with flying colors.

The next day Doctor Johns wrote to his friend Maverick, announcing the
safe arrival of his child at Ashfield, and spoke in terms which were
warm for him, of the interest which both his sister and himself felt in
her welfare. "He was pained," he said, "to perceive that she spoke
almost with gayety of serious things, and feared greatly that her keen
relish for the beauties and delights of this sinful world, and her
exuberant enjoyment of mere temporal blessings, would make it hard to
wean her from them and to centre her desires upon the eternal world.
But, my friend, all things are possible with God: and I shall diligently
pray that she may return to you, in a few years, sobered in mind, and a
self-denying missionary of the true faith."


No such event could take place in Ashfield as the arrival of this young
stranger at the parsonage, without exciting a world of talk up and down
the street. There were stories that she came of a vile Popish family,
and there were those who gravely believed that the poor little creature
had made only a hair-breadth escape from the thongs of the Inquisition.
There were few even of those who knew that she was the daughter of a
wealthy gentleman, now domiciled in France, and an old friend of the
Doctor's, who did not look upon her with a tender interest, as one
miraculously snatched by the hands of the good Doctor from the snares of
perdition. The gay trappings of silks and ribbons in which she paced up
the aisle of the meeting-house upon her first Sunday, under the
patronizing eye of the stern spinster, were looked upon by the more
elderly worshippers--most of all by the mothers of young daughters--as
the badges of the Woman of Babylon, and as fit belongings to those
accustomed to dwell in the tents of wickedness. Even Dame Tourtelot, in
whose pew the face of Miss Almira waxes yellow between two great saffron
bows, commiserates the poor heathen child who has been decked like a
lamb for the sacrifice. "I wonder Miss Eliza don't pull off them ribbons
from the little minx," said she, as she marched home in the
"intermission," locked commandingly to the arm of the Deacon.

"Waäl, I s'pose they're paid for," returns the Deacon.

"What's that to do with it, Tourtelot?"

"Waäl, Huldy, we do pootty much all we can for Almiry in that line: this
'ere Maverick, I guess, doos the same. What's the odds, arter all?"

"Odds enough, Tourtelot," as the poor man found before bedtime: he had
no flip.

The Elderkins, however, were more considerate. Very early after her
arrival, Adèle had found her way to their homestead, under the guidance
of Miss Eliza, and by her frank, demonstrative manner had established
herself at once in the affections of the whole family. The Squire,
indeed, had rallied the parson not a little, in his boisterous, hearty
fashion, upon his introduction of such a dangerous young Jesuit into so
orthodox a parish.

At all which, so seriously uttered as to take the Doctor fairly aback,
good Mrs. Elderkin shook her finger warningly at the head of the Squire,
and said, "Now, for shame, Giles!"

Good Mrs. Elderkin was, indeed, the pattern woman of the parish in all
charitable deeds,--not only outside, (where so many charitable natures
find their limits,) but indoors. With gentle speech and gentle manner,
she gave, maybe, her occasional closet-counsel to the Squire; but most
times her efforts to win him to a more serious habit of thought are
covered under the shape of some charming plea for a kindness to herself
or the "dear girls," which she knows that he will not have the hardihood
to resist. And even this method she does not push too far,--making it a
cardinal point in her womanly strategy that his home shall be always
grateful to the Squire,--that he shall never be driven from it by any
thought or suspicion of her exactions. Thus, if Grace--who is her oldest
daughter, and almost woman grown--has some evening appointment at Bible
class, or other such gathering, and, the boys being out, appeals timidly
to the father, good Mrs. Elderkin says,--

"I am afraid your papa is too tired, Grace; do let him enjoy himself."

At which the Squire, shaking off his lethargy, says,--

"Get your things, child!"

And as he goes out with Grace, he is rewarded by one of those tender
smiles upon the lip of the mother which captivated him twenty years
before, and which still make his fireside the most cherished spot in the

No wonder that the little half-orphaned creature, Adèle, with her
explosive warmth of heart, is kindly received among the Elderkins. Phil
was some three years her senior, a ruddy-faced, open-hearted fellow, who
had been well-nurtured, like his two elder brothers, but in whom a
certain waywardness just now appearing was attributed very much, by the
closely observing mother, to the influence of that interesting, but
mischievous boy, Reuben. Phil was the superior in age, indeed, and in
muscle, (as we may find proof,) but in nerve-power the more
delicate-featured boy of the parson outranked him.

Rose Elderkin was a year younger than the French stranger, and a
marvellously fair type of New England girl-beauty: light brown hair in
unwieldy masses; skin wonderfully clear and transparent, and that
flushed at a rebuke, or a run down the village street, till her cheeks
blazed with scarlet; a lip delicately thin, but blood-red, and
exquisitely cut; a great hazel eye, that in her moments of glee, or any
occasional excitement, fairly danced and sparkled with a kind of insane
merriment, and at other times took on a demure and pensive look, which
to future wooers might possibly prove the more dangerous of the two. The
features named make up a captivating girlish beauty, but one which,
under a New England atmosphere, is rarely carried forward into
womanhood. The lips grow pinched and bloodless; the skin blanched
against all proof of blushes; the eyes sunken, and the blithe sparkle
that was so full of infectious joy is lost forever in that exhausting
blaze of girlhood. But we make no prophecy in regard to the future of
our little friend Rose. Adèle thinks her very charming; Reuben is
disposed to rank her--whatever Phil may think or say--far above Suke
Boody. And in his reading of the delightful "Children of the Abbey,"
which he has stolen, (by favor of Phil, who owns the book,) he has
thought of Rose when Amanda first appeared; and when the divine Amanda
is in tears, he has thought of Rose; and when Amanda smiles, with
Mortimer kneeling at her feet, he has still thought of Rose.

These four, Adèle, Phil, Rose, and Reuben are fellow-attendants at the
school of the excellent Miss Betsey Onthank. The schoolhouse itself is a
modest one, and stands upon a cross-road leading from the main street of
the village, and is upon the side of the little brook which courses
through the valley lying to the westward. A half-dozen or more of
sugar-maples stand near it, and throw over it a grateful shade in
August. In March these trees are exposed to a series of tappings on the
part of the more mechanically inclined of the pupils,--Phil Elderkin
being chiefest,--and gimlets, quills, and dinner-pails are brought into
requisition with prodigious results. In the heats of summer, and when
the brook is low, adventurous ones, of whom Reuben is chiefest,
undertake to dam its current; and it being traditional in the school
that one day a strange fisherman once took out two trout, half as long
as Miss Onthank's ruler, from under the bridge by which the high road
crosses the brook, Reuben plies every artifice, whether of bent pins, or
hooks purchased from the Tew partners, (unknown to Aunt Eliza, who is
prejudiced against fish-hooks as dangerous,) to catch a third; and
finding other resources vain, he punches two or three holes through the
bottom of his little dinner-pail, to make a scoop-net of it, and
manfully wades under the bridge to explore all the hollows of that
unknown region. While in this precarious position, he is reported by
some timid child to the mistress, who straightway sallies out, ferule in
hand and cap-strings flying, and orders him to land; which Reuben,
taking warning by the threatening tone of the old lady, refuses, unless
she promises not to flog him; and the kind-hearted mistress, fearing too
long exposure of the lad to the chilly water, gives the promise. But
with the tell-tale pail dangling at his belt, he does not escape so
easily the inquisitive Aunt Eliza.

The excellent Miss Onthank--for by this title the parson always
compliments her--is a type of a schoolmistress which is found no longer:
grave, stately, with two great moppets of hair on either side her brow,
(as in the old engravings of Louis Philippe's good queen Amelia,) very
resolute, very learned in the boundaries of all Christian and heathen
countries, patient to a fault, with a marvellous capacity for pointing
out with her bodkin every letter to some wee thing at its first stage of
spelling, and yet keeping an eye upon all the school-room; reading a
chapter from the Bible, and saying a prayer each morning upon her bended
knees,--the little ones all kneeling in concert,--with an air that would
have adorned the most stately prioress of a convent; using her red
ferule betimes on little, mischievous, smarting hands, yet not
over-severe, and kind beneath all her gravity. She regards Adèle with a
peculiar tenderness, and hopes to make herself the humble and unworthy
instrument of redeeming her from the wicked estate in which she has
been reared. And Adèle, though not comprehending the excess of her zeal,
and opening her eyes in great wonderment when the good woman talks about
her "providential deliverance from the artful snares of the adversary,"
is as free in her talk with the grave mistress as if she were her mother

Phil and Reuben, being the oldest boys of the school, resent the
indignity of being still subject to woman rule by a concerted series of
rebellious outbreaks. Some six or eight months after the arrival of
Adèle upon the scene, this rebel attitude culminates in an incident that
occasions a change of programme. The rebels on their way to school espy
a few clam-shells before some huckster's door, and, putting two or three
in their pockets, seize the opportunity when the good lady's eyes are
closed in the morning prayer to send two or three scaling about the
room, which fall with a clatter among the startled little ones. One,
aimed more justly by Reuben, strikes the grave mistress full upon the
forehead, and leaves a red cut from which one or two beads of blood
trickle down.

Adèle, who has not learned yet that obstinate closing of the eyes which
most of the scholars have been taught, and to whom the sight recalls the
painted heads of martyrs in an old church at Marseilles, gives a little
hysteric scream. But the mistress, with face unchanged and voice
uplifted and unmoved, completes her religious duty.

The whole school is horrified, on rising from their knees, at sight of
the old lady's bleeding head. The mistress wipes her forehead calmly,
and, picking up the shell at her feet, says, "Who threw this?"

There is silence in the room.

"Adèle," she continues, "I heard you scream, child; do you know who
threw this?"

Adèle gives a quick, inquiring glance at Reuben, whose face is
imperturbable, rallies her courage for a struggle against the will of
the mistress, and then bursts into tears.

Reuben cannot stand this.

"_I_ threw it, Marm," says he, with a great tremor in his voice.

The mistress beckons him to her, and, as he walks thither, motions to a
bench near her, and says gravely,--

"Sit by me, Reuben."

There he keeps till school-hours are over, wondering what shape the
punishment will take. At last, when all are gone, the mistress leads him
into her private closet, and says solemnly,--

"Reuben, this is a crime against God. I forgive you; I hope He may"; and
she bids him kneel beside her, while she prays in a way that makes the
tears start to the eyes of the boy.

Then, home,--she walking by his side, and leading him straight into the
study of the grave Doctor, to whom she unfolds the story, begging him
not to punish the lad, believing that he is penitent. And the meekness
and kindliness of the good woman make a Christian picture for the mind
of Reuben, in sad contrast with the prim austerity of Aunt Eliza,--a
picture that he never loses,--that keeps him meekly obedient for the
rest of the quarter; after which, by the advice of Miss Onthank, both
Phil and Reuben are transferred to the boys' academy upon the Common.


Meantime, Adèle is making friends in Ashfield and in the parsonage. The
irrepressible buoyancy of her character cannot be kept under even by the
severity of conduct which belongs to the home of the Doctor. If she
yields rigid obedience to all the laws of the household, as she is
taught to do, her vivacity sparkles all the more in those short
intervals of time when the laws are silent. There is something in this
beaming mirth of hers which the Doctor loves, though he struggles
against the love. He shuts his door fast, that the snatches of some
profane song from her little lips (with him all French songs are
profane) may not come in to disturb him; but as her voice rises
cheerily, higher and higher, in the summer dusk, he catches himself
lending a profane ear; the blitheness, the sweetness, the mellowness of
her tones win upon his dreary solitude; there is something softer in
them than in the measured vocables of sister Eliza; it brings a souvenir
of the girlish Rachel, and his memory floats back upon the strains of
the new singer, to the days when that dear voice filled his heart; and
he thinks--thanking Adaly for the thought--she is singing with the
angels now!

But the spinster, who has no ear for music, in the midst of such a
carol, will cry out in sharp tones from her chamber, "Adèle, Adèle, not
so loud, child! you will disturb the Doctor!"

Even then Adèle has her resource in the garden and the orchard, where
she never tires of wandering up and down,--and never wandering there but
some fragment of a song breaks from her lips.

From time to time the Doctor summons her to his study to have serious
talk with her. She has, indeed, shared the Saturday-night instruction in
the Catechism, in company with Reuben, and being quick at words, no
matter how long they may be, she has learned it all; and Reuben and she
dash through "what is required" and "what is forbidden" and "the reasons
annexed" like a pair of prancing horses, kept diligently in hand by that
excellent whip, Miss Johns. But the study has not wrought that gravity
in the mind of the child which the good parson had hoped for; the seed,
he fears, has fallen upon stony places. He therefore, as we have said,
summons her from time to time to his study.

And Adèle comes, always at the first summons, with a tripping step, and,
with a little coquettish adjustment of her dress and hair, flings
herself into the big chair before him,--

"Now, New Papa, here I am!"

"Ah, Adaly! I wish, child, that you could be more serious than you are."

"Serious! ha! ha!"--(she sees a look of pain on the face of the Doctor,)
"but I will be,--I am"; and with great effort she throws a most
unnatural expression of repose into her face.

"You are a good girl, Adaly; but this is not the seriousness I want to
find in you. I want you to feel, my child, that you are walking on the
brink of a precipice,--that your heart is desperately wicked."

"Oh, no, New Papa! you don't think I'm desperately wicked?"--and she
says it with a charming eagerness of manner.

"Yes, desperately wicked, Adaly,--leaning to the things of this world,
and not fastening your affections on things above, on the realities
beyond the grave."

"But all that is so far away, New Papa!"

"Not so far as you think, child; they may come to-day."

Adèle is sobered in earnest now, and tosses her little feet back and
forth, in an agony of apprehension.

The Doctor continues,--

"_To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts_"; and the
sentiment and utterance are so like to the usual ones of the pulpit,
that Adèle takes courage again.

The little girl has a profound respect for the Doctor; his calmness, his
equanimity, his persistent zeal in his work, would alone provoke it. But
she sees, furthermore,--what she does not see always in "Aunt Eliza,"--a
dignity of character that is proof against all irritating humors; then,
too, he has appeared to Adèle a very pattern of justice. She had taken
exceptions, indeed, when, on one or two rare occasions, he had reached
down the birch rod which lay upon the same hooks with the sword of Major
Johns, in the study, and had called in Reuben for extraordinary
discipline; but the boy's manifest acquiescence in the affair when his
cool moments came next morning, and the melancholy air of kindness with
which the Doctor went in to kiss him a goodnight, after such regimen,
kept alive her faith in the unvarying justice of the parson. Therefore
she tried hard to torture her poor little heart into a feeling of its
own blackness, (for that it was very black she had the good man's
averment,) she listened gravely to all he had to urge, and when he had
fairly overburdened her with the enumeration of her wicked, worldly
appetites, she could only say, with a burst of emotion,--

"Well, but, New Papa, the good God will forgive me."

"Yes, Adaly, yes,--I trust so, if forgiveness be sought in fear and
trembling. But remember, 'When God created man, he entered into a
covenant of life with him upon condition of perfect obedience.'"

This brings back to poor Adèle the drudgery of the Saturday's Catechism,
associated with the sharp correctives of Aunt Eliza; and she can only
offer a pleading kiss to the Doctor, and ask plaintively,--

"May I go now?"

"One moment, Adaly,"--and he makes her kneel beside him, while he prays,
fervently, passionately, drawing her frail little figure to himself,
even as he prays, as if he would carry her with him in his arms into the
celestial presence.

The boy Reuben, too, has had his seasons of this closet struggle; but
they are rarer now; the lad has shrewdly learned to adjust himself to
all the requirements of such occasions. He has put on a leaden
acquiescence in the Doctor's theories, whether with regard to
sanctification or redemption, that is most disheartening to the parson.
Does any question of the Doctor's, by any catch-word, suggest an answer
from the "Shorter Catechism" as applicable, Reuben is ready with it on
the instant.

Does the Doctor ask,--

"Do you know, my son, the sinfulness of the estate in which you are

"Sinfulness of the estate whereunto man fell?" says Reuben, briskly.

"Know it like a book:--'Consists in the guilt of _Adam's_ first sin the
want of original righteousness and the corruption of his whole nature
which is commonly called original sin together with all actual
transgressions which proceed from it.' There's a wasp on your shoulder,
father,--there's two of 'em; I'll kill em."

No wonder the good Doctor is disheartened, and trusts more and more, in
respect to his boy, to the silent influences of the Spirit.

Adèle has no open quarrels with Miss Johns; she is obedient; she, too,
has fallen under the influence of that magnetic voice, and accepts the
orders and the commendations conveyed by it as if they were utterances
of Fate. Yet, with her childish instincts, she has formed a very fair
estimate of the character of Miss Eliza; it is doubtful even if she has
not fathomed it in certain directions more correctly and profoundly than
the grave Doctor. She sees clearly that the spinster's unvarying
solicitude in regard to the dress and appearance of "dear Adèle" is due
more to that hard pride of character which she nurses every day of her
life than to any tenderness for the little stranger. For at the hands of
her old godmother and of her father Adèle has known what real tenderness
was. It is a lesson children never unlearn.

"Adèle, my dear, you look charmingly to-day, with that pink bow in your
hair. Do you know, I think pink is becoming to you, my child?"

And Adèle listens with a composed smile, not unwilling to be admired.
What girl of--any age is? But the admiration of Miss Johns does not
touch her; it never calls a tear to her eye.

In the bright belt-buckle, in the big leg-of-mutton sleeves, in the
glittering brooch containing coils of the Johns' hair, in the jaunty
walk and authoritative air of the spinster, the quick, keen eye of Adèle
sees something more than the meek Christian teacher and friend. It is a
sin in her to see it, perhaps; but she cannot help it.

Miss Johns has not succeeded in exciting the jealousy of Reuben,--at
least, not in the manner she had hoped. Her influence over him is
clearly on the wane. He sees, indeed, her exaggerated devotion to the
little stranger,--which serves, in her presence, at least, to call out
all his indifference. Yet even this, Adèle, with her girlish instinct,
seems to understand, too, and bears the boy no grudge in consequence of
it. Nay, when he has received some special administration of the
parson's discipline, she allows her sympathy to find play in a tender
word or two that touch Reuben more than he dares to show.

And when they meet down the orchard, away from the lynx eye of Aunt
Eliza, there are rare apples far out upon overhanging limbs that he can
pluck, by dint of venturous climbing, for her; and as he sees through
the boughs her delicate figure tripping through the grass, and lingers
to watch it, there comes a thought that _she_ must be the Amanda of the
story, and not Rose,--and he, perched in the apple-tree, a glowing


In the year 183-, Mr. Maverick writes to his friend Johns that the
disturbed condition of public affairs in France will compel him to
postpone his intended visit to America, and may possibly detain him for
a long time to come. He further says,--"In order to prevent all possible
hazards which may grow out of our revolutionary fervor on this side of
the water, I have invested in United States securities, for the benefit
of my dear little Adèle, a sum of money which will yield some seven
hundred dollars a year. Of this I propose to make you trustee, and
desire that you should draw so much of the yearly interest as you may
determine to be for her best good, denying her no reasonable requests,
and making your household reckoning clear of all possible deficit on her

"I am charmed with the improved tone of her letters, and am delighted to
see by them that even under your grave regimen she has not lost her old
buoyancy of spirits. My dear Johns, I owe you a debt in this matter
which I shall never be able to repay. Kiss the little witch for me; tell
her that 'Papa' always thinks of her, as he sits solitary upon the green
bench under the arbor. God bless the dear one, and keep all trouble from

She, gaining in height now month by month, wins more and more upon the
grave Doctor,--wins upon Rose, who loves her as she loves her
sisters,--wins upon Phil, whose liking for her is becoming demonstrative
to a degree that prompts a little jealousy in the warm-blooded Reuben,
and that drives out all thought of the pink cheeks and fat arms of Suke
Boody. Miss Johns still regards her with admiring eyes, and shows all
her old assiduity in looking after her comforts and silken trappings.
Day after day, in summer weather, Rose and she idle together along the
embowered paths of the village; the Tew partners greet the pair with
smiles; good Mistress Elderkin has always a cordial welcome; the stout
Squire stoops to kiss the little Jesuit, who blushes at the tender
affront through all the brownness of her cheek, like a rose. Day after
day the rumble of the mill breaks on the country quietude; and as autumn
comes in, burning with all its forest fires, the farmer's flails beat
time together, as they did ten years before.

At the academy, Phil and Reuben plot mischief, and they cement their
friendship with not a few boyish quarrels.

Thus, Reuben, in the way of the boyish pomologists of those days, has
buried at midsummer in the orchard a dozen or more of the finest
windfalls from the early apple-trees, that they may mellow, away from
the air, into good eating condition, and he has marked the spot in his
boyish way with a little pyramid of stones. Strolling down the orchard a
few days later, he sees Phil coming away from that locality, with his
pockets bulging out ominously, and munching a great apple with
extraordinary relish. Perhaps there is a thought that he may design a
gift out of the stolen stores for Adèle; at any rate, Reuben flies at

"I say, Phil, that's doosed mean now, to be stealing my apples!"

"Who's stole your apples?" says Phil, with a great roar of voice.

"You have," says Reuben; and having now come near enough to find his
pyramid of stones all laid low, he says more angrily,--"You're a thief!
and you've got 'em in your pocket!"

"Thief!" says Phil, looking threateningly, and throwing away his apple
half-eaten, "if you call me a thief, I say you're a----you know what."

"Well, blast you," says Reuben, boiling with rage, "say it! Call me a
liar, if you dare!"

"I do dare," says Phil, "if you accuse me of stealing your apples; and I
say you're a liar, and be darned to you!"

At this, Reuben, though he is the shorter by two or three inches, and no
match for his foe at fisticuffs, plants a blow straight in Philip's
face. (He said afterward, when all was settled, that he was ten times
more mortified to think that he had done such a thing in his father's

But Phil closed upon him, and kneading him with his knuckles in the
back, and with a trip, threw him heavily, falling prone upon him.
Reuben, in a frenzy, and with a torrent of much worse language than he
was in the habit of using, was struggling to turn him, when a sharp,
loud voice, which they both knew only too well, came down the
wind,--"Boys! boys!" and presently the Doctor comes up panting.

"What does this mean? Philip, I'm ashamed of you!" he continues; and
Philip rises.

Reuben, rising, too, the instant after, and with his fury unchecked,
dashes at Phil again; when the Doctor seizes him by the collar and drags
him aside.

"He struck me," says Phil.

"And he stole my apples and called me a liar," says Reuben, with the
tears starting, though he tries desperately to keep them back, seeing
that Phil shows no such evidence of emotion.

"Tut! tut!" says the Doctor,--"you are both too angry for a straight
story. Come with me."

And taking each by the hand, he led them through the garden and house,
directly into his study. There he opens a closet-door, with the sharp
order, "Step in here, Reuben, until I hear Philip's story." This Phil
tells straight-forwardly,--how he was passing through the orchard with a
pocketful of apples, which a neighbor's boy had given, and how Reuben
came upon him with swift accusation, and then the fight. "But he hurt me
more than I hurt him," says Phil, wiping his nose, which showed a little
ooze of blood.

"Good!" says the Doctor,--"I think you tell the truth."

"Thank you," says Phil,--"I know I do, Doctor."

Next Reuben is called out.

"Do you _know_ he took the apples?" asks the Doctor.

"Don't know," says Reuben,--"but he was by the place, and the stones
thrown down."

"And is that sufficient cause, Reuben, for accusing your friend?"

At which, Reuben, shifting his position uneasily from one foot to the
other, says,--

"I believe he did, though."

"Stop, Sir!" says the Doctor in a voice that makes Reuben sidle away.

"Here," says Phil, commiserating him in a grand way, and beginning to
discharge his pockets on the Doctor's table, "he may have them, if he
wants them."

Reuben stares at them a moment in astonishment, then breaks out with a
great tremor in his voice, but roundly enough,--

"By George! they're not the same apples at all. I'm sorry I told you
that, Phil."

"Don't say 'By George' before me, or anywhere else," says the Doctor,
sharply. "It's but a sneaking oath, Sir; yet" (more gently) "I'm glad of
your honesty, Reuben."

At the instigation of the parson they shake hands; after which he leads
them both into his closet, beckoning them to kneel on either side of
him, as he commends them in his stately way to Heaven, trusting that
they may live in good-fellowship henceforth, and keep His counsel, who
was the great Peacemaker, always in their hearts.

Next morning, when Reuben goes to reconnoitre the place of his buried
treasure, he finds all safe, and taking the better half of the fruit, he
marches away with a proud step to the Elderkin house. The basket is for
Phil. But Phil is not at home; so he leaves the gift, and a message,
with a short story of it all, with the tender Rose, whose eyes dance
with girlish admiration at this stammered tale of his, and her fingers
tremble when they touch the boy's in the transfer of his little burden.

Reuben walks away prouder yet; is not this sweet-faced girl, after all,

There come quarrels, however, with the academy teacher not so easily
smoothed over. The Doctor and the master hold long consultations.
Reuben, it is to be feared, has bad associates. The boy makes interest,
through Nat Boody, with the stage-driver; and one day the old ladies are
horrified at seeing the parson's son mounted on the box of the coach
beside the driver, and putting his boyish fingers to the test of
four-in-hand. Of course he is a truant that day from school, and toiling
back footsore and weary, after tea, he can give but a lame account of
himself. He brings, another time, a horrid fighting cur, (as Miss Eliza
terms it in her disgust,) for which he has bartered away the new muffler
that the spinster has knit. He thinks it a splendid bargain. Miss Johns
and the Doctor do not.

He is reported by credible witnesses as loitering about the tavern in
the summer nights, long after prayers are over at the parsonage, and the
lights are out: thus it is discovered, to the great horror of the
household, that by connivance with Phil he makes his way over the roof
of the kitchen from his chamber-window to join in these night forays.
After long consideration, in which Grandfather Handby is brought into
consultation, it is decided to place the boy for a while under the
charge of the latter for discipline, and with the hope that removal from
his town associates may work good. But within a fortnight after the
change is made, Grandfather Handby drives across the country in his
wagon, with Reuben seated beside him with a comic gravity on his face;
and the old gentleman, pleading the infirmities of age, and giving the
boy a farewell tap on the cheek, (for he loves him, though he has
whipped him almost daily,) restores him to the paternal roof.

At this crisis, Squire Elderkin--who, to tell truth, has a little fear
of the wayward propensities of the parson's son in misleading
Phil--recommends trial of the discipline of a certain Parson Brummem,
who fills the parish-pulpit upon Bolton Hill. This dignitary was a tall,
lank, leathern-faced man, of incorruptible zeal and stately gravity, who
held under his stern dominion a little flock of two hundred souls, and
who, eking out a narrow parochial stipend by the week-day office of
teaching, had gained large repute for his subjugation of refractory

A feeble little invalid wife cringed beside him along the journey of
life; and it would be pitiful to think that she had not long ago
entered, in way of remuneration, upon paths of pleasantness beyond the

Parson Brummem received Brother Johns, when he drove with Reuben to the
parsonage-door, on that wild waste of Bolton Hill, with all the unction
of manner that belonged to him; but it was so grave an unction as to
chill poor Reuben to the marrow of his bones. A week's experience only
dispersed the chill when the tingle of the parson's big rod wrought a
glow in him that was almost madness. Yet Reuben chafed not so much at
the whippings--to which he was well used--as at the dreariness of the
new home, the melancholy waste of common over which March winds blew all
the year, the pinched faces that met him without other recognition than,
"One o' Parson Brummem's b'ys." Nor indoors was the aspect more
inviting: a big red table, around which sat six fellow-martyrs with
their slates and geographies; a tall desk, at which Brummem indited his
sermons; and from time to time a little side-door opening timidly,
through which came a weary woman's voice, "Ezekiel, dear, one minute!"
at which the great man strides thither, and lends, his great ear to the
family council.

Ah, the long, weary mornings, when the sun, pouring through the
curtainless south windows a great blaze upon the oaken floor, lights up
for Reuben only the cobwebbed corners, the faded roundabouts of
fellow-martyrs, the dismal figures of Daboll, the shining tail-coat of
Master Brummem, as he stalks up and down from hour to hour, collecting
in this way his scattered thoughts for some new argumentative thrust of
the quill into the sixthly or the seventhly of his next week's sermon!
And the long and weary afternoons, when the sun with a mocking bounty
pours through the dusty and curtainless windows to the west, lighting
only again the gray and speckled roundabouts of the fagging boys, the
maps of Malte-Brun, and the shining forehead of the Brummem!

There is a dismal, graceless, bald air about town and house and master,
which is utterly revolting to the lad, whose childish feet had pattered
beside the tender Rachel along the embowered paths of Ashfield. The lack
of congeniality affronts his whole nature. In the keenness of his
martyrdom, (none the less real because fancied,) the leathern-faced,
gaunt Brummem takes the shape of some Giant Despair with bloody maw and
mace,--and he, the child of some Christiana, for whose guiding hand he
gropes vainly: she has gone before to the Celestial City!

The rod of the master does not cure the chronic state of moody rebellion
into which Reuben lapses, with these fancies on him. It drives him at
last to an act of desperation. The lesson in Daboll that day was a hard
one; but it was not the lesson, or his short-comings in it,--it was not
the hand of the master, which had been heavy on him,--but it was a
vague, dismal sense of the dreariness of his surroundings, of the
starched looks that met him, of the weary monotony, of the lack of
sympathy, which goaded him to the final overt act of rebellion,--which
made him dash his leathern-bound arithmetic full into the face of the
master, and then sit down, burying his face in his hands.

The stern doctrines of Parson Brummem had taught him, at least, a rigid
self-command. He did not strike the lad. But recovering from his
amazement, he says, "Very well, very well, Master Reuben, we will sleep
upon this"; and then, tapping at the inner door, "Keziah, make ready the
little chamber over the hall for Master Johns: he must be by himself
to-night: give him a glass of water and a slice of dry bread: nothing
else, Sir," (turning to Reuben now,) "until you come to me to-morrow at
nine, in this place, and ask my pardon"; and he motions him to the door.

Reuben staggers out,--staggers up the stairs into the dismal chamber. It
looks out only upon a bald waste of common. Shortly after, a slatternly
maid brings his prison fare, and, with a little kindly discretion, has
added secretly a roll of gingerbread. Reuben thanks her, and says,
"You're a good woman, Keziah; and I say, won't you fetch me my cap,
there's a good un; it's cold here." The maid, with great show of
caution, complies; a few minutes after, the parson comes, and, looking
in warningly, closes and locks the door outside.

A weary evening follows, in which thoughts of Adèle, of nights at the
Elderkins', of Phil, of Rose, flash upon him, and spend their richness,
leaving him more madly disconsolate. Then come thoughts of the morning
humiliation, of the boys pointing their fingers at him after school.

"No, they sha'n't, by George!"

And with this decision he dropped asleep; with this decision ripened in
him, he woke at three in the morning,--waited for the hall clock to
strike, that he might be sure of his hour,--tied together the two sheets
of Mistress Brummem's bed, opened the window gently, dropped out his
improvised cable, slid upon it safely to the ground, and before day had
broken or any of the townsfolk were astir, had crossed all the more open
portion of the village, and by sunrise had plunged into the wooded
swamp-land which lay three miles westward toward the river.



