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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 16, No. 93, July, 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 16, No. 93, July, 1865" ***

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_Literature, Science, Art, and Politics._






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

S. Chism,--Franklin Printing House,
112 Congress Street, Boston.



Assassination                           _C. C. Hazewell_                85

Bentham, Jeremy                         _John Neal_                    575
Blackwood, William                      _John Neal_                    660
Books for our Children                  _Samuel Osgood_                724
Bright, John, and the English Radicals  _G. W. Towle_                  177

Candle-Ends, A Paper of                 _Charles J. Sprague_            61
Chicago Conspiracy, The                                                108
Chimney-Corner, The                     _Mrs. H. B. Stowe_   100, 232, 347,
                                                             419, 567, 672
Clemency and Common Sense               _Charles Sumner_               745
Coupon Bonds                            _J. T. Trowbridge_        257, 399

Deep-Sea Damsels                        _G. W. Hosmer_                  77
Doctor Johns                            _Donald G. Mitchell_       66, 211,
                                                        300, 457, 546, 713
Down the River                          _Harriet E. Prescott_          468

Edgeworths, A Visit to the              _Mrs. John Farrar_             356
Electric Telegraph, The Progress of the _George B. Prescott_           605
Ellen                            _Author of "Life in the Iron-Mills"_   22

Forge, The                                                        586, 684

Gettysburg, The Field of                _J. T. Trowbridge_             616
Griffith Gaunt: or, Jealousy            _Charles Reade_                641

Hamilton, Alexander                     _C. C. Hazewell_               625
Honey-Makers, Among the                 _Harriet E. Prescott_          129

Jelly-Fishes, Mode of Catching          _A. Agassiz_                   736
Jordan, John                            _Edmund Kirke_                 434

King James the First                    _Gail Hamilton_                701

Libraries, The Visible and Invisible in _Mrs. R. C. Waterston_         525
Luck of Abel Steadman, The       _Author of "Life in the Iron-Mills"_  331

Militia System, Our Future              _T. W. Higginson_              371
Mull, Around                            _Maria S. Cummins_         11, 167

Needle and Garden                                        47, 185, 283, 419
New Art Critic, A                       _Eugene Benson_                325

Old Shoes, On a Pair of                 _Charles J. Sprague_           360

Procter, Adelaide Anne                  _Charles Dickens_              739

Reconstruction and Negro Suffrage       _E. P. Whipple_                238
"Running at the Heads"                                                 342

St. John's River, Up the                _T. W. Higginson_              311
St. Petersburg, Winter Life in          _Bayard Taylor_                 34
Saints who have had Bodies              _G. Reynolds_                  385
"Saul," The Author of                   _Bayard Taylor_                412
Scientific Farming                      _Gail Hamilton_                290
Second Capture, My                      _W. W. Wiltbank_               195
Silent Friend, Letter to a                                             221
Strategy at the Fireside                _Epes Sargent_                 151

Töpffer, Rodolphe                       _Mrs. H. M. Fletcher_          556

Why the Putkammer Castle was destroyed  _Robert Dale Owen_             513
Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship        _D. A. Wasson_            273, 448

Young Housekeeper, Letter to a          _C. P. Hawes_                  535
Young Men in History                    _E. P. Whipple_                  1


Accomplices                                 _T. B. Aldrich_            107

Agassiz, A Farewell to                      _O. W. Holmes_             584

Bay Ridge, Long Island, At                  _T. B. Aldrich_            341

Beyond                                      _J. T. Trowbridge_         744

Changeling, The                             _John G. Whittier_          20

Countess Laura                              _George H. Boker_          143

Dios Te De                                  _C. C. Coxe_               737

Lincoln, Abraham                            _H. H. Brownell_           491

Master's Mate, The Rhyme of the                                        519

Nöel                                        _H. W. Longfellow_         446

No Time like the Old Time                   _O. W. Holmes_             398

Ode recited at the Harvard Commemoration    _James Russell Lowell_     364

Parting of Hector and Andromache, The       _William Cullen Bryant_    657

Peace                                       _Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney_    237

Peace Autumn, The                           _John G. Whittier_         545

Peacock, Natural History of the             _T. W. Parsons_            310

Skipper Ben                                 _Lacy Larcom_               84

Sleeper, The                                _Bayard Taylor_            611

Twilight                                    _Mrs. Celia Thaxter_       282

Willow, The                                 _Mrs. E. A. C. Akers_      194


Arnold's Essays in Criticism                                 255

Raxley's What I saw on the West Coast of America             379

Brooks's Hesperus                                            510

Dall' Ongaro's La Rosa dell' Alpi                            125

Forsyth's Life and Times of Cicero                           380

Gentle Life, The                                             250

Greene's Historical View of the American Revolution          127

Hall's Arctic Researches                                     125

Hedge's Reason in Religion                                   383

Higginson's Epictetus                                        761

Holley's Treatise on Ordnance and Armor                      126

Johnson, Andrew, Speeches of                                 763

Kingsley's Hillyars and Burtons                              121

Le Fanu's Uncle Silas                                        121

Mann, Horace, Life of                                        247

Mill's Examination of Sir William Hamilton's Philosophy      762

Müller's Lectures on the Science of Language                 128

Muloch's Christian's Mistake                                 121

Nota's La Fiera                                              125

Parkman's France and England in North America                505

Spencer's Social Statics                                     381

Stevens's History of the Methodist Episcopal Church
  in the United States                                       123

Stone's Life and Times of Sir William Johnson                121

Taylor's Holy Living and Holy Dying                          122

Thoreau's Letters                                            504

White's Memoirs of Shakespeare                               637

RECENT AMERICAN PUBLICATIONS                       256, 384, 640



_A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics._

VOL. XVI.--JULY, 1865.--NO. XCIII.

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


History is an imperfect record of nations and races, diverse in their
position and capacities, but identical in nature and one in destiny.
Viewed comprehensively, its individuals and events comprise the
incidents of an uncompleted biography of man, a biography long, obscure,
full of puzzling facts for thought to interpret, and more puzzling
breaks for thought to bridge, but, on the whole, exhibiting man as
moving and man as moving forward. If we scrutinize the character of this
progress, we shall find that the forces which propel society in the
direction of improvement, and the ideas we form of the nature of that
improvement, are the forces and the ideas of youth. The world, indeed,
moves under the impulses of youth to realize the ideals of youth. It has
youth for its beginning and youth for its end; for youth is alive, and
progress is but the movement of life to attain fuller, higher, and more
vivid life. Youth, too, is nearer to those celestial fountains of
existence whence inspiration pours into the heart and light streams into
the brain. Indeed, all the qualities which constitute the life of the
soul, and which preserve in vigor and health even the practical
faculties of the mind,--freshness, ardor, generosity, love, hope, faith,
courage, cheer,--all these youth feels stirring and burning in its own
breast, and aches to see fulfilled in the common experience of the race.
But in age these fine raptures are apt to be ridiculed as the amiable
follies of juvenile illusions. In parting, however, with what it derides
as illusions, does not age part with the whole of joy and by far the
most important element of wisdom? The world it so sagaciously aims to
inaugurate, what is it but a stationary and decrepit world,--a world
which would soon decay, and drop into the abyss of nothingness, were it
not for the rejuvenating vitality poured into it by the youth it
cynically despises? True wisdom, indeed, springs from the wide brain
which is fed from the deep heart; and it is only when age warms its
withering conceptions at the memory of its youthful fire, when it makes
experience serve aspiration, and knowledge illumine the difficult paths
through which thoughts thread their way into facts,--it is only then
that age becomes broadly and nobly wise.

If we thus discern in the sentiments and faculties of youth the
animating and impelling soul of historical events,--if, wherever in
history we mark a great movement of humanity, we commonly detect a young
man at its head or at its heart,--we must still, I admit, discriminate
between youth and young men, between the genial action of youthful
qualities and the imperfections and perversions of youthful character.
Youth we commonly represent under the image of morn,--clear, fresh,
cheerful, radiant, the green sward trembling and gleaming with ecstasy
as the rising sun transfigures its dew-drops into diamonds; but then
morn is sometimes black with clouds, and foul with vapors, and terrible
with tempests. In treating, therefore, of the position and influence of
young men in history, let us begin with those in whom the energies of
youth were early perverted from their appropriate objects, and fell
under the dominion of sensual appetites or malignant passions.

And first, it is important we should bear in mind, that, in this
misdirection of youth, all that constitutes the spirit, the power, the
charm of youth is extinguished. The young man becomes prematurely old.
We have all witnessed that saddest of spectacles, the petulant child
developing into the ruffian boy, and hurrying into the ruffian
man,--rude, hard-natured, swaggering, and self-willed, a darkness over
his conscience, a glare over his appetites, insensible to duty or
affection, and only tamed into decencies by the chains of restraint
which an outraged community binds on his impulses. Now give this young
savage arbitrary power, let him inherit the empire of the world, remove
all restraints on his will, and allow him to riot in the mad caprices of
sensuality and malevolence, and he makes his ominous appearance in
history as a Caligula, a Domitian, a Nero. More fit for a madhouse than
a throne, his advent is the signal of a despotism controlled by no
guiding principles, but given over to that spirit of freak and mischief
which springs from the union of the boy's brain with the man's
appetites; and his fate is to have that craze of the faculties and
delirium of the sensations which he calls his life abruptly closed by
suicide or assassination: by suicide, when he has become intolerable to
himself; by assassination, when, as is more common, he has become
intolerable to the world. Evil, however, as history shows him, it must
still be said that his career does not exhibit the consistent depravity
and systematic wickedness which characterize some of the Roman Emperors
of maturer years; and even the giddy ferocities of the youthful Nero can
be contemplated with less horror than the Satanic depth of malignity
which morosely brooded over shadowy plans of gigantic crime in the dark
spirit of the aged Tiberius.

This ruffian type of the young man is rarely exhibited on the historical
theatre in its full combination of animal fury with mental feebleness.
In most young men who acquire prominence in the history of the world
there is some genius, however dashed it may be with depravity; and
genius is itself an inlet of youth, checks the downward drag of the
spiritual into the animal nature, intensifies appetites into passions,
and lends impetus to daring ambition, if it does not always purify the
motives which prompt its exercise. This genius divorced from wisdom,
scornful of moral obligations, and ravenous for notoriety, is especially
marked by wilfulness, presumptuous self-assertion, the curse and
plague-spot of the perverted soul. Alcibiades in politics and Byron in
literature are among its most conspicuous examples. Their defiance of
rule was not the confident daring which comes from the vision of genius,
but the disdainful audacity which springs from its wilfulness.
Alcibiades, a name closely connected with those events which resulted in
the ruin of the Athenian empire, was perhaps the most variously
accomplished of all those young men of genius who have squandered their
genius in the attempt to make it insolently dominant over justice and
reason. Graceful, beautiful, brave, eloquent, and affluent, the pupil of
Socrates, the darling of the Athenian democracy, lavishly endowed by
Nature with the faculties of the great statesman and the great captain,
with every power and every opportunity to make himself the pride and
glory of his country, he was still so governed by an imp of boyish
perversity and presumption, that he renounced the ambition of being the
first statesman of Athens in order to show himself its most restless,
impudent and unscrupulous trickster; and, subjecting all public objects
to the freaks of his own vanity and selfishness, ever ready to resent
opposition to his whim with treason against the state, he stands in
history a curious spectacle of transcendent gifts belittled by
profligacy of character, the falsest, keenest, most mischievous, and
most magnificent demagogue the world has ever seen.

If we turn from Alcibiades the politician to Byron the poet, we have a
no less memorable instance of intellectual power early linked with moral
perversity and completely bewitched and bedevilled by presumptuous
egotism. What, in consequence, was his career? Petulant, passionate,
self-willed, impatient of all external direction, the slave and victim
of the moment's impulse, yet full of the energies and visions of genius,
this arrogant stripling passes by quick leaps from boyhood into the
vices of age, and, after a short experience of the worst side of life,
comes out a scoffer and a misanthrope, fills the world with his gospel
of desperation and despair, and, after preaching disgust of existence
and contempt of mankind as the wisdom gleaned from his excesses, he
dies, worn out and _old_, at thirty-six.

Now neither in Byron's works nor Byron's life do we recognize the spirit
of youth,--the spirit which elevates as well as stimulates, which cheers
as well as inflames. Compare him in this respect with a man of vaster
imagination and mightier nature,--compare him with Edmund Burke, in what
we call Burke's old age; and as you read one of Burke's immortal
pamphlets, composed just before his death, do you not feel your blood
kindle and your mind expand, as you come into communion with that bright
and broad intellect, competent to grapple with the most complicated
relations of European politics,--with that audacious will, whose
purposes glow with immortal life,--and especially with that large and
noble soul, rich in experience, rich in wisdom, but richer still in the
freshness, the ardor, the eloquence, the chivalrous daring of youth?
Byron is old at twenty-five; Burke is young at sixty-six.

The spirit of youth may thus, as in the case of Byron, be burnt out of
the young man by the egotism of passion; but it may also be frozen up in
his breast by the egotism of opinion. Woe to the young shoulders
afflicted with the conceit that they support old heads! When this mental
disease assumes the form of flippancy, it renders a young person happily
unconscious that Nature has any stores of wisdom which she has not
thought fit to deposit in his cranium, or that his mind can properly
assume any other attitude towards an opponent than that of placid and
pitying contempt.

But this intellectual presumption, ridiculous in its flippant or
pompous, becomes terrible in its malignant, expression. Thus, the
headstrong young men who pushed the French Revolution of 1789 into the
excesses of the Reign of Terror were well-intentioned reformers, driven
into crime by the fanaticism of mental conceit. This is especially true
of Robespierre and St. Just. Their hearts were hardened through their
heads. The abstract notions of freedom and philanthropy were imbedded in
their brains as truths, without being rooted in their characters as
sentiments; and into the form of these inexorable notions they aimed to
shape France. They were of course opposed by human nature. Opposition
made them personally cruel, because it made them intellectually
remorseless. With no instincts of humanity to guide their ideas of its
rights, it was but natural that offended pride of opinion should fester
into that malignant passion which puts relentlessness into the will.
Everything and everybody that opposed the onward movement of the great
cause ought, they conceived, to be removed. The readiest way to remove
them was by tyranny, terror, and murder; for the swiftest method of
answering objections is to knock out the brains that propound them. All
the instituted rights of men were accordingly violated in the fierce
desire to establish the abstract rights of man. A government founded on
reason was to be created by a preliminary and provisional government
founded on the guillotine. The ideals of Rousseau were to be realized by
practices learned in the school of Draco; and a celestial democracy of
thought was to spring from a demonized democracy of fact. Now we are
accustomed to call these wretches young men. But there was no youth in
them. Young in respect to age, their intellectually irritated egotism
made them as bigoted, as inhuman, as soulless as old familiars of the

In truth, the real young man of that Revolution, as of our own
Revolution, was Lafayette. His convictions regarding the rights of man
were essentially the same as those held by Robespierre and St. Just; but
they were convictions that grew out of the inherent geniality,
benevolence, and rectitude of his nature, and were accordingly guided
and limited in their application by the sanity and sweetness of the
sentiments whence they drew their vitality. Whilst they made him capable
of any self-sacrifice for freedom and humanity, they made him incapable
of crime; and misfortune and failure never destroyed his faith in
freedom, because his faith in freedom had not been corrupted by
experience in blood.

In Nero and Caligula, in Alcibiades and Byron, in Robespierre and St.
Just, we have attempted to sketch the leading perversions of youthful
energy and intelligence. Let us now proceed to exhibit their more
wholesome, and, we trust, their more natural action. And first, in
respect to the emotions, these may all be included in the single word
enthusiasm, or that impulsive force which liberates the mental powers
from the ice of timidity as Spring unloosens the streams from the grasp
of Winter, and sends them forth in a rejoicing rush. The mind of youth,
when impelled by this original strength and enthusiasm of Nature, is
keen, eager, inquisitive, intense, audacious, rapidly assimilating facts
into faculties and knowledge into power, and above all teeming with that
joyous fulness of creative life which radiates thoughts as inspirations,
and magnetizes as well as informs. Now the limit of this youth of mind
observation decides to be commonly between thirty-five and forty; but
still it is not so properly marked by years as by the arrest of this
glad mental growth and development. In some men, like Bacon and Burke,
it is not arrested at sixty. The only sign of age, indeed, which is
specially worth considering, is the mental sign; and this is that
gradual disintegration of the mind's vital powers by which intelligence
is separated from force, and experience from ability. Experience
detached from active power is no longer faculty of doing, but mere
memory of what has been done; and principles accordingly subside into
precedents, intuitions into arguments, and alertness of will into
calculation of risks. The highest quality of mind, the quality which
stamps it as an immortal essence, namely, that power, the fused compound
of all other powers, which sends its eagle glance over a whole field of
particulars, penetrates and grasps all related objects in one devouring
conception, and flashes a vivid insight of the only right thing to be
done amid a thousand possible courses of action,--the power, in short,
which gives confidence to will because it gives certainty to vision, and
is as much removed from recklessness as from irresolution,--this power
fades in mental age into that pausing, comparing, generalizing,
indecisive intelligence, which, however wise and valuable it may be in
those matters where success is not the prize of speed, is imbecile in
those conjunctures of affairs where events match faster than the mind
can syllogize, and to think and act a moment too late is defeat and

It is for this reason that the large portion of history which relates to
war is so much the history of the triumphs of young men. Thus, Scipio
was twenty-nine when he gained the Battle of Zana; Charles the Twelfth,
nineteen when he gained the Battle of Narva; Condé, twenty-two when he
gained the Battle of Rocroi. At thirty-six, Scipio the younger was the
conqueror of Carthage; at thirty-six, Cortés was the conqueror of
Mexico; at thirty, Charlemagne was master of France and Germany; at
thirty-two, Clive had established the British power in India. Hannibal,
the greatest of military commanders, was only thirty, when, at Cannæ, he
dealt an almost annihilating blow at the republic of Rome; and Napoleon
was only twenty-seven, when, on the plains of Italy, he outgeneralled
and defeated, one after another, the veteran marshals of Austria. And in
respect to the wars which grew out of the French Revolution, what are
they but the record of old generals beaten by young generals? And it
will not do to say, that the young generals were victorious merely in
virtue of their superiority in courage, energy, and dash; for they
evinced a no less decisive superiority in commonsense and
judgment,--that is, in instantaneous command of all their resources in
the moment of peril, in quickness to detect the enemy's weak points,
and, above all, in resolute sagacity to send the full strength of the
arm to second at once the piercing glance of the eye. The old generals,
to be sure, boasted professional experience, but, having ossified their
experience into pedantic maxims, they had less professional skill. After
their armies had been ignominiously routed by the harebrained young
fellows opposed to them, they could easily prove, that, by the rules of
war, they had been most improperly beaten; but their young opponents,
whose eager minds had transmuted the rules of war into instincts of
intelligence, were indifferent to the scandal of violating the etiquette
of fighting, provided thereby they gained the object of fighting. They
had, in fact, the quality which the old generals absurdly claimed,
namely, practical sagacity, or, the Yankee phrased it, "the knack of
hitting it about right the first time."

We cannot, of course, leave the subject of young military commanders
without a reference to Alexander of Macedon, in many respects the
greatest young man that ever, as with the fury of the untamable forces
of Nature, broke into history. But even in the "Macedonian madman," as
he is called, it will be found that fury obeyed sagacity. A colossal
soul, in whom barbaric passions urged gigantic powers to the
accomplishment of insatiable desires, he seems, on the first view, to be
given over to the wildest ecstasies of imaginative pride; but we are
soon dazzled and confounded by the irresistible energy, the cool, clear,
fertile, forecasting intelligence, with which he pursues and realizes
his vast designs of glory and dominion. Strong and arrogant as the
fabled Achilles, with a military genius which allies him to Cæsar and
Napoleon, he was tortured by aspirations more devouring than theirs;
for, exalted in his own conception above humanity by his constant
success in performing what other men declared impossible, he aimed to
conquer the world,--not merely to be obeyed as its ruler, but worshipped
as its god. But this self-deified genius, who could find nothing on our
planet capable of withstanding his power, was mortal, and died, by what
seemed mere accident, at the age of thirty-two,--died, the master of an
empire, conquered by himself, covering two millions and a half of square
miles,--died, in the full vigor of his faculties, at the time his brain
was teeming with magnificent schemes of assimilating the populations of
Europe and Asia, and of remaking man after his own image by stamping the
nature of Alexander on the mind and feelings of the world.

One incident, the type of his career, has passed into the most familiar
of proverbs. When, in his invasion of Asia, he arrived at Gordium, he
was arrested, not by an army, but by something mightier than an
army,--namely, a superstition. Here was the rude wagon of Gordius, the
yoke of which was fastened to the pole by a cord so entangled that no
human wit or patience could untwist it; yet the oracle had declared that
the empire of Asia was reserved to him alone by whom it should be
untied. After vainly attempting to overcome its difficulties with his
fingers, Alexander impatiently cut it with his sword. The multitude
applauded the solution; he soon made it good by deeds; and, in action,
youth has ever since shown its judgment, as well as its vigor, in thus
annihilating seemingly hopeless perplexities, by cutting Gordian knots.

In passing from the field of battle to the field of politics, from young
men as warriors to young men as statesmen, we must bear in mind that
high political station, unless a man is born to it, is rarely reached by
political genius, until political genius has been tried by years and
tested by events. At the time Mr. Calhoun's influence was greatest, at
the time it was said that "when he took snuff all South Carolina
sneezed," he was really not so great a man as when he was struggling for
eminence. Statesmen are thus forces long before they are leaders of
party, prime-ministers, and presidents; and are not the energies
employed in preparing the way for new laws and new policies of more
historic significance than the mere outward form of their enactment and
inauguration? Thus, it required thirty-five years of effort and
agitation before the old Earl Grey of 1832 could accomplish the scheme
of Parliamentary reform eagerly pressed by the young Mr. Grey of 1797.
The young Chatham, when he was merely "that terrible cornet of horse,"
whose rising to speak in the House of Commons was said to give Sir
Robert Walpole "a pain in the back,"--when, in his own sarcastic phrase,
he "was guilty of the atrocious crime of being a young man,"--was still
day by day building himself up in the heart and imagination of the
English people, and laboriously opening the path to power of the old
Chatham, whose vehement soul was all alive with the energies of youth,
though lodged in the shattered frame of age. And he so familiarly known
to the American people as old John Adams,--did he lose in mature life a
single racy or splenetic characteristic of the young statesman of the
Colonial period? Is there, indeed, any break in that unity of nature
which connects the second President of the United States with the child
John Adams, the boy John Adams, the tart, blunt, and bold, the sagacious
and self-reliant, young Mr. Adams, the plague and terror of the Tories
of Massachusetts? And his all-accomplished rival and adversary,
Alexander Hamilton,--is he not substantially the same at twenty-five as
at forty-five? Though he has not yet imprinted his mind on the
constitution and practical working of the government, the qualities are
still there:--the poised nature whose vigor is almost hidden in its
harmony; the power of infusing into other minds ideas which they seem to
originate; the wisdom, the moderation, the self-command, the deep
thought which explores principles, the comprehensive thought which
regards relations, the fertile thought which devises measures,--all are
there as unmistakably at twenty-five as on that miserable day, when, in
the tried completeness of his powers, the greatest of American statesmen
died by the hand of the greatest of American reprobates.

But there are also in history four examples of men who seem to have been
statesmen from the nursery,--who early took a leading part in great
designs which affected the whole course of human affairs,--and whom
octogenarians like Nesselrode and Palmerston would be compelled to call
statesmen of the first class. These are Octavius Cæsar, more successful
in the arts of policy than even the great Julius, never guilty of
youthful indiscretion, or, we are sorry to say, of youthful virtue;
Maurice of Saxony, the preserver of the Reformed religion in Germany, in
that contest where his youthful sagacity proved more than a match for
the veteran craft of Charles the Fifth; the second William of Orange,
the preserver of the liberties of Europe against the ambition of Louis
XIV., and who, as a child, may be said to have prattled treaties and
lisped despatches; and William Pitt, Prime-Minister of England at the
age of twenty-four, and stereotyped on the French imagination as he
whose guineas were nearly as potent as Napoleon's guns.

But it is not so much by eminent examples of young statesmen as it is by
the general influence of young men in resisting the corrupting
tendencies of politics, that their influence in the social state is to
be measured. They oppose the tendency of political life to deprave
political character, to make it cold, false, selfish, distrustful,
abandoned to the greed of power and the greed of gain. They interfere
with the projects of those venerable politicians who are continually
appealing to the public to surrender, bit by bit, its humanity, its
morality, its Christianity, for what are ludicrously misnamed practical
advantages, and who slowly sap the moral vitality of a people through an
insinuating appeal to their temporary interests. The heart of a nation
may be eaten out by this process, without its losing any external signs
of prosperity and strength; but the process itself is resisted, and the
nation kept alive and impelled forward, by the purifying, though
disturbing forces, which come from the generous sentiments and fervid
aspirations of youth. Wise old heads may sneer as much as they please at
the idea of heart in politics; but if history teaches anything, it
teaches that human progress is possible only because the benevolent
instincts of the heart are permanent, while the reasonings of the head
are shifting. "When God," says Montesquieu, "endowed human beings with
brains, he did not intend to guaranty them." And the sarcasm of the
French philosopher is fully justified, when we reflect that nothing
mean, base, or cruel has ever been done in this world, which has not
been supported by arguments. To the mere head every historical event,
whether it be infamous or glorious, is like the case at law which
attracted the attention of the Irish barrister. "It was," he said, "a
very pretty case, and he should like a fee of a hundred pounds to argue
it either way." Who is there, indeed, who has not heard the most
atrocious measures recommended by the most convincing arguments? Why,
the persecutions of the early Christians, the Massacre of St.
Bartholomew, the Spanish Inquisition, the Reign of Terror, the
institution of Slavery, the _coup d' état_ of Louis Napoleon, are under
the condemnation of history from no lack of arguments in their favor
which it might puzzle a plain man to answer. But opinion in such matters
is not determined by arguments, but by instincts. God, in his wrath, has
not left this world to the mercy of the subtlest dialectician; and all
arguments are happily transitory in their effect, when they contradict
the primal intuitions of conscience and the inborn sentiments of the
heart. And if wicked institutions, laboriously organized by dominant
tyranny and priestcraft, and strong with the might, not merely of bad
passions, but of perverted learning and prostituted logic,--if these
have been swept away in the world's advancing movement, it has been by
the gradual triumph of indestructible sentiments of freedom and
humanity, kept fresh and bright in the souls of the young.

And in the baptism of fire and blood through which our politics are
passing to their purification, who can fitly estimate our indebtedness
to the young men who are now making American history the history of so
much ardent patriotism and heroic achievement? When the civilization of
the country prepared to engage in a death-grapple with its
barbarism,--when the most beneficent of all governments was threatened
by the basest of all conspiracies, the most infamous of all treasons,
the most thievish of all rebellions,--and when that government was
sustained by the most glorious uprising that ever surged up from the
heart of a great people to defend the cause of liberty and honesty and
law,--did not the hot tide of that universal patriotism sparkle and
seethe and glow with special intensity in the breasts of our young men?
Did you ever hear from them that contented ignominy was Christian peace?
Did not meanness, falsehood, fraud, tyranny, treason, find in them, not
apologetic critics, but terrible and full-armed foes? Transient
defeat,--what did it but add new fiery stimulants to energies bent on an
ultimate triumph? To hint to them that Davis would succeed was not only
recreancy to freedom, but blasphemy against God. Better, to their
impassioned patriotism, that their blood should be poured forth in an
unstinted stream,--better that they, and all of us, should be pushed
into that ocean whose astonished waves first felt the keel of the
Mayflower, as she bore her precious freight to Plymouth Rock,--than that
America should consent to be under the insolent domination of a perjured
horde of slave-holders and liberticides. But that consent should never
be given, and that consent could never be extorted. Minds, like theirs,
which had been nurtured on the principles of constitutional
freedom,--hearts, like theirs, which had caught inspiration from the
heroes and martyrs of liberty,--good right arms, like theirs, which
wielded the implements of war as readily as the implements of labor, all
scouted the very thought of such unutterable abasement. By the
patriotism which abhors treason, by the fortitude which endures
privation, by the intrepidity which faces death, they proved themselves
worthy of the great continent they inhabit by showing themselves capable
of upholding the principles it represents.

In passing from the sphere of politics to the serener region of
literature, art, science, and philosophy, there is an increasing
difficulty in estimating youth by years and an increasing necessity to
estimate it by qualities. One thing, however, is certain,--that the
invention of new methods, the discovery of new truth, and the creation
of new beauty,--intellectual acts which are among the most-important of
historical events,--all belong to that thoroughly _live_ condition of
mind which we have called young. In this sense of youth, it may be said
that Raphael, the greatest painter of moral beauty, and Titian, the
greatest painter of sensuous beauty, were both almost equally young,
though Raphael died at thirty-seven, while Titian was prematurely cut
off by the plague when he was only a hundred. These, of course, are the
extreme cases. But, it maybe asked, were not the greatest poems of the
world, the "Iliad" of Homer, the "Divina Commedia" of Dante, the
"Paradise Lost" of Milton, the creations of comparative old age? The
answer to this question is, that each was probably organized round a
youthful conception, and all were coextensive with the whole growth and
development of their creators. Thus, we do not call Milton old when he
produced "Paradise Lost," but when this mental growth was arrested; and
accordingly "Paradise Regained" and "Samson Agonistes," works produced
after his prime, are comparatively bleak and bare products of a
withering imagination and a shrunken personality.

But, confining the matter to the mere question of years, it may be said,
that, allowing for some individual exceptions, the whole history of the
human intellect will bear out the general assertion, that the power in
which great natures culminate, and which fixes fatal limits to their
loftiest aspirations, namely, that flashing conceptive and combining
genius which fuses force and insight in one executive intelligence,
which seizes salient points and central ideas, which darts in an instant
along the whole line of analogies and relations, which leaps with joyous
daring the vast mental spaces that separate huddled facts from
harmonizing laws,--that this power, to say the least, rarely grows after
thirty-five or forty. The mental stature is then reached, though it may
not dwindle and be dwarfed until long afterwards. Thus, Shakspeare
completed "Hamlet" when he was about thirty-six. Mozart, the Shakspeare
of composers, died at thirty-six. But why enumerate? Amid the scores of
instances which must crowd into every mind, let us select five men, of
especial historic significance, and who are commonly imaged to our minds
with heads silvered over with age,--let us take Goethe in poetry, Newton
in science, Bacon in philosophy, Columbus in discovery, Watt in
mechanics. Now, how stand the facts? The greatest works of Goethe were
conceived and partly executed when he was a young man; and if age found
him more widely and worldly wise, it found him weak in creative passion,
and, as a poet, living on the interest of his youthful conceptions.
Newton, in whose fertile and capacious intellect the dim, nebulous
elements of truth were condensed by patient thinking into the completed
star, discovered the most universal of all natural laws, the law of
gravitation, before he was twenty-five, though an error of observation,
not his own, prevented him from demonstrating it until he was forty.
Bacon had "vast contemplative ends," and had taken "all knowledge for
his province," had deeply meditated new methods and audaciously doubted
old ones, before the incipient beard had begun timidly to peep from his
youthful chin. The great conception of Columbus sprang from the thoughts
and studies of his youth; and it was the radiance shed from this
conception which gave him fortitude to bear the slow martyrdom of
poverty, contempt, and sickness of heart, which embittered the toiling
years preceding its late realization. The steam-engine was invented by
James Watt before he was thirty; but then Watt was a thinker from his
cradle. Everybody will recollect his grandmother's reproof of what she
called his idleness, at the time his boyish brain was busy with
meditations destined to ripen in the most marvellous and revolutionizing
of all industrial inventions,--an invention which, of itself alone, has
given Great Britain an additional productive power equal to ten millions
of workmen, at the cost of only a halfpenny a day,--an invention which
supplies the motive power by which a single county in England is enabled
to produce fabrics representing the labor of twenty-one millions of
men,--an invention which, combined with others, annually, in England,
weaves into cloth a length of cotton thread equal to fifty-one times the
distance between the earth and the sun, five thousand millions of
miles,--an invention which created the wealth by which England was
enabled to fight or subsidize the whole continent of Europe from 1793 to
1815, and which made that long war really a contest between the despotic
power of Napoleon Bonaparte and the productive genius of James Watt. All
this vast and teeming future was hidden from the good grandmother, as
she saw the boy idling over the teakettle. "James," she said, "I never
saw such an idle young fellow as you are. Do take a book and employ
yourself usefully. For the last half-hour you have not spoken a single
word. Do you know what you have been doing all this time? Why, you have
taken off, and replaced, and taken off again, the tea-pot lid, and you
have held alternately in the steam, first a saucer and then a spoon; and
you have busied yourself in examining and collecting together the little
drops formed by the condensation of the steam on the surface of the
china and the silver. Now are you not ashamed to waste your time in this
disgraceful manner?" Was ever idleness so productive before?

If we turn from intellectual powers to sentiments, which are the soul of
powers, we shall find renewed proofs that the spirit which animates the
kingdoms of mind is the youthful spirit of health and hope and energy
and cheer. In the regretful tenderness with which all great thinkers
have looked back upon their youth do not we detect the source of their
most kindling inspirations? Time may have impaired their energies,
clipped their aspirations, deadened their faith; but there, away off in
the past, is the gladdening vision of their youthful years; there the
joyous tumult of impulses and aims; there the grand and generous
affections; there the sweet surprise of swift-springing thoughts from
never-failing fountains; there the pure love of truth and beauty which
sent their minds speeding out beyond the limits of positive knowledge;
and there the thrills of ecstasy as new worlds opened on their view.
What, to them, is the assured possession of fame, compared with that
direct perception of truth and that immediate consciousness of power?

But the question arises, Cannot this youth be preserved, or, at least,
perpetually renewed? We have seen, in this rapid glance at history, that
it is preserved as long as the mind retains its hold on the life of
things; and we have seen, both in men of action and in men of
meditation, this hold weakened by age. But would it be weakened, if the
loftiest meditation issued in deeds instead of thoughts? Would youth
depart, if the will acted on the same high level that the mind
conceived? This, also, is a question which has been historically
answered. It has been answered by heroes, reformers, saints, and
martyrs,--by men who have demonstrated, that, the higher the life, the
more distant the approaches of age,--by men whose souls on earth have
glanced into that region of spiritual ideas and spiritual persons where
youth is perpetual, where ecstasy is no transient mood, but a permanent
condition, and where dwell the awful forces which radiate immortal life
into the will. In these men, contemplation, refusing to abide in the act
by which it mounts _above_ the world, reacts with tenfold force _on_ the
world. Using human _ends_ simply as divine _means_, they wield war,
statesmanship, literature, art, science, and philosophy with almost
superhuman energy in the service of supernatural ideas; and history
gleams with an imperfect passage, through human agents, of the life of
God into the life of man. The subject is too vast, the agents too
various and numerous, to be more than hinted here; and in the limitation
of our theme, not only to the young in years, but to the male in sex, we
are precluded from celebrating one who stands in history as perhaps the
loveliest human embodiment of all that is more winning and inspiring in
youth,--one whose celestial elevation of sentiment, ecstatic ardor of
imagination, and power at once to melt the heart and amaze the
understanding, will forever associate the saintliest heroic genius with
the name of Joan of Arc. But among the crowd of great men in this
exalted sphere of influence, let us select one who was the head and
heart of the most memorable movement of modern times,--the German
peasant, Martin Luther. With a nature originally rougher, more
earth-born, and of less genial goodness than that of Joan of Arc, but
with a shaping imagination of the same realizing intensity, the
beautiful myths of Romish superstition, which her innocent soul
transfigured into gracious ministering spirits of seraphic might and
seraphic tenderness, glared in upon his more morbid spiritual vision as
menacing angels, or grinning imps, or scoffing fiends. But still the
tortured soul toiled sturdily on through the anguish of its self-created
hells, the mind crazed and shattered, the heart hungry for peace, the
will resolute that it should have no peace until it found peace in
truth. Yet, our of this prodigious mental and moral anarchy, with its
devil's dance of dogmas and delusions, the young Luther organized,
before he was thirty, the broadest, raciest, and strongest character
that ever put on the armor and hurled the bolts of the Church Militant.
Casting doubt and fear under his feet, and growing more practically
efficient as he grew more morally exalted, at the age of thirty-seven he
had hooted out of Germany the knavish agent of a deistical Pope,--had
nailed to the Wittenberg Church his intellectual defiance of the theory
of Indulgences,--had cast the excommunication and decretals of the
Pontiff into the flames,--and, before the principalities and power of
the Empire, one German against all Germany, had simply and sublimely
indicated the identity of his doctrine with his nature, by declaring
that he not merely _would_ not, but _could_ not, recant.

And whom could he not abjure? Does not this question point to Him who is
the central Person and Power of the past eighteen hundred years of
history?--to Him who will be the central Person and Power of the whole
future of history?--to Him who came into the world in the form of a
young man, and whom a young man announced, crying in the wilderness?--to
Him who clasps in his thought and in his love the whole humanity whose
troubled annals history recounts, and who divinized the spirit of youth
when He assumed its form?




We had come from Dumbarton, (my temporary home,) the Bailie, Christie,
and I, for a week's tour along the western coast and among the
Highlands. Sallying forth from Strathleven cottage one sunny morning in
August, we had footed it to the river-side, (I learned the full use of
my feet in Scotland.) had stepped on board a wee bonnie boat, just large
enough for us and our light baggage, exclusive of the space occupied by
a single oarsman,--and dropping down the Leven, and past the Castle, had
gained the broad Clyde, drifted into mid-stream, and there, lying on our
oars, had patiently waited until the great puffing steamer of the
Hutcheson line, from Glasgow, hove in sight. Then, raising one oar as a
signal, we had hailed the monster, which, condescendingly relaxing her
speed, had suffered our boat, tossing like a feather on the steamer's
mighty swell, to come in palpitating, timid fashion under the shadow of
her paddle-box, where the strong arms of men stationed on the portable
ladder let down from her side had caught our skiff by the prow and held
the inconstant thing for one instant firmly enough to suffer us to
spring to their precarious stairway and so secure our passage to
Ardrishalg. Thence, after two hours' sail by track-boat through the
Crinan Canal, and a second passage by steamer,--literally an ocean
passage, for it took us out into the deep Atlantic,--we had bent our
course awhile among the islands that lie nearer the rocky shore, and had
at length, just at nightfall, gained the little land-locked harbor of
Oban,--sweet, smiling Oban, nestling securely within her rocky bulwarks,
the glistening curve of her white sea-wall, her little fleet of safely
moored vessels, her clustering cottages, her neat tempting inns, all
challenging our wonder and delight, as, skirting the headland which had
hitherto jealously hidden the mimic seaport, the entire picture flashed
instantaneously on our view.

Nothing in this hospitable spot turns its back on the voyager who there
seeks refuge. The sea-wall curving like a half-moon round the bay, and
the pebbled esplanade above it, occupy all the foreground. The principal
street of Oban skirts this artificial quay, where the shipping of the
place lies at anchor, and on its farther side the buildings all front
the sea. Thus the whole place smiles a welcome; its white garniture--for
everything in Oban seems freshly whitewashed--reflects the last rays of
the western sunlight, or, if night has already clothed the neighboring
islands and headlands in gloom, the lights from the numerous windows of
the dwelling-houses, shops, and hotels, which face you as you make the
port, excite a glad surprise, and promise the weary traveller, what he
is sure to find, shelter, comfort, and good cheer in Oban.

More than these _I_ found there; for, leaving the spot always in the
morning to pursue our excursions, and returning on successive occasions
at nightfall, the charm of the place grew upon me, until I came to view
it not merely a refuge from exposure and fatigue, a nook screened and
protected by Nature's benediction from wintry storms and Hebridean
gloom, but as a sanctum for the spirit, an ideal resting-place for
restless souls,--a place to be loved and longed for forevermore. If I
have said too much, and you convict me of romance and exaggeration,
fellow-travellers, who like me have sometimes made this haven, then
sunlight and moonlight and soft breezes and sweet sounds have been
kinder to me than to you, and you did not see Oban in the light and the
air that I did.

One would scarcely expect, judging from the size of the town, that Oban
could contain more than a single comfortable inn; still, besides the
Caledonian Hotel, of which alone I can testify from experience, there
are at least two or three similar public-houses, and I know not how many
lodging-houses of lesser pretension; for Oban is the centre of no little
travel, and is the rallying-point and rendezvous for tourists,
especially during the months of August and September, the popular season
in the Highlands.

At the Caledonian, an hotel not dissimilar to our best summer resorts in
the White Mountains and other picturesque districts, we were
comfortably, I may say luxuriously, entertained. The accommodations, as
with us, included ladies' parlor and _table d'hôte_, and, after a brief
lounge in the former and a substantial meal at the latter, we were ready
to set forth for an evening stroll through the town, a stroll never
omitted by us at that hour in Oban, a delightful and essential sedative
after the fatigues or excitements of the day,--strolls the charm of
which I could never quite define, and the impression from which is
incommunicable. There would seem to be little that was pleasant or
memorable in our perambulations of the main street of a little
fishing-town,--the Bailie, with his stump of a pipe for company, always
choosing the esplanade, while Christie and I as frequently idled along
the opposite pavement, pausing now and then at the little shop-windows
and gazing at their mean or meagre displays, illumined by a farthing
candle, with a keener zest than I had ever experienced in the Rue Rivoli
or the Palais Royal. Our walk rarely extended beyond either extremity of
this street; it was uniform, monotonous, unvaried by any more striking
incident than a lunge into the most humble and ill-furnished of the
shops to procure a penny pipe for the Bailie, whose smoky stump had
accidentally come to grief, or a continuation of our stroll as far as
the remotest point of the arc formed by the quay, where, seated on a
wall of rough stones, we took in at one glance the moonlit bay, and the
quiet, peaceful town, scarce a hum from which reached our ears, so
hushed and still was the place at this hour.

A couple of little girls of true Gaelic blood came and gazed curiously
at us one evening, as we thus sat. The elder of the two, a head shorter
than her companion, responded readily to the Bailie's questions,--among
other things naïvely accounted to us for her diminutive size, as if it
were a foregone and inevitable result of her lot, by the grave
statement, "Oh, I am the eldest, Sir; I tended all the rest"; and then,
at his request, they united in singing us a genuine Erse song, the
guttural accents of which, softened by their childish tongues,
harmonized wonderfully with the Hebridean landscape, redeemed from its
otherwise rigidity and gloom by Oban gleaming like a pearly jewel from
its rude setting of stone. It was the only incident that I can recall
connected with our moonlight ramblings. Was it not, perhaps, the
absence of incident or adventure, the holy calm, the unbroken stillness
of the scene, that lulled our hearts then to pensive musings, and that
still whispers to our memories, "Peace"?

The Caledonian, though it found room for us, was wellnigh overflowing
with visitors. Besides our fellow-passengers and those of another
steamer of the same line, which had arrived almost simultaneously from
the northern or opposite direction, there were not a few who had either
been waiting in Oban, or had returned thither from some excursion in the
neighborhood, to be in readiness for the first opportunity for a voyage
around Mull. This trip, which occupies twelve hours, is during the
travelling season advertised for every alternate day; but, as the
pleasure, oftentimes the possibility, of the excursion is dependent on
wind and weather, persevering tourists are often detained for a week or
more in default of sunshine and a fair breeze. The elements on the
morning after our arrival being in all respects favorable, the great
household was early astir. Though breakfast is served on board the
luxurious pleasure-boat, we preferred to rise at the earliest notice and
make all possible haste with our toilets, for the sake of breakfasting
on terra firma. Many were of the same mind with ourselves; and the
crowded tables, the good-natured jostling of elbows, and the eager
scrambling for food, with the bells of variously bound steamers at the
neighboring pier already ringing out their warning, exhilarated us with
a sense of companionship and excited us to activity. Indeed, the analogy
which I detected between hotel life in the Highlands and in our own
country may have been partly due to these hasty breakfasts, which the
necessity of securing a long day rendered as inevitable to tourists as
hurriedly bolted meals so often are to travellers on our interminable
routes, or to our time-saving business-men of callous digestion.

After all, we had the mortification of feeling that we had been deceived
like children and huddled like sheep as an atonement for the
sluggishness or obstinacy of that less alert and punctual class of
travellers who, as the experience of steamboat agents had proved, could
be aroused only by successive bell-ringings and repeated threats of a
forfeited passage. We had some compensation and revenge, however, as,
seated in our early secured best places, we watched our
fellow-excursionists come straggling on board.

The Pioneer, strongly built for service in the open sea, and of ample
dimensions, must have boasted this day something like two hundred
passengers. So ample were the accommodations, so widely scattered the
parties, that I should scarcely believe the number to have been so
considerable, but for my vivid recollection of the successive and, as it
seemed, never-ending boat-companies, each of a dozen or more, that were
rowed ashore at the points where we made land. Of course there was but a
fractional part of these people whose individuality made any impression
on me. In one respect we were a unit: all were pleasure-seekers, and the
Pioneer, unlike most of the steaming monsters which ply on regular
routes, was dedicated to beauty, sacred to the adventurous and the
picturesque. She carried no mail; she was destined to none of the ends
of traffic or profit. Her freight was all human, Nature was her
mistress, and the love of Nature her inspiration and motive-power.

But as she lay there at the pier, puffing off steam and ringing
perpetual bells, she gave evidence of business-like impatience; and her
human cargo, as they came on board, had scarcely yet awakened to any
other emotions than those of unwillingness and discomfort. Some were yet
chewing the cud of unfinished breakfasts, the crumbs of which still
clung to their garments; others had the blue, ghostly look of unwonted
early risers, shivering with the chill morning air and the faint heart
which a fasting stomach entails; some, the latest comers of all, were
quite breathless, and were nervously holding on to the gloves, veils,
shawls, or over-shoes caught up at the last moment and only half put on
or adjusted.

Here comes a party of young people, however, lads and lasses, whose high
spirits triumph over all the inconveniences of the hour, and who, as
they rush laughingly on board, seem to defy the steamer to have started
without so important an addition to the joyousness of the occasion as
they represent. A group of elderly Scotch folk, anxious, bewildered, and
fussy, are congratulating themselves, on the contrary, that they are
just in time and "weel ower" the perils of embarkation. Here is a sallow
clergyman whose dress and expression proclaim him an English churchman;
he and his cadaverous wife, who seems, from her slightly pretentious
air, to have, as the English say, "blood" (a very little blood _I_
should judge in this case); both have a worn and melancholy appearance,
which is, I suspect, chronic, and not wholly due to the occasion. And,
why, whom have we here? we have certainly seen those girls before, who
are hurrying across the plank just as the last bell is ringing its last
stroke. Yes, to be sure, they are the same trio whom we found on board
the steamer which we took at Inversnaid on Loch Lomond, one day, when we
were returning toward sunset from a visit to Loch Katrine and the
Trosachs. Christie and I remember them perfectly, they and their young
brother seated in a picturesque group on the little upper deck, each
with open sketch-book copying Nature at the moment, or carrying out some
design conceived earlier in the day; their mother, the same self-poised
mammoth Englishwoman of marvellous physique and perfect equanimity of
forces who accompanies them to-day, seated at a little distance, the
occasional superintendent and invariable referee of their work and
progress. Their "papa" is of the party this time,--a tall, gray-haired
gentleman, old enough to be venerable, young enough to have the promise
of half a score of years or more yet in which to serve his country,--a
gentleman whose sweet dignity and serene self-possession entitle him at
a glance to the encomium once bestowed involuntarily by some English
friends of mine upon one of our gifted historians, "Why, he might be a
duke!" Our fellow-traveller was only Sir Thomas, however,--Sir Thomas
Somebody,--I have forgotten what, a London baronet, holding some high
office or other under Government. We may imagine it anything we please,
for I have forgotten that too. Indeed, the little we ever knew of him
was learned at a later day, I suspect, from a buxom lawyer's wife, up
North with her husband for the vacation, and who, as well as Sir
Thomas's family, was of our travelling company on an ensuing journey,
and had her little gossip with Christie. Other acquaintance than that of
accidental companionship we never had with any of the Pioneer's
passengers; but what a charm there is in that involuntary knowledge one
comes to have of these chance fellow-travellers whom we meet, pass, fall
behind, and come up with again, until they become at last familiar
features of our route!

But we have been long enough getting on board. It is well that these
laggards are the last, for it is high time we were off.

The wind being fair for our purpose, we are able to take the northern
course and commence the circuit of the island by striking directly for
the Sound of Mull, much the most favorable route, as it introduces the
traveller at once to some of the most picturesque objects of the

The first of these, standing like a sentinel to the land-locked bay of
Oban, is Dunolly Castle, which commands the bold promontory around which
we bend our course, as, emerging from our little harbor, we gain the
comparatively open sea. The only remnant of this once proud dwelling of
the Lords of Lorn which remains entire is the old mossy tower or keep,
around which are grouped numerous ivy-grown fragments, attesting the
former greatness of a stronghold whose chieftain once had power to defy
and defeat Robert Bruce. Many are the traditions and associations that
cluster about this spot, but none, perhaps, more ancient and suggestive
than that which still points out the Clach-nacau, or the Dog's
Pillar,--a huge, upright pillar, a detached fragment of rock,--which
stands at the very edge of the promontory, and which is still pointed
out as the stake to which Fingal, chief of the race of Morven, mighty in
the hunt as well as in battle, was accustomed to bind his white-breasted
Bran, that "long-bounding son of the chase." "Raise high the mossy
stones Of their fame," sang the poet of Scandinavian heroes. The fame of
the huntsman and hound "is in the desert no more"; but as "the sons of
the feeble" pass along, they see, as did Fingal at the tomb of Ryno,
"how peaceful lies the stone of him who was the first at the chase!"

But we may not pause to muse upon Dunolly, with its dreams of other
days. As we sweep round the base of the promontory, a scene bursts on
our view so wildly grand that any single feature of the imposing
landscape shrinks abashed and owns its insignificance. We are making
direct for the entrance to the Sound of Mull; but behind and to the
north of us is stretched out a panorama of rock and hill and deeply
indented coast of incomparable grandeur. To the left of us rise the
rugged and desolate shores of Mull, while far away to the northeast
extends the lofty range of dark, resounding Morven,--the prospect in
that direction terminated and crowned by the huge and precipitous
Cruachan Ben, while in a more northerly direction the Adnamurchan Hills
shut in our horizon.

And when, at length, the eye is satisfied with gazing on the prospect in
its entirety, one after another, the moss-grown fortresses and other
hoary relics of ancient Erse architecture claim our reverent attention;
for the Hebridean chieftains, an amphibious race, almost invariably
chose the extreme verge of ocean-precipice for the site of their
fortresses, thus securing facilities for friendly communication, and
defence against the attacks of hostile clans. Dunstaffnage, though left
some distance to our right, is still sufficiently in view for us to
discern its regal proportions. On the opposite shore, and farther up the
coast, glimpses may be had here and there of many a solitary tower,

                  "that, steep and gray,
    Like falcon-nest, o'erhangs the bay."

