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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 16, No. 94, August, 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. 94, August, 1865" ***

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THE

ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

_A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics._

VOL. XVI.--AUGUST, 1865.--NO. XCIV.

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
Massachusetts.



AMONG THE HONEY-MAKERS.


The luxury of all summer's sweet sensation is to be found when one lies
at length in the warm, fragrant grass, soaked with sunshine, aware of
regions of blossoming clover and of a high heaven filled with the hum of
innumerous bees.

It is that happy hum--which seems to the closed eyes as if the silent
sunbeams themselves had found a voice and were brimming the bending blue
with music as they went about their busy chemistry--that gives the chief
charm to the moment; for it tunes the mind to its own key, the murmuring
expression of all pleasant things, the chord of sunshine and perfume and
flowers.

And it is, indeed, the sound of a process scarcely less subtile than the
sunbeams' own, of that alchemy by which the limpid drop of sweet
insipidity at the root of any petal is transformed to the pungent flavor
and viscid drip of honey. A beautiful woman, weary of her frivolities,
once half in jest envied the fate of Io, dwelling all day in the sun,
all night in the starshine and dew, and fed on pasturage of violets; but
there is the morning beam, the evening ray, the breeze, the dew, the
spirit of the violet and of the cowslip, all gathered like a
distillation and sealed into the combs, and this is the tune to which it
is harvested. Beyond doubt there is no such eminent sound of gladness in
all the world. The cricket seems to speak of more spiritual things than
those of this sphere. As to bird-song, poets differ.

    "O nightingale, what doth she ail,
      And is she sad or jolly?
    Sure ne'er on earth was sound of mirth
      So like to melancholy,"

exclaims one in compromise with all the others. Every echo is full of a
lonesome sadness. The musical baying of a distant dog by night
accentuates the depth and darkness and stillness; the crowing of cocks
from farm to farm, in their cordon of sentinelship against the invasion
of the dawn, tells the hearer how all too well the world is getting on
without him; the lowing of kine through the clear noon air comes robbed
of roughness, in its deep, mellow sonority, like the oboe and bassoon,
full of a penetrating pathos. Let Nature but interpose a sheet of water
or a bit of wood, and the merriest joy-bells that ever rang are infused
with that melancholy which is the overplus of rapture. But there is no
distance to lend that enchantment to the buzzing of a bee: it is close
about us, a universal sibilation; the air is made of it; it sings of
work, that joy and privilege,--of a home, of plenty, of a world whose
color and odor make one giddy with good cheer; it may have many varying
elements, but its constant is content.

    "When the south wind, in May days,
    With a net of shining haze,
    Silvers the horizon wall,
    And, with softness touching all,
    Tints the human countenance
    With a color of romance,
    And, infusing subtile heats,
    Turns the sod to violets,
    Thou, in sunny solitudes,
    Rover of the underwoods,
    The green silence dost displace
    With thy mellow breezy bass."

And although this burly rover is not our little bee of the hive, but his
saucy, sonsy country-cousin, the song of the one is scarcely sweeter
than that of the other, while they blend into rarest unison. And well
may both be sweet, it is such a pleasant thing to live; there is the
hive to furnish, there is the dear nest underground; they forget
yesterday's rain, to-morrow's frost is but a dim phantasm,--the sun is
so warm to-day on their little brown backs, and here is such store of
honey. It is true, the humble-bee is much the most dazzling,--he has the
prestige of size, moreover; but the other may find some favor in his new
bronze and gold armor and his coarse velvet mantle,--there are few
creatures that can afford to labor in half such array as that, but when
the work is so nice one's dress must correspond: it would never do to
rumple round among the rose-leaves, black as a beetle, and expect not
only to be heaped with delicates, but to be intrusted with love-tokens.
One cannot be so splendid as the moths and sphinxes, who have nothing to
do all summer but to lay eggs among the petals that their offspring may
devour them; no, there is work to be done. But though one toils, one has
a dignity to maintain; one remembers it readily when he has been made
the insignia of royalty, when kings have worn his effigy, when popes
have put him in their coats-of-arms; one cannot forget that he has
himself been called the Winged Pontiff of the Flowers. See him now, as
he hovers over the clover, not the red kind,--for him each floret of
that is deep as those shafts of the hashish-eater's dream, where the
broken tubes of the honeysuckle being planted in the sand, their mouths
level with the floor of the desert, they became wells, and the Arab
women dropped their buckets therein and drew them up dripping with
honey,--it is the small white clover on which he alights, whose sweets
are within reach of his little proboscis; or, lost in that great
blue-bell, he swings it with his motion and his melody; or he burrows
deep in the heart of a rose, never rolling there, as it has erroneously
been said, but, collecting the pollen with his pincers, swims over the
flower while brushing it into the baskets of his hinder legs, and then
lights again for a fresh fare, till, laden and regaled, he loudly issues
forth, dusty with treasure; and _les rois fainéans_, the Merovingian
kings, who powdered their heads and their beards with gold, were no
finer fellows than he. But a few months' wear and tear will suffice to
tarnish him; by-and-by the little body will be battered and rusty, the
wings will be ragged and worn; one day as he goes home heavily burdened,
if no sailing blue-winged swallow have skimmed him up long ago, the
flagging flight will fail, a breeze will be too much for him, a
rain-drop will dash him down, he will fall, and some garden-toad, the
focal length of whose vision is exactly the distance to which he can
dart his tongue, will see a tired bee blundering across his sky, and
will make a morsel of him, honey-bag, pollen, and all. Yet that is in
the future, far outside the focal length of any bee's vision, that
fortunate vision which finds creation so fair and himself the centre of
it, each rose made for him to rifle, and welcome everywhere. "The docile
flower inclines and lends itself to the unquiet movements of the insect.
The sanctuary that she had shut from the winds, from the sight, she
opens to her dear bee, who, all impregnated with her sweetness, goes
carrying off her messages. The delicious precautions that Nature has
taken to veil her mysteries from the profane do not for a single moment
arrest this venturesome explorer, who makes himself one of the
household, and is never afraid of being the third. This flower, for
instance, is protected by two petals which join each other in a dome
above; it is thus that the flag-flower shelters her delicate little
lovers from the rain. Another, such as the pea, coifs itself in a kind
of casque, whose visor must be raised. The bee establishes himself at
the bottom of these retreats fit for fairies, laid with softest carpets,
under fantastical pavilions, with walls of topaz and ceilings of
sapphire. But poor comparisons borrowed from dead stones! These things
live and they feel, they desire and they await. And if the joyous
conqueror of their little hidden kingdom, if the imperious violator of
their innocent barriers, mingles and confounds everything there, they
give him thanks, heap him with their perfumes, and load him with their
honey," says M. Michelet, in a brochure upon the insect, which, however
uncertain its statements, would be perfectly charming in tone and spirit
but for the inevitable sentimentalisms.