Four years ago there appeared in this magazine two articles upon the
Great Lakes and their Harbors.[E] In these papers the commercial
importance of the Lakes was set forth, and it was shown that their
commerce was at that time nearly equal in amount to the whole foreign
trade of the country. Within those four years the relative value of
these two branches of commerce has greatly changed. The foreign trade,
under the efforts of open foes and secret enemies, has fallen off very
largely. A committee of the New York Board of Trade, in an appeal to the
Secretary of the Navy for protection against British pirates, made the
statement, that the imports into that port during the first quarter of
1860, in American vessels, were $62,598,326,--in foreign vessels,
$30,918,051; and that in 1863, during the same period, the imports in
American vessels were $23,403,830,--in foreign vessels, $65,889,853;--in
other words, that in three years of war, our navigation on the ocean had
declined more than one half, and that of foreign nations had increased
in nearly the same proportion.

The two great branches of internal trade before the war consisted of the
trade of the Lakes and the canals leading from them to the seaboard, and
the trade of the Mississippi and its tributaries. The latter branch
being interrupted or destroyed by the Rebellion, it follows that at the
present time the principal commerce left to the Atlantic cities is that
of the Great Lakes and the States about them, usually known as the

This commerce amounts at present to at least twelve hundred millions of
dollars annually, and increases so rapidly that all estimates of its
prospective value have hitherto fallen far short of the truth. It
employs about two thousand vessels and twenty thousand sailors, besides
four great lines of railroad. It sends to the seaboard one hundred
million bushels of grain, two million hogs, and half a million of
cattle, composing the principal part of the food of the Atlantic States,
(it being well known that the wheat crop of New York would hardly feed
her people for one third of the year, and that that of New England is
sufficient for only about three weeks' consumption,) and affording a
large surplus for exportation.

In a memorial of the Hon. S. B. Ruggles of New York to President
Lincoln, on the enlargement of the New York canals, he says,--"The
cereal wealth yearly floated on these waters now exceeds one hundred
million bushels. It is difficult to present a distinct idea of a
quantity so enormous. Suffice it to say, that the portion of it (about
two thirds) moving to market on the Erie and Oswego Canals requires a
line of boats more than forty miles long to carry it." On the Lakes it
requires a fleet of five thousand vessels carrying twenty thousand
bushels each. If loaded in railroad-cars of the usual capacity, it would
take two hundred and fifty thousand of them, or a train more than one
thousand miles in length. The four great lines from the Lakes to the
seaboard would each have to run four hundred cars a day for half the
year to carry this grain to market. Speaking of the grain-trade, Mr.
Ruggles says,--"Its existence is a new fact in the history of man. In
quantity, it already much exceeds the whole export of cereals from the
Russian Empire, the great compeer of the United States, whose total
export of cereals was in 1857 but forty-nine million bushels, being less
than half the amount carried in 1861 upon the American Lakes. It was the
constant aim of ancient Rome, even in the zenith of its power, to
provision the capital and the adjacent provinces from the outlying
portions of the empire. The yearly crop contributed by Egypt was fifteen
million bushels. Under the prudent administration of the Emperor
Severus, a large store of corn was accumulated and kept on hand,
sufficient to guard the empire from famine for seven years. The total
amount thus provided was but one hundred and ninety million bushels. The
product of 1860 in the five Lake States of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana,
Illinois, and Wisconsin, was three hundred and fifty-four million

Another branch of the Lake trade, which is yet in its infancy, but which
promises to reach vast proportions in a few years, is the iron and
copper trade of Lake Superior. In 1864 about two hundred and forty-eight
thousand tons of iron ore and seventeen thousand tons of copper ore and
metal were shipped from that lake,--enough to load thirteen hundred and
twenty-five vessels of two hundred tons burden. This trade has wholly
grown up within the last ten years.

Let the Erie and Oswego Canals be again enlarged, as advocated so ably
by Mr. Ruggles, let the railroad lines be equipped with double tracks,
and this trade of the Lake country will still follow them up and
outstrip their efforts. The man is now living in Chicago, hardly past
middle age, who, less than thirty years ago, shipped the first invoice
of grain from that city which now ships fifty millions; and should he
live to the common age of mankind, he will probably see the shipment of
a hundred millions from that port alone.

The population of Illinois has doubled in each of the last two decades,
and there is no reason why it should not continue to do so in the next.
That would give it in 1870 about three and a half millions of people,
most of them farmers and producers, and farmers who, by help of their
fertile soil, the ease of its cultivation, and the general use of
agricultural machinery, are able to produce a very large amount of grain
or meat to the working hand.

These fleets of sail-vessels and steamers, and these railroad-trains
which go Eastward thus loaded with grain and provisions, return West
with freight more various, though as valuable. The teas, silks, and
spices of India, the coffee of Brazil, the sugar and cigars of Cuba, the
wines and rich fabrics of France, the varied manufactures of England,
and the products of the New England workshops and factories, all find a
market in the Northwest.

What, then, is the proper and sufficient outlet of this commerce? The
Canadians, although their share of it is only one quarter as large as
our own, have shown us the way. They have constructed canals connecting
Lakes Erie and Ontario, and others around the rapids of the St.
Lawrence. Let us do the same on the American side, so that vessels may
load in Chicago or Milwaukee, and deliver their cargoes in New York,
Boston, or Liverpool, without breaking bulk. To Europe this is the
shorter route, as the figures will show:--

Distance from Chicago to New York
  by lakes, canal, and river            1,500 miles
Distance from New York to Liverpool     2,980  "
                                        4,480  "

Distance from Chicago to Montreal by
  Welland Canal                         1,348 miles
Distance from Montreal to Liverpool     2,740  "
                                        4,088  "

The St. Lawrence River is the natural outlet of the Lakes, and, if
rendered accessible to us by canals, must be the cheapest outlet. It is
well known that a few years ago corn was worth on the prairies of
Illinois only ten cents per bushel, when the same article was selling in
New York at seventy cents, six sevenths of the price being consumed in
transportation. The consequence was, that many farmers found it more for
their interest to use their surplus corn for fuel than to sell it for
ten cents. The great disturbance in values caused by the war, and the
vast demand for grain and forage for the army, have reduced this
disproportion in prices very much for the time, but it may be looked for
again on the return of peace.

Now it would seem that one of the most important questions to be
settled in this country is how to cheapen food. If, by the construction
of these canals to give access to the St. Lawrence, grain can be laid
down in New York ten cents a bushel cheaper than it now is done, the
saving on the present shipments of breadstuffs from the Lakes would be
ten millions of dollars annually. It is probable, however, that the
saving in freight would be much greater than this, if the canals were
built of sufficient capacity to admit the largest class of Lake vessels.
This direct trade between the Upper Lakes and Europe was commenced a few
years before the breaking out of the Rebellion, and was beginning to
assume important proportions, when the war put a stop to it, as it has
to so much of our foreign commerce.

While the present article was in preparation, the bill for the
construction of these canals passed the House of Representatives, as
also one for the deepening of the Illinois and Michigan Canal,
concerning which the report of the Hon. Isaac N. Arnold of Illinois,
chairman of the committee of the House on the defence of lakes and
rivers, thus remarks:--"The realization of the grand idea of a
ship-canal from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi, for military and
commercial purposes, is the great work of the age. In effect,
commercially, it turns the Mississippi into Lake Michigan, and makes an
outlet for the Great Lakes at New Orleans, and of the Mississippi at New
York. It brings together the two great systems of water communication of
our country,--the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence, and the canals
connecting the Lakes with the ocean on the east, and the Mississippi and
Missouri, with all their tributaries, on the west and south. This
communication, so vast, can be effected at small expense, and with no
long delay. It is but carrying out the plan of Nature. A great river,
rivalling the St. Lawrence in volume, at no distant day was discharged
from Lake Michigan, by the Illinois, into the Mississippi. Its banks,
its currents, its islands, and deposits can still be easily traced, and
it only needs a deepening of the present channel for a few miles, to
reopen a magnificent river from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi."

It is a very important point, in considering this question of the
enlargement of existing canals and the construction of new ones, that
they have, under the new conditions of naval warfare, come to be an
important element in the harbor defences of the Lakes. We have the
testimony of Captain Ericsson himself, whose Monitor vessels have
already done so much for the country, as to this availability. He
writes,--"An impregnable war-vessel, twenty-five feet wide and two
hundred feet long, with a shot-proof turret, carrying a gun of fifteen
inch calibre, with a ball of four hundred and fifty pounds, and capable
of destroying any hostile vessel that can be put on the Lakes, will
draw, without ammunition, coal, or stores, but six feet and six inches
water, and consequently will need only a canal wide and deep enough to
float a vessel of those dimensions, with locks of sufficient size to
pass it."

Great Britain has already secured to herself the means of access to the
Lakes by her system of Canadian canals, and the Military Committee of
the House express the opinion, that, in case of a war with that power,
"a small fleet of light-draught, heavily armed, iron-clad gunboats,
could, in one short month, in despite of any opposition that could be
made by extemporized batteries, pass up the St. Lawrence, and shell
every city and village from Ogdensburg to Chicago. At one blow it could
sweep our commerce from that entire chain of lakes. Such a fleet would
have it in its power to inflict a loss to be reckoned only by hundreds
of millions, so vast is the wealth thus exposed to the depredations of a
maritime enemy." We were saved from such a blow, a few months ago, only
by the failure of the Rebel agents in Canada to procure, either by
purchase or piracy, a swift armed steamer.

Ever since the War of 1812, England has been preparing, in the event of
another war, to strike at this, our vital point. In 1814 the Duke of
Wellington declared "that a naval superiority on the Lakes is a _sine
qua non_ of success in war on the frontier of Canada." Years before,
William Hall, Governor of the Northwestern Territory, made the same
declaration to our Government, and the capture of Detroit by the British
in 1812 was due to their failure to respond to his appeal for a naval
force. In 1817 the Lakes were put on a peace establishment of one gun on
each side, which was a good bargain for England, she having at that time
larger interests on the Lakes than the United States. Now ours exceed
hers in the ratio of four to one.

What said the London "Times" in January, 1862, in reference to the Trent
excitement? "As soon as the St. Lawrence opens again there will be an
end of our difficulty. We can then pour into the Lakes such a fleet of
gunboats, and other craft, as will give us the complete and immediate
command of those waters. Directly the navigation is clear, we can send
up vessel after vessel without any restriction, except such as are
imposed by the size of the canals. The Americans would have no such
resource. They would have no access to the Lakes from the sea, and it is
impossible that they could construct vessels of any considerable power
in the interval that would elapse before the ice broke up. With the
opening of spring the Lakes would be ours."

This is just what the English did in the War of 1812. They secured the
command of the Lakes at the beginning of the war, and kept it and that
of all the adjacent country, till Perry built a fleet on Lake Erie, with
which he wrested their supremacy from them by hard fighting. Let us not
be caught in that way a second time.

There is a party in the country opposed to the enlargement of these
canals. It is represented in Congress by able men. Their principal
arguments are the following: First, that there is no military necessity
for the enlargement; that materials for building gunboats can be
accumulated at various points on the Lakes, to be used in the event of
war. Secondly, that by sending a strong force to destroy the Canadian
canals, the enemy's gunboats can be prevented from entering the Lakes. A
third argument is, that it is useless to attempt to contend with
England, the greatest naval power in the world; that we shall never have
vessels enough to afford a fleet on the coast and one on the Lakes; that
England would never allow us to equal her in that respect, and that it
would be changing the entire policy of the nation to attempt it. A
fourth argument which we have seen gravely stated against the canal
enlargements is, that the mouth of the St. Lawrence is the place to
defend the Lakes, and that, if that hole were stopped, the rats could
not enter.

In reply to the first of these arguments, the above quotation from the
London "Times" shows that the British Government well know the
importance of striking the first blow, and that long before our gunboats
could be launched that blow would have been delivered.

As to the second, we may be sure that the Canadian canals would be
defended with all the power and skill of England; and we know, by the
experience of the last four years, the difference between offensive and
defensive warfare, both sides being equally matched in fighting

The third argument is the same used by Jefferson and his party before
the War of 1812. He thought that to build war vessels was only to build
them for the British, as they would be sure to take them. As to changing
the policy of the nation, by increasing our navy, let us hope that it is
already changed, and forever. Its policy has heretofore been a Southern
policy, a slaveholders' policy; it has discouraged the navy, and kept it
down to the smallest possible dimensions, because a navy is essentially
a Northern institution. You cannot man a navy with slaves or mean
whites; it must have a commercial marine behind it, and that the South
never had. Our navy ought never again to be inferior in fighting
strength to that of England. In that way we shall always avoid war.

As to the plan of defending the Lakes at the mouth of the St. Lawrence,
we would ask this question: If the blockade of Wilmington was a task
beyond the power of our navy, how would it be able to blockade an
estuary from fifty to a hundred miles in width?

With these enlarged canals, by which gunboats and monitors could be
moved from the Atlantic and the Mississippi to the Lakes, and _vice
versa_, and by the system of shore defences recommended some years ago
by General Totten, namely, strong fortifications at Mackinaw, perfectly
commanding those straits, and serving as a refuge to war steamers, works
at the lower end of Lake Huron, at Detroit, and at the entrance of
Niagara River, these waters will be protected from all foreign enemies.
Lake Ontario will also need a system of works to protect our important
canals and railroads, which in many places approach so near the shore as
to be in danger from an enterprising enemy. It is recommended by the
Military Committee, that a naval depot should be established at Erie, as
the most safe and suitable harbor on the lake of that name.

If, as is probable, a naval station and depot should be thought
necessary on the Upper Lakes, the city of Milwaukee has strong claims to
be chosen for its site. There is the best and safest harbor on Lake
Michigan, so situated as to be easily defended, in the midst of a
heavily timbered country, accessible to the iron and copper of Lake
Superior and the coal of Illinois. Milwaukee enjoys one of the cheapest
markets for food, together with a very healthy climate. Finally, she is
connected by rail with the great Western centres of population, so that
all the necessary troops for her defence could be gathered about her at
twenty-four hours' notice.

It may be well here to remark, that as yet the Northwest has had little
assistance from the General Government. Large sums of money have
annually been laid out in the defences of the seaboard, both North and
South, while this immense Lake region has had the annual appropriation
of one eighteen pounder! Every small river and petty inlet on the
Southern coast, whence a bale of cotton or a barrel of turpentine could
be shipped, has had its fort; while the important post of Mackinaw, the
Gibraltar of the Lakes, is garrisoned by an invalid sergeant, who sits
solitary on its ruinous walls.

The result at which we arrive is, that these canal enlargements would at
once be valuable, both as commercial and military works. They have a
national importance, in that they will assist in feeding and defending
the nation. The States interested in them have a population of ten
millions, they have seventy-one representatives in Congress, and they
have furnished fully one half the fighting-men who have gone to defend
our flag and protect our nationality in the field. How that work has
been done, let the victorious campaigns of Grant and Sherman attest.
Those great leaders are Western men, and their invincible columns, who,
from Belmont to Savannah, have, like Cromwell's Ironsides, "never met an
enemy whom they have not broken in pieces," are men of Western birth or


[E] See Nos. for February and March, 1861,--Vol. VII. pp. 226, 313.


    A lily anchored by the Spanish main,
    Swaying and shining in the surge of youth,
    Yet holding in thy breast the gold of truth,--

    Such didst thou seem above the waves of pain,
    And through the stormy turbulence of war,
    Until we heard thy patriot voice afar!

    Now, Sister, with the burning heart of Spain,
    We speak to thee from this New England strand,
    And grasp and hold thee with a firm right hand!

    For thou hast touched our people with thy word,--
    Only a gentle woman's word, but one
    With the great work our Nation has begun.

    By Liberty thy earnest soul was stirred,
    And waked and urged Estremadura's men
    To pour the heroic wine of life again.

    As in the dawn of Summer flits a bird
    From his low nest and springs into the air,
    Hurrying a double concert and a prayer,--

    So Liberty, with thy sweet voice allied,
    Walks in thy footsteps, with her laurel strows
    Thy footway, with thy trustful spirit glows.

    Esteem her friendship with unwavering pride!
    Teach thou thy children what the years have brought,
    Wisdom and love superior to thy thought!

    Once thou hast said, "All men may win her side,
    But women never!" Sister, do not fear,
    Recall thy words, since Love has made truth clear.

    For Love is master, and we know no other,
    Save self-compelling service to the right,
    Which is but Love in the seraphic sight.

    Teach this thy sons and to each man thy brother,--
    A secret learned in silent joys of home,
    A secret whence the lights of being come.

    So guided by this lamp, O wife and mother,
    Turn thine eyes hither to the Western shore,
    Where red streams run and iron thunders roar!

    We watch the star of Freedom slowly rise
    And glimmer through the changes of the time,
    While errors beat their low retreating chime.

    We ask for nought, we need not to be wise,
    We find both men and women at their post,
    Equal and different in one mighty host.

    Divided suffering, unity of cries,--
    Divided labor, unity of life,--
    Divided struggle, one reward for strife.

    As autumn winds sweep over tossing seas
    And reach the happy shore, and fling the flowers
    And lower each gorgeous head by their rude powers,--

    So sweep the winds of war through quiet leas
    And bend our budding treasures in the dust,
    Yet Freedom's cause shall neither mar nor rust.

    The seed shall spring where none can thirst or freeze,
    Shall bear a floweret fairer than the old,
    As lilies shine before all blossoms told:

    A liberty for woman in her home,
    Bound by the only chains which give her peace,--
    Immortal chains which death may not release:

    A liberty where Justice wide may roam,
    And Reverence sit the chief at every feast,
    With Love as master, and Contempt as least:

    A liberty where the oppressed may come,
    The black and white, the woman and the man,
    And recognize themselves in Heaven's wide plan

    Then while the morning odors of the sea
    Blow from the westward and caress thy brow,
    Remember where thy loving sisters bow:

    Perchance beneath the hand of Victory,
    Which leaves a tear and then a silentness,
    While crowds move by forgetful of one less;

    Or where a burst of gracious ecstasy
    Rising shall fill the eastward flitting air,
    And with thy spirit mount the hills of prayer.


Since, in modern literature, there are so few really good comedies that
we may count them all upon our fingers, a man who has written two must
be worth knowing. We ask permission to introduce Jean François Regnard
to those who do not know him.

He comes recommended by the great critic Boileau, who liked him,
quarrelled with him, and made up again. Forty years later, Voltaire
wrote that the man who did not enjoy Regnard was not capable of
appreciating Molière. Then came M. de La Harpe, the authority in such
matters for two generations: he devotes a chapter to Regnard, and calls
him the worthy successor of Molière. And Béranger, in his charming
autobiography, an epilogue worthy of the noble part he had played upon
the stage of the world, speaks of the unflagging gayety and abundant wit
of Regnard's dialogue, and of his lively and graceful style. "In my
opinion," he adds, "Regnard would be the first of modern comedians, if
Molière had not been given to us."

In spite of the idle complainings into which authors are betrayed by the
pleasure human nature takes in talking about self to attentive
listeners, all who are familiar with the history of the brethren of the
quill know, that, as a class, they have had a large share of the good
things of the earth,--cheerful occupation, respected position,
comfortable subsistence, and long life. France, in particular, has been
the _Pays de Cocagne_ of book-makers for the last two hundred years.
Neither praise, pay, nor rank has been wanting to those who deserved
them. But in the long line of _littérateurs_ who have flourished since
Cardinal Richelieu founded the Academy, few were so fortunate as
Regnard. He entered upon his career with wealth, health, and a jovial
temperament: three supreme blessings he kept through life.

He was born in Paris in 1655, three years before Molière brought his
company from the provinces to the Hôtel de Bourbon, and opened the new
theatre with the "Précieuses Ridicules." Regnard's father, a citizen of
Paris and a shopkeeper, died when his son was a lad, leaving him one
hundred and twenty thousand livres,--a fortune for a man of the middle
class at that period. Like most independent young fellows, Regnard made
use of his money to travel. He went to Italy, and spent a year in the
famous cities of the Peninsula,--but returned home with thirty thousand
additional livres in his pocket, won at play. He soon went back to the
land of pleasure and of luck. At Bologna he fell in love with a lady
from the South of France, whom he calls Elvire. The lady was married,
the husband was with her; they were travellers like himself. Regnard
joined the party, and sailed with them from Civita Vecchia in an English
ship bound for Toulon. The vessel was captured, off Nice, by a Barbary
corsair, and brought into Algiers; the crew and passengers were sold to
the highest bidder. One Achmet Talem paid fifteen hundred livres for
Regnard, and one thousand for the lady. This low price might lead us to
imagine that the Moorish taste in beauty differed from that of Regnard;
but the Algerine market may have been overstocked with women on the day
of sale. Achmet took his new chattels to Constantinople. Perceiving
Regnard's talent for _ragoûts_ and sauces, he made a cook of him. What
became of Elvire history has omitted, perhaps discreetly, to relate.
After two years of toil and ill-treatment, Regnard received money from
home to buy his freedom. He paid twelve thousand livres for himself and
the fair Provençale. Achmet more than quadrupled his investment, and no
doubt thought slavery a divine institution.

In Paris once more, Regnard hung his chains in his library and was
preparing to lead a comfortable life with Elvire, when the superfluous
husband, whose death had been reported, most unseasonably reappeared. He
had been ransomed by the Mathurins, a religious order, who believed it
to be the duty of Christians to deliver their fellow-men from
bondage,--Abolitionists of the seventeenth century, who, strange as some
of us may think it, were honored by their countrymen and the Christian
world. Regnard yielded gracefully the right he had acquired by purchase
to the prior claim of the husband, and made preparations for another
journey. With two compatriots, De Fercourt and De Corberon, he traversed
the Low Countries and Denmark and crossed over to Stockholm. The King of
Sweden received the travellers graciously and proposed a visit to
Lapland. Furnished with the royal letters of recommendation, they sailed
up the Gulf of Bothnia to Torneo, and thence pushed north by land until
they came to Lake Tornoetrask. Eighteen miles from the lower end of
the lake they ascended a high mountain which they named Metavara, "from
the Latin word _meta_ and the Finlandic word _vara_, which means rock:
that is to say, the rock of limits." "We were four hours in climbing to
the top by paths which no mortal had as yet known. When we reached it,
we perceived the whole extent of Lapland, and the Icy Ocean as far as
the North Cape, on the side it turns to the west. This may, indeed, be
called arriving at the end of the world and jostling the axle of the
pole (_se frotter à l'essieu du pôle_)." Here they set up a tablet of
stone they had brought with their luggage,--_monument éternel_, Regnard
says. "It shall make known to posterity that three Frenchmen did not
cease to travel northward until the earth failed them; that, in spite of
the difficulties they encountered, which would have turned back most
others, they reached the end of the world and planted their column; the
ground was wanting, but not the courage to press on." These sounding
verses were cut upon the eternal monument:--

    "Gallia nos genuit; vidit nos Africa; Gangem
    Hausimus, Europamque oculis lustravimus omnem;
    Casibus et variis acti terrâque marique,
    Hic tandem stetimus, nobis ubi defuit orbis.
           De Fercourt, De Corberon, Regnard.
    Anno 1681, die 22 Augusti."

"The inscription will never be read, except by the bears," Regnard adds.
A melancholy thought to the French mind! If nobody saw it or talked
about it, half the pleasure of the exploit was gone. The Frenchmen had
foreseen this difficulty, and had taken their precautions. Four days'
journey to the southward stood an ancient church, near which the Lapps
held their annual fair. In this church, in a conspicuous position, they
had already deposited the same verses, carved upon a board. In 1718,
thirty-six years after, another French traveller, La Motraye, read the
lines upon the stone tablet,--too late to gratify Regnard.

"Travellers' stories,"--"_A beau mentir qui vient de loin_,"--these
proverbs date from the seventeenth century. It was not expected of such
adventurous gentlemen that they should tell the simple truth, any more
than we expect veracity from sportsmen. We listen without surprise and
disbelieve without a smile. Some exaggeration, too, was pardonable to
help out the verse; but "_nobis ubi defuit orbis_" goes beyond a
reasonable license. The mountain _Metavara_ is in Lat. 68° 30'; the
North Cape in 71° 10'. There were still one hundred and fifty miles of
solid _orbis_ before Regnard and his friends; and they had need of
optics sharp to see the Cape from the spot they stood upon.

The 27th of September found the three Arctic explorers back again in
Stockholm. Thence they took boat for Dantzic, travelled in Poland,
Hungary, and Austria, and left Vienna for Paris a few months before the
famous siege, when Sobieski, the "man sent from God whose name was
John," routed the Turks and delivered Christendom forever from the fear
of the Ottoman arms.

Before this time Regnard must have heard that Duquesne had avenged his
African sufferings. In the autumn of 1681 the Huguenot Admiral shelled
Algiers from bomb-ketches, then used for the first time. The Dey was
forced to surrender. His lively conquerors treated him with the honors
of wit as well as of war. They made a _mot_ for him, of the kind they
get up so cleverly in Paris. When the Turk is told how much it had cost
the great monarch of France to fit out the fleet which had just reduced
a part of his city to ashes, he exclaims, amazed at the useless
extravagance,--"For half the money I would have burned the whole town."

Cervantes was a slave in Algiers a hundred years before Regnard, and no
doubt used his experience in the story of the Captive in "Don Quixote."
Regnard also worked his African materials up into a tale,--"La
Provençale,"--and varnished them with the sentimentality fashionable in
his day. Zelmis (himself) is a conquering hero; women adore him. He is
full of courage, resources, and devotion to one only,--Elvire,--who is
beautiful as a dream, and dignified as the wife of a Roman Senator. The
King of Algiers is on the quay when the captives are brought ashore. He
falls in love with Elvire on the spot, and adds her to his collection.
But his passion is respectful and pure. Aided by Zelmis, she escapes
from the harem. They are retaken and brought back; but instead of the
whipping usually bestowed upon returned runaways, the generous king,
despairing of winning Elvire's affections, gives her her liberty. In the
mean time Zelmis has had his troubles. His master has four wives,
beautiful as houris. All four cast eyes of flame upon the well-favored
infidel. Faithful to Elvire, Zelmis of course defends himself as
heroically as Joseph. The ladies revenge the slight in the same way as
the wife of Potiphar. The attractive Frenchman is condemned to
impalement, when his consul interferes with a ransom, and he is released
just in time to embark for France with Elvire.

Although Regnard often alludes with pride to his travels, the sketch he
has left of them is meagre and uninteresting, and written in a harsh and
awkward style. Lapland was a _terra incognita_,--Poland, Hungary, and
Bohemia not much better known; yet this clever young Parisian has little
to relate beyond a few names, which he generally misspells or misplaces.
No descriptions of town or country or scenery; no traits of manners,
character, or customs, except a dull page on the sorcery and the funeral
ceremonies of the Lapps. The only eminent man he notices is Evelius, the
astronomer of Dantzic,--one of the foreign _savans_ of distinction on
whom Louis XIV. bestowed pensions in his grand manner, omitting to pay
them after the second year. Regnard seems to have written to let his
countrymen know where he had been,--not to tell them what he had seen.
Had he made ever so good a book out of his really remarkable journey,
little notice would have been taken of it. Voyages and travels were
looked upon as a dull branch of fiction,--not nearly so amusing or
improving as cockney excursions from one town of France to another in
the neighborhood, described after the manner of Bachaumont and Chapelle:
not sentimental journeys, by any means; eating, drinking, and sleeping
are the points of interest:--

    "Bon vin, bon gîte, bon lit,
    Belle hôtesse, bon appétit."

Even Regnard, who had seen so much of the world, tried his hand at this
kind of travel-writing and failed lamentably.

At thirty, Regnard closed a chapter in his life, and turned over a new
leaf. He gave up wandering and gambling, the ruling passions of his
youth, and settled himself comfortably for the rest of his days. For
occupation and official position, he bought an assistant-treasurership
in the _Bureau des Finances_. His house in the Rue Richelieu became
famous for good company and good things, intellectual as well as
material. In the country his _Terre de Grillon_ was planted with so much
taste that the lively persons who liked to visit there called it a
_Séjour enchanté_. In laying out his grounds, his intimate, Dufresny,
was doubtless of use to him. This spendthrift poet, reputed
great-grandson of Henri Quatre and the _belle jardinière_, had great
skill in landscape gardening, admitted even by those who found his
verses tedious. He it was, probably, who introduced Regnard to the
stage. For several years they supplied the Théatre Italien with amusing
trifles,--working together in one of those literary partnerships so
common among French playwrights. The "Joueur" broke up this business
connection. Dufresny accused Regnard of having stolen the plot from him,
and brought out a "Joueur" of his own. Regnard insisted that Dufresny
was the pirate. The public decided in favor of Regnard. Dufresny's play
was hopelessly damned, and no appeal ever taken from the first sentence.
The verdict of the _bel-esprits_ was recorded in an epigram, which ended

    "Mais quiconque aujourd'hui voit l'un et l'autre ouvrage
    Dit que Regnard a l'avantage
    D'avoir été le 'bon larron.'"[F]

Dufresny had more wit than dramatic talent. He will live in the memories
of married men for his famous speech,--

    "Comment, Monsieur! Vous n'y étiez pas obligé."

It was in 1696, twelve years after his return to Paris, that Regnard
sent the "Joueur," a comedy in five acts, and in verse, to the Théatre
Français. It was received with enthusiastic applause. Nothing equal to
it had appeared in twenty-four years since the death of the great
master; nor did the eighteenth century produce any comedy which can be
compared with it for action, wit, and literary finish,--not excepting
the "Turcaret" of Le Sage, and Beaumarchais's "Barber of Seville," which
are both better known to-day.

Regnard sat to himself for the portrait of Valère. The wild and
fascinating excitement of play, the gambler's exultation when he is
successful, his furious curses on his bad luck when he loses, his
superstitious veneration for his winnings, are drawn from the life. When
Fortune smiles, Valère neglects Angélique, his rich _fiancée_; when he
is penniless, his love revives, and he is at her feet until his valet
devises some new plan of raising money. He swears, if she will forgive
him, never again to touch dice or cards, and five minutes afterward
pledges for a thousand crowns a miniature set in diamonds she has just
given him to bind their reconciliation, and hurries back to the
gaming-table. He wins, but thinks his gains too sacred to pay away, even
to redeem the portrait of Angélique.

    "Rien ne porte malheur comme de payer ses dettes,"

is his answer to the prudent Hector,--a maxim current among many who
never play. At last comes a reverse of fortune so sweeping that he
cannot conceal it. Angélique might have forgiven him his broken
promises, but the pawnbroker enters with her picture and demands the
thousand crowns. This is too much. She rejects him and gives her hand to
his rival. His indignant father casts him off forever. But no feeling of
regret or of repentance arises in the mind of the gambler. He turns
coolly upon his heel, and calls to his valet,--

    "Va! va! consolons-nous, Hector,--et quelque jour
    Le Jeu m'acquittera des pertes de l'amour."

Richard is the name of this prince of rascally and quick-witted valets;
but he calls himself Hector, after the knave of spades, because he
serves a gambler. He has good sense as well as ingenuity; for he gives
his master the best advice, while he strains his invention and his
impudence to help him on to destruction. Nérine, maid to Angélique,
declares open war against Valère, and vows that her mistress shall not
throw herself away upon a silly dandy, an insipid puppet, with nothing
to recommend him but his fine clothes and his swagger.

"True enough," laughs Hector, "but

    "C'est le goút d'à présent; tes cris sont superflus,
    Mon enfant."