And as Imagination travels on, she sees each misty eminence crowned with
its airy castle, its ancient beacon,--

    "Each on its own dark cape reclined,
    And listening to its own wild wind,
    From where Mingarry, sternly placed,
    O'erawes the woodland and the waste,
    To where Dunstaffnage hears the raging
    Of Connal with his rocks engaging."

But that we are bound to the steamer's track, we should be continually
darting off our course to explore the deep indentations of island and
coast, many of which are the entrances to romantic inland lochs. Could
we spread white sails to the winds of Morven, and linger at pleasure in
this picturesque region, we should leave no haunted castle or lonely
watch-tower unexplored, from Castle Stalker, on its island-rock, to
Kin-Loch-Aline, on the copsy bank of Loch Aline, "one of the most
picturesque of the Highland castles," so says the Guidebook, and one
which brought material reward to its builder too; for tradition tells us
that it was built by Dubh-Chal, an Amazon of the Clan McInnes, who paid
the architect with _its bulk in butter_. What a dairy-woman, as well as
warrior, must this Dubh-Chal have been in her day! And what a fortune
this architect would have realized, could he have lived in ours!

We are now entering the Sound of Mull; and on our left, at the
eastern-most point of the island, Duart Castle, which commands the
entrance to the Sound, looks down upon us from its rocky promontory. We
have just passed the Lady Rock, which, bare and black at ebb-tide, but
wave-washed at high-water, is the scene of a legend which has given a
wicked notoriety to one of the ancient lairds of this same Duart. It
gave rise to Campbell's poem of "Glenara," and forms the basis of Joanna
Baillie's tragedy of "The Family Legend." But we have neither at hand
to consult at this moment, even if the steamer would pause to indulge us
in literary pastime; so we must wait the leisure of some winter evening
for poem and tragedy, and content ourselves with the prose account given
by James Wilson, (the Professor's brother,) which is as much as we can
digest _en passant_.

From this it seems that "Lauchlan Catenach Maclean of Duart had married
a daughter of Archibald, second Earl of Argyll, with whom it may be
presumed he lived on bad terms, whatever may have been the cause,
although the character of the act alluded to depends in some measure on
that cause. No man has a right to expose his wife, in consequence of any
ordinary domestic disagreement, upon a wave-washed rock, with the
probability of her catching cold in the first place, and the certainty
of her being drowned in the second. But some accounts say that she had
twice attempted her husband's life, and so assuredly she deserved to be
most severely reprimanded. Be this as it may, Lauchlan carried the lady
to the rock in question, where he left her at low water, no doubt
desiring that at high water she would be seen no more. However, it so
chanced that her cries, 'piercing the night's dull ear,' were heard by
some passing fishermen, who, subduing their fear of water-witches, or
perhaps thinking that they had at last caught a mermaid, secured the
fair one, and conveyed her away to her own people, to whom, of course,
she told her own version of the story. We forget what legal steps were
taken, (a sheriff's warrant probably passed for little in those days, at
least in Mull,) but considerable feudal disorders ensued in consequence,
and the Laird of Duart was eventually assassinated in bed one night, (in
Edinburgh,) by Sir John Campbell of Calder, the brother of the bathed
lady. We hope that this was the means of reconciling all parties."

Next comes, on our right, Ardtornish Castle,

            "on her frowning steep,
    Twixt cloud and ocean hung,"

the opening scene of Scott's "Lord of the Isles," and the stronghold of
that hero chieftain. It is now, for the most part, in ruins. One old
keep, or tower, still remains standing: the same, perhaps, of which Sir
Walter says,--

               "The turret's airy head,
    Slender and steep and battled round,
    O'erlooked, dark Mull, thy mighty Sound,
    Where thwarting tides with mingled roar
    Part they swarth hills from Morven's shore."

And if we would form a conception of the inaccessible character of this
and similar ocean-washed fortresses, we have but to recall the poet's
description of the approach to it by Bruce and his companions on the
seaward side:--

    "Hewn in the rock, a passage there
    Sought the dark fortress by a stair
      So straight, so high, so steep,
    With peasant's staff one valiant hand
    Might well the dizzy pass have manned,
      And plunged then in the deep."

Other ancient castles meet our view, both on the right and left, during
the passage of the Sound. None of these rough, but romantic ruins
constitute the present residence of their owners, who could be better
accommodated in the poorest fishing-hut. They serve, however, to give
interest and dignity to the modern residence or miniature village which
nestles demurely under the shelter of their pristine fame. At Tobermory,
or the Well of Mary, the metropolis of Mull, the steamer stops to
deposit and receive passengers,--this, and one or two other pauses for a
similar practical purpose, constituting, in favor of a few chance
travellers, an exception to her otherwise strict character of an
excursion- or pleasure-boat. Indeed, in the eyes of the Islanders, the
services she thus renders may constitute her a business agent, though we
tourists, being so much in the majority, recognize her only in her
festive and recreative capacity. And, after all, who knows but this
scheme of touching at Tobermory originated in the design to accommodate
us with the lovely view which is presented by the picturesque,
straggling town, its terraced walks, its green copses, and its
mountainous background and inclosure, which combine to form the
landscape that greets us as we enter the little bay?


We leave Tobermory and the shelter of the Sound almost simultaneously;
and now, as we emerge into open ocean, the long wave of the Atlantic, on
which the steamer is rolling, no less than the grand ocean prospect,
unbroken, except by the numerous small islands among which our course
lies, betrays the fact that we are getting out to sea. We have passed
the westernmost extremity of the main land, and are outside of and
beyond the great island whose circuit we are making. The romantic and
legendary character of the scenery has now given place to the sublime;
and, the attention no longer diverted by a succession of objects close
at hand, we can give ourselves uninterruptedly to the contemplation of
Nature in her grandeur. The chief objects of our voyage already dawning
upon us. As we pass the Point of Callioch, a stormy headland on the
northeastern shore of Mull, we share the experience of the poet
Campbell, who, living for some months in his youth as a tutor at Sunipol
House, just in this neighborhood, wrote to a friend, "The Point of
Callioch commands a magnificent prospect of thirteen Hebrid islands,
among which are Staffa and Icolmkill, which I visited with enthusiasm."
Thus we have the poet's warrant, as well as that of travellers and sages
of many centuries, for the enthusiasm with which we had embarked on an
excursion, the principal objects of which were Staffa and its far-famed
Fingal's Cave, and Icolmkill, otherwise the sacred island of Iona.

But these objects of engrossing interest are still far off in the
distance. Staffa, the smaller and nearer of the two, presents but an
unimposing front from the quarter by which we approach, being oval in
form, low, and with a gently undulating surface, in which respect it
does not differ materially, except in its dimensions, from the inferior
islands among which we are steering our course, and which, cold, bald,
and of a monotonous and desolate uniformity, betray their near
relationship to the conical, heather-covered hills of the Highlands. It
almost seems, indeed, as if these islands were some old acquaintances of
the mainland, which have slipped their moorings and drifted out to sea.
A sense of loneliness and melancholy steals over one amid this bleak,
wild scenery,--a sense of having one's self drifted away from the haunts
of men, almost from those of vegetation, so much sameness is there in
the landscape, so little of promise or growth on the soil. No wonder
that Dr. Johnson, to whom London streets and atmosphere alone were
congenial, and who brought with him to the Hebrides his strong antipathy
to everything Scotch, was often a prey to discontent and murmuring in
these latitudes, and that in a moment of ill-humor he should have
exclaimed to Boswell,--"Oh, Sir, a most dolorous country!" No wonder,
that, his suspicions excited by the nakedness of the land and his
preconceived notions of Scotch cupidity, he should, on occasion of
losing his stout oaken stick, while crossing the Island of Mull on a
Highland sheltie, have vowed to Boswell that it had been stolen by the
natives, justifying the charge by the argument,--"Consider, Sir, the
value of such a piece of timber here!"

Campbell, so his biographer tells us, "felt the loneliness of his
situation at Sunipol House acutely at first, though he soon became
reconciled to a country which, though bleak and wild, was peculiarly
romantic and nourished the poetry in his soul." Even a creature of a
lower order than philosophers, poets, or even us poor tourists, has been
known to feel the chilling influence of Nature in these her wildest
forms, and though weaned from softer airs, perhaps reconciled to its
stern lot, has cherished in its innermost bosom a memory so warm, so
strong, as to assert itself at last with a force that fired and burst
the little breast in which it had unconsciously smothered. Witness
Campbell's little poem, "The Parrot," the incident of which he learned
in the Island of Mull, from the family to whom the bird belonged,--an
incident which inspired the poet to a strain so touchingly sweet that I
cannot resist the temptation to quote it entire.

    "The deep affections of the breast,
      That Heaven to living things imparts,
    Are not exclusively possessed
          By human hearts.

    "A parrot from the Spanish Main,
      Full young, and early caged, came o'er
    With bright wings to the bleak domain
          Of Mulla's shore.

    "To spicy groves where he had won
      His plumage of resplendent hue,
    His native fruits and skies and sun,
          He bade adieu.

    "For these he changed the smoke of turf,
      A heathery land and misty sky,
    And turned on rocks and raging surf
          His golden eye.

    "But, petted, in our climate cold
      He lived and chattered many a day,
    Until, with age, from green and gold
          His wings grew gray.

    "At last, when, blind, and seeming dumb,
      He scolded, laughed, and spoke no more,
    A Spanish stranger chanced to come
          To Mulla's shore.

    "He hailed the bird in Spanish speech;
      The bird in Spanish speech replied,
    Flapped round his cage with joyous screech,
          Dropped down, and died."

If perfect sunshine, gentle breezes, and a smooth sea could lure one
into unconsciousness of the surrounding desolation and into
forgetfulness of the elemental warfare to which these Hebridean regions
are exposed, we had complete antidotes to melancholy or dread, so
perfect was the day chosen for our excursion; and yet I never think of
that part of our passage in which we threaded the islands lying north of
Staffa without a gentle shade of sadness mingling with my recollections.
But that the sage Johnson, the romantic Campbell, and the unreflecting
parrot all indorse these emotions as instinctive, I should feel bound in
honor (honor to the landscape) to ascribe them to that occasional thrill
of homesickness which I have known take possession of me in the crowded
streets of London or Edinburgh as well as here, making me inwardly
exclaim, like the old woman from the wilds of Vermont, on her first
visit to the metropolis, "All this may be very fine, but I wonder the
folks can bear to live so far away."

That I was the victim of a momentary sense of exile is rendered the more
probable from the fact that about this time Christie was stretched in
the cabin below, a victim to sea-sickness, in spite of the comparatively
smooth sea, and that the Bailie had gone forward to smoke a pipe, thus
leaving me alone with my meditations. That they were not wholly of the
regretful or sentimental cast is evident, however, from the fact that I
improved this opportunity to indulge in more than one observation upon
the company, my gossip (that is, my imagination) and I making many a
little comment on my human surroundings, especially those three
specimens of English girls whom, as I had met them once before, I was
beginning to recognize as acquaintances.

And what we commented on them, I and another friendly gossip, namely,
memory, often rehearse; for that trio still stand out to my recollection
as excellent, let us hope average, types of English maidenhood of the
best blood and breeding,--blood not a whit purer, to my thinking, than
flows in any honest veins,--breeding no higher than may be attained in
the humblest household in which Christian politeness is the ruling

"How pretty they were!" says Memory.

_I._ Yes,--just pretty enough to gladden a mother's heart now and a
lover's by-and-by, but mercifully sparing us those ecstasies on their
beauty which are so tiresome.

_Memory._ Theirs was chiefly the beauty of youth, health, and happiness;
they were all well-featured, though, and had faces which grew more and
more interesting on acquaintance.

_I._ How hard it was to distinguish them one from another!

_Memory._ Yes, at first. But you must recollect that on closer
observation one proved to be the taller, one the plumper, and one
decidedly the younger of the three; then, although they were dressed so
exactly alike,--according to what be, I suspect, a sumptuary law in
England--and although their stout travelling-dresses, drab cloaks, thick
boots, the shaggy shawls severally carried by each on one arm, the faded
blue cravats tied round their throats, were so precisely alike and had
been subjected to so exactly the same amount of wear that you could have
sworn each article was its fellow, you know you did detect a trifling
difference in the feathers of their hats, sufficient to prove afterwards
a distinguishing badge.

Here Reflection steps in and suggests whether this exact uniformity of
dress among British children of one family may not be the outward sign
of that harmony and subjection to rule which, far as I have had an
opportunity of judging, prevail in English households, Where could you
find such a degree of conformity among American girls as to induce
unqualified submission to one standard of taste, and that the maternal?
I am not sure that it is desirable to quench all individuality, even in
a matter so comparatively insignificant as that of dress. But who can
prize too highly the reverence for authority, the sweet feminine
modesty, the domestic harmony, which are expressed in this sisterly
uniformity of costume? All this might have been spurious in the case
just cited, and this harmonious effect at only after an infinite amount
of petty squabbling and rebellion; but such unworthy skepticism is
rebuked by my faithful Memory, who reminds me of the filial respect
combined with girlish gayety and absence of all self-consciousness which
forbade the idea for a moment that these young lives were regulated by
harsh or compulsory discipline Still it was discipline, there could be
no doubt of that, and of the most healthy order, which gave such a charm
to Sir Thomas's daughters. Perhaps they had reaped in their family
circle all and more than all the benefits which school-training and
contact with numbers are capable of affording, without out the loss of
home-influences; for I overheard their mother (rather a loud-voiced
woman, by the way) telling somebody,--the clergyman's wife, I
suspect,--that she had already married off two similar trios of
daughters, and that these were the younger children. Blessings on the
children who belong to so well filled a quiver, if they all attain to
such a degree of sweetness and decorum as to impress the most casual
observer, and one of their own sex, too, with such lasting recollections
of their maiden loveliness! I saw them under various circumstances, both
flattering and the reverse: saw them, when, with their own servants in
attendance, and the advantages of social position, they might not
unnaturally have laid claim to precedence; saw them and their
drawing-materials shuffled hastily from the steamer's cabin one rainy
day, to make way for the dinner-cloth, in accordance with steamboat
regulations, and in spite of their mild expostulations; saw one of them,
at least, subjected to the presumptuous advances of a chance admirer:
but I never saw any instance in which their behavior was not marked by
modesty and good-nature, accompanied by a quiet dignity and self-respect
which repelled intrusion so effectually as to justify their experienced
mother in giving them the freedom of steamboats, rocks, caves, and
crowds, to a degree which is seldom exceeded by the boasted independence
of American girls.

But Memory reminds me that I did not see all this during that noonday
hour when the Pioneer was bearing down upon Staffa, and that long before
these English girls had established themselves so high in my good
opinion we had skirted nearly the whole of the eastern shore of the
island. The steamer is now gradually slackening her speed, preparatory
to coming to a full stop not far from the southeastern extremity, and we
realize that the first goal of this day's hopes is gained.


A.D. 1691.

    For the fairest maid in Hampton
      They needed not to search,
    Who saw young Anna Favor
      Come walking into church,--

    Or bringing from the meadows,
      At set of harvest-day,
    The frolic of the blackbirds,
      The sweetness of the hay.

    Now the weariest of all mothers,
      The saddest two-years bride,
    She scowls in the face of her husband,
      And spurns her child aside.

    "Rake out the red coals, goodman,--
      For there the child shall lie,
    Till the black witch comes to fetch her,
      And both up chimney fly.

    "It's never my own little daughter,
      It's never my own," she said;
    "The witches have stolen my Anna,
      And left me an imp instead.

    "Oh, fair and sweet was my baby,
      Blue eyes, and hair of gold;
    But this is ugly and wrinkled,
      Cross, and cunning, and old.

    "I hate the touch of her fingers,
      I hate the feel of her skin;
    It's not the milk from my bosom,
      But my blood, that she sucks in.

    "My face grows sharp with the torment;
      Look! my arms are skin and bone!--
    Rake open the red coals, goodman,
      And the witch shall have her own.

    "She'll come when she hears it crying,
      In the shape of an owl or bat,
    And she'll bring us our darling Anna
      In place of her screeching brat."

    Then the goodman, Ezra Dalton,
      Laid his hand upon her head:
    "Thy sorrow is great, O woman!
      I sorrow with thee," he said.

    "The paths to trouble are many,
      And never but one sure way
    Leads out to the light beyond it:
      My poor wife, let us pray."

    Then he said to the great All-Father,
      "Thy daughter is weak and blind;
    Let her sight come back, and clothe her
      Once more in her right mind.

    "Lead her out of this evil shadow,
      Out of these fancies wild;
    Let the holy love of the mother
      Turn again to her child.

    "Make her lips like the lips of Mary
      Kissing her blessed Son;
    Let her hands, like the hands of Jesus,
      Rest on her little one.

    "Comfort the soul of thy handmaid,
      Open her prison-door,
    And thine shall be all the glory
      And praise forevermore."

    Then into the face of its mother
      The baby looked up and smiled;
    And the cloud of her soul was lifted,
      And she knew her little child.

    A beam of the slant west sunshine
      Made the wan face almost fair,
    Lit the blue eyes' patient wonder,
      And the rings of pale gold hair.

    She kissed it on lip and forehead,
      She kissed it on cheek and chin
    And she bared her snow-white bosom
      To the lips so pale and thin.

    Oh, fair on her bridal morning
      Was the maid who blushed and smiled,
    But fairer to Ezra Dalton
      Looked the mother of his child.

    With more than a lover's fondness
      He stooped to her worn young face,
    And the nursing child and the mother
      He folded in one embrace.

    "Blessed be God!" he murmured.
      "Blessed be God!" she said;
    "For I see, who once was blinded,--
      I live, who once was dead.

    "Now mount and ride, my goodman,
      As thou lovest thy own soul!
    Woe's me, if my wicked fancies
      Be the death of Goody Cole!"

    His horse he saddled and bridled,
      And into the night rode he,--
    Now through the great black woodland,
      Now by the white-beached sea.

    He rode through the silent clearings,
      He came to the ferry wide,
    And thrice he called to the boatman
      Asleep on the other side.

    He set his horse to the river,
      He swam to Newbury town,
    And he called up Justice Sewall
      In his nightcap and his gown.

    And the grave and worshipful justice
      (Upon whose soul be peace!)
    Set his name to the jailer's warrant
      For Goodwife Cole's release.

    Then through the night the hoof-beats
      Went sounding like a flail;
    And Goody Cole at cockcrow
      Came forth from Ipswich jail.


If the publishers of the "Atlantic" will permit me, I should like to
tell a little incident, growing out of the War, which came under my
notice in the summer of 1861. I can give it only as a fragment, for I
never heard the end of it, and that, to be candid, is my principal
reason for telling it at all,--in the hope, slight enough, it is true,
that some chance reader may be able to supply to me what is wanting. For
this reason I shall give the true names of persons and places, and the
dates also, as nearly as I can recollect them. It is only a simple story
of a private in the Twenty-Fourth Ohio Volunteer Militia, and his
sister, and may not touch others as it did me, for I can give but the
bald facts; but I, seeing the reality, can remember nothing in the war
which troubles me with such a sense of pain and simple pathos.

       *       *       *       *       *

About thirty years ago, a family named Carrol, or Carryl, emigrated
from the North of Ireland, and settled in Coldwater, a little
fishing-village of Michigan.

They were sober and hard-working, but dull and ignorant, and in no way
different from others of their class, except in their unusual strong
affection for each other. Old Carrol, however, a rheumatic old man of
sixty, with this weak, jealous pride in his "b'ys," working late and
early to keep them clothed, to pay his wife's doctor's-bills, and trying
to lay up enough to buy the two girls a feather-bed and a clock when
they were married, stood in no need of whiskey or dances to keep him
alive; this and his wife's ill health separated them from the fighting,
rollicking Irish crew of the hamlet,--set them apart, so to speak, to
act upon each other. Carrol, with one of his sons, worked in a saw-mill,
and the other boys, as they grew old enough, easily found jobbing, being
known as honest, plodding fellows. The little drama of their lives bade
fair to be quiet, and the characters wrought out of it commonplace
enough, had not Death thrust his grim face into the scene.

The youngest child was a girl, Ellen, born long after the others, and,
like most children coming in the advanced age of their parents, was
peculiar: the family traits had worn themselves out, new elements came
in. The Irish neighbors, seeing how closely the girl was kept in-doors,
and the anxious guard held over her by her father and brothers, thought
her a "natural" or "innocent," whether she was or not. The Carrols kept
their own counsel, and warded off gossip as best they could. It was from
Ellen I heard how the change came among them first. "It was a fever,"
she said. "John took it, and little Phil, and then Jane. Jane was the
oldest of us; it was she as nursed mother and kept the house. She looked
as old as mother. Evenings she'd put on a white apron, and take me on
her knee and sing for us. But she took the fever, and they're all three
gone away"; which was always Ellen's phrase for death. She stopped
there, adding afterwards quietly, that it was about that time the
trouble in her head first came. Ellen took her sister's place in
"keeping the house"; she had enough mind to learn the daily routine of
cleaning and the little cooking. Her mother was a cripple for life,
confined to her bed most of the time: a credulous, nervous woman,--the
one idea in her narrow brain a passionate love for her husband and

After the three who had "gone away" were buried in the little Catholic
graveyard by the creek, the others crept closer together. Joe, nearest
Ellen in age, was kept at home to help with the house-and yard-work,
and, partly from being a simple-minded fellow, and partly to humor
Ellen, fell into her girl's ways. "Joe and me," she said, "churned and
cooked together, and then he'd bring his tools into mother's room and
work. We liked that, he was so full of joking and whistling."

The old man was quieter after his children's death. One day the
machinery at the mill, being old and rotten, broke; the hands were at
work in it, underneath the beams which fell. An hour after, just as
Ellen and Joe had put the chairs about the supper-table, and sat waiting
for their father and Jim, the door was pushed open, and two heaps,
shapeless, and covered closely with a quilt, were brought in upon a
door. Whatever was the pain or loss of the widow or Joe, they had no
time to indulge it; Ellen needed all their care after that for a year or
two. She was "troubled," was all the satisfaction they gave to the
neighbors' curiosity, who never saw her in that time.

In the second autumn, however, she began to go about again through the
village; and Joe, after watching her anxiously for some time, found work
as a hand on a schooner running to Sandusky, Ohio. This was in the
autumn of 1860. Once in a while, during the winter, he came home to stay
over-night. "Often," Ellen said, "when Joe came, we hadn't seen anybody
cross the doorstep since he went out of it, mother and I lived alone so
much; but mother, in her worst days with pain, had a joking, laughing
way with her that kept it pleasant in-doors."

The Carrols were noted as being a scrupulously clean folk; so it is
probable that the little kitchen and bed-room were still the best idea
Joe had of the world,--knowing nothing beyond, indeed, but the schooner
and the deck of the wharf-boat in Sandusky. To understand what follows,
you must remember the utter ignorance dominant in such fishing-stations
as Coldwater. The poorer inhabitants, who stared at Ellen as she went
down to the beach for water, were Irish and Dutch emigrants, forwarded
there like cattle, who had settled down, sold their fish to the
trading-vessels, and never had looked outside of that to know they were
not naturalized. Ellen was little better; I do not suppose she ever had
read a newspaper in her life; yet, curiously enough, her language was
tolerably correct, her manner quiet and thorough-bred,--even the
inflections of her voice were low, and as composed as if she had learned
self-poise in the hurly-burly of society. That belonged to her
character, however, as much as to the solitude in which she had been
brought up.

The mother sank rapidly this winter; but the two children, accustomed to
her illness, were blind to the change.

When the States one by one seceded during that winter and spring, and
the country was rife with war and the terror of it, the Coldwater people
fished on dully as ever. Joe brought home stories of "fighting beyond
there," and of men he had met on the Sandusky wharf who had gone, and
then whittled and whistled as usual: the tale sounding to the two women
fearful and far-off, as if it had been in the Crimea. "Though I _had_
heard of the Virginians," said Ellen simply, when she told the story.
"There was Mr. Barker, a Methodist preacher, told us once of the
'man-hunters,' as he called them, and how they chained their slaves and
burned them alive, and hunted men with dogs. But I took him up wrong. I
thought they all were black." Ellen's idea of them was as vague as ours
is of the cannibals, and not very different, I suspect.

So far off did this country of the man-hunters seem, where "there was
fighting," that, when Joe wandered about uneasily in one of his weekly
visits, and told again and again, with furtive glances at his mother,
how half the deckhands on the schooner had gone into a regiment forming
in Sandusky, and how it was a good chance to see the world, Ellen sewed
quietly on, scarcely looking up. That Joe could have any interest in
this dim horror of a war never crossed her poor brain.

The next day after the schooner sailed her mother grew suddenly worse,
and began to sink, going faster every day for a week. It was the first
time Ellen had been left alone to face danger. "If Joe was here!" the
two poor creatures cried, through all their fright and pain. If Joe were
there, Ellen thought all would be well again. But Thursday, his usual
day for coming, passed without him. That night the mother died. Two
women of the village, hearing the story from the doctor, came to the
house in time to make the body ready for burial,--the "natural," as they
called Ellen, sitting quietly by the bed, her face hid, not answering
when they spoke.

There was a letter brought to her that night from Joe, a few lines only,
written to his mother, saying he had enlisted and would not come back to
say good-bye; he was going to do better for her and Ellen than he ever
had done before. "I do not remember about that time," Ellen said
afterward, when questioned. "My trouble came back when Joe left me." It
brought the wild, wandering look into her eyes, even to refer to it in
this way, I do not know if I spoke of the curious affection between this
brother and sister. Father and brothers and sister had watched and cared
for the girl, because of the great trouble which God had sent to her;
and now all the love and gratitude she had given to them all, when
living, was centred on this boy Joe. Joe absorbed all the world which
her weak mind knew,--just at the age, too, when women's hearts open and
are filling with thoughts of love and marriage. No matter how long Ellen
had lived, "my brother," as she gravely, respectfully called him, would
have been all, I think, she would ever have loved, and he would have
satisfied all her cravings.

Her mother was buried before she became conscious again; then her reason
came back to her; and when the woman who had stayed in the house
returned, after a few hours' gossiping, she found Ellen, her old quiet
self, going gently about the house, packing her clothes in a carpet-bag,
and putting with great care in a little hand-basket, such as ladies
carry knitting in, her Testament, their two or three silver spoons,
Joe's box of Sunday collars, and what little money was left.

"Where are you going?" asked the woman, in some trepidation.

"To Joe," Ellen said, quietly, unconscious that there was anything
unusual in the plan.

The woman speedily gathered a caucus of her cronies, with the doctor;
but to all queries or remonstrances she returned the same quiet, unmoved
answer. She was going to Joe. What else should she do? There were only
herself and her brother now: he would expect her. Who would cook for
Joe, or keep his clothes straight, if she did not go? "My plan was," she
said, gravely, long after, "that Joe would hire a little house for me
near where the regiment stayed. He could have lived with me, and gone
with them to fight when their turn came." Finally they allowed her her
own way, partly because they were puzzled to know what else to do with
her. Joe was in Sandusky with his regiment, the Twenty-Fourth Ohio, his
letter had stated.

"It rained hard," she said afterwards, "that night, when I left
Coldwater. Dr. S---- came down with me to the boat. He was very kind. We
had to wait on the shore a bit, and it rained and was so dark you could
only see the mud under foot and the great cold water beyond. When I
looked at the mud, and the rain dripping, dripping through it, I
couldn't but think of them as was lying under it up on the hill,--of
them up on the hill. And there was a black line, Sir, where the water
met the sky, and I thought I had to go beyond that,--I didn't know
where. But Joe was beyond there. I kept saying, 'Joe, Joe,' over to
myself, and 'Lord Jesus,'--thinking, if He stayed near me, I would not
be afraid. For the boat rocked when I came on board, and the water
underneath heaved up black. I never had been on the water before. But I
sat down on deck with my little basket in my hand. Dr. S---- came back
twice to speak to the Captain about me. He was very sorry for me; he
said, 'God bless you, Ellen,' before he went away up the plank. I
watched him as long as I could, but the night was dark and very wet.
Then the shore seemed to go back from us, and he went with it; and
Coldwater, and our old house, and them as were up on the hill went with
it, and we were alone on the water in the rain. But I said 'Joe,' over
and over to myself, trying to make believe he was near. I sat there
until late. The night was very dark, and I was wet; but the boat kept
heaving up and down, and there was a noise underneath like some great
beast trying to get out. I did not know what they had down there. But
the Captain came to me before morning. 'It's only the engine, Ellen,' he
said. 'Go below, poor child!' He was very kind; he was kind all the time
till we reached Sandusky. So were the boat-hands. There was no woman
aboard but me; the men swore and cursed as I never heard before, but
they always spoke respectful to me; they used to say, when they'd pass
near where I sat with my basket, 'Keep heart, Ellen, you'll find your
brother all right.' One of them said once, 'You needn't be feared:
you've got a Friend as'll take care of _you_.' I said, 'Yes: Him and

It was noon of a clear day when the boat reached Sandusky City.

"I looked for Joe, quick, among the men that were on the wharf; but he
was not there." (I prefer to let Ellen tell her own story as far as
possible.) "I saw the Captain send a hand ashore, and when he came back,
ask him a question: then he came up to me: he looked anxious. 'Ellen,'
he says, 'don't be troubled, but Joe is not here. The regiment went on
to Columbus two days ago.' He said there'd be no trouble, that I could
follow him on the railroad."

The Captain kept her on board until evening, when the train for Columbus
started; then he went with her, secured her a seat, and arranged her
comfortably. He had daughters at home, he told Ellen, bidding her keep
quiet until she reached Columbus, then tell the name of her brother's
regiment, and she would be with him in twenty minutes. "I am sure," he
added, "Joe will get a furlough to attend to you."

The old boatman paid for her passage himself, his last charge being to
"take care of her money," which made Ellen, when he was gone, remove it
from her basket and carry it in a roll in her hand. There was a dull
oil-lamp flickering in one end of the car, men's faces peering at her
from every dusky corner, the friendly Captain's nodding a grave good-bye
from the door,--and then, with a shrill cry, the train shot off into the
night. It must be a lonesome, foreboding moment to any timid woman
starting alone at night on a long journey, with the possible death
waiting for her in every throb of the engine or coupling of the cars: so
it was no wonder that the poor "natural," rushing thus into a world that
opened suddenly wider and darker before her, "Joe," her one clear point,
going back, back, out of sight, and withal a childish, unspeakable
terror at the shrieking, fire-belching engine, should have cowered down
on her seat, afraid to move or speak. So the night passed. "I was afraid
to cry," said Ellen.

An hour or two after midnight the train reached Columbus; the depot
dingy and dark; one or two far-off lamps bringing the only light out of
the foggy night.

"The cars stopped with a great cry, and the people all rushed out. It
seemed to me a minute and they were all gone. Nobody was left but me;
when I got up and went to the car-door, they looked just like shadows
going into the darkness, and beyond that there was a world of black
houses. You've seen Columbus, Sir?"


"Then it would frighten you,"--in her slow, grave way. "I suppose there
are not so many people in all the world beside." (It was Ellen's only
experience of a city.) "So I was there alone at the depot, waiting for
Joe. I was so sure he would come. There was a crowd of men, with whips,
calling out, and plucking at my shawl. I was very afraid, so I crept off
into a dark corner and sat down on a box with my carpet-bag and basket.
The men drove off with their carriages, but there were half a dozen
others under a shed quarrelling. I sat there an hour, thinking surely
Joe would be along. Then the clock struck two: I got up and went to the
men under the shed. I said to them, 'Do you know Joseph Carrol?'

"The men raised up from where they were lying, and stared at me. I'm
afraid, Sir, they had been drinking. So I said it again. They laughed
and began to make jokes about me, I cried a little,--I couldn't help it,
Sir. I knew the Lord Jesus was near me, but I couldn't help it. One of
the men, whose clothes were the raggedest and whose face was very red,

"'Boys, I guess you're mistaken. Who are you, my girl?'

"I told them I was Joseph Carrol's sister, and how it was I had come to
find him.

"'You'll have to help me, Sir,' I said to the red-faced man; 'for I have
a trouble in my head often, and it seems as if it was a-coming soon.'

"Some of the men laughed again, but the man I had spoken to got up and
buttoned his coat. He had to lean against the fence, he was so unsteady.

"'You stop that jeering, Jim Flynn,' he says, swearing. 'Can't you see
what the girl is? Where's your money, Ellen?'

"Then it was I found my money was gone. I remembered putting it on the
seat beside me before we changed cars at Urbanna. So I told him. He
looked at me steady.

"'I believe you,' he says. 'Come along. The Twenty-Fourth Ohio is out in
Camp Chase,--four miles out. You come to an hotel to-night and go out to
Joe in the morning.'

"So he took me up to a big house, and said to a man there that I was a
decent girl, and gave him money to pay for my bed and breakfast, and bid
me good-night."

Early in the morning Ellen dressed herself neatly, "to please Joe," and
started out to the camp, carrying her basket, asking her way as she
went. The girl had wrought herself up now to such a certainty of seeing
him that a disappointment was sure to be a new and different shock from
any that had gone before. I suppose, too, the novel sight of the tents,
the crowds of armed men, excited her feeble mind beyond its powers. She
came to the gate and asked the sentry to tell Joseph Carrol of the
Twenty-Fourth Ohio that his sister had come.

"It would need a long call to do that, my girl," said the man. "The
Twenty-Fourth went off to active service yesterday."

"To where?"


About a mile from the camp live two childless old people who then were
keepers of the toll-gate on the road into town. I am ashamed to say that
I have forgotten their name, it being a common one; but I remember what
their lives were, and I am sure that they who carry the record of every
man's hours to add to the Great Reckoning must find in their hackneyed
name a meaning even to them of great truth and a rare charity. The old
lady told me afterwards of her finding Ellen sitting on the roadside
near her well, her mind quite gone, yet very gentle and grave even in
her madness. They took her home to the toll-gate house, and kept her for
two or three days, in which they learned her story.

"My husband," she said, "telegraphed to the Colonel of the regiment and
found it was delayed at Bellaire; but as Ellen's health was in so
critical a state, they thought it best to say nothing about her to her
brother, and I was resolved that she should not go on. We offered (what
we had never done before to any one) to adopt her, and treat her as our
own child. People coming in and seeing the awkward country-body would
wonder why we set such a sudden store by her, but in a little while
they'd see as we did. I think her pure soul showed right through her
homely face. Then she trusted people as free as a child; so everybody
was kind to her. But I used to think there was but two people real to
her in the world,--the 'Lord Jesus,' and 'Joe.'"

When Ellen was herself again, however, she insisted upon going on, and
fell into so restless and wild a state that the gate-keeper and his wife
were forced to yield. Her carpet-bag was repacked with all the additions
which the old lady's motherly ingenuity could suggest, her pocket-book
well filled, and then, having found her a companion to Bellaire, the
Colonel was again telegraphed to, and Ellen herself was the bearer of
letters from the Governor of Ohio and her new friends, in the hope of
obtaining a furlough for Carrol. With a prudent after-thought, too, the
gate-keeper's wife wrote Ellen's name and her own address upon a card
which she fastened to the faithful little basket, in case of any
accident; and then, with many anxious looks and blessings, Ellen again
started on her journey.

At Zanesville, her companion, finding some unexpected business which
would detain him in that place, left her to pursue her journey alone. It
is but a few hours' ride from Columbus to Bellaire (the terminus of the
Central Ohio Railroad); but at Lewis's Mills this day a collision or
some other accident occurred, by which the train was delayed until late
that night: no other harm was done, except to give time for poor Ellen's
chance again to fail her. Joe's regiment crossed the Ohio that night and
went into Virginia.

Bellaire and Benwood, the opposite point on the other side of the river,
are small railroad stations, which one or two iron-mills have rendered
foul with ashes and smoke. The crossing of the river at that time was by
a ferry, rendered purposely tedious by the managers of the Baltimore and
Ohio Road, to force their passengers to the lower junction at
Parkersburg. I mention this to account for the detention which ensued.
When the train stopped at Bellaire, Ellen followed the crowd off the
platform into a tavern consisting of a barn-like eating-room and a few
starved little garret rooms over it. She stopped at the door
uncertainly, while the passengers crowded about the eating-stands at the
far end of the room. A fat, oily landlord came up with a hat driven down
over his brows.

"Cross the river to-night, Ma'am? Slow work! slow work! Not get this
train over till morning. Better take a bite."

Ellen managed to interpose her brother's name and that of the regiment.

"Twenty-Fourth Ohio? Gone over to-day and this evening. Government has
the roads and ferries now, and that keeps passengers back. Troops must
be transported, you know,"--and then stopped suddenly, seeing Ellen's

"Where did you say he had gone?"

"Over," with a jerk of his thumb across the river,--"into Virginia. You
are ill, young woman! I'll call Susan."

Virginia, the country of the man-hunters! A low moon lighted up the
broad river and the hills beyond; they were mountains to Ellen,
threatening and fierce. She looked at them steadily.

"All the stories I had heard of that country came up quick to me," she
said, afterwards. "I thought it was death for me or Joe to venture
there. Then he was gone! But I had a great courage, somehow, there at
Bellaire. It came to me sudden. I said to the man it did not matter. I
would have gone with Joe, and I could follow him. He spoke to me a
minute or two, and then he went for 'Susan,' who was his wife. She was a
sharp-faced woman, and she scolded her servants all the time; but she
was very kind to me. When I told her about Joe, she brought me some tea,
and made me lie down until it would be time to cross the ferry, which
was not until near morning. She would take no money from me. She said,
Sue Myers was no skin-flint to take money from the likes of me.
Afterwards she said, if I found Joe and he did well, he could pay her
some time again: these soldiers made money easy, lounging round camp. I
was angry at that," Ellen said, reddening; "but she would not take the
money from me. She told me not to be disappointed, if the regiment had
left Benwood and gone out the Baltimore Road. She knew they were to camp
at Piedmont, and to follow them up, for they had but a day's start of
me. It was quite clear day before our turn came to cross the ferry, and
then we had to wait for hours on the other side. When I came out of the
ferry-house, I put my foot on the grass, and I thought, 'This is
Virginia!' It was as if I had stepped on some place where a murder had
been done. I was as silly as a half-witted person," blushing
apologetically. "I have had great kindness done to me in Virginia since

Though Ellen said no more of this, as she was talking to Virginians, we
readily understood the real terror which had seized her, added to the
gnawing anxiety to see her brother. Caspar Hauser was not more ignorant
of the actual world than this girl, brought up as she had been in such
utter seclusion. The last few days had shattered whatever fancies she
had formed about life, and given her nothing tangible in their stead.
Even Coldwater and Joe, and "them that lay up on the hill," were
beginning to be like dreams, cold and far-off. It was just a wild
whirling through space, night-storms, strange faces crowding about her
from place to place; undefined sights, sounds that terrified her, and a
long-drawn sickening hope to find Joe through all. No more warm rooms
and comfortable evenings beside the fire with mother, no more suppers
made ready for the boys, and jokes and laughing when they came home;
there was no more a house to call home, no mother nor boys, only
something cold and clammy under the muddy ground yonder.

"Ours had been a damp house on the lake-shore," Ellen said, "and we kept
a fire always. Winter or summer, I always had seen a warm fire in the
grate; but the morning I left Coldwater they put it out; and in all my
travel, when I'd think of home, I'd go back to the thought of that
grate, with a few wet ashes scattered over the hearth, and nobody to
sweep them up, and the cold sun shining down the chimney on them. When
I'd think of that, I'd say, 'It's all over!' It began to seem to me as
if there was no more Ellen and no more Joe."

She had come, too, into the border region, where the war was breaking
ground, with all its dull, gross reality of horrors, to which the
farther South and North were strangers; the broken talk in the cars was
even more terrifying to her, because half understood,--of quiet farmers
murdered in cold blood, of pillaging and outrage, of anticipated
insurrections among the slaves, and vengeance for their wrongs.

"I thought of the Lord Jesus and Joe, but they did not seem to be alive
here," she said. "I would peep into my basket and look at the Testament
and the spoons and Joe's collars, and that made things seem real to me."
(Ellen's basket, by the way, was but another example of the singular
habit which we find in persons of unsound intellect, the clinging to
some one inanimate object as if it formed a tangible link to hold time
and place together.)

When the train stopped at Littleton, the conductor, an old, gray-headed
man, came up to Ellen as she sat alone.

"Simeon Myers told me your story," he said, gravely. "He crossed the
river to tell me. I'll take the matter in hand myself; I telegraphed
before leaving Benwood, in advance. The Twenty-Fourth Ohio, they say
there, have gone on to camp at Piedmont; but the movements of the troops
are so uncertain, we will wait until the answer comes to my despatch at
the next station. You go to sleep, Ellen."

"Yes, Sir," numbly.

She sat with her hand over her eyes, until the name of the next station
was called, then rose, and remained standing. The old conductor came in.

"Sit down," he said, gently. "Why, you shiver, and are as cold as if
your blood was frozen!"

"My brother, Sir?"

"Tut! tut! Yes! Good news this time, Ellen. The Twenty-Fourth is at
Fetterman,--has stopped there, I don't know why,--and"--pulling out his
watch, but speaking slowly, and controlling her with his eye--"in two
hours we will be there."

At this time (June, 1861) Government, striking at the Rebellion wildly,
as a blind man learning to fence, was throwing bodies of raw,
undisciplined troops into the Border States, wherever there was
foothold, to their certain destruction, though with an ulterior good
effect, as it proved. Camps of these men were stationed along the road
as Ellen passed,--broad-backed and brawny-limbed Iowans and Indianians,
clothed in every variety of militia military gear, riding saddleless
horses, with a rope often for a bridle, sleeping on the ground with
neither tents nor blankets. Near one of these straggling encampments the
long train stopped, with a trumpet-like shriek from the engine. "Here's
Fetterman, and here's Joe, Ellen," said the conductor, his old face in
almost as bright a glow as hers, as he hustled her off on the platform.

"It was just a few low houses, not so large as Coldwater, and soldiers
everywhere, on the hills and in the fields and strolling along the road;
and it was a clear, blue summer's day, and--oh, it did seem as the
soldiers and the town and the sky were glad because I had got there at
last, and were saying, 'Joe! Joe!'"

She went into the nearest house, a wide, wooden building, where two
women sat shelling peas. Ellen propounded her usual question. The oldest
woman took off her spectacles, and looked at her keenly.

"The Twenty-Fourth Ohio? How far did you say you had come? Michigan?
Forgive me, (Jinny, bring a chair,) if I looked at you curiously; but I
really fancied the people out yonder were savages."

Ellen laughed nervously.

"And you are Virginian? Yes! But my brother"--

The old lady's scrutiny grew graver.

"We are Virginians, in every sense of the word. So I know but little of
the movements of the troops. But Captain Williams, the commandant of the
post, occupies two of our rooms, and his wife is a gentle little body.
Jinny, call Mrs. Williams."

So Jinny, a shy, kindly-faced little girl, disappeared, and speedily
returned with the officer's wife (who had a dainty baby in her arms) and
a glass of currant wine, which she pressed on Ellen. Mrs. Williams heard
Ellen's story in silence, looking significantly at her hostess when it
was finished.

"Yes, yes; of course you'll see Joe. Hold the baby, please, Jinny. Now
let me take off your bonnet. But you won't mind, if there's a little
delay,--a very little. I am not sure, but I am afraid. We'll send for
Captain Williams; and know at once. But some detached companies went on
to Grafton for special orders this morning, and I thought part of the
Twenty-Fourth was with them. There! there! lie down a bit on my bed, or
stay here with Mrs. Ford. Very well; it will all be right; only keep up

So chattering, the little woman and the old one fussed about Ellen,
soothing, patting her, administering tea, comfort, and hope, all in a
breath, as women do to the healing of soul and body,--while Jinny, baby
in arms, made off and brought in a moustached young man, with a
pleasant, cheerful face, not unlike his wife's.

"It is an unfortunate piece of work," he said. "Yes, the detachment
included that company to which Carrol belonged. They are at Grafton now;
and I cannot send a message, for official despatches will be going over
the lines until night. In the morning, though, it shall be the first
word to go. I know the colonel of that regiment, and I do not doubt we
will have Joe here on furlough to-morrow."

"They were very careful of me," said Ellen. "Mrs. Ford made me sleep in
her spare room; and Mrs. Williams brought me in my supper herself, and
sat by me with baby all the evening. I couldn't believe they were all
Virginians, and fighting against each other too. The next morning was
clear and sunny. Jinny came in, and opened the window, and said, 'Isn't
such a clear day a good omen?' But I hadn't courage to laugh with her, I
was so tired; I had to lie still on a settee there was there. Captain
Williams came in, and said,--

"'By nine o'clock we will have an answer to my message, Ellen.'

"I said then, 'When it comes, if it is "No," will you just say, "No,
Ellen," and no more,--not one word more, please?'

"He said, 'I understand,' and went out.

"I heard him tell them not to disturb me; so I lay quite still, with my
hands over my eyes. He kept pacing up and down as if he was anxious;
then I heard a man's step coming towards him. I knew he brought the
message. Captain Williams came towards the door; his wife was there
waiting. I heard him speak to her, and then he said, 'You do it, Mary.'
So she came in, and kissed me, and she said, 'He is gone, Ellen,'--no
more but that. I knew then I never should see my brother again. Mrs.
Williams cried, but I did not. She told me, after a while, that he had
gone by another road to the Kanawha Salines, where they were fighting
that day. 'You _cannot_ go,' she said. 'It is a wilderness of hills and
swamps. You must stay with us; help me with baby, and presently Joe will
be back.'

"I did not say anything. I lay there, and covered my face. She thought I
was asleep presently, so rose softly and went away. I lay quiet all day.
I could not speak nor move. They brought me some wine, and talked to me,
but I did not understand. I knew I must go on, go on!"--with the wild
look again in her eyes. "They would not disturb me, but let me lie still
all night there. Early in the morning, before day, I got up softly,
softly, I was so afraid they would hear me, and made a light. I wanted
to bid Joe farewell before I started."

"Where were you going, Ellen?"

"On, you know,"--with that grave, secretive look of the insane. "I _had_
to go. So I made a light. I wanted to write a letter to my brother, but
my head was so tired I could not; then I took my little Testament, and I
marked the fourteenth chapter of St. John. He knew that I liked that
best, and I thought that would be my letter. I wrote alongside of the
printing, 'Good bye, Joe.' Then I fastened it up, and directed it to
Joseph Carrol, Kanawha Salines."

"That was a wide direction, Ellen."

"Was it, Sir?" indifferently. "So Joe has it now. I think all his life
he'll look at that, and say, 'That was Sis's last word.' I went gently
out of the door, and I put my book in the post-office, and then I went

She began, it appears, to retrace her way on the railroad-track on foot,
leaving her money and clothes at Mrs. Ford's, but carrying the little
basket carefully. The Williamses, thinking she had followed Joe,
searched for her in the direction of Grafton, and so failed to find her.
There are no villages between Fetterman and Fairmount,--only scattered
farm-houses, and but few of those,--the line of the railroad running
between solitary stretches of moorland, and in gloomy defiles of the
mountains. Ellen followed the road, a white, glaring, dusty line, all
day. Nothing broke the dreary silence but the whirr of some unseen bird
through the forests, or the hollow thud, thud of a woodpecker on a
far-off tree. Once or twice, too, a locomotive with a train of cars
rushed past her with a fierce yell. She slept that night by the roadside
with a fallen tree for a pillow, and the next morning began again her
plodding journey.

I come now to the saddest part of the poor girl's story, gathered from
her own indistinct remembrances. I mean to pass briefly over it. On the
latter part of this day's travel, Ellen had passed several of the
encampments which lined the road, but had escaped notice by making a
detour through the woods. A mile or two east of Fairmount, however,
coming near one, she went up to the first low shed; for the men had
thrown up temporary huts, part wood, part mud.

"It was a woman who was there," she said, in apology; "and I was not
very strong. I had eaten nothing but berries since the morning before."

The woman was a sutler. She listened to Ellen's explanations, incoherent
enough probably, and then, bursting into a loud laugh, called to some of
the soldiers lounging near by.

"Here's a likely tale," she said. "I half suspect this is the Rebel spy
that's been hanging round these two weeks, and kept Allan dodging you.
See to her, boys, while I weigh out this sugar."

The regiment was made up of the offals of a large city; the men, both
brutal and idle, eager for excitement; this sutler, the only woman in
camp. The evening was coming on. Ellen was alone in the half-drunken,
shouting crowd.

--Not alone. He was near who was real and actual to her always. When I
think of Christ as the All-Wise and All-Merciful in this our present
day, I like to remember Him as going step by step with this half-crazed
child in her long and solitary journey. When I hear how her danger was
warded back, how every rough face turned at last towards her with a
strange kindness, and tenderness, I see again the Hand that wrote upon
the dust of the Temple, and clearer than in the storm or battle which I
know He guides I see again the face of Him who took little children in
His arms and blessed them.

When the sutler went down to the end of the field she found Big Jake,
the bully of the regiment, holding the girl by the shoulder, her clothes
covered with mud with which the men had pelted her. She had given one or
two low cries of terror, and stood shivering weakly, her eye alone
steady, holding the man at bay, as she might a brute. She held out her
hands when she saw the woman. "I am no spy," she cried, shrilly.

"We'll soon test that," growled the camp-follower.

"Here, you Jake, unhand the girl! Yonder's Captain C---- looking this
way. If she turns out as I say, it'll be a lucky stroke of work for you
an' me."

Jake flung her back with a curse, and the woman led her to her shed. She
searched Ellen. I saw the girl, when she told it, turn ashy white with
terrible shame and anger. She was one of the womanliest women I ever

"I would have killed her then," she said gravely.

"When she could not find that I was a spy, she fastened me in an open
pen outside her shed. I tore off the clothes she had touched, they
seemed so vile to me. I was so shamed that I held my hands to my throat
so that I could die, but she came and fastened them with a cord. She
kept me there all the evening, and the men looked over the pen and
laughed at 'Mother Murray's prisoner.' After awhile I did not heed them.
The moon came up, and I cried then thinking if mother or Joe could know
what had come to me. _Then I made up my mind what to do._ I prayed to
the Lord Jesus; but I thought, through all, what I would do. She brought
me some food, but I would not touch it, though I was sick with hunger.
When the drum had beat and the camp was all quiet, there was a sentry
came walking up and down before the pen. He had a kind, good face: he
whistled to keep himself awake. Afterwards he stopped it, and, leaning
over the log-fence, said, 'Forgive me. I didn't think of your being a
prisoner, or I would not have whistled.' It was so sudden, his kind way
of speaking, that I began to cry, sitting back in the corner. He bade me
never heed, for that I would be free in the morning. 'You're no spy,' he
said,--'only Captain Roberts heard Mother Murray's story, and put me
here till he could see for himself in the morning.' Then he asked me
questions, and somehow it did me good to tell all about Joe, and how I
had not found him. He stood there when I had done, thinking, and
whistling again, soft to himself. 'Just you wait, Ellen,' he says,--'I
know what you want.' And with that he takes out a little Testament, and,
sitting down, he reads to me. Then he asked me what verses I liked, and
talked of the chapters, till I began to forget all that had happened.
Then he put the book in his pocket, and talked of other things, and made
me laugh once or twice; and at last he took a card out of his pocket,
and thought for a good while. Then he wrote a name on it, Mrs. Jane
Burroughs, Xenia, Ohio, and gave it to me. 'That is my mother,' he said,
very gravely,--'as good a woman as God lets live. Do you go to her,
Ellen, when you're out of this den, and tell her I sent you, and, if I
should die in this bloody business, to remember I said to be good to
you.' Soon after that another man came and took his place, and I saw him
no more. He was very kind. But I knew what _I_ would do,"--with the same
dropping of the voice.