It is a brave companionship to which our tiny adventurer comes,
likewise,--a world of opening blossoms, a crowd of shining intimates.
There is the Chrysopa, a bright-green thing, with filmy transparent
wings wrought like the rarest point-lace, and with eyes redder than
rubies are; there is the Rose-Chafer, the little Cetonia of the white
rose, with an emerald shield upon its back, and carrying underneath a
breastplate of carbuncle; there are the butterflies,--the silver-washed
Fritillaries of June,--the Painted Lady, found in every clime, and
sometimes out at sea,--the Admiral of the White, peerless in his lofty
flight,--the Vanessa Atalanta of August,--the Purple Emperor of the
Woods,--the Peacock-tailed butterfly of the autumn; and there are the
beautiful, savage dragon-flies, with their gauzy wings of silvery green
and blue,--all flying flakes of living splendor, which seem to be only
flowers endowed with wings. And in truth the analogies between flowers
and insects are noticeable enough, between the egg and the seed, the
chrysalis and the bud, the wide-spread wings and the expanded corolla;
there is a vital principle enjoyed by both, individuals of both have the
power of emitting light, there are ephemera of both; as certain buds
always bloom at fixed hours, so certain moths break their coverings to
the minute; as there are flowers that part their petals only at dark, so
there are insects that fly only by night; there are plants that are
miniature barometers, there are insects equally sensitive to every
variation of the atmosphere; for fragrance there is the musk-beetle, the
tiger-beetle, which affords a scent like that of the attar-of-roses; and
whereas some blossoms have fetid odors, there is the little golden-eyed,
lace-winged fly to offset them. It is easy to detect the rudimentary
flower in the folded bud, thus the lovely little aerial butterfly with
its ocellated wings may be found all ready for flight wrapped in the
caterpillar that feeds on the wild strawberry,--the one has the freedom
of heaven, the other seems bound by the spells of some beautiful
enchantment; these Libellulæ are sporting in the air, these sweet-peas
are just about to depart; there are locusts which appear to be walking
leaves, and finally there is the bee-orchis, which deceives even the
bees themselves.

It must fairly seem to this busy, bustling fellow, culling nectar and
ambrosia, that all outside is shadow, that the earth is made for him and
his kind, and that, let him cull never so tirelessly, he cannot hive
half its honey,--so that there will always be a drop or two left over
for his little poor relations, the violet-carpenter, the
roseleaf-cutter, and the poppy-bee. They have need of it, that drop or
two, to sweeten all the anxieties of their solitary lives the span of a
summer long, vagabonds at best, and not always allowed what
domesticities they have in peace. The pitiful fortunes of a mason-bee,
as told in "A Tour round my Garden," are liable to befall one as
another.

"Look at her," says the author, "returning home with her provisions; her
hind feet are loaded with a yellow dust, which she has taken from the
stamens of flowers: she goes into the hole; when she comes out again,
there will be no pollen on her feet; with honey which she has brought,
she will make a savory paste of it at the bottom of her nest. This is,
perhaps, her tenth journey to-day, and she shows no inclination to rest.

"All these cares are for one egg which she has laid,--for a single egg
which she will never see hatched; besides, that which will issue from
that egg will not be a fly like herself, but a worm, which will not be
metamorphosed into a fly for some time afterwards. She has, however,
hidden it in that hole, and knows precisely how much nourishment it will
require before it arrives at the state which ushers in its
transformation into a fly. This nourishment she goes to seek, and she
seasons and prepares it. There, she is gone again!

"But what is this other brilliant little fly which is walking up the
house-wall? Her breast is green, and her abdomen is of a purple red; but
these two colors are so brilliant that I am really at a loss to find
words splendid enough to express them, but the names of an emerald and a
ruby joined together.

"That pretty fly--that living jewel--is the 'Chrysis.' I scarcely dare
breathe, for fear of making it fly away. I should like to take it in my
hands, that I might have sufficient time to examine it more closely.
This likewise is the mother of a family; she also has an egg to lay,
from which will issue a fly like herself, but which she will never see.
She also knows how much nourishment her offspring will require; but,
more richly clothed than the bee, she does not, like her, know how to
gather the pollen from flowers or to make a paste of it with honey.

"She has but one resource, and that resource she is determined to
employ; she will recoil neither from roguery nor theft to secure the
subsistence of her offspring; she has recognized the solitary bee, and
she is going to lay her egg in her nest. It will hatch sooner than that
of the true proprietor; then the intruder will eat the provisions so
painfully collected for the legitimate child, who, when it is hatched in
its turn, will have nothing to do but to die of hunger.

"There she is at the edge of the hole,--she hesitates,--she
decides,--she enters.