"And Valère is a spendthrift, an inveterate gambler, who will bring her
to misery and want."

"What of that?

      "Tant que tu voudras, parle, prêche, tempête,
    Ta maîtresse est coiffée,...
    Elle est dans nos filets."

"And such an outrageous _roué_ that he cannot live in his father's

"We do not deny it," Hector answers. "It is no fault of ours.

    "Valère a déserté la maison paternelle,
    Mais ce n'est point à lui qu'il faut faire querelle;
    Et si Monsieur son père avait voulu sortir,
    Nous y serions encore;...
    Ces pères, bien souvent, sont obstinés en diable."

Nevertheless, the obdurate parent, in the hope of reforming his son, and
of providing for him by the excellent match with Angélique, hunts up the
prodigal and lectures him after the manner of fathers. Hector joins in,
and expresses strongly his disapprobation of games of chance; "_les jeux
innocents, où l'esprit se déploie_," are the only safe pastime.

"But will our father pay our debts this time?"

"Not a crown."

"Will he lend us the money at one per cent a month? Once out of this
pecuniary strait, we can marry Angélique, and be rich and virtuous.
Besides, we have assets as well as debts: here is our schedule."

The elder softens a little and takes the paper. At the head of the list
of debts he finds Hector's bill for wages and services rendered, leading
off a long file of Aarons and Levys; and the assets consist of a debt of
honor owing by an officer killed at the Battle of Fleurus, and the
good-will of a match at _tric-trac_ with a poor player who had already
lost games enough to make his defeat certain.

The action of the comedy does not lag or limp from the opening scene to
Valère's last words. The versification is easy and natural; the dialogue
abounds in wit and comic humor; it is short and quick, with none of
those tedious declamations which weary and unsettle the attention of an
audience. Take it all in all, we may say, that, if Molière had chosen
the same subject, he could hardly have handled it better.

Not that Regnard can pretend to rank with Molière in genius, or even
near him. The "Gambler" is admirably done; but it is the only comedy in
which Regnard attempted character. He drew from his experience. Molière
was so skilful a moral anatomist that he required only a whim or a
weakness to construct a consistent character. This wonderful man found
the French comic stage occupied by a few stock personages, imported from
Spain and Italy. The elders were fathers or uncles, rich, miserly, and
perverse, instinctively disposed to keep a tight rein on the young
people, of whose personal expenses and matrimonial projects they
invariably disapproved. The persecuted juniors were all alike, colorless
shadows, mere lay figures to hang a plot on: _Léandre, amant de
Célimène; Célimène amante de Léandre_: helpless creatures, who would
have been quite at the mercy of the old dragons of the story, were it
not for the powerful assistance of the rascally soubrettes. These clever
sinners abounded in cunning contrivances, disguises, and tricks, which
resulted in the signal discomfiture of the parents and guardians. In the
last act, they are forced to consent to all the marriages, and are
cheated out of most of their property; they are even lucky to escape
with their lives. There was no mercy for Age in those plays.

    "Pluck the lined crutch from the old limping sire;
    With it beat out his brains."

The theatre was the temple of youth, of love, and of feasting. Away with
the dull old people! Providence created them only to pay the bills.

      "Fuyez d'ici, sombre vieillesse,--
    Car en amour les vieillards ne sont bons
    Qu'à payer les violons."

Did gentlemen of a certain age go to the theatre in the seventeenth
century? expend their money to see themselves abused and ridiculed? Did
they laugh at these indignities and enjoy them? We might wonder, if we
did not know that Frenchmen never grow old, so long as they have an eye
left for ogling or a leg to caper with.

Molière took these old inhabitants of the stage into his service, and
injected new life into their veins. He gave them the foibles, the
follies, and the vices he saw about him, and made them speak in a new
language of unrivalled wit, humor, and mirth. But his genius was
shackled by the artificial conventions of the theatre, which did not
allow him time or space to fully develop a character. A grand comic
creation like Falstaff was impossible. He introduces a single propensity
of mankind, exhibits it in all its relations to society, shows it to us
on every side; but it remains only a trait of character, although we see
it in half a dozen different lights. Tartuffe is the one exception; in
him, hypocrisy hides covetousness and lust; and Tartuffe is Molière's
masterpiece. But in most of his comedies he displays rather a knowledge
of the world than a knowledge of human nature. In his walk he has no
equal at home or abroad; but his walk is not the highest. We feel that
something is wanting, and yet we can hardly extol him too highly. He
brought comedy into close relation with every-day life; he is the father
of the modern French stage, which has gradually cast off the old
conventional personages. The French dramatists of to-day are not men of
genius like Molière, but, in their airy, sparkling plays, they represent
the freaks, follies, and fancies of society so exquisitely that nothing
remains to be desired. They furnish the model and the materials for the
theatre of all other nations.

When Regnard came before the public, the stage remained as Molière had
left it The only new personage was the Marquis, first introduced in the
"Mère Coquette," by Quinault, the sweet and smooth writer of operas,--of
whom it was said, that he had boned (_désossé_) the French language. The
Marquis is the ancestor of our Fop,--

    "Loose in morals and in manners vain,
    In conversation frivolous, in dress extreme,"--

who in turn has become antiquated and tiresome. Regnard's only original
character is the Gambler; in his other comedies he made use of the old,
familiar masks, and won success by his keen sense of the ridiculous, his
wit, and his unceasing jollity and fun. His Crispins and Scapins are
perfect. What impudent, worthless, amusing rogues! To keep inside of the
law is their only rule of right. "Honesty is a fool, and Trust, his
sworn brother, a very simple gentleman." They came of an ancient race,
these Crispins and Scapins, that had flourished in Italy and in Spain
since Plautus and Terence brought them over from Greece. They found
their way to France, and even reached England in their migration,
following in the train of Charles II. when he returned from exile, and
during a short life on that side of the Channel added drunkenness and
brutality to their gayer vices. The character was true to Nature in
Athens or in Rome, where men of talent might often be bound to devote
their brains to the service of those who owned their bodies, and by
their condition as slaves were released from all obligations of honor or
of honesty. In the seventeenth century it might pass in France; for the
line between gentle and simple was so sharply drawn that ladies of rank
saw no greater impropriety in disrobing before their footmen than before
their dogs. But the progress of liberty or of _égalité_ blotted out the
valets of comedy. Even in Regnard's time the inconsistencies of the
character were noticed. Jasmin, in the "Sérénade," utters revolutionary
doctrine:--"How can an honorable valet devote himself to the interests
of a penniless master? We grow tricky in waiting upon such fellows. They
scold us; sometimes they beat us. We have more wit than they. We support
them; we are obliged to invent, for their benefit, all sorts of knavery,
in which they are always ready to take a share; and, withal, they are
the masters, and we the servants. It is not just. Hereafter I mean to
scheme for myself, and become a master in my turn."

Scapin has joined his brother pagans beyond the Styx; but Lisette blooms
in evergreen youth. This young French person's theory of woman's rights
is different from the one which obtains in New England; nor does she
trouble herself at all to seek for woman's mission. She found it years
ago. It is to deceive a man. She is satisfied with her condition, and
with the old mental and moral attributes of her sex. When Crispin
disguises himself in her clothes, he exclaims,--

    "L'addresse et l'artifice ont passé dans mon coeur;
    Qu'on a sous cet habit et d'esprit et de ruse--
    Rien n'est si trompeur qu'animal porte-jupe."

This animal is as clever and as cunning in Paris to-day as when Crispin
felt the inspiration of the petticoats.

In 1708, after another period of twelve years, "Le Légataire Universel"
was played at the same theatre. In this piece the author relied entirely
upon the _vis comica_ of his plot and dialogue. Géronte, a rich, miserly
old bachelor, with as many ailments as years,--

    "Vieux et cassé, fiévreux, épileptique,
    Paralytique, étique, asthmatique, hydropique,"--

has for a nephew Ergaste, with well-grounded hopes of inheriting, and
that shortly. These are suddenly dashed by the announcement that his
uncle has resolved to marry Isabelle, a girl to whom Ergaste himself is
attached. The nephew keeps his own secret, and judiciously commends the
choice of his uncle. Géronte is delighted with him; even asks his advice
about a present for the damsel,--something pretty, but cheap.

    "Je voudrais inventer quelque petit cadeau
    Qui coutât peu, mais qui parût nouveau."

Meeting with no opposition, the old gentleman gradually loses his relish
for matrimony; and Madame Argante, the mother, promises Ergaste to give
Isabelle to him, instead of to his uncle, provided Géronte will declare
his nephew heir to his estate. Unluckily, there are two other
collaterals, country cousins, whom Géronte has never seen, but whom he
wishes to remember. Crispin, valet to Ergaste, assisted by Lisette, the
old man's housekeeper and nurse, personifies first the male and then the
female relative from the rural districts so well that Géronte orders
them out of his house in disgust, swears that he will not leave them a
sous, and sends for a notary to draw his will in favor of Ergaste. But
the excitement of the last interview with Crispin, as a widow, is too
much for his strength. He becomes unconscious, and apparently breathes
his last just as the notary knocks at the door. In this moment of
agonizing disappointment, the indomitable Crispin comes to the rescue.
He puts on the dressing-gown and cap of Géronte, reclines in his
easy-chair, counterfeits his voice, and dictates a will to the notary.
Firstly, he bequeaths to Lisette two thousand crowns, on condition that
she marry Crispin; secondly, he leaves to Crispin an annuity of fifteen
hundred crowns, to reward his devotion to his master; the rest of the
estate, real and personal, to go to Ergaste. The residuary legatee
remonstrates warmly with the testator against his foolish generosity to
Crispin and Lisette; but the sham Géronte insists, and Ergaste is
obliged to submit. The notary withdraws to make the necessary copies of
the will, and the plotters are chuckling over the success of their
plans, when, to their dismay, Géronte enters, alive. He tells them that
he feels his strength departing, and bids them send at once for the
notary to settle his worldly affairs. The notary, who is ignorant of any
deceit, assures him that he has made his will already, and shows him the
document. The conspirators seize the chance of escape, confirm the
notary's story, and relate all the circumstances of the conference,
Géronte protests that he recollects nothing of it; he feels certain he
could not have given more than twenty crowns to Lisette; as to Crispin,
he had never heard of him. The answer is always, "_C'est votre
léthargie_." While perplexed and hesitating, the old man discovers that
a large sum in notes has been abstracted from his hoard. Ergaste had
secured them as an alleviation in case of the worst, and had placed them
in the hands of Isabelle. She promises to return them, if Géronte will
make Ergaste his heir and her husband. In his anxiety for his money,
Géronte consents to everything, and allows the will to stand.

Nothing, La Harpe tells us, ever made a French audience laugh so
heartily as the scene of the will. Falbaire, one of the _poètes
négligés_ of the eighteenth century, says, in a note to his drama, "The
Monks of Japan," that the Jesuits furnished Regnard with the idea of
this scene. In 1626, the reverend fathers, by precisely the same
stratagem employed by Crispin, obtained possession of the estate of a M.
d'Ancier of Bésançon, who died suddenly and intestate. It is proper to
add that M. Falbaire's drama was written against the Jesuits.

There are two other plays, out of some twenty that Regnard published,
which will repay a reader: "Les Menéchmes," imitated from Plautus, like
Shakspeare's Dromios, and "Démocrite,"[G] which reminds one a little of
Molière's "Amphitryon." Both are distinguished for that perpetual
gayety, the most pleasing of all qualities, which is the characteristic
of their author. It seems impossible for him to be dull; he never nods;
his bow, such as it is, is always strung. It is remarkable that his
comic scenes, although crammed with fun, never run down into farce; nor
does he find it necessary to eke out his wit with buffoonery. He had an
instinctive taste which preserved him from coarseness; although he wrote
a century and a half ago, there is less of the low and indelicate than
in the plays we see posted at the doors of our theatres. The French of
the time of Louis XIV. must have been a much more refined people than
the contemporary English. At least, Thalia in Paris was a vestal,
compared with her tawdry, indecent, and drunken London sister. One is
ashamed to be seen reading the unblushing profligacy of Wycherley,
Cibber, Vanbrugh, and Congreve.

We must admit that Regnard's mantle of decorum is not without a rent. In
the "Légataire," as in the "Malade Imaginaire," may be found a good deal
of pleasantry on the first of the three principal remedies of the
physicians of the period, as mentioned by Molière in his burlesque

    "Clysterium donare,
    Postea purgare,
    Ensuita seignare."

It seems to have been a good joke in France then; it is so
now,--wonderfully fresh and new,--defying time and endless repetition.
American eyes do not see much fun in it; they rather turn away in
disgust. But on the risible organs of the French purgative medicines
operate violently; and the favorite weapon of their medical service,
primitive in shape and exaggerated in dimensions, is a property
indispensable to every theatre. Regnard used it as a part of the stage
machinery,--worked it in as a stock pleasantry, the effect of which was
certain. Were he writing now, he would do the same thing. But in the
"Joueur" nobody is ill; it may be read by that typical creature, the
"most virtuous female," publicly and without a blush.

Gentlemen and ladies whose morals are not fully fledged are generally
advised to beware of attempting to skim over the fiction of modern
France. They may take up Regnard without risking a fall; for there is
little danger of being led astray by the picaresque knaveries of Scapin
and Lisette. In 1700 love for another man's wife had not come to be
considered one of the fine arts. Nowadays the victims of this kind of
misplaced affection are the heroes of French novels and plays. The
husband, odious and tiresome _ex officio_, has succeeded to the miserly
father or tyrannical guardian. He is the giant of French romance, who
keeps the lovely and uneasy lady locked up in Castle Matrimony. He
cannot help himself, poor fellow!--he is compelled to fill that
unenviable position, whenever Madame chooses. Sentimental young Arthurs
and Ernests stand in the place of Ergaste and Cléante, and are always
ready to make war upon the unlucky giant. They overcome him as of old,
scale the walls, and carry off the capricious fair one. We have hardly
changed for the better. Ergaste and Cléante were not sentimental, but
they were marrying men and broke no commandments.

Regnard's life of fifty years covers the whole of the literary age of
Louis XIV. Before 1660 the French had no literature worth preserving,
except Rabelais, Montaigne, a few odes of Malherbe, a page or two of
Marot, and the tragedies of Corneille. Pascal published the "Provincial
Letters" in the year of Regnard's birth. La Fontaine had written a few
indifferent verses; Molière was almost unknown. In 1686, when Regnard
became an author, the Voitures, Balzacs, and Benserades, the men of
fantastic conceits, the vanguard of the grand army of French wits, had
marched away to Pluto and to Lethe. One or two stragglers, like Ménage
and Chapelle, lingered to wonder at the complete change of taste. The
age had ripened fast. Not many years before, Barbin the bookseller
ordered his hacks to _faire du St. Évremond_. St. Évremond was still
living in England, dirty and witty; and Barbin still kept his shop, but
gave no more orders for wares of that description. Many of the greatest
names of the era were already carved on tombs: La Rochefoucauld, Pascal,
Corneille, Molière. Bossuet was a man of sixty; La Fontaine a few years
older; Boileau and Racine close upon fifty. When Regnard died, in 1710,
the eighteenth century had begun. Fontenelle, Le Sage, Bayle, men of
nearly the same age as himself, belong to it.

In 1686 King Louis had reached the full meridian of his _Gloire_,
_Grandeur_, _Éclat_. No monarch in Europe was so powerful. He had
conquered Flanders, driven the Dutch under water, seized Franche-Comté,
annexed Lorraine, ravaged the Palatinate, bombarded Algiers and Genoa,
and by a skilful disregard of treaties and of his royal word kept his
neighbors at swords' points until he was ready to destroy them. The
Emperor was afraid of him, Philip of Spain his most humble servant,
Charles II. in his pay. He had bullied the Pope, and brought the Doge of
Genoa to Paris to ask pardon for selling powder to the Algerines and
ships to Spain. He was _Louis le Grand, le roi vraiment roi, le
demi-dieu qui nous gouverne, Deodatus, Sol nec pluribus impar_. Regnard
witnessed the cloudy setting of this splendid luminary. After the secret
marriage with Mme. de Maintenon, in 1686, Fortune deserted the King. He
was everywhere defeated, or his victories were Cadmean, as disastrous as
defeats. The fleet that was to replace James II. on his throne was
destroyed at La Hogue by Russell. The Camisards defied for years the
army sent against them. Rooke took Gibraltar. Peterborough defeated the
Bourbon forces in Spain. Blenheim, Oudenarde, Ramillies, Malplaquet,
brought ruin upon France before Regnard was withdrawn from the scene.

Meanwhile the Eighteenth Century, with its godlessness and its
debauchery, was born. Hypocrisy watched over its infancy. When Louis
reformed, and took a pious elderly second wife, it was the fashion to be
religious; and whoever wished to stand well at court followed the
fashion. "You who live in France have wonderful advantages for saving
your souls," wrote St. Évremond from London. "Vice is quite out of date
with you. It is in bad taste to sin,--as offensive to good manners as to
morality. And those of you who might be forgetful of their hereafter are
led to salvation by a becoming deference to the habits and observances
of well-bred people." The monarch himself was utterly ignorant in
matters of religion; the Duchess of Orleans wrote to her German
friends, that he had never even read the Bible. He was shocked to hear
that Christ had demeaned himself to speak the language of the poor and
the humble. "_Il avait la foi du charbonnier_," Cardinal Fleury
said,--the blind, unreasoning faith of the African in his fetich. He
considered it due to _gloire_ to assist Divine Providence in its
government of the souls of men. Was he not the greatest prince of the
earth, the eldest son of the Church, standing nearer to the throne of
grace than any insignificant pope? Of course he was responsible for the
orthodoxy of his subjects, a _demi-dieu qui nous gouverne_. He came to
think religion a part of his royal prerogative, and misbelief treason
against his royal person. He was quite capable of going a step beyond
Cardinal Wolsey, and of writing, "_Ego et Deus meus_." He said to a
prelate whose management of some ecclesiastical business particularly
gratified him,--"_J'ignore si Dieu vous tiendra compte de la conduite
que vous avez tenue; mais quant à moi, je vous assure que je ne
l'oublierai jamais_." The spiritual powers are never backward in taking
advantage of favorable circumstances: Huguenots, Jansenists, and
Quietists were sternly put down, and the girdle of superstition
tightened until it began to crack. The skeptics were quiet,--asked but
few questions,--pretended to be satisfied with the time-honored answers
Mother Church keeps for her uneasy children,--and seemed to be busy with
the "Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes," and the "Dispute sur les
Cérémonies Chinoises." It was not yet the time for them to announce
pompously their radical theories as new and true. A thin varnish of
decorum and orthodoxy overspread everything; but one may see the shadow
of the coming _Régence_ in Regnard's works. He and gentlemen like him
went to mass in the morning, and to pleasure for the rest of the day and

    "Ils sont chrétiens à la messe,
    Ils sont païens à l'opéra."

Regnard was almost as much of a pagan as his favorite Horace,--called
for wines, roses, and perfumes, and sang his Lydia and his Lalage almost
in the same words. His creed and his philosophy were pagan. He adored
three goddesses,--_la Comédie_, _la Musique_, _la bonne Chère_; his
solution of the problem of life was enjoyment.

    "Fair tout ce qu'on veut, vivre exempt de chagrin,
    Ne se rien refuser,--Voilà tout mon systême,
    Et de mes jours ainsi j'attraperai la fin."

Wisdom was given to man to temper pleasure,--to avoid excess, which
destroys pleasure. Regnard had agreeable recollections of the past; the
present satisfied him; he was as careless of the unknown future as De
Retz, whose _épouvantable tranquillité_, appalling ease of mind on that
point, so shocked poor Mme. de Sévigné. All other speculations he put
quietly aside with a doubt or a _cui bono_. It was a witty and refined
selfishness, and nothing beyond. Spiritual light, faith, none; hope that
to-morrow might pass as smoothly as to-day; love, only that particular
affection which man feels for his female fellow-creature. Such a
heathenish frame of mind will find little favor in this era of
yearnings, seekings, teachings. It was, indeed, a lamentable condition
of moral darkness; but the error, though grievous, has its attractive

            "On court après la vérité;
    Ah! croyez moi, l'erreur a son mérite."

It is a relief in these dyspeptic times to turn back to Regnard, the
big, rosy, and jolly pagan, enjoying to the utmost the four blessings
invoked upon the head of Argan by the chorus of Doctors:--

    "Salus, honor et argentum.
    Arque bonum appetitum."

Comfortable, contented with himself and with the world, he was free from
the sadness, the misgivings, and the enervating doubts which overrun so
many morbid minds,--symptoms of moral weakness, and of the want of
healthy occupation. Hence lady poets, more than all others, love to
indulge in these feeble repinings, and take the privilege of their sex
to shed tears on paper. In his bachelor establishment, Rue de
Richelieu, there was, he tells us,--

    "Grande chere, vin délicieux,
    Belle maison, liberté toute entière,
    Bals, concerts, enfin tout ce qui peut satisfaire
    Le goût, les oreilles, les yeux."

The _Société choisie_ was numerous; for a good cook never fails to make
friends for his master, and Regnard's cook dealt with fat capons,
plover, and ortolans. His lettuce, mushrooms, and artichokes were grown
under his own eyes. The choice vintages of France, in casks, lay in his
cellar. He gave wine to nourish wit, not to furnish an opportunity for
ostentatious gabble about age and price. How he revels in the
description of good cheer! There rises from his pages _fumet_ of game
and the _bouquet d'un vin exquis_.

    "Et des perdrix! Morbleu! d'un fumet admirable
    Sentez plutôt, Quel baume! Mon Dieu!"

Why are American authors so commonly wan and gaunt, with none of the
external marks of healthy gayety? Is it the climate, or the lack of
out-door exercise, or hot-air furnaces, or rascally cooks? They look as
if, like Burns's man, they "were made to mourn." If they conceive a
joke, their sad, sharp voices and angular gesticulations make it
miscarry. Now and then they rebel against their constitutions, poor
fellows, and try to imitate the jovial ancestors they have read of;
babble shrilly of _noctes coenæque Deûm, petits soupers_, and what
not. It is mostly idle talk. They know too well that digestion does not
wait upon appetite in the evening,--and that they will feel better for
the next week, if they restrict their debauch to dandelion coffee and
Graham bread. Moreover, the age of conviviality is gone, as much as the
age of chivalry. _Petits soupers_ are impossible in this part of the
world. Let us manfully confess one reason: they cost too much. And we
have not the wit, nor the wicked women, nor the same jolly paganism.
Juno Lucina reigns here in the stead of Venus; and Bacchus is two
dollars a bottle.

But these and other good things Regnard had in abundance, and so lived
smoothly and happily on, defying time,--for he held, with Mme. de
Thianges, "_On ne viellit point à table_" until one day he overheated
himself in shooting, drank abundantly of cold water, and fell
dead,--Euthanasia. He died a bachelor, and, if we may judge from many of
his verses, seems, like Thackeray, to have wondered why Frenchmen ever
married. But he had a keen eye for "the fair defect of Nature."
Strabon's description of young Criseïs before her glass could have been
written only by an amateur:--

    "Je la voyais tantôt devant une toilette
    D'une _mouche assasine irriter ses attraits_."

Neither Molière, Regnard, nor Le Sage was a member of the Academy.

Béranger thinks it remarkable that the _improvisations folles et
charmantes_ of Regnard should now be neglected in France. We do not
recollect to have met with him even in the "Causeries" of Ste. Beuve,
who has ransacked the French Temple of Fame from garret to cellar for
_feuilleton_ materials; yet the "Légataire" kept a foothold on the stage
for a hundred and twenty years. But the Temple of Fame is overcrowded.
Every day some worthy fellow is turned out to make room for a new-comer.
Our libraries are not large enough to hold the mob of authors who press
in. What with newspapers, magazines, and the last new novel, few persons
have time to read more than the titles on the backs of their books. They
are familiar with the great names, take their excellence on trust, and
allow them to stand neglected and dusty on their shelves. But with
another generation the great names will become mere shadows of a name;
and so on to oblivion. Father Time has a good taste in literature, it is
true. He mows down with his critical scythe the tares which spring up in
such daily abundance; but, unfortunately, he cannot stop there: after a
lapse of years, he sweeps away also the fruit of the good seed to make
room for the productions of his younger children.

    "For he's their parent and he is their grave."

The doom is universal; it cannot be avoided. There must be an end to all
temporal things, and why not to books? The same endless night awaits a
Plato and a penny-a-liner. Our Eternities of Fame, like all else
appertaining to humanity, will some day pass away. Even Milton and
Shakspeare, our great staple international poets, who have been brought
out whenever the American ambassador to England dined in public, are
travelling the same downward path. How many of us, man or woman, on the
sunny side of thirty, have gone through the "Paradise Lost"? And
Shakspeare, in spite of new editions and of new commentators, is not
half as much read as fifty years since. Perhaps the time will come when
English speaking people will not know to whom they owe so many of the
proverbs, metaphors, and eloquent words which enrich their daily talk.

Will none escape this inexorable fate? Homer and Robinson Crusoe seem to
us to have the most tenacity of life.


[F] The proverbial French expression for the thief who rebuked his
reviling comrade at the crucifixion.

[G] Démocrite, in an attack upon a heavy diner-out, says,--

    "Il creuse son tombeau sans cesse avec ses dents,"--

and thus anticipates Sir Astley Cooper by many years. It is lucky that
these fellows, who took a mean advantage of seniority to get off our
good things before us, have perished, or they might give us trouble. At
least two Frenchmen could claim "the glorious Epicurean paradox" of one
of the seven wise men of Boston, "Give us the luxuries of life, and we
will dispense with its necessaries,"--M. de Voltaire, and M. de
Coulanges, a generation earlier. These "flashing moments" of the wise in
Boston, as in other great places, are often, like heat-lightning,
reflections of a previous flash.



It was a wet Monday in October, on my return from a journey, with a
large party of friends and acquaintances, as far north as Chicago and as
far south as St. Louis and the Iron Mountain. We were gradually nearing
home, and the fun and jollity grew apace as we got closer to the end of
our holiday and to the beginning of our every-day work. Our day's ride
was intended to be from Cumberland (on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad)
to Baltimore. The murky drizzle made our comfortable car all the more
cozy, and the picturesque glories of that part of Western Virginia,
through which we had come very leisurely and enjoyably, were heightened
by the contrast of the dull cloud that hung over the valley of the
Potomac. At Martinsburg the train was stopped for an unusually long
time; and in spite of close questioning, we were obliged to satisfy our
curiosity with a confused story of an outbreak and a strike among the
workmen at the armory, with a consequent detention of trains, at
Harper's Ferry. The train pushed on slowly, and at last came to a dead
halt at a station called The Old Furnace. There a squad of half a dozen
lazy Virginia farmers--we should call them a picket just now, in our day
of military experiences--told us half a dozen stories about the troubles
ahead, and finally the people in charge of our train determined to send
it back to wait for further news from below. A young engineer who was
employed on the railroad was directed to go along the track to examine
it, and see what, if any, damage had been done. As I had brushed up an
acquaintance with him, I volunteered to accompany him, and then was
joined by a young Englishman, a Guardsman on his travels, one of the
Welsh Wynns, just returning from a shooting-tour over the Prairies. We
started off in the rain and mud, and kept together till we came to a
bridle-path crossing the railroad and climbing up the hills. Here we met
a country doctor, who offered to guide us to Bolivar, whence we could
come down to the Ferry, and as the trains would be detained there for
several hours, there would be time enough to see all the armory
workshops and wonders. So off we started up the muddy hillside, leaving
our engineer to his task on the railroad; for what pedestrian would not
prefer the worst dirt road to the best railroad for an hour's walking?
Our Englishman was ailing and really unwell, and half-way up the rough
hill left us to return to the easy comfort of the train.

My guide--Dr. Marmion was the name he gave in exchange for mine--said
that the row at the Ferry was nothing but a riotous demonstration by the
workmen. He came from quite a distance, and, hearing these vague
reports, had turned off to visit his patients in this quarter, so that
he might learn the real facts; and as it was then only a little past
nine, he had time to do his morning's work in Bolivar. So there we
parted, he agreeing to join me again at the Ferry; and he did so later
in the day.

Turning to the left on the main pike, I found little knots of lounging
villagers gathered in the rain and mud, spitting, swearing, and
discussing the news from the Ferry. Few of them had been there, and none
of them agreed in their account of the troubles; so I plodded on over
the hill and down the sharp slope that led to the Ferry. Just as I began
the descent, a person rode up on horseback, gun in hand, and as we came
in sight of the armory, he told me the true story,--that a band of men
were gathered together to set the slaves free, and that, after starting
the outbreak on the night before, they had taken refuge down below. He
pointed with his gun, and we were standing side by side, when a sudden
flash and a sharp report and a bullet stopped his story and his life.

The few people above us looked down from behind the shelter of houses
and fences;--from below not a soul was visible in the streets and alleys
of Harper's Ferry, and only a few persons could be seen moving about the
buildings in the armory inclosure. In a minute, some of the townspeople,
holding out a white handkerchief, came down to the fallen man, and,
quite undisturbed, carried him up the hill and to the nearest
house,--all with hardly a question or a word of explanation. Shocked by
what was then rare enough to be appalling,--sudden and violent death by
fire-arms in the hands of concealed men,--I started off again, meaning
to go down to the Ferry, with some vague notion of being a peace-maker,
and at least of satisfying my curiosity as to the meaning of all these
mysteries: for while I saw that that fatal rifle-shot meant destruction,
I had no conception of a plot.

Just as I reached the point where I had joined the poor man who had
fallen,--it was a Mr. Turner, formerly a captain in the army, and a
person deservedly held in high esteem by all his friends and
neighbors,--a knot of two or three armed men stopped me, and after a
short parley directed me to some one in authority, who would hear my
story. The guard who escorted me to the great man was garrulous and kind
enough to tell me more in detail the story, now familiar to all of us,
of the capture of Mr. Lewis Washington and other persons of note in the
Sunday night raid of a body of unknown men. The dread of something yet
to come, with which the people were manifestly possessed, was such as
only those can know who have lived in a Slave State; and while there was
plenty of talk of the steadiness of the slaves near the Ferry, it was
plain that that was the magazine that was momentarily in danger of going
off and carrying them all along with it.

The officers of the neighboring militia had gathered together in the
main tavern of the place, without waiting for their men, but not
unmindful of the impressive effect of full uniform, and half a dozen
kinds of military toggery were displayed on the half-dozen persons
convened in a sort of drum-head court-martial. I was not the only
prisoner, and had an opportunity to hear the recitals of my fellows in
luck. First and foremost of all was a huge, swaggering, black-bearded,
gold-chain and scarlet-velvet-waistcoated, piratical-looking fellow, who
announced himself as a Border Ruffian, of Virginia stock, and now
visiting his relations near the Ferry; but he said that he had fought
with the Southern Rights party in the Kansas war, and that when he
heard of the "raid," as he familiarly called the then unfamiliar feat of
the Sunday night just past, he knew who was at the top and bottom of it,
and he described in a truthful sort of way the man whose name and
features were alike unknown to all his listeners,--"Ossawatomie Brown,"
"Old John Brown." Garnishing the story of their earlier contests with
plentiful oaths, he gave us a lively picture of their personal
hand-to-hand rights in the West, and said that he had come to help fight
his old friend and enemy, and to fight him fair, just as they did in
"M'souri." He wanted ten or a dozen men to arm themselves to the teeth,
and he'd lead 'em straight on. His indignation at his arrest and at the
evident incredulity of his hearers and judges was not a whit less hearty
and genuine than his curses on their cowardice in postponing any attack
or risk of fighting until the arrival of militia, or soldiers, or help
of some kind, in strength to overpower the little band in the armory, to
make resistance useless, and an attack, if that was necessary, safe
enough to secure some valiant man to lead it on.