In the morning Ellen was released, and the soldiers forbidden to molest
her. She hurried along the road to Fairmont. There is a long bridge
there, spanning the Monongahela. "I saw it when I was in the cars, and
the sight of the water below it came back to me through all my trouble.
It was noon when I came to it again. I don't think I stopped at all, to
think about Joe, or to think good-bye to him. But," her eye wandering
vaguely, "I said good-bye to my little basket I had packed it at home
for my journey, you know. I thought Joe would laugh when he saw some
things I had there. But it was all over now. So I went down to the
water's edge, and set it down; and then I went up, and climbed up on the
parapet of the bridge, and then I heard a cry, and I was jerked down to
the ground. When I came to myself, I was in a bed. They had ice on my
head. They told me they had found my basket, and so knew my name. I laid
there for several days. It was soldiers that found me. They paid for me
at the tavern. But the regiment was going on. One day, when I was able
to sit up, two of them said to me, they would take me to see Joe. They
took me on the cars; all the way I had to lie down, with ice to my head.
We came a long way; every time we stopped, they said we were going to
Joe. I didn't know, my brain was like fire in my head."

Ellen was sent on by the officers of this regiment, and lodged by them
for safe-keeping in the jail at Wheeling. The long-suspended brain-fever
had set in. She was taken through the streets, her clothes ragged and
muddy, her head bare, followed by a curious crowd of idlers, with just
enough reason left to know what the house was in which they lodged her.
Cruel as they were in act, it proved a kindness to the girl. The jailer
and his family nursed her carefully, and gave her a large, airy room in
the old debtors' prison.

After she had been there three weeks, a person who had accidentally seen
Ellen that first day on the street went to the jail and asked to see
her. A whim, perhaps, the fruit of idleness or curiosity. But Ellen
thought otherwise. She was clothed and in her right mind now, and sat
inside of the iron door, looking with her large, grave, blue eyes
searchingly at her visitor. "God sent you," she said, quietly.

That night she told the jailer's wife that her new friend had promised
to come the next morning and take her out.

"She may disappoint you, Ellen."

"No. I know God meant her to come, and I shall see my brother again."

She was strangely cheerful; it seemed as if, in that long torpor, some
vision of the future had in truth been given to her.

"I shall see Joe," she would repeat steadily, a great glow on her face,
"I know."

She carried her little basket, going to her friend's house. It was here
I saw Ellen. She was not pretty,--with an awkward, ungainly build, and
homely face; but there hung about her a great innocence and purity; and
she had a certain trustful manner that went home to the roughest and
gained their best feeling from them. Her voice, I remember, was low and
remarkably sweet. It was curious to see how all, from the servants in
the house to _blasé_ young men of society, were touched by some potent
charm, and tried in simple, natural ways to aid her. I used to think
Ellen was sent into the world to show how near one of the very least of
these, His brethren, came to Him. She grew restless,--her disease
working with her. "She must go on to Columbus,--to the gate-keeper and
his wife. She would live with them as their child."

Meanwhile every effort had been made to communicate with her brother, or
to gain a furlough for him. But all failed; the regiment was in the
wilds of the Virginia border in active service. No message could reach
him. There was no system then in the army.

What could be done for Ellen's comfort in the future her friends did
anxiously, and then sent her on to Columbus. She remained with the old
people but a week, however. "She was very happy with us," the
gate-keeper's wife said. Governor Dennison promised to procure Joe a
furlough, and, if possible, a dismissal, as soon as the regiment could
be reached by letter. In the mean while she busied herself in making a
dress and little useful things for housekeeping, to please her brother
when he should come; used to talk all day of her plans,--how they would
live near us in some quiet little house. Her trouble seemed all

But one day she went out and saw the camp. The sight of the armed men
and the uniforms seemed to bring back all she had suffered in Virginia.
She was uneasy and silent that night,--said once or twice that she must
go on, go on,--got her basket and packed it again. The next morning she
went across the field without it, as if to take a walk. When an hour
passed we searched for her, and found she had gone into town and taken
passage on the Western Railroad.

My story ends here. We never could trace her, though no effort was left
untried. I confess that this is one, though almost hopeless. Yet I
thought that some chance reader might be able to finish the story for

Whether Joe fell in his country's service or yet lives in some "little
house" for Ellen, or whether she has found a longer, surer rest, in a
house made ready for her long ago by other hands than his, I may never
know; but I am sure, that, living or dead, He who is loving and over all
has the poor "natural" in His tenderest keeping, and that some day she
will go home to Him and to Joe.


As September drew to an end, with only here and there a suggestion of
autumn in chrome-colored leaves on the ends of birch-branches, we were
told that any day might suddenly bring forth winter. I remember, that,
five years before, in precisely the same season, I had travelled from
Upsala to Stockholm in a violent snow-storm, and therefore accepted the
announcement as a part of the regular programme of the year. But the
days came and went; fashionable equipages forsook their summer ground of
the Islands, and crowded the Nevskoi Prospekt; the nights were cold and
raw; the sun's lessening declination was visible from day to day, and
still Winter delayed to make his appearance.

The Island drive was our favorite resort of an afternoon; and we
continued to haunt it long after every summer guest had disappeared, and
when the _datchas_ and palaces showed plank and matting in place of
balcony and window. In the very heart of St. Petersburg the one full
stream of the Nevada splits into three main arms, which afterwards
subdivide, each seeking the Gulf of Finland at its own swift, wild will.
The nearest of these islands, Vassili Ostrow, is a part of the solid
city: on Kammenoi and Aptekarskoi you reach the commencement of gardens
and groves; and beyond these the rapid waters mirror only palace, park,
and summer theatre. The widening streams continually disclose the
horizon-line of the Gulf; and at the farthest point of the drive, where
the road turns sharply back again from the freedom of the shore into
mixed woods of birch and pine, the shipping at Cronstadt--and sometimes
the phantoms of fortresses--detach themselves from the watery haze, and
the hill of Pargola, in Finland, rises to break the dreary level of the
Ingrian marshes.

During the sunny evenings and the never-ending twilights of mid-summer,
all St. Petersburg pours itself upon these islands. A league-long wall
of dust rises from the carriages and droschkies in the main highway; and
the branching Neva-arms are crowded with skiffs and diminutive steamers
bound for pleasure-gardens where gypsies sing and Tyrolese _yodel_ and
jugglers toss their knives and balls, and private rooms may be had for
gambling and other cryptic diversions. Although with shortened days and
cool evenings the tide suddenly took a reflux and the Nevskoi became a
suggestion of Broadway, (which, of all individual streets, it most
nearly resembles,) we found an indescribable charm in the solitude of
the fading groves and the waves whose lamenting murmur foretold their
speedy imprisonment. We had the whole superb drive to ourselves. It is
true that Ivan, upon the box, lifted his brows in amazement, and sighed
that his jaunty cap of green velvet should be wasted upon the desert
air, whenever I said, "_Na Ostrowa_," but he was too genuine a Russian
to utter a word of remonstrance.

Thus, day by day, unfashionable, but highly satisfied, we repeated the
lonely drive, until the last day came, as it always will. I don't think
I shall ever forget it. It was the first day of November. For a
fortnight the temperature had been a little below the freezing-point,
and the leaves of the alder-thickets, frozen suddenly and preserved as
in a great out-door refrigerator, maintained their green. A pale-blue
mist rose from the Gulf and hung over the islands, the low sun showing
an orange disk, which touched the shores with the loveliest color, but
gave no warmth to the windless air. The parks and gardens were wholly
deserted, and came and went, on either side, phantom-like in their soft,
gray, faded tints. Under every bridge flashed and foamed the clear
beryl-green waters. And nobody in St. Petersburg, except ourselves, saw
this last and sunniest flicker of the dying season!

The very next day was cold and dark, and so the weather remained, with
brief interruptions, for months. On the evening of the 6th, as we drove
over the Nikolai Bridge to dine with a friend on Vassili Ostrow, we
noticed fragments of ice floating down the Neva. Looking up the stream,
we were struck by the fact that the remaining bridges had been detached
from the St. Petersburg side, floated over, and anchored along the
opposite shore. This seemed a needless precaution, for the pieces of
drift-ice were hardly large enough to have crushed a skiff. How
surprised were we, then, on returning home, four hours later, to find
the noble river gone, not a green wave to be seen, and, as far as the
eye could reach, a solid floor of ice, over which people were already
crossing to and fro!

Winter, having thus suddenly taken possession of the world, lost no time
in setting up the signs of his rule. The leaves, whether green or brown,
disappeared at one swoop; snow-gusts obscured the little remaining
sunshine; the inhabitants came forth in furs and bulky wrappings;
oysters and French pears became unreasonably dear; and sledges of frozen
fish and game crowded down from the northern forests. In a few days the
physiognomy of the capital was completely changed. All its life and stir
withdrew from the extremities and gathered into a few central
thoroughfares, as if huddling together for mutual warmth and
encouragement in the cold air and under the gloomy sky.

For darkness, rather than cold, is the characteristic of the St.
Petersburg winter. The temperature, which at Montreal or St. Paul would
not be thought remarkably low, seems to be more severely felt here,
owing to the absence of pure daylight. Although both Lake Ladoga and the
Gulf of Finland are frozen, the air always retains a damp, raw,
penetrating quality, and the snow is more frequently sticky and clammy
than dry and crystalline. Few, indeed, are the days which are not
cheerless and depressing. In December, when the sky is overcast for
weeks together, the sun, rising after nine o'clock, and sliding along
just above the horizon, enables you to dispense with lamplight somewhere
between ten and eleven; but by two in the afternoon you must call for
lights again. Even when a clear day comes, the yellow, level sunshine is
a combination of sunrise and sunset, and neither tempers the air nor
mitigates the general expression of gloom, almost of despair, upon the
face of Nature.

The preparations for the season, of course, have been made long before.
In most houses the double windows are allowed to remain through the
summer, but they must be carefully examined, the layer of cotton between
them, at the bottom, replenished, a small vessel of salt added to absorb
the moisture and prevent it from freezing on the panes, and strips of
paper pasted over every possible crack. The outer doors are covered with
wadded leather, overlapping the frames on all sides. The habitations
being thus almost hermetically sealed, they are easily warmed by the
huge porcelain stoves, which retain warmth so tenaciously that one fire
per day is sufficient for the most sensitive constitutions. In my own
room, I found that one armful of birch-wood reduced to coal, every
alternate morning, created a steady temperature of 64°. Although the
rooms are always spacious, and arranged in suites of from three to a
dozen, according to the extent and splendor of the residence, the
atmosphere soon becomes close and characterized by an unpleasant odor,
suggesting its diminished vitality; for which reason pastilles are
burned, or _eau de Cologne_ reduced to vapor in a heated censer,
whenever visits are anticipated. It was a question with me, whether or
not the advantage of a thoroughly equable temperature was
counterbalanced by the lack of circulation. The physical depression we
all felt seemed to result chiefly from the absence of daylight.

One winter picture remains clearly outlined upon my memory. In the
beginning of December we happened once to drive across the Admiralty
Square in the early evening twilight,--three o'clock in the afternoon.
The temperature was about 10° below zero, the sky a low roof of moveless
clouds, which seemed to be frozen in their places. The pillars of St.
Isaac's Cathedral--splendid monoliths of granite, sixty feet high--had
precipitated the moisture of the air, and stood, silvered with rime from
base to capital. The Column of Alexander, the bronze statue of Peter,
with his horse poised in air on the edge of the rock, and the trees on
the long esplanade in front of the Admiralty, were all similarly coated,
every twig rising as rigid as iron in the dark air. Only the huge golden
hemisphere of the Cathedral dome, and the tall, pointed golden spire of
the Admiralty, rose above the gloom, and half shone with a muffled,
sullen glare. A few people, swaddled from head to foot, passed rapidly
to and fro, or a droschky, drawn by a frosted horse, sped away to the
entrance of the Nevskoi Prospekt. Even these appeared rather like wintry
phantoms than creatures filled with warm blood and breathing the breath
of life. The vast spaces of the capital, the magnitude of its principal
edifices, and the display of gold and colors strengthened the general
aspect of unreality, by introducing so many inharmonious elements into
the picture. A bleak moor, with the light of a single cottage-window
shining across it, would have been less cold, dead, and desolate.

The temperature, I may here mention, was never very severe. There were
three days when the mercury fluctuated between 15° and 20° below zero,
five days when it reached 10° below, and perhaps twenty when it fell to
zero, or a degree or two on either side. The mean of the five winter
months was certainly not lower than +12°. Quite as much rain fell as
snow. After two or three days of sharp cold, there was almost invariably
a day of rain or fog, and for many weeks walking was so difficult that
we were obliged to give up all out-door exercise except skating or
sliding. The streets were either coated with glassy ice or they were a
foot deep in slush. There was more and better sleighing in the vicinity
of Boston last winter than in St. Petersburg during the winter of
1862-3. In our trips to the Observatory of Pulkova, twelve miles
distant, we were frequently obliged to leave the highway and put our
sled-runners upon the frosted grass of the meadows. The rapid and
continual changes of temperature were more trying than any amount of
steady cold. _Grippe_ became prevalent, and therefore fashionable, and
all the endemic diseases of St. Petersburg showed themselves in force.
The city, it is well known, is built upon piles, and most of the
inhabitants suffer from them. Children look pale and wilted, in the
absence of the sun, and special care must be taken of those under five
years of age. Some little relatives of mine, living in the country, had
their daily tumble in the snow, and thus kept ruddy; but in the city
this is not possible, and we had many anxious days before the long
darkness was over.

As soon as snow had fallen and freezing weather set in, the rough,
broken ice of the Neva was flooded in various places for skating-ponds,
and the work of erecting ice-hills commenced. There were speedily a
number of the latter in full play, in the various suburbs,--a space of
level ground, at least a furlong in length, being necessary. They are
supported by subscription, and I had paid ten rubles for permission to
use a very fine one on the farther island, when an obliging card of
admission came for the gardens of the Taurida Palace, where the younger
members of the Imperial family skate and slide. My initiation, however,
took place at the first-named locality, whither we were conducted by an
old American resident of St. Petersburg.

The construction of these ice-hills is very simple. They are rude towers
of timber, twenty to thirty feet in height, the summit of which is
reached by a staircase at the back, while in front descends a steep
concave of planking upon which water is poured until it is covered with
a six-inch coating of solid ice. Raised planks at the side keep the sled
in its place until it reaches the foot, where it enters upon an icy
plain two to four hundred yards in length, (in proportion to the height
of the hill,) at the extremity of which rises a similar hill, facing
towards the first, but a little on one side, so that the sleds from the
opposite ends may pass without collision.

The first experience of this diversion is fearful to a person of
delicate nerves. The pitch of the descent is so sheer, the height so
great, (apparently,) the motion of the sled so swift, and its course so
easily changed,--even the lifting of a hand is sufficient,--that the
novice is almost sure to make immediate shipwreck. The sleds are small
and low, with smooth iron runners, and a plush cushion, upon which the
navigator sits bolt upright with his legs close together, projecting
over the front. The runners must be exactly parallel to the lines of the
course at starting, and the least tendency to sway to either side must
be instantly corrected by the slightest motion of the hand.

I engaged one of the _mujiks_ in attendance to pilot me on my first
voyage. The man having taken his position well forward on the little
sled, I knelt upon the rear end, where there was barely space enough for
my knees, placed my hands upon his shoulders, and awaited the result. He
shoved the sled with his hands, very gently and carefully, to the brink
of the icy steep: then there was a moment's adjustment: then a poise:
then--sinking of the heart, cessation of breath, giddy roaring and
whistling of the air, and I found myself scudding along the level with
the speed of an express train. I never happened to fall out of a
fourth-story window, but I immediately understood the sensations of the
unfortunate persons who do. It was so frightful that I shuddered when we
reached the end of the course and the man coolly began ascending the
steps of the opposite hill, with the sled under his arm. But my
companions were waiting to see me return, so I mounted after him, knelt
again, and held my breath. This time, knowing what was coming, I caught
a glimpse of our descent, and found that only the first plunge from the
brink was threatening. The lower part of the curve, which is nearly a
parabolic line, is more gradual, and the seeming headlong fall does not
last more than the tenth part of a second. The sensation, nevertheless,
is very powerful, having all the attraction, without the reality, of

The ice-hills in the Taurida Gardens were not so high, and the descent
was less abrupt: the course was the smooth floor of an intervening lake,
which was kept clear for skating. Here I borrowed a sled, and was so
elated at performing the feat successfully, on the first attempt, that I
offered my services as charioteer to a lady rash enough to accept them.
The increased weight gave so much additional impetus to the sled, and
thus rendered its guidance a more delicate matter. Finding that it began
to turn even before reaching the bottom, I put down my hand suddenly
upon the ice. The effect was like an explosion; we struck the edge of a
snow-bank, and were thrown entirely over it and deeply buried in the
opposite side. The attendants picked us up without relaxing a muscle of
their grave, respectful faces, and quietly swept the ice for another
trial. But after that I preferred descending alone.

Good skaters will go up and down these ice-hills on their skates. The
feat has a hazardous look, but I have seen it performed by boys of
twelve. The young Grand-Dukes who visited the Gardens generally
contented themselves with skating around the lake at not too violent a
speed. Some ladies of the court circle also timidly ventured to try the
amusement, but its introduction was too recent for them to show much
proficiency. On the Neva, in fact, the English were the best skaters.
During the winter, one of them crossed the Gulf to Cronstadt, a distance
of twenty-two miles, in about two hours.

Before Christmas, the Lapps came down from the North with their
reindeer, and pitched their tents on the river, in front of the Winter
Palace. Instead of the canoe-shaped _pulk_, drawn by a single deer, they
hitched four abreast to an ordinary sled, and took half a dozen
passengers at a time, on a course of a mile, for a small fee. I tried it
once, for a child's sake, but found that the romance of reindeer travel
was lost without the pulk. The Russian sleighs are very similar to our
own for driving about the city: in very cold weather, or for trips into
the country, the _kibitka_, a heavy closed carriage on runners, is used.
To my eye, the most dashing team in the world is the _troika_, or
three-span, the thill-horse being trained to trot rapidly, while the
other two, very lightly and loosely harnessed, canter on either side of
him. From the ends of the thills springs a wooden arch, called the
_duga_, rising eighteen inches above the horse's shoulder, and usually
emblazoned with gilding and brilliant colors. There was one magnificent
troika on the Nevskoi Prospekt, the horses of which were full-blooded,
jet-black matches, and their harness formed of overlapping silver
scales. The Russians being the best coachmen in the world, these teams
dash past each other at furious speed, often escaping collision by the
breadth of a hair, but never coming in violent contact.

With the approach of winter the nobility returned from their estates,
the diplomatists from their long summer vacation, and the Imperial Court
from Moscow, and the previous social desolation of the capital came
speedily to an end. There were dinners and routs in abundance, but the
season of balls was not fairly inaugurated until invitations had been
issued for the first at the Winter Palace. This is usually a grand
affair, the guests numbering from fifteen hundred to two thousand. We
were agreeably surprised at finding half-past nine fixed as the hour of
arrival, and took pains to be punctual; but there were already a hundred
yards of carriages in advance. The toilet, of course, must be made at
home, and the huge pelisses of fur so adjusted as not to disarrange
head-dresses, lace, crinoline, or uniform: the footmen must be prompt,
on reaching the covered portal, to promote speedy alighting and
unwrapping, which being accomplished, each sits guard for the night over
his own special pile of pelisses and furred boots.

When the dresses are shaken out and the gloves smoothed, at the foot of
the grand staircase, an usher, in a short, bedizened red tunic and white
knee-breeches, with a cap surmounted by three colossal white plumes upon
his head, steps before you and leads the way onward through the spacious
halls, ablaze with light from thousands of wax candles. I always admired
the silent gravity of these ushers, and their slow, majestic, almost
mysterious march,--until one morning, at home, when I was visited by
four common-looking Russians, in blue caftans, who bowed nearly to the
floor and muttered congratulations. It was a deputation of the ushers,
making their rounds for New-Year's gifts!

Although the streets of St. Petersburg are lighted with gas, the palaces
and private residences are still illuminated only with wax candles. Gas
is considered plebeian, but it has probably also been found to be
disagreeable in the close air of the hermetically sealed apartments.
Candles are used in such profusion that I am told thirty thousand are
required to light up an Imperial ball. The quadruple rows of columns
which support the Hall of St. George are spirally entwined with garlands
of wax-lights, and immense chandeliers are suspended from the ceiling.
The wicks of each column are connected with threads dipped in some
inflammable mixture, and each thread, being kindled at the bottom at the
same instant, the light is carried in a few seconds to every candle in
the hall. This instantaneous kindling of so many thousand wicks has a
magical effect.

At the door of the great hall the usher steps aside, bows gravely, and
returns, and one of the deputy masters of ceremonies receives you. These
gentlemen are chosen from among the most distinguished families of
Russia, and are, without exception, so remarkable for tact, kindness,
and discretion, that the multitude falls, almost unconsciously, into the
necessary observances; and the perfection of ceremony, which hides its
own external indications, is attained. Violations of etiquette are most
rare, yet no court in the world appears more simple and unconstrained in
its forms.

In less than fifteen minutes after the appointed time, the hall is
filled, and a blast from the orchestra announces the entrance of the
Imperial family. The ministers and chief personages of the court are
already in their proper places, and the representatives of foreign
nations stand on one side of the doorway, in their established order of
precedence, (determined by length of residence near the court,) with the
ladies of their body on the opposite side. The Duke de Montebello and
Lord Napier, being the only ambassadors, head the ranks, the ministers
plenipotentiary succeeding.

Alexander II. is much brighter and more cheerful than during the past
summer. His care-worn, preoccupied air is gone: the dangers which then
encompassed him have subsided; the nobility, although still chafing
fiercely against the decree of emancipation, are slowly coming to the
conclusion that its consummation is inevitable; and the Emperor begins
to feel that his great work will be safely accomplished. His dark-green
uniform well becomes his stately figure and clearly chiselled,
symmetrical head. He is Nicholas recast in a softer mould, wherein
tenacity of purpose is substituted for rigid, inflexible will, and the
development of the nation at home supplants the ambition for predominant
political influence abroad. This difference is expressed, despite the
strong personal resemblance to his father, in the more frank and gentle
eye, the fuller and more sensitive mouth, and the rounder lines of jaw
and forehead. A frank, natural directness of manner and speech is his
principal characteristic. He wears easily, almost playfully, the yoke of
court ceremonial, temporarily casting it aside when troublesome. In two
respects he differs from most of the other European rulers whom I have
seen: he looks the sovereign, and he unbends as gracefully and
unostentatiously as a man risen from the ranks of the people. There is
evidently better stuff than kings are generally made of in the Románoff

Grace and refinement, rather than beauty, distinguish the Empress,
though her eyes and hair deserve the latter epithet. She is an invalid,
and appears pale and somewhat worn; but there is no finer group of
children in Europe than those to whom she has given birth. Six sons and
one daughter are her jewels; and of these, the third son, Vladimir, is
almost ideally handsome. Her dress was at once simple and superb,--a
cloud of snowy _tulle_, with a scarf of pale-blue velvet, twisted with a
chain of the largest diamonds and tied with a knot and tassel of pearls,
resting halfway down the skirt, as if it had slipped from her waist. On
another occasion, I remember her wearing a crown of five stars, the
centres of which were single enormous rubies and the rays of diamonds,
so set on invisible wires that they burned in the air over her head. The
splendor which was a part of her _rôle_ was always made subordinate to
rigid taste, and herein prominently distinguished her from many of the
Russian ladies, who carried great fortunes upon their heads, necks, and
bosoms. I had several opportunities of conversing with her, generally
upon Art and Literature, and was glad to find that she had both read and
thought, as well as seen. You may tell the honored author of
"Evangeline" that he numbers her among his appreciative readers.

After their Majesties have made the circle of the diplomatic corps, the
_Polonaise_, which always opens a Court ball, commences. The Grand-Dukes
Nicholas and Michael, (brothers of the Emperor,) and the younger members
of the Imperial family, take part in it, the latter evidently impatient
for the succeeding quadrilles and waltzes. When this is finished, all
palpable, obtrusive ceremony is at an end. Dancing, conversation, cards,
strolls through the sumptuous halls, fill the hours. The Emperor wanders
freely through the crowd, saluting here and there a friend, exchanging
badinage with the wittiest ladies, (which they all seem at liberty to
give back, without the least embarrassment,) or seeking out the scarred
and gray-haired officers who have come hither from all parts of the vast
empire. He does not scrutinize whether or not your back is turned
towards him as he passes. Once, on entering a door rather hastily, I
came within an ace of a personal collision; whereupon he laughed
good-humoredly, caught me by the hands, and saying, "It would have been
a shock, _n'est ce pas_?" hurried on.

To me the most delightful part of the Winter Palace was the garden. It
forms one of the suite of thirty halls, some of them three hundred feet
long, on the second story. In this garden, which is perhaps a hundred
feet square by forty in height, rise clumps of Italian cypress and
laurel from beds of emerald turf and blooming hyacinths. In the centre a
fountain showers over fern-covered rocks, and the gravel-walks around
the border are shaded by tall camellia-trees in white and crimson bloom.
Lamps of frosted glass hang among the foliage, and diffuse a mellow
golden moonlight over the enchanted ground. The corridor adjoining the
garden resembles a bosky alley, so completely are the walls hidden by
flowering shrubbery.

Leaving the Imperial family, and the kindred houses of Leuchtenberg,
Oldenburg, and Mecklenburg, all of which are represented, let us devote
a little attention to the ladies, and the crowd of distinguished, though
unroyal personages. The former are all _décolletées_, of course,--even
the Countess ----, who, I am positively assured, is ninety-five years
old; but I do not notice much uniformity of taste, except in the matter
of head-dresses. "Waterfalls" have not yet made their appearance, but
there are huge coils and sweeps of hair,--a mane-like munificence, so
disposed as to reveal the art and conceal the artifice. The ornaments
are chiefly flowers, though here and there I see jewels, coral, mossy
sticks, dead leaves, birds, and birds'-nests. From the blonde locks of
yonder princess hang bunches of green brook-grass, and a fringe of the
same trails from her bosom and skirt: she resembles a fished-up and
restored Ophelia. Here passes a maiden with a picket-fence of rose coral
as a _berthe_, and she seems to have another around the bottom of her
dress; but, as the mist of tulle is brushed aside in passing, we can
detect that the latter is a clever _chenille_ imitation. There is
another with small moss-covered twigs (the real article) arranged in the
same way; and yet another with fifty black-lace butterflies, of all
sizes, clinging to her yellow satin skirt. All this swimming and
intermingling mass of color is dotted over with sparkles of jewel-light;
and even the grand hall, with its gilded columns and thousands of
tapers, seems but a sober frame for so gorgeous a picture.

I can only pick out a few of the notable men present, because there is
no space to give biographies as well as portraits. That man of sixty, in
rich, civil uniform, who entered with the Emperor, and who at once
reminds an American of Edward Everett both in face and in the polished
grace and suavity of his manner, is at present the first statesman of
Europe,--Prince Alexander Gortchakoff. Of medium height and robust
frame, with a keen, alert eye, a broad, thoughtful forehead, and a
wonderfully sagacious mouth, the upper lip slightly covering the under
one at the corners, he at once arrests your attention, and your eye
unconsciously follows him as he makes his way through the crowd, with a
friendly word for this man and an elegant rapier-thrust for that. His
predominant mood, however, is a cheerful good-nature; his wit and irony
belong rather to the diplomatist than to the man. There is no sounder or
more prudent head in Russia.

But who is this son of Anak, approaching from the corridor? Towering a
full head above the throng, a figure of superb strength and perfect
symmetry, we give him that hearty admiration which is due to a man who
illustrates and embellishes manhood. In this case we can give it freely:
for that finely balanced head holds a clear, vigorous brain,--those
large blue eyes look from the depths of a frank, noble nature,--and in
that broad breast beats a heart warm with love for his country, and
good-will for his fellow-men, whether high or low. It is Prince
Suvóroff, the Military Governor of St. Petersburg. If I were to spell
his name "Suwarrow," you would know who his grandfather was, and what
place in Russian history he fills. In a double sense the present Prince
is cast in an heroic mould. It speaks well for Russia that his qualities
are so truly appreciated. He is beloved by the people, and trusted by
the Imperial Government: for, while firm in his administration of
affairs, he is humane,--while cautious, energetic,--and while shrewd and
skilful, frank and honest. A noble man, whose like I wish were oftener
to be found in the world.

Here are two officers, engaged in earnest conversation. The little old
man, with white hair, and thin, weather-beaten, wrinkled face, is
Admiral Baron Wrangel, whose Arctic explorations on the northern coast
of Siberia are known to all geographers. Having read of them as a boy,
and then as things of the past, I was greatly delighted at finding the
brave old Admiral still alive, and at the privilege of taking his hand
and hearing him talk in English as fluent as my own. The young officer,
with rosy face, brown moustache, and a profile strikingly like that of
General McClellan, has already made his mark. He is General Ignatieff,
the most prominent young man of the empire. Although scarcely
thirty-five, he has already filled special missions to Bukhara and
Peking, and took a leading part in the Treaty of Tien-tsin. He is now
Deputy-Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chief of the Asiatic Department.
He is, moreover, a good friend of the United States, and was among the
first to see the feasibility of the Russian-American telegraph scheme.

I might mention Count Bludoff, the venerable President of the Academy of
Sciences; General Todleben; Admiral Lüttke; and the distinguished
members of the Galitzin, Narischkin, Apraxin, Dolgorouky, and
Scheremetieff families, who are present,--but by this time the
interminable mazourka is drawing to a close, and a master of ceremonies
suggests that we shall step into an adjoining hall to await the signal
for supper. The refreshments previously furnished consisted simply of
tea, orgeat, and cooling drinks made of cranberries, Arctic raspberries,
and other fruits; it is two hours past midnight, and we may frankly
confess hunger.

While certain other guests are being gathered together, I will mention
another decoration of the halls, peculiar to St. Petersburg. On either
side of all the doors of communication in the long range of halls,
stands a negro in rich Oriental costume, reminding one of the mute
palace-guards in the Arabian tales. Happening to meet one of these men
in the Summer Garden, I addressed him in Arabic; but he knew only enough
of the language to inform me that he was born in Dar-Fur. I presume,
therefore, they were obtained in Constantinople. In the large halls,
which are illustrated with paintings of battles, in all the Russian
campaigns from Pultowa to Sebastopol, are posted companies of soldiers
at the farther end,--a different regiment to each hall. For six hours
these men and their officers stand motionless as statues. Not a
movement, except now and then of the eyelid, can be detected: even their
respiration seems to be suspended. There is something weird and uncanny
in such a preternatural silence and apparent death-in-life. I became
impressed with the idea that some form of catalepsy had seized and bound
them in strong trance. The eyeballs were fixed: they stared at me and
saw me not: the hands were glued to the weapons, and the feet to the
floor. I suspect there must have been some stolen relief when no guest
happened to be present, yet, come when I might, I found them, unchanged.
When I reflected that the men were undoubtedly very proud of the
distinction they enjoyed, and that their case demanded no sympathy, I
could inspect and admire them with an easy mind.

The Grand Chamberlain now advances, followed by the Imperial family,
behind which, in a certain order of precedence, the guests fall into
place, and we presently reach a supper-hall, gleaming with silver and
crystal. There are five others, I am told, and each of the two thousand
guests has his chair and plate. In the centre stands the Imperial table,
on a low platform: between wonderful _épergnes_ of gold spreads a bed of
hyacinths and crocuses. Hundreds of other _épergnes_, of massive silver,
flash from the tables around. The forks and spoons are gold, the
decanters of frosted crystal, covered with silver vine-leaves; even the
salt-cellars are works of Art. It is quite proper that the supper should
be substantial; and as one such entertainment is a pattern for all that
succeed, I may be allowed to mention the principal dishes: _crème de
l'orge_, _paté de foie gras_, cutlets of fowl, game, asparagus, and
salad, followed by fruits, ices, and bonbons, and moistened with claret,
Sauterne, and Champagne. I confess, however, that the superb silver
chasing, and the balmy hyacinths which almost leaved over my plate,
feasted my senses quite as much as the delicate viands.

After supper, the company returns to the Hall of St. George, a quadrille
or two is danced to promote digestion, and the members of the Imperial
family, bowing first to the diplomatic corps, and then to the other
guests, retire to the private apartments of the palace. Now we are at
liberty to leave,--not sooner,--and rapidly, yet not with undignified
haste, seek the main staircase. Cloaking and booting (Ivan being on
hand, with eyes like a lynx) are performed without regard to head-dress
or uniform, and we wait while the carriages are being called, until the
proper _pozlannik_ turns up. If we envied those who got off sooner, we
are now envied by those who still must wait, bulky in black satin or
cloth, in sable or raccoon skin. It is half-past three when we reach
home, and there are still six hours until sunrise.

The succeeding balls, whether given by the Grand Dukes, the principal
members of the Russian nobility, or the heads of foreign legations, were
conducted on the same plan, except that, in the latter instances, the
guests were not so punctual in arriving. The pleasantest of the season
was one given by the Emperor in the Hermitage Palace. The guests, only
two hundred in number, were bidden to come in ordinary evening-dress,
and their Imperial Majesties moved about among them as simply and
unostentatiously as any well-bred American host and hostess. On a
staircase at one side of the Moorish Hall sat a distinguished Hungarian
artist, sketching the scene, with its principal figures, for a picture.

I was surprised to find how much true social culture exists in St.
Petersburg. Aristocratic manners, in their perfection, are simply
democratic: but this is a truth which is scarcely recognized by the
nobility of Germany, and only partially by that of England. The habits
of refined society are very much the same everywhere. The man or woman
of real culture recognizes certain forms as necessary, that social
intercourse may be _ordered_ instead of being arbitrary and chaotic; but
these forms must not be allowed to limit the free, expansive contact of
mind with mind and character with character, which is the charm and
blessing of society. Those who meet within the same walls meet upon an
equal footing, and all accidental distinctions cease for the time. I
found these principles acted upon to quite as full an extent as (perhaps
even more so than) they are at home. One of the members of the Imperial
family, even, expressed to me the intense weariness occasioned by the
observance of the necessary forms of court life, and the wish that they
might be made as simple as possible.

I was interested in extending my acquaintance among the Russian
nobility, as they, to a certain extent, represent the national culture.
So far as my observations reached, I found that the women were better
read, and had more general knowledge of Art, literature, and even
politics, than the men. My most instructive intercourse was with the
former. It seemed that most men (here I am not speaking of the members
of the Imperial Government) had each his specialty, beyond which he
showed but a limited interest. There was one distinguished circle,
however, where the intellectual level of the conversation was as high as
I have ever found it anywhere, and where the only title to admission
prescribed by the noble host was the capacity to take part in it. In
that circle I heard not only the Polish Question discussed, but the
Unity or Diversity of Races, Modern and Classic Art, Strauss, Emerson,
and Victor Hugo, the ladies contributing their share. At a _soirée_
given by the Princess Lvoff, I met Richard Wagner, the composer,
Rubinstein, the pianist, and a number of artists and literary men.

A society the head of which is a court, and where externals, of
necessity, must be first considered, is not the place to seek for true
and lasting intimacies; but one may find what is next best, in a social
sense,--cheerful and cordial intercourse. The circle of agreeable and
friendly acquaintance continually enlarged; and I learned to know _one_
friend (and perhaps one should hardly expect more than that in any year)
whom I shall not forget, nor he me, though we never meet again. The
Russians have been unjustly accused of a lack of that steady, tender,
faithful depth of character upon which friendship must rest. Let us not
forget that one of Washington Irving's dearest friends was Prince

Nevertheless, the constant succession of entertainments, agreeable as
they were, became in the end fatiguing to quiet persons like ourselves.
The routs and _soirées_, it is true, were more informal and
unceremonious: one was not obliged to spend more than an hour at each,
but then one was not expected to arrive before eleven o'clock. We fell,
perforce, into the habits of the place,--of sleeping two or three hours
after dinner, then rising, and, after a cup of strong tea, dressing for
the evening. After Carnival, the balls ceased; but there were still
frequent routs, until Easter Week closed the season.

I was indebted to Admiral Lüttke, President of the Imperial Geographical
Society, for an invitation to attend its sessions, some of which were of
the most interesting character. My great regret was, that a very
imperfect knowledge of the language prevented me from understanding much
of the proceedings. On one occasion, while a paper on the survey of the
Caspian Sea was being read, a tall, stately gentleman, sitting at the
table beside me, obligingly translated all the principal facts into
French, as they were stated. I afterwards found that he was Count Panin,
Minister of Justice. In the Transactions of the various literary and
scientific societies the Russian language has now entirely supplanted
the French, although the latter keeps its place in the _salons_, chiefly
on account of the foreign element. The Empress has weekly
_conversazioni_, at which only Russian is spoken, and to which no
foreigners are admitted. It is becoming fashionable to have
visiting-cards in both languages.

Of all the ceremonies which occurred during the winter, that of
New-Year's Day (January 13th, N. S.) was most interesting. After the
members of the different legations had called in a body to pay their
respects to the Emperor and Empress, the latter received the ladies of
the Court, who, on this occasion, wore the national costume, in the
grand hall. We were permitted to witness the spectacle, which is unique
of its kind and wonderfully beautiful. The Empress, having taken her
place alone near one end of the hall, with the Emperor and his family at
a little distance on her right, the doors at the other end--three
hundred feet distant--were thrown open, and a gorgeous procession
approached, sweeping past the gilded columns, and growing with every
step in color and splendor. The ladies walked in single file, about
eight feet apart, each holding the train of the one preceding her. The
costume consists of a high, crescent-shaped head-dress of velvet covered
with jewels; a short, embroidered corsage of silk or velvet, with open
sleeves; a full skirt and sweeping train of velvet or satin or _moiré_,
with a deep border of point-lace. As the first lady approached the
Empress, her successor dropped the train, spreading it, by a dexterous
movement, to its full breadth on the polished floor. The lady, thus
released, bent her knee, and took the Empress's hand to kiss it, which
the latter prevented by gracefully lifting her and saluting her on the
forehead. After a few words of congratulation, she passed across the
hall, making a profound obeisance to the Emperor on the way.

This was the most trying part of the ceremony. She was alone and
unsupported, with all eyes upon her, and it required no slight amount of
skill and self-possession to cross the hall, bow, and carry her superb
train to the opposite side, without turning her back on the Imperial
presence. At the end of an hour the dazzling group gathered on the right
equalled in numbers the long line marching up on the left,--and still
they came. It was a luxury of color, scarcely to be described,--all
flowery and dewy tints, in a setting of white and gold. There were
crimson, maroon, blue, lilac, salmon, peach-blossom, mauve, Magenta,
silver-gray, pearl-rose, daffodil, pale orange, purple, pea-green,
sea-green, scarlet, violet, drab, and pink,--and, whether by accident or
design, the succession of colors never shocked by too violent contrast.
This was the perfection of scenic effect; and we lingered, enjoying it
exquisitely, until the the last of several hundred ladies closed the
wonderful spectacle.

The festival of Epiphany is celebrated by the blessing of the waters of
the Neva, followed by a grand military review on the Admiralty Square.
We were invited to witness both ceremonies from the windows of the
Winter Palace, where, through the kindness of Prince Dolgorouki, we
obtained favorable points of view. As the ceremonies last two or three
hours, an elegant breakfast was served to the guests in the Moorish
Hall. The blessing of the Neva is a religious festival, with the
accompaniment of tapers, incense, and chanting choirs, and we could only
see that the Emperor performed his part uncloaked and bare-headed in the
freezing air, finishing by descending the steps of an improvised chapel
and well, (the building answered both purposes,) and drinking the water
from a hole in the ice. Far and wide over the frozen surface similar
holes were cut, where, during the remainder of the day, priests
officiated, and thousands of the common people were baptized by
immersion. As they generally came out covered with ice, warm booths were
provided for them on the banks, where they thawed themselves out,
rejoicing that they would now escape sickness or misfortune for a year
to come.

The review requires a practised military pen to do it justice, and I
fear I must give up the attempt. It was a "small review," only about
twenty-five thousand troops being under arms. In the uniformity of size
and build of the men, exactness of equipment, and precision of movement,
it would be difficult to imagine anything more perfect. All sense of the
individual soldier was lost in the grand sweep and wheel and march of
the columns. The Circassian chiefs, in their steel skull-caps and shirts
of chain mail, seemed to have ridden into their places direct from the
Crusades. The Cossacks of the Don, the Ukraine, and the Ural managed
their little brown or black horses (each regiment having its own color)
so wonderfully, that, as we looked down upon them, each line resembled a
giant caterpillar, moving sidewise with its thousand legs creeping as
one. These novel and picturesque elements constituted the principal
charm of the spectacle.

The passing away of winter was signalized by an increase of daylight
rather than a decrease of cold. The rivers were still locked, the
ice-hills frequented, the landscape dull and dead; but by the beginning
of February we could detect signs of the returning sun. When the sky was
clear, (a thing of rarest occurrence,) there was _white_ light at
noonday, instead of the mournful yellow or orange gloom of the previous
two months. After the change had fairly set in, it proceeded more and
more rapidly, until our sunshine was increased at the rate of seven or
eight minutes per day. When the vernal equinox came, and we could sit
down to dinner at sunset, the spell of death seemed to be at last
broken. The fashionable drive, of an afternoon, changed from the Nevskoi
Prospekt to the Palace Quay on the Neva; the Summer Garden was cleared
of snow, and its statues one by one unboxed; in fine days we could walk
there, and there coax back the faded color to a child's face. There,
too, walked Alexander II., one of the crowd, leading his little daughter
by the hand; and thither, in a plain little _calèche_, drove the
Empress, with her youngest baby on her lap.

But when the first ten days of April had passed and there was still no
sign of spring, we began to grow impatient. How often I watched the
hedges around the Michaïloffsky Palace, knowing that the buds would
there first swell! How we longed for a shimmer of green under the brown
grass, an alder tassel, a flush of yellow on the willow wands, a sight
of rushing green water! One day, a week or so later, we were engaged to
dine on Vassili Ostrow. I had been busily occupied until late in the
afternoon, and when we drove out upon the square, I glanced, as usual,
towards Peter the Great. Lo! behind him flashed and glittered the free,
the rejoicing Neva! Here and there floated a cake of sullen ice, but the
great river had bared his breast to the sun, which welcomed him after
six months of absence. The upper pontoon-bridges were already spanned
and crowded with travel, but the lower one, carried away before it could
be secured, had been borne down by the stream and jammed against and
under the solid granite and iron of the Nikolai Bridge. There was a
terrible crowd and confusion at the latter place; all travel was
stopped, and we could get neither forward nor backward. Presently,
however, the Emperor appeared upon the scene; order was the instant
result; the slow officials worked with a will; and we finally reached
our host's residence half an hour behind the time. As we returned, at
night, there was twilight along the northern sky, and the stars sparkled
on the crystal bosom of the river.

This was the snapping of winter's toughest fetter, but it was not yet
spring. Before I could detect any sign of returning life in Nature, May
had come. Then, little by little, the twigs in the marshy thickets began
to show yellow and purple and brown, the lilac-buds to swell, and some
blades of fresh grass to peep forth in sheltered places. This, although
we had sixteen hours of sunshine, with an evening twilight which shifted
into dusky dawn under the North Star! I think it was on the 13th of May
that I first realized that the season had changed, and for the last time
saw the noble-hearted Ruler who is the central figure of these memories.
The People's Festival--a sort of Russian May-day--took place at
Catharinenhof, a park and palace of the famous Empress, near the shore
of the Finnish Gulf. The festival, that year, had an unusual
significance. On the 3d of March the edict of Emancipation was finally
consummated, and twenty-two millions of serfs became forever free: the
Polish troubles and the menace of the Western powers had consolidated
the restless nobles, the patient people, and the plotting
revolutionists, the orthodox and dissenting sects, into one great
national party, resolved to support the Emperor and maintain the
integrity of the Russian territory: and thus the nation was marvellously
strengthened by the very blow intended to cripple it.

At least a hundred thousand of the common people (possibly, twice that
number) were gathered together in the park of Catharinenhof. There were
booths, shows, flying-horses, refreshment saloons, jugglers, circuses,
balloons, and exhibitions of all kinds: the sky was fair, the turf green
and elastic, and the swelling birch-buds scented the air. I wandered
about for hours, watching the lazy, contented people, as they leaped and
ran, rolled on the grass, pulled off their big boots and aired their
naked legs, or laughed and sang in jolly chorus. About three in the
afternoon there was a movement in the main avenue of the park. Hundreds
of young _mujiks_ appeared, running at full speed, shouting out, tossing
their caps high in the air, and giving their long blonde locks to the
wind. Instantly the crowd collected on each side, many springing like
cats into the trees; booths and shows were deserted, and an immense
multitude hedged the avenue. Behind the leaping, shouting, cap-tossing
_avant-garde_ came the Emperor, with three sons and a dozen generals, on
horseback, cantering lightly. One cheer went up from scores of
thousands; hats darkened the air; eyes blazing with filial veneration
followed the stately figure of the monarch, as he passed by, gratefully
smiling and greeting on either hand. I stood among the people and
watched their faces. I saw the phlegmatic Slavonic features transformed
with a sudden and powerful expression of love, of devotion, of
gratitude, and then I knew that the throne of Alexander II. rested on a
better basis than tradition or force. I saw therein another side of this
shrewd, cunning, patient, and childlike race, whom no other European
race yet understands and appreciates,--a race yet in the germ, but with
qualities out of which a people, in the best sense of the word, may be

The month of May was dark, rainy, and cold; and when I left St.
Petersburg, at its close, everybody said that a few days would bring the
summer. The leaves were opening, almost visibly, from hour to hour.
Winter was really over, and summer was just at the door; but I found,
upon reflection, that I had not had the slightest experience of spring.





I have already mentioned that the little holding of forty acres, which
my progenitor took up when he came to Philadelphia, had in process of
time been subdivided into many smaller ones. These had been successively
improved as the new owners entered upon them, some very indifferently,
some quite respectably,--many of them being devoted to gardening for the
city markets. The occupants were not much of neighbors to us, though
friendly enough in their way; among them, however, was a family by the
name of Tetchy who claimed to have some acquaintance with us. This name,
Tetchy, always struck me as a singular one; and I have often thought it
must have been a corruption of _Touchy_, as a constitutional tendency to
the infirmity thereby signified was continually apparent in their
conduct toward all who came in contact with them. The whole family,
comprising the parents, two daughters, and a son, were a jealous,
envious set, rarely saying a kind word to any one, and never, as my
mother often remarked, doing a kind thing even to us, who were more
sociable with them than any other of the neighbors. Of course they had
abundance of ridiculous pride, though having nothing to be proud of; and
one of the daughters, Miss Belinda, was remarkable for holding up her
head as if she had been the finest lady in the land, besides having a
curt, snappish way of speaking, that made me habitually afraid of her.

These people had a piece of ground of the same size as ours, which the
father worked as a garden. He was very skilful at gardening, and kept
everything in such complete order that I would many times have gone in
to admire his fruits and flowers, had it not been for the crisp
reception that one was sure to get from Miss Belinda Tetchy and her
mother. They never invited us inside the gate, and seemed jealous of our
learning any particulars of what they were doing. The father had some
grains of good-nature in his disposition, and would have been glad to
have me come in occasionally: I am sure of this, as he often came into
our garden and gave me very useful advice and instruction about what I
was cultivating. But his wife's temper was a bar to all hospitality, and
our intercourse with the family was accordingly as limited as possible,
except with the son, Arthur, who made himself quite intimate at our
house, and was disposed to set up for a beau to my sister, though I
never could discover that she had any particular liking for him. Even
he, however, was habitually taciturn about what was done in their
garden, as if he had been well drilled in the art of concealment.

We never could tell with certainty how this family contrived to live as
well as they did. The father had no other employment than that afforded
by his garden, at least that we ever knew. There was a sort of mystery
about what he did with his most valuable fruit. We saw him taking it
away in a wheelbarrow, but it was always carefully covered, and none but
his family knew whether he took it to market, or disposed of it to the
fruit stores in the city. The family never boasted of how much they
raised; and though we were often curious to know more than we did,
myself especially, yet the fear of being snubbed by Miss Belinda
prevented us from making any inquiries. The daughters did nothing,
unless it were to dress well, a great deal better than any of us, and
to be often in the street. It is true that Arthur was an apprentice, and
was no expense to the family; but beyond what he received from his
employer we could not learn that they had any income but what was
produced from the garden.

Still, all the neighborhood knew that old Tetchy had an immense bed of
strawberries; they could see that through the cracks in the fence. Then
he had fixed up a large number of seats in different parts of the
garden, and there, during the season, was a constant throng of visitors,
who came to eat strawberries and cream. He had carried on this business
for a great many years. I had never noticed these things very
particularly, until my mother and I began debating how it was that the
Tetchy family contrived to live and dress so well without apparently
doing anything except looking after a garden no larger than our own. But
when my curiosity had been awakened, I started out on a course of
inquiry that resulted in throwing more light on the subject than the
Tetchys supposed. I watched the crowd of visitors who entered the
garden-gate every evening in June to eat strawberries, and found it so
large that toward the last of the season I began to count them. The
number was so great that it amazed us, and my mother was sure I must
have been mistaken. I regretted not having begun the enumeration when
the season first opened, as that would have given us some idea of what
we had vainly tried to ascertain from the family,--the number of pints
of strawberries they raised in a season. My sister had entered heartily
into the spirit of inquiry which now moved me, and became extremely
accessible to Arthur Tetchy, even consenting to walk out with him
several evenings, in the hope of being invited into the garden, or of
getting some information out of him, in aid of the common cause. But the
fellow had been so well tutored on the subject that he proved a regular
know-nothing,--he had no idea what quantity they raised,--in short, he
refused to tell. But in addition to what was consumed in the garden, we
saw, during the day, numerous callers with baskets, and we knew that
their errand was to buy strawberries. Then old Tetchy was seen carrying
away other baskets into the city, so that during the season the demand
was evidently unintermitted.

We had often heard these strawberries spoken of as being of superior
size and quality. Indeed, we one day read a notice of them in our penny
paper, representing them as being nearly as large as eggs, and
describing the garden. It also spoke in very extraordinary terms of the
richness of the cream. But I never could understand how this could be,
as we knew that old Tetchy kept only one cow, and it was impossible for
one cow to make cream enough--real cream--for even a quarter of the
people who came to eat his strawberries. I thought so strange of this
piece that I ventured to show it to Miss Belinda, and inquired very
innocently how they could get so much cream, and if it were not wrong in
the newspapers to publish such mistakes. But, what was very unusual with
her, she was wonderfully pleased with the matter, and said they had two
cows,--one that they kept in the stable, and another in the kitchen.