"This insect interests me, she is so beautiful. The other likewise
interests me, she is so industrious. But here she comes back through the
air: one would think her a warrior covered with chased armor and a
golden cuirass; she buzzes as she comes along. The Chrysis has heard the
buzzing, which is for her the terrible sound of a war-trumpet. She
wishes to fly; she comes out; but the other, justly irritated, pounces
upon the daring intruder, beating it with her head. She bruises and
tears the brilliant gauze of her wings, and beats her down to the dust,
where she falls stupefied and inanimate.

"The bee then enters into her nest, and deposits and prepares her
provisions; but still agitated with her combat and her victory, she sets
out again through the air. I follow her with my eyes for a long time,
and at last she disappears.

"The poor Chrysis is not, however, dead: she gets up again, shakes
herself, flutters, and attempts to fly; but her lacerated wings will no
longer support her. What can she do to escape the fury of her enemy? It
is not her business to fly away; her business is to deposit her egg in
the bee's nest, and to secure future provision for her offspring,--but
the bee came back too soon. She ascends, climbing painfully: at times
her strength seems to fail her; she is forced to stop, but at last she
arrives,--she enters,--she is in! This time the interest is for her.
Then she was only beautiful, now she is very unfortunate. I am aware
that a long plea might be made for the other. I should not like to be
appointed judge between them. Ah! she is out again,--she flies away!
But, oh, how happy she is to have succeeded! Now I begin to feel for the
bee. The poor bee continues to bring provisions for its young, which,
nevertheless, will die of hunger."

Nor is the Chrysis her only tormentor, it may be remarked; there are
some frivolous little vagabonds of her own kind that never think of
building for themselves, but always appropriate the homes of others in
this style, and they are known as cuckoo-bees.

It is no wonder that the happy bee of the community, escaping all such
trial, makes blithe murmur to itself over its luscious labor. Perhaps
all artisans would sing as cheerfully, were their task as sweet; it can
be no such severe duty to fill one's basket with the bountiful store at
hand, when one has just banqueted on the very dew of the morning. There
are a few secondary products of Nature on which words cannot be wasted.
It is pleasant to recall the poetical charms of wine, its tints, its
aromas, and its sparkles; yet, with all that fire and fragrance, it
seems but poor, thin stuff, when poured out beside the heavy flow of
honey with sunbeams dissolved in every plash. The Hungarian huntsman may
praise his ropy Cotnar, fine ladies sip cordial Rosolio and Levantine
sirups, the fancy warm over African Constantia; but every peasant has
honey in his garden, and they buy it of him to enrich their best
Muscats. The great globes of the grape on which the wind and weather
have breathed a bloom, pulped with rain, and sweetened with sun, the
dew-drops slipping down among them as they stir beneath the weight of
some bird that springs from the stem into the sky,--these lend their
beauty and innocence as a kind of chrism to cover the profanities of
wine, which, before it can be used at all, undergoes a kind of
decomposition; but the wild wine of the bramble-rose has no need of its
youth in apology for its age. It is stainless honey still; the sweet
earth-juices stole up the tiny ducts of the flower to secrete it;
showers and odors, warmth and balm, distilled together into the nectary
to give it wealth and savor; it yet preserves the essence of long summer
days, of serene nights, of wandering winds, of mingled blossoms; it is
the link between vegetable and animal productions; it has undergone the
processes of a higher organization than that of the plant; it is, in
fact, the bee himself, and not all the art of all the laboratories can
reproduce it. Into all these other secondary products some stain of
humanity enters; but little sinless sprites of greenwood and glen alone
share the occult science of this with the blossoms. As light and heat
are the generative forces of the world, honey seems to be their first
result; it is lapped, indeed, in flowers, but it looks like candied
sunshine. From the beginning, it has been regarded as a sacred
substance; some have supposed it the earliest element of vegetation. The
ancients made offering of it to the souls of the departed; they
preserved their dead in its incorruptible medium; they sacrificed it to
the gods. "With honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee,"
said the Psalmist, as if earth had nothing more to give. Nor has it to
our bee. Let him fill his honey-vesicle, he will regurgitate the deposit
into a cell that he closes with a thin waxen pellicle, or into another
already partially occupied by the farina of flowers, which he knows to
be perishable, and therefore secludes from the air in the same fashion
that the Romans used to seal their flasks of Falernian,--with a few
drops of honey at the mouth. Give him a grain of pollen, a taste of
stagnant water, a drop of honey, and kings could not enrich him. The
honey is his food, in the stagnant water he finds salts requisite as
remedies; but what the bee wants with the grain of pollen is still a
doubtful matter among apiarists. He makes of it a confection for the
brood, it is also an ingredient of the royal jelly, he eats it himself,
and he elaborates it in scales of wax upon his body, say those who
follow Huber; on the other hand, the brood receive no confection or food
whatever, there is no such thing as royal jelly, the insect will die
sooner than partake of pollen, and there is no wax elaborated in scales
upon the body of any bee, say those who oppose Huber. But if the brood
are not fed, one may ask, why does the wild bee, the tapestry, or the
carder bee, take such pains, before closing the nest where her egg is
hidden, to store there the little drop of honey? and what is it that
occasions the greater consumption of honey during the brooding period
than during any other portion of the year? It is really a pity, when
Huber has given us so many interesting relations, that people must needs
go prying into their truth. How is it possible that Nature could improve
upon them? Kirby, indeed, accepts them all, and hands them down to us;
subsequent encyclopedists have profited by his example; and Michelet,
who between a true story and a picturesque one never hesitates a
moment,--who tells us that the down on the butterfly's wing is a
collection of exquisitely minute balloons, and that the silkworm files
its way out of the cocoon with its eyes,--leading us to think, that, if
his great history partake of the nature of his lesser works, it must be
an assemblage of splendid errors,--M. Michelet out-Hubers Huber himself.
Contrary to these, Mr. Huish, a British author, declares that a rod
ought to be pickled for the man who dared impose such sheer inventions
upon the credulity of a weak-minded public; and although he does not say
it in so many words, he has evidently pictured to himself the
consternation with which Huber's wife and servant must have looked at
one another when he announced to them his intention of publishing a book
of the fairy stories with which they had amused him, and suffered him to
amuse his friend Bonnet. Huber has novelty, romance, and interest, upon
his side; Huish has certainly a little logic. The latter's book upon the
subject is, nevertheless, as quarrelsome an affair as ever was
published; he seems to be as choleric and adust of temperament as the
bees themselves; he contradicts every one who has dared to speak upon
the matter, and, while insisting that they could by no possibility have
seen what they pretend to have done, asserts opposing facts, which he
could no more have seen than they.