My story was soon told, I was a traveller; my train had been stopped; I
had started off on foot, meaning to walk over the hill to the Ferry, and
expecting there to meet the train to go on to Baltimore. The
interruptions were plentiful, and the talk blatant. I showed a ticket, a
memorandum-book giving the dates and distances of my recent journey, and
a novel (I think it was one of Balzac's) in French, and on it was
written in pencil my name and address. That was the key-note of plenty
of suspicion. How could they believe any man from a Northern city
innocent of a knowledge of the plot now bursting about their ears? Would
not my travelling-companions from the same latitude be ready to help
free the slaves? and if I was set at liberty, would it not be only too
easy to communicate between the little host already beleaguered in the
armory engine-house and the mythical great host that was gathered in the
North and ready to pour itself over the South? Of course all this, the
staple of their every-day discussions, was strange enough to my ears;
and I listened in a sort of silent wonderment that men could talk such
balderdash. Any serious project of a great Northern movement on behalf
of Southern slaves was then as far from credible and as strange to my
ears as it was possible to be. It seemed hardly worth while to answer
their suggestions; I therefore spoke of neighbors of theirs who were
friends of mine, and of other prominent persons in this and other parts
of Virginia who were acquaintances, and for a little time I hoped to be
allowed to go free; but after more loud talk and a squabble that marked
by its growing violence the growing drunkenness of the whole party,
court and guard and spectators all, I was ordered along with the other
prisoners to be held in custody for the present. We were marched off,
first to one house and then to another, looking for a convenient prison,
and finally found one in a shop. Here--it was a country store--we sat
and smoked and drank and chatted with our guard and with their friends
inside and out. Now and then a volley was fired in the streets of the
village below us, and we would all go to a line fence where we could see
its effects: generally it was only riotous noise, but occasionally it
was directed against the engine-house or on some one moving through the

As the militia in and out of uniform, and the men from far and near,
armed in all sorts of ways, began to come into the village in squads,
their strength seemed to give them increased confidence, and especially
in the perfectly safe place where I sat with half a dozen others under a
heavy guard. Now and then an ugly-looking fowling-piece or an awkwardly
handled pistol was threateningly pointed at us, with a half-laughing and
half-drunken threat of keeping us safe. Toward afternoon we were ordered
for the night to Charlestown, and to the jail there that has grown so
famous by its hospitality to our successors. The journey across was
particularly enlivening. My special guard was a gentlemanly young
lawyer, one of the Kennedys of that ilk; and to his cleverness I think I
owed my safe arrival at the end of our journey. Every turn in the road
brought us face to face with an angry crowd, gathering from far and
near, armed and ready to do instant justice on a helpless victim.
Kennedy, however, gracefully waived them back to the wagons behind us,
where other prisoners, in less skilful hands, were pretty badly used.
The houses on the road were utterly deserted; on the first news of an
outbreak by the slaves, the women and children were hurried off to the
larger towns,--the men coming slowly back in squads and arming as best
they could, and the negroes keeping themselves hid out of sight on all

The eight miles' distance to Charlestown was lengthened out by the rain
and mud, and the various hindrances of the way, so that the day was
closing as we came into the main street of the straggling little town.
The first odd sight was a procession of black and white children playing
soldiers, led by a chubby black boy, full of a sense of authority, and
evidently readily accepted by his white and black comrades in childlike
faith. The next was a fine, handsome house, where a large number of
ladies from the country round had been gathered together, and as we were
greeted in going by, my guide stopped, and introducing me, I explained
my position. They were all ready with their sympathy, and all
overpowering with their gratitude, when I pooh-poohed their fear of a
great Northern invasion, and said that the people of the North were just
as innocent of any participation in this business as they themselves
were. Our line of march resumed brought us to the prison, and I was not
sorry to have the shock of an enforced visit somewhat lessened by a
general invitation from mine host of an adjoining tavern to liquor up.
Of course I was noways chary of invitations to the crowd, and the
bar-room being full, I made the bar my rostrum, and indulged in a piece
of autobiography that was intended to gain the general consent to return
to my fellow-travellers, who were reported still at Martinsburg. If I
cannot boast of great success _at_ the bar, I am as little proud of my
eloquence _on_ the bar. One of the Kennedys, brother to my guard, did
suggest taking me to his house, half a mile off; but to that Colonel
Davenport, a bustling great man of the village, answered, that, as there
was sure to be some hanging at night, it would be safer to be in the
prison, as well from the mob as from any escape on my own part, and it
was better to stay contentedly where I was. Doctor Marmion, my
acquaintance of the morning, rode over to find me and to explain his
part in my visit to the Ferry, hoping that such a confirmation of my
story would secure my immediate release. But by that time I was in the
custody of the sheriff, by some military legal process; and while that
officer was kind and civil, he refused to do anything, except promise me
an early hearing before the court-martial, which was to reassemble the
next day. Finally, I was hustled through a gaping, pot-valiant crowd,
into the prison, where the mob had violently taken possession; and it
was a good while before I could be got up stairs and safely locked into
my cell. The bolts were shot pretty sharply, but the sense of relief
from the threats and impertinence of the bullying fellows outside quite
outweighed my sensation of novelty on finding myself in such strange
quarters. My supper was sent up, my friendly guard gave me cigars, and a
buxom daughter of the jailer lent me a candle. I lay down on a rough cot
and was soon asleep; my last recollection was of my sturdy guard, armed
and wakeful, in front of my cell; and I woke after several hours of
sound, refreshing slumber, startled by the noise of his angry answers to
some still more angry and very drunken men. They had, so I learned
partly then and partly afterwards, broken into the jail, and hurried
from the cell next to mine a poor black prisoner, who was forthwith
hanged; and, whetted by their sport, they had returned to find a fresh
victim. Fortunately, in the turmoil of their first attack, the only
other prisoner easily got hold of was a white boy, who escaped, while I
owed my safety to Kennedy's earnest protestations, and to his ready use
of a still more convincing argument, a loaded pistol and a quick hand.

Early morning was very welcome, for it brought the court-martial up to
Charlestown, and I was soon ready for a hearing. Fortunately, after a
good deal of angry discussion and some threats of a short shrift, a
message came up from the Ferry from Governor Wise; and as I boldly
claimed acquaintance with him, they granted me leave to send down a note
to him, asking for his confirmation of my statements. While this was
doing, I was paroled and served my Kansas colleague by advice to hold
his tongue; he did so, and was soon released; and my messenger returned
with such advices, in the shape of a pretty sharp reprimand to the busy
court-martial for their interference with the liberty of the citizen, as
speedily got me my freedom. I used it to buy such articles of clothing
as could be had in Charlestown, and my prison clothes were gladly thrown
aside. Some of my fellow-travellers reached the place in time to find me
snugly ensconced in the tavern, waiting for an ancient carriage; with
them we drove back to the Ferry in solemn state. The same deserted
houses and the same skulking out of sight by the inhabitants showed the
fear that outlasted even the arrival of heavy militia reinforcements. We
stopped at Mr. Lewis Washington's, and, without let or hindrance, walked
through the pretty grounds and the bright rooms and the neat negro huts,
all alike lifeless, and yet showing at every turn the suddenness and the
recentness of the fright that had carried everybody off. Our ride
through Bolivar was cheered by a vigorous greeting from my captor of the
day before,--the village shoemaker, a brawny fellow,--who declared that
he knew I was all right, that he had taken care of me, that he would not
have me hanged or shot, and "wouldn't I give him sum't to have a drink
all round, and if I ever came again, please to stop and see him"; and so
I did, when I came back with my regiment in war-times; but then no
shoemaker was to be found.

I paid my respects to Governor Wise, and thanked him for my release; was
introduced to Colonel Lee, (now the Rebel general,) and to the officers
of the little squad of marines who had carried the stronghold of the
"invaders," as the Governor persistently called them. In company with
"Porte Crayon," Mr. Strothers, a native of that part of Virginia, and
well known by his sketches of Southern life in "Harper's Magazine," I
went to the engine-house, and there saw the marks of the desperate
defence and of the desperate bravery of John Brown and his men. I saw,
too, John Brown himself. Wounded, bleeding, haggard, and defeated, and
expecting death with more or less of agony as it was more or less near,
John Brown was the finest specimen of a man that I ever saw. His great,
gaunt form, his noble head and face, his iron-gray hair and patriarchal
beard, with the patient endurance of his own suffering, and his painful
anxiety for the fate of his sons and the welfare of his men, his
reticence when jeered at, his readiness to turn away wrath with a kind
answer, his whole appearance and manner, what he looked, what he
said,--all impressed me with the deepest sense of reverence. If his
being likened to anything in history could have made the scene more
solemn, I should say that he was likest to the pictured or the ideal
representation of a Roundhead Puritan dying for his faith, and silently
glorying in the sacrifice not only of life, but of all that made life
dearest to him. His wounded men showed in their patient endurance the
influence of his example; while the vulgar herd of lookers-on, fair
representatives of the cowardly militia-men who had waited for the
little force of regulars to achieve the capture of the engine-house and
its garrison, were ready to prove their further cowardice by maltreating
the prisoners. The marines, who alone had sacrificed life in the
attack, were sturdily bent on guarding them from any harsh handling. I
turned away sadly from the old man's side, sought and got the
information he wanted concerning "his people," as he called them, and
was rewarded with his thanks in a few simple words, and in a voice that
was as gentle as a woman's. The Governor, as soon as he was told of the
condition of the prisoners, had them cared for, and, in all his
bitterness at their doings, never spoke of them in terms other than
honorable to himself and to them. He persistently praised John Brown for
his bravery and his endurance; and he was just as firm in declaring him
the victim of shrewd and designing men, whose schemes he would yet

The day was a busy one; for little squads of regulars were sent out on
the Maryland Heights to search for the stores accumulated there; and
each foraging party was followed by a tail of stragglers from all the
volunteers on the ground, who valiantly kept on to the Maryland side of
the bridge that crossed the Potomac, and then, their courage oozing out
of their fingers and toes both, stopped there and waited for the return
of the regulars. On the instant of their arrival, each time fetching a
great hay-wagon full of captured goods, tents, picks, spades, pikes, the
tag-rag and bobtail party at once set to work to help themselves to the
nearest articles, and were soon seen making off homeward with their
contraband of war on their backs. The plunder, however, was not confined
to the captured property. A strong force of militia soon invaded the
armory, and every man helped himself to a rifle and a brace of pistols,
and then, tiring of the load, began to chaffer and bargain for their
sale. Governor Wise was called on to interfere and preserve the
Government property; he came into the little inclosure of the works, and
began an eloquent address, but seeing its uselessness, broke off and put
his Richmond Grays on guard; and then the distribution of public
property was made through the regular channels,--that is, the men inside
brought guns and pistols to the men on guard, and they passed them out
to their friends beyond, so that the trade went on almost as free as

Night soon came, and it was made hideous by the drunken noise and
turmoil of the crowd in the village; matters were made worse, too, by
the Governor's order to impress all the horses; and the decent, sober
men trudged home rather out of humor with their patriotic sacrifice;
while the tipsy and pot-valiant militia fought and squabbled with each
other, and only ceased that sport to pursue and hunt down some fugitive
negroes, and one or two half-maddened drunken fellows who in their
frenzy proclaimed themselves John Brown's men. Tired out at last, the
Governor took refuge in the Wager House;--for an hour or two, he had
stood on the porch haranguing an impatient crowd as "Sons of Virginia!"
Within doors the scene was stranger still. Huddled together in the worst
inn's worst room, the Governor and his staff at a table with tallow
candles guttering in the darkness, the Richmond Grays lying around the
floor in picturesque and (then) novel pursuit of soft planks, a motley
audience was gathered together to hear the papers captured at John
Brown's house--the Kennedy farm on Maryland Heights--read out with the
Governor's running comments. The purpose of all this was plain enough.
It was meant to serve as proof of a knowledge and instigation of the
raid by prominent persons and party-leaders in the North. The most
innocent notes and letters, commonplace newspaper-paragraphs and printed
cuttings, were distorted and twisted by the reading and by the talking
into clear instructions and positive plots. However, the main impression
was of the picturesqueness of the soldiers resting on their knapsacks,
and their arms stacked in the dark corners,--of the Governor and his
satellites, some of them in brilliant militia array, seated around the
lighted table,--and of the grotesque eloquence with which either the
Governor or some of his prominent people would now and then burst out
into an oratorical tirade, all thrown away on his sleepy auditors, and
lost to the world for want of some clever shorthand writer.

In the morning I was glad to hear that my belated train had spent the
last forty-eight hours at Martinsburg, and I did not a bit regret that
my two days had been so full of adventure and incident. Waiting for its
coming, I walked once more through the village, with one of the watchmen
of the armory, who had been captured by John Brown and spent the night
with him in the engine-house, and heard in all its freshness the story
now so well known. Then I bade Governor Wise good-bye, and was duly
thanked for my valiant services to the noble Mother of States, and
rewarded by being offered the honorary and honorable title of A.D.C. to
the commander-in-chief of Virginia, both for past services and for the
future tasks to be met, of beating off invading hosts from the
North,--all in the Governor's eye. Luckily for both sides, I declined
the handsome offer; for my next visit to Virginia was as an A.D.C. to a
general commanding troops, not of the North, but of the United States,
invading, not the Virginia of John Brown's time, but the Virginia of a
wicked Southern Confederacy.

Not long after, I received a letter of thanks from Governor Wise,
written at Richmond and with a good deal of official flattery. His son
Jennings, an old acquaintance of mine in pleasant days in Germany, came
to see me, too, with civil messages from his father. Poor fellow! he
paid the forfeit of his rebellious treason with his life at Roanoke
Island. His father pays the heavier penalty of living to see the civil
war fomented by him making its dreadful progress, and in its course
crushing out all his ancient popularity and power.

In spite of many scenes of noble heroism and devoted bravery in
legitimate warfare, and in the glorious campaigns of our own successful
armies, I have never seen any life in death so grand as that of John
Brown, and to me there is more than an idle refrain in the solemn chorus
of our advancing hosts,--

    "John Brown's body lies mouldering in the ground,
      As we go marching on!"

In the summer of 1862, I was brought again to Harper's Ferry, with my
regiment, and the old familiar scenes were carefully revisited. The
terrible destruction of fine public buildings, the wanton waste of
private property, the deserted village instead of the thriving town, the
utter ruin and wretchedness of the country all about, and the bleak
waste of land from Harper's Ferry to Charlestown, are all set features
in every picture of the war in Virginia. At my old head-quarters in
Charlestown jail there was less change than I had expected; its sturdy
walls had withstood attack and defence better than the newer and more
showy structures; the few inhabitants left behind after the ebb and flow
of so many army waves, Rebel and Union succeeding each other at pretty
regular intervals, were the well-to-do of former days, looking after
their household gods, sadly battered and the worse for wear, but still
cherished very dearly. Of my old acquaintances, it was a melancholy
pleasure to learn that Colonel Baylor, who was mainly anxious to have me
hanged, had in this war been reduced to the ranks for cowardice, and
then was shot in the act of desertion. Kennedy was still living at home,
but his brother was in the Rebel service. The lesser people were all
scattered; the better class of workmen had gone to Springfield or to
private gun-shops in the North,--the poorer sort, either into the Rebel
army or to some other dim distance, and all trace of them was lost.

The thousands who have come and gone through Harper's Ferry and past
Bolivar Heights will recall the waste and desolation of what was once a
blooming garden-spot, full of thrift and industry and comfort almost
unknown elsewhere south of the fatal slave-line; thousands who are yet
to pass that way will see in the ruins of the place traces of the
avenging spirit that has marked forever the scene of _John Brown's


It was near sundown when we reached the sea-side hotel. By the time we
were settled in our apartment, and I had my invalid undressed and in
bed, the soft, long summer twilight was nearly over. The maid, having
cleared away the litter of unpacking, was sitting in the anteroom, near
enough to be within call. The poor suffering body that held so lightly
the half-escaped spirit lay on the bed, exhausted with the journey, but
feeling already soothed by the pleasant sea-breeze which sighed gently
in at the open window.

Our rooms were on the ground-floor of a one-story cottage. A little
distance off was the large hotel, to which the cottage was attached by a
long arcade or covered gallery. We could hear fragments of the music
which the band was playing to the gay idlers who were wandering about
the balconies or through the hotel grounds; while laughs and little
shrieks, uttered by the children as their pursuing nurses caught them up
for bed, mingled not unpleasantly with the silvery hum arising from the
fashionable crowd and the festal clang of the instruments.

Sleep half hovered over, half winged off from the pillow. I fanned the
peacock plumes slowly to and fro in the delicious air, gazed with a
suppressed sigh on the darkening West, and repeated with a rhythmical
beat the beautiful Hebrew poem in Ecclesiasticus, which I had so often
recited through many long years by the side of that sick-bed, to soothe
the ear of the sufferer. I had just reached these lines,--

    "A present remedy of all
    Is the speeding coming of a cloud,
      And a dew that meeteth it,
      By the heat that cometh,
        Shall overpower it.

    "At His word the wind is still;
      And with His thought
      He appeaseth the deep;
    And the Lord hath plumed islands therein,"--

when I noticed that sleep had settled firmly on the dark eyelids, and
the panting breath came through the poor clay in little soughs and
sighs, as if body and soul, tired with combat, had each sunk down for a
momentary rest on the weary battle-field of life.

The music of the band had ceased; the gay crowd had withdrawn into the
hotel to prepare for the entertainments of the evening, and there was a
lull of human sounds. Then arose the grand roar of the ocean, which with
the regular break of the billows on the beach beneath the cliff made the
theme where before it had played the bass.

I crept stealthily out of the bed-room, and, after exchanging my
travelling-gown for a cool white robe, stretched my tired body on the
lounge in the anteroom.

There I lay with cold finger-tips pressed against burning eyelids, and
icy palms holding with a firm grasp throbbing temples, under which
flowed the hot, seething tide of mortal anguish, anxiety, and aching
love. Some one touched me on the shoulder. I looked up. It was Max who
was standing beside me.

"There is a great musical treat for you," he said in a low voice. "The
A---- Society is here, and also part of B----'s Opera Troupe, with
Madame C----, and D----, the great tenor. The troupe and society united
are to give such a concert as rarely falls to the lot of mortals to
hear. I never saw a better programme. Look!"

I read over the concert-bill. First there was an overture; then several
scenes from "Lucia di Lammermoor,"--that great Shakspearian drama, whose
dread catastrophe of Death and Doom leaves in the memory of the hearer a
heavenly sorrow unmixed with earthly taint. It was the master-work of
two poets, Scott and Donizetti, who had conceived it at the best period
of their lives, when they were in all the vigor of manhood, and when
mind and fancy had become ripened by experience. It was formed in one
of those supreme instants, which come like "angels' visits" to artists,
when they were enabled, through a power more like inspiration than art,
to throw aside all outward influences, and fashion as deftly as Nature
could the sad life of the Master of Ravenswood and his "sweet spirit's

The Lucia scenes were grouped together and occupied the main part of the
programme. They were those that told the story of the brief passion,
from the sweet birth of love up to the solemn hour when both lovers
passed away to that resting-place "where nothing could touch them

My eyes lingered over the titles of the scenes, while my memory swiftly
recalled their characteristics:--the First Duet between Lucia and
Edgardo, a passionate burst of youthful love, as delicious as the tender
dialogues between Romeo and his Juliet;--the Sextette, that masterly
pyramidal piece of vocal harmony, in which the voices group around those
of the two lovers, and all mount up glowingly like a flame on a
sacrificial altar;--the heart-rending passage where Lucia's spirit,
frantic through woe, rises supreme over native timidity and
irresolution, and, with one fierce burst of love and grief, which
startles alike tyrant and friend, soars aloft in the terrible, but grand
realm of madness;--and the Finale, where the dying Edgardo sighs out
that delicious air which has been well styled, "a melody of Plato sung
by a Christian soul."

The programme closed fitly with Schumann's Quintette in E flat Major.

This Quintette is one of remarkable power and beauty. It is for 'rano,
viola, first and second violin, and 'cello. It is divided into four
movements: _Allegro brillante_; _In moda d'una Marcia_; _Scherzo_; and
_Allegro ma non troppo_.

As I handed the bill back to Max, he whispered to my maid, who left the
room an instant, and returned with a mantle on her arm.

"Come," he said, in a decided tone, "you must go, and quickly, too, for
they are already playing the overture. You can surely trust Ernestine
with the watching, as you will be such a short distance off; my
serving-man shall wait in the arcade, and come for you, if you are

Then, raising me with kind force from the lounge, he wrapped the mantle
around me. As we passed out, we stood for an instant at the
bed-room-door, looking at the invalid. The breath still came in short
pants, but the truce was being kept: sleep had come in between as a
transient mediator.

I noticed in the dim light the attenuated frame, the shrunken features,
the pinched nostrils, the very shadowy outlining of death. With choking
throat and swelling breast I looked at Max, my eyes saying what my voice
could not,--

"I cannot go."

Without a word of reply, he lifted me out of the apartment, and in a few
moments we were sitting in a dim corner of the concert-room, listening
to the charming First Duet.

The scenes followed one another rapidly, and displayed even more
powerfully than I had ever noticed before the one pervading theme. Sense
and imagination became possessed with it; at each succeeding passage the
interest increased continuously, until at the end the passion mounted up
as on mighty wings and carried my sad heart aloft and beyond "the
ordinary conditions of humanity."

The prima donna, Madame C----, and Signor D----, the tenor, had a sad
story of scandal floating about them; it was on every one's lips. Madame
C---- was no longer in her first youth, but she was still very
beautiful, more attractive than she had been in her younger days,--so
those said who had seen and heard her years before.

Her young womanhood had been devoted to patient, honest study, which was
rewarded with success, and calm, passionless prosperity. She had married
brilliantly, and left the stage, but after an absence of many years had
returned to it to aid her husband in some reverse of fortune. Her
married life had been tranquilly happy, for she had loved with all the
sweet serenity of a cold, unexacting nature.

But now it was whispered that this beautiful, pure woman, who had
resisted--indeed, like another Una, had never felt--the temptations
which had environed her on the stage, and in the courtly circle to which
she had been raised by her husband's rank, was being strangely
influenced by a gifted, handsome tenor singer, with whom she had been
associated since her return to her professional life.

This person was about her husband's age, a year or two her senior, and
unmarried. The infatuation, it was said, existed on both sides, and the
two lovers were so blinded by their strange passion as to seem
unconscious of any other sight or presence. The husband, report added,
behaved with remarkable prudence and good breeding; indeed, some doubted
if he noticed the affair,--for he treated not only his wife, but the
reputed lover, with familiar and kind friendliness.

The recollection of this scandal flitted over my memory as I listened to
the First Duet. Madame C---- was a blonde; she had rich, deep violet
eyes, and a lovely skin: her hair, too, was a waving mass of the poet's
and painter's golden hue. She was about middle height, and had a full,
well-developed person.

"When I saw her in Paris and Vienna, twenty years ago," whispered Max,
"she was too pale and slender, and the expression of those brilliant
eyes was as cold and still as glacier depths."

Not so now, I thought,--for they fairly blazed with a passionate fire,
as the music welled up on her beautiful quivering lips; indeed, the
melody appeared to come from them, as much as from her mouth, and I
seemed to be listening with my looks as well as my hearing. She was not
well, evidently,--for there was a bright red, feverish spot on either
cheek, and her movements were feeble and trembling; but her voice was
full of the deepest pathos.

"In her best days she never sang so well," said Max, as the room rang
with applause at the termination of the duo, "Time may have taken away a
little fulness from her lower notes; but the touching tenderness which
envelops them, as a purple mist hanging over a forest in autumn, fully
compensates for the loss of youthful vigor."

Her voice was, indeed, wonderful,--not simply clear and flexible, but
dazzling and glancing, like the lightning that plays around the horizon
on a hot midsummer's night; and her execution was as if the Cherub
All-Knowledge and the Seraph All-Love had united their divine powers in
one human form.

In the Sextette, which followed, the tenor showed to great advantage.
His voice, though no longer young, was beautifully managed; it had an
exquisite _timbre_, and on this night there was added to it a rare
expression and character.

When he asked the poor trembling Lucia if the signature to the marriage
contract was hers, there was a concentrated rage in his singing that was
fearful; and Madame C---- almost cowered to the floor, as he held her
firmly by the wrist,--for the scenes were sung in costume and with
action,--and demanded,--

    "A me rispondi. Son tue cifre? Rispondi!"

Her affirmative was like the silvery wail of a fallen angel. Then
followed the terrible imprecation passage. He darted out the

    "Maledetto sia l'istante!"

with such startling fury that the notes and words seemed to be forked,
stinging, serpent tongues.

The _Stretta_ ensued, and the music-tide flowed so high and full that
the fashionable audience forgot all artificial conventionalities, and
yielded themselves freely to the ennobling emotions of human sympathy.
Above the whole sublime assemblage of sounds wailed out that fearful
note of the fallen cherub; and the fainting of Lucia, at the close of
the Sextette, I felt sure was not a feigned one.

As the curtain fell over the temporary stage, several gentlemen hurried
out to make inquiries about Madame C----, for there seemed to be an
opinion similar to mine pervading the room. The curtain rose, and it was
announced that she was too ill to sing again; but the murmur of regret
was silenced almost immediately by the appearance of the chorus with
Signor D----, the tenor.

They began the Finale. Signor D----looked haggard and wan, but very
stern, and there was more of wrath than repentance in his singing. Was
it fancy or reality? The heart-rending

    "O bell' alma innamorata!"

seemed to be accompanied by distant, half-veiled sobs. No one else
appeared to notice them, and I half doubted their reality.

The Finale ended; and for a few moments the gay crowd buzzed, and some
stood up and looked about at their neighbors. The interval was short,
however,--for the Quintette performers came upon the stage, and took
their places.

I leaned back and covered my face with my hand. My memory was still
ringing with echoes of the forlorn cry of wrecked love, mingled with the
imaginary sobs I had just heard; therefore I hardly listened to the
majestic opening of full, harmonious chords, which lead grandly into a
sort of cantabile movement.

The curious modulations which followed aroused me, and I soon busied
myself in tracing the changes from major to minor, and from one minor
key to another, as sorrows chase each other in life. Just at this part
of the composition occurs the passage which sounds like a weird, ghostly
call or summons: when I heard it, my fancy began working, and, like
Heine, I saw spectres in the music sounds.

The air seemed to have grown suddenly "nipping and eager." I
unconsciously drew my mantle around my shoulders, as a shiver ran over
me, such as nurses tell us in childhood is caused by some one walking
over our graves. I fancied I saw before me the ghost scene in "Hamlet."
There was the castle platform,--the gloomy battlements,--the sound of
distant wassail; and dimly defined by the vague light of my fancy, stood
the sad young Danish prince, shivering in the "shrewd, biting"
night-air, tortured with those apprehensions and sickening doubts

    "That cloud the mind and fire the brain,"

but talking with a feigned and courtly indifference to his dear friend,
"the profound scholar and perfect gentleman," Horatio; and in the gloom
around them seemed to be arising the questionable shape which was

    "So horridly to shake his disposition."

Strangely the music displayed its fine forms, mingling most curiously
with, while it created, my fancied pictures,--and though my senses
followed the changing visions, which flitted like a phantasmagoria
before my eyes, my mind traced clearly the music train; but when the
diminished seventh resolved gracefully into the melody which is taken
alternately by 'cello and viola,--the close of the first movement,--my
vision faded gradually away.

There was a short pause, but the fine artists who were executing the
Quintette did not by any undignified movement break the illusion which
the music had created; although a violin-string needed raising, it was
done with quiet and skilful dexterity, and they proceeded to the second

Smoothly and mournfully the Funeral March opened. The solemn melody
which glides softly through it is totally unlike the restless trampings
of Fate heard in other great compositions of the kind; yet Fate is
unmistakably there, quiet, but relentless, like

                "the Pontic sea,
    Whose icy current and compulsive course
    Ne'er feels retiring ebb, but keeps due on."

The _Scherzo_, with its beautiful octave run for the piano and delicious
change of harmony in the next measure,--the weird melody sketched out by
the first violin, and then yielded up to the piano,--and the strange,
but truly inspired, modulations which follow,--lapped my spirit in a
sweet bewilderment. I forgot all the before and after of that "sad and
incapable story" of human life and love which my fancy had been weaving
from the coarse, vulgar threads of common rumor; and even the pictures
vanished which had been evoked of the young prince,

    "In his blown youth blasted with ecstasy."

I ceased following the modulations, interesting as they were; for often
music fills the thoughts so full that the ear forgets to listen to the
sweet harmonies.

But I was again aroused by the fine suspension and sequence which open
the last movement of the Quintette,--the _Allegro ma non troppo_. The
fugued passage, the reiteration of the opening theme, and the sad close
were all as tragic as the last scene in "Hamlet," the

    "quarry that cries on, Havoc!"--

but it was also as graceful and touching as the words of the dying
prince to his friend,--

                    "Horatio, I am dead:
    Thou liv'st. Report me and my cause aright
    To the unsatisfied."

A thousand rumors flitted about the room as the concert broke up. Madame
C---- was so ill, they feared she was dying; and, strange to say, the
tenor, on leaving the platform after the Lucia finale, had been seized
with violent cramps and vomitings, which could not be checked, and he
also was lying in a very critical state. There were dark hints and many
improbable imaginings.

    "All was not well, they deemed;
    Some knew perchance,
    And some besides were too discreetly wise
    To more than hint their knowledge in surmise."

About an hour after midnight I was lying on the lounge in the anteroom
of the cottage. The faithful maid had taken my place by the
sick-bed,--for my invalid was still sleeping. It was a long, quiet
sleep; and so low and peaceful had grown those suffering, panting
breaths, that they almost startled me into a hope of happier days. Could
health, long absent, be returning? A state of continuous illness, if
free from acute pain, would be a relief.

These half-formed hopes made me restless, and, instead of taking the
physical repose I needed, I rose from the lounge, and walked out on the
deserted lawn in front of the cottage. The moon was at the full, and
shone brighter than day's twilight. The night was warm, but not
oppressive,--for there was a gentle air blowing, filled with the
invigorating briny odor of the ocean; yet I felt choked and stifled.

"Just for a breath from the beach," I said to myself, as I descended the
steps leading down from the cliff.

On reaching the sands, instead of being alone, as I had hoped, I found
two persons already there. I drew back quickly, intending to return; but
they were passing too swiftly to notice me. As they went by, the bright
full moon gleamed over their pale, wan faces, and I recognized in them
Madame C----and the tenor!

They were talking earnestly, in low, rapid Italian. She leaned on his
arm,--indeed, they seemed to be sustaining each other, for both appeared
feeble and faint; but, tottering as they were, they sped rapidly by, and
so near to me that the corner of Madame C----'s mantle flapped in my
face, and left a strange subtile perfume behind it.