"How?" I inquired, in amazement,--"keep a cow in the kitchen? Why, is it
not very inconvenient?"

"Not at all," she replied. "The greatest convenience possible. But the
kitchen cow has an iron tail!"

"But did the newspaper man know this?" I asked, not being familiar with
the tricks of trade, and utterly ignorant how such things were managed.

"No, indeed!" she replied,--adding, with what I considered great
superciliousness, "we sent him a basket of strawberries, and invited him
down last week to take some with cream, and when he came it _was_ cream
that _he_ got,--our best. That was well done; and ever since he
published that piece we have been so crowded that the new cow in the
kitchen supplies more milk than the old one in the stable."

I had never known either her or any of the family to be so
communicative before. It was an entirely new idea to me, and rather
shook my confidence in the newspapers, not supposing they were ever

But Tetchy's berries were unquestionably very superior ones. We had
frequently seen them, and on one occasion my sister and I had gone in
with the evening throng and called for saucers of them, merely to learn
for ourselves how the business was carried on and what prices were
obtained. I am sure that not near so much civility was shown to us as to
the other customers. No doubt, as we were neighbors, and had been very
inquisitive, they suspected our object in coming.

We both remarked on the deplorable weakness of the cream, and had a good
laugh over the method of its manufacture. Jane thought of calling for a
second saucer, and of asking the fair Tetchy who served us if she would
not do us the favor to let the watery portion be put into a separate
vessel. I was really frightened for fear she would do as she proposed,
as I knew her fondness for pleasantries of this sort, and also, that so
far from being taken as a joke, it would bring down upon us a storm of
wrath. We were surprised at the smallness of the saucers containing the
fruit. Certainly the contents of as many as four or five could have been
put into a pint. Then the sugar was supplied in meagre quantity, though
at that time cheaper than ever before known. There were common tin
spoons, so valueless as to make it no object for a thief to steal them,
and of no consequence if they were bent up or thrown away by roystering
visitors. The supply of cheap sugar was not sufficient to overcome the
sharp acid of the fruit, showing that the demand was so urgent as to
compel the picking of the berries before the sun had imparted to them
the luscious sweetness of complete ripeness. As at all popular summer
resorts, the price charged was provokingly disproportioned to the fare;
but then we remembered that we had come in pursuit of knowledge, that
knowledge always has in some way to be paid for, and that the
strawberry-season is very short.

Though thus ascertaining the prices at which Tetchy disposed of the
fruit in his popular strawberry-garden, we were unable to learn what he
obtained for that which he carried away in little baskets to his private
customers. But we supposed it must go to families who paid the highest
figures, as the fruit was carefully selected, the smaller berries being
served up to the evening customers, who, viewing them by an indifferent
light, were unable to form a judgment as to their size and appearance,
and with whom the mere strawberry-flavor was sufficient. My mother
called our attention to one circumstance,--that all the fruit was sold
at retail prices, and that, if there was any profit in the business,
these people got the whole of it. At the rates they were selling, they
must be receiving at least a dollar a quart, and that clear of the cost
of the cream from their two cows. I suppose it might have been
considered impertinent in us to be thus prying into our neighbors'
concerns, wondering how they contrived to live and how much money they
made by their business. But we had no idea of doing them any injury; I
was only desirous of doing something better for myself than working all
my life on a sewing-machine. And besides, I have no doubt there were
folks around us who were quite as inquisitive as to how we managed to
get along, and that, too, from mere idle curiosity, without any view to
bettering themselves by imitating us.

In addition to these little diplomatic efforts to obtain information as
to how much money our neighbors were making, many others were tried. I
had already suggested to my mother and sister the idea of my undertaking
the business of raising strawberries; and hence, as they both fell in
with the project, our common effort to learn whether our neighbors
really did support themselves by an employment so apparently
insignificant. There was one point about which we were greatly
perplexed. The strawberry-season lasted only fifteen to twenty days,
and we could not understand how the Tetchys could make enough in that
short period to keep them a whole year. It is true we knew that they
could sell at enormous retail prices all that they were able to produce,
and hence we became satisfied that it was simply a question of quantity.
If they could produce enough, even within the short period of twenty
days, they could do all that they appeared to be doing during the
remainder of the year,--that is, comparatively nothing.

Now not one of us had any knowledge of the strawberry-culture. My
father, strangely enough, had never introduced it into our garden,
though he knew what our neighbors had for many years been doing. We had
no agricultural publications to instruct us, and we could not form the
remotest idea of how much fruit an acre could be made to yield. We did
not even know the size of our neighbor's strawberry-bed. But one day,
when the fruit season was over, my sister was bold enough to invite
herself into Tetchy's garden. She and Arthur had been taking a walk, and
he was about parting with her at the garden-gate, when she pushed in
with him, and obliged him to go all round the strawberry-ground. It lay
in one piece, and, though quite large, she managed to count the number
of steps as they strolled round it. Arthur had not the faintest idea of
what she was after, but flattered himself that she was desirous of
having a little more of his society. When Fred came home that evening,
Jane reported to him the number of steps she had taken in her
strawberry-circuit, and Fred ciphered it out for us that the plot
contained exactly an acre. This was an important item of information for
us. We knew that old Tetchy's lot was of precisely the same size as
ours,--an acre and a half,--and we felt that we could spare an acre for
a strawberry-bed as well as he. We were firmly impressed with the belief
that their acre of strawberries kept the whole family; and I felt sure,
that, if I could only learn the mode of culture, we could in some way
find a market for all we could produce,--although I did not contemplate
inviting customers to our house to eat sour strawberries and such
terribly diluted cream as they were selling. I often saw the Tetchy
girls hoeing and weeding, and have no doubt they performed a very large
part of that important labor. It was light work, as well as home-work,
such as I was extremely anxious to obtain. The wholesome out-door
exercise, I was confident, would give robustness to my health,--and, if
the summer sun did change me from a blonde into a brunette, the winter
intermission would bring that all right again.

We saw there were difficulties in the way of making a beginning, because
of our total ignorance of the business. But among us there was a good
deal of resolution. There was also a strong desire to learn; and a
willingness to do so, coupled with persevering energy of purpose, rarely
fails of its object. We were also prompt to act, whenever we found
action desirable. While others would be deliberating, we would be
pushing on; and I have always found that going forward with spirit and
confidence is one of the surest pledges of success; for it is he who
hesitates and doubts, and so does nothing, that unfits himself for doing

Success in one thing stimulates to exertion in another. We had already
borne up under calamity, and been quite as fortunate as others, even
when the horizon was overcast by heavy clouds. But now we were
comparatively comfortable; the sky above us was serene, and our hopes
were buoyant; the venture I was proposing to make would cost but a
trifling sum, and, if failure came, the loss could not be great It was
not farming that I was to undertake. There was no land to be bought; it
was merely the better cultivation of what we already had. There was not
even a tool to be purchased. Now no one would be surprised at the
conversion of our whole garden into a cabbage-field; yet many would
wonder at our turning it into a strawberry-patch. It would be a novelty
for women to undertake; and, alas! while even vicious novelties are
tolerated in men, those most innocent are frowned upon when indulged in
by women. But we cared not for what others might say or think. My
assurance of success was so strong that it overbore every other
consideration. Besides, I was strengthened by the encouragement of every
member of our little family.

I am not about to write an apology for women's undertaking even a large
horticultural establishment. Of ordinary rough farming I will not speak,
as that is confessedly beyond the domain of female strength. But there
are individuals of the sex who have large flower-gardens, even
fruit-gardens, in which everything is made to bloom and bear
luxuriantly. They neither dig nor hoe, but they frequently plant and
train and trim, overseeing and directing where and when the spade, the
hoe, and the watering-pot shall be applied. Their cultivated taste gives
symmetry and grace to borders, trellises, and walks,--decking the first
with floral gorgeousness, hanging the second with festoons whose
perfumes load the atmosphere, and lining the third with edgings that
wear an ever-flashing greenness even under the frigid temperature of a
wintry sky. It is not by their own hands that these marvels are wrought.
It is of their passionate fondness for tree and fruit and flower that
such humanizing results are born. They spring from the mind, the heart,
the understanding, not from the manual labor of their fair authors. Too
few of my sex have sufficiently informed themselves of these simple
affairs of the garden: their inheritance has been the needle only. But
it was nothing of this ornate description that I was about to undertake.
I was to have neither arbor nor trellis,--no sweet-scented honeysuckle
clustering over an elaborate framework,--no parterre of beautiful
flowers, glorious to behold, but producing no profit,--not even marigold
or lady's-slipper. There was to be no fancy-work, but everything was to
be practical. I was now in search of profit, trusting that the future
would enable me to indulge in the ornamental.

The first thing was to procure the strawberry-plants. I knew of none who
had them but the Tetchy family, and they guarded all their doings so
closely that I half despaired of obtaining any from them. Why they did
so we could not exactly tell, but our conclusion was that they must be
unwilling to have competitors in their business. But though never
admiring the manners of any of the family, I resolved to make a trial
with them. There were reasons for hoping I might succeed. Miss Belinda
Tetchy, notwithstanding her odd name, was quite a belle. She had been
immensely popular with the young gentlemen who came to the
strawberry-garden. My sister Jane had once very ill-naturedly insinuated
that they came there as much to flirt with her as to indulge in
strawberries, and that one could readily eat his way into the affections
of the whole family. I did not like the remark, although probably there
might be some truth in it. But one of these admirers continued to visit
at old Tetchy's even when the excuse of coming for strawberries could no
longer be given, and very soon our little neighborhood learned the
interesting news that one of the Tetchy girls was about to change her
name. My sister said she pitied the young man. Indeed, she went so far
as to say that it was astonishing what risks were run by all such when
looking round for a wife. As to Belinda, she was sure, that, though
there might be a change of name, there would be no change of temper, as
the latter was something she got by Nature, while the former came by
accident. But Jane had a little dash of tartness in her own disposition,
which was very apt to break out when topics of this kind came up for
discussion. Though I could not help agreeing with her in the main, yet I
considered it no more than fair to remind her that the choosing of a
husband was quite as risky a business for the girls.

These things occurred towards the close of summer. Miss Belinda's
wedding-day had been fixed for early in September. Of course there was
considerable fluttering among the young people of the neighborhood,--the
girls, candor obliges me to say, being much more intensely affected than
the young men. It was understood that Mrs. Tetchy intended to have a
grand wedding for her daughter, by way, as my sister said, of showing
her new son that her daughter was somebody, a fact of which Jane thought
he would have a realizing experience much sooner than he expected. Now
it was desirable for us to conciliate the Tetchys, and we thought the
occasion of a wedding a good opportunity to do so. Accordingly, when the
eventful day arrived, I carried to the house a really magnificent vase
of flowers which we had gathered from our garden, and presented it to
the bride. Both she and her mother received it with a profusion of
thanks that was remarkable for them to indulge in, adding that they
would be sure and have it placed in the centre of the great table at the
wedding. I had also contemplated accompanying it with a few
complimentary verses,--not that I was at all poetically inclined, but my
idea was that they would feel a little grand at having some poetry about
on the occasion. Indeed, I did write something, but it was so much of an
effort that I have never made a second attempt. When I read the lines to
Jane, she went off into a strain of merriment over what she called my
folly, and said, in her usual sharp way, that that was not what the
Tetchys cared for,--they had no faith in any kind of jingle but that of

Everybody in the neighborhood, as a matter of course, knew all that
transpired at the wedding,--how many people were there, how the bride
was dressed, what presents she received, how she looked and behaved, and
what she said, as well as what sort of a dinner they had. We learned,
also, that there was a profusion of bride-cake, in nice little white
boxes tied with sky-blue ribbon, sent to friends and acquaintances in
token of friendly remembrance. As we were living close by, and felt that
we had strong claims, we expected ours would be received the next day at
least. But the day passed, and the next and the next, and still no
bride-cake came. A week longer proved that we had been either overlooked
by accident of positively cut by design. Jane became indignant at the
apparent slight; I was only alarmed lest my diplomacy had failed. I
cared nothing for the bride-cake, but only for the strawberry-plants.
So, when we thought the family had recovered from the confusion and
really hard work which are always incident to a grand wedding, I
summoned up courage to go and see Mrs. Tetchy and ask her to sell me
some plants. I had great misgivings as to my success; and in addition,
the fear of her sharp temper and language made me nervous. I could stand
up and face and argue with a man without flinching; but somehow the
rasping savagery of a termagant woman always overcame me.

It happened, when I went into the garden, that both she and her husband
were engaged in taking up what appeared to me to be the runners which
had grown that summer, and were setting them out in new rows, by a line
that extended across the entire bed. I observed also that they were
throwing away many plants, probably because the ground was too crowded.
But there was scarcely a moment allowed me for observation; for I had no
sooner walked up to where they were at work than Mrs. Tetchy rose up
quickly, and saluted me with,--

"How did you get in? Wasn't the gate bolted?"

I replied, that, as no one had answered my call at the front door, I
supposed they must be in the garden, and so had taken the liberty of
coming in. I could have feigned some apology inconsistent with
sincerity, but that was not my way. Besides, her manner was so
unexpectedly abrupt as to confuse me. There she stood, with a
garden-trowel in her hand, in working dishabille, and presenting
altogether a needlessly unattractive picture of a female horticulturist;
for, though operating in a garden is really working in the dirt, yet it
does not follow that one must of necessity be dirty herself.

"Do you want anything?" she again asked, in the same snappish tone.

"Yes, Ma'am," I replied,--"I came to see if I could buy a few

"I thought that's what you were going at," she answered, even more
sharply. "That's what your pimping about us comes to. Want to ruin our
business, do you, and have strawberries of your own to sell to our
customers? You can't get any here: we don't sell plants."

The woman's manner forbade all persuasion or argument. Her husband kept
on with his work, saying nothing; she was evidently the master-spirit of
garden as well as household, and I turned away so vexed and indignant as
not even to bid the churl a good-morning. I could hear the mutterings of
her anger to her husband as I walked quickly away, and am half ashamed
to confess, that, as I passed through the gate, I slammed it to with all
the energy of a real spitefulness. Not one of us has ever stepped foot
upon the inhospitable premises of these people since. And Jane so
persistently snubbed the son, that he very soon discovered, that,
instead of being desirous of assuming the name of Tetchy, she would
prefer never to hear it even mentioned.

I have somewhere read of two charming women being once engaged in
discussing the question of what it is that constitutes the beauty of the
human hand. There was difference of opinion, of course, and no really
definite idea of the true elements of beauty. Unable to decide
themselves, they referred it to a gentleman present. His mind went back
to, and wandered over, the classics, exhausting the heathen mythology
for examples and parallels, but he could come to no conclusion until the
shining illustrations of the Christian faith rose up before him. Taking
the white hand of each fair disputant in his own, he said,--

"The question is too hard for me to answer; but ask the _poor_, those
who in any way solicit from us a favor, and they will tell you that the
most beautiful hand in the world is the hand that _gives_."

I could have discovered beauty even in that of our neighbor, coarse and
soiled as it was, had it been open and generous. But the nerves by whose
agency the human hand is opened freely or as tightly closed must have
their source in the human heart. If there be sympathy for others there,
a politeness of the heart, the kindly impulses thus living and moving
within it will vibrate through every cord of one's being, and,
struggling for outward expression, will manifest their presence by the
warm grasp of the hand, the cordial smile, the gently modulated voice,
the unflagging effort to promote the happiness of all around. I had not
asked a gift; it was the jealous indisposition to oblige that so grieved
and confounded me.

I had always supposed that horticulture was one of the ennobling
arts,--that it enlarged the affections and refined the manners of all
who pursued it, even when they did so as a matter of pecuniary gain.
Here was evidence that in one instance I was mistaken. But it was the
single exception to what may be regarded as the general rule; for in
other cases I have found humble cultivators of both fruit and flowers,
to whose genial hearts all selfish unwillingness to communicate a
knowledge of the art, or to supply me with plants, was a total stranger.
There are thousands of pioneers such as I was. It is well for them that
the light they need is not hidden under the bushel of any one churlish
individual. But there were ample expedients remaining, and it required
more than one discouragement to divert me from the object we were
seeking to accomplish.

There stands in the centre of Second Street, in Philadelphia, a
market-house extending two squares below Pine Street, long famous for
its overflowing supplies of fruits and vegetables. In passing through it
on my daily walk to the factory, I now remembered having seen abundance
of strawberries on the various stands; but, having at that time no
special interest in the subject, I had only noticed the beauty of their
crimson pyramids, the abundant supply, and the throngs of buyers that
gathered round them. I took no thought of price, nor of where or how
they were produced, as that branch of horticulture had never engaged my
attention. But now the case was different. I remembered that most of
these stands had been attended by women, and that one in particular had
been famous for the quantity of its daily supply of fruit, as well as
for the crowd of customers that collected about it.

I lost no time in calling on the occupant. Though the strawberries had
long since disappeared, yet she sat surrounded with a profusion of
vegetables,--one kind succeeding another as the seasons changed. In all
the public markets of Philadelphia, this business of retailing what is
popularly known as "truck" has become an inheritance of the poor women
ever abounding in a great city. It is a hard and exacting business.
Whether well or ill, the earliest daybreak finds them at their posts.
There they stand or sit until the evening shadows begin to lengthen.
Through all weathers they observe the same compulsory routine. No
morning rain is too drenching, no snow too blinding, no cold too bitter,
to keep from their stands these heroic toilers for a bare subsistence.
Multitudes of them are mothers of families, whom they are thus obliged
to leave half-uncared-for at home. Many are poor widows, burdened also
with the care of children. Every other avenue to employment being
closed, they are forced into this public exposure of the open air, in
many cases with a mere shed to shelter them from the inclement weather.
But while thus dispensing food to others, they earn it honestly for
themselves. They live, and sometimes accumulate money. The shrewd
managing ones have been known to become independent. Some of them begin
upon a capital of a few dollars wherewith to furnish their stands, but
not succeeding, they retire from the crowd and drop out of sight. Talent
is necessary even for the sale of truck: not possessing it, they are
driven to some employment of a humbler description. These women are not
producers of the fruits and vegetables they have to sell. Most of these
are grown by truckers in the suburbs, who supply the market-stands with
a daily assortment during the season. But the business of thus
trafficking in the open thoroughfare is a hard one for females. Custom
has reconciled the public eye to it, but necessity alone has made it
tolerable for women.

When I called at the strawberry-stand referred to, and entered into
conversation with the occupant, I at once discovered that I was
conversing with one infinitely above the situation she was filling.
Indeed, if courteousness, gentleness, and the manifestation of a sincere
desire to gratify the wishes of another are to be considered as
characteristic of a lady, this woman was one. I did not notice how she
dressed, but only how pleasantly she spoke. I know it will be deemed
evidence of extreme simplicity in me to intimate the possibility of a
lady being found among the occupants of a public market. I know that
before one can be considered lady-like, in the common acceptation of the
term, she must be shown to be perfectly useless. By this rule she must
be devoid of everything that may entitle her to the love and protection
which she claims of right, before she can receive either. It is
fashionable with some ladies to be invalids and helpless, and some are
nursed and coddled up because they take on accomplishments of this
description. Of course no one will expect me to know how the domestic
arrangements of Adam and Eve were conducted. But I may presume that
Adam's dinners were prepared with as much gastronomic skill as had up
to that time been attained, and that if Eve had set up to be a
fashionable invalid, wholly dependent on Adam, and not a help-meet,
there would have been a domestic mutiny even in the Garden of Eden. Our
primal mother could not have been less pleasing because she happened to
be a capital cook. Thus the truly gentle heart will lose nothing of its
native gentleness, though forced by misfortune into a humbler station.
Such must have been the character of the woman I was addressing. There
was something in her voice, moreover, that struck me as a familiar
sound, and, long before our conversation had ended, I recognized her as
the widow whom, years ago, I had seen made the victim of a heartless
imposition at the counter of a slop-shop. She had gone through trial
after trial, and now, lady though she certainly was, there she stood at
a fruit-stand in the public market.

There was no difficulty in obtaining plants through her. Like some
others in the market, she sold many things on commission, among which
were strawberry-plants for the trucker who supplied her with fruit. I
engaged all I should need for an acre of ground, not then knowing how
many would be wanted. Then I went into a long course of inquiry touching
the business of raising and selling strawberries, but more particularly
in relation to the latter. When I suggested the possibility of not
finding a market, she broke out into loud merriment.

"Bring them to me, Miss," she cried. "I can sell all that you will be
able to produce. I have never yet had a full supply for my customers.
This market has never within my experience had too many strawberries,
and I have been here three years."

She gave me abundant information concerning the whole business of
selling, which at that time I regarded as the most important, having,
notwithstanding my new-born enthusiasm, felt considerable doubt as to
whether we could dispose of our crop. But here, according to her
account, the sale was sure. Then she went into quite a long explanation
of how the fruit was to be made ready for market, just as if I had
already produced it, telling me that the berries must be selected when
they were picked, the large and fine ones being kept separate from the
smaller ones. She said it would be tedious and troublesome, but it gave
a good return, as there were those among her customers who would pay any
price for fine berries. I observed, that it was probably the wealthy
ones who thus insisted on having the best. But she replied, it was not
always so; there were quite poor people who would buy nothing but the
very best in the market; though even the smallest had the genuine
strawberry-flavor, yet persons who really could not afford it did not
hesitate to take the largest, at the highest price: the appearance, not
the flavor of the fruit, seemed to regulate this. She remarked, that the
extravagance of some families in thus indulging themselves was to her
very surprising. But among the several classes of consumers all kinds
were readily disposed of, the result being that she never had an
overstock,--and there need be no apprehension on my part, therefore, of
not finding a market, and at good prices, for all I could raise, no
matter what the times might be. She had long since learned, that, the
more people there were who got a taste of good fruit, the more freely
they would consume it. Her great regret was that the strawberry-season
did not extend over the whole year. On my suggesting, that, if such a
thing could be brought about, there would be danger of the public
becoming tired of them,--

"What!" she exclaimed, with animation, "tired of strawberries? Don't
distress yourself too soon. Strawberries are a thing of which the public
have never yet had a surfeit."

All this was exceedingly encouraging to me, and I made a full report at
home of what I had thus learned. I was rejoiced at being able to carry
out my plan in spite of our ill-natured neighbors. Besides this, the
conversation referred to showed us that their pretence of my wanting to
ruin their business by raising strawberries was only a piece of mean
and unreasonable jealousy,--that there was no real likelihood of such an
event occurring, inasmuch as the demand was apparently unlimited. It is
very probable, however, that it was from pure ill-temper that they
refused to sell me any plants, an unwillingness to see us do well, not
from any apprehension of an overstocking of the market; as long
experience must have taught them, equally with the market-woman, that
that was a comparative impossibility.

There were various impediments to be overcome, even after ascertaining
that we were sure of selling all we could produce. Those who are
experienced in horticulture will smile at my simplicity and ignorance,
and wonder how so many difficulties beset me. But even they must have
had some sort of probation, which they overlook when reading this
history of mine. We are all, at some period, mere beginners in
everything. There were hundreds of visitors to our neighbor's garden who
had never seen a strawberry-plant until then. When mine were fairly
started, I witnessed the same display of ignorance in others who came to
visit us. Some ladies, occasionally gentlemen even, supposed the vines
ran up trees, and that the fruit was gathered like cherries. It is
possible that this may be read by some gentle spirit, some anxious
inquirer after a brighter pathway through a checkered life, some one of
my own sex whose aspirations may be in harmony with mine, and whose
fortunes may have been infinitely more unpropitious, in the hope of
gathering from my humble experience sufficient light to guide her in a
similar undertaking. I doubt not there are thousands in our country
whose tastes would lead them in the same direction, did opportunity
offer, and were the requisite knowledge at hand. I therefore record all
the trials that impeded my progress. When difficulties are known
beforehand, they may often be avoided.

I was unwilling to lose a day from the factory by walking several miles
into the country to visit the man who supplied my friendly market-woman
with strawberries, and from whom the plants were to come. But while
waiting for him to bring them in, together with the information I
desired as to how and when to plant them, an incident occurred which
gave me a complete knowledge of the whole theory of strawberry-culture.
I had gone with my mother, one Saturday evening, to a neighboring
grocery for certain articles we needed; and while standing at the
counter, awaiting our turn to be served, a boy came in with a large
bundle of old newspapers for sale as wrappers, placing it on the counter
directly beside me. Casting my eye upon it, I noticed that the outside
paper bore the title of "The New England Farmer." I then examined the
bundle, untied it, and found that there were many numbers of the same
journal, and underneath these a collection of "The Country Gentleman." I
had never seen an agricultural paper before, though our little penny
daily did occasionally contain extracts from some of them. I became
immediately interested. The thought struck me that this bundle of old
papers, now about to be used for such ignoble purposes as wrappers for
groceries, must contain stores of the very information I was so
laboriously seeking after. Hastily turning them over, my eye lighted on
an article headed "Strawberries: how to plant and how to cultivate
them." I was fairly dipping into it, when my mother, giving me a nudge,
told me she was ready to go. But it was far otherwise with me, and I
began bargaining with the boy for his bundle. That matter was soon
concluded, as the grocer declined buying; so I took them at a few cents
a pound. They came to nearly a dollar, but I had my week's wages in my
pocket, and am certain that I never made an investment so cheerfully,
nor any, considering the amount, that was half so useful to me as this.
Buying knowledge by the pound was quite a new idea with me.

I lugged the bundle home myself, and went into an examination of its
contents with the utmost enthusiasm. Indeed, the whole family shared it
with me, so that we were up till nearly midnight engaged in looking
after articles treating of the subject then uppermost in our minds. The
various numbers contained the collected experience of probably fifty
different cultivators of the strawberry, with a mass of information on
all matters pertaining to fruits and flowers. It took us a whole week to
obtain any tolerable idea of the contents, as our evenings only could be
spared for reading. The variety of experiences related was rather
confusing,--one writer telling how he had failed altogether, though
pursuing the very system under which another had had great success.
There were all kinds of theories, and probably all kinds of practice.
One grower declared that the ground must be made extremely rich, while
another asserted positively that strawberries grew better and bore more
abundantly on the poorest soil. One gentleman averred that the only
profitable plan was to raise the plants in distinct hills, keeping them
clear of runners; some one in the next paper denied this, and vowed that
he made more money by crowding his ground with all the plants that could
find room upon it to take root. I remember one correspondent who said
that letting the weeds grow would kill the strawberries; but there was
some one else who assured the editor, that, in his opinion, the
strawberries rather liked the weeds, because they shaded the ground.

How was it possible for me to discriminate between these contradictory
statements,--all made, moreover, by gentlemen who wrote as if each were
in himself a complete horticultural encyclopædia? Though utterly
confused by them, and quite at a loss to know which plan of cultivation
to adopt, yet one fact seemed very prominent, and that was that any
person who was at all careful in keeping his ground mellow and
reasonably clear of weeds would be sure to have good crops.

What struck me as a little remarkable in this voluminous record of
experience and opinion was the circumstance of there being very few
female writers on the subject. There were many who wrote quite
eloquently on the culture of flowers, but only two or three who appeared
to have cultivated strawberries. Yet there were several accounts of
wonderful coverlets which some of them had made, containing many
thousands of pieces, with probably one or two millions of stitches. I
could not help concluding that this latter feat was only labor thrown
away, and that elderly ladies who undertake to produce counterpanes and
bedspreads with so much superfluous work upon them should be provided
with a sewing-machine. It was not very encouraging to observe that so
small a share of female attention had been directed to the
strawberry-culture. The only recorded efforts of this kind had been made
in gardens, where the beds, after being planted, were attended to by the
women of the family. It appeared that they could readily keep everything
in order, pull out the weeds, gather the fruit; and though the fact was
not mentioned, yet I presume they were able to put in a full oar when it
came upon the table. One or two cases were related of young girls having
made quite a handsome sum from a small garden-bed. But the general
testimony went to prove that strawberry-growing was so simple an art
that any woman who had sufficient good sense to keep herself tidy could
successfully practise it, more especially if she had a taste for
horticultural occupations. I concluded, therefore, that the true reason
why women had not engaged more extensively in this employment was
because no one had taken pains to call their attention to it.

There was one branch of the subject which it was difficult to understand
exactly. Almost every person who wrote about strawberries seemed to have
the best variety that had ever been known or heard of. This was
especially noticeable in the statements of those who had plants to sell.
After reading one advertisement, I felt satisfied that the particular
fruit therein described was what I ought to have. But on examining the
next announcement, I was confounded at learning that there was a still
better kind. So it ran through probably half a dozen: every one was
best. Indeed, there appeared to be no inferior strawberry-plants for
sale. I had no friend to consult with who could explain this remarkable
state of things; and being thus left in doubt as to whether there was
really any merit in plants thus extravagantly praised, I came to the
conclusion that the safer way would be to let them all go, and adopt
some well-established kind, that was known to be a sure bearer, and
which could be had at a moderate price, leaving the costly novelties to
be patronized by those who had more money to spare. In two or three of
these florid descriptions of new varieties I observed that great stress
was laid on the enormous size of the fruit, as well as their unequalled
productiveness; but there was no mention of quality: what that was
appeared to be studiously suppressed. An orange solitary may be as large
as a pumpkin; but if it be proportionably coarse and flavorless, one
would conclude, that, the greater the size, the less desirable the
fruit. It was important for me to begin right; so, abandoning these new
and costly varieties, I determined to have something nearer home, about
whose value there could be no doubt. I was to produce fruit for the
public, not for our own private use, and therefore must have a
well-established market berry.

I do not mean to undervalue the great horticultural novelties of the
day, merely because I was unable to purchase, or because others were
evidently realizing great sums by first originating them, and then
spreading their merits before the world, though sometimes in extravagant
terms. The world must have been waiting for them, or they could not have
become so suddenly popular. And the painstaking horticulturist would not
have devoted years of patient care and watchfulness, exercising a
consummate skill in stimulating Nature to the production of a better
plant, a more gorgeous flower, or a more luscious fruit, had he not
known that there was a waiting public, ever ready to reward his skill
and perseverance by extensive purchases at liberal prices. It is to this
certainty of generous remuneration that we are indebted for nearly all
the great and truly valuable novelties with which the horticultural
world has been supplied. A rose, with tints unknown a century ago, has
proved a stepping-stone to the discoverer's fortune. The skilful
propagator of new or rare verbenas has grown rich from annual sales of
these beautiful bedding plants. The tulip is an historical monument of
floral enthusiasm. When Mexico was opened to Northern enterprise, it
yielded of its boundless exuberance the cactus and the dahlia, sources
of untold wealth to those florists who ministered to the popular taste
for Nature's richest productions. The originator of a new and valuable
grape has found in it a fortune. Accident has sometimes been productive
of equally remunerative results. A solitary berry, growing in the
tangled hedge-row of an abandoned field, has been the foundation of an

The history of horticulture abounds in instances akin to these. The
enthusiasts who produced or discovered such novelties have conferred
inestimable benefits on the world. The originator of the Albany seedling
strawberry unquestionably added threefold to the quantity of that
surpassingly delicious fruit. He devoted years of patient care and
watchfulness to a nursery containing thousands of seedlings, of which
one only was found to be worthy of cultivation. And if he had his
reward, he was well entitled to it. He has given us a plant superior to
all that Nature's handiwork had previously produced,--superior in the
elements of commercial value, particularly in a productiveness so far
surpassing that of any of its predecessors as to establish it as the
standard by which every subsequent competitor must be estimated. It has
spread over every section of our vast country, taking kindly to every
variety of soil and climate, covering with its robust foliage many
thousands of acres, producing tens of thousands of bushels of fruit,
crowding our markets with abundant supplies, and producing profits to
its cultivators such as no other strawberry has ever yielded. As a
market berry it was quickly recognized as being unsurpassed, nor have
its numerous modern rivals been yet able to shake its strong hold upon
the public favor. I know--at least my reading has taught me--that there
are multitudes of recent candidates for popularity, claiming to be far
superior to this, all struggling to displace the old-time favorite. I am
unable--here at least--to discuss their several merits, and therefore
dismiss the novelties I have never tried for the great standard which
has been so long approved.

We knew it was by means of this prolific berry that our neighbors, so
disagreeable to us, were making themselves so popular. It was the
variety sold by my widow in the market. Its character as a fruit for the
million being thus established, we adopted it without hesitation.

My agricultural journals told me how many plants were to be put upon an
acre, what were to be the distances apart, when to set them, with other
particulars as to the mode of cultivation. But one of the most important
facts taught me by my little library was that I could set the plants in
the fall as advantageously as in the spring. This would give me a great
start. I learned that in the two last autumn months, the temperature of
the earth being higher than that of the air, the former would act as a
sort of forcing-house, stimulating the growth and expansion of the
roots, so that before winter set in they would become so firmly
established as to be enabled to survive the severest weather, and be
pretty sure to give me quite a handsome crop the succeeding summer.
There was nothing to do, then, but to procure the plants and get them
in. Fred undertook to have the ground broken up and put in complete
order for me,--that is, half an acre. We were not able to spare money
enough to buy more plants, but intended to fill up the other half-acre
from the runners that would be thrown out the following summer. I knew
that our ill-natured neighbors had thrown away more plants than I
needed, which they could have given to me without being themselves any
the poorer. But perhaps I ought not to indulge in reproachful
reminiscences of this kind. Still, it is difficult for one who never
feels a selfish wish to understand how others can be so differently
constituted. If such people would only for once indulge in the luxury of
doing a really kind action, I am inclined to think they would be tempted
into many repetitions of it. But it will be seen that I succeeded in
getting my pets into the ground by depending on myself, letting others
pursue their own way.

The rows were struck out only three feet apart, and the plants were set
a foot asunder in the rows. This was not too close for our little garden
culture, though it may be much too crowded for large fields. I was
anxious to have as much fruit as possible on a small surface, intending
to keep the runners from overspreading the ground. This desire for a
great crop is the common anxiety of most fruit-growers, especially of
beginners, and I think is frequently the cause of those failures that so
often happen to them. My sister and I took a holiday from the factory
and went to planting. My mother also did her full share of the labor.
With such novices, it was of course very slow work, and employed us two
or three days.

Very soon the neighbors stopped, as they were passing the half-latticed
garden-gate, and looked in to see what we were about. This neighborly
curiosity is the most natural thing in the world. One always likes to
know what is going on either next door or in the opposite house. I
confess to a weakness of that sort myself. Hence we took no offence,
even when there was quite a crowd looking in.

When it was ascertained that we were planting strawberries, great
surprise was manifested, and all kinds of remarks were made. Had we been
planting potatoes, it would have been all right, as every family that
had a little patch of ground in that neighborhood raised potatoes,
though they paid no profit, while only one--the Tetchys--cultivated
strawberries, which afforded a very handsome profit. I think it must
have been the novelty of seeing women thus occupied that occasioned much
of the surprise.

Before noon of the first day the whole Tetchy family crowded up to the
gate and stood there a long time observing our movements. Their quick
ears had been among the first to catch the news. They tried the latch,
but Jane had locked the gate, determined that not one of them should
come in. Thus excluded, all they could do was to indulge in a variety of
ill-natured remarks.

"I knew that was what they were after!" said Mrs. Tetchy to her husband,
in a voice that was intended for us to hear.

But we kept our backs to them, taking no notice of what they said.

"Another strawberry-garden, I suppose!" exclaimed the daughter, Miss
Annabella Tetchy, who had not yet had the good luck to change her ugly

"Cream, too, no doubt!" added Tetchy himself, in a tone so insulting
that I thought it unworthy of one calling himself a man.

These provoking taunts continued until the spiteful family appeared to
have either relieved themselves or grown tired of having the cold
shoulder of a profound contempt all the time turned toward them. It was
a very hard thing for me to bear this malicious insolence. I could have
retorted keenly on them by some plain insinuation touching their
iron-tailed cow, of which they probably thought that no one but
themselves had any knowledge. But we preserved our self-respect by
maintaining silence.

These little private vexations were about all that we encountered during
the whole progress of our strawberry-planting. The neighbors, with the
exception of the Tetchys, having no particular interest as to how we got
along or whether we got along at all, very soon ceased to take any
notice of what we were doing. The novelty of the new enterprise died
away as speedily, for the season at least, as if we had been sowing
turnips. Under the fine October weather, the plants quickly took root,
and went on growing so vigorously that some of them even put out an
occasional runner. But these were immediately clipped off, as sure to
impair the vigor of the plant, which could now support no extraneous
offshoots. There were some plants, however, that apparently stood still,
refusing to grow, while others died out entirely. But casualties of this
sort are always to be expected. They occur with old hands at
strawberry-planting, and beginners must not think to escape them.

I felt inexpressibly proud of my achievement. I watched this work of my
own hands so closely, being up and in the garden long before breakfast,
that I think the very shape and position of every plant came to be
imprinted on my memory. I know that I could detect the changes that took
place in the look of each particular pet. I thought of them when
operating the treadle of my sewing-machine at the factory, and I hurried
home more expeditiously than aforetime, to enjoy even the brief autumn
twilight among my strawberries. I sometimes even dreamed of them on my
pillow. Now my agricultural library became far more interesting and
useful than before. I had had a touch of real, actual practice, and
could already understand and appreciate many suggestions which had
heretofore been of doubtful significancy. Thus the long winter came
gradually in, closing up the great volume of vegetable life, but
affording me abundant time for studying that other volume which had so
singularly fallen in my way.


Who made all the old saws?--not the rusty steel affairs that Patrick and
John ply upon Down-East fire-wood at our back doors,--but those
sharp-pointed, trenchant ones that philosophers love to draw across the
hearts of men, cutting, tearing, grinding away, till the fibre of their
being quivers under the remorseless teeth. Many were forged, we all
know, in the celebrated workshop of W. Shakspeare; other particularly
fine-toothed ones were pointed by a French artisan named Rochefoucauld;
and many more, bright and lucent, are borrowed--reverently be it
spoken!--from that grand arsenal of truth and power built by the hands
of the great holy men of holy times. But who made the many tough old
blades which have a temper that outlives time,--whose rugged points have
never lost a whit of their keenness, after having torn their way through
human bosoms, been hung up and taken down again for centuries, and never
a maker's name upon them?

Going by a little squalid old house, some nights ago, I saw a light in a
ground-floor window; and peeping in,--my name is not Tom, nor was it any
Godiva I was espying, but I could not help a sort of curiosity to see
what that eleven-o'clock light might exhibit,--I saw a pale face, and a
thin, bent form. Soft hair was parted from a white brow, and fell in
ringlets upon a shabby dress. Eyes, that might have shone with
bewitching brilliancy in certain parlors I know of, were sadly and
intently fixed upon the quick-drawn needle which the thin fingers were
assiduously and wearily plying. The light came from a half-burnt
candle.--No, Mrs. Grundy, your friend Asmodeus did not knock nor go in;
but he thought of you, although you were at that moment virtuously
bestowed, with matronly grace, in curtained slumbers. Asmodeus looked,
and beheld, through a hole in the curtain, an old, rusty saw crunching
away across that poor, desolate, weary heart, _Le jeu ne vaut pas la
chandelle_.--"Stop, stop, father!" cries Asmodeus, Jr. "What does that
mean?"--Why, my dear boy, that is the saw which was tearing the poor
woman's heart. The words mean, in plain English, "The play is not worth
the candle." In ancient days folks did not have big glass chandeliers,
all sparkling with gas. The Asmodei of old did not turn up, or down, or
out, the luminaries which bathed them in midnight brilliancy. They
snuffed them. When the old French kings danced minuets with their most
virtuous and respected maids of honor on private stages, they were
enlivened by tallow flames. They had no quarterly bills for so many feet
of light; for they bought it by the pound. When Monsieur Deuse-Ace
rattled the dice or shuffled the cards with Signor Double-Six, he looked
for luck, not at a patent safety-burner, but at the stranger in the
flickering candle-flame. Now sometimes M. Deuse-Ace came out of that
rattling and shuffling with an empty purse, and, when called on to pay
for the tallow, he swore, like a bad man as he was, that the play was
not worth the candle. So I think that famous old saw must have been made
by some unhappy Murad who was unlucky in turning up small numbers or
having dealt to him cards considerably below kings,--though knaves were
his constant companions. But this elegant English, _figlio mio_, may be
more idiomatically rendered, perhaps, in the language of the day,
thus:--It doesn't pay! Paying is the touchstone nowadays to which
everything is brought, from the stock of the great Beaugous Bootjack
Company to the great Rebellion of 1861.

Well, there sat the poor woman,--you see, Mrs. Grundy, that she was no
Godiva, nor I a peeping Tom. My eyesight is good yet,--and I could see
that old saw deep in her sad, trembling bosom. No! that _jeu_ was a bad
one. She had lost her youth, her happiness, her all, on the _tapis
vert_ of human life. It had turned up _noir_ when it should have come
_rouge_, and the candle was to pay for. Do you know what strain of music
came sadly on my ear, and how I felt when I saw that the horrible old
saw was keeping time to it? It was a little song of Hood's. You know it.
Many know it. She knew it, ah, too well! She knew it by heart.

Now candles are stuck in all sorts of sticks: golden branches, silver
arms, brass stands, tin cups, bottles, wooden blocks, potatoes, and
turnips. We all have seen candles and candelabras; and if we don't
employ them as corks for our empty bottles, why, John puts them into the
last new chimney ornament, and we have to pay for them when the play is
over. Skinflint is a nice man,--pious and genteel, a good father,
husband, etc. He made money in that famous Rotten-Iron Company, which
paid the original purchasers cent per cent, and then, some how or other,
passed off from the stock list. He was largely concerned in the
well-known Cheetamall Copper Company, which gave the first block-takers
such a great profit, but has not been quoted lately,--is not worked,
probably. He took a fabulous sum out of that celebrated corner in the
Greenipluck Lead Company. Mr. S. drives his span, goes to Newport in the
summer, is conspicuous at the opera, and loves to see Mrs. S. in
gorgeous array. What more would you have? Does Skinflint ever think his
candle is snuffy or burns dimly? Does he like that great red eye which
gleams out of the flame, as though it foretold an unwelcome guest? Could
it be young Spooney, who was ruined in that Rotten-Iron affair? or his
friend Shallow, who was induced to borrow privately of his employers in
hopes of making a fortune in the Cheetamall Copper; but lost both
fortune and name thereby? Might it be the dying glare of his friend
Needy, who hung himself after the Greenipluck _exposé_, which reduced
him to beggary? Or is it the eye of Society which he knows looks on his
span, and his Newport house, and his wife's jewels, with the flash of
contempt? How is it, Mrs. Grundy? which candle is best to sit
beside,--Mr. Skinflint's, or the one you thought shone on a Godiva I was
spying? Do you think S.'s candle is really worth the price?

And there is your friend, Miss Free-manners,--you are shocked that I
mention her name to you, are you? Why, she used to be your childhood's
companion; but since she has taken to gentlemen's society in particular,
you don't notice her, and are struck with virtuous indignation when
Grundy nods to her in the street. Surely Miss F. dresses beautifully and
is handsome as a picture, and is much sought after by gentlemen of
doubtful nicety in the choice of female friends. She leads a jolly life,
certainly; for she rides in an elegant barouche, has nothing to do, no
household cares to vex her, no pork to boil, no potatoes to peel, and
has genuine wax candles in the private boudoir where she receives those
not over-nice gentlemen. What more could feminine heart wish? You don't
know her now. Mrs. Asmodeus, kind-hearted as she is, declines to
recognize her; and even Mr. A. himself does not care to be seen under
circumstances which might imply acquaintance. But what does Miss F. care
for this? She is brilliant, and admired by plenty of people,--such as
they are. And yet do you know that I question whether, at times, when
she sits alone in that boudoir, and thinks how her old friend Mrs.
Grundy gives her the cut direct, how the companions of her innocent
youth all look coldly and sternly on her, how that costly mirror tells
her that her beauty is beginning to fade, the thought of the future does
not come over her like the rasp of an old saw under her white bosom? and
whether she does not ask herself if the play is worth the price of those
real wax candles? and whether they will shed light and cheer upon her as
they burn down, and she might not have been happier with tallow and
purity? Queen Mary must have put some such questions to herself in
Lochleven Castle; and Cleopatra never would have got that serpent for
the purpose she did, without some such thoughts. I imagine that St.
Helena must have known of long and wearisome calculations on the cost of
the game which ended there; and difficult must have been their
reconcilement to the price paid for the brilliant light which there died

Look into that dark and dreary cell, my boy! There is a rough, coarse,
brutal man, pondering over his past life. He will be hung to-morrow.
Would you ever suppose that man was once a smooth-faced, bright little
fellow like you? Do you see any signs of a mother's tender caress on his
sullen brow? Does it look as though it had ever been held up close and
lovingly to a fond woman's heart? Are there any remains of that clear,
pure light which once looked out innocently from those bloodshot eyes?
All this was so once. What does he think of now? Is he acting over the
dark deed which brought him into this uninviting sleeping-place? Does he
see that silent chamber into which a guilty man is stealing, with crime
in his heart,--no, not in his heart; for he has none!--but in his
thoughts, and remorseless ferocity to execute it? Does he see the
gigantic shadows cast on the walls around by the miserable candle he
holds? the still face of the sleeper? and does he hear the smothered
groan and the bubbling sigh? Does he see in his hand the paltry metal
which he has secured, and hear his own hurried, flying steps? Or is he
counting the cost of that light which showed him where to strike? Is he
making that never-ending computation,--throwing into one scale
innocence, happiness, manhood, love, life, and into the other a
miserable candle-end? My boy, you and I will get a slate and pencil
before we go into such a chandlery operation!

Why do I tell such horrible stories?--My dear, sweet, tender-hearted
Mrs. G., people commit murder every day: I mean polite, fashionable
murder. They give a stab at your reputation and mine, and smile sweetly
all the while. They watch and wait till our backs are turned, and then
they whip out their long tongues, and--have at you! Your good name is so
mercilessly hacked, cut, slashed, and gashed, that there is scarcely
enough fair outside left to recognize you by. They swear that your most
innocent and gentle pastime is the abomination of decent people; and,
with that happy faculty of judging others by themselves,--a mark of
broad, comprehensive minds,--they run up a list of grievances, among
which swindling and adultery are common trifles. Peeping out from their
hole in the curtain, swelling with the nobleness of their occupation,
and filled with honest indignation at your goings on, they see, with a
clairvoyance which puts Hume in the background, all the errors of
omission and commission your guilty hands and hearts achieve. To be
sure, they back them like a whale or neck them like a camel, according
to the exuberance of their imagination, or the strength of their
ill-will, or the innate suspicion of their natures. But when your broad
back is towards them, they whet those sharp tongues against each other,
and--thug! you have them under your fifth rib, and out at the other
side. Well, perhaps you, Mrs. G., have used such a weapon. Perhaps, when
you found out how innocent the poor victim was, you may have been
rewarded by a scrape of that old saw across your conscience, and the
smoke of the smouldering wick may have smelled nauseous to you.--You
never did? Well, I am glad of it, Mrs. G., because, I assure you, that
fogo must be a sickening one to carry about under one's nose.

But if you object to the horrible, I will gently slide into the pathetic
and melancholic. There is our friend Atticus,--I call him so in public,
because it would not do to name Brown right out, when telling his
private griefs. Atticus, when he read a book lately, having "A man
married is a man marred" for a motto, smiled a grim smile, and muttered
audibly, "Mrs. Atticus is charming, isn't she?--pretty and nice and
neat. Why shouldn't Atticus be the happiest man in the world? You say
that everybody thinks he is. Ah, yes! that's because everybody behind
the blinds or beside the curtains doesn't see the real things that go
wrong,--only the imaginary ones." Atticus, when all alone in his
library, with no holes in the curtains, might tell a different story. He
might tell of a desolate heart, a solitary intellect,--hopes, dreams,
buried. He might ask himself the use of lifting the mind above the level
of common things,--of hoping to carry another one with him in equal
companionship,--of allowing the vulgarities of life to become
disgusting,--and of striving for a clearer, brighter, loftier sphere.
Why refine the thoughts, elevate the aspirations, and broaden the heart,
till the nature shrinks from contact with commonplaces, and shudders at
the coarse touch of worldly tongues? You see that Atticus uses broad
generalities, and never once individualizes Mrs. Atticus. And if Mrs.
Atticus were to steal down stairs in her night-gown, he would be ever so
kind and gentle, and playfully tell her she would catch cold, that she
had not enough clothing on, that the season was raw, that the mercury
stood at thirty, that it would snow to-morrow, etc., etc. And when Mrs.
Atticus retreated to her warm bed, he might look round on the weighty
volumes, and their wealth of lore, and think how he trod the path they
pointed out in solitary silence; and then, as he passed up stairs, a
great, coarse rasp might make his fine-strung nerves quiver, and he
might look at the candle he carried and it would suggest to him the old
Gallic saw which had just given him the spasm. So you see that the
curtains and peepholes had never discovered the price-current of the
Atticus brand of candles.

Nobody knows where some folks buy or burn their candles. Some people
keep them in closets when they do not find it convenient to procure
well-mounted skeletons. There is Mrs. Hidehart,--you know whom I
mean,--when she was a blooming young girl, she fell in love with the
Colonel, and, like a foolish thing as she was, she poured out all the
wealth of her affection upon him, as if the cruse had a magic power of
recuperation. Well, the Colonel turned out to be a rotten one; and
bitter was the taste in the poor girl's mouth for many a day! By-and-by,
when she thought she had washed it well out, and when Sm----, (was I
going to say Smith? No!) when Hidehart came along and bent and begged
and prayed for her, she said "Yes!" as she might have assented to an
invitation to hear Patti. Well, that sort of thing don't answer in the
long run. It is all very well to have love without money; but money
without love is another matter. Mr. Hidehart turned out worse than the
Colonel; for he was stupid, vulgar, and mean. And she was so nice, so
delicate, so bright, so intellectual! Oh, what hours of bitter regret,
what biting of lips, what flushes of shame, what heart-shocks that
stopped the life-blood, and--well, truth must out--what caressing
memories of the young hero who first leaped over her young love's
ramparts! what loathing of the sensual lout who had been carelessly
suffered to take command of the fortress!--Why, Mr. Asmodeus! you don't
mean my friend, Mrs. Smith!--Did I mention any such name? No, Mrs.
Grundy, I mean Mrs. Hidehart, a mild, patient, smiling wife. But, up in
a little corner closet of her chamber, she keeps, not a skeleton,--for
those are shocking things to lie near a lady's slumbers, they are bad
enough in the shape of crinoline,--but a candle; and when she is very
much tried, she sits all alone there by its nickering light, and thinks.
What a life's fortune she has paid for the privilege! and how fortunate
that the Colonel doesn't come back reformed!

The Quaker poet of New England, who has written one of the most
beautiful things in the language, has hit off our friends Atticus and
Hidehart most admirably. He was not personally acquainted with them; and
so he has invested them with a tender, imaginative romance, and made the
one a barefooted lass and the other a grave judge. Did you ever read it,
Mrs. Grundy? It is called "Maud Muller"; and Asmodeus would buy a gross
of the best wax lights, if he could get a quarter of the illumination
out of them which shone on the pen that traced those lines.