There is a close classification in Huber's system, the results of which
give us several ranks among bees,--those of the queen, the drone, the
jelly-maker, the artists in wax, the nurse, the harvester, and a certain
little useless black bee. Adversely to this, Mr. Huish, who would carry
bee-craft back to a pre-Réaumurite period, reverts to the original
observations, and declares there are but three sorts of bee in the
hive,--queen, drone, and worker,--which obviously simplifies matters;
while as for the little black bee, he regards it as existing nowhere but
in the head of its discoverer, so that, if the worthy person had not the
traditional maggot in his brain, he might at least be said to have a bee
in his bonnet. The sociable caterpillars, we are told, work as each one
pleases. John Hunter said that bees did, too; and here Mr. Huish is of
the same opinion,--this or that worker scours the fields or fashions the
cell according to the fancy that may overcome him. Him? That is exactly
the question. Mademoiselle Jurine, following the anatomical researches
of her father, promulgated the discovery that the common bee was a
decided female, with its organs undeveloped. To counterbalance her
statements, M. Epignes published a treatise in which he proved
satisfactorily to himself that the common bee is a decided male. Mr.
Huish insists that the common bee is a decided neuter. Discarding M.
Epignes with a fillip, Mr. Huish stoutly argues, against Mademoiselle
Jurine's theory, that the possession of organs destined to no use is an
incident out of the course of Nature,--to which, even were the statement
quite true, it might be added that the creation of a community of a
thousand males and one female is equally out of the course of Nature.
Mr. Huish insists, that, if these bees were all females, yet forbidden
the functions of their sex, it would be an anomaly; he forgets that the
existence of a neuter is already an anomaly. Allowing that Mr. Huish is
here in the wrong, as seems probable, it involves a slight trouble of
its own; for there would then seem to be need of but two kinds of eggs
in the hive, whereas it is well established that three kinds are
laid,--that of the male, the female, and the worker, or imperfect
female. Huber, however, in such dilemma, adopting the previous hints of
Schirach, at once seized upon Mademoiselle Jurine's discovery, and
assured us, not only that from the egg of a worker a queen could at any
time be produced, but enlightened us as to the manner of conducting the
experiment. The queen is dead? It is lamentable, but nothing so easy as
to make another. There is only to tear down some dozen cells, to set the
youngest embryo afloat in royal jelly, and a queen appears, who, if not
in the legitimate line, is capable of performing perfectly all the
office of a sovereign. There is a moment of intense despair, great riot,
and agitation; work is suspended; the temperature of the hive mounts
many degrees. All at once the old art is remembered,--the administration
of that delicious medicament, of so astonishingly affluent nature that
it can make a queen out of a commoner, the enlargement of the narrow
cradle to that ampler space which forbids the atrophy of a single fibre
of the body. The preparations are made; and, with tranquillity restored,
the people await the event. One day there comes a singular piping
sound,--it is the cry of the royal babe,--the hive is filled with
rejoicing,--there is no longer any interregnum of the purple,--the queen
is born! Perhaps the queen-makers have been too much in earnest, and at
nearly the same moment the inmates of two royal cells issue together.
Then is the time to try one's mettle,--no shrinking, no bias, nothing
but pure patriotism. Let a ring be formed, and she who proves herself
victor is worthy of homage. Is one of the two a coward? The impartial
circle bring her back to the encounter, bite her, tease her, tumble her,
worry her, tell her plainly that life is possible to her on no terms but
those of conquest. At length the matter decides itself; the brilliant
and victorious Amazon bends her long, slender body, and with her royal
poniard pierces the abject pretender through and through. Then these
satisfied subjects surround her, load her with endearments, cleanse her,
brush her, lick her, offer her honey on the end of their proboscides,
and, if there are yet remaining other royal apartments whose tenants
give notice of timely appearance, they conduct her on an Elizabethan
progress, in which, filled with instinctive dismay, she pauses at every
cell, and stabs her young rivals to death with her sting. As the story
runs, there are still other conditions to be fulfilled by the aspiring
princess,--she must give her people the assurance of a populous empire.
Should she fail in this, they have recourse to their old manoeuvres,
becoming manifestly insubordinate and unruly. If, however, they at any
time wax unbearable in their insolence, the young monarch has it in her
power, by assuming a singular attitude, standing erect at a little
distance, her wings crossed upon her back and slightly fluttering, while
she utters a shrill, slender sound, to strike them dumb, so that they
hang their heads for shame.