But what struck me most was the expression of their faces,--such wild,
sad, longing, entreating love! As they disappeared around a corner of
the cliff which jutted out, a dreadful suspicion seized me. Could they
be seeking self-destruction? Were they going to bury their unhallowed
love, with its shame and sorrow, in one wildering embrace beneath those
surging ocean-waves?

As one in a dream, I moved along the beach, hardly knowing whither I
went. Mechanically I ascended the flight of steps which led to the part
of the cliff directly opposite the hotel entrance. As I walked up the
lawn, I noticed a great commotion in the house. There were lights
flitting about, people running up and down stairs, and many persons
talking confusedly on the gallery and in the hall.

"What is the matter?" I asked of a waiter who was passing near me,
looking frightened and bewildered.

He stopped, and answered with all the keen eagerness of an untrained
person, to whom the communicating of a startling story to an uninformed
superior is a perfect godsend.

"Very strange doings, Ma'am,--very strange!"

"Aha!" I thought; "they have discovered the absence or flight of those
unhappy creatures."

"Very strange doings!" he repeated. "The foreign lady who sang to-night,
and the gentleman too, is both dead."

"Dead!" I exclaimed. "Why, you are mistaken. I saw them just this
instant on the sands below the cliff."

The man looked at me as if he thought me crazy.

"I mean the singers, Ma'am,--them as sang at the concert to-night. They
was both taken nigh about the same time, was handled just alike, and
died here a little while ago, a'most at once, as you might say. Folks is
talking hard about the husband of the Madame."

Then he added, in a lower tone, confidentially, "They do say he poisoned
'em; for, you see, he it was that dressed the lobster salad at dinner,
and made 'em both eat hearty of it, though they were unwilling; and now
they have him over in the office there, in custody."

"But, my good man," I said, as soon as I could get my breath, "I assure
you they are not dead."

"Well, Ma'am, if you don't believe my words, you can see 'em with your
own eyes, if you choose"; and he led the way into the hall of the hotel.

I followed him. We entered a side room,--a sort of reception
_salon_,--where the two poor creatures were, indeed lying extended on
sofas. Several startled persons were gazing at them, but the larger
portion of the crowd were drawn off to the other side of the hotel,
where the unhappy, stunned husband was listening to the fearful charges
of murder,--murder of his wife and his friend!

I stepped up to the dead bodies,--one after the other. Their dresses had
not even been changed. The stage finery looked very pitiful. A muslin
mantle had been thrown over Madame C----'s bare shoulders and beautiful
bosom; from it arose the same curious perfume I had noticed on the
beach. It was as if that delicate, rare smell had been kept in a box of
some kind of odoriferous resinous wood.

I touched their cold brows, their icy fingers,--noticed the poor
features, drawn by acute suffering,--and strange as it was, I could see
on both faces, as if behind a gauzy film, the same sad, wild, longing
look of love I had observed on the countenances of those two shadowy
beings I had met on the sands.

I left the hotel, and walked to the cottage, with my mind in a sad,
bewildered state. I entered the open door, and went to the sick-room.
There stood Max and Ernestine, and she was weeping.

"It is all over!" he said; "and I am glad she was not here."

I advanced hurriedly forward, pushed them aside, and stood by the bed.
Yes, that long, quiet sleep had, indeed, been a forerunner of life,--the
true life! All was truly over,--the long years of suffering, the blessed
years of loving care, the combat and the struggle; and on the
battle-field rested the dread shadows of Night and Death!

And I? I sank on the poor body-shell with one low, long wail, and Nature
kindly extended over me her blessed veil of forgetfulness.


On the third day of April last a most impressive and unusual scene was
witnessed in the English House of Commons. For some time before the hour
for sitting, the members had gathered about the halls and lobbies in
whispering groups. One of its leading members had passed away, and there
was a consultation as to whether the House should move an adjournment.
It is not the custom of the House of Commons to adjourn in case of the
death of one of its members, unless that member is an officer of the
Government or of extraordinary prominence. The last person for whom it
had adjourned was Sir G. Cornwall Lewis. It was considered in the
present case that there were some members whose hostility to the
departed would not stop at the grave, and that the harmony which alone
would make an adjournment graceful as a tribute would be unattainable;
so it was decided that the motion should not be made. When the great,
deep-toned Westminster clock struck four, the members took their seats.
Then slowly entered the ministers, with Lord Palmerston at their head;
and for some moments sitting there with their hats on, one might have
supposed it a silent meeting of Friends. At this moment all eyes were
turned to the door as one entered who is a Friend indeed: heavily, with
head bowed under his terrible sorrow, John Bright walked to his place,
by the side of which was a vacancy never to be filled. Lord Palmerston,
on rising, was received with a cheer which rang through the hall like a
wailing cry, and was followed by a deep hush. As the white-haired old
man, who had seen the leading men of more than two generations fall at
his side, began to speak of the "great loss" which the House and the
nation had suffered, his voice quivered, and recovered itself only when
it sank to a low tone that was deeply pathetic. And when, having
recounted the instances in which Richard Cobden, with his "great
ambition to be useful to his country," had been signally useful, each
instance followed by the refusal of proffered honors and emoluments, he
said, "Mr. Cobden's name will be forever engraved on the most
interesting pages of the history of this country," there was a
spontaneous burst of applause throughout the House. When Mr. Disraeli
arose to speak concerning the man whom for so many years he had met only
in uncompromising political combat, it was at once felt how irresistible
was the force of a right and true man. No yielding, equivocating,
South-by-North politician could ever have brought a lifelong antagonist
to stand by his grave and say,--"I believe, that, when the verdict of
posterity is recorded on his life and conduct, it will be said of him,
that, looking to all he said and did, he was without doubt the greatest
political character the pure middle class of this country has yet
produced,--an ornament to the House of Commons, and an honor to
England." Then arose, as if trying to lift a great burden, noble John
Bright. Twice he tried to speak and his voice failed; at length, with
broken utterance, but with that eloquent simplicity which characterizes
him beyond all speakers whom I have heard,--"I feel that I cannot
address the House on this occasion. Every expression of sympathy which I
have heard has been most grateful to my heart; but the time which has
elapsed, since I was present when the manliest and gentlest spirit that
ever actuated or tenanted the human form took its flight, is so short,
that I dare not even attempt to give utterance to the feelings by which
I am oppressed. I shall leave it to some calmer moment, when I may have
an opportunity of speaking to some portion of my countrymen the lesson
which I think will be learned from the life and character of my friend.
I have only to say, that, after twenty years of most intimate and most
brotherly friendship with him, I little knew how much I loved him, until
I found that I had lost him." As he spoke the concluding words, which
plaintively told his sense of loneliness, the tears that can become a
manly man came thick and fast, and all who were in the House wept with
him. There have been cases in which the House of Commons has adjourned
in honor of deceased members; but perhaps never before has it showed its
emotions in generous tears. Did I say that _all_ wept? I must recall it.
There actually were two or three who, during the entire scene, had
nothing but sneers to give, and sat, as I heard a member remark, "a
group fit for the pencil of Retzsch, fresh from its delineations of
Mephistopheles." I need not write upon the page which mentions Richard
Cobden their names, which, to reverse Palmerston's praise, are engraved
only upon the least creditable pages of the history of their own or of
others' countries.

When John Bright sat down, some minds were borne back over eight years
when Cobden was addressing a large public meeting without the presence
of his usual companion. Mr. Bright was then in the far South, in
consequence of ill-health of a character to excite grave apprehension
among his friends. During his address, Mr. Cobden, having occasion to
allude to his absent friend, was so overpowered by his feelings that he
could not proceed for several minutes; and rarely has a great audience
been so deeply moved as was that by this emotion in one to whose heart,
true and ruddy, any sentimentality was unattributable.

To write the history of this friendship between Bright and Cobden, to
tell how the sturdy hearts of these strong men became riveted to each
other, would be to record the best pages of recent English history. For
these men joined hands at the altar of a noble cause; and their souls
have been welded in the fires of a fierce and unceasing struggle for

Richard Cobden was born near Midhurst, Sussex, at his father's
farm-house, Dunford, June 3, 1804. His father was one of the class who
regarded the repeal of the Corn Laws as identical with their ruin. Young
Richard was at an early age placed in a London warehouse, where he so
pressed every leisure moment of his time into the acquisition of
information that his employer reproved him with a warning that lads so
fond of reading were apt to spoil their prospects. (This old gentleman
afterwards became unfortunate, and the young man he had thus warned
contributed fifty pounds for his comfort every year until his death.)
There has been some attempt on the part of certain persons, who have
never forgiven Mr. Cobden for their being in the wrong in the matter of
the Corn Laws, to sneer at him as an uncultivated man. This was, of
course, to be expected by one who made all the old bones in the
scholastic coffins at Oxford rattle again and again, by declaring that
he regarded "a single copy of the 'Times' newspaper as of more
importance than all the works of Thucydides,"--a thing which he has for
some years been willing to pledge himself not to repeat,--or
illustrating the nature of English education by representing
Englishmen's complete knowledge of the Ilissus, which he had once seen
dammed up by washerwomen, and their utter ignorance of the Mississippi,
flowing its two thousand miles through a magnificent country peopled by
their own race. But these partisan sneers could not affect the judgment
of any who knew Mr. Cobden, or those who read his works on Russia and
the United States and his pamphlets on subjects of current interest,
that his classical and historical culture was equal to that of the
majority of his critics, whilst his acquaintance with general philosophy
and political economy was remarkable.

Mr. Cobden left the ordinary business of the warehouse in which he was
employed to become a commercial traveller, in which capacity he gained
much knowledge of Continental peoples and their languages. At length he
was able to establish himself in the calico business at Manchester, in
the firm "Richard Cobden & Co." The "Cobden prints" became celebrated,
the business flourished, and Mr. Cobden, at the time when he began his
political career, was receiving, as his share of the income, about
forty-five thousand dollars per annum. It was probably about the year
1830, when England was feeling the first ground-swells of the great
Reform agitation, that Mr. Cobden felt called to give himself entirely
to his country's service. He resolved, however, to study for some years
with reference to public questions. In 1834-5 he made a tour through
many countries, including Egypt, Greece, and Turkey, Canada and the
United States. On his return he wrote several pamphlets, in the name of
"A Manchester Manufacturer," which excited attention, and one ("England,
Ireland, and America") a lively controversy. About this time appeared
his first contribution to the Eastern question in a little work entitled
"Russia." In all these his fundamental ideas--Retrenchment,
Non-Intervention, Free Trade--were set forth in a very spirited and
eloquent way. It is now very evident that Mr. Cobden was the product and
utterance of his country at that time; and though he was held to be an
economical visionary, never was visionary in conservative England
blessed with seeing his visions so soon harden into facts. But he was
not so absorbed in national politics, and in his proposed "Smithian
Society," in which the "Wealth of Nations" was to be discussed, as to
forget the more circumscribed duties of a citizen of Manchester.
Manchester was not yet a city with municipal representation, when he
wrote a pamphlet entitled "Incorporate your Borough," which did as much
as anything else to raise it to that dignity; and Manchester showed its
gratitude by electing him to be alderman in the first town-council.

It is hard for us at this date to realize the condition of England when
that horrible _Sirocco_, as Robert Browning called it, the tax on corn,
was blighting the land. The suicidal policy which had prevailed since
the Peace of 1815 had brought the country to the verge of ruin; and
when, in 1838, those reformers of Manchester repaired to that first
meeting of the Anti-Corn-Law League, it was through crowds of pale,
haggard, starving men, each with his starving family at home, muttering
treason, and prepared for violence at any touch. The banner of Chartism
was already lifted. It was then that these resolute men, with Cobden at
their head, met and vowed sacredly that their League should never be
disbanded until those laws had been repealed. The devotion with which
Richard Cobden fought that good fight may be illustrated by the story
that once his little daughter said to her mother concerning her
father,--"Mother, who is that gentleman that comes here sometimes?" With
a similar devotion to humanity did this tenderest of parents inspire his
companions; and it is not in the nature of things that such labors so
put forth shall fail. One by one the haughty aristocrats yielded; and
when at last Cobden had conquered the conqueror of Napoleon, the battle
was won. The "Times" pooh-poohed the movement, until one day the news
came that a few gentlemen of Manchester had subscribed between forty and
fifty thousand pounds for repeal, when it suddenly discovered that "the
Anti-Corn-Law movement was a great fact." When, in 1841, the new Whig
Ministry, with Sir Robert Peel at their head, came in, elected as
Protectionists, gaunt Famine took its stand by the Royal Mace, like a
Banquo. Sir Robert driving along Fleet Street might see those whom this
new unwelcome commoner represented grimly gazing of "Punch,"--that of
the Premier turning his back on a starving man with half-naked wife and
child, and buttoning up his coat with the words, "I'm very sorry, my
good man, but I can do nothing for you,--nothing!" But though Peel was
the Premier apparent, Cobden was the Premier actual. And means were
found of softening Sir Robert's heart,--these, namely: it was intimated
to him one morning, that, if a division of the House should go against
the Ministry, the Queen would feel compelled to call upon Richard
Cobden, manufacturer, to make a cabinet for her. So the Ministry
yielded, and the League reached its triumph in 1846. It is due to the
memory of Peel to say that he joined with the triumphant nation to yield
every laurel to the brow to which it belonged, and uttered the memorable
prediction that Cobden's name would be forever venerated and loved,
whenever "the poor man ate his daily bread, sweeter because no longer
leavened with a bitter sense of unwise and unjust taxation."

In the year 1839 Mr. Cobden had heard John Bright speak with great power
at a meeting in Rochdale. A little later, when Bright had just lost his
wife at Leamington, Cobden visited him there. He found him in great
grief. "Think," said Cobden, "think in your sorrow, of the thousands of
men, women, and children, who are this moment starving under the
infamous laws which it is your task and mine to help remove. Come with
me, and we will never rest until we have abolished the Corn Laws." Then
and there were those hands clasped in a sacred cause which were never to
be unclasped but by death.

Mr. Cobden took his seat in Parliament in 1841, representing Stockport.
He had not only before the triumph of 1846 sacrificed his time and
impaired his health, but also given up his fortune to the cause, and was
a poor man. By a great spontaneous subscription, the nation reimbursed
his actual losses, and amongst other things built the house at Midhurst,
where he resided on the spot that his father had occupied. Immediately
after the repeal Mr. Cobden started on a Continental tour; and in every
city he was met with a triumphal reception, so deeply had his great work
in England affected the interests of all Europe. During his absence he
was elected to represent the great constituency of the West Riding in
Yorkshire, which he accepted.

It was perhaps in those furious days which preceded the Crimean War that
the noble personal qualities with which Mr. Cobden was endowed shone out
most clearly. When all England, from the thunder of the "Times" to the
quiet Muse of Tennyson, was enlisted for war, Cobden took his stand, and
refused to bow to the tempest. In a moment the nation seemed to forget
the services of years, and Cobden, denounced as a "Peace-at-any-price
man," lost the ear of the country, as did Bright and others in those
days of political anarchy. To the ability and independence with which
Cobden and Bright withstood the popular current then, Mr. Kinglake, the
opponent of both, has done justice. It was, in fact, not true that
Cobden was a "Peace-at-any-price man." Though he maintained earnestly
the principle of non-intervention, it was because he thought that
England in its present hands could not be trusted to intervene always in
the right interest; and never was there a more pointed confirmation of
his suspicion than the event of a war which gave the victory won by the
blood of the people over to the French Emperor, that he might with it
bind back every nation that in Southern Europe was near to its
redemption. The strongest chains binding Circassia, Poland, Hungary, and
Venetia, were forged in the fires of the Crimean War. This popular wave
reached its height and broke, as such waves will, and the people much
ashamed returned to their true leaders. So when, immediately after the
end of the Crimean War, the disgraceful bombardment of Canton occurred,
Cobden was still there in Parliament ready to risk all again. His
resolution condemning the action of Sir John Bowring (who, by the way,
was Cobden's personal friend) was passed in the House by a vote of 263
to 247. Palmerston appealed to the selfishness of the country on the
subject of Chinese trade, and was sustained. These were the days when
Gladstone and Disraeli lay down together. Cobden, Bright, Gibson,
Cardwell, Layard, Fox, Miall, and others, all lost their seats. To this
interval we are indebted that John Bright recovered strength in a
foreign land, and that we received in the United States the second visit
of Cobden. Whilst they were absent, the reaction set in: Bright was
elected by Birmingham, Cobden by Rochdale. Nay, so strong was the
feeling in Cobden's case, that Palmerston found it to his purpose to
invite him into the Cabinet; and when, returning from America, Cobden
sailed up the Mersey, he was met by a deputation from Liverpool who
informed him of his appointment among the new Ministry. He at once
declined the appointment, for reasons which have not hitherto been given
to the public. Since his death a personal friend of his has written,
that, on this occasion, "he told Lord Palmerston, in answer to
remonstrances against his decision to decline the honor, that he had
always regarded his Lordship as one of the most dangerous ministers
England could possibly have, and that his views had not undergone the
slightest change. He felt that it would be doing violence to his own
sense of duty, and injuring his own character for consistency in the
eyes of his countrymen, to profess to act with a minister to whom he had
all along been opposed on public grounds."

Mr. Cobden's next great service was in bringing about the treaty of free
commerce with France, a service which has endeared him to the French
beyond all English statesmen, and which brought him from the Queen the
offer of a Baronetcy, which he declined, as he also did in January last
Mr. Gladstone's offer of the chairmanship of the Board of Audit, at a
salary of two thousand pounds. Well might Gladstone say of him, as he
did,--"Rare is the privilege of any man who, having fourteen years ago
rendered to his country one signal and splendid service, now again,
within the same brief span of life, decorated neither by rank nor title,
bearing no mark to distinguish him from the people whom he loves, has
been permitted to perform a great and memorable service to his sovereign
and to his country."

By the death of Mr. Cobden America has lost one of her truest friends,
one who in all this conflict, which has been reflected in England in a
fierce warfare of parties, has been in the thick or the fight, "the
white plume of Navarre." Nothing told more for the American cause in
Europe than the celebrated speech of Cobden, made at the time when the
busy Southerners were trying to show that the war was not for Slavery,
but Free Trade, in which he declared that he had found the Southerners,
and Jefferson Davis himself, whom he had visited, utterly indifferent to
the Free Trade movement. He was accustomed to speak of American affairs
as an American. I well remember his vehement expressions of feeling
concerning the McClellan campaign in Virginia,--in connection with which
he told me that he was at one time travelling with Jefferson Davis and
McClellan together, and that Davis whispered to him, that, in case of
war, "That man [McClellan] is one of the first we should put into
service." I thought Mr. Cobden inclined to attribute McClellan's
failures to something worse than incapacity. But this is only one
instance of the way in which he followed our war-steps, and was
interested in the subordinate questions which are usually interesting
only to Americans. It is with a melancholy pleasure that we now know
that his last public utterance was the letter on American affairs to our
minister at Copenhagen, which reached England in the American papers the
day before his death,--and that one of his last acts was to send from
his death-bed a contribution to a poor and paralyzed American sailor who
with his family was suffering in London, without any personal appeal
having been made to him. These were the last pulses of a heart that beat
only for humanity.

Mr. Cobden was one of the finest speakers I have ever heard. There was a
play as of summer lightning about his eloquence, which, whilst it did
not strike and crash opponents, was purifying the atmosphere of the
debate, and lightning up every detail of fact, so that error could not
flourish in his presence, nor even well hide itself. There was a
terseness and massiveness in his speech, curiously blended with subtilty
and fervor. A question of finance would grow pathetic under his touch,
and he could create a soul under the ribs of statistics. He might vie
with Lowell's ideal Jonathan for "calculating fanaticism" and "cast-iron
enthusiasm." But, after all, what more need be said than the epitaph
proposed for his grave: "_He gave the people bread_"?


At the commencement of the Rebellion it was the general opinion of
statesmen and financiers in other countries, and the opinion of many
among ourselves, that our resources were inadequate to a long
continuance of the war, and that it must soon terminate under pecuniary
exhaustion, if from no other cause. Our experience has shown that this
view was fallacious. After having sustained for several years the
largest army known to modern times, our available resources seem to be
unimpaired. The country is, indeed, largely in debt; but its powers of
production are so great that it can undoubtedly meet all future demands
as easily as it has met those of the past.

The ability or inability of a nation engaged in war to sustain heavy
public expenses is to be measured not so much by its nominal debt as by
the relation which the sum of its _production_ bears to that of its
necessary _consumption_. A nation heavily in debt may continue to make
large public expenditures and still prosper and increase in wealth, if
its powers of production are correspondingly large also. It is a fact of
the most encouraging kind, that the power of production exhibited by the
United States far exceeds, in proportion to their population, that of
any other nation heretofore involved in a long and costly war. The case
which most nearly approaches ours, in this regard, is that of England,
during her war with Napoleon, from 1803 to 1815. But since the
termination of that long contest, the progress of discovery,
improvements in the machinery and in the processes of manufacture, more
effective implements of agriculture, the general introduction of
railways,[H] and other time- and labor-saving agencies, together with
the constantly increasing influence of the applied sciences, have so
augmented the productive power of humanity, that the experience of the
most advanced nations fifty years ago furnishes no adequate criterion of
what the United States can do now.

It is not easy to determine the precise ratio in which production has
been increased by these instrumentalities. It is unquestionably very
large,--not less, probably, than threefold. That is to say, a given
population, including all ages and conditions, can produce the articles
necessary for its subsistence, such as food, clothing, and shelter, to
an extent three times as great, with these agencies, as it could produce
without them. Hence it appears, that, if the people of the loyal States
could return to the standard of living that prevailed fifty years ago,
the amount of their production would be sufficient to subsist not only
themselves, but twice as many more in addition. To accomplish this, they
would have, indeed, to devote themselves more to the production of
articles of prime necessity and less to those of mere ornament and
luxury. That they have the productive energy necessary to such a result
there can be no doubt.

This encouraging view of our condition is fully sustained by official
statements, which show that the industrial products of the country
increase in a greater ratio than the population. In 1850 the aggregate
value of the products of agriculture, mining, manufactures, and the
mechanic arts, in the United States, was $2,345,000.000. In 1860 the
aggregate was $3,756,000,000. This is an increase in ten years of sixty
per cent, whereas the increase of population during that decade was only
thirty-five and a half per cent. Thus we see that during the ten years
ending with 1860--the date of the last census--the products of the
industry of the country increased almost twice as fast as the population
increased. If to this we add the remarkable fact that the value of
taxable property increased during the same period _a hundred and
twenty-six_ per cent, we have striking proof of the existence of a vast
and rapidly increasing productive power,--a power largely due to the
influence of those improvements which have been alluded to.

One obvious effect of war is to transfer a portion of labor from the
sphere of effective _production_ to that of extraordinary _consumption_.
To what extent the relations of production and consumption among us have
been changed during the present contest it is impossible to state. That
consumption has been largely increased by our military operations is
apparent to all. It is equally apparent that production also has been
augmented, though not, perhaps, to the same extent. The extraordinary
demand for various commodities for war purposes has brought all the
producing agencies of the country into a high state of activity and
efficiency, giving to the loyal States a larger aggregate production
than they had before the war. Of mining and manufactures this is
unquestionably true. As regards the products of the soil, the
Commissioner of Agriculture, in his Report for 1863, says,--"Although
the year just closed has been a year of war on the part of the Republic,
over a wider field and on a grander scale than any recorded in history,
yet, strange as it may appear, the great interests of agriculture have
not materially suffered in the loyal States.... Notwithstanding there
have been over a million of men employed in the army and navy, withdrawn
chiefly from the producing classes, and liberally fed, clothed, and paid
by the Government, yet the yield of most of the great staples of
agriculture for 1863 exceeds that of 1862.... This wonderful fact of
history--a young republic carrying on a gigantic war on its own
territory and coasts, and at the same time not only feeding itself and
foreign nations, but furnishing vast quantities of raw materials for
commerce and manufactures--proves that we are essentially an
agricultural people; that three years of war have not as yet seriously
disturbed, but rather increased, industrial pursuits; and that the
withdrawal of agricultural labor, and the loss of life by disease and
battle, have been more than compensated by _machinery_ and maturing
growth at home, and by the increased influx of immigration from abroad."

In illustration of the character of those agencies to which we owe the
remarkable and gratifying results thus portrayed by the Commissioner, I
give the following official statement in regard to two of the more
prominent modern implements of agriculture. Mr. Kennedy, in his Census
Report for 1860, informs us "that a threshing-machine in Ohio, worked by
three men, with some assistance from the farm hands, did the work of
seventy flails, and that thirty steam-threshers only were required to
prepare for market the wheat crop of two counties in Ohio, which would
have required the labor of forty thousand men." As it took probably less
than two hundred men to work the machines, the immense saving in human
labor becomes instantly apparent.

Again, in his last Patent-Office Report, Mr. Holloway states "that from
reliable returns in his possession it is shown that forty thousand
reapers were manufactured and sold in 1863, and that it is estimated by
the manufacturers that over ninety thousand will be required to meet the
demand for 1864"; and these machines, he says, will save the labor of
four hundred and fifty thousand men.

If the aggregate produce of the loyal States, notwithstanding the large
amount of labor that has been withdrawn from production by the demands
of the war, is actually greater than ever before, and if, as we have
already shown, the sum of that produce is three times as great as the
people of those States, using proper economy, would _necessarily_
consume, surely no one should feel any anxiety in regard to the ability
of the United States to meet all their pecuniary obligations.

I have already said that England, in her war with Napoleon, furnishes
the best criterion in history for judging of our own financial
situation; and though the two cases are far from running parallel to
each other, it may be interesting to compare them in some of their

At the restoration of peace in 1815, the national debt of England
amounted in Federal currency to $4,305,000,000. It is impossible as yet
to say what will be the ultimate amount of our national debt. It amounts
now to rather more than one half of the debt of Great Britain, and, at
its present ratio of increase, it will take nearly four years more to
make our debt equal to hers.

Now, for the purposes of this statement, let us assume that it will take
four years more to finish the war and to adjust and settle all its
contingent claims, and that at the close of that period, say in 1869, we
shall be at peace, with a restored Union, and with a national debt as
large as that of England when peace returned to her in 1815,--how will
the ability of this country to sustain and pay its debt compare with the
ability of England to do the same at the time above referred to?

The simple fact that England was able to assume so vast a debt, and to
sustain the burden through half a century, during which her prosperity
has scarcely known abatement, and her wealth has been constantly and
largely increasing, ought to satisfy every American citizen that his own
country can at least do as well. But we can do more and better; for a
comparison of the two countries in the matter of ability shows that the
preponderance is greatly in our favor.

At the respective periods of comparison just named, to wit, 1815 and
1869, the population of the United Kingdom of Great Britain was less
than _one half_ of what the population of the United States will be, and
its amount of foreign trade was less than _one third_. In 1815 the
"factory system" was in its infancy and imperfectly organized, the
steam-engine was unperfected and in comparatively limited use. The
railway, the steamboat, the telegraph, the reaper, the thresher, and
many other important improvements and discoveries which tend to augment
the productive power of nations, have all come since that day. So far as
relates to the question of ability to sustain heavy financial burdens,
England, in 1815, can hardly be compared for a moment with a country
like our own, possessing as it does, in abundance and perfection, the
potent agencies of productive and distributing power just referred to.

It is true that England is now enjoying, to a large extent, the benefit
of these important agencies; but she had to supply the capital to create
them, after she had assumed the maximum of her enormous debt,--whereas
those agencies were all in active operation among us before any part of
our national debt was incurred. I hardly need suggest that it makes a
vast difference whether a nation has or has not these material
advantages at the time when it is contracting a heavy debt, and that our
position in this respect, so far as the question of ability is
concerned, is a position of immeasurable superiority.

In regard to the paying of our debt after the return of peace, we
possess some decided advantages, to which I will very briefly allude. Of
these the most obvious are, a greater ratio in the increase of
population, and more extensive natural resources. During the decade
which ended in 1861, the population of the United Kingdom of Great
Britain increased from 27,495,297 to 29,049,540, or less than _six per
cent._ In the ten years which ended in 1860, our increase of population
was from 23,191,876 to 31,445,089, or _thirty-five and a half per cent_.
Thus it appears that during the last ten years for which we have
official returns, the population of the United States increased in a
ratio sixfold greater than that of the United Kingdom. This disparity in
our favor will undoubtedly increase from year to year.

The home territory of Great Britain is quite inadequate to support even
her present population. This circumstance places that country in a
position of comparative dependence. While she _must_ draw from other
countries a very considerable proportion of her breadstuffs and other
provisions, we supply not only ourselves, but others largely also. The
money which England pays to other nations for bread alone would equal in
thirty years the entire amount of her national debt.

We need but a resolute and united purpose to sustain with comparative
ease our national burdens, whatever may be their extent. Those who doubt
this under-estimate not only the magnitude of our national resources,
but the powerful aid which modern improvements lend to their


[H] Some estimate of the influence of railways alone may be formed by
reference to the following statement, which occurs in an address of
Robert Stephenson before the Institution of Civil Engineers, in 1856:--

"The result, then, is, that, upon the existing traffic of the United
Kingdom of Great Britain, railways are affecting a direct saving to the
people of not less than forty million pounds per annum; and that sum
exceeds by about fifty per cent the entire interest of our national
debt. It may be said, therefore, that the railway system neutralizes to
the people the bad effects of the debt with which the state is
incumbered. It places us in as good position as if the debt did not





"And what are you going to preach about this month, Mr. Crowfield?"

"I am going to give a sermon on _Intolerance_, Mrs. Crowfield."

"Religious intolerance?"

"No,--domestic and family and educational intolerance,--one of the seven
deadly sins on which I am preaching,--one of 'the foxes.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

People are apt to talk as if all the intolerance in life were got up and
expended in the religious world; whereas religious intolerance is only a
small branch of the radical, strong, all-pervading intolerance of human

Physicians are quite as intolerant as theologians. They never have had
the power of burning at the stake for medical opinions, but they
certainly have shown the will. Politicians are intolerant. Philosophers
are intolerant, especially those who pique themselves on liberal
opinions. Painters and sculptors are intolerant. And housekeepers are
intolerant, virulently denunciatory concerning any departures from their
particular domestic creed.

Mrs. Alexander Exact, seated at her domestic altar, gives homilies on
the degeneracy of modern housekeeping equal to the lamentations of Dr.
Holdfast as to the falling off from the good old faith.

"Don't tell me about pillow-cases made without felling," says Mrs.
Alexander; "it's slovenly and shiftless. I wouldn't have such a
pillow-case in my house any more than I'd have vermin."

"But," says a trembling young housekeeper, conscious of unfelled
pillow-cases at home, "don't you think, Mrs. Alexander, that some of
these old traditions might be dispensed with? It really is not necessary
to do all the work that has been done so thoroughly and exactly,--to
double-stitch every wristband, fell every seam, count all the threads of
gathers, and take a stitch to every gather. It makes beautiful sewing,
to be sure; but when a woman has a family of little children and a small
income, if all her sewing is to be kept up in this perfect style, she
wears her life out in stitching. Had she not better slight a little, and
get air and exercise?"

"Don't tell me about air and exercise! What did my grandmother do? Why,
she did all her own work, and made grandfather's ruffled shirts besides,
with the finest stitching and gathers; and she found exercise enough, I
warrant you. Women of this day are miserable, sickly, degenerate

"But, my dear Madam, look at poor Mrs. Evans, over the way, with her
pale face and her eight little ones."