Why, Mr. Asmodeus, you frighten me! What! Mr. Brown and Mrs. Smith?--My
dear Madam, I mentioned no names, did I? But you may be sure that
expensive candles are burned in houses where you think gas only is used.
How do you know how Jones lights his house? I don't mean the parlor,
where you and Mrs. Asmodeus display the family jewels on grand
occasions, and where Mrs. Jones exhibits the splendor of her beauty and
the radiance of her smiles. That is gas,--bright, beaming, brilliant
gas. What else should irradiate the loving tenderness which unites Mr.
and Mrs. Jones on such occasions? You don't suppose that Jones is goose
enough to show his decayed home-grown fruit to you, when he invites you
to sup with him in that frescoed dining-room? He picks out the
rosy-cheeks for your entertainment; and the sour grapes, the spotted
pomes, the mildewed berries are tucked away up-stairs. Now you are not
invited into that store-room. You are, in fact, jealously kept out of
it. Let us creep round the corner and look up at that window, now the
company is all gone. You see a light there, don't you? Do you know what
is burning? Is it gas, or oil, or kerosene, or spermaceti, or wax, or
tallow? You will never know, Mrs. G.; for Jones trims that light
himself. Bridget never saw it yet. Strange, isn't it, that Jones, a rich
man, with plenty of servants, should humble himself to such a menial
occupation? My own impression is, that he uses a candle in that room,
and has paid so high a price for it that he doesn't dare to trust any
one else with it.

There are many such lighted windows; and who knows the game that is
going on behind the curtain? _Va-lent-ils la chandelle?_ When Pinxit
looks around on the accumulating canvases gathering dust in his
unfrequented studio, and thinks of the dreams which gave fairy tints to
his palette, that none else could perceive,--when he feels that his
genius is unacknowledged, and his toil in vain,--when he sees Dorb's
crudities in every window, and Dorb's praises in the "Art-Journals,"
while Pinxit is starving unknown,--doesn't he take down the old saw from
his easel, and try its edge over his proud, swelling heart? When
Scripsit, who has dipped his pen in his soul to inscribe those glowing
lines which were to bear him up and set him across the golden spire of
the pinnacle of Fame, and whose fine frenzy has as yet given him but a
scurvy mundane support, when Scripsit brings home his modest rasher, and
finds, on unfolding it, that it is wrapped in the unsold sheets of his
last lyric,--doesn't he think that the tallow which helped him to pen
the thoughts in the midnight watches was the costliest of _feu sacré_?
When Senator Patriota sits brooding over the speech which has carried
the opposition against him, and sees his honorable friend slipping into
the place he has manoeuvred for at the expense of manliness, truth,
consistency, and honesty, does he not conjugate the verb _valoir_
negatively? When Madame Favorita has made her last curtsy for the night
behind the foot-lights, has thrown off her tawdry frippery, and sits in
her lonely chamber, glowering at the image of the young rival who has
won all the applause,--when she bemoans her waning charms and the
wearisome life which has lost its sparkle, and sees its emptiness and
hollowness,--does she not look wistfully at that little flame which
flickers on her hollowing cheek, from which the stage-blush has been
washed, and think the game a losing one? The Senator lives near by, and
that is Madame's room over the way. Did not Cæsar have a candle that he
bought of Brutus? And how many Mesdames have cursed the name of

And don't we, all of us, Mrs. G., take out our French Grammars, and
learn, at some period of our lives, to translate that Gallic phrase?
Don't we all get that old saw down and try its teeth on our tender
flesh? When the old friends drop off, and the dear eyes we have loved
look strange to us,--when the darling of our hearts is ruthlessly torn
away, and we sit in the darkness of the tomb,--when shame for the living
lost bows us to the earth in anguish,--when life has become meaningless,
and nothing remains to vitalize the monotony of existence,--when we look
upon our own past hopes, ambitions, interests, as though they
characterized some other being, long since departed,--when the morning
light and the evening shade, May's sweet flowers and November's yellow
leaves, are only the symbols of Time's weary flight, and awaken neither
cheer nor gloom,--do we not all of us hear, in the silence of our
hearts, the grating of that blade? Statues of Memnon are we all. The
bright morning sun brings melodious music from our hearts; the soft,
perfumed air bears afar the strains of jocund hope, passionate love, and
aspiring faith. But when the shadows fall, the strains lose their
sweetness and beauty; one by one, the rich harmonies change into harsh
dissonance, then cease altogether; and the sun sets on a silent form
which in the morning sent forth seraphic tones.

My dear boy, let us hope that you and I and all those we love so dearly
will always have a bright sun above our earthly horizon to give us
cheer, and to light our way, and to bring sweet songs from our hearts.
And if it should set in the night of suffering and sorrow, let us guide
ourselves by a holier, purer, steadier light than mortal hands can mould
or kindle. So pass me those snuffers, and I will put out the candle, and
we will go to bed. For all this paper of candle-ends I have collected,
Bridget will find our beautiful wax-light scarcely burned; and,
certainly, I think it a very cheap and excellent purchase, _N'est-ce
pas, mon fils_?



At nine next morning, prayers and breakfast being despatched,--during
which Parson Brummem had determined to leave Reuben to the sting of his
conscience,--the master appears in the school-room with his wristbands
turned up, and his ferule in hand, to enforce judgment upon the culprit.
It had been a frosty night, and the cool October air had not tempted the
boys to any wide movement out of doors, so that no occupant of the
parsonage had as yet detected the draggled white banner that hung from
the prison-window.

Through Keziah, the parson gave orders for Master Johns to report
himself at once in the school-room. The maid returned presently,
clattering down the stairs in a great fright,--

"Reuben's gone, Sir!"

"Gone?" says the tall master, astounded. He represses a wriggle of
healthful satisfaction on the part of his pupils by a significant lift
of his ferule, then moves ponderously up the stairs for a personal visit
to the chamber of the culprit. The maid had given true report; there was
no one there. Never had he been met with such barefaced rebellion.
Truants, indeed, there had been in days gone by; but that a pupil under
discipline should have tied together Mistress Brummem's linen and left
it draggling in this way, in the sight of every passer-by, was an
affront to his authority which he had not deemed possible.

An hour thereafter, and he had assigned the morning's task to the boys
(which he had ventured to lengthen by a third, in view--as he said, with
a grim humor--of their extremely cheerful spirits); established
Mistress Brummem in temporary charge, and was driving his white-faced
nag down the road which led toward Ashfield. The frosted pools crackled
under the wheels of the old chaise; the heaving horse wheezed as the
stern parson gave his loins a thwack with the slackened reins and urged
him down the turnpike which led away through the ill-kept fields, from
the rambling, slatternly town. Stone walls that had borne the upheaval
of twenty winters reeled beside the way. Broad scars of ochreous earth,
from which the turnpike-menders had dug material to patch the
wheel-track, showed ooze of yellow mud with honeycombs of ice rimming
their edges, and supporting a thin film of sod made up of lichens and
the roots of five-fingers. Raw, shapeless stones, and bald, gray rocks,
only half unearthed, cumbered the road; while bunches of dwarfed
birches, browsed by straying cattle, added to the repulsiveness of the
scene. Nor were the inclosed lands scarcely more inviting. Lean shocks
of corn that had swayed under the autumn winds stretched at long
intervals across fields of thin stubble; a few half-ripened pumpkins,
hanging yet to the seared vines,--whose leaves had long since been
shrivelled by the frost,--showed their shining green faces on the dank
soil. In other fields, overrun with a great shaggy growth of rag-weed,
some of the parson's flock--father and blue-nosed boys--were lifting
poor crops of "bile-whites" or "merinos." From time to time, a tall
house jutted upon the road, with unctuous pig-sty under the lee of the
garden-fence and wood-pile sprawling into the highway, where the parson
would rein up his nag, and make inquiry after the truant Reuben.

A half-dozen of these stops and inquiries proved wholly vain; yet the
sturdy parson urged his poor, heaving nag forward, until he had come to
the little gatehouse which thrust itself quite across the high road at
some six miles' distance from Bolton Church. No stray boy had passed
that day. Thereupon the parson turned, and, after retracing his way for
two miles or more, struck into a cross-road which led westward. There
were the same fruitless inquiries here at the scattered houses, and when
he came at length upon the great river-road along which the boy had
passed at the first dawn there was no one who could tell anything of
him; and by noon the parson reëntered the village, disconsolate and
hungry. He was by no means a vindictive man, and could very likely have
forgiven Reuben the blow he had struck. He had no conception of the
hidden causes which had wrought in the lad such burst of anger. He
conceived only that Satan had taken hold of him, and he had strong faith
in the efficacy of the rod for driving Satan out.

After dinner he administered a sharp lecture to his pupils, admonishing
them of the evils of disobedience, and warning them that "God sometimes
left bad boys to their own evil courses, and to run like the herd of
swine into which the unclean spirits entered,--of which account might be
found in Mark v. 13,--down a steep place, and be choked."

The parson still had hope that Reuben might appear at evening; and he
forecast a good turn which he would make, in such event, upon the
parable of the Prodigal Son (with the omission, however, of the fatted
calf). But the prodigal did not return. Next day there was the same
hope, but fainter. Still, the prodigal Reuben did not return. Whereupon
the parson thought it his duty to write to Brother Johns, advising him
of the escape of Reuben,--"he having stolen away in the night, tying
together and much draggling Mrs. Brummem's pair of company sheets, (no
other being out of wash,) and myself following after vainly, the best
portion of a day, much, perturbed in spirit, in my chaise. I duly
instructed my parishioners to report him, if found, which has not been
the case. I trust that in the paternal home, if he has made his way
thither, he may be taught to open his 'ear to discipline,' and 'return
from iniquity.' Job xxxvi. 10."

The good parson was a type of not a few retired country ministers in
New England forty years ago: a heavy-minded, right-meaning man; utterly
inaccessible to any of the graces of life; no bird ever sang in his ear;
no flower ever bloomed for his eye; a man to whom life was only a
serious spiritual toil, and all human joys a vanity to be spurned;
preaching tediously long sermons, and counting the fatigue of the
listeners a fitting oblation to spiritual truth; staggering through life
with a great burden of theologies on his back, which it was his constant
struggle to pack into smaller and smaller compass,--not so much, we
fear, for the relief of others as of himself. Let us hope that the
burden--like that of Christian in the "Pilgrim's Progress"--slipped away
before he entered the Celestial Presence, and left him free to enjoy and
admire, more than he found time to do on earth, the beauty of that
blessed angel in the higher courts whose name is Charity.


Reuben, meantime, pushed boldly down the open road, until broad sunlight
warned him to a safer path across the fields. He had been too much of a
rambler during those long Saturday afternoons at Ashfield, to have any
dread of a tramp through swamp-land or briers. "Who cared for wet feet
or a scratch? Who cared for a rough scramble through the bush, or a wade
(if it came to that) through ever so big a brook? Who cared for old
Brummem and his white-faced nag?" In fact, he had the pleasure of seeing
the parson's venerable chaise lumbering along the public road at a safe
distance away, an hour before noon; and he half wished he were near
enough to give the jolly old nag a good switching across the flanks. He
had begged a bit of warm breakfast in the morning at an outlying house,
and at the hour when he caught sight of his pursuer he was lying under
the edge of a wood, lunching upon the gingerbread Keziah had provided,
and beginning to reckon up soberly what was to be done.

His first impulse had been simply to escape a good flogging and the
taunts of the boys. He had shunned the direct Ashfield turnpike, because
he knew pursuit--if there were any--would lead off in that direction.
From the river road he might diverge into that, if he chose. But if he
went home,--what then? The big gray eyes of Aunt Eliza he knew would
greet him at the door, looking thunderbolts. Adèle, and maybe Rose,
would welcome him in kindly way enough,--but very pityingly, when the
Doctor should summon him quietly into his low study. For they knew, and
he knew, that the big rod would presently come down from its place by
the Major's sword,--a rod that never came down, except it had some swift
office to perform. And next day, perhaps,--whatever might be the kindly
pleadings of Adèle, (thus far he flattered himself,) the old horse
Dobbins would be in harness to carry him back to Bolton Hill, where of a
surety some new birch was already in pickle for the transgressor. Or, if
this mortification were spared, there would be the same weary round of
limitations and exactions from which he longed to break away. And as he
sits there under the lee of the wood,--seeing presently Brummem's heavy
cavalry wheel and retire from pursuit,--the whole scene of his last
altercation, in the study at Ashfield drifts before him again clear as

"I'm bad," (this was the way he broke out upon the old man after the
usual discipline,)--"I know I'm bad, and all the worse for the way you
try to make me good. There's Phil Elderkin, now,--you say to me, over
and over, 'See Phil, he doesn't do so.' But he does,--only his father
knows he does; he a'n't punished, if he isn't in at nine o'clock for
prayers, without telling where he's been. It's all underhanded with me,
and with Phil it's all aboveboard. I have to read proper books that I
don't care a copper about, and so I steal 'em into my chamber; and Aunt
Eliza, prying about, finds 'Arabian Nights' hid under the sheets; and
then there's a row! Phil reads 'em; and there's nobody forever looking
over his shoulder to see what he's reading. I think Phil's father trusts
him more than you do me."

"But, my son, you tell me you are bad, and that I can't trust you."

"You can't, because you don't; and that makes me feel the Devil in me."

"My son!"

"I know it; you think it's a bad word; but Phil says Devil; and it's
true. And besides, you forbid my going where the other boys go, and that
maddens me and makes me swear, and the fellows laugh; and because I
can't go, I do something worse."

"My poor Reuben, do you know where such badness will lead you?"

"Oh, yes, I know; I've heard it often enough; it'll lead to hell, I

"Reuben! Reuben! what does this mean?"

"I can't help it, father. There's Phil and Gus Hapgood went chestnutting
the other Saturday, and because you were afraid I shouldn't be back
before sundown you kept me at home. I know I was ten times worse than if
I'd been out chestnutting all night and half Sunday. I hate Sunday!"

"That, Reuben, is because you are wicked."

"Yes, I suppose so."

"I am glad, my son, that you see your sins and admit them."

"There's not much comfort in that," Reuben had said. "I'm none the
better for it."

"It's the first step, my son, toward repentance."

Reuben laughed a bitter laugh,--a laugh that made his father shudder.

"Sit down with me now, Reuben, and read a chapter in God's word; and
after it we will pray for His help."

"There it is again!" the boy had replied. "I knew it would come to

"And do you refuse, Reuben?"

"No, Sir, I don't, because I know it wouldn't be any use; for if I did,
I should have to go up stairs and mope in my chamber, and have Aunt
Eliza staring in upon me as if I was a murderer. But I sha'n't know what
you read five minutes after."

"My son, don't you know that will be an offence against God?"

"I can't help it."

"You _can_ help it, my son!--you _can_!"

And at this the Doctor, in an agony of spirit, (the boy recalled it
perfectly,) had risen and paced back and forth in his study; then, after
a little, threw himself upon his knees near to Reuben, and prayed
silently, with his hands clasped.

The boy had melted somewhat at this, and still more when the father rose
with traces of a tear in his eye.

"Are you not softened now, my son?"

"I always am when I see you going on that way," said Reuben.

"My poor son!"--and he had drawn the boy to him, gazing into the face
from which the blue eyes of the lost Rachel looked calmly out, moved
beyond himself.

If, indeed, the lost Rachel had been really there between the two, to
interpret the heart of the son to the father!

Is Reuben whimpering as the memory of this last tender episode comes to
his memory? What would Phil or the rest of the Ashfield fellows say to a
runaway boy sniffling under the edge of the wood? Not he, by George! And
he munches at his roll of gingerbread with a new zest,--confirming his
vagabond purpose, that just now wavered, with a thought of those tedious
Saturday nights and the "reasons annexed," and Aunt Eliza's sharp elbow
nudging him upon the hard pew-benches, as she gives a muffled, warning
whisper,--"Attend to the sermon, Reuben!"

And so, with glorious visions of Sindbad the Sailor in his mind, and a
cheery remembrance of Crusoe when he cut himself adrift from home and
family for his wonderful adventures, Reuben pushes gallantly on through
the woods in the direction of the river. He knows that somewhere, up or
down, a sloop will be found bound for New York. From the heights around
Ashfield, he has seen, time and again, their white sails specking some
distant field of blue. Once, too, upon a drive with the Doctor, he had
seen these marvellous vessels from a nearer point, and had looked
wistfully upon their white decks and green companion-ways.

Overhead the jays cried from the bare chestnut-trees; from time to time
the whirr of a brood of partridges startled him; the red squirrels
chattered; still he pushed on, catching a chance dinner at a wayside
farm-house, and by night had come within plain sight of the water. The
sloop Princess lay at the Glastenbury dock close by, laden with wood and
potatoes, and bound for New York the next morning. The kind-hearted
skipper, who was also the owner of the vessel, took a sudden fancy to
the sore-footed, blue-eyed boy who came aboard to bargain for a passage
to the city. The truant was not, indeed, overstocked with ready money,
but was willing to pawn what valuables he had about him, and hinted at a
rich aunt in the city who would make good what moneys were lacking. The
skipper has a shrewd suspicion how the matter stands, and, with a kindly
sympathy for the lad, consents to give him passage on condition he drops
a line into the mail to tell his friends which way he has gone; and
taking a dingy sheet of paper from the locker under his berth, he seats
Reuben with pen in hand at the cabin-table, whereupon the boy writes,--

     "DEAR FATHER,--I have come away from school. I don't know as
     you will like it much. I walked all the way from Bolton, and
     my feet are very sore; I don't think I could walk home.
     Captain Saul says he will take me by the way of New York. I
     can go and see Aunt Mabel. I will tell her you are all well.

     "How is Adèle and Phil and Rose and, the others? I hope you
     won't be very angry. I don't think Mr. Brummem's is much of
     a school. I don't learn so much there as I learned at home.
     I don't think the boys there are good companions. I think
     they are wicked boys sometimes. Mr. Brummem says they are.
     And he whips awful hard.

                        "Yr affect, son,


And the skipper, taking the letter ashore to post it, adds upon the

     "I opened the within to see who the boy was; and this is to
     say, I shall take him aboard, and shall be off Chatham Red
     Quarries to-morrow night and next day morning, and, if you
     signal from the dock, can send him ashore. Or, if this don't
     come in time, my berth is Peck Slip, in York.

                        "JOHN SAUL, Sloop Princess."

Next day they go drifting down the river. A quiet, smoky October day;
the distant hills all softened in the haze; the near shores green with
the fresh-springing aftermath. Reuben lounged upon the sunny side of the
mainsail, thinking, with respectful pity, of the poor fagged fellows in
roundabouts who were seated at that hour before the red desks in Parson
Brummem's school-room. At length he was enjoying a taste of that outside
life of which he had known only from travellers' books, or from such
lucky ones as the accomplished Tavern Boody. Henceforth he, too, would
have his stories to tell. The very rustle of the water around the prow
of the good sloop Princess was full, of Sindbad echoes. Was it not
remotely possible that he, too, like Captain Saul sitting there on the
taffrail smoking his pipe, should have his vessel at command some day,
and sail away wherever Fortune, with her iris-hued streamers, might
beckon? Not much of sentiment in the boy as yet, beyond the taste of
freedom, or--what is equivalent to it in the half-taught--vagabondage.
As for Rose, what does she know of sloops and the world? And Adèle?
Well, from this time forth at least, the boy can match her nautical
experience with an experience of his own. Possibly his humiliation and
conscious ignorance at the French girl's story of the sea were, as much
as anything, at the bottom of this wild vagary of his. For ten hours the
Captain lies off Chatham Quarries, taking on additional freight there;
but there is no signal from the passenger-dock. The next morning the
hawsers were cast off, and the mainsail run up again, while the Princess
surged away into the middle of the current.

"Now, my boy, we're in for a sail!" said Captain Saul.

"I'm glad," said Reuben, who would have been doubly glad, if he had
known of his narrow escape at the last landing.

"I suppose you haven't much of a kit?" said the Captain.

The truth is, that a pocket-comb was the extent of Reuben's equipment
for the voyage. It came out on further talk with the Captain; and the
boy was mortified to make such small show of appliances.

"Well, well," says the Captain, "we must keep this toggery for the city,
you know"; and he finds a blue woollen shirt,--for the boy is of good
height for his years,--and a foremast hand shortens in a pair of old
duck trousers for him, in which Reuben paces up and down the deck, with
a mortal dread at first lest the boom may make a dash against the wind
and knock him overboard, in quite sailorly fashion. The beef is hard
indeed; but a page or two out of "Dampier's Voyages," of which an old
copy is in the cabin, makes it seem all right. The shores, too, are
changing from hour to hour; a brig drifts within hail of them, which
Reuben watches, half envying the fortunate fellows in red shirts and
tasselled caps aboard, who are bound to Cuba, and in a fortnight's time
can pluck oranges off the trees there, to say nothing of pineapples and

Over the Saybrook Bar there is a plunging of the vessel which horrifies
him somewhat; but smooth weather follows, with long lines of hills
half-faded on the rim of the water, and the country sounds at last all
dead. A day or two of this, with only a mild autumnal breeze, and then a
sharp wind, with the foam flying over forecastle and wood-pile, between
the winding shores, toward Flushing Bay, brings sight of great white
houses with green turf coming down to the rocks, where the waves play
and break among the drifted sea-weed. Captain Saul is fast at his helm,
while the big boom creaks and crashes from side to side as he beats up
the narrowing channel, rounding Throg's Point, where the light-house and
old whitewashed fort stand shining in the sun,--skirting low rocky
islands, doubling other points, dashing at half-tide through the roar
and whirl of Hell Gate,--Reuben glowing with excitement, and mindful of
Kidd and of his buried treasure along these shores. Then came the
turreted Bridewell, and at last the spires, the forest of masts, with
all that prodigious, crushing, bewildering effect with which the first
sight of a great city weighs upon the thought of a country-taught boy.

"Now mind the rogues, Reuben," said Captain Saul, when they were fairly
alongside the dock; "and keep by your bunk for a day or two, boy. Don't
stray too far from the vessel,--Princess, Captain Saul, remember."


The Doctor is not a little shocked by the note which he receives from
Reuben, and which comes too late for the interception of the boy upon
the river. He writes to Mrs. Brindlock, begging the kind offices of her
husband in looking after the lad, until such time as he can come down
for his recovery. The next day, to complete his mortification, he
receives the epistle of Brother Brummem.

The good Doctor cannot rightly understand, in his simplicity, how such
apparent headlong tendency to sin should belong to this child of prayer.
At times he thinks he can trace back somewhat of the adventurous spirit
of the poor lad to the restless energy of his father, the Major; was it
not possible also--and the thought weighed upon him grievously--that he
inherited from him besides a waywardness in regard to spiritual matters,
and that "the sins of the fathers" were thus visited terribly upon the
children? The growing vagabondage of the boy distressed him the more by
reason of his own responsible connection with the little daughter of his
French friend. How should he, who could not guide in even courses the
child of his own loins, presume to conduct the little exile from the
heathen into paths of piety?

And yet, strange to say, the character of the blithe Adèle,
notwithstanding the terrible nature of her early associations, seems to
fuse more readily into agreement with the moral atmosphere about her
than does that of the recreant boy. There may not be, indeed, perfect
accord; but there are at least no sharp and fatal antagonisms to
overcome. If the lithe spirit of the girl bends under the grave
teachings of the Doctor, it bends with a charming grace, and rises again
smilingly, when sober speech is done, like the floweret she is. And if
her mirth is sometimes irrepressible through the long hours of their
solemn Sundays, it breaks up like bubbles from the deep quiet bosom of a
river, cheating even the grave parson to a smile that seems scarcely

"Oh, that sermon was so long,--so long to-day, New Papa! I am sure Dame
Tourtelot pinched the Deacon, or he would never, never have been awake
through it all."

Or, maybe, she steals a foot out of doors on a Sunday to the patch of
violets, gathering a little bunch, and appeals to the Doctor, who comes
with a great frown on his face,--

"New Papa, is it most wicked to carry flowers or fennel to church?
Godmother always gave me a flower on holydays."

And the Doctor is cheated of his rebuke; nay, he sometimes wonders, in
his self-accusing moments, if the Arch-Enemy himself has not lodged
under cover of that smiling face of hers, and is thus winning him to a
sinful gayety. There are times, too, when, after some playful badinage
of hers which has touched too nearly upon a grave theme, she interrupts
his solemn admonition with a sudden rush toward him, and a tap of those
little fingers upon his furrowed cheek:--

"Don't look so solemn, New Papa. Nobody will love you, if you look in
that way."

What if this, too, be some temptation of the Evil One, withdrawing him
from the grave thought of eternal things, diverting him from the solemn
aims of his mission?

There were snatches, too, of Latin hymns, taught her by the godmother,
and only half remembered,--hymns of glorious rhythm, which, as they
tripped from her halting tongue, brought a great burden of sacred
meanings, and were full of the tenderest associations of her childhood.
To these, too, the Doctor was half pained to find himself listening,
sometimes at nightfall of a Sunday, with an indulgent ear, and stoutly
querying with himself if Satan could fairly lurk in such holy words as

    "Dulcis memoria Iesu."

Adèle, as we have said, had accepted the duties of attendance upon the
somewhat long sermons of the Doctor and of weekly instructions in the
Catechism, with a willing spirit, and had gone through them
cheerfully,--not, perhaps, with the grave air of devotion which by
education and inheritance belonged to the sweet face of her companion,
Rose. Nay, she had sometimes rallied Rose upon the exaggerated
seriousness which fastened upon her face whenever the Bible tasks came
up. But Adèle, with that strong leaning which exists in every womanly
nature toward religious faith of some kind, had grown into a respect for
even the weightiest of the Christian gravities around her; not that they
became the sources of a new trust, but, through a sympathy that a heart
like hers could not resist, they rallied an old childish one into fresh
action. The strange, serious worship of those about her was only a new
guise--so at least it seemed to her simplicity--in which to approach the
same good God whom the godmother with herself had praised with chants
that rang once under the dim arches of the old chapel, smoky with
incense and glowing with pictures of saints, at Marseilles. And if
sometimes, as the shrill treble of Miss Almira smote upon her ear, she
craved a better music, and remembered the fragrant cloud rising from the
silver censers as something more grateful than the smoke leaking from
the joints of the stove-pipe in Ashfield meeting-house, and would have
willingly given up Miss Eliza's stately praises of her recitation for
one good hug of the godmother,--she yet saw, or thought she saw, the
same serene trust that belonged to her in the eyes of good Mistress
Onthank, in the kind face of Mrs. Elderkin, and in the calm look of the
Doctor when he lifted his voice every night at the parsonage in prayer
for "all God's people."

Would it be strange, too, if in the heart of a girl taught as she had
been, who had never known a mother's tenderness, there should be some
hidden leaning toward those traditions of the Romish faith in which a
holy mother appeared as one whose favor was to be supplicated? The
worship of the Virgin was, indeed, too salient an object of attack among
the heresies which the New England teachers combated, not to inspire a
salutary caution in Adèle and entire concealment of any respect she
might still feel for the Holy Mary. Nor was it so much a respect that
shaped itself tangibly among her religious beliefs as a secret craving
for that outpouring of maternal love denied her on earth,--a craving
which found a certain repose and tender alleviation in entertaining fond
regard for the sainted mother of Christ.

When, therefore, on one occasion, Miss Eliza had found among the toilet
treasures of Adèle a little lithographic print of the Virgin, with the
Christ's head surrounded by a nimbus of glory, and in her chilling way
had sneered at it as a heathen vanity, the poor child had burst into
tears, and carried the treasure to her bosom to guard it from
sacrilegious touch.

The spinster, rendered watchful, perhaps, by this circumstance, had on
another day been still more shocked to find in a corner of the
escritoire of Adèle a rosary, and with a very grave face had borne it
down for the condemnation of the Doctor.

"Adaly, my child, I trust you do not let this bawble bear any part in
your devotions?"

And the Doctor made a movement as if he would have thrown it out of the

"No, New Papa!" said Adèle, darting toward him, and snatching it from
his hand, with a fire in her eye he had never seen there before,--a
welling-up for a moment of the hot Provençal blood in her veins; "_de
grâce! je vous en prie_!" (in ecstatic moments her tongue ran to her own
land and took up the echo of her first speech,)--then growing calm, as
she held it, and looked into the pitying, wondering eyes of the poor
Doctor, said only, "It was my mother's."

Of course the kind old gentleman never sought to reclaim such a
treasure, but in his evening prayer besought God fervently "to overrule
all things,--our joys, our sorrows, our vain affections, our delight in
the vanities of this world, our misplaced longings,--to overrule all to
His glory and the good of those that love Him."

The Doctor writes to his friend Maverick at about this date,--

"Your daughter is still in the enjoyment of excellent health, and is
progressing with praiseworthy zeal in her studies. I cannot too highly
commend her general deportment, by which she has secured the affection
and esteem of all in the parish who have formed an acquaintance with
her. In respect of her religious duties, she is cheerful and punctual in
the performance of them; and I find it hard to believe that they should
prove only a 'savor of death unto death.' She listens to my discourse,
on most occasions, with a commendable patience, and seems kindly
disposed toward my efforts. Still I could wish much to see in her a
little more burdensome sense of sin and of the enormity of her
transgressions. We hope that she may yet be brought to a realizing sense
of her true condition.

"She is fast becoming a tall and graceful girl, and it may soon be
advisable to warn her against the vanities that overtake those of her
age who are still engrossed with carnal things. This advice would come
with a good grace, perhaps, from the father.

"A little rosary found among her effects has been the occasion of some
anxieties to my sister and myself, lest she might still have a leaning
toward the mockeries of the Scarlet Woman of Babylon; and I was at first
disposed to remove it out of her way. But being advised that it is
cherished as a gift of her mother, I have thought it not well to take
from her the only memento of so near and, I trust, dear a relative.

"May God have you, my friend, in His holy keeping!"


Reuben, taking the advice of Captain Saul, with whom he would cheerfully
have gone to China, had the sloop been bound thither, came back to his
bunk on the first night after a wandering stroll through the lower part
of the city. It is quite possible that he would have done the same,
viewing the narrowness of his purse, upon the second night, had he not
encountered at noon a gentleman in close conversation with the Captain,
whom he immediately recognized--though he had seen him but once
before--as Mr. Brindlock. This person met him very kindly, and with a
hearty shake of the hand, "hoped he would do his Aunt Mabel the honor of
coming to stay with them."

There was an air of irony in this speech which Reuben was quick to
perceive; and the knowing look of Captain Saul at once informed him that
all the romance of his runaway voyage was at an end. Both Mr. and Mrs.
Brindlock received him at their home with the utmost kindness, and were
vastly entertained by his story of the dismal life upon Bolton Hill, the
pursuit of the parson with his white-faced nag, and the subsequent
cruise in the sloop Princess. Mrs. Brindlock, a good-natured,
self-indulgent woman, was greatly taken with the unaffected country
naturalness of the lad, and was agreeably surprised at his very
presentable appearance: for Reuben at this date--he may have been
thirteen or fourteen--was of good height for his years, with a profusion
of light, wavy hair, a thoughtful, blue eye, and a lurking humor about
the lip which told of a great faculty for mischief. There was such an
absence, moreover, in this city home, of that stiffness with which his
Aunt Eliza had such a marvellous capacity for investing everything about
her, that the lad found himself at once strangely at his ease. Was it,
perhaps, (the thought flashed upon him,) because it was a godless home?
The spinster aunt had sometimes expressed a fear of this sort, whenever
stories of the Brindlock wealth had reached them. Howbeit, he was on
most familiar footing with both master and mistress before two days had
gone by.

"Aunt Mabel," he had said, "I suppose you'll be writing to the old
gentleman, and do please take my part. I can't go back to that
abominable Brummem; if I do, I shall only run away again, and go
farther: do tell him so."

"But why couldn't you have stayed at home, pray? Did you quarrel with
the little French girl? eh, Reuben?"

The boy flushed.

"Not with Adèle,--never!"

Brindlock, a shrewd, successful merchant, was, on his part, charmed with
the adventurous spirit of the boy, and with the Captain's report of the
way in which the truant had conducted negotiations for the trip. From
all which it came about, that Mrs. Brindlock, in writing to the Doctor
to inform him of Reuben's safe arrival, added an urgent request that the
boy might be allowed to pass the winter with them in New York; in which
event he could either attend school, (there being an excellent one in
her neighborhood,) or, if the Doctor preferred, Mr. Brindlock could give
him some light employment in the counting-room, and try his capacity for

At first thought, this proposition appeared very shocking to the Doctor;
but, to his surprise, Miss Eliza was strongly disposed to entertain it.
Her ambitious views for the family were flattered by it; and she kindly
waived, in view of them, her objections to the godless life which she
feared her poor sister was leading.

The Doctor was not fully persuaded by her, and took occasion to consult,
as was his wont in practical affairs, his friend Squire Elderkin.

"I rather like the plan," said the Squire, after some
consideration,--"quite like it, Doctor,--quite like it.

"You see, Doctor,"--and he slipped a finger into a buttonhole of the
good parson's, (the only man in the parish who would have ventured upon
such familiarity,)--"I think we've been a little strict with Reuben,--a
little strict. He's a fine, frank, straight-for'ard lad, but
impulsive,--impulsive, Doctor. Your father, the Major, had a little of
it,--quicker blood than you or I, Doctor. We can't wind up every boy
like a clock; there's some that go with weights, and there's some that
go with springs. Then, too, I think, Doctor, there's a little of the old
Major's _fight_ in the boy. I think he has broken over a good many of
our rules very much because the rules were there, and provoked him to
try his strength.

"Now, Doctor, there's been a good deal of this kind of thing, and our
Aunt Eliza puts her foot down rather strongly, which won't be a bugbear
to the boy with Mrs. Brindlock; besides which, there's your old friend,
Rev. Dr. Mowry, at the Fulton-Street Church close by"----

"So he is, so he is," said the Doctor; "I had forgotten that."

"And then, to tell the truth, Doctor, between you and I," (and the
Squire was working himself into some earnestness,) "I don't believe that
all the wickedness in the world is cooped up in the cities. In my
opinion, the small towns have a pretty fair sprinkling,--a pretty fair
sprinkling, Doctor; and if it's contagious, as I've heard, I think I
know of some places in country parishes that might be called infectious.
And I tell you what it is, Doctor, the Devil" (and he twitched upon the
Doctor's coat as if he were in a political argument) "doesn't confine
himself to large towns. He goes into the rural districts, in my opinion,
about as regularly as the newspapers; and he holds his ground a
confounded sight longer."

How much these views may have weighed with the Doctor it would be
impossible to say. If they did not influence directly, they were
certainly suggestive of considerations which did have their weight. The
result was, that permission was given for the stay of Reuben, on
condition that Mr. Brindlock could give him constant occupation, and
that he should be regular in his attendance on the Sabbath at the
Fulton-Street Church. Shortly after, the Doctor goes to the city,
provided, by the watchful care of Miss Eliza, with a complete wardrobe
for the truant boy, and bearing kind messages from the household. But
chiefly it is the Doctor's object to give his poor boy due admonition
for his great breach of duty, and to insist upon his writing to the
worthy Mr. Brummem a full apology for his conduct. He also engages his
friend of the Fulton-Street parish to have an eye upon his son, and to
report to him at once any wide departure from the good conduct he

Reuben writes the apology insisted upon to Mr. Brummem in this style:--

     "MY DEAR SIR,--I am sorry that I threw 'Daboll' in your face
     as I did, and hope you will forgive the same.

                        "Yours respectfully."

But after the Doctor's approval of this, the lad cannot help adding a
postscript of his own to this effect:--

     "P.S. I hope old Whiteface didn't lose a shoe when you drove
     out on the river road? I saw you; for I was sitting in the
     edge of the woods, eating Keziah's gingerbread. Please thank
     her, and give my respects to all the fellows."

Miss Johns considers it her duty to write a line of expostulation to her
nephew, which she does, with faultless penmanship, in this strain:--

     "We were shocked to hear of your misconduct toward the
     worthy Mr. Brummem. I could hardly believe it possible that
     Master Reuben Johns had been guilty of such an indiscretion.
     Your running away was, I think, uncalled for, and the
     embarkment upon the sloop, under the circumstances, was
     certainly very reprehensible. I trust that we shall hear
     only good accounts of you from this period forth, and that
     you will be duly grateful for your father's distinguished
     kindness in allowing you to stay in New York. I shall be
     happy to have you write to me an occasional epistle, and
     hope to see manifest a considerable improvement in your
     handwriting. Does Sister Mabel wear her ermine cape this
     winter? I trust we shall hear of your constant attendance at
     the Fulton-Street Church, and hear only commendation of you
     in whatever, duties you may be called to engage. Adèle
     speaks of you often, and I think misses you very much

Yet the spinster aunt was not used to flatter Reuben with any such
mention as this. "What can she mean," said he, musingly, "by talking
such stuff to me?"

Phil Elderkin, too, after a little, writes long letters that are full of
the daily boy-life at Ashfield:--how "the chestnutting has been
first-rate this year," and he has a bushel of prime ones seasoning in
the garret;--how Sam Throop, the stout son of the old postmaster, has
had a regular tussle with the master in school, "hot and heavy, over the
benches, and all about, and Sam was expelled, and old Crocker got a
black eye, and, darn him, he's got it yet";--and how "_somebody_ (name
unknown) tied a smallish tin kettle to old Hobson's sorrel mare's tail
last Saturday night, and the way she went down the street was a
caution!"--and how Nat Boody has got a new fighting-dog, and _such_ a
ratter!--and how Suke, "the divine Suke, is, they say, going to marry
the stage-driver. _Sic transit gloria mulie_--something,--for I'll be
hanged, if I know the proper case."

And there are some things this boisterous Phil writes in tenderer
mood:--how "Rose and Adèle are as thick as ever, and Adèle comes up
pretty often to pass an evening,--glad enough, I guess, to get away from
Aunt Eliza,--and I see her home, of course. She plays a stiff game of
backgammon; she never throws but she makes a point; she beats me."

And from such letters the joyous shouts and merry halloos of the
Ashfield boys come back to him again; he hears the rustling of the
brook, the rumbling of the mill; he sees the wood standing on the hills,
and the girls at the door-yard gates; the hum of voices in the old
academy catches his ear, and the drowsy song of the locusts coming in at
the open windows all the long afternoons of August; and he watches again
the glancing feet of Rose--who was once Amanda--tripping away under the
sycamores; and the city Mortimer bethinks him of another Amanda, of
browner hue and in coquettish straw, idling along the same street, with
reticule lightly swung upon her finger; and the boy bethinks him of
tender things he might have said in the character of Mortimer, but never
did say, and of kisses he might have stolen, (in the character of
Mortimer,) but never did steal.

And now these sights, voices, vagaries, as month after month passes in
his new home, fade,--fade, yet somehow abide. The patter of a thousand
feet are on the pavement around him. What wonder, if, in the surrounding
din, the tranquillity of Ashfield, its scenes, its sounds, should seem a
mere dream of the past? What wonder, if the solemn utterances from the
old pulpit should be lost in the roar of the new voices? The few months
he was to spend in their hearing run into a score, and again into
another score. Two or three years hence we shall meet him
again,--changed, certainly; but whether for better or for worse the
sequel will show.

And Rose?--and Adèle?

Well, well, we must not overleap the quiet current of our story. While
the May violets are in bloom, let us enjoy them and be thankful; and
when the autumn flowers are come to take their places, let us enjoy
those, too, and thank God.


        "Once I sat upon a promontory,
    And heard a mermaid, on a dolphin's back,
    Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
    That the rude sea grew civil at her song;
    And certain stars shot madly from their spheres
    To hear the sea-maid's music."

                  _A Midsummer Night's Dream._

Men have a commodious faith generally, and in the things of land and
water; but they do not believe in the mermaid.

Once, a thousand years ago, a certain Arabian traveller described an
Oriental fish that came up out of the sea to catch flies or to get a
drink. It was no crabbed crustacean, no compromise of claws; but a fish
with fins,--a perch: and, being a perch, it not only came up on dry
land, but did, the traveller said, climb trees. There was a climax! No
one characterized this story fitly, for all perceived that the Arabian
must know its nature very well. And so the Arabian traveller died in
good time, and the thousand years went on about their business, and in
our days the fish story has been verified. Now it rests, partly, on the
authority of "two Dutch naturalists residing at Tranquebar." Two Dutch
naturalists are a good foundation for anything less than a pyramid. In
this matter they are not alone, however; for the naturalist Daldorf,
also, who was a lieutenant in the Danish East-India Company's service,
communicated to Joseph Banks, who "did not believe in the mermaid," that
"in the year 1791 he had taken this fish from a moist cavity in the stem
of a Palmyra palm which grew near a lake." More than this, "he saw it
when already five feet above the ground struggling to ascend still
higher." And this was its process: "suspending itself by its
gill-covers, and bending its tail to the left, it fixed its anal fin in
the cavity of the bark, and sought by expanding its body to urge its way
upward"; and its progress was arrested only by the hand with which the
valiant Daldorf seized it. More in reference to the same fish may be
found in Tennent's great book on Ceylon, in Hartwig, and later
naturalists generally.

Men would naturally doubt of fish in trees. Even the Chinese would. "To
climb a tree in pursuit of fish," is a phrase actually used as an
hyperbole of nonsense by many Tsze, in the book called "Shang Mung." And
the above is therefore a fair instance of the progress of human
intelligence,--of a thousand years of incredulity, and final scientific
admission. Let it be taken here as absinthe, appetizingly.

The ancients believed, among other things, that man had, to say the
least, relations in the various departments of Nature and in the various
divisions of animal life; that there were wild men who lived in the
forests, and differed from man proper principally in other than
physical respects; and that there were wild men who lived in the sea:
also that there were beings half-man and half-horse; others half-man and
half-bird; and others, again, half-man and half-fish. In respect to the
wild man of the woods, it may be said that those words are the literal
signification of the Malayan words _orang outang_; and that animal's
appearance seems to determine that the Satyr and kindred creatures were
not entirely imaginations. For the half-man and half-horse we have
abundant explanation in the various wild riding tribes of men,
especially the Tartars. The half-bird appears to have been distinguished
for only a singing reason, and is therefore, as it were, a piece of
heraldry. For the wild man of the sea, and the half-man and half-fish,
what have we?

Let us see.

Apparently the earliest presentation to men's eyes of that form under
which the mermaid is still figured was the image, in very ancient days,
of Derceto, goddess of the Philistines of Ascalon, in a temple of that
city. She was woman above and fish below. She had been a beautiful
virgin, but had excited that all-prevalent passion since irregulated by
Aphrodite. It proved her ruin, she cast herself into the sea, and
suffered the partial metamorphosis. So was it fabled in that land: but
it is much more plausibly thought that the combination of woman and fish
declared, hieroglyphically, some dim knowledge that those ancients had
of certain relations between the moon and the sea, of which things the
respective parts were typical.

Half-fishy also was the form of that Dagon which in Ashdod, or Azotus,
another city of the Philistines, fell down upon his face before the ark
of the Lord. This Dagon was the god, apparently, in whose honor the
Philistines were gathered together on that day when blind Samson "took
hold of the two middle pillars," and let down the roof, and caught so
many swallows.

According to an ancient fable, preserved by Berosus, this is what was
known of Dagon. In the first year, there appeared, coming out of that
part of the Erythræan Sea which borders upon Babylonia, an animal whose
whole body was that of a fish; but under the fish's head he had another
head, with feet below similar to those of a man, subjoined to the fish's
tail. His voice was articulate and human, and he taught men to construct
cities, to found temples, compile laws,--indeed, taught them everything
that could tend to soften them from a state of natural barbarism; and
hence he was called Oannes, a name that signified "the Enlightener"; and
this name journeying westward became contracted into _On_, and had
prefixed to it the _Dag_, signifying _a fish_, and so became Dagon.

An image of Oannes is mentioned by Berosus as preserved in his time, and
one has been found on the walls of Nimroud. In the ruins near Khorsabad
was found another of Dagon in his final Phoenician form. Engravings of
both these may be seen in "Nineveh and its Palaces."

In the story of Oannes we have probably the account preserved by a rude
people of the advent among them at a very early period of one more
enlightened than themselves; just as the Peruvians accounted in their
peculiar way for the coming of Manco Capac. He comes also from a land
farther east, by the Persian Gulf. These people were at the time very
likely ignorant of even the most rudimentary navigation, and hence
coming by water he was to them a fish indeed.

The incarnation of Brahma as a fish--the Matsya Avatar--is recounted in
much Sanscrit; but it appears to be only a symbolical reference to a
great division of Nature,--a heathen assertion of God in the sea, as
well as elsewhere. The same is true of the marine deities of Greece and
Rome, which were not fishy, though the words Triton and Nereïd have led
to misconception, as in relation to those words it is necessary to
understand a distinction that has not always been made. The mythological
Triton was one,--a sea-god subordinate to Poseidon, and played a
conspicuous part in Deucalion's flood. He is pictured by Ovid as
carrying a horn, and wearing a Tynan robe, that may be construed into a
blue jacket,--which would make him the original sailor. The Nereïds were
fifty. They were the daughters of Nereus, and, pursued by the fifty sons
of Ægyptus, could find rest in no land, and became wanderers upon the
sea, and at length sea-nymphs. Each had a special, besides the general

There does, however, appear to have been a "fishy composure" held sacred
by the Greeks: this was the _Pompilus_, "Pompilus," says Apollonius
Rhodius, "was originally a man, and he was changed into a fish on
account of a love-affair of Apollo's. They say that Apollo fell in love
with a beauty named Ocyrhoe, and that, when she had crossed over to
Miletus, at the time of a festival, and was afraid to return lest the
god should attack her, she induced Pompilus, a sailor, and friend to her
father, to see her safely home; and that he led her down to the shore
and embarked, when Apollo appeared, took the maiden, sunk the ship, and
metamorphosed Pompilus into a fish." Others assert this fish to have
sprung at the same time with Aphrodite, and from the same heavenly
blood. What fish it was it is scarcely possible to say; but that there
was a fish bearing this name held sacred by the Greeks is certain.

The Triton, in which the ancients believed as part of the physical
world, was a different being from the deity. He was the classical
Merman. The term _Nereïd_ was used confusedly to express the female of
the Triton, or the Mermaid.

The passage, in his "Natural History," where Pliny speaks of the Triton,
indicates that the existence of such an animal was not universally
admitted. It is prefaced thus:--"The vulgar notion may very possibly be
true, that whatever is produced in any other department of Nature may be
found in the sea as well." We are then told that a deputation of persons
from Olisipo, (the present Lisbon,) that had been sent for the purpose,
brought word to the Emperor Tiberius that a Triton had been both seen
and heard in a certain cavern, blowing a conch-shell, and that he was of
the form in which Tritons are usually represented.

This is so simple and meagre as to read like an extract from some diary
or annals; and the mere existence of such a passage seems to be good
evidence that something, at the least, like a Triton, was certainly
seen. For Pliny was sufficiently near to this time to know whether such
a deputation had come to Rome, and would scarcely have volunteered a
falsehood; so that the deputation may reasonably be granted. Then the
distance from Lisbon to Rome was so great, particularly in that
ante-railroad time, and the general interest in the Merman so little,
that it does not seem possible a deputation should be sent that distance
"for the purpose" only of presenting this information, unless the proof
of the object seen was of the most convincing character to those by whom
the deputation was sent.

It is to be regretted that Pliny did not give at more length the
statement of this early scientific commission. He does not leave the
subject immediately, however, but says,--

"I have some distinguished informants of equestrian rank, who state that
they themselves once saw in the Ocean of Gades a sea-man which bore in
every part of his body a perfect resemblance to a human being; and that
during the night he would climb up into ships, upon which the side of
the vessel where he seated himself would instantly sink downward, and,
if he remained there any considerable time, even go under water."

Gades was Cadiz, and the Ocean of Gades was that part of the Atlantic
lying south and west of Spain and west of Africa. The statement of the
Merman's boarding a ship is, a little singularly, to be found as well in
the ballad of the "Merman Rosmer," which comes into English from a
Scandinavian source. The effect of his boarding a ship is identical
also. He would seem to have been a heavy fellow, North and South.

"Nor yet," says Pliny, still on the same subject, "is the figure
generally attributed to the Nereïds [Mermaids] at all a fiction; only in
them the portion of the body that resembles the human figure is still
rough all over with scales. For one of these creatures was seen upon the
same shores, [Ocean of Gades,] and as it died its plaintive murmurs were
heard, even by the inhabitants at a distance. The legates of Gaul, too,
wrote word to the late Emperor Augustus, that a considerable number of
Nereïds had been found dead upon the sea-shore."

Entire faith in the scales is not exacted of the reader, and the weight
of authority, especially scientific, is against them. No marine mammals
have scales. There is, of course, no knowing what they may have had. The
statement of what the legates of Gaul wrote to the Emperor is of most
consequence in this extract, and it is perhaps out of a natural respect
for authority that we are inclined to give most weight to these official
communications. Officials, it is true, have sometimes erred; but these
officials agree with others, and to be stranded has been a common
misfortune of mermen and maids.

Alexander of Alexandria, the good Bishop who had so healthy an
abhorrence of Arianism, _saw_ (upon his own authority) a Nereïd
(Mermaid) that had been thrown ashore on the coast of the Peloponnesus.
Seeing was believing; and if the Bishop was right in so many things, all
the way up to Divinity, is it possible that he could be wrong in the
mere fact of a dead animal? Or if he was wrong in this particular, is
not the whole question as to the right or wrong of Arianism opened

A mermaid was stranded in 1403 near Haerlem,--driven ashore by a
tempest, said one Meyer, a Dutchman. It was brought to feed upon bread
and milk, taught to spin, and lived for many years. John Gerard of
Leyden adds, that she would frequently pull off her clothes and run
toward the water, and that her speech was so confused a noise as not to
be understood by anybody. She was buried in the churchyard, because she
had learned to make the sign of the cross. They had much consideration
for a possible soul in those days.

Gerard spoke this upon the credit of several persons who had seen her.
We find noted by another author, that, "in the fifteenth century, after
a dreadful tempest on the coast of Holland, a mermaid was found
struggling in the mud, near Edam, in West Friesland; whence it was
carried to Haerlem, where it lived some years, was clothed in female
apparel, and, it is said, was taught to spin." This was apparently the

This creature is said to have run,--a thing somewhat inconsistent with a
caudal termination,--and she must be supposed, therefore, to be of the
Wild-Man-of-the-Sea family rather than of the half-man, half-fish. She
was, perhaps, a relative of this next, recorded in an ancient English

"In the time of King Henry I., when Bartholomew de Glanville was warden
of Oxford Castle, the fishermen took in their nets a wild man, having
the human shape complete, with horns on his head, and long and pick
beard, and a great deal of shaggy hair on his breast; but he stole away
to sea privately, and was never seen afterwards."

He wished, evidently, to avoid the embarrassment of the farewell.