All this pretty story the later apiarists deem a tissue of fiction and
fallacy. If, when a hive is deprived of its queen, there happen to be a
royal egg remaining in it, they say, it will shortly produce a queen,
as, if it had been a common egg, it would have produced a common bee.
They insist that the organism of the creature to be produced is inherent
in the egg, and do not believe it in the power of a bee to alter a law
of Nature; they deny the statements of Schirach, Huber, Dunbar, Rennie,
and others to this effect,--scout the idea of the existence of such a
thing as royal jelly at all, with the supposed aristocracy of its
compounders,--share with Huber the amazement he says he felt, when, in a
time of disturbance, he distinctly heard a queen address her bees in
the French language, saying, "_Je suis ici, je suis ici_"--entirely
repudiate the royal duels, which the editor of the "Naturalist's
Library" himself, an advocate as he is of the Huberian principles,
confesses he has never, in all his experience, been able to
witness,--and go to the extreme of declaring, that, far from being the
truculent and jealous tyrant described, the queen is the most timid of
all creatures, flying, at the first intimation of danger, into the
depths of the hive, and never using her sting under any circumstances
through the whole course of her life, while, should you get one in your
hand, you may offer her indignities with impunity; she knows her value
to her people, and that, should she sting and be unable to withdraw her
barbed weapon, the effort would disembowel her, and prove her own death
and the ruin of her kingdom. The royal larvæ, Huber tells us, in
spinning their cocoons, leave the lower rings of the body unprotected by
the gossamer envelope, that thus,--and it is certainly considerate on
their part,--the head being too well shielded by the hard nature of its
substances, and the cocoon endangering the safety of her sting by its
entangling flimsy threads, their queenly assailant may destroy them
without detriment to herself, by stinging that portion left exposed. On
the contrary, we are informed by his refuters, that, even were the body
destitute of this covering, which is not the case, it would present a
horny, scaly surface, from which there would be infinitely greater
difficulty in extracting the sting than from the silken meshes of any
cocoon,--and that, as no sting could pierce the waxen wall of the cell,
and as the royal cell is vertical, and the nymph lies with its head
towards the orifice of it, unless the queen, with her sting of the
eighth of an inch in length, had the power of darting it through the
orifice to the distance of three fourths of an inch, the act would be
otherwise an impossibility,--and that, to finish the affair, these
infant princesses are destroyed by the bees themselves, who, finding
them unnecessary for further swarming, tear them from their cells, and
despatch them, not by dart or venom, but, when they are in a
sufficiently advanced stage, by an attack of the teeth at the root of
the wings, in the same way that they despatch the drone, disabling and
dragging them out of the hive, after they have become supernumeraries,
where they drop to the ground, and, powerless to fly and escape, perish
with cold, or become the prey of bird, mouse, and reptile. It is
possible that none of the various tribes of all the tiny arm-bearing
people make use of the _coup de grâce_ in their power, except as a last
resort. Still, when the bees find it necessary, they use it with Spartan
cunning. Bruin can testify to that in his sensitive muzzle; and thus,
when he takes a fancy to their conserve of blossoms, he carries off the
hive in his hug, and plunges it into the nearest brook or pool till the
bees are drowned, and all their riches made his undisturbed possession.
The bee that is not irascible betrays a dismal home and a miserable
mother; he has nothing worth fighting for. But far from him be malice;
unmolested, he does not molest. For one who has lived in an old mansion,
with bats' nests under the eaves and wasps' nests everywhere, waking in
autumn mornings to count the customary inhabitants of the latter
clustered on the cornices by threescores, while observing that they
always made themselves sufficiently at home, not only to claim a place
at table, but to walk across the cloth and help themselves, pausing
sometimes midway to flirt out the purple enamel of a wing for
admiration, and never giving offence to one of the house,--for one who
has seen this fierce and fell fury so prettily and quietly behaved, it
is pardonable to claim an equal amount of moderation for the sweeter and
purer nature of the little honey-maker, who has learned his gentler
manners of the flowers themselves. There are occasions, moreover, when
the bees positively forget they have a sting at all, as when, in
swarming, they are so entirely absorbed that they may be lifted in
handfuls. M. Lombard states the circumstance of a child's being cured of
her fear of the sting by an experience of this season. "A swarm having
left a hive, I observed the queen alight by herself, at a little
distance from the apiary. I immediately called my little friend, that I
might show her this important personage. She was anxious to have a
nearer view of Her Majesty; and therefore, having first caused her to
draw on her gloves, I gave the queen into her hand. Scarcely had I done
so, when we were surrounded by all the bees of the swarm. In this
emergency, I encouraged the trembling girl to be steady, and to fear
nothing, remaining myself close by her, and covering her head and
shoulders with a thin handkerchief. I then made her stretch out the hand
that held the queen, and the bees instantly alighted on it, and hung
from her fingers as from the branch of a tree. The little girl,
experiencing no injury, was delighted above measure at the novel sight,
and so entirely freed from all fear that she bade me uncover her face.
The spectators were charmed at the interesting spectacle. I at length
brought a hive, and, shaking the swarm from the child's hand, it was
lodged in safety without inflicting a single sting."

But however greatly opinions may vary in this branch of natural history
on one or another topic, the principal dispute is concerning the
relations that may subsist between the queen and the drones. Huber had a
complicated arrangement in reference to this, which his admirers
accepted enthusiastically, while Latreille and other apiarists reject it
as a cluster of prurient fancies. The opinion of Huish upon the subject,
which would seem to have more probability to support it than others
have, is that the queen commences to lay immediately on being
established, and that the eggs being in their separate cells, it is the
office of the drone to make them fruitful, after the custom of certain
fish and of frogs.