"Miserable manager," said Mrs. Alexander. "If she'd get up at five
o'clock the year round, as I do, she'd find time enough to do things
properly, and be the better for it."

"But, my dear Madam, Mrs. Evans is a very delicately organized, nervous

"Nervous! Don't tell me! Every woman nowadays is nervous. She can't get
up in the morning, because she's nervous. She can't do her sewing
decently, because she's nervous. Why, I might have been as nervous as
she is, if I'd have petted and coddled myself as she does. But I get up
early, take a walk in the fresh air of a mile or so before breakfast,
and come home feeling the better for it. I do all my own sewing,--never
put out a stitch; and I flatter myself my things are made as they ought
to be. I always make my boys' shirts and Mr. Exact's, and they are made
as shirts ought to be,--and yet I find plenty of time for calling,
shopping, business, and company. It only requires management and

"It is perfectly wonderful, to be sure, Mrs. Exact, to see all that you
do; but don't you get very tired sometimes?"

"No, not often. I remember, though, the week before last Christmas, I
made and baked eighteen pies and ten loaves of cake in one day, and I
was really quite worn out; but I didn't give way to it. I told Mr. Exact
I thought it would rest me to take a drive into New York and attend the
Sanitary Fair, and so we did. I suppose Mrs. Evans would have thought
she must go to bed and coddle herself for a month."

"But, dear Mrs. Exact, when a woman is kept awake nights by crying

"There's no need of having crying babies; my babies never cried; it's
just as you begin with children. I might have had to be up and down
every hour of the night with mine, just as Mrs. Evans does; but I knew
better. I used to take 'em up about ten o'clock, and feed and make 'em
all comfortable; and that was the last of 'em, till I was ready to get
up in the morning. I never lost a night's sleep with any of mine."

"Not when they were teething?"

"No. I knew how to manage that. I used to lance their gums myself, and I
never had any trouble: it's all in management. I weaned 'em all myself,
too: there's no use in having any fuss in weaning children."

"Mrs. Exact, you are a wonderful manager; but it would be impossible to
bring up all babies so."

"You'll never make me believe that: people only need to begin right. I'm
sure I've had a trial of eight."

"But there's that one baby of Mrs. Evans's makes more trouble than all
your eight. It cries every night so that somebody has to be up walking
with it; it wears out all the nurses, and keeps poor Mrs. Evans sick
all the time."

"Not the least need of it; nothing but shiftless management. Suppose I
had allowed my children to be walked with; I might have had terrible
times, too; but I began right. I set down my foot that they should lie
still, and they did; and if they cried, I never lighted a candle, or
took 'em up, or took any kind of notice of it; and so, after a little,
they went off to sleep. Babies very soon find out where they can take
advantage, and where they can't. It's nothing but temper makes babies
cry; and if I couldn't hush 'em any other way, I should give 'em a few
good smart slaps, and they would soon learn to behave themselves."

"But, dear Mrs. Exact, you were a strong, healthy woman, and had strong,
healthy children."

"Well, isn't that baby of Mrs. Evans's healthy, I want to know? I'm sure
it is a great creature, and thrives and grows fat as fast as ever I saw
a child. You needn't tell me anything is the matter with that child but
temper, and its mother's coddling management."

Now, in the neighborhood where she lives, Mrs. Alexander Exact is the
wonderful woman, the Lady Bountiful, the pattern female. Her cake never
rises on one side, or has a heavy streak in it. Her furs never get a
moth in them; her carpets never fade; her sweetmeats never ferment; her
servants never neglect their work; her children never get things out of
order; her babies never cry, never keep one awake o' nights; and her
husband never in his life said, "My dear, there's a button off my
shirt." Flies never infest her kitchen, cockroaches and red ants never
invade her premises, a spider never had time to spin a web on one of her
walls. Everything in her establishment is shining with neatness, crisp
and bristling with absolute perfection,--and it is she, the
ever-up-and-dressed, unsleeping, wide-awake, omnipresent, never-tiring
Mrs. Exact, that does it all.

Besides keeping her household ways thus immaculate, Mrs. Exact is on all
sorts of charitable committees, does all sorts of fancy-work for fairs;
and whatever she does is done perfectly. She is a most available, most
helpful, most benevolent woman, and general society has reason to
rejoice in her existence.

But, for all this, Mrs. Exact is as intolerant as Torquemada or a
locomotive-engine. She has her own track, straight and inevitable; her
judgments and opinions cut through society in right lines, with all the
force of her example and all the steam of her energy, turning out
neither for the old nor the young, the weak nor the weary. She cannot,
and she will not, conceive the possibility that there may be other sorts
of natures than her own, and that other kinds of natures must have other
ways of living and doing.

Good and useful as she is, she is terrible as an army with banners to
her poor, harassed, delicate, struggling neighbor across the way, who,
in addition to an aching, confused head, an aching back, sleepless,
harassed nights, and weary, sinking days, is burdened everywhere and
every hour with the thought that Mrs. Exact thinks all her troubles are
nothing but poor management, and that she might do just like her, if she
would. With very little self-confidence or self-assertion, she is
withered and paralyzed by this discouraging thought. _Is_ it, then, her
fault that this never-sleeping baby cries all night, and that all her
children never could and never would be brought up by those exact rules
which she hears of as so efficacious in the household over the way? The
thought of Mrs. Alexander Exact stands over her like a constable; the
remembrance of her is grievous; the burden of her opinion is heavier
than all her other burdens.

Now the fact is, that Mrs. Exact comes of a long-lived, strong-backed,
strong-stomached race, with "limbs of British oak and nerves of wire."
The shadow of a sensation of nervous pain or uneasiness never has been
known in her family for generations, and her judgments of poor little
Mrs. Evans are about as intelligent as those of a good stout Shanghai
hen on a humming-bird. Most useful and comfortable, these Shanghai
hens,--and very ornamental, and in a small way useful, these
humming-birds; but let them not regulate each other's diet, or lay down
schemes for each other's housekeeping. Has not one as much right to its
nature as the other?

This intolerance of other people's natures is one of the greatest causes
of domestic unhappiness. The perfect householders are they who make
their household rule so flexible that all sorts of differing natures may
find room to grow and expand and express themselves without infringing
upon others.

Some women are endowed with a tact for understanding human nature and
guiding it. They give a sense of largeness and freedom; they find a
place for every one, see at once what every one is good for, and are
inspired by Nature with the happy wisdom of not wishing or asking of any
human being more than that human being was made to give. They have the
portion in due season for all: a bone for the dog; catnip for the cat;
cuttle-fish and hemp-seed for the bird; a book or review for their
bashful literary visitor; lively gossip for thoughtless Miss Seventeen;
knitting for Grandmamma; fishing-rods, boats, and gunpowder for Young
Restless, whose beard is just beginning to grow;--and they never fall
into pets, because the canary-bird won't relish the dog's bone, or the
dog eat canary-seed, or young Miss Seventeen read old Mr. Sixty's
review, or young Master Restless take delight in knitting-work, or old
Grandmamma feel complacency in guns and gunpowder.

Again, there are others who lay the foundations of family life so
narrow, straight, and strict, that there is room in them only for
themselves and people exactly like themselves; and hence comes much

A man and woman come together out of different families and races, often
united by only one or two sympathies, with many differences. Their first
wisdom would be to find out each other's nature, and accommodate to it
as a fixed fact; instead of which, how many spend their lives in a blind
fight with an opposite nature, as good as their own in its way, but not
capable of meeting their requirements!

A woman trained in an exact, thriving, business family, where her father
and brothers bore everything along with true worldly skill and energy,
falls in love with a literary man, who knows nothing of affairs, whose
life is in his library and his pen. Shall she vex and torment herself
and him because he is not a business man? Shall she constantly hold up
to him the example of her father and brothers, and how they would manage
in this and that case? or shall she say cheerily and once for all to
herself,--"My husband has no talent for business; that is not his forte;
but then he has talents far more interesting: I cannot have everything;
let him go on undisturbed, and do what he can do well, and let me try to
make up for what he cannot do; and if there be disabilities come on us
in consequence of what we neither of us can do, let us both take them

In the same manner a man takes out of the bosom of an adoring family one
of those delicate, petted singing-birds that seem to be created simply
to adorn life and make it charming. Is it fair, after he has got her, to
compare her housekeeping, and her efficiency and capability in the
material part of life, with those of his mother and sisters, who are
strong-limbed, practical women, that have never thought about anything
but housekeeping from their cradle? Shall he all the while vex himself
and her with the remembrance of how his mother used to get up at five
o'clock and arrange all the business of the day,--how she kept all the
accounts,--how she saw to everything and settled everything,--how there
never were break-downs or irregularities in her system?

This would be unfair. If a man wanted such a housekeeper, why did he not
get one? There were plenty of single women, who understood washing,
ironing, clear-starching, cooking, and general housekeeping, better than
the little canary-bird which he fell in love with, and wanted for her
plumage and her song, for her merry tricks, for her bright eyes and
pretty ways. Now he has got his bird, let him keep it as something fine
and precious, to be cared for and watched over, and treated according to
the laws of its frail and delicate nature; and so treating it, he may
many years keep the charms which first won his heart. He may find, too,
if he watches and is careful, that a humming-bird can, in its own small,
dainty way, build a nest as efficiently as a turkey-gobbler, and hatch
her eggs and bring up her young in humming-bird fashion; but to do it,
she must be left unfrightened and undisturbed.

But the evils of domestic intolerance increase with the birth of
children. As parents come together out of different families with
ill-assorted peculiarities, so children are born to them with natures
differing from their own and from each other.

The parents seize on their first new child as a piece of special
property which they are forthwith to turn to their own account. The poor
little waif, just drifted on the shores of Time, has perhaps folded up
in it a character as positive as that of either parent; but, for all
that, its future course is marked out for it, all arranged and

John has a perfect mania for literary distinction. His own education was
somewhat imperfect, but he is determined his children shall be
prodigies. His first-born turns out a girl, who is to write like Madame
de Staël,--to be an able, accomplished woman. He bores her with
literature from her earliest years, reads extracts from Milton to her
when she is only eight years old and is secretly longing to be playing
with her doll's wardrobe. He multiplies governesses, spares no expense,
and when, after all, his daughter turns out to be only a very pretty,
sensible, domestic girl, fond of cross-stitching embroidery, and with a
more decided vocation for sponge-cake and pickles than for poetry and
composition, he is disappointed and treats her coldly; and she is
unhappy and feels that she has vexed her parents, because she cannot be
what Nature never meant her to be. If John had taken meekly the present
that Mother Nature gave him, and humbly set himself to inquire what it
was and what it was good for, he might have had years of happiness with
a modest, amiable, and domestic daughter, to whom had been given the
instinct to study household good.

But, again, a bustling, pickling, preserving, stocking-knitting,
universal-housekeeping woman has a daughter who dreams over her
knitting-work and hides a book under her sampler,--whose thoughts are
straying in Greece, Rome, Germany,--who is reading, studying, thinking,
writing, without knowing why; and the mother sets herself to fight this
nature, and to make the dreamy scholar into a driving, thorough-going,
exact woman-of-business. How many tears are shed, how much temper
wasted, how much time lost, in such encounters!

Each of these natures, under judicious training, might be made to
complete itself by cultivation of that which it lacked. The born
housekeeper can never be made a genius, but she may add to her household
virtues some reasonable share of literary culture and appreciation,--and
the born scholar may learn to come down out of her clouds, and see
enough of this earth to walk its practical ways without stumbling; but
this must be done by tolerance of their nature,--by giving it play and
room,--first recognizing its existence and its rights, and then seeking
to add to it the properties it wants.

A driving Yankee housekeeper, fruitful of resources, can work with any
tools or with no tools at all. If she absolutely cannot get a
tack-hammer with a claw on one end, she can take up carpet-nails with an
iron spoon, and drive them down with a flat-iron; and she has sense
enough not to scold, though she does her work with them at considerable
disadvantage. She knows that she is working with tools made to do
something else, and never thinks of being angry at their unhandiness.
She might have equal patience with a daughter unhandy in physical
things, but acute and skilful in mental ones, if she once had the idea
suggested to her.

An ambitious man has a son whom he destines to a learned profession. He
is to be the Daniel Webster of the family. The boy has a robust,
muscular frame, great physical vigor and enterprise, a brain bright and
active in all that may be acquired through the bodily senses, but which
is dull and confused and wandering when put to abstract book-knowledge.
He knows every ship at the wharf, her build, tonnage, and sailing
qualities; he knows every railroad-engine, its power, speed, and hours
of coming and going; he is always busy, sawing, hammering, planing,
digging, driving, making bargains, with his head full of plans, all
relating to something outward and physical. In all these matters his
mind works strongly, his ideas are clear, his observation acute, his
conversation sensible and worth listening to. But as to the distinction
between common nouns and proper nouns, between the subject and the
predicate of a sentence, between the relative pronoun and the
demonstrative adjective pronoun, between the perfect and the
preter-perfect tense, he is extremely dull and hazy. The region of
abstract ideas is to him a region of ghosts and shadows. Yet his youth
is mainly a dreary wilderness of uncomprehended, incomprehensible
studies, of privations, tasks, punishments, with a sense of continual
failure, disappointment, and disgrace, because his father is trying to
make a scholar and a literary man out of a boy whom Nature made to till
the soil or manage the material forces of the world. He might be a
farmer, an engineer, a pioneer of a new settlement, a sailor, a soldier,
a thriving man of business; but he grows up feeling that his nature is a
crime, and that he is good for nothing, because he is not good for what
he had been blindly predestined to before he was born.

Another boy is a born mechanic; he understands machinery at a glance; he
is all the while pondering and studying and experimenting. But his
wheels and his axles and his pulleys are all swept away, as so much
irrelevant lumber; he is doomed to go into the Latin School, and spend
three or four years in trying to learn what he never can learn
well,--disheartened by always being at the tail of his class, and seeing
many a boy inferior to himself in general culture who is rising to
brilliant distinction simply because he can remember those hopeless,
bewildering Greek quantities and accents which he is constantly
forgetting,--as, for example, how properispomena become paroxytones when
the ultimate becomes long, and proparoxytones become paroxytones when
the ultimate becomes long, while paroxytones with a short penult remain
paroxytones. Each of this class of rules, however, having about sixteen
exceptions, which hold good except in three or four other exceptional
cases under them, the labyrinth becomes delightfully wilder and wilder;
and the crowning beauty of the whole is, that, when the bewildered boy
has swallowed the whole,--tail, scales, fins, and bones,--he then is
allowed to read the classics in peace, without the slightest occasion to
refer to them again during his college course.

The great trouble with the so-called classical course of education is,
that it is made strictly for but one class of minds, which it drills in
respects for which they have by nature an aptitude, and to which it
presents scarcely enough of difficulty to make it a mental discipline,
while to another and equally valuable class of minds it presents
difficulties so great as actually to crush and discourage. There are, we
will venture to say, in every ten boys in Boston four, and those not the
dullest or poorest in quality, who could never go through the discipline
of the Boston Latin School without such a strain on the brain and
nervous system as would leave them no power for anything else.

A bright, intelligent boy, whose talents lay in the line of natural
philosophy and mechanics, passed with brilliant success through the
Boston English High School. He won the first medals, and felt all that
pride and enthusiasm which belong to a successful student. He entered
the Latin Classical School. With a large philosophic and reasoning
brain, he had a very poor verbal and textual memory; and here he began
to see himself distanced by boys who had hitherto looked up to him. They
could rattle off catalogues of names; they could do so all the better
from the habit of not thinking of what they studied. They could commit
the Latin Grammar, coarse print and fine, and run through the
interminable mazes of Greek accents and Greek inflections. This boy of
large mind and brain, always behindhand, always incapable, utterly
discouraged, no amount of study could place on an equality with his
former inferiors. His health failed, and he dropped from school. Many a
fine fellow has been lost to himself, and lost to an educated life, by
just such a failure. The collegiate system is like a great coal-screen:
every piece not of a certain size must fall through. This may do well
enough for screening coal; but what if it were used indiscriminately for
a mixture of coal and diamonds?

"Poor boy!" said Ole Bull, compassionately, when one sought to push a
schoolboy from the steps of an omnibus, where he was getting a
surreptitious ride. "Poor boy! let him stay. Who knows his trials?
Perhaps he studies Latin."

The witty Heinrich Heine says, in bitter remembrance of his early
sufferings,--"The Romans would never have conquered the world, if they
had had to learn their own language. They had leisure, because they were
born with the knowledge of what nouns form their accusatives in _im_."

Now we are not among those who decry the Greek and Latin classics. We
think it a glorious privilege to read both those grand old tongues, and
that an intelligent, cultivated man who is shut out from the converse of
the splendid minds of those olden times loses a part of his birthright;
and therefore it is that we mourn that but one dry, hard, technical
path, one sharp, straight, narrow way, is allowed into so goodly a land
of knowledge. We think there is no need that the study of Greek and
Latin should be made such a horror. There is many a man without a verbal
memory, who could neither recite in order the paradigms of the Greek
verbs, nor repeat the lists of nouns that form their accusative in one
termination or another, who, nevertheless, by the exercise of his
faculties of comparison and reasoning, could learn to read the Greek and
Latin classics so as to take their sense and enjoy their spirit; and
that is all that they are worth caring for. We have known one young
scholar, who could not by any possibility repeat the lists of exceptions
to the rules in the Latin Grammar, who yet delightedly filled his
private note-book with quotations from the "Æneid," and was making
extracts of literary gems from his Greek Reader, at the same time that
he was every day "screwed" by his tutor upon some technical point of the

Is there not many a master of English, many a writer and orator, who
could not repeat from memory the list of nouns ending in _y_ that form
their plural in _ies_, with the exceptions under it? How many of us
could do this? Would it help a good writer and fluent speaker to know
the whole of Murray's Grammar by heart, or does real knowledge of a
language ever come in this way?

At present the rich stores of ancient literature are kept like the
savory stew which poor Dominie Sampson heard simmering in the witch's
kettle. One may have much appetite, but there is but one way of getting
it. The Meg Merrilies of our educational system, with her harsh voice,
and her "Gape, sinner, and swallow," is the only introduction,--and so,
many a one turns and runs frightened from the feast.

This intolerant mode of teaching the classical languages is peculiar to
them alone. Multitudes of girls and boys are learning to read and to
speak German, French, and Italian, and to feel all the delights of
expatiating in the literature of a new language, purely because of a
simpler, more natural, less pedantic mode of teaching these languages.

Intolerance in the established system of education works misery in
families, because family pride decrees that every boy of good status in
society, will he, nill he, shall go through college, or he almost
forfeits his position as a gentleman.

"Not go to Cambridge!" says Scholasticus to his first-born. "Why, I went
there,--and my father, and his father, and his father before him. Look
at the Cambridge Catalogue and you will see the names of our family ever
since the College was founded!"

"But I can't learn Latin and Greek," says young Scholasticus. "I can't
remember all those rules and exceptions. I've tried, and I can't. If you
could only know how my head feels when I try! And I won't be at the foot
of the class all the time, if I have to get my living by digging."

Suppose, now, the boy is pushed on at the point of the bayonet to a kind
of knowledge in which he has no interest, communicated in a way that
requires faculties which Nature has not given him,--what occurs?

He goes through his course, either shamming, shirking, parrying, all the
while consciously discredited and dishonored,--or else putting forth an
effort that is a draft on all his nervous energy, he makes merely a
decent scholar, and loses his health for life.

Now, if the principle of toleration were once admitted into classical
education,--if it were admitted that the great object is to read and
enjoy a language, and the stress of the teaching were placed on the few
things absolutely essential to this result,--if the tortoise were
allowed time to creep, and the bird permitted to fly, and the fish to
swim, towards the enchanted and divine sources of Helicon,--all might in
their own way arrive there, and rejoice in its flowers, its beauty, and
its coolness.

"But," say the advocates of the present system, "it is good mental

I doubt it. It is mere waste of time.

When a boy has learned that in the genitive plural of the first
declension of Greek nouns the final syllable is circumflexed, but to
this there are the following exceptions: 1. That feminine adjectives and
participles in [Greek: -os, -ê, -on] are accented like the genitive
masculine, but other feminine adjectives and participles are perispomena
in the genitive plural; 2. That the substantives _chrestes_, _aphue_,
_etesiai_, and _chlounes_ in the genitive plural remain paroxytones,
(Kühner's _Elementary Greek Grammar_, page 22,)--I say, when a boy has
learned this and twenty other things just like it, his mind has not been
one whit more disciplined than if he had learned the list of the old
thirteen States, the number and names of the newly adopted ones, the
times of their adoption, and the population, commerce, mineral and
agricultural wealth of each. These, too, are merely exercises of memory,
but they are exercises in what is of some interest and some use.

The particulars above cited are of so little use in understanding the
Greek classics that I will venture to say that there are intelligent
English scholars, who have never read anything but Bohn's translations,
who have more genuine knowledge of the spirit of the Greek mind, and the
peculiar idioms of the language, and more enthusiasm for it, than many a
poor fellow who has stumbled blindly through the originals with the
bayonet of the tutor at his heels, and his eyes and ears full of the
Scotch snuff of the Greek Grammar.

What then? Shall we not learn these ancient tongues? By all means. "So
many times as I learn a language, so many times I become a man," said
Charles V.; and he said rightly. Latin and Greek are foully belied by
the prejudices created by this technical, pedantic mode of teaching
them, which makes one ragged, prickly bundle of all the dry facts of the
language, and insists upon it that the boy shall not see one glimpse of
its beauty, glory, or interest, till he has swallowed and digested the
whole mass. Many die in this wilderness with their shoes worn out before
reaching the Promised Land of Plato and the Tragedians.

"But," say our college authorities, "look at England. An English
schoolboy learns three times the Latin and Greek that our boys learn,
and has them well drubbed in."

And English boys have three times more beef and pudding in their
constitution than American boys have, and three times less of nerves.
The difference of nature must be considered here; and the constant
influence flowing from English schools and universities must be tempered
by considering who we are, what sort of boys we have to deal with, what
treatment they can bear, and what are the needs of our growing American

The demands of actual life, the living, visible facts of practical
science, in so large and new a country as ours, require that the ideas
of the ancients should be given us in the shortest and most economical
way possible, and that scholastic technicalities should be reserved to
those whom Nature made with especial reference to their preservation.

On no subject is there more intolerant judgment, and more suffering from
such intolerance, than on the much mooted one of the education of

Treatises on education require altogether too much of parents, and
impose burdens of responsibility on tender spirits which crush the life
and strength out of them. Parents have been talked to as if each child
came to them a soft, pulpy mass, which they were to pinch and pull and
pat and stroke into shape quite at their leisure,--and a good pattern
being placed before them, they were to proceed immediately to set up and
construct a good human being in conformity therewith.

It is strange that believers in the divine inspiration of the Bible
should have entertained this idea, overlooking the constant and
affecting declaration of the great Heavenly Father that _He_ has
nourished and brought up children and they have rebelled against Him,
together with His constant appeals,--"What could have been done more to
my vineyard that I have not done in it? Wherefore, when I looked that it
should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?" If even God,
wiser, better, purer, more loving, admits Himself baffled in this great
work, is it expedient to say to human beings that the forming power, the
deciding force, of a child's character is in their hands?

Many a poor feeble woman's health has been strained to breaking, and her
life darkened, by the laying on her shoulders of a burden of
responsibility that never ought to have been placed there; and many a
mother has been hindered from using such powers as God has given her,
because some preconceived mode of operation has been set up before her
which she could no more make effectual than David could wear the armor
of Saul.

A gentle, loving, fragile creature marries a strong-willed, energetic
man, and by the laws of natural descent has a boy given to her of twice
her amount of will and energy. She is just as helpless, in the mere
struggle of will and authority with such a child, as she would be in a
physical wrestle with a six-foot man.

What then? Has Nature left her helpless for her duties? Not if she
understands her nature, and acts in the line of it. She has no power of
command, but she has power of persuasion. She can neither bend nor break
the boy's iron will, but she can melt it. She has tact to avoid the
conflict in which she would be worsted. She can charm, amuse, please,
and make willing; and her fine and subtile influences, weaving
themselves about him day after day, become more and more powerful. Let
her alone, and she will have her boy yet.

But now some bustling mother-in-law or other privileged expounder says
to her,--

"My dear, it's your solemn duty to break that boy's will. I broke my
boy's will short off. Keep your whip in sight, meet him at every turn,
fight him whenever he crosses you, never let him get one victory, and
finally his will will be wholly subdued."

Such advice is mischievous, because what it proposes is as utter an
impossibility to the woman's nature as for a cow to scratch up worms for
her calf, or a hen to suckle her chickens.

There are men and women of strong, resolute will who are gifted with the
power of governing the wills of others. Such persons can govern in this
way,--and their government, being in the line of their nature, acting
strongly, consistently, naturally, makes everything move harmoniously.
Let them be content with their own success, but let them not set up as
general education-doctors, or apply their experience to all possible

Again, there are others, and among some of the loveliest and purest
natures, who have no power of command. They have sufficient tenacity of
will as respects their own course, but have no compulsory power over the
wills of others. Many such women have been most successful mothers, when
they followed the line of their own natures, and did not undertake what
they never could do.

_Influence_ is a slower acting force than authority. It seems weaker,
but in the long run it often effects more. It always does better than
mere force and authority without its gentle modifying power.

If a mother is high-principled, religious, affectionate, if she never
uses craft or deception, if she governs her temper and sets a good
example, let her hold on in good hope, though she cannot produce the
discipline of a man-of-war in her noisy little flock, or make all move
as smoothly as some other women to whom God has given another and
different talent; and let her not be discouraged, if she seem often to
accomplish but little in that great work of forming human character
wherein the great Creator of the world has declared Himself at times

Family tolerance must take great account of the stages and periods of
development and growth in children.

The passage of a human being from one stage of development to another,
like the sun's passage across the equator, frequently has its storms and
tempests. The change to manhood and womanhood often involves brain,
nerves, body, and soul in confusion; the child sometimes seems lost to
himself and his parents,--his very nature changing. In this sensitive
state come restless desires, unreasonable longings, unsettled purposes;
and the fatal habit of indulgence in deadly stimulants, ruining all the
life, often springs form the cravings of this transition period.

Here must come in the patience of the saints. The restlessness must be
soothed, the family hearth must be tolerant enough to keep there the
boy, whom Satan will receive and cherish, them if his mother does not.
The male element sometimes pours into a boy, like the tides in the Bay
of Fundy, with tumult and tossing. He is noisy, vociferous, uproarious,
and seems bent only on disturbance; he despises conventionalities, he
hates parlors, he longs for the woods, the sea, the converse of rough
men, and kicks at constraint of all kinds. Have patience now, let love
have its perfect work, and in a year or two, if no deadly physical
habits set in, a quiet, well-mannered gentleman will be evolved.
Meanwhile, if he does not wipe his shoes, and if he will fling his hat
upon the floor, and tear his clothes, and bang and hammer and shout, and
cause general confusion in his belongings, do not despair; if you only
get your son, the hat and clothes and shoes and noise and confusion do
not matter. Any amount of toleration that keeps a boy contented at home
is treasure well expended at this time of life.

One thing not enough reflected on is, that in this transition period
between childhood and maturity the heaviest draft and strain of school
education occurs. The boy is fitting for the university, the girl going
through the studies of the college senior year, and the brain-power,
which is working almost to the breaking-point to perfect the physical
change, has the additional labor of all the drill and discipline of

The girl is growing into a tall and shapely woman, and the poor brain is
put to it to find enough phosphate of lime, carbon, and other what not,
to build her fair edifice. The bills flow in upon her thick and fast;
she pays out hand over hand: if she had only her woman to build, she
might get along, but now come in demands for algebra, geometry, music,
language, and the poor brain-bank stops payment; some part of the work
is shabbily done, and a crooked spine or weakened lungs are the result.

Boarding-schools, both for boys and girls, are for the most part
composed of young people in this most delicate, critical portion of
their physical, mental, and moral development, whose teachers are
expected to put them through one straight, severe course of drill,
without the slightest allowance for the great physical facts of their
being. No wonder they are difficult to manage, and that so many of them
drop, physically, mentally, and morally halt and maimed. It is not the
teacher's fault; he but fulfils the parent's requisition, which dooms
his child without appeal to a certain course, simply because others have
gone through it.

Finally, as my sermon is too long already, let me end with a single
reflection. Every human being has some handle by which he may be lifted,
some groove in which he was meant to run; and the great work of life, as
far as our relations with each other are concerned, is to lift each one
by his own proper handle, and run each one in his own proper groove.


    The dark jaguar was abroad in the land;
    His strength and his fierceness what foe could withstand?
    The breath of his anger was hot on the air,
    And the white lamb of Peace he had dragged to his lair.

    Then up rose the Farmer; he summoned his sons:
    "Now saddle your horses, now look to your guns!"
    And he called to his hound, as he sprang from the ground
    To the back of his black pawing steed with a bound.

    Oh, their hearts, at the word, how they tingled and stirred!
    They followed, all belted and booted and spurred.
    "Buckle tight, boys!" said he, "for who gallops with me,
    Such a hunt as was never before he shall see!

    "This traitor, we know him! for when he was younger,
    We flattered him, patted him, fed his fierce hunger:
    But now far too long we have borne with the wrong,
    For each morsel we tossed makes him savage and strong."

    Then said one, "He must die!" And they took up the cry,
    "For this last crime of his he must die! he must die!"
    But the slow eldest-born sauntered sad and forlorn,
    For his heart was at home on that fair hunting-morn.

    "I remember," he said, "how this fine cub we track
    Has carried me many a time on his back!"
    And he called to his brothers, "Fight gently! be kind!"
    And he kept the dread hound, Retribution, behind.

    The dark jaguar on a bough in the brake
    Crouched, silent and wily, and lithe as a snake:
    They spied not their game, but, as onward they came,
    Through the dense leafage gleamed two red eyeballs of flame.

    Black-spotted, and mottled, and whiskered, and grim,
    White-bellied, and yellow, he lay on the limb,
    All so still that you saw but just one tawny paw
    Lightly reach through the leaves and as softly withdraw.

    Then shrilled his fierce cry, as the riders drew nigh,
    And he shot from the bough like a bolt from the sky:
    In the foremost he fastened his fangs as he fell,
    While all the black jungle reëchoed his yell.

    Oh, then there was carnage by field and by flood!
    The green sod was crimsoned, the rivers ran blood,
    The cornfields were trampled, and all in their track
    The beautiful valley lay blasted and black.

    Now the din of the conflict swells deadly and loud,
    And the dust of the tumult rolls up like a cloud:
    Then afar down the slope of the Southland recedes
    The wild rapid clatter of galloping steeds.

    With wide nostrils smoking, and flanks dripping gore,
    The black stallion bore his bold rider before,
    As onward they thundered through forest and glen,
    A-hunting the dark jaguar to his den.

    In April, sweet April, the chase was begun;
    It was April again, when the hunting was done:
    The snows of four winters and four summers green
    Lay red-streaked and trodden and blighted between.

    Then the monster stretched all his grim length on the ground;
    His life-blood was wasting from many a wound;
    Ferocious and gory and snarling he lay,
    Amid heaps of the whitening bones of his prey.