Another of these footed sea-men makes his appearance in the book of
Gellius on Animals. Therein is recounted the history, as far as landsmen
knew it, of a Triton that used to come ashore on the coast of Epirus,
and lie in wait by a well but a short distance from the sea, and who,
when the country girls came to the well for water, would leap out and
seize them, and bear them away beneath the waves; and not able to
conceive the peculiarity of the human lungs that lurked beneath their
beautiful bosoms, many a one the wretch thus drowned in his passionate
admiration. Beautiful Greek girls! with such limbs as have come down in
marble! Life under the sea seems favorable to the perfection of a
correct taste.

_Mem._--The reader is not at liberty to doubt this Triton. Draconetus
Bonifacius, a Neapolitan, subsequently saw him preserved in honey.

In 1560 the fishermen of Ceylon caught seven of these sea-people of both
sexes. They were seen by many Portuguese gentlemen then at Menar, and,
among the rest, by Dimaz Bosquez, physician to the Viceroy of Goa, who
minutely examined them, made dissections, and asserted that the
principal parts, internal and external, were conformable to those of the
human species.[A]

In the reign of Roger, King of Sicily, a young man swimming in the sea,
one night, perceived that something followed him. He thought it one of
his companions, but caught it by the hair, and dragged it on shore. It
was a maiden of great beauty! He threw his cloak about her, and took her
to his home. There she lived with him and bore a son. But he was
continually troubled that one so beautiful should be dumb; for she had
never spoken. One day a companion jeered at the spectre that he had at
home, and, angry and terrified, he urged her to tell him who or what she
was, and threatened with his sword to kill the child before her, if she
did not. Then she said that he had lost a good wife by forcing her to
speak; and she vanished. A few years after, when the son was playing on
the shore, his mother dragged him into the sea, and he was drowned.

In the South of France a belief prevails in beings called Dracs, who
have apparently a complete human form, and who inhabit indifferently the
rivers or the sea. Gervase of Tilbury has recorded several instances of
their appearance, of which the following is one:--

"There is on the banks of the Rhone, under a guard-house at the north
gate of the city of Arles, a great pool of the river. In these deep
places they say that the Dracs are often seen of bright nights. A few
years ago, there was, for three successive days, openly heard the
following words in the place outside the gate of the city which I have
mentioned, while the figure, as it were, of a man ran along the
bank,--'The hour is past, and the man does not come!' On the third day,
about the ninth hour, while the figure of a man raised his voice higher
than usual, a young man ran swiftly to the bank, plunged in, and was
swallowed up, and the voice was heard no more."

The depths of the sea appear to be the Fairy Land of France, and the
French Mermaids merely fairies. Such is their character in popular
ballads of Provence. Among popular legends of Brittany, "The Groac'h of
the Isle of Lok" is peculiarly striking, but withal merely a fairy
story,--the Groac'h being a first cousin at least of Undine and the
Lorelei. Yet in Brittany another Mermaid--Morgan, or Morverc'h,
sea-woman, or sea-daughter--sings and combs its golden hair by the
noontide sun at the edge of the ocean.

The Irish Moruach, or Merrow, seamaid, is the _bonâ fide_ Mermaid, and
some families in the South of Ireland are said to claim descent from
them. There are numerous legends.

Mermaids are plentiful in all accounts of Norway; and Aldrovandus gives
the portrait of one that was captured in the Baltic, and presented to
Sigismund, King of Poland. It lived several days, and was seen by all
his court. Aldrovandus gives also the picture of a Merman who, in his
natural condition, had the appearance of being clothed in a bishop's
frock, and of another with horns, which was a peculiarity of the one
taken in England somewhat earlier.

In Scandinavian mythology every division of Nature is peopled with its
peculiar spirits, and all have a longing, mournful desire for salvation.
A river-spirit, or Nek, once asked a priest if he would likely be saved.

"Sooner," answered the priest, "will this cane which I hold in my hand
grow green flowers than thou attain salvation."

The spirit wept mournfully, and the priest passed on. But in a little
while his cane actually bloomed, and put forth leaves and blossoms, and
he went back and told the spirit, who then sang and rejoiced all night.

The Havmand is the Merman; the Havfrue, the Mermaid. They are handsome,
rather beneficent than evil, though occasionally both are treacherous.
"Fishermen sometimes see the Mermaid in the bright summer sun, when a
thin mist hangs over the sea, sitting on the surface of the water, and
combing her long, golden hair with a golden comb, or driving up her
snow-white cattle to feed on the islands. At other times she comes as a
beautiful maiden, chilled and shivering with the cold of night, to the
fires the fishers have, hoping by this means to entice them to her

In the Faroe Islands the Mermaid of popular belief merges insensibly
into the Seal; and in Shetland it is believed, that, while they are
distinct beings, they can only come to the surface of sea by entering
the skin of some animal capable of existing in the water. This also is
always the Seal. In this form they land on some rock and amuse
themselves as they will. But they must take care of these skins, for
without them they can never return.

One summer's eve, a Shetlander walked along the shore of a little inlet,
By the moonlight he saw, at some distance before him, a number of these
sea-people who had "left unsounded depths to dance on sands." Near them,
on the ground, he saw several seal-skins.

As he approached, the disturbed dancers precipitately made to their
garments, drew them on, and, in the form of seals, plunged into the sea.
When he came up, he saw one seal-skin still there; he snatched it up,
ran away, and secured it. He then returned. There he met upon the shore
the fairest maiden that eye ever gazed upon. She was lamenting piteously
the loss of her seal-skin robe, without which she could never rejoin her
friends or reach her watery home. He endeavored to console her. She
implored him to restore her dress; but her beauty had decided that. At
last, as he continued inexorable, she consented to become his wife. They
were married and had several children, who retained no mark of the
watery strain, save a thin web between their fingers and a peculiar bend
of the hand.

The Shetlander's love for his wife was unbounded, but she made a cold
return. Often she stole out alone and hastened to the sea-shore, and at
a given signal a seal of large size would appear, and they would hold
converse for hours in an unknown language, when she would return home
pensive and melancholy.

So years passed and her hopes vanished, when one day the children,
playing behind a stack of corn, found a seal-skin. Delighted, they ran
to show the prize to their mother. She was no less delighted, for she
saw in it the lost home and friends beneath the water. Yet she loved her
children. That proved but a slight pang, and with many embraces she fled
to the sea.

The husband came in almost immediately, and hearing what had happened
ran out only to see her plunge into the sea, where she was joined by the
seal. She looked back and saw his misery, "Farewell!" she said. "I loved
you well while I was with you, but I always loved my first husband

"Near the coast," says Sir James Forbes, "we saw many sorts of fish, but
did not meet with many of the Mermaids so often mentioned in these seas
especially by Mr. Matcham, a gentleman of great respectability, and at
that time superintendent of the Company's Marine at Bombay. I have heard
him declare, that, when in command of a trading vessel at Mozambique,
Mombaz, and Melinda, three of the principal seaports on the east coast
of Africa, he frequently saw these extraordinary animals from six to
twelve feet long; the head resembling the human, except about the nose
and mouth, which were rather more like a hog's snout; the skin fair and
smooth; the head covered with dark, glossy hair of considerable length;
the neck, breasts, and body of the female as low as the hips, appeared
like a well-formed woman; from thence to the extremity of the tail they
were perfect fish. The shoulders and arms were in good proportion, but
from the elbow tapered to a fin, like the turtle or penguin."

The very curious reader should examine Cuvier's account of the Manatee,
or Manatus, (called from its hands,) and of the Halicore, or Dugong,
"from its mammæ, called the Mermaid." Concerning this latter Hartwig has
the following sentence:--"When they raise themselves with the front part
of their body out of the water, a lively fancy might easily be led to
imagine that a human shape, though certainly none of the most beautiful,
was surging from the deep."

This is the testimony, and our deduction is short and simple.

We see, first, in the East, two hieroglyphs: one, the fishy man-monster,
expressive of a joint dominion over land and sea; the other, a woman and
fish conjoined, and expressive of relationship between the moon and the
sea; and thus _form_ of the Mermaid grew; and as that which had in its
mythology the latter of the figures was a maritime nation, the figure
was spread abroad and perpetuated. Next, in the North we see the
imagination that placed a colony of trolls under every hill, a tiny
creature under every "cowslip's bell," and a separate spirit in every
little stream, peopling also the outer ocean with its creatures; and
here the perfect _idea_ of the Mermaid, with its various beneficent or
mischievous qualities, appears.

Between these two put the sailor, always superstitious and of ready
credulity, and very often ignorant that the stories and the figure were
not the actual results of human experience, and, their reality assumed,
whatever strange thing he saw in his wanderings would be naturally
referred to them, whether it were an occasional Dugong, or only a seal
erected in the water at such a distance that the sunbeams on his shining
coat made it seem white.

And this is the natural history of the Mermaid.

Aside from this, if one were Quixotically inclined to assert the
Mermaid, he would find in all that has been said nothing of weight
against it; and after what has been proved to have existed, it is hard
to say what is impossible. The Ichthyophagi of Diodorus, while they
retained their human form, were more than half-fish, fishes in blood and
instinct very clearly. Tendencies exaggerate themselves very strangely
in a few centuries. A negro's under-lip has been so big as to hang down
before him like an apron. Cuvier declares that we "may trace the
gradations of one and the same plan, from man to the last of the
fishes"; and Mr. Darwin's theory appears to involve something like
Mermaids as inevitable links, existing or extinct, in the chain of
universal life.


[A] See _Memoirs of an Oriental Residence_.--Sir James Forbes.


    Sailing away!
    Losing the breath of the shores in May,--
    Dropping down from the beautiful bay,
    Over the sea-slope vast and gray!
    And the Skipper's eyes with a mist are blind;
    For thoughts rush up on the rising wind
    Of a gentle face that he leaves behind,
    And a heart that throbs through the fog-bank dim,
              Thinking of him.

              Far into night
    He watches the gleam of the lessening light
    Fixed on the dangerous island-height
    That bars the harbor he loves from sight;
    And he wishes at dawn he could tell the tale
    Of how they had weathered the southwest gale,
    To brighten the cheek that had grown so pale
    With a sleepless night among spectres grim,--
              Terrors for him.

    Here's the Bank where the fishermen go!
    Over the schooner's sides they throw
    Tackle and bait to the deeps below.
    And Skipper Ben in the water sees,
    When its ripples curl to the light land-breeze,
    Something that stirs like his apple-trees,
    And two soft eyes that beneath them swim,
              Lifted to him.

              Hear the wind roar,
    And the rain through the slit sails tear and pour!
    "Steady! we'll scud by the Cape Ann shore,--
    Then hark to the Beverly bells once more!"
    And each man worked with the will of ten;
    While up in the rigging, now and then,
    The lightning glared in the face of Ben,
    Turned to the black horizon's rim,
              Scowling on him.

              Into his brain
    Burned with the iron of hopeless pain,
    Into thoughts that grapple and eyes that strain,
    Pierces the memory, cruel and vain!
    Never again shall he walk at ease
    Under his blossoming apple-trees
    That whisper and sway in the sunset-breeze,
    While the soft eyes float where the sea-gulls skim,
              Gazing with him.

              How they went down
    Never was known in the still old town:
    Nobody guessed how the fisherman brown,
    With the look of despair that was half a frown,
    Faced his fate in the furious night,
    Faced the mad billows with hunger white,
    Just within hail of the beacon-light,
    That shone on a woman sweet and trim,
              Waiting for him.

              Beverly bells,
    Ring to the tide as it ebbs and swells!
    His was the anguish a moment tells,--
    The passionate sorrow Death quickly knells;
    But the wearing wash of a lifelong woe
    Is left for the desolate heart to know,
    Whose tides with the dull years come and go,
    Till hope drifts dead to its stagnant brim,
              Thinking of him.


The assassination of President Lincoln threw a whole nation into
mourning,--the few exceptions to those who deplored the President's
violent and untimely end only serving to make the general regret the
more manifest. Of all our Presidents since Washington, Mr. Lincoln had
excited the smallest amount of that feeling which places its object in
personal danger. He was a man who made a singularly favorable impression
on those who approached him, resembling in that respect President
Jackson, who often made warm friends of bitter foes, when circumstances
had forced them to seek his presence; and it is probable, that, if he
and the honest chiefs of the Rebels could have been brought face to
face, there never would have been civil war,--at least, any contest of
grand proportions; for he would not have failed to convince them that
all that they had any right to claim, and therefore all that they could
expect their fellow-citizens to fight for would be more secure under his
government than it had been under the governments of such men as Pierce
and Buchanan, who made use of sectionalism and slavery to promote the
selfish interests of themselves and their party. The estimation in which
he was latterly held by the most intelligent of the Secessionists
indicates, that, had they been acquainted with him, their Secessionism
never would have got beyond the nullification of the Palmetto
Nullifiers; and that was all fury and fuss, without any fighting in it.
Ignorance was the parent of the civil war, as it has been the parent of
many other evils,--ignorance of the character and purpose of the man who
was chosen President in 1860-61, and who entered upon official life with
less animosity toward his opponents than ever before or since had been
felt by a man elected to a great place after a bitter and exciting
contest. There is not the slightest reason for doubting the sincerity of
Mr. Lincoln's declaration, that his administration should be
Constitutional in its character; nor can it be said that the earlier
Rebels ever supposed that he would invade their Constitutional rights.
They rebelled because circumstances enabled them to attempt the
realization of their long-cherished dream of a slave-holding
Confederacy, and because they saw that never again, in their time, would
another such opportunity be offered to effect a traitorous purpose. It
was clear to every mind that a year of quiet under the new
administration would dispel the delusion that the North was about to
overthrow the old polity; and therefore the violent men of the South
were determined that that administration never should have a fair trial.
Their action at Charleston, in 1860, by rendering the election of the
Republican candidate certain, shows that they wished an occasion for
revolt; and the course of President Buchanan, who refused to take the
commonest precautions for the public safety, gave them a vantage-ground
which they speedily occupied, and so made war inevitable.

That one of the most insignificant of their number should have murdered
the man whose election they declared to be cause for war is nothing
strange, being in perfect keeping with their whole course. The wretch
who shot the chief magistrate of the Republic is of hardly more account
than was the weapon which he used. The real murderers of Mr. Lincoln are
the men whose action brought about the civil war. Booth's deed was a
logical proceeding, following strictly from the principles avowed by the
Rebels, and in harmony with their course during the last five years. The
fall of a public man by the hand of an assassin always affects the mind
more strongly than it is affected by the fall of thousands of men in
battle; but in strictness, Booth, vile as his deed was, can be held to
have been no worse, morally, than was that old gentleman who insisted
upon being allowed the privilege of firing the first shot at Fort
Sumter. Ruffin's act is not so disgusting as Booth's; but of the two
men, Booth exhibited the greater courage,--courage of the basest kind,
indeed, but sure to be attended with the heaviest risks, as the hand of
every man would be directed against its exhibitor. Had the Rebels
succeeded, Ruffin would have been honored by his fellows; but even a
successful Southern Confederacy would have been too hot a country for
the abode of a wilful murderer. Such a man would have been no more
pleasantly situated even in South Carolina than was Benedict Arnold in
England. And as he chose to become an assassin after the event of the
war had been decided, and when his victim was bent upon sparing Southern
feeling so far as it could be spared without injustice being done to the
country, Booth must have expected to find his act condemned by every
rational Southern man as a worse than useless crime, as a blunder of the
very first magnitude. Had he succeeded in getting abroad, Secession
exiles would have shunned him, and have treated him as one who had
brought an ineffaceable stain on their cause, and also had rendered
their restoration to their homes impossible. The pistol-shot of Sergeant
Corbett saved him from the gallows, and it saved him also from the
denunciations of the men whom he thought to serve. He exhibited,
therefore, a species of courage that is by no means common; for he not
only risked his life, and rendered it impossible for honorable men to
sympathize with him, but he ran the hazard of being denounced and cast
off by his own party. This places him above those who would have
assassinated their country, but who took care to keep themselves within
the rules of honorable action, as the world counts honor. He perilled
everything, while they staked only their lives and their property. Their
success would have justified them in general estimation, but his success
would have been his ruin. He was fortunate in meeting death so soon, and
not less so in the mode of his exit from the stage of life. All
Secessionists who retain any self-respect must rejoice that one whose
doings brought additional ignominy on a cause that could not well bear
it has passed away and gone to his account. It would have been more
satisfactory to loyal men, if he had been reserved for the gallows; but
even they must admit that it is a terrible trial to any people who get
possession of an odious criminal, because they may be led so to act as
to disgrace themselves, and to turn sympathy in the direction of the
evil-doer. No fouler murder ever was perpetrated than that of which
Booth was guilty; and had he been taken alive and sound, it is possible
that our conduct would not have been of such a character as it would
have been pleasing to think of after our just passion should have
cooled. We should recollect, that, a hundred and sixty years after its
occurrence, the shouting of Englishmen over the verdict of _Guilty_
rendered against Charnock and his associates, because of their part in
the Assassination Plot, is condemned by the greatest of English
historians, who was the last man to be suspected of sympathizing with
men who sought to murder William III. A disposition to insult the
fallen, no matter how vile may be their offences or how just their fall,
is not an American characteristic; but so wide-spread and well-founded
was the indignation caused by the basest murder of modern times, that we
might have been unjust to ourselves, if the murderer had come whole into
our hands. Therefore the shot of Sergeant Corbett is not to be
regretted, save that it gave too honorable a form of death to one who
had earned all that there is of disgraceful in that mode of dying to
which a peculiar stigma is attached by the common consent of mankind.

Whether Booth was the agent of a band of conspirators, or was one of a
few vile men who sought an odious immortality, it is impossible to say.
We have the authority of a high Government official for the statement
that "the President's murder was organized in Canada and approved at
Richmond"; but the evidence in support of this extraordinary
announcement is, doubtless for the best of reasons, withheld at the time
we write. There is nothing improbable in the supposition that the
assassination plot was formed in Canada, as some of the vilest
miscreants of the Secession side have been allowed to live in that
country. We know that there were other plots formed in that country
against us,--plots that were to a certain extent carried into execution,
and which led to loss of life. The ruffians who were engaged in the St.
Albans raid--which was as much an insult to England as it was a wrong to
us--were exactly the sort of men to engage in a conspiracy to murder
Federal magistrates; but it is not probable that British subjects had
anything to do with any conspiracy of this kind. The Canadian error was
in allowing the scum of Secession to abuse the "right of hospitality"
through the pursuit of hostile action against us from the territory of a
neutral. If injustice is done their country in this instance, Canadians
should recollect that what is known to have been done there for our
injury is quite sufficient to warrant the suspicion that more was there
done to increase the difficulties of our situation than now distinctly
appears. The country that contains such justices as Coursol and Smith
cannot complain, if its sense of fairness is not rated very high by its
neighbors,--neighbors who have suffered from Secessionists being allowed
to make Canada a basis of operations against the United States, though
the United States and Great Britain are at peace.

That a plan to murder President Lincoln should have been approved at
Richmond is nothing strange; and though such approval would have been
supremely foolish, what but supreme folly is the chief characteristic of
the whole Southern movement? If the seal of Richmond's approval was
placed on a plan formed in Canada, something more than the murder of Mr.
Lincoln was intended. It must have been meant to kill every man who
could legally take his place, either as President or as President _pro
tempore_. The only persons who had any title to step into the Presidency
on Mr. Lincoln's death were Mr. Johnson, who became President on the
15th of April, and Mr. Foster, one of the Connecticut Senators, who is
President of the Senate. There was no Speaker of the House of
Representatives; so that one of the officers designated temporarily to
act as President, on the occurrence of a vacancy, had no existence at
the time of Mr. Lincoln's death, has none at this time, and can have
none until Congress shall have met, and the House of Representatives
have chosen its presiding officer. It does not appear that any attempt
was made on the life of Mr. Foster, though Mr. Johnson was on the list
of those doomed by the assassins; and the savage attack made on Mr.
Seward shows what those assassins were capable of. But had all the
members of the Administration been struck down at the same time, it is
not at all probable that "anarchy" would have been the effect, though to
produce that must have been the object aimed at by the conspirators.
Anarchy is not so easily brought about as persons of an anarchical turn
of mind suppose. The training we have gone through since the close of
1860 has fitted us to bear many rude assaults on order without our
becoming disorderly. Our conviction is, that, if every man who held high
office at Washington had been killed on the 14th of April, things would
have gone pretty much as we have seen them go, and that thus the
American people would have vindicated their right to be considered a
self-governing race. It would not be a very flattering thought, that the
peace of the country is at the command of any dozen of hardened ruffians
who should have the capacity to form an assassination plot, the
discretion to keep silent respecting their purpose, and the boldness and
the skill requisite to carry it out to its most minute details: for the
neglect of one of those details might be fatal to the whole project.
Society does not exist in such peril as that. Does any one suppose,
that, if the Gunpowder Plot had been a success,--that, if King, Lords,
and Commons had all been hoisted by Mr. Fawkes, the English nation would
have gone to wreck, that it could not have survived the loss of most of
the royal family, the greater part of the peerage, and most of the
gentlemen who had been chosen to serve in the House of Commons? England
would have survived such a blow as that blowing-up would have inflicted
on her, though for the time she might have been in a very confused
condition; and so we should have survived--and we believe without
exhibiting much confusion--all the efforts of assassins to murder our
leading men, had those efforts been entirely successful.

It is possible, and indeed very probable, that Booth and his associates
were originally moved to become assassins by that sentiment which has
caused many other men to assail public characters, and sometimes with
the bloodiest success. This supposition does not exclude the action of
more eminent persons from the tragedy, who may have urged on those
hot-headed fools to the completion of their work. Booth was precisely
that sort of man who was likely to be the victim of the astounding
delusion that to kill President Lincoln would place him in history
alongside of those immortal tyrant-killers whose names are in most
people's mouths, and whose conduct is seldom condemned and very often is
warmly approved. There is constant praise going on of those who, in
classic times, put to death men who held, or who aspired to obtain,
improper power, or whose conduct was cruel. Booth thought that Mr.
Lincoln was a usurper, and that his conduct was cruel; and he could have
cited abundance of evidence from the speeches and writings of Northern
men, professing to be sound Unionists, in support of the position that
the President was a usurper and a tyrant. Having convinced himself that
such was the position, and character of the President, it was the most
natural thing in the world that he, a Southern man, and brought up on
those sensational tragedies in which human life is easily taken on all
occasions, should have jumped to the conclusion that it was his duty to
kill the man whose plan and actions he had so strangely misconceived.
If, while he was thus deluding himself with the notion that he was about
to rival Harmodius and Aristogeiton, and other Grecian foes of tyrants,
there came to him men who had too much sense to be deluded by such
nonsense, but who, nevertheless, were not above profiting, as they
regarded profit, from his folly, it is all but certain that he may have
had accomplices who have not yet been suspected, persons to whom
exposure would be a much greater punishment than death. Those old Greek
and Roman writers have much to answer for, as they have conferred a sort
of sanctity upon assassination, provided the victim be rightly selected;
and who is to decide whether he is so selected or not? If murderers are
to decide upon the deserts of their victims, there never was a murder
committed. Much of the literature that furnishes material for the
instruction of youth is devoted to the laudation of blood-shedding,
provided always the blood that is shed is that of a tyrant; and who to
say whether it is so or not? Why the tyrant-killer, to be sure. This is
an admirable arrangement for securing simplicity of proceedings, but it
admits of some doubt whether it can be quite approved on the score of
impartiality. When a man unites in his own person the characters of
accuser, judge, and executioner, it is within the limits of possibility
that he may be slightly untrustworthy. But in what is known as classical
literature, not only are tyrant-slayers allowed to have their own way
and say, but their action is upheld and defended by great geniuses who
never killed anybody with their own hands, but who had a marvellous
fondness for those whose hands were blood-stained. Cicero, for example,
is never tired of sounding the praises of eminent homicides. He scarcely
praised himself more than he eulogized illustrious murderers of other
days. And on his eloquent words in honor of assassination are the
"ingenuous youth" of Christian countries trained and taught. That some
of them should go astray under such teaching is nothing to wonder at.
This has happened in other countries, and why should it not happen here?
Assassination is not an American crime;[B] but it is not the less true
that Brutuses have been invoked in this country, and that more than once
President Jackson was pointed at as one from whose tyranny the country
might advantageously be relieved after "the high Roman fashion." One man
fired at him,--an Englishman, named Laurence, in 1834; but he proved to
be insane, and was treated as a mad man. Lieutenant Randolph, a
Virginian, assaulted President Jackson, but not with the view to
assassinate him. Brooks's assault on Senator Sumner was an assassin's
act, and a far more cowardly deed than that which Booth perpetrated,
though it had a less tragical termination. The assassinating spirit has
been increasing fast in the South, which is one proof of the growth of
the aristocratical sentiment there,--assassination being much more in
vogue among aristocrats than among monarchists or democrats, and most of
the renowned assassins and conspirators having been aristocrats. It
denotes the change in our condition that has been wrought by slavery and
civil war, that assassination should have been much talked of here, and
that at last the head of the Republic should have fallen before an
assassin's fire. In other countries assassination has often been
resorted to by parties and by individuals, but until very recently no
public man can be said to have been taken off by an assassin in America.
Booth and his associates stand alone in our history. Others may have
talked pistols and daggers, but it was left for them to use weapons so
odious for purposes of the same nature. Under the belief that the reader
may not be indisposed to see what has been done by assassins in other
countries, we shall here cite some remarkable instances of their deeds,
passing over classic antiquity and modern Italy.

In the sixteenth century assassination flourished to an extent never
before or since known: the hundred years that followed Luther's
appearance on the great stage forming murder's golden age, whether we
consider the number or the quality of the persons slain or conspired
against, or the sort of persons who condescended to act on the principle
that killing is no murder. Reformers and reactionists had their
assassins; but it must be acknowledged that the latter had the best
(which was the worst) of the game, so that nearly all the infamous names
that have come down to us won immortality in their service. It was a
great, a stirring time, one that was fertile in all manner of crimes,
and in which a gentleman that had much nerve and no scruples was sure of
constant and well-paid employment, and might make his fortune--or that
of his family, if he chanced to be cut off because he had cut down some
eminent personage whose life was a great inconvenience to this or that
sovereign or party. The conflict that was waged was one of opinion, and
therefore was fertile of fanatics, a class of men who have furnished a
large force of assassins, who have generally acted on principle, without
being always heedless of their interests. In the fierce struggle between
old ideas and new, every weapon was employed, and the talents and
dispositions of all kinds of men were made available by the great
managers who had the casting of the performers in the numerous tragedies
that were played. There was not a country in which assassination was
unknown; and in most countries it was common, kings and churchmen being
its patrons, and not unfrequently perishing by the very arts which under
their fostering care had been carried to the highest pitch of artistic
perfection. Philip II. was the most powerful monarch of those days. His
regal career began just as the Reformation was at its height, and when
the Reaction was about to begin. He was a sort of Christian Old Man of
the Mountain; and assassination was with him a regular business, a
portion of his mode of governing the many races that owned his sway.
Mignet, in his "Antonio Perez et Philippe II.," after mentioning that
Philip gave instructions to put Escovedo to death, says,--"This order
would appear strange on the part of the King, if we did not call to mind
the practices as well as the theories of that violent age, so fertile in
assassinations. Death was then the last argument of belief, the extreme,
but frequent means employed by parties, kings, and subjects. They were
not satisfied with killing; they believed they had the right. Certain
casuists attributed this right, some to princes, others to the people.
Here is what the friar Diego de Chaves, Philip's confessor, wrote upon
the very subject of Escovedo's death: 'According to my view of the laws,
the secular prince, who has power over the life of his inferiors or
subjects, even as he can deprive them of it for a just cause and by
judgment in form, may also do so without all this, since superfluous
forms and all judicial proceedings are no laws for him who may dispense
with them. It is, consequently, no crime on the part of a subject who by
a sovereign order has put another subject to death. We must believe that
the prince has given this order for a just cause, even as the law always
presumes that there is one in all the actions of the sovereign.'" When
such a king as Philip II. has such a ghostly father as Diego de Chaves,
assassination may become common. Escovedo was murdered; but there were
others besides the King concerned in his taking off, one of them being
the Princess of Eboli, widow of Philip's first favorite, Ruy Gomez de
Silva, and Antonio Perez; and it was because the King believed they had
tricked him in the business, that Perez fell, and, when in exile, had
his life sought by some of his old master's assassins. Two Irishmen were
authorized to kill him, by Philip's Governor of the Netherlands, but
failed, and were hanged in London. Baron de Pinella tried to kill Perez
at Paris, was detected, and executed. As he had been himself an active
assassin, Perez could not well complain of these attempts; but they
illustrate the theory and practice of the powerful Spanish monarch.
Perez was one of those persons who labored to bring about the
assassination of William (the Silent) of Orange. Writing to Escovedo,
who was Secretary to Don John of Austria, then in the Netherlands, Perez
observes,--"Let it never be absent from your mind that a good occasion
must be found for finishing Orange, since, besides the service which
will thus be rendered to our master, and to the States, it will be worth
something to ourselves"; to which highly moral injunction Escovedo
replied,--"You know that the finishing of Orange is very near my heart."
There is something almost comical in this correspondence, considering
its circumstances: Perez urging upon the man whom he was soon to
assassinate the duty of procuring the assassination of the Prince of
Orange, to whose party in Europe he was destined erelong to join
himself. Philip has been suspected of having procured the death of his
half-brother, Don John of Austria, by poison; but in this instance he is
entitled at least to the Scotch verdict of _Not proven_. He did bring
about the assassination of his ablest enemy, the Prince of Orange,
though not until after failures so numerous as would have served to
discourage a man of less persistent mind. Five unsuccessful attempts to
kill the Prince were made in two years; the sixth was successful, that
of Balthazar Gérard, who shot the Dutch deliverer on the 10th of July,
1584, in his house at Delft. Like Booth, Gérard used the pistol, a
weapon that seems to have been invented for the promotion of murder. He
made a determined effort to get off, and might have succeeded, had he
not stumbled over a heap of rubbish. To all these attacks on Orange some
of the most eminent Spanish statesmen and soldiers of that time were
parties, and Spain was then the premier nation. The Prince of Parma, one
of the foremost men of a period in which there was an absolute glut of
talent, spoke of Gérard's detestable crime as a "laudable and generous
deed," and strongly recommended that the reward which had been offered
for the Prince's murder should be conferred on his parents, a suggestion
with which Philip gladly complied. Those parents were made noble, and
were further rewarded by the grant of certain estates in Franche-Comté,
the property of their son's victim. This was to reverse the old saying,
"Happy is the child whose father goeth to the Devil!"--for the happiness
of the father was made by the child's taking the downward road. "At a
later day," says Motley, "when the unfortunate eldest son of Orange
returned from Spain, after twenty-seven years' absence, a changeling and
a Spaniard, the restoration of those very estates was offered to him by
Philip II., provided he would continue to pay a fixed proportion of
their rents to the family of his father's murderer. The education which
Philip William had received, under the King's auspices, had, however,
not entirely destroyed all his human feelings, and he rejected the
proposal with scorn. The estates remained with the Gérard family, and
the patents of nobility which they had received were used to justify
their exemption from certain taxes, until the union of Franche-Comté
with France, when a French governor tore the documents to pieces, and
trampled them under foot."

It would be tedious to mention all the assassinations with which Philip
II. was connected. He and his proconsuls and ambassadors were concerned
in many of the plots that were directed against the peace of countries
whose power was dreaded by Spain, or against the lives of their
sovereigns or other eminent personages. Elizabeth of England was to have
been served after the same fashion as Orange. Alva sent assassins to
take her off. Much of the assassination-work that was done in France
proceeded from Spain. The Massacre of St. Bartholomew was a Spanish
inspiration. In these days it would be called a _coup d'état_. All
Philip's proceedings toward his enemies were characterized by the spirit
of assassination. The murder of Montigny is a strong case in point; and
the artful manner in which Egmont and Horn were inveigled into his toils
shows that he was a master-hand at conspiracy. Had there been two
Philips in Europe, one would have assassinated the other, and it would
have been dangerous to bet on the success of either.

France had her grand assassinations in the sixteenth century; and a
perfect crop they were, in which kings were conspirators or were
conspired against, killed or were killed, according to the supposed
requirements of state policy or the necessities of high-placed
individuals. At earlier dates assassination was far from being unknown
in France; and some remarkable cases occurred there in those awful times
when the Burgundian and Armagnac parties existed. The Duke of Orleans
was assassinated, and, later, the Duke of Burgundy. Louis XI., who had
rebelled against his father, is believed to have murdered his brother,
and also to have sought the death of Charles of Burgundy. But it was in
the sixteenth century that French assassinations were of the most
striking order. The marriage of Catharine de' Medici with that French
prince who became Henry II. is supposed to have been attended with the
effect of debauching French morals, as the Italians had a prodigiously
bad reputation as assassins, and particularly as poisoners. Catharine
was totally unscrupulous, having about as much of moral sense as goes to
the making of a tigress; but it needed not that she should marry into
the House of Valois to render assassination a Gallic crime. It would
have existed in France all the same, had she never been born. It was a
moral plague that ran over Europe, as the Black Death made the same tour
a couple of hundred years earlier. Poltrot killed Francis, Duke of
Guise, the greatest man of a great race. Henry, Duke of Guise, Francis's
son, was concerned in a plot to murder the Admiral Coligny, shortly
before the St. Bartholomew, and was one of the Admiral's murderers in
the Massacre. Henry of Guise was assassinated by Henry III., last of the
Valois kings of France, who took upon himself to act in accordance with
the principles laid down by Diego de Chaves, which James II. had acted
on in the case of the Black Douglas, and on which Ferdinand II., Emperor
of Germany, afterward acted toward Wallenstein, who was basely murdered.
Henry III. was soon made to follow his victim, being assassinated by
Jacques Clément, a Jacobin monk and a Leaguer. Henry IV. was killed by
François Ravaillac, a Romish fanatic, who was in bad odor with all
respectable Catholics who knew him. Richelieu lived in a condition not
unlike that which Cromwell knew, being often conspired against. Louis
XV. was attacked by Damiens, who was put to death by cruel tortures. In
the Revolution there were several assassins, the most noted of whom was
Charlotte Corday, praises of whom are so common as to weaken the force
of that feeling which should ever be directed against murder. Granted
that Marat was as bad as he is painted, no individual had the right to
slay him. Bonaparte was in great danger from assassins; and it was not
until he had the Duc d'Enghien assassinated that he obtained a respite
from their attacks, which were regarded with ill-disguised approbation
even by respectable persons who were his enemies or those of France. A
German youth endeavored to kill Napoleon in 1809, and was shot. In the
"Declaration" put forth by the Congress of Vienna against Napoleon,
after his return from Elba, the Emperor was deliberately delivered over
to assassins in the following terms: "Les Puissances déclarent en
conséquence, que Napoléon Bonaparte s'est placé hors des relations
civiles et sociales, et que, comme ennemi et perturbateur du repos du
monde, il s'est livré à la vindicte publique." To the paper containing
this rascally sentence stands affixed the name of Wellington, who,
however, indignantly denied that he ever meant to authorize or to
suggest the assassination of Napoleon. No doubt his denial was honestly
made, but the legitimate construction of the words is favorable to the
opposite view. A French officer named Cantallon was charged with having
attempted to assassinate Wellington, and was tried and acquitted; and
Napoleon bequeathed ten thousand francs to Cantallon, which bequest was
paid after Napoleon III. became master of France, much to the
indignation of some Englishmen. The Duc de Berri, son of the Comte
d'Artois, (later Charles X.,) and the hope of the Bourbons, was killed
by Louvel, at the opera, in February, 1820; and his son, the present
Comte de Chambord, was born in the following autumn. Louis Philippe,
when King of the French, was so often attacked with fire-arms and
infernal-machines that one becomes dizzy in thinking of his escapes.
Napoleon III. has been in great peril from assassins. Orsini's attempt
to kill was a terrible piece of butchery, causing the death or
mutilation of many persons, resembling in that respect the result of
Fieschi's attempt to murder Louis Philippe. Had Orsini's attempt proved
as successful as Booth's, it is probable that there never would have
been a Secession War in this country. The Rebels counted much on
European intervention, as they supposed that France and England would
act together in their behalf; and had the Emperor been killed in 1858,
the "cordial understanding" between the great nations of Western Europe
would have come to an end, and perhaps they would have gone to war. The
state of foreign affairs in 1860 had much more to do with bringing on
our civil war than appears on the surface of things.

Scotland is a country in which assassins have figured largely, and her
history is more disfigured by their acts than that of any other modern
nation, due allowance being made for the smallness of her territory and
the limited number of her people. This peculiarity in Scotch history is
principally owing to the circumstance, that, as a rule, Scotland has
been more aristocratically dominated than any other community; and
aristocracies are more prolific of assassins than democracies or
monarchies, as before said. Aristocrats, members of privileged classes,
are less patient of restriction, and more prone to take the righting of
what they call their wrongs into their own hands, than are other men.
Violence of all kinds was for centuries more common in Scotland than in
any other European country that had made the same advances in
civilization; and the troubles that overtook so many of her monarchs
were the natural consequences of their position. The House of Stuart has
been called "the Fated Line"; and it deserved the name, because it stood
nominally at the head of a nation that really was ruled by the fiercest
aristocracy that ever plagued a people or perplexed monarchs. The
independence of Scotland, her salvation from that English rule with
which she was threatened by Edward I., whose success would have made her
what Ireland became under English ascendency, was based on a deed which
even some Scotch writers have not hesitated to speak of as
reprehensible,--the killing, namely, of Comyn in a church at Dumfries,
by Bruce and Kirkpatrick; and it seems as if the blood-stain then and
there contracted clung to the Stuarts, who were descended from Bruce by
the female line. The Duke of Rothesay, son of Robert III., and
heir-apparent, was murdered by his uncle, the Duke of Albany, whose
purpose was to divert the crown to his own branch of the family.
Rothesay's brother became James I., and he was assassinated by Sir
Robert Grahame,--the King's offence being that he wished to introduce
something like regular government into Scotland, having learned, the
value of order in England, where he had passed many years as a prisoner.
Grahame was one of the most ferocious of the savages who then formed the
Scotch aristocracy, and he had no idea of seeing radicalism made rampant
in his country; and so he headed a conspiracy against the King and
murdered him. James II. was himself an assassin, as he stabbed the Earl
of Douglas, who had come to him under an assurance of safety, and who
was cut to pieces by some of the royal retainers, after their master had
set them an example. The King's excuse was, that the Douglas had become
too powerful to be proceeded against regularly; and, indeed, the
question then before Scotland was, whether that country should be ruled
by the House of Douglas or the House of Stuart, and we cannot wonder
that a king in the fifteenth century should conclude rather to murder
than to be murdered. James II. overthrew the Black Douglas, and in his
case assassination _did_ prosper. James III. was assassinated while
flying from a field of battle on which he had been beaten by rebels.
Mary Stuart, daughter of James V., is believed by many historical
inquirers to have been a party to the assassination of her husband,
(Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, who was her relative,) the question whether
she did thus act forming the turning-point in that famous Marian
Controversy which has raged for three hundred years, and which seems to
be no nearer a decision now than it was before Loch Leven and
Fotheringay,--Mr. Froude, the last of the great champions in the fight,
having pronounced, with all his usual directness, adversely to the Rose
of Scotland. Whether Mary was an assassin or not, it is beyond all doubt
that her husband was one of the assassins of her servant Rizzio, who was
murdered in her very presence. Mary's son, James VI., stands in the
strangest relation to an extraordinary assassination of any man in
history. The Gowrie Conspiracy is yet a riddle. According to one class
of historical critics, the Earl of Gowrie and his brother, Alexander
Ruthven, were bent upon assassinating the King; while another class are
quite as positive that the King was bent upon assassinating the
Ruthvens, and that he accomplished his purpose. We confess that we are
strongly inclined to go with those who say that the Ruthvens were
victims, and not baffled assassins; and we have always admired the reply
of the clergyman to whom the King condescended to tell his story, in the
hope of convincing him of its truth. "Doubtless," said that skeptical,
but pious personage, "I must believe it, since your Majesty says you saw
it; but I would not have believed it, had I seen it with my own eyes."
Was ever a king more cleverly told that he was a liar? The Earl of
Murray, Mary Stuart's bastard brother, and the first of many regents who
ruled Scotland during her son's minority, was the victim of the most
pardonable act of assassination that we know of,--if such a crime be
ever pardonable. Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh was one of those Scotchmen
who joined Mary Stuart after her escape from Loch Leven, and was
condemned to death after her failure, but had his life spared, while his
estate was confiscated. He might have borne this loss of property, but
he became enraged when he heard that his wife had been so treated, when
ejected from what had been her own property before her marriage, as to
go mad and die. The person who misused her had received the estate from
the Earl of Murray; and upon the latter Hamilton resolved to take
vengeance. He carried out his plans, which were very cleverly formed,
with great skill and coolness, and consequently was successful, taking
off his great enemy, and getting off himself. He shot Murray as he was
passing through the town of Linlithgow, stationing himself in a house
that belonged to the Archbishop of St. Andrews, in and around which
everything had been prepared for the killing of one man and the escape
of another. It is beyond all doubt that the Archbishop was a party to
the crime, or Bothwellhaugh could not have had the facilities which
were his for obtaining revenge and striking a great blow for the Queen's
party. The princely House of Hamilton generally approved of the deed.
Let not those, however, who see in the Archbishop's conduct the natural
effect of Catholicism, be in too great hurry to attribute his conduct to
his religious belief; for there were Protestant assassins in Scotland in
those days, and later. Only a few years before, a very eminent Catholic,
Cardinal Beaton, who was Archbishop of St. Andrews, was murdered by
Norman Lesley; and John Knox associated himself with Lesley, and those
by whom he was aided, to hold the castle of St. Andrews against the
Government's forces. The murderers of Rizzio were not Catholics, and
their victim belonged to the old church. Some of Darnley's murderers
were Protestants. In the next century some remarkable cases of Scotch
assassination took place. Montrose stands charged with having attempted
to take the lives of Argyle and Hamilton; but we hesitate to believe the
story, so great is our admiration of that wonderful man. After the
Restoration, (1660,) the ultra Protestants, perverting various passages
of Scripture, assumed to execute judgment on those whom they held to be
enemies of God and the true Kirk. The man for whom they felt most hatred
was James Sharpe, Archbishop of St. Andrews,--a title that seems to have
had peculiar attractions for assassins. Sharpe was accused, not
untruthfully, of having sold his cause to Government; and he became a
marked man with those whom he had betrayed. A preacher named Mitchell
fired a pistol into Sharpe's carriage, and wounded the Bishop of the
Orkneys so severely that that prelate ultimately died of the injury.
Years later Mitchell was about to make a second attempt on the
Archbishop, when he was arrested, tried, imprisoned for some time,
condemned, and executed, at the Archbishop's earnest request. The next
year Sharpe was slain by a number of Protestants, who were looking for a
minor persecutor, and who thought that Heaven had specially delivered
the Archbishop into their hands when they encountered his carriage, from
which they made him descend, and murdered him in presence of his
daughter, using swords and pistols. Among the many stories told of
Claverhouse (then Viscount of Dundee) is one to the effect that he was
shot on the battlefield of Killiecrankie by one of his servants, who
used a silver button from his livery-coat, the great Grahame being
impervious to lead.[C] About the same time, Sir George Lockhart,
President of the Court of Session, and head of the Scotch tribunals, was
assassinated by Chiesly of Dalry, who was angry because the President
had assigned to Mrs. Chiesly, with whom her husband had quarrelled, a
larger alimony than that husband thought she should have. The business
of divorcing, and discriminating as to the amount of ladies' allowances,
is a safer one in these times, and fortunate for the judges that it is,
considering how much of such business they have to perform. If every
hundred divorce cases produced one assassination, lawyers would be
rapidly promoted--and shot.

England has contributed a large number of assassinations to the pages of
that Newgate serial which is known by the grave name of history. One of
her kings, Edward II., is known to have been murdered after his
deposition; and it is supposed that he perished by a peculiarly horrible
form of death. William Rufus is believed to have been assassinated in
the New Forest, though the popular notion is, that he was accidentally
killed by an arrow from the bow of Walter Tirrel, which must have been a
long-bow. Richard II. was probably killed in prison, after deposition.
Henry VI. is believed to have been killed in 1471, he being then a
prisoner in the hands of the triumphant Yorkists,--but there is no proof
that he was killed. Edward V., a boy-monarch, is one of the princes whom
Richard III.'s enemies said he had smothered in the Tower,--a story to
be maintained only by smothering all evidence. Many English sovereigns
were attacked by assassins, but escaped. Edward I. was stabbed by a
Mussulman when he was crusading in the East,--and we had almost said
that he was rightly served; for what business had he in that remote part
of the world? Henry V. was to have been assassinated, according to the
statement of himself and his friends; but he had the satisfaction of
killing the conspirators judicially. Elizabeth, as became her
superiority to most sovereigns, was a favorite with persons with a taste
for assassination strongly developed. She was under the Papal ban, and
was an object of the indelicate attentions of that prince of assassins,
Philip II.; and his underlings, who were all great people, made her life
so uncertain that there never lived the actuary who was capable of
estimating the probabilities of its duration. That she escaped is as
wonderful as anything in her history, for she does not appear to have
been very heedful of her personal safety; yet she could punish detected
ruffians sharply enough. James I. was once in no slight danger. No
conspiracy ever came so near making a great noise in the world, of a
kind very different from that which it did make, as the Gunpowder Plot;
and the silence which marked its course is quite as astonishing as the
excitement that followed its disclosure. That so many persons should
have kept so deadly a secret so long and so faithfully is as great a
mystery as ever was invented by a writer of the sensation school; and
when Catholics declare that there never was a plot, except that which
was formed against their religion by artful men for the worst purposes,
they do not talk so unreasonably as at the first blush it should seem.
This plot was emphatically a gentlemanly transaction. There was hardly a
person who had part in it who was not a gentleman by birth or education,
or both. Catesby, Percy, Rookwood, Digby, the Winters, Grant, Tresham,
Keyes, and the Littletons were all members of good families, and some of
them of very high families,--as Percy, Digby, Rookwood, and Catesby.
Some of them had been Protestants,--as Catesby and Percy; and Digby had
been brought up in a Protestant house. Fawkes was of respectable
parentage and of good education. Father Garnet, on his trial, was spoken
of by Sir Edward Coke as having "many excellent gifts and endowments of
nature: by birth a gentleman, by education a scholar, by art learned,
and a good linguist." He was brought up a Protestant. That Catholics of
such standing, and with such training as should have taught them better,
should have engaged in so wicked a conspiracy, was one of the chief
reasons why adherents of the ancient religion were treated so cruelly in
England for more than two centuries. Titus Oates's invention, the Popish
Plot, never would have found believers, had not men remembered the
Gunpowder Plot. In Cromwell's time, and during the civil war that
preceded it, assassination plots were common, and some succeeded. The
Cavaliers had very loose notions on the subject. They killed an English
envoy in Holland and another in Spain. Cromwell was almost as much a
target as Louis Philippe became after he was converted, for his sins,
into a Citizen King. It is even asserted that he feared assassination,
and he was not in the habit of fearing many things. The court of the
exiled Stuarts teemed with assassins; and projects for murdering the
Protector were there formed, as well as in England. Nothing but the good
intelligence which Cromwell purchased saved his life. Charles II., in
his turn, became the object of assassins' attentions. Some of those who
meant to kill him were superior men,--as Richard Rumbold, who was able,
brave, honest, and pious. True, Rumbold in dying expressed his
abhorrence of assassination, and denied that he ever had countenanced
it; but the distinction which he made, and on which his dying
expressions were founded, can deceive no one, and we find it difficult
to believe that they deceived Rumbold himself. To have killed the King
and the Duke of York after the manner spoken of by the Rye-House
plotters would have been to assassinate them, and no amount of sophistry
could have given to the conspiracy any other character than that of an
assassination plot. William III. lived in almost as great danger of
dying by the hand of an assassin as his immortal ancestor whom Gérard
shot. It shows how common was assassination in those times, and how
loose was public morality, that Louis XIV. was a party to at least two
of the plots that were formed for taking William's life,--that of
Grandval and that of Barclay, the latter known in English history as the
Assassination Plot _par excellence_, and which would have succeeded, had
two or three of the parties to it been left out. James II., William's
father-in-law, was also concerned in both these plots; and his
illegitimate son, the Duke of Berwick, a man of the highest personal
integrity, was aware of what Barclay was about. Since William's time
English sovereigns have had but little trouble from assassins, and that
little has proceeded from insane creatures. George III. was struck at by
a crazy woman, one Peg Nicholson, and fired at, in a theatre, by a crazy
man named Hadfield. We can recollect three persons firing at Queen
Victoria, none of whom were executed, though they all richly deserved

Englishmen of note have been assassinated from time to time. Becket's
death was an act of assassination. Two Dukes of Gloucester, of the blood
royal, were assassinated in prison,--one in the reign of Richard II.,
and the other in that of Henry VI. Not a few eminent persons in England
were "done to death" by the abuse of judicial proceedings, which were in
fact acts of assassination. Most of Henry VIII.'s great victims perished
by means fouler than any of those to which Richard III. is accused of
having had resort; and the manner in which his father, Henry VII.,
murdered the Earl of Warwick, last of the male Plantagenets, and only
because he was a Plantagenet, was a deed worthy of a devil. Elizabeth,
unless she is much libelled, would have avoided the execution of Mary
Stuart by resort to assassination, only that her instruments were found
scrupulous. The first Duke of Buckingham of the Villiers family was
assassinated by John Felton, in Charles I.'s reign. Harley, afterward
Earl of Oxford, was stabbed by a Frenchman, named Guiscard, Harley being
then Chancellor of the Exchequer, in Anne's reign. Mr. Perceval, First
Lord of-the Treasury, was shot by a lunatic named John Bellingham, in
1812, the scene being the lobby of the House of Commons. In 1819 the
Cato-Street Conspiracy was formed by Arthur Thistlewood and others. It
was meant to kill the British Ministers, and the mode in which it was
finally resolved to proceed was to attack them when they should be
assembled at a Cabinet dinner, to be given by the Earl of Harrowby, Lord
President of the Council. Government knew all about the conspiracy, and
allowed it to ripen, and then "bagged" the conspirators. This was in
February, 1820; and on the first of May five of the assassins were
hanged and five others transported. When Sir Robert Peel was last
Prime-Minister, a fellow named M'Naughten sought his life, and killed
his private secretary, Mr. Drummond. Sir Robert was so indiscreet as to
charge Mr. Cobden with inciting persons to take his life!