"When the population of the hive has been so increased by the opening of
the brood-cells that accommodation has become insufficient, and the heat
so unendurable that every wing droops wet and flaccid with perspiration,
as grand an emigration as those of the early Northern tribes is ordered,
scouts are sent out to select the future place of abode, and in some
propitious moment of perfect sunshine, honey-pouches full and nothing to
delay, the great exodus takes place with a noise as if the whole hive
were attacked by vertigo; and Homer himself could find nothing to which
to compare his multitudinous Greeks thronging from their ships fitter
than these nations of close-swarming bees. That the young queen should
lead the departing swarm seems the natural occurrence, being desirous of
fulfilling her own destiny and of hastening from a hive hostile to all
but one mistress whom they already know and love. Huber, however, will
have it that it is the old queen, who, outraged and indignant at her
treatment when a rival is allowed to live, sounds the alarm and sallies
forth with her adherents. In support of this Mr. Duncan mentions having
deprived an old queen of one of her antennæ, and noticing her thereafter
at the head of a swarm, although Huber previously makes it known that
any bee deprived of one of its antennæ is rendered useless. And in
opposition to it may be given the circumstance quoted by Mr. Huish, in
which the German apiarian Scopoli asserts, that, having clipped the
wings of a queen, he found her still in his hive after an interval of
many months, during which two excellent swarms had been thrown, and
rather plumes himself on the triumphant fact, as if by any possibility
she could have gotten away. A hive will throw off from one to four
swarms in a season, but the last two are generally worthless, and should
be deprived of their queens and returned to the parent stock. We have an
old adage to this purpose,--

    A swarm in May
    Is worth a load of hay,
    A swarm in June
    Is worth a silver spoon,
    But the swarm of July
    Isn't worth a fly,"--

and any one may verify it who chooses to investigate the condition of
such swarms at the conclusion of the harvest, when it will be seen that
those which founded their colony at so late an hour have not collected
sufficient honey even for their winter provision, and must be fed in
order to be saved till spring.

They have dainty appetites, these little people. They will work away
with their forceps at a bit of sweetmeat, but they can absorb only
liquids through their proboscides. Being in a state of civilization,
their food must be administered in a civilized way: it must be boiled
for them. They fancy stimulants; and sugar dissolved in ale, old brown
October, or, better still, made into a rich sirup with Port wine, they
find very delectable. Those authors who regard pollen as a part of their
subsistence deem that it is because they require nitrogenized
substances; and in order to prove that it is used as food, they remark
that the bees continue to harvest it so long as a single flower blows,
and that entirely after the formation of the cells has ceased. This,
however, may be owing simply to the instinct which prompted them in the
first place to bring it home, as instinct is generally in all creatures
stronger than reason and overloaded; and that it cannot be any portion
of the food of bees seems evident from the fact that whole hives are
known to have perished by hunger while still abundantly supplied with
bee-bread, as the pollen is often called. It is more probable that
pollen is really the chief constituent of wax, although Huber submits
that honey has that honor; but that this wax is produced in the manner
that Huber states is extremely doubtful. It is his opinion that the
wax-workers, having first gorged themselves with honey, suspend
themselves in festoons from the flowers, where they remain for
twenty-four hours,--which in a chilly spring night would break many a
link of the chain,--after which, one detaches herself from the festoon,
enters the hive, and takes up her situation, with her forceps detaches a
scale of wax from her side where it has recently exuded, works it with
her tongue, and fashions it to the required consistency, succeeded in
turn by others, artisan and apprentice. But as honey is the normal and
established food of bees, it would follow that these scales must be in a
state of perpetual exudation, and thus before long the hive would become
filled with them, unless bees have a control of their bodily secretions
enjoyed by no other order of beings. Anatomical dissection has found
pollen only in the second stomach of the bee, of which the mouth is the
sole and single opening; it is therefore presumed, that, being taken in
a crude condition, and having undergone its due elaboration there, it is
disgorged again and becomes the wax of the cells. This was the opinion
of Réaumur; and for additional proof, it is stated, that, though the
workers are seen to collect large quantities of farina during the season
in which the cells are being made, no particle of crude farina is
meanwhile to be found in a single cell, the whole of it being used in
their composition. All this, however, will long remain in uncertainty;
for, till some one is born with eyes of his own, ready to devote his
lifelong labor to such observations, and perhaps in the end be stung to
death for his pains,--since there are rebellions even in heaven, we
learn,--there will be general willingness to accept the most piquant
little statements regarding this most peculiar little people.

Wax itself is a substance that has no similitude to any other known. It
is now thought, that, as there are three orders of bee, so there are
three substances merely in the hive,--honey, farina, and wax. Pliny
enumerates three others,--commosis, pissoceros, and propolis. Of these
many moderns still retain the last, calling it a resinous matter
collected from alders and willows, and used for the more secure
foundation of the comb. But upon subjecting a lump of propolis to the
boiling process by which wax is purified, it turns out simple wax of
nearly its former weight; and it is accordingly presumed to be only wax
in a much more crude stage of elaboration. Dr. Bevan, in experimenting
with his hives, says that he melted wax and spread it upon a certain
place, and, while fluid, attached a slight guide-comb to it, which the
bees immediately adopted, suspending their whole comb thereby; from
which it is evident, that, wax being strong enough itself for a
foundation, propolis is unnecessary, and Nature is not apt to afford
superfluities in her economy of construction.

The beautiful geometry of the cells is, after all, the marvel of the
whole. Koenig demonstrated, that, in the problem of space and material,
the bee had at once arrived at the solution which he himself reached
only after infinitesimal calculations; and it furnishes fresh proof of
the great mathematical relations of the universe, when even instinct is
found to take on the accuracy and method of crystals. This honey-comb,
by the way, is a favorite figure in Nature. If one examines
microscopically the beautiful and brilliant petal of a gladiolus, it
will offer this cellular structure in loose and irregular outlines; but
under the same lens, the eye of a dragon-fly, which displays by daylight
a jewel-like transparency, will be seen a strict crowd of glittering
hexagons, with every alveole so closely arranged and so symmetrically
shaped as to afford instant testimony to the superiority of the animal
organization. It is by no means the habit of all bees, however, to
dispose their affairs with such precision, though many other methods may
have an equal grace. Don Felix d'Azara tells us of South American bees
which deposit their honey in small waxen cups, and are known as
Angelitos, because never using the sting; while the little black
stingless bee of Guadaloupe, which inhabits the clefts of hollow rocks
by the seaside, stores its honey in cells the size of a pigeon's egg,
each sacklet being filled only so far as it will hold without tearing
from its fellow, and a pretty piece of color being effected by the amber
honey in its receptacles of dark violet-colored wax which never
blanches, as the whole hangs together like a great cluster of grapes.
This is a species of bee not greatly differing from that which makes the
honey of Estabentum, that Clavigero says is taken every two months and
is the finest in the world. The Mexicans are reported to attend with
care to the culture of these bees, not so much for their rich honey as
for the wax, of which large quantities are used in their common church
ceremonials.