    Then up spoke the slow eldest son, and he said,
    "All he needs now is just to be fostered and fed!
    Give over the strife! Brothers, put up the knife!
    We will tame him, reclaim him, but take not his life!"

    But the Farmer flung back the false words in his face:
    "He is none of my race, who gives counsel so base!
    Now let loose the hound!" And the hound was unbound,
    And like lightning the heart of the traitor he found.

    "So rapine and treason forever shall cease!"
    And they wash the stained fleece of the pale lamb of Peace;
    When, lo! a strong angel stands wingèd and white
    In a wonderful raiment of ravishing light!

    Peace is raised from the dead! In the radiance shed
    By the halo of glory that shines round her head,
    Fair gardens shall bloom where the black jungle grew,
    And all the glad valley shall blossom anew!


In the July (1864) number of this magazine there is an article entitled
"The May Campaign in Virginia," which gives an outline of the operations
of the Army of the Potomac in its march from its encampment on the
Rapidan, through the tangled thickets of the Wilderness, to the bloody
fields of Spottsylvania, across the North Anna, to the old battle-ground
of Cold Harbor. The closing paragraph of that article is an appropriate
introduction to the present. It is as follows:--

"The line of advance taken by General Grant turned the Rebels from
Washington. The country over which the two armies marched is a
desolation. There is no subsistence remaining. The railroads are
destroyed. Lee has no longer the power to invade the North. On the other
hand, General Grant can swing upon the James, and isolate the Rebel army
from direct communication with the South. That accomplished, and, sooner
or later, with Hunter in the Shenandoah, with Union cavalry sweeping
down to Wilmington, Weldon, and Danville, and up to the Blue Ridge,
cutting railroads, burning bridges, destroying supplies of ammunition
and provisions, the question with Lee must be, not one of earthworks and
cannon and powder and ball, but of subsistence. Plainly, the day is
approaching when the Army of the Potomac, unfortunate at times in the
past, derided, ridiculed, but now triumphant through unparalleled
hardship, endurance, courage, persistency, will plant its banners on the
defences of Richmond, crumble the Rebel army beyond the possibility of
future cohesion, and, in conjunction with the forces in other
departments, crush out the last vestige of the Rebellion."

So it has proved. The railroads are destroyed, the bridges burned, the
supplies of ammunition and provision exhausted; the flag of the Union
floats over the city which the Rebels have called their capital; the
troops of the Union patrol the streets of Richmond, and occupy all the
principal towns of Virginia; Lee's army has melted away, and the power
of the Rebellion is broken.

Before entering upon a narration of the campaign of a week which gave us
Richmond and the Rebel army at the same time, it will widen our scope of
vision to inquire


On the 17th of April, 1861, Virginia in Convention passed an Ordinance
of Secession. The Convention, when elected on the 4th of February
preceding, was largely Anti-Secession; but the events which had taken
place,--the firing on Sumter, its surrender, with the machinations of
the leaders of Secession,--their misrepresentations of the North, of
what Mr. Lincoln would do,--their promises that there would be no war,
that the Yankees would not fight,--their bullyings when they could not
cajole, their threatenings when they could not intimidate,--their
rejoicings at the bloodless victory won by South Carolina,
single-handed, over a starved garrison,--their bonfires and
illuminations, their baskets of Champagne and bottles of whiskey,--all
of these forces combined were sufficient to carry the Ordinance of
Secession through the Convention. But it was hampered by a proviso
submitting it to the people for ratification on the Fourth Thursday of
May following.

John Letcher was Governor of Virginia. Weak in intellect, grovelling in
his tastes, often drunk, rarely sober, at times making such beastly
exhibition of himself that the Richmond press pronounced him a public
nuisance, he was a fit tool of the Secession conspirators. Ready to do
what he could to commit the State to overt acts against the United
States Government, on the evening after the passage of the Ordinance he
issued orders to the State militia around Winchester to seize the
Arsenal at Harper's Ferry,--on his own sole responsibility, and without
a shadow of authority from the people of the State, inaugurating civil
war, a proceeding which he followed up directly afterwards by
proclaiming Virginia a member of the Confederacy, and thus carrying the
State at once out of the Union, without awaiting the formality of a
popular vote.

Already the intentions of the Confederate Government were manifest.

"I prophesy that the flag which now flaunts the breeze here will float
over the old Capitol in Washington before the first of May," said Mr.
L.P. Walker, Secretary of War, the evening after the fall of Sumter, to
a crazy crowd in Montgomery, then the Rebel capital.

"From the mountain-tops and valleys to the shores of the sea, there is
one wild shout of fierce resolve to capture Washington City at all and
every human hazard. That filthy cage of unclean birds must and will
assuredly be purified by fire," shouted John Mitchell, through the
"Richmond Examiner," on the 23d of April.

"Washington City will soon be too hot to hold Abraham Lincoln and his
Government," wrote the editor of the "Raleigh Standard" on the 24th.

"We are in lively hope, that, before three months roll by, the
Government, Congress, Departments and all, will have been removed to the
present Federal capital," wrote the Montgomery correspondent of the
"Charleston Courier" on the 28th of the same month.

"We are not in the secrets of our authorities enough to specify the day
on which Jeff Davis will dine at the White House, and Ben McCullough
take his siesta in General Sickles's gilded tent. We should not like to
produce any disappointment by naming too soon or too early a day; but it
will save trouble, if the gentlemen will keep themselves in readiness to
dislodge at a moment's notice," said the "Richmond Whig" on the 22d of

The Rebel Congress had already adjourned, and was on its way to
Richmond. Not only Congress, but all the Departments, were on the move,
intending to tarry at Richmond but a day or two, till General Scott, and
Abraham Lincoln, and the Yankees, who were swarming into Washington,
were driven out. Thus Richmond became, though only temporarily, as all
hands in the South supposed, the capital of the Confederacy.

A week later Jeff Davis was welcomed to Richmond by the people, says
Pollard, the author of the "Southern History of the War," an implacable
hater of the North, "with a burst of genuine joy and enthusiasm to which
none of the military pageants of the North could furnish a parallel."
President Davis, in response to the call of the populace, made a
speech, in which he said,--

"When the time and occasion serve, we shall smite the smiter with manly
arms, as did our fathers before us, and as becomes their sons. To the
enemy we leave the base _acts of the assassin and incendiary_; to them
we leave it to insult helpless women: to us belongs vengeance upon men.
We will make the battle-fields in Virginia another Buena Vista, drenched
with more precious blood than flowed there."

But Colonel Robert E. Lee, who was in command of the Rebel forces in
Virginia, was not quite ready to take Washington; and so the Rebel
Congress commenced its sessions in the State capital. Mr. Memminger set
up his printing-presses, and issued his promises to pay the debts of the
Confederacy two years after the treaty of peace with the United States;
Mr. Mallory began to consider how to construct rams; while Mr. Toombs,
and his successor, Mr. Benjamin, wrote letters of instruction from the
State Department to Rebel agents in Europe, and looked longingly and
expectantly for immediate recognition of the Confederacy as an
independent power among the nations.

The sleepy city awoke to a new life. Regiments of infantry came pouring
in, not only from the hills and valleys of the Old Dominion, but from
every nook and corner of the Confederate States,--the Palmetto Guards,
Marion Rifles, Jeff-Davis Grays, Whippy-Swamp Grenadiers, Chickasaw
Braves, Tigers, Dare-Devils, and Yankee-Butchers,--fired with patriotism
and whiskey, proud to be in Richmond, to march through its streets,
beneath the flags wrought by the fair ladies of the sunny South, for
whom each man had sworn to kill a Yankee! Lieutenants, captains, majors,
colonels, and generals, glittering with golden stars, with clanking
sabres, and twinkling spurs, thronged the hotels in all the pomp of
modern chivalry. With the marching of troops, and the gathering of men
from every precinct of the Confederacy in search of official position in
the bureaus or to obtain contracts from Government,--with the rush and
whirl of business, and the inflation of prices of all commodities,--with
the stream of gayety and fashion attendant upon the Confederate court,
where Mrs. Jefferson Davis was queen-regnant,--with its gilded
drinking-saloons and gambling-hells,--Richmond became a Babylon.


It was a natural cry, that slogan of the North in the early months of
the war; for, in ordinary warfare, to capture an enemy's capital is
equivalent to conquering a peace. It was thought that the taking of
Richmond would be the end of the Rebellion. Time has disabused us of
this idea. To have taken Richmond in 1861 would only have been the
repacking of the Department trunks for Montgomery or some other
convenient Southern city. The vitality of the Rebellion existed not in
cities, towns, or capitals, but in that which could die only by
annihilation,--Human Slavery. That was and is the "original sin" of the
Rebellion,--the total depravity and innate heinousness, to use
theological terminology, without which there could not have been
treason, secession, and rebellion.

But forgetting all this,--looking constantly at effect, without
searching for cause,--hearing only the drum-beat of the armed legions of
the South mustering for the overthrow of the nation,--wilfully shutting
our ears to the clanking of the chains of the slave-coffle,--deaf to the
prayer, "How long, O Lord?" uttered morning, noon, and night by men and
women who were turned back to bondage from our lines,--forgetting that
Justice and Right are the foundations of the throne of God,--the army of
General McDowell marched confidently out to Bull Run on its way to
Richmond, and returned to Washington defeated, routed, disorganized,
humiliated. And yet we now see that to the South the victory which set
the whole Confederacy on flame was a defeat, and to the North that which
seemed an overwhelming disaster was a triumph; for so God changes the
warp and woof of human events. The Southern leaders became
over-confident. They could have taken Washington, but did not make the
attempt to do so till the golden moment had passed, never to return. "We
have let Washington slip through our fingers," was the bitter
lamentation of the "Richmond Examiner," a few days after the Battle of
Bull Run,--after the second uprising of the people to save the Union.

When God takes a proud and wayward nation in hand, and instructs it by
the hard lessons of adversity,--by plans overthrown, ambition checked,
pride humiliated, and hopes disappointed, which wring tears from the
eyes of widows and orphans, and by which men in the prime of life are
bowed down to the grave with grief for sons slain in battle,--He does it
for a great purpose. But the nation was blind to the moral of the
terrible lesson. We are slow to receive and accept eternal truths. And
so, instead of aiming at Slavery as the life of the Rebellion, McClellan
marched up the Peninsula through the mud to capture Richmond, and
conquer a peace simply by taking the Rebel capital. He was learned in
military lore, had visited Europe, and made war after the European
pattern. But in a war of ideas and principles, the mere taking of an
enemy's capital cannot end the contest. In such a strife there is the
war of invisible forces,--the marshalling of Cherubim and Seraphim
against rebellious hosts,--the old contest of the heavenly fields
renewed on earth.

The nation was long in awaking to the consciousness that driving Lee out
of Richmond would not end the Rebellion. It was more than this: it was a
casting-out of prejudice, a discarding of political chicanery and a
time-serving policy, and a recognition of Justice, Right, and Freedom as
the true elements of political economy. There was an increasing desire
on the part of the people to root out Slavery from American soil.

It will be for the future historian to trace the providential dealings
of God with the nation, and to show how far and in what degree the
failure of Burnside at Fredericksburg and of Hooker at Chancellorsville
was affected by the want of moral perceptions on the part of the army
and of the people at that stage of the war: for there were thousands of
officers and soldiers at that time who were not willing to fight by the
side of a negro. We have not advanced far enough even now to allow the
colored man full privileges of citizenship. We are willing that he
should be a soldier, carry a gun, and fire a bullet at the enemy; but
are we willing that he should march up to the ballot-box, and fire a
peaceful ballot against the same enemy? Strange incongruity!

The colored men of Richmond, of Charleston, of Savannah, of all the
South, have been and are now the true Union men of the seceded States.
When or where have they raised their hands against the Union? They have
fought for the flag of the Union, and have earned by their patriotism
and valor a name and a place in history. Citizenship is theirs by
natural right; besides, they have earned it. Make the freedman a voter,
a land-owner, a tax-payer, permit him to sue and be sued, give him in
every respect free franchise, and the recompense will be security,
peace, and prosperity. Anything less than absolute right will sooner or
later bring trouble in its train. Now, in this day of settlement, this
reconstruction of the nation, this renewal of life, it is the privilege
of America to become the world's great teacher and benefactor.

After the disaster at Chancellorsville, there came a season of sober
reflection, and men began to understand that this is God's war. Then
there came a commander who believed that the power of the Rebellion lay
not in Richmond, but in the Rebel army, and that the taking of Richmond
was altogether a secondary consideration,--that the only way of
subduing the Rebellion was to fight it down. He was ready to employ
soldiers of every hue. This brings us to consider


General Grant, fresh from his great success at Vicksburg and
Chattanooga, having shown that he had military genius of a high order,
was created Lieutenant-General, and appointed to the command of all the
armies of the Union in the field. It was the beginning of a new
_régime_. Up to that time there had been little concert of action
between commanders. The armies lacked a head. The President, General
Halleck, Secretary Stanton, had ideas of their own upon the best methods
and plans for conducting the war. Department commanders worked at cross
purposes. Each officer in the field naturally looked upon his sphere of
action as the most important of all, and each had his own plan of
operations to lay before the Secretary of War. A million men were
tugging manfully at the Car of Freedom, which was at a stand-still, or
moved only by inches, because they had no head. But when the President
appointed General Grant to the command, he gave up his own plans, while
General Halleck became a subordinate. The department commanders found
all their plans set aside. There was not merely concert of action, but
unity of action, under the controlling force of an imperial will.

In the article entitled "The May Campaign in Virginia," the movements of
the Army of the Potomac, from the Rapidan to Cold Harbor, are given. It
is not intended in the present article to dwell in detail upon all the
subsequent movements of that army and its allies, the Armies of the
James and the Shenandoah. Volumes are needed to narrate the operations
around Petersburg,--the battles fought on the 18th and 19th of June east
of that city,--the struggles for the Weldon Railroad,--the movements
between the James and the Appomattox, and north of the James,--the
failure in the springing of the mine,--the march of the Fifth Corps to
Stony Creek,--the battles between the Weldon Road and Hatcher's
Run,--the many contests, sharp, fierce, and bloody, between the opposing
lines, whenever an attempt was made by either army to erect new
works,--the fights on Hatcher's Run,--the attack upon Fort Harrison,
north of the James,--the successive attempts of each commander to break
the lines of the other, ending with the Fort Stedman affair, the last
offensive effort of General Lee. The new campaign which was inaugurated
the next day after the attack on Fort Stedman compelled the Rebel chief
to stand wholly on the defensive.

The appointment of General Grant to the command of all the armies was
not only the beginning of a new _régime_, but the adoption of a new
idea,--that Lee's army was the objective point, rather than the city of

"The power of the Rebellion lies in the Rebel army," said General Grant
to the writer one evening in June last. We had been conversing upon Fort
Donelson and Pittsburg Landing. One by one his staff officers dropped
off to their own tents, and we were alone. It was a quiet, starlit
night. The Lieutenant-General was enjoying his fragrant Havana cigar,
and was in a mood for conversation, not upon what he was going to do,
but upon what had been done. He is always wisely reticent upon the
present and future, but agreeably communicative upon what has passed
into history.

"I have lost a good many men since the army left the Rapidan, but there
was no help for it. The Rebel army must be destroyed before we can put
down the Rebellion," he continued.[I]

There was a disposition at that time on the part of the disloyal press
of the North to bring General Grant into bad odor. He was called "The
Butcher." Even some Republican Congressmen were ready to demand his
removal. General Grant alluded to it and said,--

"God knows I don't want to see men slaughtered; but we have appealed to
arms, and we have got to fight it out."

He had already given public utterance to the expression,--"I intend to
fight it out on this line, if it takes all summer."

Referring to the successive flank movements which had been made, from
the Rapidan to the Wilderness, to Spottsylvania, to the North Anna, to
the Chickahominy, to Petersburg, he said,--

"My object has been to get between Lee and his southern communications."

At that time the Weldon Road was in the hands of the enemy, and Early
was on a march down the Valley, towards Washington. This movement was
designed to frighten Grant and send him back by steamboat to defend the
capital; but the Sixth Corps only was sent, while the troops remaining
still kept pressing on in a series of flank movements, which resulted in
the seizure of the Weldon Road. That was the most damaging blow which
Lee had received. He made desperate efforts to recover what had been
lost, but in vain. It was the beginning of the end. Then the public
generally could see the meaning of General Grant's strategy,--that the
Wilderness, Spottsylvania, and all the terrible battles which had been
fought, were according to a plan, which, if carried out, must end in
victory. The Richmond newspapers, which had ridiculed the campaign, and
had found an echo in the disloyal press of the North, began to discuss
the question of supplies; and to keep their courage up, they indulged in
boastful declarations that the Southside Railroad never could be taken.

The march of Sherman from Atlanta to Savannah and through South
Carolina, destroying railroads and supplies,--the taking of
Wilmington,--Sheridan's movement from Winchester up the Valley of the
Shenandoah, striking the James River Canal and the Central Railroad, and
then the transfer of his whole force from the White House to the left
flank of the Army of the Potomac,--were parts of a well matured design
to weaken Lee's army.

Everything was ready for the final blow. The forces of General Grant
were disposed as follows. The Army of the James, composed of the
Twenty-Fourth and Twenty-Fifth Corps, and commanded by General Ord, was
north of the James River, its right flank resting near the old
battle-field of Glendale, and its left flank on the Appomattox. The
Ninth Army Corps--the right wing of the Army of the Potomac--was next in
line, then the Sixth, and then the Second, its left resting on Hatcher's
Run. The Fifth was in rear of the Second. The line thus held was nearly
forty miles in length, defended on the front and rear by strong
earthworks and abatis.

General Grant's entire force could not have been much less than a
hundred and thirty thousand, including Sheridan's cavalry, the force at
City Point, and the provisional brigade at Fort Powhatan. Lee's whole
force was not far from seventy thousand,--or seventy-five thousand,
including the militia of Richmond and Petersburg; but he was upon the
defensive, and held an interior and shorter line.

The work which General Grant had in hand was the seizure of the
Southside Railroad by an extension of his left flank. He had attempted
it once with the Fifth Corps, at Dabney's Mill, and had failed; but that
attempt had been of value: he had gained a knowledge of the country. His
engineers had mapped it, the roads, the streams, the houses. The fight
at Dabney's Mill was a random stroke,--a "feeling of the position," to
use a term common in camp,--which enabled him to detect the weak point
of Lee's lines. To comprehend the movement, it is necessary to
understand the geographical and topographical features of the country,
which are somewhat peculiar. Hatcher's Run is a branch of the Nottoway
River, which has its rise in a swamp about four miles from the
Appomattox and twenty southwest of Petersburg. The Southside Railroad
runs southwest from Petersburg, along the ridge of land between the
Appomattox and the head-waters of the Nottoway, protected by the swamp
of Hatcher's Run and by the swamp of Stony Creek, another tributary of
the Nottoway.

The point aimed at by General Grant is known as the "Five Forks," a
place where five roads meet, on the table-land between the head-waters
of Hatcher's Run and Stony Creek. It was the most accessible gateway
leading to the railroad. If he could break through at that point, he
would turn Lee's flank, deprive him of the protection of the swamps, use
them for his own cover, and seize the railroad. To take the Five Forks
was to take all; for the long and terrible conflict had become so shorn
of its outside proportions, so reduced to simple elements, that, if Lee
lost that position, all was lost,--Petersburg, Richmond, his army, and
the Confederacy.

Surprise is expressed that the Rebellion went down so suddenly, in a
night, at one blow, toppling over like a child's house of cards,
imposing to look upon, yet of very little substance; but the
calculations of General Grant were to give a finishing stroke.

If, by massing the main body of his troops upon the extreme left of his
line, he succeeded in carrying the position of the Five Forks, it would
compel Lee to evacuate Richmond. Lee's line of retreat must necessarily
be towards Danville; but Grant, at the Five Forks, would be nearer
Danville by several miles than Lee; and he would thus, instead of the
exterior line, have the interior, with the power to push Lee at every
step farther from his direct line of retreat. That Grant saw all this,
and executed his plan, is evidence of great military ability. The plan
involved not merely the carrying of the Five Forks, but great activity
afterwards. The capture of Lee was a forethought, not an afterthought.

"Commissaries will prepare twelve days' rations," was his order, which
meant a long march, and the annihilation of Lee's army. An ordinary
commander might have been satisfied with merely breaking down the door,
and seizing the railroad, knowing that it would be the beginning of
dissolution to the Rebel army; but Grant's plan went farther,--the
routing of the burglar from his house, and dispatching him on the spot.
Perhaps Lee saw what the end would be, and did the best he could with
his troops; but inasmuch as he did not issue the order for the transfer
of a division from Richmond to the south side till Saturday night, after
the Five Forks were lost, it may be presumed that he did not fully
comprehend the importance of holding that gateway. If he had seen that
Richmond must be eventually evacuated, he might have saved his army by a
sudden withdrawal from both Richmond and Petersburg on Friday night,
pushing down the Southside Road, and throwing his whole force on
Sheridan and the Fifth Corps, which would have enabled him to reach
Danville. Not doing that, he lost all.

It is not intended in this article to give the details of the attack at
the Five Forks and along the line, but merely to show how the forces
were wielded in that last magnificent, annihilating blow.

On the 25th of March, the Twenty-Fourth Corps was transferred from the
north side of the James to Hatcher's Run, taking the position of the
Second Corps.

The force designed for the attack upon the Five Forks was composed of
the Fifth Corps and Sheridan's Cavalry,--the whole under command of
Sheridan. The Second Corps was massed across Hatcher's Run, and kept in
position to frustrate any attempt which might be made to cut Sheridan
off from the support of the main army.

Sheridan found a large force in front of him, along Chamberlain's Creek,
three miles west of Dinwiddie Court-House. He had hard fighting, and was
repulsed. There was want of cooperation on the part of Warren,
commanding the Fifth Corps, who was relieved of his command the next
morning, General Griffin succeeding him. A heavy rain-storm came on.
Wagons went hub-deep in the mud. The swamps were overflowed. The army
came to a stand-still. The soldiers were without tents. Thousands had
thrown away their blankets. There was gloom and discouragement
throughout the camp. But all the axes and shovels were brought into
requisition, and the men went to work building corduroy roads. It was
much better for the _morale_ of the army than to sit by bivouac-fires
waiting for sunny skies. The week passed away. The Richmond papers were
confident and boastful of final success.

"We are very hopeful of the campaign which is opening, and trust that we
are to reap a large advantage from the operations evidently near at
hand.... We have only to resolve that we will never surrender, and it
will be impossible that we shall ever be taken," said the "Sentinel," in
its issue of Saturday morning, April 1st, the last paper ever issued
from that office. The editor was not aware of the fact, that on Friday
evening, while he was penning this paragraph, Sheridan was bursting open
the door at the Five Forks and had the Rebellion by the throat. Lee
attempted to retrieve the disaster on Saturday by depleting his left and
centre to reinforce his right. Then came the order from Grant, "Attack
vigorously all along the line." How splendidly it was executed! The
Ninth, the Sixth, the Second, the Twenty-Fourth Corps, all went tumbling
in upon the enemy's works, like breakers upon the beach, tearing away
_chevaux-de-frise_, rushing into the ditches, sweeping over the
embankments, and dashing through the embrasures of the forts. In an hour
the C. S. A.,--the Confederate Slave Argosy,--the Ship of State launched
but four years ago, which went proudly sailing, with the death's-head
and cross-bones at her truck, on a cruise against Civilization and
Christianity, hailed as a rightful belligerent, furnished with guns,
ammunition, provisions, and all needful supplies, by England and France,
was thrown a helpless wreck upon the shores of Time!

It would be interesting to follow the troops in their victorious advance
upon Petersburg, their closing in upon Lee, the magnificent tactics of
the pursuit, and the scenes of the surrender; but in this article we
have space only to glance at


"My line is broken in three places, and Richmond must be evacuated," was
Lee's despatch to Davis, received by the arch-traitor at eleven and a
half o'clock in St. Paul's Church. He read it with blanched cheeks, and
left the church in haste.

Davis had robbed the banks of Virginia a few days before, seizing the
bullion in the name of the Confederacy; and his first thought was how to
secure the treasure.

He hurried to the executive mansion, passed up the winding stairway to
his business apartment, seated himself at a small table, wrote an order
for the removal of the coin to Danville, and for the evacuation of the

There was no evening service in the churches on that Sunday. Ministers
and congregations were otherwise employed. The Reverend Mr. Hoge, ablest
of the Presbyterian pastors, fiercest advocate of them all for Slavery
as a divine missionary institution, bitterest hater of the North, packed
his carpet-bag and took a long Sabbath-day's journey towards the South.
The Reverend Mr. Duncan, of the Methodist Church, did the same work of
necessity. Lumpkin, who for many years has kept a slave-trader's jail,
also had a work of necessity on hand,--fifty men, women, and children,
who must be saved to the missionary institution for the future
enlightenment of Africa. Although it was the Lord's day, (perhaps he was
comforted by the thought, that, the better the day, the better the
deed,) the coffle-gang was made up in the jail-yard, within pistol-shot
of Davis's parlor-window, within a stone's throw of the Monumental
Church, and a sad and weeping throng, chained two and two, the last
slave-coffle that shall ever tread the streets of Richmond, were hurried
to the Danville Depot. Slavery being the corner-stone of the
Confederacy, it was fitting that this gang, keeping step to the music of
their clanking chains, should accompany Jeff Davis's secretaries,
Benjamin and Trenholm, and the Reverend Messrs. Hoge and Duncan, in
their flight. The whole Rebel Government was on the move, and all
Richmond desired to be. No thoughts of taking Washington now, or of the
flag of the Confederacy flaunting in the breeze over the old Capitol!
Hundreds of officials were at the depot, to get away from the doomed
city. Public documents, the archives of the Confederacy, were hastily
gathered up, tumbled into boxes and barrels, and taken to the trains, or
carried into the streets and set on fire. Coaches, carriages, wagons,
carts, wheelbarrows, everything in the shape of a vehicle was brought
into use. There was a jumble of boxes, chests, trunks, valises,
carpet-bags,--a crowd of excited men sweating as they never sweat
before,--women with dishevelled hair, unmindful of their wardrobes,
wringing their hands,--children crying in the crowd,--sentinels guarding
each entrance to the train, pushing back at the point of the bayonet the
panic-stricken multitude, giving precedence to Davis and the high
officials, and informing Mr. Lumpkin that his niggers could not be
taken. Oh, what a loss was there! It would have been fifty thousand
dollars out of somebody's pocket in 1861, but millions now of
Confederate promises to pay, which the hurrying multitude and that
coffled gang were treading under foot,--literally trampling the bonds of
the Confederate States of America in the mire, as they marched to the
station; for the streets were as thickly strown with four per cents, six
per cents, eight per cents as the forest with last year's leaves.

"The faith of the Confederate States is pledged to provide and establish
sufficient revenues for the regular payment of the interest, and for the
redemption of the principal," read the bonds; but there was a sudden
eclipse of faith, and not merely an eclipse, but a collapse, a
shrivelling up, like a parched scroll, of the entire Confederacy, which,
like its bonds, notes, and certificates of indebtedness, was old rags!

In the Sabbath evening twilight, the trains, with the fugitive
Government, its stolen bullion, and its Doctors of Divinity on board,
moved out from the city.

At the same hour, the Governor of Virginia, William Smith, and the
Assembly, were embarked in a canal-boat, on the James River and Kanawha
Canal, moving for Lynchburg. On all the roads were men, women, and
children, in carriages of every description, with multitudes on
horseback and on foot, fleeing from the Rebel capital. Men who could not
get away were secretly at work, during those night-hours, burying plate
and money in gardens; ladies secreted their jewels, barred and bolted
their doors, and passed a sleepless night, fearful of the morrow, which
would bring the hated, despised, Vandal horde of Yankee ruffians: for
such were the epithets which they had persistently applied to the
soldiers of the Union throughout the war.

But before the entrance of the Union army they had an experience from
their friends. Following the example of the Government, which had robbed
the banks, the soldiers pillaged the city, breaking open stores, and
helping themselves to whatever suited their convenience and taste, of
clothing, fancy goods, eatables, and drinkables.

But the Government itself was not quite through with its operations in
Richmond. The Secretary of War, John C. Breckinridge, with General
Ewell, remained till daylight on Monday morning to clear up things,--not
to burn public archives in order to destroy evidence of Confederate
villany, but to commit more crime, so deep, damning, that the stanchest
friends of the Confederacy recoil with horror from the act.

To prevent the United States from obtaining possession of a few thousand
hogsheads of tobacco, a thousand houses were destroyed by fire, the
heart of the city was eaten out,--all of the business portions, all the
banks and insurance-offices, half of the newspapers, mills, depots,
bridges, foundries, workshops, dwellings, churches, thirty squares in
all, swept clean by the devouring flames. It was the work of the
Confederate Government. And not only this, but human life was
remorselessly sacrificed.

In the outskirts of the city, on the Mechanicsville road, was the
almshouse, filled with the lame, the blind, the halt, the bedridden, the
sick, and the poor. Ten rods distant was a magazine containing fifteen
or twenty kegs of powder, of little value to a victorious army with full
supplies of ammunition. They could have been rolled into the creek near
at hand; but the order of Jeff Davis was to blow up the magazines, and
the order must be executed.

"We give you fifteen minutes to get out of the way," was the sole notice
to that crowd of helpless creatures lying in their cots, at three
o'clock in the morning. Men and women begged for mercy. In vain their
cries. The officer in charge of the matter was inexorable. Clotheless
and shoeless, the inmates of the almshouse ran in terror from the spot
to seek shelter in the ravines. But there were those who could not run,
who, while the train was laying, rent the air with shrieks of terror.
The train was fired at the expiration of the allotted time. The whole
side of the house went in with a crash, as if it were no more than
pasteboard. Windows flew into minutest particles. Bricks, stones,
timbers, beams, and boards went whirling through the air. Trees were
wrenched off as though a giant had twisted them into withes. The city
rocked as if upheaved by an earthquake. The dozen poor wretches
remaining in the almshouse were torn to pieces. Their bodies were but
blackened masses of flesh, when the fugitives who had sought shelter in
the fields returned to the shattered ruins.

How stirring the events of that morning! Lee retreating, Grant pursuing;
Davis a fugitive; the Governor and Legislature of Virginia seeking
safety in a canal-boat; Doctors of Divinity fleeing from the wrath to
come; the troops of the Union marching up the streets; the old flag
waving over the Capitol; Rebel iron-clads blowing up; Richmond in
flames; the fiery billows rolling on from house to house, from block to
block, from square to square, unopposed in their progress by the
panic-stricken, stupefied, bewildered crowd; and the Northern Vandals
laying aside their arms, manning the engines, putting out the fire, and
saving the city from total destruction! Through the terrible day, all
through the succeeding night, the smoke of its torment went up to
heaven. Strange, weird, the scenes of that Monday night,--the glimmering
flames, the clouds of smoke hanging like a funeral pall above the ruins,
the crowd of woe-begone, houseless, homeless creatures wandering through
the streets:--

    "Such resting found the soles of unblest feet!"


Among the memorable events of the week was the visit of President
Lincoln to the city of Richmond. He had been tarrying at City Point,
holding daily consultations with General Grant, visiting the army and
the iron-clads at Aiken's Landing,--thus avoiding the swarm of
place-hunters that darkened the doors of the executive mansion.