Russia has lost several of her sovereigns through assassination,
accompanied or preceded by deposition. Ivan VI. was assassinated in
prison, almost a quarter of a century after the crown had been taken
from him. Peter III. survived his downfall but a week, when he was
poisoned, beaten, and strangled. The Czar Paul was so unreasonable as to
resist those who were deposing him, and they were under the disagreeable
necessity of squeezing his throat so long and so tightly, that breathing
became difficult, and at last stopped altogether. The murderers of both
Peter and Paul became great personages, held high offices, did important
deeds, and were received in the very best society, as well abroad as at
home. Macaulay, in his article on Madame D'Arblay, (Fanny Burney,)
mentions the number, the variety, and the greatness of the company which
her father, Dr. Burney, assembled frequently at his house. "On one
evening, of which we happen to have a full account," he says, "there was
present Lord Mulgrave, Lord Bruce, Lord and Lady Edgecumbe, Lord
Barrington from the War Office, Lord Sandwich from the Admiralty, Lord
Ashburnham, with his gold key dangling from his pocket, and the French
Ambassador, M. de Guignes, renowned for his fine person and for his
success in gallantry. But the great show of the night was the Russian
Ambassador, Count Orloff, whose gigantic figure was all in a blaze of
jewels, and in whose demeanor the untamed ferocity of the Scythian might
be discerned through a thin varnish of French politeness. As he stalked
about the small parlor, brushing the ceiling with his toupee, the girls
whispered to each other, with mingled admiration and horror, that he was
the favored lover of his august mistress [Catharine II.]; that he had
borne the chief part in the revolution to which she owed her throne; and
that his huge hands, now glittering with diamond rings, had given the
last squeeze to the windpipe of her unfortunate husband." He must have
been a nice man for a small party, and a peculiarly edifying spectacle
for young ladies. And then how fit to be ambassador at a court the first
woman of which was good Queen Charlotte! Many words have been wasted on
the question, whether Catharine II. and Alexander I. consented to the
murder, the one of her husband and the other of his father; but the
question is absurdly framed. They consented to the act of deposition in
each case, and that was the same as to sign the death-warrant. The old
saying, that short is the passage of a dethroned monarch from a prison
to a grave, applies with peculiar force to Russia: Catharine II. well
knew that there was no hope for her husband; and Alexander I. could not
have been deceived on such a point. While she was at the height of her
power, Catharine herself was in danger of being assassinated. Some of
the nobles suggested to her son, the Grand Duke Paul, that she should be
deposed and murdered, and offered to do the job, quite as a matter of
course, and with no more of shame than so many English Parliament-men
might have felt for proposing to vote a minister out of office. It was
_their_ mode of effecting a change of ministry, and they regarded the
proposition as showing that they were members of the constitutional
opposition. As Talleyrand told Bonaparte, when news of Paul's murder
reached Paris, "'Tis a way they have there!" Paul rejected the offer to
rid him of his mother with horror. His own son was not so moral, in
after days. Alexander was a haunted man, and remorse made him the crazy
wreck that he was in his last years, and shortened his life. He was
threatened with assassination by the Russian constitutional opposition,
when it was thought that he was giving up too much to Napoleon I.; and
the eventful war of 1812 was the result of his fears of that opposition.
When he was at Vienna, attending the memorable Congress, he frankly said
that he durst not go back to Russia without having added all of Poland
that he claimed to his dominions,--that it was as much as his life was
worth to comply with the demands of Austria, France, and England with
regard to the Poles. This was the real reason why the Polish question
was so clumsily disposed of, and left to make trouble for the future.
Alexander preferred quarrelling with his allies rather than with his
nobles, exactly as he had done when Napoleon I. was his foreign
antagonist. There have been persons enough to argue that Alexander I.
was assassinated, after all, and also that Nicholas was disposed of in
the same constitutional way; but we can see no evidence on which to
found any such argument. When, in the days of the Polish War, (1831,)
the Grand Duke Constantine and Marshal Diebitsch died rather suddenly,
it was generally believed that they had been assassinated by order of
Nicholas, but without any foundation for the belief.

One of the last of the Swedish kings of the line of Vasa, Gustavus III.,
was assassinated in 1792, being shot by Count Anckarstroem, at a masked
ball, March 16th. This murder was the result of an aristocratical
conspiracy, the King having done much to lessen the power of the
nobility. He was engaged at the time he was shot in getting up a crusade
against revolutionary France, of which he purposed being the head. He
survived his wound thirteen days.

An attempt to assassinate Joseph I., King of Portugal, was made in 1758,
when the celebrated Marquis of Pombal was the real ruler of that
country. Many executions took place, including several of the highest
nobles. The Jesuits, who were then very unpopular, and against whom most
European governments were directing their power, were charged with this
crime, and some of them were put to death, and the rest banished from

In the year 1831, Count Capo d'Istria, then President of Greece, was
assassinated at Nauplia, by the brothers Mauromichalis. He was supposed
to be a mere tool of Russia, in whose service much of his life had
passed. He was by birth a Greek of the Ionian Islands; and after they
had become a portion of Napoleon I.'s empire, he took office in Russia,
rising very high. Employed to look after Russia's interests in Greece,
he was ultimately chosen President of the latter country in 1827.
Popular at first, he soon became odious, and was nothing but a Russian
agent. His death probably cut short plans which, had they succeeded,
would have had much effect on the course of European events. In the old
land, where it was considered a sacred duty to kill tyrants, he was
suddenly slain as he was entering a church. His death caused little
regret, though the deed of the Mauromichalis was warmly condemned; many
persons being ready to profit from crimes the perpetration of which they
are swift to condemn, and as ready to execute the perpetrators.


[B] The word _assassin_, according to that eminent Orientalist Sylvestre
de Sacy, is derived from _hashish_, being the liquid preparation on
which the Old Man of the Mountain used to intoxicate his operators, and
which appears to have been an uncommonly powerful tipple. The men whom
he thus drugged, or _hocused_, when they were to commit murder, "were
called, in Arabic, _Hashishin_ in the plural, and _Hashishi_ in the
singular." The Crusaders brought the word from the East. The ancients
had not the word, but they had the thing, as the English suffer from
_ennui_, but have no name for it. A temperance lecturer might turn this
connection between blind drunkenness and reckless murder to some good

[C] Mr. De Quincey's immortal Connoisseur, who delivered the Williams
Lecture on Murder, speaking of the supposed assassination of Gustavus
Adolphus, at the Battle of Lutzen, says,--"The King of Sweden's
assassination, by-the-by, is doubted by many writers,--Harte amongst
others; but they are wrong. He was murdered; and I consider his murder
unique in its excellence; for he was murdered at noonday, and on the
field of battle,--a feature of original conception, which occurs in no
other work of art that I remember." His memory was bad. He must have
heard the story that Desaix was murdered on the field of Marengo, after
coming up to save Bonaparte from destruction; and he must also have
heard the story that Dundee was murdered at Killiecrankie. Mr. Hawthorne
mentions that he saw, in an old volume of Colonial newspapers, "a report
that General Wolfe was slain, not by the enemy, but by a shot from his
own soldiers." All these reports are just as well founded as that which
represents Gustavus Adolphus as having been assassinated. Harte's doubts
are, as the reader can see by referring to his work, well sustained, and
leave the impression that the King was killed in fair fight. We have
heard a very ingenious argument in support of the proposition that
Stonewall Jackson was assassinated by some of his own men,--and there is
some mystery about the cause or occasion of his death.





"For my part," said my wife, "I think one of the greatest destroyers of
domestic peace is Discourtesy. People neglect, with their nearest
friends, those refinements and civilities which they practise with

"My dear Madam, I am of another opinion," said Bob Stephens. "The
restraints of etiquette, the formalities of ceremony, are beauteous
enough in out-door life; but when a man comes home, he wants leave to
take off his tight boots and gloves, wear the gown and slippers, and
speak his mind freely without troubling his head where it hits.
Home-life should be the communion of people who have learned to
understand each other, who allow each other a generous latitude and
freedom. One wants one place where he may feel at liberty to be tired or
dull or disagreeable without ruining his character. Home is the place
where we should expect to live somewhat on the credit which a full
knowledge of each other's goodness and worth inspires; and it is not
necessary for intimate friends to go every day through those civilities
and attentions which they practise with strangers, any more than it is
necessary, among literary people, to repeat the alphabet over every day
before one begins to read."

"Yes," said Jennie, "when a young gentleman is paying his addresses, he
helps a young lady out of a carriage so tenderly, and holds back her
dress so adroitly, that not a particle of mud gets on it from the
wheels; but when the mutual understanding is complete, and the affection
perfect, and she is his wife, he sits still and holds the horse and lets
her climb out alone. To be sure, when pretty Miss Titmouse is visiting
them, he still shows himself gallant, flies from the carriage, and holds
back _her_ dress: that's because he doesn't love her nor she him, and
they are _not_ on the ground of mutual affection. When a gentleman is
only engaged, or a friend, if you hem him a cravat or mend his gloves,
he thanks you in the blandest manner; but when you are once sure of his
affection, he only says, 'Very well; now I wish you would look over my
shirts, and mend that rip in my coat,--and be sure don't forget it, as
you did yesterday.' For all which reasons," said Miss Jennie, with a
toss of her pretty head, "I mean to put off marrying as long as
possible, because I think it far more agreeable to have gentlemen
friends with whom I stand on the ground of ceremony and politeness than
to be restricted to one who is living on the credit of his affection. I
don't want a man who gapes in my face, reads a newspaper all
breakfast-time while I want somebody to talk to, smokes cigars all the
evening, or reads to himself when I would like him to be entertaining,
and considers his affection for me as his right and title to make
himself generally disagreeable. If he has a bright face, and pleasant,
entertaining, gallant ways, I like to be among the ladies who may have
the benefit of them, and should take care how I lost my title to it by
coming with him on to the ground of domestic affection."

"Well, Miss Jennie," said Bob, "it isn't merely our sex who are guilty
of making themselves less agreeable after marriage. Your dapper little
fairy creatures, who dazzle us so with wondrous and fresh toilettes, who
are so trim and neat and sprightly and enchanting, what becomes of them
after marriage? If _he_ reads the newspaper at the breakfast-table,
perhaps it's because there is a sleepy, dowdy woman opposite, in a faded
gingham wrapper, put on in the sacredness of domestic privacy, and
perhaps she has laid aside those crisp, sparkling, bright little
sayings and doings that used to make it impossible to look at or listen
to anybody else when she was about. Such things are, sometimes, among
the goddesses, I believe. Of course, Marianne and I know nothing of
these troubles; we, being a model pair, sit among the clouds and
speculate on all these matters as spectators merely."

"Well, you see what your principle leads to, carried out," said Jennie.
"If home is merely the place where one may feel at liberty to be tired
or dull or disagreeable, without losing one's character, I think the
women have far more right to avail themselves of the liberty than the
men; for all the lonesome, dull, disagreeable part of home-life comes
into their department. It is they who must keep awake with the baby, if
it frets; and if they do not feel spirits to make an attractive toilette
in the morning, or have not the airy, graceful fancies that they had
when they were girls, it is not so very much against them. A housekeeper
and nursery-maid cannot be expected to be quite as elegant in her
toilette and as entertaining in her ways as a girl without a care in her
father's house; but I think that this is no excuse for husbands'
neglecting the little civilities and attentions which they used to show
before marriage. They are strong and well and hearty; go out into the
world and hear and see a great deal that keeps their minds moving and
awake; and they ought to entertain their wives after marriage just as
their wives entertained them before. That's the way my husband must do,
or I will never have one,--and it will be small loss, if I don't," said
Miss Jennie.

"Well," said Bob, "I must endeavor to initiate Charley Sedley in time."

"Charley Sedley, Bob!" said Jennie, with crimson indignation. "I wonder
you will always bring up that old story, when I've told you a hundred
times how disagreeable it is! Charley and I are good friends, but"----

"There, there," said Bob, "that will do; you don't need to proceed

"You only said that because you couldn't answer my argument," said

"Well, my dear," said Bob, "you know everything has two sides to it, and
I'll admit that you have brought up the opposite side to mine quite
handsomely; but, for all that, I am convinced, that, if what I said was
not really the truth, yet the truth lies somewhere in the vicinity of
it. As I said before, so I say again, true love ought to beget a freedom
which shall do away with the necessity of ceremony, and much may and
ought to be tolerated among near and dear friends that would be
discourteous among strangers. I am just as sure of this as of anything
in the world."

"And yet," said my wife, "there is certainly truth in the much quoted
lines of Cowper, on Friendship, where he says,--

    "As similarity of mind,
    Or something not to be defined,
      First fixes our attention,
    So manners decent and polite,
    The same we practised at first sight,
      Will save it from declension."

"Well, now," said Bob, "I've seen enough of French politeness between
married people. When I was in Paris, I remember there was in our
boarding-house a Madame de Villiers, whose husband had conferred upon
her his name and the _de_ belonging to it, in consideration of a snug
little income which she brought to him by the marriage. His conduct
towards her was a perfect model of all the graces of civilized life. It
was true that he lived on her income, and spent it in promenading the
Boulevards, and visiting theatres and operas with divers fair friends of
easy morals; still all this was so courteously, so politely, so
diplomatically arranged with Madame, that it was quite worth while to be
neglected and cheated for the sake of having the thing done in so
finished and elegant a manner, according to his showing. Monsieur had
taken the neat little apartment for her in our _pension_, because his
circumstances were embarrassed, and he would be in despair to drag such
a creature into hardships which he described as terrific, and which he
was resolved heroically to endure alone. No, while a sous remained to
them, his adored Julie should have her apartment and the comforts of
life secured to her, while the barest attic should suffice for him.
Never did he visit her without kissing her hand with the homage due to a
princess, complimenting her on her good looks, bringing bonbons,
entertaining her with most ravishing small-talk of all the interesting
_on-dits_ in Paris; and these visits were most particularly frequent as
the time for receiving her quarterly instalments approached. And so
Madame adored him and could refuse him nothing, believed all his
stories, and was well content to live on a fourth of her own income for
the sake of so engaging a husband."

"Well," said Jennie, "I don't know to what purpose your anecdote is
related, but to me it means simply this: if a rascal, without heart,
without principle, without any good quality, can win and keep a woman's
heart merely by being invariably polite and agreeable while in her
presence, how much more might a man of sense and principle and real
affection do by the same means! I'm sure, if a man who neglects a woman,
and robs her of her money, nevertheless keeps her affections, merely
because whenever he sees her he is courteous and attentive, it certainly
shows that courtesy stands for a great deal in the matter of love."

"With foolish women," said Bob.

"Yes, and with sensible ones too," said my wife. "Your Monsieur presents
a specimen of the French way of doing a bad thing; but I know a poor
woman whose husband did the same thing in English fashion, without
kisses or compliments. Instead of flattering, he swore at her, and took
her money away without the ceremony of presenting bonbons; and I assure
you, if the thing must be done at all, I would, for my part, much rather
have it done in the French than the English manner. The courtesy, as far
as it goes, is a good, and far better than nothing,--though, of course,
one would rather have substantial good with it. If one must be robbed,
one would rather have one's money wheedled away agreeably, with kisses
and bonbons, than be knocked down and trampled upon."

"The mistake that is made on this subject," said I, "is in comparing, as
people generally do, a polished rascal with a boorish good man; but the
polished rascal should be compared with the polished good man, and the
boorish rascal with the boorish good man, and then we get the true value
of the article.

"It is true, as a general rule, that those races of men that are most
distinguished for outward urbanity and courtesy are the least
distinguished for truth and sincerity; and hence the well-known
alliterations, 'fair and false,' 'smooth and slippery.' The fair and
false Greek, the polished and wily Italian, the courteous and deceitful
Frenchman, are associations which, to the strong, downright, courageous
Anglo-Saxon, make up-and-down rudeness and blunt discourtesy a type of
truth and honesty.

"No one can read French literature without feeling how the element of
courtesy pervades every department of life,--how carefully people avoid
being personally disagreeable in their intercourse. A domestic quarrel,
if we may trust French plays, is carried on with all the refinements of
good breeding, and insults are given with elegant civility. It seems
impossible to translate into French the direct and downright brutalities
which the English tongue allows. The whole intercourse of life is
arranged on the understanding that all personal contacts shall be smooth
and civil, and such as to obviate the necessity of personal jostle and

"Does a Frenchman engage a clerk or other _employé_, and afterwards hear
a report to his disadvantage, the last thing he would think of would be
to tell a downright unpleasant truth to the man. He writes him a civil
note, and tells him, that, in consequence of an unexpected change of
business, he shall not need an assistant in that department, and much
regrets that this will deprive him of Monsieur's agreeable society, etc.

"A more striking example cannot be found of this sort of intercourse
than the representation in the life of Madame George Sand of the
proceedings between her father and his mother. There is all the romance
of affection between this mother and son. He writes her the most devoted
letters, he kisses her hand on every page, he is the very image of a
gallant, charming, lovable son, while at the same time he is secretly
making arrangements for a private marriage with a woman of low rank and
indifferent reputation,--a marriage which he knows would be like death
to his mother. He marries, lives with his wife, has one or two children
by her, before he will pain the heart of his adored mother by telling
her the truth. The adored mother suspects her son, but no trace of the
suspicion appears in her letters to him. The questions which an English
parent would level at him point-blank she is entirely too delicate to
address to her dear Maurice; but she puts them to the Prefect of Police,
and ferrets out the marriage through legal documents, while yet no trace
of this knowledge dims the affectionateness of her letters, or the
serenity of her reception of her son when he comes to bestow on her the
time which he can spare from his family cares. In an English or American
family there would have been a battle royal, an open rupture; whereas
this courteous son and mother go on for years with this polite drama,
she pretending to be deceived while she is not, and he supposing that he
is sparing her feelings by the deception.

"Now it is the reaction from such a style of life on the truthful
Anglo-Saxon nature that leads to an undervaluing of courtesy, as if it
were of necessity opposed to sincerity. But it does not follow, because
all is not gold that glitters, that nothing that glitters is gold, and
because courtesy and delicacy of personal intercourse are often
perverted to deceit, that they are not valuable allies of truth. No
woman would prefer a slippery, plausible rascal to a rough,
unceremonious honest man; but of two men equally truthful and
affectionate, every woman would prefer the courteous one."

"Well," said Bob, "there is a loathsome, sickly stench of cowardice and
distrust about all this kind of French delicacy that is enough to drive
an honest fellow to the other extreme. True love ought to be a robust,
hardy plant, that can stand a free out-door life of sun and wind and
rain. People who are too delicate and courteous ever fully to speak
their minds to each other are apt to have stagnant residuums of
unpleasant feelings which breed all sorts of gnats and mosquitoes. My
rule is, Say everything out as you go along; have your little tiffs, and
get over them; jar and jolt and rub a little, and learn to take rubs and
bear jolts.

"If I take less thought and use less civility of expression, in
announcing to Marianne that her coffee is roasted too much, than I did
to old Mrs. Pollux when I boarded with her, it's because I take it
Marianne is somewhat more a part of myself than old Mrs. Pollux
was,--that there is an intimacy and confidence between us which will
enable us to use the short-hand of life,--that she will not fall into a
passion or fly into hysterics, but will merely speak to cook in good
time. If I don't thank her for mending my glove in just the style that I
did when I was a lover, it is because now she does that sort of thing
for me so often that it would be a downright bore to her to have me
always on my knees about it. All that I could think of to say about her
graceful handiness and her delicate needle-work has been said so often,
and is so well understood, that it has entirely lost the zest of
originality. Marianne and I have had sundry little battles, in which the
victory came out on both sides, each of us thinking the better of the
other for the vigor and spirit with which we conducted matters; and our
habit of perfect plain-speaking and truth-telling to each other is
better than all the delicacies that ever were hatched up in the hot-bed
of French sentiment."

"Perfectly true, perfectly right," said I. "Every word good as gold.
Truth before all things; sincerity before all things: pure, clear,
diamond-bright sincerity is of more value than the gold of Ophir; the
foundation of all love must rest here. How those people do who live in
the nearest and dearest intimacy with friends who they believe will lie
to them for any purpose, even the most refined and delicate, is a
mystery to me. If I once know that my wife or my friend will tell me
only what they think will be agreeable to me, then I am at once lost, my
way is a pathless quicksand. But all this being premised, I still say
that we Anglo-Saxons might improve our domestic life, if we would graft
upon the strong stock of its homely sincerity the courteous graces of
the French character.

"If anybody wishes to know exactly what I mean by this, let him read the
Memoir of De Tocqueville, whom I take to be the representative of the
French ideal man; and certainly the kind of family life which his
domestic letters disclose has a delicacy and a beauty which adorn its
solid worth.

"What I have to say on this matter is, that it is very dangerous for any
individual man or any race of men continually to cry up the virtues to
which they are constitutionally inclined, and to be constantly dwelling
with reprobation on faults to which they have no manner of temptation.

"I think that we of the English race may set it down as a general rule
that we are in no danger of becoming hypocrites in domestic life through
an extra sense of politeness, and in some danger of becoming boors from
a rough, uncultivated instinct of sincerity. But to bring the matter to
a practical point, I will specify some particulars in which the courtesy
we show to strangers might with advantage be grafted into our home-life.

"In the first place, then, let us watch our course when we are
entertaining strangers whose good opinion we wish to propitiate. We
dress ourselves with care, we study what it will be agreeable to say, we
do not suffer our natural laziness to prevent our being very alert in
paying small attentions, we start across the room for an easier chair,
we stoop to pick up the fan, we search for the mislaid newspaper, and
all this for persons in whom we have no particular interest beyond the
passing hour; while with those friends whom we love and respect we sit
in our old faded habiliments, and let them get their own chair, and look
up their own newspaper, and fight their own way daily, without any of
this preventing care.

"In the matter of personal adornment, especially, there are a great many
people who are chargeable with the same fault that I have already spoken
of in reference to household arrangements. They have a splendid wardrobe
for company, and a shabby and sordid one for domestic life. A woman puts
all her income into party-dresses, and thinks anything will do to wear
at home. All her old tumbled finery, her frayed, dirty silks and soiled
ribbons, are made to do duty for her hours of intercourse with her
dearest friends. Some seem to be really principled against wearing a
handsome dress in every-day life; they 'cannot afford' to be
well-dressed in private. Now what I should recommend would be to take
the money necessary for one or two party-dresses and spend it upon an
appropriate and tasteful home-toilette, and to make it an avowed object
to look prettily at home.

"We men are a sort of stupid, blind animals: we know when we are
pleased, but we don't know what it is that pleases us; we say we don't
care anything about flowers, but if there is a flower-garden under our
window, somehow or other we are dimly conscious of it, and feel that
there is something pleasant there; and so when our wives and daughters
are prettily and tastefully attired, we know it, and it gladdens our
life far more than we are perhaps aware of."

"Well, papa," said Jennie, "I think the men ought to take just as much
pains to get themselves up nicely after marriage as the women. I think
there are such things as tumbled shirt-collars and frowzy hair and muddy
shoes brought into the domestic sanctuary, as well as frayed silks and
dirty ribbons."

"Certainly," I said; "but you know we are the natural Hottentot, and
you are the missionaries who are to keep from degenerating; we are the
clumsy, old, blind Vulcan, and you the fair Cytherea, the bearers of the
magic cestus, and therefore it is to you that this head more
particularly belongs.

"Now I maintain that in family-life there should be an effort not only
to be neat and decent in the arrangement of our person, but to be also
what the French call _coquette_,--or to put it in plain English, there
should be an endeavor to make ourselves look handsome in the eyes of our
dearest friends.

"Many worthy women, who would not for the world be found wanting in the
matter of personal neatness, seem some how to have the notion that any
study of the arts of personal beauty in family-life is unmatronly; they
buy their clothes with simple reference to economy, an have them made up
without any question of becomingness; and hence marriage sometimes
transforms a charming, trim, tripping young lady into a waddling matron
whose every-day toilette suggests only the idea of a feather-bed tied
round with a string. For my part, I do not believe that the summary
banishment of the Graces from the domestic circle as soon as the first
baby makes its appearance is at all conducive to domestic affection. Nor
do I think that there is any need of so doing. These housewives are in
danger, like other saints, of falling into the error of neglecting the
body through too much thoughtfulness for others and too little
themselves. If a woman ever had any attractiveness; let her try and keep
it, setting it down as one of her domestic talents. As for my erring
brothers firm who violate the domestic sanctuary by tousled hair,
tumbled linen, and muddy shoes, I deliver them over to Miss Jennie
without benefit of clergy.

"My second head is, that there should in family-life the same delicacy
in the avoidance of disagreeable topics that characterizes the
intercourse of refined society among strangers.

"I do not think that it makes family-life more sincere, or any more
honest, to have the members of a domestic circle feel a freedom to blurt
out in each other's faces, without thought or care, all the disagreeable
things that may occur to them: as, for example, 'How horridly you look
this morning! What's the matter with you?'--'Is there a pimple coming on
your nose? or what is that spot?'--'What made you buy such a dreadfully
unbecoming dress? It sets like a witch! Who cut it?'--'What makes you
wear that pair of old shoes?'--'Holloa, Bess! is that your party-rig? I
should think you were going out for a walking advertisement of a
flower-store!'--Observations of this kind between husbands and wives,
brothers and sisters, or intimate friends, do not indicate sincerity,
but obtuseness; and the person who remarks on the pimple on your nose is
in many cases just as apt to deceive you as the most accomplished
Frenchwoman who avoids disagreeable topics in your presence.

"Many families seem to think that it is a proof of family union and
good-nature that they can pick each other to pieces, joke on each
other's feelings and infirmities, and treat each other with a general
tally-ho-ing rudeness without any offence or ill-feeling. If there is a
limping sister, there is a never-failing supply of jokes on
'Dot-and-go-one'; and so with other defects and peculiarities of mind or
manners. Now the perfect good-nature and mutual confidence which allow
all this liberty are certainly admirable; but the liberty itself is far
from making home-life interesting or agreeable.

"Jokes upon personal or mental infirmities, and a general habit of
saying things in jest which would be the height of rudeness if said in
earnest, are all habits which take from the delicacy of family

"In all this rough playing with edge-tools many are hit and hurt who are
ashamed or afraid to complain. And after all, what possible good or
benefit it? Courage to say disagreeable things, when it is necessary to
say them for the highest good of the person addressed, is a sublime
quality; but a careless habit of saying them, in the mere freedom of
family intercourse, is certainly as great a spoiler of the domestic
vines as any fox running.

"There is one point under this head which I enlarge upon for the benefit
of my own sex: I mean table-criticisms. The conduct of housekeeping, in
the present state of domestic service, certainly requires great
allowance; and the habit of unceremonious comment on the cooking and
appointments of the table, in which some husbands habitually allow
themselves, is the most unpardonable form of domestic rudeness. If a
wife has philosophy enough not to mind it, so much the worse for her
husband, as it confirms him in an unseemly habit, embarrassing to guests
and a bad example to children. If she has no feelings that he is bound
to respect, he should at least respect decorum and good taste, and
confine the discussion of such matters to private intercourse, and not
initiate every guest and child into the grating and greasing of the
wheels of the domestic machinery.

"Another thing in which families might imitate the politeness of
strangers is a wise reticence with regard to the asking of questions and
the offering of advice.

"A large family includes many persons of different tastes, habits, modes
of thinking and acting, and it would be wise and well to leave to each
one that measure of freedom in these respects which the laws of general
politeness require. Brothers and sisters may love each other very much,
and yet not enough to make joint-stock of all their ideas, plans,
wishes, schemes, friendships. There are in every family-circle
individuals whom a certain sensitiveness of nature inclines to quietness
and reserve; and there are very well-meaning families where no such
quietness or reserve is possible. Nobody can be let alone, nobody may
have a secret, nobody can move in any direction, without a host of
inquiries and comments. 'Who is your letter from? Let's see.'--'My
letter is from So-and-So.'--'_He_ writing to you? I didn't know that.
What's he writing about?'--'Where did you go yesterday? What did you
buy? What did you give for it? What are you going to do with
it?'--'Seems to me that's an odd way to do. I shouldn't do so.'--'Look
here, Mary; Sarah's going to have a dress of silk tissue this spring.
Now I think they're too dear,--don't you?'

"I recollect seeing in some author a description of a true gentleman, in
which, among other traits, he was characterized as the man that asks the
fewest questions. This trait of refined society might be adopted into
home-life in a far greater degree than it is, and make it far more

"If there is perfect unreserve and mutual confidence, let it show itself
in free communications coming unsolicited. It may fairly be presumed,
that, if there is anything our intimate friends wish us to know, they
will tell us of it,--and that when we are on close and confidential
terms with persons, and there are topics on which they do not speak to
us, it is because for some reason they prefer to keep silence concerning
them; and the delicacy that respects a friend's silence is one of the
charms of life.

"As with the asking of questions, so with the offering of advice, there
should be among friends a wise reticence.

"Some families are always calling each other to account at every step of
the day. 'What did you put on that dress for? Why didn't you wear
that?'--'What did you do this for? Why didn't you do that?'--'Now _I_
should advise you to do thus and so.'--And these comments and criticisms
and advices are accompanied with an energy of feeling that makes it
rather difficult to disregard them.

"Now it is no matter how dear and how good our friends may be, if they
abridge our liberty and fetter the free exercise of our life, it is
inevitable that we shall come to enjoying ourselves much better where
they are not than where they are; and one of the reasons why brothers
and sisters or children so often diverge from the family-circle in the
choice of confidants is, that extraneous friends are bound by certain
laws of delicacy not to push inquiries, criticisms, or advice too far.

"Parents would do well to remember in time when their children have
grown up into independent human beings, and use with a wise moderation
those advisory and admonitory powers with which they guided their
earlier days. Let us give everybody a right to live his own life, as far
as possible, and avoid imposing our own personalities on another.

"If I were to picture a perfect family, it should be a union of people
of individual and marked character, who through love have come to a
perfect appreciation of each other, and who so wisely understand
themselves and one another that each may move freely along his or her
own track without jar or jostle,--a family where affection is always
sympathetic and receptive, but never inquisitive,--where all personal
delicacies are respected,--and where there is a sense of privacy and
seclusion in following one's own course, unchallenged by the
watchfulness of others, yet withal a sense of society and support in a
knowledge of the kind dispositions and interpretations of all around.

"In treating of family discourtesies, I have avoided speaking, of those
which come from ill-temper and brute selfishness, because these are sins
more than mistakes. An angry person is generally impolite; and where
contention and ill-will are, there can be no courtesy. What I have
mentioned are rather the lackings of good and often admirable people,
who merely need to consider in their family-life a little more of
whatsoever things are lovely. With such the mere admission of anything
to be pursued as a duty secures the purpose; only in their somewhat
earnest pursuit of the substantials of life they drop and pass by the
little things that give it sweetness and perfume. To such a word is
enough, and that word is said."



    The soft new grass is creeping o'er the graves
      By the Potomac; and the crisp ground-flower
      Lifts its blue cup to catch the passing shower;
    The pine-cone ripens, and the long moss waves
    Its tangled gonfalons above our braves.
      Hark, What a burst of music from yon wood!
      The Southern nightingale, above its brood,
    In its melodious summer madness raves.
    Ah, with what delicate touches of her hand,
      With what sweet voices, Nature seeks to screen
    The awful Crime of this distracted land,--
      Sets her birds singing, while she spreads her green
    Mantle of velvet where the Murdered lie,
    As if to hide the horror from God's eye!


On the eve of the last general election, the country was startled by the
publication of a Report from the Judge Advocate of the United States,
disclosing the existence of a wide-spread conspiracy at the West, which
had for its object the overthrow of the Union. This conspiracy, the
Report stated, had a military organization, with a commander-in-chief,
general and subordinate officers, and five hundred thousand enrolled
members, all bound to a blind obedience to the orders of their
superiors, and pledged to "take up arms against any government found
waging war against a people endeavoring to establish a government of
their own choice."

The organization, it was said, was in every way hostile to the Union,
and friendly to the so-called Confederacy; and its ultimate objects were
"a general rising in Missouri," and a similar "rising in Indiana, Ohio,
Illinois, and Kentucky, in coöperation with a Rebel force which was to
invade the last-named State."

Startling and incredible as the Report seemed, it told nothing but the
truth, and it did not tell the whole truth. It omitted to state that the
organization was planned in Richmond; that its operations were directed
by Jacob Thompson, who was in Canada for that purpose; and that
wholesale robbery, arson, and midnight assassination were among its

The point marked out for the first attack was Camp Douglas, at Chicago.
The eight thousand Rebel soldiers confined there, being liberated and
armed, were to be joined by the Canadian refugees and Missouri
"Butternuts" engaged in their release, and the five thousand and more
members of the treasonable order resident in Chicago. This force, of
nearly twenty thousand men, would be a nucleus about which the
conspirators in other parts of Illinois could gather; and, being joined
by the prisoners liberated from other camps, and members of the order
from other States, would form an army a hundred thousand strong. So
fully had everything been foreseen and provided for, that the leaders
expected to gather and organize this vast body of men within the space
of a fortnight! The United States could bring into the field no force
capable of withstanding the progress of such an army. The consequences
would be, that the whole character of the war would be changed; its
theatre would be shifted from the Border to the heart of the Free
States; and Southern independence, and the beginning at the North of
that process of disintegration so confidently counted on by the Rebel
leaders at the outbreak of hostilities, would have followed.

What saved the nation from being drawn into this whirlpool of ruin?
Nothing but the cool brain, sleepless vigilance, and wonderful sagacity
of one man,--a young officer never read of in the newspapers,--removed
from field-duty because of disability, but commissioned, I verily
believe, by Providence itself to ferret out and foil this deeper-laid,
wider-spread, and more diabolical conspiracy than any that darkens the
page of history. Other men--and women, too--were instrumental in
dragging the dark iniquity to light; but they failed to fathom its full
enormity, and to discover its point of outbreak. He did that; and he
throttled the tiger when about to spring, and so deserves the lasting
gratitude of his country. How he did it I propose to tell in this paper.
It is a marvellous tale; it will read more like romance than history;
but, calling to mind what a good man once said to me, "Write the truth;
let people doubt, if they will," I shall narrate the facts.

There is nothing remarkable in the appearance of this young man. Nearly
six feet high, he has an erect, military carriage, a frank, manly face,
and looks every inch a soldier,--such a soldier as would stand up all
day in a square hand-to-hand fight with an open enemy; but the keenest
eye would detect in him no indication of the crafty genius which
delights to follow the windings of wickedness when burrowing in the
dark. But if not a Fouché or a Vidocq, he is certainly an able man; for,
in a section where able men are as plenty as apple-blossoms in June, he
was chosen to represent his district in the State Senate, and, entering
the army a subaltern officer, rose, before the Battle of Perryville, to
the command of a regiment. At that battle a Rebel bullet entered his
shoulder, and crushed the bones of his right elbow. This disabled him
for field duty, and so it came about that he assumed the light blue of
the veterans, and on the second day of May, 1864, succeeded General Orme
in command of the military post at Chicago.

When fairly settled in the low-roofed shanty which stands, a sort of
mute sentry, over the front gateway of Camp Douglas, the new Commandant,
as was natural, looked about him. He found the camp--about sixty acres
of flat, sandy soil, inclosed by a tight board fence, an inch thick, and
fourteen feet high--had a garrison of but two regiments of veteran
reserves, numbering, all told, only seven hundred men fit for duty. This
small force was guarding eight thousand Rebel prisoners, one third of
whom were Texas rangers, and guerrillas who had served under
Morgan,--wild, reckless characters, fonder of a fight than of a dinner,
and ready for any enterprise, however desperate, that held out the
smallest prospect of freedom. To add to the seeming insecurity, nearly
every office in the camp was filled with these prisoners. They served
out rations and distributed clothing to their comrades, dealt out
ammunition to the guards, and even kept the records in the quarters of
the Commandant. In fact, the prison was in charge of the prisoners, not
the prisoners in charge of the prison. This state of things underwent a
sudden change. With the exception of a very few, whose characters
recommended them to peculiar confidence, all were at once placed where
they belonged,--on the inner side of the prison-fence.

A post-office was connected with the camp, and this next received the
Commandant's attention. Everything about it appeared to be regular. A
vast number of letters came and went, but they all passed unsealed, and
seemed to contain nothing contraband. Many of them, however, were short
epistles on long pieces of paper, a curious circumstance among
correspondents with whom stationery was scarce and greenbacks were not
over-plenty. One sultry day in June, the Commandant builded a fire, and
gave these letters a warming; and lo! presto! the white spaces broke out
into dark lines breathing thoughts blacker than the fluid that wrote
them. Corporal Snooks whispered to his wife, away down in Texas, "The
forthe of July is comin', Sukey, so be a man; fur I'm gwine to
celerbrate. I'm gwine up loike a rocket, ef I does come down loike a
stick." And Sergeant Blower said to John Copperhead of Chicago, "Down in
'old Virginny' I used to think the fourth of July a humbug, but this
prison has made me a patriot. Now I'd like to burn an all-fired sight of
powder, and if you help, and God is willing, I shall do it." In a
similar strain wrote half a score of them.

Such patriotism seemed altogether too wordy to be genuine. It told
nothing, but it darkly hinted at dark events to come. The Commandant
bethought him that the Democratic Convention would assemble on the
fourth of July; that a vast multitude of people would congregate at
Chicago on that occasion; and that, in so great a throng, it would be
easy for the clans to gather, attack the camp, and liberate the
prisoners. "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty," and the young
Commandant was vigilant. Soon Prison-Square received a fresh instalment
of prisoners. They were genuine "Butternuts," out at the toes, out at
the knees, out at the elbows, out everywhere, in fact, and of everything
but their senses. Those they had snugly about them. They fraternized
with Corporal Snooks, Sergeant Blower, and others of their comrades, and
soon learned that a grand pyrotechnic display was arranged to come off
on Independence-day. A huge bonfire was to be built outside, and the
prisoners were to salute the old flag, but not with blank cartridges.

But who was to light the outside bonfire? That the improvised
"Butternuts" failed to discover, and the Commandant set his own wits to
working. He soon ascertained that a singular organization existed in
Chicago. It was called "The Society of the Illini," and its object, as
set forth by its printed constitution, was "the more perfect development
of the literary, scientific, moral, physical, and social welfare of the
conservative citizens of Chicago." The Commandant knew a conservative
citizen whose development was not altogether perfect, and he recommended
him to join the organization. The society needed recruits and
initiation-fees, and received the new member with open arms. Soon he was
deep in the outer secrets of the order; but he could not penetrate its
inner mysteries. Those were open to only an elect few who had already
attained to a "perfect development"--of villany. He learned enough,
however, to verify the dark hints thrown out by the prisoners. The
society numbered some thousands of members, all fully armed, thoroughly
drilled, and impatiently waiting a signal to explode a mine deeper than
that in front of Petersburg.

But the assembling of the Chicago Convention was postponed to the
twenty-ninth of August, and the fourth of July passed away without the
bonfire and the fireworks.

The Commandant, however, did not sleep. He still kept his wits
a-working; the bogus "Butternuts" still ate prisoners' rations; and the
red flame still brought out black thoughts on the white letter-paper.
Quietly the garrison was reinforced, quietly increased vigilance was
enjoined upon the sentinels; and the tranquil, assured look of the
Commandant told no one that he was playing with hot coals on a barrel of

So July rolled away into August, and the Commandant sent a letter giving
his view of the state of things to his commanding general. This letter
has fallen into my hands, and, as might sometimes makes right, I shall
copy a portion of it. It is dated August 12, and, in the formal phrase
customary among military men, begins:--

"I have the honor respectfully to report, in relation to the supposed
organization at Toronto, Canada, which was to come here in squads, then
combine, and attempt to rescue the prisoners of war at Camp Douglas,
that there is an armed organization in this city of five thousand men,
and that the rescue of our prisoners would be the signal for a general
insurrection in Indiana and Illinois....

"There is little, if any, doubt that an organization hostile to the
Government and secret in its workings and character exists in the States
of Indiana and Illinois, and that this organization is strong in
numbers. It would be easy, perhaps, at any crisis in public affairs, to
push this organization into acts of open disloyalty, if its leaders
should so will....

"Except in cases of considerable emergency, I shall make all
communications to your head-quarters on this subject by mail."

These extracts show, that, seventeen days before the assembling of the
Chicago Convention, the Commandant had become convinced that mail-bags
were safer vehicles of communication than telegraph-wires; that five
thousand armed traitors were then domiciled in Chicago; that they
expected to be joined by a body of Rebels from Canada; that the object
of the combination was the rescue of the prisoners at Camp Douglas; and
that success in that enterprise would be the signal for a general
uprising throughout Indiana and Illinois. Certainly, this was no little
knowledge to gain by two months' burrowing in the dark. But the
conspirators were not fools. They had necks which they valued. They
would not plunge into open disloyalty until some "crisis in public
affairs" should engage the attention of the authorities, and afford a
fair chance of success. Would the assembling of the Convention be such a
crisis? was now the question.

The question was soon answered. About this time, Lieutenant-Colonel B.
H. Hill, commanding the military district of Michigan, received a
missive from a person in Canada who represented himself to be a major in
the Confederate service. He expressed a readiness to disclose a
dangerous plot against the Government, provided he were allowed to take
the oath of allegiance, and rewarded according to the value of his
information. The Lieutenant-Colonel read the letter, tossed it aside,
and went about his business. No good, he had heard, ever came out of
Nazareth. Soon another missive, of the same purport, and from the same
person, came to him. He tossed this aside also, and went again about his
business. But the Major was a Southern Yankee,--the "cutest" sort of
Yankee. He had something to sell, and was bound to sell it, even if he
had to throw his neck into the bargain. Taking his life in his hand, he
crossed the frontier; and so it came about, that, late one night, a tall
man, in a slouched hat, rusty regimentals, and immense jack-boots, was
ushered into the private apartment of the Lieutenant-Colonel at Detroit.
It was the Major. He had brought his wares with him. They had cost him
nothing, except some small sacrifice of such trifling matters as honor,
fraternal feeling, and good faith towards brother conspirators, whom
they might send to the gallows; but they were of immense value,--would
save millions of money and rivers of loyal blood. So the Major said, and
so the Lieutenant-Colonel thought, as, coolly, with his cigar in his
mouth and his legs over the arm of his chair, he drew the important
secrets from the Rebel officer. Something good might, after all, come
out of Nazareth. The Lieutenant-Colonel would trust the fellow,--trust
him, but pay him nothing, and send him back to Toronto to worm out the
whole plan from the Rebel leaders, and to gather the whole details of
the projected expedition. But the Major knew with whom he was dealing.
He had faith in Uncle Sam, and he was right in having it; for, truth to
tell, if Uncle Sam does not always pay, he can always be trusted.

It was not long before the Major reappeared with his budget, which he
duly opened to the Lieutenant-Colonel. Its contents were interesting,
and I will give them to the reader as the Union officer gave them to the
General commanding the Northern Department. His communication is dated
August 16. It says:--

"I have the honor to report that I had another interview last evening
with Major ----, whose disclosures in relation to a Rebel plot for the
release of the prisoners at Camp Douglas I gave you in my letter of the
8th instant. I have caused inquiries to be made in Canada about Major
----, and understand that he does possess the confidence of the Rebel
agent, and that his statements are entitled to respect.

"He now informs me that he proceeded to Toronto, as he stated he would
when I last saw him; that about two hundred picked men, of the Rebel
refugees in Canada, are assembled at that place, who are armed with
revolvers and supplied with funds and transportation-tickets to Chicago;
and that already one hundred and fifty have proceeded to Chicago. That
he (Major ----) and the balance of the men are waiting for instructions
from Captain Hines, who is the commander of the expedition; that Captain
Hines left Toronto last Thursday for Chicago, and at this time is
doubtless at Niagara Falls, making the final arrangements with the chief
Rebel agents.

"Major ---- states that Saunders, Holbrook, and Colonel Hicks were at
Toronto while he was there, engaged in making preparations, etc. The
general plan is to accomplish the release of the prisoners at Camp
Douglas, and in doing so they will be assisted by an armed organization
at Chicago. After being released, the prisoners will be armed, and being
joined by the organization in Chicago, will be mounted and proceed to
Camp Morton, (at Indianapolis,) and there accomplish a similar object in
releasing prisoners. That for months, Rebel emissaries have been
travelling through the Northwest; that their arrangements are fully
matured; and that they expect to receive large accessions of force from
Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. They expect to destroy the works at

"Major ---- says further that he is in hourly expectation of receiving
instructions to proceed to Chicago with the balance of the party; that
he shall put up at the City Hotel, corner of Lake and State Streets, and
register his name as George ----; and that he will then place himself in
communication with Colonel Sweet, commanding at Chicago."

The Major did not "put up at the corner of Lake and State Streets," and
that fact relieved the Government from the trouble of estimating the
value of his services, and, what is more to be deplored, rendered it
impossible for the Commandant to recognize and arrest the Rebel leaders
during the sitting of the Chicago Convention. What became of the Major
is not known. He may have repented of his good deeds, or his treachery
may have been detected and he put out of the way by his accomplices.

It will be noticed how closely the Rebel officer's disclosures accorded
with the information gathered through indirect channels by the astute
Commandant. When the report was conveyed to him, he may have smiled at
this proof of his own sagacity; but he made no change in his
arrangements. Quietly and steadily he went on strengthening the camp,
augmenting the garrison, and shadowing the footsteps of all suspicious

At last the loyal Democrats came together to the great Convention, and
with them came Satan also. Bands of ill-favored men, in bushy hair, bad
whiskey, and seedy homespun, staggered from the railway-stations, and
hung about the street-corners. A reader of Dante or Swedenborg would
have taken them for delegates from the lower regions, had not their
clothing been plainly perishable, while the devils wear everlasting
garments. They had come, they announced, to make a Peace President, but
they brandished bowie-knives, and bellowed for war even in the sacred
precincts of the Peace Convention. But war or peace, the Commandant was
ready for it.

For days reinforcements had poured into the camp, until it actually
bristled with bayonets. On every side it was guarded with cannon, and,
day and night, mounted men patrolled the avenues to give notice of the
first hostile gathering. But there was no gathering. The conspirators
were there, two thousand strong, with five thousand Illini to back them.
From every point of the compass,--from Canada, Missouri, Southern
Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York, and even loyal Vermont, bloody-minded
men had come to give the Peace candidate a red baptism. But "discretion
is the better part of valor." The conspirators saw the preparations and
disbanded. Not long afterward one of the leaders said to me, "We had
spies in every public place,--in the telegraph-office, the camp itself,
and even _close by_ the Commandant's head-quarters, and knew, hourly,
all that was passing. From the observatory, opposite the camp, I myself
saw the arrangements for our reception. We outnumbered you two to one,
but our force was badly disciplined. Success in such circumstances was
impossible; and on the third day of the Convention we announced from
head-quarters that an attack at that time was impracticable. It would
have cost the lives of hundreds of the prisoners, and perhaps the
capture or destruction of the whole of us." So the storm blew over,
without the leaden rain, and its usual accompaniment of thunder and

A dead calm followed, during which the Illini slunk back to their holes;
the prisoners took to honest ink; the bogus "Butternuts" walked the
streets clad like Christians, and the Commandant went to sleep with only
one eye open. So the world rolled around into November.

The Presidential election was near at hand,--the great contest on which
hung the fate of the Republic. The Commandant was convinced of this, and
wanted to marshal his old constituents for the final struggle between
Freedom and Despotism. He obtained a furlough to go home and mount the
stump for the Union. He was about to set out, his private secretary was
ready, and the carriage waiting at the gateway, when an indefinable
feeling took possession of him, holding him back, and warning him of
coming danger. It would not be shaken off, and reluctantly he postponed
the journey till the morrow. Before the morrow facts were developed
which made his presence in Chicago essential for the safety of the city
and the lives of the citizens. The snake was scotched, not killed. It
was preparing for another and a deadlier spring.

On the second of November, a well-known citizen of St. Louis, openly a
Secessionist, but secretly a loyal man, and acting as a detective for
the Government left the city in pursuit of a criminal. He followed him
to Springfield, traced him from there to Chicago, and on the morning of
November fourth, about the hour the Commandant had the singular
impression I have spoken of, arrived in the latter city. He soon learned
that the bird had again flown.

"While passing along the street," (I now quote from his report to the
Provost Marshal General of Missouri,) "and trying to decide what course
to pursue,--whether to follow this man to New York, or return to St.
Louis,--I met an old acquaintance, a member of the order of 'American
Knights,' who informed me that Marmaduke was in Chicago. After
conversing with him awhile, I started up the street, and about one block
farther on met Dr. E. W. Edwards, a practising physician in Chicago,
(another old acquaintance,) who asked me if I knew of any Southern
soldiers being in town. I told him I did; that Marmaduke was there. He
seemed very much astonished, and asked how I knew. I told him. He
laughed, and then said that Marmaduke was at his house, under the
assumed name of Burling, and mentioned, as a good joke, that he had a
British passport, _vised_ by the United States Consul under that name. I
gave Edwards my card to hand to Marmaduke, (who was another 'old
acquaintance,') and told him I was stopping at the Briggs House.

"That same evening I again met Dr. Edwards on the street, going to my
hotel. He said Marmaduke desired to see me, and I accompanied him to his
house." There, in the course of a long conversation, "Marmaduke told me
that he and several Rebel officers were in Chicago to coöperate with
other parties in releasing the prisoners of Camp Douglas, and other
prisons, and in inaugurating a Rebellion at the North. He said the
movement was under the auspices of the order of 'American Knights,' (to
which order the Society of the Illini belonged,) and was to begin
operations by an attack on Camp Douglas on election-day."

The detective did not know the Commandant, but he soon made his
acquaintance, and told him the story. "The young man," he says, "rested
his head upon his hand, and looked as if he had lost his mother." And
well he might! A mine had opened at his feet; with but eight hundred men
in the garrison it was to be sprung upon him. Only seventy hours were
left! What would he not give for twice as many? Then he might secure
reinforcements. He walked the room for a time in silence, then, turning
to the detective, said, "Do you know where the other leaders are?"--"I
do not."--"Can't you find out from Marmaduke?"--"I think not. He said
what he did say voluntarily. If I were to question him, he would suspect
me." That was true, and Marmaduke was not of the stuff that betrays a
comrade on compulsion. His arrest, therefore, would profit nothing, and
might hasten the attack for which the Commandant was so poorly prepared.
He sat down and wrote a hurried dispatch to his General. Troops! troops!
for God's sake, troops! was its burden. Sending it off by a
courier,--the telegraph told tales,--he rose, and again walked the room
in silence. After a while, with a heavy heart, the detective said, "Good
night," and left him.

What passed with the Commandant during the next two hours I do not know.
He may have prayed,--he is a praying man,--and there was need of prayer,
for the torch was ready to burn millions of property, the knife whetted
to take thousands of lives. At the end of the two hours, a stranger was
ushered into the apartment where the Commandant was still pacing the
floor. From the lips and pen of this stranger I have what followed, and
I think it may be relied on.

He was a slim, light-haired young man, with fine, regular features, and
that indefinable air which denotes good breeding. Recognizing the
Commandant by the eagle on his shoulder, he said, "Can I see you alone,
Sir?"--"Certainly," answered the Union officer, motioning to his
secretary to leave the room. "I am a Colonel in the Rebel army," said
the stranger, "and have put my life into your hands, to warn you of the
most hellish plot in history."--"Your life is safe, Sir," replied the
other, "if your visit is an honest one. I shall be glad to hear what you
have to say. Be seated."