There are many singular incidents related by Huber, which, if they are
not true, one may exclaim, "The more's the pity." When he notes, that,
in a time of disorder in the hive, he beheld the queen ascend a royal
cell and seat herself upon it as if it were a throne, and, having
sympathized for a season, suddenly assume the awful attitude and strike
her disloyal people motionless, it interests us like some recital of the
haps and heroics of Boadicea and her Britons. It is remembered that in
the early days of what are known as spiritual manifestations, while one
wit thought our furniture made of Dodonean oak, another regarded the
manifestations as a wise provision, in aid of the customary May ramble
of city families from their respective domiciles. It is from a similarly
provident point of view, with the current price of coal, that we should
look at Huber's statement concerning the heat of a hive, when he tells
us that twenty hives will warm an apartment comfortably, and
twenty-five, occasionally well shaken, will furnish the proper
temperature for a conservatory,--which throws Count Rumford's feat of
boiling water without the aid of fire far into the shade. But when Huber
proceeds to say that the queen is followed on her rounds by a royal
guard, who wait on her with obsequious reverence, although it seems to
be a pretty custom enough, the actual custom may be found a far prettier
one: for the queen attends to her affairs, as others are assured, quite
unaccompanied; only as workers at all times cover the comb, when she
passes from group to group, each bee for a moment leaves labor, bestows
a caress upon its mother, offers her honey, refreshes her, sees her
pass to the next group, which hastens to do the same, while the first
returns to the business of the moment. The elder Huber taxes the
credulity, however, hardly more than his son does, in presenting a
drawing of humble-bees hindering a toppling comb from falling by taking
acrobatic postures, standing on their heads and supporting it with their
hind legs till relieved, converting themselves, in fact, into a kind of
flying-buttresses. Indeed, the trouble with all these things is, that
naturalists persist in endowing the little creatures with human
passions; and having once given the rein to imagination, it runs away
with them. Now and then they find themselves in a quagmire; but
sometimes the result is simply amusing, as in old Butler's most graphic
and entertaining description of the pillage of a weak hive by its rich
and powerful neighbor, in the "Feminine Monarchie." Yet these stories
have been told ever since the Flood. Aristotle assures us, that, when a
bee has a headwind to encounter, he ballasts himself with a little
pebble between his feet; and the Abbé della Rocca, who made observations
on the bees of the Grecian Archipelago, had the pleasure of witnessing
the circumstance in person,--which would cause one to conjecture that
the Greek bees, ever since they made honey on Plato's lip, have had
habits peculiar to themselves, were it not that the little solitary
mason-bee comes to the rescue,--the mason-bee, that, loaded with gravel
and material for her nest, both Aristotle and the Abbé della Rocca
undoubtedly saw. It is Virgil, however, on whom, in practical matters,
apiarists have not yet improved, who has told the most amazing stories
about bees, certifying that the body of their people may be bred from
decay, and particularizing the blossom on which the king of the bees is
born; but Virgil lived, it is to be recollected, nearly two thousand
years ago, and two hundred have not yet passed since Redi, sometimes
called the father of experimental entomology, first brought discredit on
the doctrine of spontaneous generation: having tried the recipe for the
manufacture of snakes, by his friend the learned Kircher, he could never
witness, he says, "the generation of those blessed snakelets made to
hand." M. Michelet, having a kind word for everybody, has a graceful
apology also for the errors of Virgil, avowing that this was not Horace,
the elegant favorite of Rome, nor the light and indiscreet Ovid, but
Virgil, the child of the soil, the noble and candid figure of the old
Italian peasant, the religious interpreter of Nature; and though he may
have been mistaken as to names, what he said he saw; he was simply
deceived, as subsequently Réaumur was for a moment, by the rat-tailed
larvæ or sewer-flies, which, having escaped from their cradle of
corruption, now shining and adorned, are thereupon brevetted to the rank
of noble Virgilian-bees.

Certain superstitions seem to have prevailed in all countries ever since
bees were first domesticated. In England they must not be bought, though
they may be bartered; but there can be no haggling. In this country they
are not even to be bartered. As their homeward flight is supposed to be
westerly, it is necessary to obtain them from a place due east of their
future residence; and their first swarm is to be hived and returned to
the original owner, the bees relying on your good faith and working one
summer on credit, so to say: they are not slaves, to be exchanged for
silver. At this and all subsequent swarmings, it is requisite that they
should be stunned by a confused clatter of bells, pans, pebbles, and
cries, although it was long ago explained by Butler that this noise came
into custom merely in signal of the ownership of a vagrant swarm. When a
death occurs in the household, the hives are to be told of it and
dressed in crape, in Switzerland turned topsy-turvy, as without such
treatment the bees do not consider themselves used as a part of the
family, and will fly away.

Among all the anecdotes given, perhaps the best instance in relation to
the intelligence of the bee is that narrative of its stratagems in
warfare with the famous Death's-Head Moth. Mr. Huish, to be sure,
leaning upon Buffon, laughs at it, believes it on a par with Jack's
Beanstalk, and is grimly satisfied that no bees ever erected
fortifications of any kind other than as against the effluvium of
murdered mouse or snail when they wall up its source in a tomb of wax;
but it is impossible to look at the benevolent, bland face in any
picture of Huber, with its sweetness of expression, and its innocent,
wide, wandering eyes, and not wish to believe every word he says. M.
Michelet tells the story so pleasantly that it would be difficult to
quote it, especially as it is well to be credulous in good company.