On Tuesday noon a tug-boat belonging to the navy was seen steaming up
the James, regardless of torpedoes and obstructions. A mile below the
city, where the water becomes shoal, President Lincoln, accompanied by
Admiral Porter, Captain Adams of the navy, Captain Penrose of the army,
and Lieutenant Clemmens of the Signal Corps, put off from the tug in a
launch manned by twelve sailors, whose long, steady oar-strokes quickly
carried the party to the landing-place,--a square above Libby Prison.

There was no committee of reception, no guard of honor, no grand
display of troops, no assembling of an eager multitude to welcome him.

He entered the city unheralded; six sailors, armed with carbines,
stepped upon the shore, followed by the President, who held his little
son by the hand, and Admiral Porter; the officers followed, and six more
sailors brought up the rear. The writer of this article was there upon
the spot, and, joining the party, became an observer of the memorable

There were forty or fifty freedmen, who had been sole possessors of
themselves for twenty-four hours, at work on the bank of the canal,
securing some floating timber, under the direction of a Lieutenant.
Somehow they obtained the information that the man who was head and
shoulders taller than all others around him, with features large and
irregular, with a mild eye and pleasant countenance, was President

"God bless you, Sah!" said one, taking off his cap and bowing very low.

"Hurrah! hurrah! President Linkum hab come!" was the shout which rang
through the street.

The Lieutenant found himself without a command. What cared those
freedmen, fresh from the house of bondage, for floating timber or
military commands? Their deliverer had come,--he who, next to the Lord
Jesus, was their best friend! It was not an hurrah that they gave, but a
wild, jubilant cry of inexpressible joy.

They gathered round the President, ran ahead, hovered upon the flanks of
the little company, and hung like a dark cloud upon the rear. Men,
women, and children joined the constantly increasing throng. They came
from all the by-streets, running in breathless haste, shouting and
hallooing and dancing with delight. The men threw up their hats, the
women waved their bonnets and handkerchiefs, clapped their hands, and
sang, "Glory to God! glory! glory! glory!"--rendering all the praise to
God, who had heard their wailings in the past, their meanings for wives,
husbands, children, and friends sold out of their sight, had given them
freedom, and, after long years of waiting, had permitted them thus
unexpectedly to behold the face of their great benefactor.

"I thank you, dear Jesus, that I behold President Linkum!" was the
exclamation of a woman who stood upon the threshold of her humble home,
and with streaming eyes and clasped hands gave thanks aloud to the
Saviour of men.

Another, more demonstrative in her joy, was jumping and striking her
hands with all her might, crying,--"Bless de Lord! Bless de Lord! Bless
de Lord!" as if there could be no end of her thanksgiving.

The air rang with a tumultuous chorus of voices. The street became
almost impassable on account of the increasing multitude. Soldiers were
summoned to clear the way. How strange the event! The President of the
United States--he who had been hated, despised, maligned above all other
men living, to whom the vilest epithets had been applied by the people
of Richmond--was walking their streets, receiving thanksgivings,
blessings, and praises from thousands who hailed him as the ally of the
Messiah! How bitter the reflections of that moment to some who beheld
him!--memory running back, perhaps, to that day in May, 1861, when
Jefferson Davis, their President, entered the city,--the pageant of that
hour, his speech, his promise to smite the smiter, to drench the fields
of Virginia with richer blood than that shed at Buena Vista! How that
part of the promise had been kept!--how their sons, brothers, and
friends had fallen!--how all else predicted had failed!--how the land
had been filled with mourning!--how the State had become a
desolation!--how their property, their hoarded wealth, had disappeared!
They had been invited to a gorgeous banquet; the fruit was fair to the
eye, of golden hue and beautiful; but it had turned to ashes. They had
been promised a place among the nations, a position of commanding
influence and fame. Cotton was the king of kings, and England, France,
and the whole civilized world would bow in humble submission to his
Majesty. That was the promise; but now their king was dethroned, their
government overthrown, their President and his cabinet vagrants, driven
from house and home to be wanderers upon the earth. They had been
promised affluence, Richmond was to be the metropolis of the
Confederacy, and Virginia the all-powerful State of the new nation. How
terrible the cheat! Their thousand-dollar bonds were not worth a penny.
A million dollars would not purchase a dinner. Their money was
valueless, their slaves were freemen, the heart of their city was eaten
out. They had been cheated in everything. Those whom they had trusted
had given the unkindest cut of all,--adding arson and robbery to their
other crimes. Thus had they fallen from highest anticipation of bliss to
deepest actual woe. The language of the Arch-Rebel of the universe, in
"Paradise Lost," was most appropriate to them:--

    "'Is this the region, this the soil, the clime,'
    Said then the lost Archangel, 'this the seat,
    That we must change for heaven, this mournful gloom
    For that celestial light?'"

Abraham Lincoln was walking their streets; and, worst of all, that
plain, honest-hearted man was recognizing the "niggers" as human beings
by returning their salutations! The walk was long, and the President
halted a moment to rest. "May de good Lord bless you, President Linkum!"
said an old negro, removing his hat, and bowing with tears of joy
rolling down his cheeks. The President removed his own hat, and bowed in
silence; but it was a bow which upset the forms, laws, customs, and
ceremonies of centuries. It was a death-shock to chivalry, and a mortal
wound to caste. Recognize a nigger! Faugh! A woman in an adjoining house
beheld it, and turned from the scene in unspeakable disgust. There were
men in the crowd who had daggers in their eyes; but the chosen assassin
was not there, the hour for the damning work had not come, and that
great-hearted man passed on to the executive mansion of the late

Want of space compels us to pass over other scenes,--the visit of the
President to the State-House,--the jubilant shouts of the crowd,--the
rush of freedmen into the Capitol grounds, where, till the appearance of
their deliverer, they had never been permitted to enter,--the ride of
the President through the streets,--his visit to Libby Prison,--the
distribution of bread to the destitute,--the groups of heartbroken men
amid the ruins, who beheld nought but ruins,--a ruined city, a ruined
State, a ruined Confederacy, a ruined people,--ruined in hopes and
expectations,--ruined for the past, the present, and the
future,--without power, influence, or means of beginning life
anew,--deceived, subjugated, humiliated,--poverty-stricken in
everything. All that they had possessed was irretrievably lost, and they
had nothing to show for it. All their heroism, valor, courage, hardship,
suffering, expenditure of treasure, and sacrifice of blood had availed
them nothing. There could be no comfort in their mourning, no
alleviation to their sorrow.

Forgetting that Justice is the mightiest power of the universe, that
Righteousness is eternal, and that anything short of it is transitory,
they planned a gorgeous edifice with Slavery for its corner-stone; but
suddenly, and in an hour, their superstructure and foundation, crumbled.
They grasped at dominion, and sank in perdition.


[I] I write from memory, not pretending to give the exact words uttered
during the conversation.


(APRIL, 1965)

    Yard-Arm to yard-arm we lie
      Alongside the Ship of Hell;
    And still, through the sulphury sky,
    The terrible clang goes high,--
    Broadside and battle-cry,
      And the pirates' maddened yell!

    Our Captain's cold on the deck;
    Our brave Lieutenant's a wreck,--
      He lies in the hold there, hearing
    The storm of fight going on overhead,
    Tramp and thunder to wake the dead,
    The great guns jumping overhead,
      And the whole ship's company cheering!

    Four hours the Death-Fight has roared,
      (Gun-deck and berth-deck blood-wet!)
    Her mainmast's gone by the board,
    Down come topsail and jib!
    We're smashing her, rib by rib,
    And the pirate yells grow weak,--
      But the Black Flag flies there yet,
    The Death's Head grinning apeak!

    Long has she haunted the seas,
    Terror of sun and breeze;
    Her deck has echoed with groans;
      Her hold is a horrid den,
    Piled to the orlop with bones
      Of starved and of murdered men!
    They swarm 'mid her shrouds in hosts,
    The smoke is murky with ghosts!

    But to-day her cruise shall be short!
    She's bound to the Port she cleared from,
    She's nearing the Light she steered from,--
      Ah, the Horror sees her fate!
    Heeling heavy to port,
      She strikes, but all too late!
    Down with her cursed crew,
      Down with her damned freight,
    To the bottom of the Blue,
    Ten thousand fathom deep!
      With God's glad sun o'erhead,--
    That is the way to weep,
      So will we mourn our dead!


The funeral procession of the late President of the United States has
passed through the land from Washington to his final resting-place in
the heart of the Prairies. Along the line of more than fifteen hundred
miles his remains were borne, as it were, through continued lines of the
people; and the number of mourners and the sincerity and unanimity of
grief were such as never before attended the obsequies of a human being;
so that the terrible catastrophe of his end hardly struck more awe than
the majestic sorrow of the people. The thought of the individual was
effaced; and men's minds were drawn to the station which he filled, to
his public career, to the principles he represented, to his martyrdom.
There was at first impatience at the escape of his murderer, mixed with
contempt for the wretch who was guilty of the crime; and there was
relief in the consideration, that one whose personal insignificance was
in such a contrast with the greatness of his crime had met with a sudden
and ignoble death. No one stopped to remark on the personal qualities of
Abraham Lincoln, except to wonder that his gentleness of nature had not
saved him from the designs of assassins. It was thought then, and the
event is still so recent it is thought now, that the analysis and
graphic portraiture of his personal character and habits should be
deferred to less excited times; as yet the attempt would wear the aspect
of cruel indifference or levity, inconsistent with the sanctity of the
occasion. Men ask one another only, Why has the President been struck
down, and why do the people mourn? We think we pay the best tribute to
his memory and the most fitting respect to his name, if we ask after the
relation in which he stands to the history of his country and his

Before the end of 1865, it will have been two hundred and forty-six
years since the first negro slaves were landed in Virginia from a Dutch
trading-vessel, two hundred and twenty-eight since a Massachusetts
vessel returned from the Bahamas with negro slaves for a part of its
cargo, two hundred and twenty years since men of Boston introduced them
directly from Guinea. Slavery in the United States had not its origin in
British policy: it sprung up among Americans themselves, who in that
respect acquiesced in the customs and morals of the age. But at a later
day the importation of slaves was insisted upon by the government of the
mother country, under the influence of mercantile avarice, with the
further purpose of weakening the rising Colonies, and impeding the
establishment among them of branches of industry that might compete with
the productions of England. Climate and the logical consequences of the
principles of the Puritans checked the increase of slaves in
Massachusetts, from which it gradually disappeared without the necessity
of any special act of manumission; in Virginia, the country within the
reach of tide-water was crowded with negroes, and the marts were
supplied by continuous importations, which the Colony was not suffered
to prohibit or restrain.

The middle of the eighteenth century was marked by a rising of opinion
in favor of freedom. The statesmen of Massachusetts read the great work
of Montesquieu on the Spirit of Laws; and in bearing their first very
remarkable testimony against slavery, they simply adopted his words,
repeated without passion,--for they had no dread of the increase of
slavery within their own borders, and never doubted of its speedy and
natural decay. The great men of Virginia, on the contrary, were struck
with terror as they contemplated its social condition; they drew their
lessons, not from France, not from abroad, but from themselves and the
scenes around them; and half in the hope of rescuing that ancient
Commonwealth from the corrupting element of slavery, and half in the
agony of despair, they went in advance of all the world in their
reprobation of the slave-trade and of slavery, and of the dangerous
condition of the white man as the master of bondmen. In the years
preceding the war of the Revolution, the Ancient Dominion rocked with
the strife of contending parties: the King with all his officers and
many great slaveholders on the one side, against a hardy people in the
back country and the best of the slaveholders themselves. On the side of
liberty many were conspicuous,--among them Richard Henry Lee, George
Wythe, Jefferson, who from his youth was the pride of Virginia; but all
were feeble in comparison with the enthusiastic fervor and prophetic
instincts of George Mason. They reasoned, that slavery was inconsistent
with Christianity, was in conflict with the rights of man; that it was a
slow poison, daily contaminating the minds and morals of their people;
that, by reducing a part of their own species to abject inferiority,
they lost the idea of the dignity of man, which the hand of Nature had
implanted within them for great and useful purposes; that, by the habit
from infancy of trampling on the rights of human nature, every liberal
sentiment was extinguished or enfeebled; that every gentleman was born a
petty tyrant, and by the practice of cruelty and despotism became
callous to the finer dictates of the soul; that in such an infernal
school were to be educated the future legislators and rulers of
Virginia. And before the war broke out, the House of Burgesses of
Virginia was warned of the choice that lay before them: either the
Constitution must by degrees work itself clear by its own innate
strength and the virtue and resolution of the community, or the laws of
impartial Providence would avenge on their posterity the injury done to
a class of unhappy men debased by their injustice.

At the opening of the war of the Revolution, the Narragansett country of
Rhode Island, the Southern part of Long Island, New York City and the
counties on the Hudson, and East New Jersey had in their population
about as large a proportion of slaves as Missouri four years ago. In all
the Colonies collectively the black men were to the white men as five to
twenty-one. The British authorities unanimously held that the master
lost his claim to his slave by the act of rebellion. In Virginia a
system of emancipation was inaugurated; and the emancipation of slaves
by success in arms Jefferson pronounced to be right. But the system of
emancipation took no large proportions: partly because the invaders in
the beginning of the war were driven from the Chesapeake; partly because
the large slaveholders of South Carolina, on the subjugation of the low
country in that State, renewed their allegiance to the Crown; and partly
because British officers chose to ship slaves of rebels to the markets
of the West Indies. Yet the continued occupation of Rhode Island, Long
Island, and New York City, and the exodus of slaves with other refugees
at the time of peace, facilitated the movements in Rhode Island and New
York for the abrogation of slavery. At the end of the war the proportion
of free people to slaves was greatly increased; and, whatever wilful
blindness may assert, the free black had the privileges of a citizen.

Here, then, was an opening for relieving the body politic from the great
anomaly of bondage in the midst of freedom. But though divine justice
never slumbers, the opportunity was but partially seized. The diminution
of the number of laborers at the South revived the importation of
slaves. The first Congress had agreed not to tolerate that traffic; the
Confederacy left its encouragement or prohibition to the pleasure of
each State; and the Constitution continued that liberty for twenty
years. At the same time slavery was excluded from the whole of the
territory of the United States. The vote of New Jersey only was wanting
to have sustained the proposition of Jefferson, by which it would have
been excluded not only from all the territory then in their possession,
but from all that they might gain.

The jealousy of the Southern States of the power of the North may be
traced through the annals of Congress from the first, which assembled in
1774. The old notions of the independence and sovereignty of each
separate State, though the Constitution was framed for the express
purpose of modifying them, clung to life with tenacity. When John Adams
was elected President, before any overt act, before any other cause of
alarm than his election, the Legislature of Virginia took steps for an
armed organization of the State, and old and long-cherished sentiments
adverse to Union were renewed. The continuance of the Union was in
peril. It was then that the great Virginia statesman, now perfectly
satisfied with the amended Constitution, came to the rescue. By the
simple force of ideas, embodying in one system all the conquests of the
eighteenth century in behalf of human rights, the freedom of conscience,
speech, and the press, he ruled the willing minds of the people. The
South, where his great strength lay with the poor whites, and where he
was known as the champion of human freedom, trusted in his zeal for
individual liberty and for the adjusted liberty of the States; the North
heard from him sincere and consistent denunciations of slavery, such as
had never been surpassed, except by George Mason. The thought never
crossed the mind of Jefferson that the General Government had not proper
powers of coercion. On taking the office of President, his watchword
was, "We are all Federalists, we are all Republicans"; and the two
principles of universal freedom and equality, and the right of each
State to regulate its own internal domestic affairs, became not so much
the doctrine of a party as the accepted creed of the nation. In his
administration of affairs, Jefferson did not suffer one power of the
General Government to be weakened. No one man did so much as he towards
consolidating the Union.

But the question of Slavery was not solved. The purchase of Louisiana
increased the States in which slaves were tolerated; the settlement of
the Northwest strengthened the power of freedom; but as yet there had
been no fracture in public opinion. Missouri asked to be admitted to the
Union, and it was found, that, without any party organization, without
formal preparation, a majority of the House of Representatives desired
to couple its admission with the condition that it should emancipate its
slaves. That slavery was evil was still the undivided opinion of the
nation; but it was perceived that the friends of freedom had missed the
proper moment for action,--that Congress had tolerated slavery in
Missouri as a Territory, and were thus inconsistent in claiming to
suppress slavery in the State; and they escaped from the difficulty by
what was called a Compromise. It was agreed that for the future slavery
should never be carried to the north of the southern boundary of
Missouri; and this was interpreted by the South as the devoting of all
the territory south of that line to the owners of slaves.

From that day Slavery became the foundation of a political party, under
the guise of a zeal for the rights of States. It began to be perceptible
at the next Presidential election; but Calhoun, who was willing to be
considered a candidate for the Presidency, was still as decidedly for
the Union as John Quincy Adams or Webster. Walking one day with Seaton
of the "Intelligencer" on the banks of the Potomac, Seaton dissuaded him
from being at that day a candidate for the Presidency, giving as a
reason, that, in case of success and reelection, he would go out of the
public service in the vigor of life. "I will, at the end of my second
term, go into retirement and write my memoirs," was Calhoun's answer: a
proof that at that time Disunion had not crossed his mind.

The younger Adams had been undoubtedly at the South the candidate of the
Union party. The incipient opposition to Union threw itself with the
intensest heat into the opposition to Adams; and Jackson, who was
victorious through his own popularity, was elected by a vast majority.
Jackson was honest, patriotic, and brave: he refused his confidence to
the oligarchical party, represented by Calhoun and Macduffie; and after
passionate struggles, which convulsed the country, he defied their
hostility, and told them to their faces, "The Union must be preserved."

The bitterness of disappointed ambition led to the formation and gradual
enunciation of new political opinions. In the strife about the practical
effects of Nullification, the question was raised by the Nullifiers,
whether obedience to the laws of a State was a good plea for resistance
to the laws of the United States; and so, for the first time in our
history, a political party came to the principle, that primary
allegiance was due to the State, a secondary one only to the United
States; and this view was taught in schools and colleges and popular
meetings. The second theory, that grew up with the first, was, that
slavery was a divine institution, best for the black man and best for
the white.

At the election which followed the retirement of Jackson, the Democratic
party stood by its old tradition of the evil of slavery, and the hope
that by the innate vigor of the respective States it would gradually be
thrown off; the opposite party likewise held to the same tradition, in
the belief that the progress of commerce and domestic industry would in
due time quietly remove what all sound political economy condemned. The
new party, the party of State Sovereignty and Slavery,--for the two
heads sprung from one root,--had not power enough to prevent the
election of one who represented the policy of Jackson. But they were
full of passionate ardor and of restless activity; and in the next
Presidential election they threw themselves upon the Whig party, with
which they joined hands. The Whig party was at that day strong enough to
have done without them; but the uncontrollable wish for success, which
had been long delayed, led to the cry of "Tippecanoe and Tyler too," and
this meant a union of the interests of the North with the interest of
Slavery. Harrison had votes enough to elect him without one vote from
the Southern oligarchy; but the compact was made; Harrison was elected
and died, and the representative of the oligarchy, a man at heart false
to the national flag, became President for nearly four years.

His administration is marked by the annexation of Texas to the United
States: a measure sure, in the belief of Calhoun, to confirm the empire
of Slavery,--sure, as others believed, to prevent the foundation of an
adventurous government, that, if left to independence, would have
reopened the slave-trade and subdued by force of arms all California and
Mexico to the sway of Slavery. The faith of the last proved the true
one. Under the administration of Polk, California was annexed, not to
independent, slaveholding Texas, but to the Union. This constitutes the
turning-point in the series of events; the first emigrants to her
borders formed a constitution excluding slavery.

At the next election a change took place, profoundly affecting the
Democratic party, and, as a consequence, the country. Hitherto the
position of the Northern Democracy had been that of Jefferson, that
slavery was altogether evil; and Cass, the Democratic candidate, still
expressed his prayer for the final doom of slavery. Against his election
a third party was formed; and Van Buren, a former Democratic President,
who had been sustained by the South as well as by the North, taking with
him one half the Democracy of New York, consented to be the candidate of
that party. We judge not his act; but the consequences were sad. To the
South his appearance as a candidate on that basis had the aspect of
treachery; at the North the Democratic party lost its power to resist
the arrogance of the South: for, in the first place, large numbers of
its best men had left its ranks; and next, those who remained behind
were eager to clear themselves of the charge of sectional narrowness;
and those who had gone out and come back, in their zeal to recover the
favor of the South, went beyond all bounds in their professions of
repentance. The old compromise of Jefferson fell into disrepute; the
Democratic party itself was thrown into confusion; the power of any one
of its distinguished men to resist the increasing arrogance of the
slaveholders was taken away; a word in public for what twenty years
before had been the creed of every one was followed by the ban of the
majority of the party. So fell one bulwark against slavery.

Still another bulwark against it was destined to fall away. The
annexation of California brought with it the question of the admission
of California as a State of freemen. The only way to have avoided
convulsing the country was to have confined the discussion to the one
question of the admission of California. Unhappily, Clay, truly
representing a State which halted in its choice between freedom and
slavery, proposed a combination of measures. Further, the representation
of the Free States had steadily increased from the origin of the
Government; the admission of California threatened, at last, to open the
way for a corresponding disproportion in the Senate. The country,
remembering how Webster, on a great occasion, had greatly resisted the
heresy of Nullification, looked to him now to clear away the mists of
artful misrepresentations of the Constitution, and show that neither in
that Constitution nor in the history of the country at the time of its
formation had there been any justification of the demand for such
equality of representation. But this time the great orator failed; the
passionate desire for being President led him to make a speech intended
to conciliate the support of the South. In that he failed miserably at
the moment; a few days later, Calhoun, on his death-bed, avowed himself
the adviser of a secession of the whole body of the slaveholding States.
Still blinded by ambition, Webster, on a tour through New York, as a
candidate, formally proposed the establishment of a party representing
the property of the country, crystallizing round the slaveholders, and
including the commercial and corporate industrial wealth of the North.
The effect on his own advancement was absolutely nothing. In due time,
as a candidate, he fell stone dead; and it is to his credit that he did
so. The South knew that he was a Union man, and would not answer their
purpose. As he heard of the slight given by those whom he had courted,
his large head fell on his breast, his voice faltered, and big tears
trickled down his cheeks. His cheerfulness never returned; he languished
and died; but the evil that lived after him was, that the great party to
which he had belonged was no more able to stem the rising fury of the
South, and broke to pieces.

Thus, by untoward circumstances, the truth that could alone confirm the
Union, and which heretofore had been substantially supported by both the
great traditional parties of the country, no longer had a clear and
commanding exponent in either of them. The result of the next election
showed that the old Whig party had lost all power over the public mind.
The strife went on, and hope centred in the supreme judicial tribunal of
the land, to whose members a secure tenure of office had been given,
that they might be above all temptation of serving the time. The
politicians of the North were becoming alarmed by the issues which were
forced upon them by those of the South with whom they still wished to be
friends; they longed to shift the responsibility of the decision upon
the Supreme Court. The Court was slow to be swerved. The case of Dred
Scott was before them; and the decision of the Court was embodied in an
opinion which would have produced no excitement. But the Court was
entreated to give their decision another form. They long resisted, and
were long divided; but perseverance overcame them; and at last a most
reluctant majority, a bare majority, was won to enter the arena of
politics, and attempt the suppression of differences of opinion: for,
said one of the judges, "the peace and harmony of the country require
the settlement of Constitutional principles of the highest
importance,"--not knowing that injustice overturns peace and harmony,
and that a depraved judiciary portends civil war.

The man who took the Presidential chair in 1857 had no traditional party
against him; he owed his nomination to confidence in his moderation and
supposed love of Union. He might have united the whole North and secured
a good part of the South. Constitutionally timid, on taking the oath of
office, he betrayed his own weakness, and foreshadowed the forthcoming
decision of the Supreme Court. Under the wing of the Executive,
Chief-Justice Taney gave his famed disquisition. The delivery of that
opinion was an act of revolution. The truth of history was scorned; the
voice of passion was put forward as the rule of law; doctrines were laid
down which, if they are just, give a full sanction to the rebellion
which ensued. The country was stung to the quick by the reckless conduct
of a body which it needed to trust, and which now was leading the way to
the overthrow of the Constitution and the dismemberment of the Republic.
At the same time, the President, in selecting the members of his
cabinet, chose four of the seven from among those who were prepared to
sacrifice the country to the interests of Slavery. In time of peace the
finances were wilfully ill-administered, and in the midst of wealth and
credit the country was saved from bankruptcy only by the patriotism of
the city of New York, against the treacherous intention of the Secretary
of the Treasury. Cannon and muskets and military stores were sent in
numbers where they could most surely fall into the hands of the coming
rebellion; troops of the United States were placed under disloyal
officers and put out of the way; the navy was scattered abroad. And
then, that nothing might be wanting to increase the agony of the
country, an attempt to force the institution of Slavery on the people of
Kansas, that refused it, received the encouragement and aid of the
President. The conspirators resolved at the next Presidential election
to compel the choice of a candidate of their own, or of one against whom
they could unite the South; and all the influence of the Administration,
through its patronage, was used to confine the election to that issue.

Virginia statesmen, more than ninety years ago, had foretold that each
State Constitution must work itself clear of the evil of slavery by its
own innate vigor, or await the doom of impartial Providence. Judgment
slumbered no longer,--though wise men after the flesh were not chosen as
its messengers and avengers.

The position of Abraham Lincoln, on the day of his inauguration, was
apparently one of helpless debility. A bark canoe in a tempest on
mid-ocean seemed hardly less safe. The vital tradition of the country on
Slavery no longer had its adequate expression in either of the two great
political parties, and the Supreme Court had uprooted the old landmarks
and guides. The men who had chosen him President did not constitute a
consolidated party, and did not profess to represent either of the
historic parties which had been engaged in the struggles of three
quarters of a century. They were a heterogeneous body of men, of the
most various political attachments in former years, and on many
questions of economy of the most discordant opinions. Scarcely knowing
each other, they did not form a numerical majority of the whole country,
were in a minority in each branch of Congress except from the wilful
absence of members, and they could not be sure of their own continuance
as an organized body. They did not know their own position, and were
startled by the consequences of their success. The new President himself
was, according to his own description, a man of defective education, a
lawyer by profession, knowing nothing of administration beyond having
been master of a very small post-office, knowing nothing of war but as
a captain of volunteers in a raid against an Indian chief, repeatedly a
member of the Illinois Legislature, once a member of Congress. He spoke
with ease and clearness, but not with eloquence. He wrote concisely and
to the point, but was unskilled in the use of the pen. He had no
accurate knowledge of the public defences of the country, no exact
conception of its foreign relations, no comprehensive perception of his
duties. The qualities of his nature were not suited to hardy action. His
temper was soft and gentle and yielding; reluctant to refuse anything
that presented itself to him as an act of kindness; loving to please and
willing to confide; not trained to confine acts of good-will within the
stern limits of duty. He was of the temperament called melancholic,
scarcely concealed by an exterior of lightness of humor,--having a deep
and fixed seriousness, jesting lips, and wanness of heart. And this man
was summoned to stand up directly against a power with which Henry Clay
had never directly grappled, before which Webster at last had quailed,
which no President had offended and yet successfully administered the
Government, to which each great political party had made concessions, to
which in various measures of compromise the country had repeatedly
capitulated, and with which he must now venture a struggle for the life
or death of the nation.

The credit of the country had not fully recovered from the shock it had
treacherously received in the former administration. A part of the
navy-yards were intrusted to incompetent agents or enemies. The social
spirit of the city of Washington was against him, and spies and enemies
abounded in the circles of fashion. Every executive department swarmed
with men of treasonable inclinations, so that it was uncertain where to
rest for support. The army officers had been trained in unsound
political principles. The chief of staff of the highest of the general
officers, wearing the mask of loyalty, was a traitor at heart. The
country was ungenerous towards the negro, who in truth was not in the
least to blame,--was impatient that such a strife should have grown out
of his condition, and wished that he were far away. On the side of
prompt decision the advantage was with the Rebels; the President sought
how to avoid war without compromising his duty; and the Rebels, who knew
their own purpose, won incalculable advantages by the start which they
thus gained. The country stood aghast, and would not believe in the full
extent of the conspiracy to shatter it in pieces; men were uncertain if
there would be a great uprising of the people. The President and his
cabinet were in the midst of an enemy's country and in personal danger,
and at one time their connections with the North and West were cut off;
and that very moment was chosen by the trusted chief of staff of the
Lieutenant-General to go over to the enemy.

Every one remembers how this state of suspense was terminated by the
uprising of a people who now showed strength and virtues which they were
hardly conscious of possessing.

In some respects Abraham Lincoln was peculiarly fitted for his task, in
connection with the movement of his countrymen. He was of the Northwest;
and this time it was the Mississippi River, the needed outlet for the
wealth of the Northwest, that did its part in asserting the necessity of
Union. He was one of the mass of the people; he represented them,
because he was of them; and the mass of the people, the class that lives
and thrives by self-imposed labor, felt that the work which was to be
done was a work of their own: the assertion of equality against the
pride of oligarchy; of free labor against the lordship over slaves; of
the great industrial people against all the expiring aristocracies of
which any remnants had tided down from the Middle Age. He was of a
religious turn of mind, without superstition; and the unbroken faith of
the mass was like his own. As he went along through his difficult
journey, sounding his way, he held fast by the hand of the people, and
"tracked its footsteps with even feet." "His pulse's beat twinned with
their pulses." He committed faults; but the people were resolutely
generous, magnanimous, and forgiving; and he in his turn was willing to
take instructions from their wisdom.

The measure by which Abraham Lincoln takes his place, not in American
history only, but in universal history, is his Proclamation of January
1, 1863, emancipating all slaves within the insurgent States. It was,
indeed, a military necessity, and it decided the result of the war. It
took from the public enemy one or two millions of bondmen, and placed
between one and two hundred thousand brave and gallant troops in arms on
the side of the Union. A great deal has been said in time past of the
wonderful results of the toil of the enslaved negro in the creation of
wealth by the culture of cotton; and now it is in part to the aid of the
negro in freedom that the country owes its success in its movement of
regeneration,--that the world of mankind owes the continuance of the
United States as the example of a Republic. The death of President
Lincoln sets the seal to that Proclamation, which must be maintained. It
cannot but be maintained. It is the only rod that can safely carry off
the thunderbolt. He came to it perhaps reluctantly; he was brought to
adopt it, as it were, against his will, but compelled by inevitable
necessity. He disclaimed all praise for the act, saying reverently,
after it had succeeded, "The nation's condition God alone can claim."

And what a futurity is opened before the country when its institutions
become homogeneous! From all the civilized world the nations will send
hosts to share the wealth and glory of this people. It will receive all
good ideas from abroad; and its great principles of personal equality
and freedom--freedom of conscience and mind,--freedom of speech and
action,--freedom of government through ever-renewed common consent--will
undulate through the world like the rays of light and heat from the sun.
With one wing touching the waters of the Atlantic and the other on the
Pacific, it will grow into a greatness of which the past has no
parallel; and there can be no spot in Europe or in Asia so remote or so
secluded as to shut out its influence.


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Too Strange not to be True. A Tale. By Lady Georgiana Fullerton. Three
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*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 15, No. 92, June, 1865" ***

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