The Rebel officer took the proffered chair, and sat there till far into
the morning. In the limits of a magazine article I cannot attempt to
recount all that passed between them. The written statement the Rebel
Colonel has sent to me covers fourteen pages of closely written
foolscap; and my interview with him on the subject lasted five hours, by
a slow watch. He disclosed all that Judge Holt has made public, and a
great deal more. Sixty days previously he had left Richmond with verbal
dispatches from the Rebel Secretary of War to Jacob Thompson, the Rebel
agent in Canada. These dispatches had relation to a vast plot, designed
to wrap the West in flames, sever it from the East, and secure the
independence of the South. Months before, the plot had been concocted by
Jeff Davis at Richmond; and in May previous, Thompson, supplied with two
hundred and fifty thousand dollars in sterling exchange, had been sent
to Canada to superintend its execution. This money was lodged in a bank
at Montreal, and had furnished the funds which fitted out the abortive
expeditions against Johnson's Island and Camp Douglas. The plot embraced
the order of "American Knights," which was spread all over the West, and
numbered five hundred thousand men, three hundred and fifty thousand of
whom were armed. A force of twelve hundred men--Canadian refugees, and
bushwhackers from Southern Illinois and Missouri--was to attack Camp
Douglas on Tuesday night, the 8th of November, liberate and arm the
prisoners, and sack Chicago. This was to be the signal for a general
uprising throughout the West, and for a simultaneous advance by Hood
upon Nashville, Buckner upon Louisville, and Price upon St. Louis.
Vallandigham was to head the movement in Ohio, Bowles in Indiana, and
Walsh in Illinois. The forces were to rendezvous at Dayton and
Cincinnati in Ohio, New Albany and Indianapolis in Indiana, and Rock
Island, Chicago, and Springfield in Illinois; and those gathered at the
last-named place, after seizing the arsenal, were to march to aid Price
in taking St. Louis. Prominent Union citizens and officers were to be
seized and sent South, and the more obnoxious of them were to be
assassinated. All places taken were to be sacked and destroyed, and a
band of a hundred desperate men was organized to burn the larger
Northern cities not included in the field of operations. Two hundred
Confederate officers, who were to direct the military movements, had
been in Canada, but were then stationed throughout the West, at the
various points to be attacked, waiting the outbreak at Chicago. Captain
Hines, who had won the confidence of Thompson by his successful
management of the escape of John Morgan, had control of the initial
movement against Camp Douglas; but Colonel Grenfell, assisted by Colonel
Marmaduke and a dozen other Rebel officers, was to manage the military
part of the operations. All of these officers were at that moment in
Chicago, waiting the arrival of the men, who were to come in small
squads, over different railroads, during the following three days. The
Rebel officer had known of the plot for months, but its atrocious
details had come to his knowledge only within a fortnight. They had
appalled him; and though he was betraying his friends, and the South
which he loved, the humanity in him would not let him rest till he had
washed his hands of the horrible crime.

The Commandant listened with nervous interest to the whole of this
recital; but when the Southern officer made the last remark, he almost
groaned out,--

"Why did you not come before?"

"I could not. I gave Thompson my opinion of this, and have been watched.
I think they have tracked me here. My life on your streets to-night
wouldn't be worth a bad half-dollar."

"True; but what must be done?"

"Arrest the 'Butternuts' as they come into Chicago."

"That I can do; but the leaders are here, with five thousand armed
Illini to back them. I must take them. Do you know them?"

"Yes; but I do not know where they are quartered."

At two o'clock the Commandant showed the Rebel officer to his bed, but
went back himself, and paced the floor until sunrise. In the morning his
plan was formed. It was a desperate plan; but desperate circumstances
require desperate expedients.

In the prison was a young Texan who had served on Bragg's staff, and
under Morgan in Kentucky, and was, therefore, acquainted with Hines,
Grenfell, and the other Rebel officers. He fully believed in the theory
of State Rights,--that is, that a part is greater than the whole,--but
was an honest man, who, when his word was given, could be trusted. One
glance at his open, resolute face showed that he feared nothing; that he
had, too, that rare courage which delights in danger, and courts heroic
enterprise from pure love of peril. Early in the war, he had encountered
Colonel De Land, a former commandant of the post, on the battlefield,
and taken him prisoner. A friendship then sprang up between the two,
which, when the tables were turned, and the captor became the captive,
was not forgotten. Colonel De Land made him chief clerk in the medical
department, and gave him every possible freedom. At that time it was the
custom to allow citizens free access to the camp; and among the many
good men and women who came to visit and aid the prisoners was a young
woman, the daughter of a well-known resident of Chicago. She met the
Texan, and a result as natural as the union of hydrogen and oxygen
followed. But since Adam courted Eve, who ever heard of wooing going on
in a prison? "It is not exactly the thing," said Colonel De Land; "had
you not better pay your addresses at the lady's house, like a
gentleman?" A guard accompanied the prisoner; but it was shrewdly
guessed that he stayed outside, or paid court to the girls in the

This was the state of things when the present Commandant took charge of
the camp. He learned the facts, studied the prisoner's face, and
remembered that he, too, once went a-courting. As he walked his room
that Friday night, he bethought him of the Texan. Did he love his State
better than he loved his affianced wife? The Commandant would test him.

"But I shall betray my friends! Can I do that in honor?" asked the

"Did you ask that question when you betrayed your country?" answered the

"Let me go from camp for an hour. Then I will give you my decision."

"Very well."

And, unattended, the Texan left the prison.

What passed between the young man and the young woman during that hour I
do not know, and could not tell, if I did know,--for I am not writing
romance, but history. However, without lifting the veil on things
sacred, I can say that her last words were, "Do your duty. Blot out your
record of treason." God bless her for saying them! and let "Amen" be
said by every American woman!

On his return to camp, the Texan merely said, "I will do it," and the
details of the plan were talked over. He was to escape from the prison,
ferret out and entrap the Rebel leaders. How to manage the first part of
the dangerous programme was the query of the Texan. The Commandant's
brain is fertile. An adopted citizen, in the scavenger line, makes
periodical visits to the camp in the way of his business, and him the
Commandant sends for.

"Arrah, yer Honor," the Irishman says, "I ha'n't a tr-raitor. Bless yer
beautiful sowl! I love the kintry; and besides, it might damage me good
name and me purty prefession."

He is assured that his name will be all the better for dieting a few
weeks in a dungeon, and--did not the same thing make Harvey Birch

Half an hour before sunset the scavenger comes into camp with his wagon.
He fills it with dry bones, broken bottles, decayed food, and the
rubbish of the prison; and down below, under a blanket, he stows away
the Texan. A hundred comrades gather round to shut off the gaze of the
guard; but outside is the real danger. He has to pass two gates, and run
the gauntlet of half a dozen sentinels. His wagon is fuller than usual;
and the late hour it is now after sunset will of itself excite
suspicion. It might test the pluck of a braver man; for the sentries'
bayonets are fixed, and their guns at the half-trigger; but he reaches
the outer gate in safety. Now St. Patrick help him! for he needs all the
impudence of an Irishman. The gate rolls back; the Commandant stands
nervously by, but a sentry cries out,--

"You can't pass; it's agin orders. No wagins kin go out arter

"Arrah, don't be a fool! Don't be afther obstructin' a honest man's
business," answers the Irishman, pushing on into the gateway.

The soldier is vigilant, for his officer's eye is on him.

"Halt!" he cries again, "or I'll fire!"

"Fire! Waste yer powder on yer friends, like the bloody-minded spalpeen
ye are!" says the scavenger, cracking his whip, and moving forward.

It is well he does not look back. If he should, he might be melted to
his own soap-grease. The sentry's musket is levelled; he is about to
fire, but the Commandant roars out,--

"Don't shoot!" and the old man and the old horse trot off into the

Not an hour later, two men, in big boots, slouched hats, and brownish
butternuts, come out of the Commandant's quarters. With muffled faces
and hasty strides, they make their way over the dimly lighted road into
the city. Pausing, after a while, before a large mansion, they crouch
down among the shadows. It is the house of the Grand Treasurer of the
Order of American Knights, and into it very soon they see the Texan
enter. The good man knows him well, and there is great rejoicing. He
orders up the fatted calf, and soon it is on the table, steaming hot,
and done brown in the roasting. When the meal is over, they discuss a
bottle of Champagne and the situation. The Texan cannot remain in
Chicago, for there he will surely be detected. He must be off to
Cincinnati by the first train; and he will arrive in the nick of time,
for warm work is daily expected. Has he any money about him? No, he has
left it behind, with his Sunday clothes, in the prison. He must have
funds; but the worthy gentleman can lend him none, for he is a loyal
man; of course he is! was he not the "people's candidate" for Governor?
But no one ever heard of a woman being hanged for treason. With this he
nods to his wife, who opens her purse, and tosses the Texan a roll of
greenbacks. They are honest notes, for an honest face is on them. At the
end of an hour good-night is said, and the Texan goes out to find a hole
to hide in. Down the street he hurries, the long, dark shadows

He enters the private door of a public house, speaks a magic word, and
is shown to a room in the upper story. Three low, prolonged raps on the
wall, and--he is among them. They are seated about a small table, on
which is a plan of the prison. One is about forty-five,--a tall, thin
man, with a wiry frame, a jovial face, and eyes which have the wild,
roving look of the Arab's. He is dressed after the fashion of English
sportsmen, and his dog--a fine gray bloodhound--is stretched on the
hearthrug near him. He looks a reckless, desperate character, and
has an adventurous history.[D] In battle he is said to be a
thunderbolt,--lightning harnessed and inspired with the will of a devil.
He is just the character to lead the dark, desperate expedition on which
they are entered. It is St. Leger Grenfell.

At his right sits another tall, erect man, of about thirty, with large,
prominent eyes, and thin, black hair and moustache. He is of dark
complexion, has a sharp, thin nose, a small, close mouth, a coarse,
harsh voice, and a quick, boisterous manner. His face tells of
dissipation, and his dress shows the dandy; but his deep, clear eye and
pale, wrinkled forehead denote a cool, crafty intellect.[E] This is the
notorious Captain Hines, the right-hand man of Morgan, and the soul and
brains of the Conspiracy. The rest are the meaner sort of villains. I do
not know how they looked, and if I did, they would not be worth

Hines and Grenfell spring to their feet, and grasp the hand of the
Texan. He is a godsend,--sent to do what no man of them is brave enough
to do,--lead the attack on the front gateway of the prison. So they
affirm, with great oaths, as they sit down, spread out the map, and
explain to him the plan of operations.

Two hundred Rebel refugees from Canada, they say, and a hundred
"Butternuts" from Fayette and Christian Counties, have already arrived;
many more from Kentucky and Missouri are coming; and by Tuesday they
expect that a thousand or twelve hundred desperate men, armed to the
teeth, will be in Chicago. Taking advantage of the excitement of
election-night, they propose, with this force, to attack the camp and
prison. It will be divided into five parties. One squad, under Grenfell,
will be held in reserve a few hundred yards from the main body, and will
guard the large number of guns already provided to arm the prisoners.
Another--command of which is offered to the Texan--will assault the
front gateway, and engage the attention of the eight hundred troops
quartered in Garrison Square. The work of this squad will be dangerous,
for it will encounter a force four times its strength, well armed and
supplied with artillery; but it will be speedily relieved by the other
divisions. Those, under Marmaduke, Colonel Robert Anderson of Kentucky,
and Brigadier-General Charles Walsh of Chicago, Commander of the
American Knights, will simultaneously assail three sides of Prison
Square, break down the fence, liberate the prisoners, and, taking the
garrison in rear, compel a general surrender. This accomplished, small
parties will be dispatched to cut the telegraph-wires and seize the
railway-stations; while the main body, reinforced by the eight thousand
and more prisoners, will march into the city and rendezvous in
Court-House Square, which will be the base of further operations.

The first blow struck, the insurgents, will be joined by the five
thousand Illini, (American Knights,) and, seizing the arms of the
city,--six brass field-pieces and eight hundred Springfield
muskets,--and the arms and ammunition stored in private warehouses,
will begin the work of destruction. The banks will be robbed, the stores
gutted, the houses of loyal men plundered, and the railway-stations,
grain-elevators, and other public buildings burned to the ground. To
facilitate this latter design, the water-plugs have been marked, and a
force detailed to set the water running. In brief, the war will be
brought home to the North; Chicago will be dealt with like a city taken
by assault, given over to the torch, the sword, and the brutal lust of a
drunken soldiery. On it will be wreaked all the havoc, the agony, and
the desolation which three years of war have heaped upon the South; and
its upgoing flames will be the torch that shall light a score of other
cities to the same destruction!

It was a diabolical plan, conceived far down in hell amid the thick
blackness, and brought up by the arch-fiend himself, who sat there,
toying with the hideous thing, and with his cloven foot beating a merry
tune on the death's-head and cross-bones under the table.

As he concludes, Hines turns to the new comer,--

"Well, my boy, what do you say? Will you take the post of honor and of

The Texan draws a long breath, and then, through his barred teeth,
blurts out,--

"I will!"

On those two words hang thousands of lives, millions of money!

"You are a trump!" shouts Grenfell, springing to his feet "Give us your
hand upon it!"

A general hand-shaking follows, and during it, Hines and another man
announce that their time is up:--

"It is nearly twelve. Fielding and I never stay in this d----d town
after midnight. You are fools, or you wouldn't."

Suddenly, as these words are uttered, a slouched hat, listening at the
keyhole, pops up, moves softly through the hall, and steals down the
stairway. Half an hour later the Texan opens the private door of the
Richmond House, looks cautiously around for a moment, and then stalks on
towards the heart of the city. The moon is down, the lamps burn dimly,
but after him glide the shadows.

In a room at the Tremont House, not far from this time, the Commandant
is walking and waiting, when the door opens, and a man enters. His face
is flushed, his teeth are clenched, his eyes flashing. He is stirred to
the depths of his being. Can he be the Texan?

"What is the matter?" asks the Commandant.

The other sits down, and, as if only talking to himself, tells him. One
hour has swept away the fallacies of his lifetime. He sees the Rebellion
as it is,--the outbreak and outworking of that spirit which makes hell
horrible. Hitherto, that night, he has acted from love, not duty. Now he
bows only to the All-Right and the All-Beautiful, and in his heart is
that psalm of work, sung by one of old, and by all true men since the
dawn of creation: "Here am I, Lord! Send me!"

The first gray of morning is streaking the east, when he goes forth to
find a hiding-place. The sun is not up, and the early light comes dimly
through the misty clouds, but about him still hang the long, dark
shadows. This is a world of shadows. Only in the atmosphere which soon
inclosed him is there no night and no shadow.

Soon the Texan's escape is known at the camp, and a great hue-and-cry
follows. Handbills are got out, a reward is offered, and by that Sunday
noon his name is on every street-corner. Squads of soldiers and police
ransack the city and invade every Rebel asylum. Strange things are
brought to light, and strange gentry dragged out of dark closets; but
nowhere is found the Texan. The search is well done, for the pursuers
are in dead earnest; and, Captain Hines, if you don't trust him now, you
are a fool, with all your astuteness!

So the day wears away and the night cometh. Just at dark a man enters
the private door of the Tremont House, and goes up to a room where the
Commandant is waiting. He sports a light rattan, wears a stove-pipe
hat, a Sunday suit, and is shaven and shorn like unto Samson. What is
the Commandant doing with such a dandy? Soon the gas is lighted; and lo,
it is the Texan! But who in creation would know him? The plot, he says,
thickens. More "Butternuts" have arrived, and the deed will be done on
Tuesday night, as sure as Christmas is coming. He has seen his men,--two
hundred, picked, and every one clamoring for pickings. Hines, who
carries the bag, is to give him ten thousand greenbacks, to stop their
mouths and stuff their pockets, at nine in the morning.

"And to-morrow night we'll have them, sure! And, how say you, give _you_
shackles and a dungeon?" asks the Commandant, his mouth wreathing with
grim wrinkles.

"Anything you like. Anything to _blot out my record of treason_."

He has learned the words,--they are on his heart, not to be razed out

When he is gone, up and down the room goes the Commandant, as is his
fashion. He is playing a desperate game. The stake is awful. He holds
the ace of trumps,--but shall he risk the game upon it? At half past
eight he sits down and writes a dispatch to his General. In it he

"My force is, as you know, too weak and much overworked,--only eight
hundred men, all told, to guard between eight and nine thousand
prisoners. I am certainly not justified in waiting to take risks, and
mean to arrest these officers, if possible, before morning."

The dispatch goes off, but still the Commandant is undecided. If he
strikes to-night, Hines may escape, for the fox has a hole out of town,
and may keep under cover till morning. He is the king-devil, and much
the Commandant wants to cage him. Besides, he holds the bag, and the
Texan will go out of prison a penniless man among strangers. Those ten
thousand greenbacks are lawful prize, and should be the country's dower
with the maiden. But are not republics grateful? Did not one give a
mansion to General McClellan? Ah, Captain Hines, that was lucky for you,
for, beyond a doubt, it saved your bacon!

The Commandant goes back to camp, sends for the police, and gets his
blue-coats ready. At two o'clock they swoop to the prey, and before
daybreak a hundred birds are in the talons of the eagle. Such another
haul of buzzards and night-hawks never was made since Gabriel caged the
Devil and the dark angels.[F]

At the Richmond House Grenfell was taken in bed with the Texan. They
were clapped into irons, and driven off to the prison together. A
fortnight later, the Texan, relating these details to a stranger, while
the Commandant was sitting by at his desk writing, said,--

"Words cannot describe my relief when those handcuffs were put upon us.
At times before, the sense of responsibility almost overpowered me. Then
I felt like a man who has just come into a fortune. The wonder to me now
is, how the Colonel could have trusted so much to a Rebel."

"Trusted!" echoed the Commandant, looking up from his writing. "I had
faith in you; I thought you wouldn't betray me; but I trusted your own
life in your own hands, that was all. Too much was at stake to do more.
Your every step was shadowed, from the moment you left this camp till
you came back to it in irons. Two detectives were constantly at your
back, sworn to take your life, if you wavered for half a second."

"Is that true?" asked the Texan in a musing way, but without moving a
muscle. "I didn't know it, but I felt it in the air!"

In the room at the Richmond House, on the table around which were
discussed their hellish plans, was found a slip of paper, and on it, in
pencil, was scrawled the following:--

     "COLONEL,--You _must_ leave this house _to-night_. Go to the
     Briggs House.

                        "J. FIELDING."

Fielding was the assumed name of the Rebel who burrowed with Hines out
of town, where not even his fellow-fiends could find him. Did the old
fox scent the danger? Beyond a doubt he did. Another day, and the
Texan's life might have been forfeit. Another day, and the camp might
have been sprung upon a little too suddenly! So the Commandant was none
too soon; and who that reads this can doubt that through it all he was
led and guided by the good Providence that guards his country?

But what said Chicago, when it awoke in the morning? Let one of its own
organs answer.

"A shiver of genuine horror passed over Chicago yesterday. Thousands of
citizens, who awoke to the peril hanging over their property and their
heads in the form of a stupendous foray upon the city from Camp Douglas,
led by Rebel officers in disguise and Rebel guerrillas without disguise,
and concocted by home Copperheads, whose houses had been converted into
Rebel arsenals, were appalled as though an earthquake had opened at
their feet.... Who can picture the horrors to follow the letting loose
of nine thousand Rebel prisoners upon a sleeping city, all unconscious
of the coming avalanche? With arms and ammunition stored at convenient
locations, with confederates distributed here and there, ready for the
signal of conflagration, the horrors of the scene could scarcely be
paralleled in savage history. One hour of such a catastrophe would
destroy the creations of a quarter of a century, and expose the homes of
nearly two hundred thousand souls to every conceivable form of

But the men of Chicago not only talked, they acted. They went to the
polls and voted for the Union; and so told the world what honest
Illinois thought of treason.

More arrests were made, more arms taken, but the great blow was struck
and the great work over. Its head gone, the Conspiracy was dead, and it
only remained to lay out its lifeless trunk for the burial. Yet, even as
it lay in death, men shuddered to look on the hideous thing out of which
had gone so many devils.


[D] See Fremantle's "Three Months in the Southern States," p. 148.

[E] Detective's description.

[F] Since the foregoing was written the Commandant's official report has
been published. In reference to these arrests, he says, in a dispatch to
General Cook, dated Camp Douglas, Nov. 7, 4 o'clock, A. M.:--

    "Have made during the night the following arrests of Rebel
    officers, escaped prisoners of war, and citizens in
    connection with them:--

    "Morgan's Adjutant-General, Colonel G. St. Leger Grenfell, in
    company with J. T. Shanks, [the Texan,] an escaped prisoner
    of war, at Richmond House; Colonel Vincent Marmaduke, brother
    of General Marmaduke; Brigadier-General Charles Walsh, of the
    'Sons of Liberty'; Captain Cantrill, of Morgan's command;
    Charles Traverse (Butternut). Cantrill and Traverse arrested
    in Walsh's house, in which were found two cart-loads of large
    size revolvers, loaded and capped, two hundred stands of
    muskets loaded, and ammunition. Also seized two boxes of guns
    concealed in a room in the city. Also arrested Buck Morris,
    Treasurer of 'Sons of Liberty,' having complete proof of his
    assisting Shanks to escape, and plotting to release prisoners
    at this camp.

    "Most of these Rebel officers were in this city on the same
    errand in August last, their plan being to raise an
    insurrection and release prisoners of war at this camp. There
    are many strangers and suspicious persons in the city,
    believed to be guerrillas and Rebel soldiers. Their plan was
    to attack the camp on election-night. All prisoners arrested
    are in camp. Captain Nelson and A. C. Coventry, of the
    police, rendered very efficient service.

                        "B. J. SWEET, Col. Com."

In relation to the general operations I have detailed, the Commandant in
this Report writes as follows:--

"Adopting measures which proved effective to detect the presence and
identify the persons of the officers and leaders and ascertain their
plans, it was manifest that they had the means of gathering a force
considerably larger than the little garrison then guarding between eight
and nine thousand prisoners of war at Camp Douglas, and that, taking
advantage of the excitement and the large number of persons who would
ordinarily fill the streets on election-night, they intended to make a
night attack on and surprise this camp, release and arm the prisoners of
war, cut the telegraph-wires, burn the railroad-depots, seize the banks
and stores containing arms and ammunition, take possession of the city,
and commence a campaign for the release of other prisoners of war in the
States of Illinois and Indiana, thus organizing an army to effect and
give success to the general uprising so long contemplated by the 'Sons
of Liberty.'"

[G] Chicago Tribune, Nov. 8, 1864.


     1. _The Hillyars and the Burtons._ A Tale of Two Families.
     By HENRY KINGSLEY. Boston: Ticknor & Fields.

     2. _Christian's Mistake._ By the Author of "John Halifax."
     New York: Harper & Brothers.

     3. _Uncle Silas._ A Tale of Bartram-Haugh. By J. S. LE FANU.
     New York: Harper & Brothers.

While the American popularity of Charles Kingsley has been rather
declining, the credit of his brother Henry has been gradually rising.
Those who have complained of something rather shallow and sketchy in
some of his former books will find far more solid and faithful work in
this. Indeed, he undertakes rather more than he can carry through, and
the capacious plot, well handled at first, gets into some confusion and
ends in a rather feeble result. To deal with two large families,
distributing part of each in England and part in Australia, to interlink
them in the most complicated way in all genealogical and topographical
relations, demands a structural genius like that of Eugène Sue; and
though Mr. Kingsley grapples stoutly with the load, he staggers under
it. His descriptions of scenery are as vivid as his brother's, and he
exhibits far less arrogance and no theology. There are in the book
single scenes of great power, and there has never, perhaps, been a more
vivid portraiture of lower-middle-class life in England, or of the
manner in which it has been galvanized into a semi-American development
in Australia. The results of that expatriation upon more cultivated
classes, however, appear such as we should be sorry to call even
demi-semi-American. Fancy discovering in California a young lady in
book-muslin, the daughter of cultivated parents, who remarks under
excitement,--"Well, if this don't bang wattle-gum, I wish I may be
buried in the bush in a sheet of bark! Why, I feel all over centipedes
and copper-lizards!" Still, there may be some confusion in the dialects
used in the book, as there is hardly a person in it, patrician or
plebeian, on either side of the equator, who does not address everybody
else as "old man" or "old girl," whenever the occasion calls for
tenderness. It may be very expressive, but it implies a slight monotony
in the language of British emotion.

There is rather a want of central unity to the book, but, so far as it
has a main thread, it seems to be the self-devotion of a sister who
prefers her brother to her lover. This furnishes a pleasant change from
the recent favorite theme of ladies who prefer their lovers to their

To this latter class of novels, based on what may be called the
centrifugal forces of wedlock, "Christian's Mistake" perhaps belongs.
Its clear and practised style is refreshing, after the comparative
crudeness of some other recent treatises on the same theme; the
characters are human, not wooden, and the whole treatment healthful and

"Uncle Silas" is the climax of the sensational, and goes as far beyond
Mrs. Wood as she beyond Miss Braddon, or she beyond reason and
comfortable daylight reading.

     _The Life and Times of Sir William Johnson, Bart._ By
     WILLIAM L. STONE. Albany: J. Munsell.

We well remember the interest with which, more than twenty years ago, we
heard that Mr. William L. Stone was preparing a life of Sir William
Johnson. His collection of material was very large, comprising several
thousands of original letters, besides a great mass of other papers. He
had written, however, but a small part of his work, when death put a
period to his labors, and the documents which he had gathered with such
enthusiastic industry seemed destined to remain a crude mass of
undigested material. We think it fortunate for all students of American
history, that a son, bearing his name and inheriting in the fullest
measure his capacity for the work, has undertaken its completion, partly
from affection and a sense of duty, and partly, it is evident, from a
natural aptitude.

In the whole range of American history no other personage appears so
remarkable in character and so important in influence, and at the same
time so little known to general readers, as Sir William Johnson. The
reason is, that his great powers were exercised on a theatre which,
though vast and wellnigh boundless, was exterior to the familiar field
of political action. Yet on the single influence of this man depended at
times the prosperity and growth of all the British American colonies.
Could France have won his influence in her behalf, England could not
have broken that rival power in America without an exhausting
expenditure of men and treasure, and without leaders of a different
stamp from the blockheads with whom she long continued to paralyze her
Cisatlantic armies. At the darkest crisis of the last French War, the
influence of Johnson alone saved the English colonies from the miseries
which would have ensued from the enmity of the powerful confederacy of
the Six Nations; and for many years after, in his capacity of
Superintendent of Indian Affairs, he continued to exercise an
unparalleled power over the tribes of the interior, soothing their
jealousies, composing their quarrels, and protecting them with equal
justice, benevolence, and ability from the fraud and outrage of
encroaching whites.

Johnson settled on the Mohawk in his youth, and immediately fell into
relations with his savage neighbors. He was accustomed to join their
sports and assume their dress; and it is an evidence of the native force
and dignity of his character, that, in thus taking a course which
commonly provoked their contempt, he gained their affection, without
diminishing their respect and admiration. He gained a military
reputation--not unqualified--by the Battle of Lake George, in 1755,
where he commanded the British force; and he won brighter laurels by the
capture of Fort Niagara in 1759. His true fame rests, however, on his
civic achievements,--on the tact, energy, and judgment, the humanity and
breadth of views, with which he managed the important interest placed in
his hands. It would be hard to say whether the Indians or the Colonists
profited most by his influence; for while with a fearless adroitness he
overthrew the schemes of hungry speculators, he averted from peaceful
settlers many a peril of whose existence, perhaps, they were unaware. He
gave peace to the borders, and sweetened, as far as lay in the power of
man, that bitter cup which had fallen to the lot of the wretched races
of the forest.

Mr. Stone's book covers a period extending from a few years before the
French War of 1745 to the death of Johnson in 1774. In accordance with
its title, it is largely occupied with the "times" as well as with the
"life" of its subject. In fact, it is a history of the period, relating
with considerable detail contemporary events with which Johnson was
connected only indirectly. This detracts from its character as a work of
purely original research, to which, as far as regards the personal
history of its subject, it is preëminently entitled.

Johnson's vast correspondence relates chiefly to matters of public
interest, and supplies comparatively few of those details of private
life which give liveliness to pictures of scenes and character. The
book, in respect to execution, is perhaps necessarily unequal. The first
seven chapters were written by the father of Mr. Stone, who endeavored
to continue the work on its original plan. The attempt, always
difficult, to carry out a design conceived in the mind of another, seems
at the outset to have somewhat hampered the author; but as he proceeds
with his work, his excellent qualification for it becomes more and more
apparent. He is thorough and faithful in the use of his great store of
material, and clear, vigorous, and often picturesque in his narrative.
The period with which he deals is one of the most interesting and most
important in American history, and the treatment is worthy of the theme.
The hackneyed phrase, so often meaningless, is in the case of this book
emphatically true,--that no library of American history can be said to
be complete without it.

     1. _The Rule and Exercises of Holy Living._ By JEREMY
     TAYLOR, D. D. Boston: Little, Brown & Co.

     2. _The Rule and Exercises of Holy Dying._ By JEREMY TAYLOR,
     D. D. Boston: Little, Brown & Co.

The beautiful meditations of Jeremy Taylor, written in the intervals of
the great English civil war, seem appropriate enough amidst these
closing days of our own contest. While the English language remains, his
delicious sentences will find readers and lovers; and the endless
variety of choice learning with which his pages are gemmed would make
them always delightful, were his own part valueless.

This copiousness of allusion makes no small work for his American
editor, since even the latest English editions leave much to be
supplied. It is an enormous undertaking to verify and complete all these
manifold citations, and yet the present editor has been content with
nothing less. Editors so conscientious are not easily to be found; and
it is to the honor of Little, Brown & Company that they habitually
secure such services, and thus make their reprints almost as creditable
to our literature as if they were original works.

     _History of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United
     States of America._ By ABEL STEVENS, LL. D., Author of "The
     History of the Religious Movement of the Eighteenth Century
     called Methodism," etc. Volumes I. and II. New York:
     Carleton & Porter.

The history of a religions denomination is in itself a matter of no
small importance. Taken in connection with other ecclesiastical bodies
as a portion of the data in estimating the national development, it is
still more valuable. In the churches inhere almost exclusively the
sources of influence available for the moral culture of the people. The
pulpit, the pastorate, and the various other ecclesiastical appliances
are potent in effects which cannot be produced by other causes. The
higher educational institutions are under the direction of the religious
bodies; while our common schools, though properly excluding sectarian
influence, are yet indirectly and not improperly affected by the
religious character of the community. Not only does the man who
undertakes to write history, while ignoring the religious element, give
us an incompetent and false representation, but no one can become a
respectable student of history who does not carefully consider the
religious development of society as proceeding under the guidance of the
several denominational bodies.

Up to about the period of the Revolution the principal religious
establishments in this country were the Puritans, occupying practically
the whole field in New England, the Presbyterians preponderating in the
Middle Colonies, and the Episcopalians in the South. There were other
elements, as the Quakers and the Baptists. The former, though not
without a considerable influence in shaping the national character, were
less marked in their effect. The latter, though already an important
body and destined to become still more so, and though in fervor and
aggressiveness subsequently approximating the Methodists, were as yet so
little distinct from the Puritans that we may regard them as
substantially one with the latter.

Presbyterianism and Episcopalianism were then, as they have been ever
since, conservative in their character and tendencies. Puritanism was
radical in its views and sentiments, yet lacking that diffusive
propagandist power inhering in conventional bodies. Methodism, coming
in, supplied this lack, and at the same time appealed to vast masses
which had not before been reached by religious influences. An argument
might be found here, were any needed, in support of the voluntary system
of religious establishments, as more perfectly adapting themselves to
the various wants and peculiarities of the different classes of people.
Suggestions also arise concerning the equilibrium so necessary in a free
government, for the proper settlement of moral, social, and political
questions,--an equilibrium between the conservative and progressive
tendencies, which is far more likely to be attained when left free from
any direction by the state.

The present year completes a full century since the first Methodist
societies were formed in this country. The name of a church was not
assumed till some years later. It had been about thirty years since the
commencement of the remarkable religious movement in England, under the
Wesleys and Whitefield. It was introduced here by some Irish immigrants
of German ancestry. Missionaries were very soon sent over from England,
and in no long time native preachers were raised up. The time was
propitious and the field promising for the success of the simple, cheap,
and every way available appliances of the new religious agency. The
rapidly increasing and widely scattering population could not be
adequately supplied by any of the ecclesiastical bodies which operated
only through settled pastorates. These new propagandists, confined to no
locality, but going everywhere with their off-hand discourse, their
eagerness "to preach the word" to congregations of any size, of any
character, and in any place, with their rude, but vigorous style of
oratory, and direct, outspoken address, attracted and affected whole
communities to an extraordinary degree. It is true, they were not always
treated with much deference, and sometimes they were the objects of
abuse and violence, in which their lives were imperilled. But still
they pursued their way through the wilderness, seeking the lost sheep.
An anecdote illustrates the persistency of this class of preachers, and
also the grim humor with which, in spite of themselves, they sometimes
invested their rather startling announcements. In those early days there
was one Richmond Nolley, a preacher in the new Southern country. He was
a man of great zeal, energy, and courage, and omitted no opportunity of
doing good to persons of any color or condition in whatever obscure
corner he could find them. On one occasion, while travelling, he came
upon a fresh wagon-track, and following it, he discovered an emigrant
family, who had just reached the spot where they intended to make their
home. The man, who was putting out his team, saw at once by the bearing
and costume of the stranger what his calling was, and exclaimed,--

"What! another Methodist preacher! I quit Virginia to get out of the way
of them, and went to a new settlement in Georgia, where I thought I
should be quite beyond their reach; but they got my wife and daughter
into the church. Then, in this late purchase, Choctaw Corner, I found a
piece of good land, and was sure I should have some peace of the
preachers; but here is one before my wagon is unloaded."

"My friend," said Nolley, "if you go to heaven, you'll find Methodist
preachers there; and if to hell, I'm afraid you'll find some there; and
you see how it is in this world. So you had better make terms with us
and be at peace."

Dr. Stevens, who has acquired some celebrity by his excellent history of
the Wesleyan movement in England, has displayed in the present volume
the same marked abilities which made his previous work so popular. There
is not only evidence of laborious and conscientious diligence in
gathering up, sometimes from almost inaccessible sources, the requisite
materials, but the skill displayed in their arrangement and treatment,
so as to make the narrative an absorbingly attractive one, is eminently
praiseworthy. As a history, the work is not only creditable in a
denominational and ecclesiastical point of view, but it is a valuable
contribution to our national literature.

Much of this success doubtless may be attributable to the nature of the
subject; for it is not easy to conceive of any movement, and especially
a religious one, in which the melodramatic, mingled here and there with
both the tragic and comic, forms so large a natural element. There was a
new country, a rude society, daring adventures, great perils, marvellous
escapes, terrible hardships, the stern, harsh realities of pioneer life,
grand and unexpected successes, all which, seen from the distance of the
present, have a romantic coloring, and produce an exhilarating effect.
Any ordinary ability would have made a readable story out of such
materials; but to make a history worthy of the name required the hand of
a master.

There is something, perhaps, rather fanciful in the coincidence or
parallel which the author would make out between the enterprise of John
Wesley and that of James Watt. Yet it is not devoid of interest. While
the one, toiling in poverty and obscurity, was preparing an invention
which should incalculably multiply industrial productiveness and give a
mightier impulse to modern civilization than any other material element,
the other, incurring the opprobrium of his ecclesiastical order, and
regarded as a reprehensible agitator and fanatic, was inaugurating a
movement which should prove one of the most extraordinary and
far-reaching of any in modern times; and both these agencies--the one
employing a mighty material force in the interest of society, the other
setting in operation vast moral energies for the uplifting of the
masses--were to have their grandest results in the New World.

Dr. Stevens is especially happy in his sketches of character; only,
possibly, in indulging too much his inclination for this sort of
writing, he repeats himself, and in the recurrence of pet phrases
wearies the reader. Yet some of these are very good. The description of
Francis Asburey, the "Pioneer Bishop," is one not often excelled. He was
one of the early missionaries sent over by Wesley, and became the great
leader in the work and the principal organizer of the ecclesiastical
machinery. He was the first bishop ordained in the country,--and a very
unique and remarkable bishop he was. There was for him no splendid
palace, no magnificent cathedral, no princely income. His salary was
sixty-four dollars a year, his diocese a whole continent, to visit which
he must find his way without roads, through almost illimitable woods,
over nearly inaccessible mountains, floundering through swamps, wading
or swimming vast rivers, scorched by hot suns, bitten by winter frosts,
drenched with pitiless rains, smothered by driving snows, and often in
divers dangers of death. His travelling equipage was not a chariot and
four, but saddlebags and one. Often sick and suffering, he seldom
allowed himself to be detained from his appointments. He went wherever
he sent his preachers, and shared with them all the toils and privations
incident to the work. He annually made the tour of the States,
travelling never less than five thousand, and often more than six
thousand, miles a year. He usually preached once every day, and three
times on Sunday. A man, of course, of little literary culture, yet he
possessed great good sense, a genial spirit, and large ability as an
organizer. To him more than other men the denomination owes its early
efficiency and extraordinary success.

The two volumes before us embrace a period of scarcely twenty-five
years,--the period, as the author terms it, of the "Planting and
Training" of the church. Several other volumes will be required to
complete the history. But the future volumes can hardly be of so much
general interest as these already published.

     _Arctic Researches and Life among the Esquimaux_; being the
     Narrative of an Expedition in Search of Sir John Franklin in
     the Years 1860, 1861, and 1862. By CHARLES FRANCIS HALL.
     With Maps and One Hundred Illustrations. New York: Harper
     and Brothers.

This book, with the Preface written on board the bark Monticello, June
30, 1864, when the writer was again bound for the Arctic regions, is in
some respects the most remarkable account yet rendered to us of life and
experiences near the North Pole. The purpose of the undertaking was to
find something yet more satisfactory with regard to the fate of the
hundred and five men who accompanied Sir John Franklin. Mr. Hall was
convinced that life among the Esquimaux was possible, and that in no
other way could trustworthy information be obtained from them. His
indomitable spirit in pursuing this object is beyond praise. He could
not be daunted. The result of this three-years' sojourn was the
discovery of relics of the Frobisher expedition, by which the
possibility of discovering news, at least, of the men of Franklin's
expedition was made clear. The unfortunate loss of his expedition-boat
made the journey to Boothia and King William's Land impossible; but Mr.
Hall's prolonged existence during nearly three years among the "Innuits"
determined his immediate departure again for those regions as soon as he
could return and be properly fitted out for a second trip from the

In this naïve history we learn to look at life from the Esquimaux point
of view. Mr. Hall's sympathetic nature fitted him for this difficult
task; and having accomplished it well, he is enabled, by his vivid
descriptions, to invite the reader to see what he saw, and to sit by the
"Innuit" fireside. We must confess, however, it is looking at the world
from a very _blubber-y_ point of view; but since it is in the cause of
science and humanity, we rise from the reading, which is extremely
interesting, with a high respect for Mr. Hall and renewed faith in the
result of his undertaking.

In so short a space there is no room for extracts, yet without them we
can give little idea of the simple, picturesque character of the
narrative. Mr. Hall took the Innuits by the hand as brothers, not as
savages, and the result is large because of his wisdom.

     1. _La Fiera._ Commedia in Cinque Atti. Di ALBERTO NOTA. Con
     Note Inglesi. Boston: De Vries, Ibarra e Compagnia.

     2. _La Rosa dell' Alpi._ Novella di FRANCESCO DALL' ONGARO.
     Con Note Inglesi. Boston: De Vries, Ibarra e Compagnia.

The author of an agreeable article in the "North American Review,"
entitled "Recent Italian Comedy," says that the plays of Alberto Nota
are no longer acted or reprinted. The American press straightway refutes
him by a neat edition of the comedy of "The Fair," with notes for
English readers. It is an entertaining little production, in spite of
the above critic, having rather effective incidents and situations, and
easy, if not brilliant, dialogue. The plot may be described as being
French, and the moral as English; that is, the jealous wife outwits the
faithless husband, instead of the opposite result.

The "Collection De Vries" also introduces to us the more familiar and
contemporary name of Dall' Ongaro, to whom the critics attribute more
dramatic genius than is conceded to any other living poet of Italy. The
story of "La Rosa dell' Alpi" is simply and beautifully written, and
paints the innocent career of a poor servant--maiden with something of
the grace of George Sand.

It will be a good thing for students to read these specimens of easy
colloquial Italian; so that they need not, when they visit the
beloved-land, do their shopping exclusively in Dantean phrases, as Mrs.
Siddons shopped in Shakspeare.

     _A Treatise on Ordnance and Armor, with an Appendix relating
     to Gun-Cotton, Hooped Guns, etc._ By ALEXANDER L. HOLLEY, B.
     P. New York: Van Nostrand.

King James I. is reported to have said of iron armor, that it was an
excellent thing: one could get no harm, in it, nor do any. Yet armor has
had but a brief respite from service; banished temporarily from human
backs, it is being restored for more wholesale service: it is extended
over ships and fortifications, and so thickened as to resist shot and
shell. The very title of this book marks the progress in the history of
war. Hereafter ordnance and armor are two correlatives, never to be
considered apart. The progress in offensive and defensive improvements
keeps the balance of fighting humanity pretty nearly even thus far; as
in the development of a young lobster the claws and cuirass grow

Will ships or guns prove the stronger at last? No one can foresee. A
single fifteen-inch ball from the Monitor Weehawken disabled the
iron-clad Atlanta at three hundred yards, where eleven-inch balls had
fallen powerless from the armor. A similar missile shattered the sides
of the Tennessee, penetrating five inches of iron and two feet of oak,
against which all other shot had failed. What can resist such balls? A
mere pile of sand can resist them, if there are spades enough to carve
it into a fort; but as sand cannot be carved into a ship, we must resort
to new devices there. The larger the ship, the greater the danger; so
suppose we try making it smaller. Let us concentrate our ordnance and
our armor: put thicker plating on our Monitor of eight hundred tons than
the Warrior of six thousand can support, and place near the centre of
motion of the little vessel two heavier guns than the weighty one can
carry in broadside out upon her capacious ribs. This game of giants is
growing formidable; and with such a concentration of skill and power,
the fate of nations may be determined by a single blow.

Other novel questions come up, as we carry our researches farther. Try
your strength by throwing a small cannon-ball at a thin board-partition;
you will find that the missile will split or crush the board, but not
penetrate it. Fire a bullet at the same target, and it will penetrate,
but neither crush nor split. Balance a plank on its edge, so that a
pistol-ball thrown from the hand will knock it down; you may yet riddle
it through and through by the same balls from a revolver, and leave it
standing. Bring this commonplace fact to bear upon the question, how to
destroy an iron-clad; shall we destroy it by punching holes through it,
or by splitting and crushing? It is a difficult problem, and many pages
of Mr. Holley's book are devoted to the discussion of the light-shot and
the heavy-shot systems.

For these problems, and such as these, we need a new military
literature, embodying the vast results which a few years of foreign
experiment and home experience have furnished. We need a scientific
treatise on the whole subject of ordnance, regarding, for instance, the
strains of different charges and projectiles in large and small bores,
and the work done by projectiles and by cannon-metals having different
properties, under statical and sudden strains. This want Mr. Holley's
book does not undertake to fill, being in its structure somewhat
diffuse, and, as it were, of unequal expansion: the object being rather
to furnish the maximum of material for a systematic treatise, than to
write the treatise itself.

It has therefore the inestimable merits, and also some of the defects,
of a pioneer compilation. On many subordinate points, the details are
multiplied almost to weariness, while on some points more important
there are hardly any details at all. But this is simply because the
author could obtain the one class of facts and not the other. It is a
faithful registration, and the only one, of a vast multitude of
experiments and observations, which were absolutely inaccessible in any
other form. It is said to cause much wonder in England how its English
facts and statistics were obtained at all; and it is certain that Mr.
Holley must have used his opportunities of personal observation in a
manner worthy of the curiosity attributed to his race. We have in this
book the substantial results of the vast and costly English experiments;
while the more momentous results of our own practice, so familiar to
us, seem still unfamiliar across the water. This gives our nation a
great advantage, and renders it impossible to produce, at present, in
Europe, a work so encyclopædic as this. It is not merely the best book,
but the only book, on the theme it treats: there is no other account of
the structure and results of modern standard ordnance. That it is the
work of a civil engineer, and not of a military or naval man, gives it
an additional interest; and the author may have owed to his position
some foreign opportunities which would have been refused to an officer.
The book is printed in the usual superb style of Van Nostrand, and is in
all respects an honor to the literature of the country.

     _Historical View of the American Revolution._ By GEORGE
     WASHINGTON GREENE. Boston: Ticknor & Fields.

Either of the two objects which Mr. Greene aimed to accomplish in
preparing the materials of this volume demanded on his part the
possession of large historical knowledge, and the best abilities for its
judicious use. The contents of the volume were made to do service,
first, as a series of twelve lectures before the Lowell Institute,
addressed to a large and mixed audience, possessing generally a high
average of intelligence, and exhibiting, by their voluntary presence, an
interest on which a lecturer may largely rely. The second object of the
author, in the present publication of his Lectures, was to contribute to
the best form of our popular literature a volume which may be regarded
either as introductory to, or as a substitute for, an extended course of
reading on its subject-matter, according to the leisure and capacity of
those who may possess themselves of it. We must congratulate alike the
lecturer and the author for very marked success in the adaptation of his
materials and in the treatment of his subject so as to answer equally
well the wants of good listeners and of sympathetic readers.

The great perplexity of a lecturer, who has given him an hour on twelve
evenings, two in a week, for dealing before a mixed audience with such a
subject as the American War of Independence, must be in deciding for
himself, without consultation with his hearers, how much previous
knowledge he may take for granted in them. He cannot name his
authorities, much less quote them to any great extent. On some vexed
points the simple fact that sharp and dividing issues of controverted
opinions have been agitated about them must virtually compel him almost
to pass them wholly by, seeing that he cannot adequately discuss them,
and that any brief and positive utterance upon them would seem to be
lacking in judicial fairness. The exigencies and temptations of a
lecture-room are also sadly provocative of that rhetorical bombast and
exaggeration which, having been so lavishly and offensively indulged on
our Fourth of July and other commemorative occasions in the supposed
interests of popular patriotism, have brought our whole national
literature under a reproach hardly deserved. Mr. Greene, from his long
residence abroad, has heard and known too much of this reproach to have
risked getting even under the shadow of it.

We believe it is a well-established fact, that both in oral and in
literary dealings with historical subjects, the more thorough and
comprehensive the knowledge possessed by any one who proposes to
instruct others, the more concisely as well as the more correctly will
he present his matter. He knows how to adjust the proportions of
interest in his main and incidental themes. By this test we should judge
Mr. Greene to be most faithfully conversant with his subject, and to
have had his knowledge stored up in his mind, uncommunicated, long
enough to have well digested and assimilated it. The admirable division
of his theme for treatment under twelve distinct, though closely related
topics, shows something better than ingenuity, or a skilful arrangement
of a bill of fare for twelve entertainments. These topics are,--The
Causes of the Revolution; Its Phases; The Congress; Congress and the
State Governments; Finances of the Revolution; Its Diplomacy; Its Army;
Its Campaigns; The Foreign Element of the Revolution; Its Martyrs; Its
Literature, in Prose; and in Poetry. An Appendix gives us a
Chronological Outline of Historical Events; Statistical Tables; and an
Address of Officers of the Southern Army to General Greene.

For completeness' sake, we could have wished that the author, if not the
lecturer, might have indulged himself, and pleased and instructed his
readers, by presenting under one more topic, or under a miscellaneous
category, the resources of the American Colonies at the date of the
Revolution, what they had besides land and water; the characteristics
of the diverse elements of the population; the manufacturing interests,
which had begun to be ingeniously and effectively pursued here,
notwithstanding the repressive hostility of England to their
introduction; and the distinctive qualities of our farmers, sea-men,
professional men, and village politicians. But it is ungracious to ask
for more than there is in this compact and most admirable volume. It is
written with a severely good taste, in a spirit of candor and
generosity, with stern fidelity to truth in relating things honorable
and humiliating; and it will surely excite to wide and diligent reading
those who through its pages make their first acquaintance with its
subject. There are in it many finely drawn and artistic portraits of men
of mark, especially of Franklin, Lafayette, Steuben, James Otis, and
Josiah Quincy. In no single volume can foreign readers find what is here
told so fully, so simply, and so well.

     _Lectures on the Science of Language._ By MAX MÜLLER, M. A.
     Second Series. New York: Charles Scribner.

Voltaire defined Etymology as a science where vowels signify nothing and
consonants very little. This is so far true that even the wisest books
on Language affect one, after all, like a series of brilliant puns. More
important merits than this must, no doubt, be attributed to Max Müller;
but, after all, so wayward is he and so whimsical, such a lover of
paradox and of digression, that he must perpetually exasperate that
sedate race of men whom Philology is supposed to have peculiarly chosen
for its own. In this second series of Lectures, especially, "we have
been at a great feast of languages, and have stolen the scraps."

Beginning the volume mildly with a demure introduction, we suddenly are
over head and ears in "dialectic regeneration," which seems like
theology, only that it introduces us to a mild baby-talk in that
wonderful language, the Annamitic, where the sentence "ba bà bâ bá"
means, "Three ladies gave a box on the ear to the favorite of the
prince." Then comes Bishop Wilkins's "universal language," then a
discussion of Locke, then the theory of harmonics, and then many pages
of anatomical plates. Then phonetic changes; followed by a chapter on
"Grimm's Law," which would give work enough for a lifetime. We next
plunge into botany, and have a whole chapter on the "words for fir, oak,
and beech," which shows that the author, like our own Mr. Marsh, has
studied the literal roots as well as the symbolic. Later, we come to
astronomy, whence one of our author's favorite theories conducts us into
the Greek mythology, to which two whole lectures are given. Then comes
another chapter, tracing the "myths of the dawn" still farther back
toward the dim origin of the Aryan race; and the book closes with a
chapter on Modern Mythology, of which some twenty pages are given to an
exhaustive treatise, anatomical and historical, on the Barnacle Goose.
This brings us round handsomely to Locke and Sir William Hamilton once
more, and there leaves us.

What change has come over the accomplished and eloquent man who was
wisely transplanted to England to teach us Anglo-Saxons what scholarship
meant, and who made his first series of Lectures a model of clever and
effective statement? He congratulates himself, in the introduction to
this volume, on having left out all that was merely elementary. This is
true in respect to philology, perhaps, but he has certainly contrived to
introduce the elements of a great many other sciences. No matter; he
stated in the first volume all the principal points with which his
reputation is identified; and it is very entertaining, though somewhat
unexpected, to find the new one filled with all manner of spicy
prolusions--mingled with a few delusions--from his commonplace book.
Certainly the learning of these Lectures is unequalled, even by his
former exhibitions in that line; and our Cisatlantic standard of
attainment seems rather scanty beside this vast affluence.

There is also a certain wayward, heroic, Ruskin-like self-contradiction
about Müller, which one learns rather to enjoy. He claims that "all
phonetic corruption proceeds from degeneracy," and yet has presently to
shield himself behind the paradoxical proverb, that "lazy people take
the most trouble," and so the corrupted vocables are often harder to
speak. He says repeatedly that "sound etymology has nothing to do with
sound"; yet he approves phonography, holding that spelling signifies
even less than sound,--which is contrary to the usual opinion of
philologists. Nevertheless his book is "full of the seeds of things"; no
one else could have written it, and no one can afford not to read it.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 16, No. 93, July, 1865" ***

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