"About the time of the American Revolution, a little before that of the
French, there appeared and multiplied a thing unknown to our Europe, a
being of frightful shape, a large and powerful moth, marked plainly
enough in yellowish gray, with an ugly death's head. This sinister
creature, that had never before been seen, alarmed the rural regions,
and appeared to be an augury of the greatest misfortunes. In reality,
those who were terrified by it had brought it upon themselves. It had
entered the country as a caterpillar upon its natal plant, the American
potato, the fashionable vegetable of the time, extolled by Parmentier,
protected by Louis XVI., and spreading everywhere. The _savans_
christened this stranger by a name not too reassuring,--the Sphinx
Atropos.

"This animal was terrible indeed,--but only to honey. Of that it was
gluttonous, and capable of everything in order to obtain it. A hive of
thirty thousand bees did not appall it. In the depth of midnight, the
voracious monster, profiting by that hour when the outskirts of the city
are weakly guarded, with a little dull lugubrious noise, muffled as if
by the smooth down which covered him, invaded the hive, sought the
combs, gorged himself, pillaged, spoiled, overthrew the stores and the
brood. In vain might the attacked party awaken, assemble, and riot;
stings could not pierce the covering,--the species of soft, elastic
mattress with which he was everywhere garnished, like the Mexicans of
the time of Cortés in their cotton armor that no Spanish weapon could
penetrate.

"Huber took counsel with himself for some means of protecting his bees
from this daring robber. Should he make gratings? should he make doors?
and how? That was his doubt. The best imagined closure possible had the
inconvenience of hindering the great movement of exit and entrance
always going on at the sill of the hive. Their impatience rendered these
barriers, in which they would entangle themselves and break their wings,
intolerable to the bees.

"One morning, the faithful servant who aided him in all his experiments
informed him that the bees had already solved the problem for
themselves. They had in various hives conceived and carried out divers
systems of defence and fortification. Here they had constructed a waxen
wall, with narrow windows, through which the huge enemy could not pass;
and there, by a more ingenious invention, without stirring anything,
they had placed at their gates intersecting arcades or little
partitions, one behind another, but alternating, so that opposite the
empty spaces between those of the first row stood the partitions of the
second row. Thus were contrived numerous openings for the impatient
crowd of bees, who could go out and come in as usual, and without any
other obstacle than the slight one of going a little zigzag; but limits,
absolute obstructions, for the great, clumsy enemy, who could not enter
with his unfolded wings, nor even insinuate himself without bruises
between the narrow corridors.

"This was the _coup d'état_ of the lower orders, the revolution of
insects, executed by the bees, not only against those that robbed them,
but against those that denied their intelligence. The theorists who
refuse that to them, the Malebranches and the Buffons, must consider
themselves conquered. We go back to the reserve of the great students
of Nature, the Swammerdams, the Réaumurs, who, far from contesting the
genius of insects, give us numberless facts to prove that it is
flexible, that it can increase with dangers and with obstacles, that it
can quit routine, and in certain circumstances make unexpected
progress."

Intelligence among the inferior animals seems always more or less an
affair of acute senses; the bee certainly ought to manifest much of it,
for his senses are extraordinary. Not to speak of that singular sixth
sense of the antennæ, by whose power alone he fashions his cell and
seems to make and receive communication, nor of his wonderful eyesight,
to which a double kind of eye contributes, one portion of it being for
distance and another for vertical objects or for closer work,--although
there are naturalists who consider these stemmata as a possible organ of
hearing,--he has a sense of smell which must surpass that of any other
creature on the wing: it is perhaps to this lively faculty that he owes
his marvellous cleanliness. Féburier states that at one time the bees,
attracted by the lemon-trees and flowers of Cuba, emigrated thither in a
body from the mainland of Florida, a distance of twenty-five
leagues,--the fact, however, being that their owners emigrated and took
them with them. But they have been positively known to track heath a
distance of four miles, and that across water, through an atmosphere in
which the faint scent of the heath must have mingled with all the
powerful salt odor of the sea. Strong little wings they must be, too, to
travel these distances, and yet perform all the other labor allotted
them; for every day, while some with their burdens are entering the
black hive, and some are darting out again into the glaring sunlight
full of business and on new errands, others may always be distinguished
stationed by the door and fanning their bits of wings backward and
forward in ventilation of the hive. Although disputatious to the last,
Mr. Huish insists that this motion is nothing but the expression of
intense satisfaction and joy. Either way, it would seem as if an
answering rest must be required in order to repair such wear and tear;
and on this point an old Spanish writer sets it down that bees sleep
during every night and on all fast-days in addition, and a corroborating
investigator remarks that he has seen them withdraw into the empty
cells, and, composing themselves, their heads towards the bottom, enjoy
the deepest slumber, the body gently heaving with the breath, and every
little limb relaxed,--to which another person replies, that this is an
outrageous statement, for it is a decided fact that sleep is as much a
stranger to the eye of a bee as it is to the eye of a herring. Yet in
the German countries much of the labor of flight is after all spared
them, their owners collecting them into caravans, conducting them
gypsy-wise, encamping here and encamping there, through whatever
districts linger latest in bloom. They build bee-barges, too, in France,
capacious enough for a hundred hives, and drift them down the rivers, so
that the bees shall follow the summer as it flits southward. And in
Lower Egypt, where the blossoming continues much longer than in the
upper regions, Niebuhr saw an assemblage of four thousand hives upon the
Nile; anchoring at places of plentiest pasturage: the bees thus float
from one end of the land to the other before they return and enrich
their proprietors with the honey they have harvested from the
orange-flowers and jasmines of the Said and all the wealthy banks of the
mighty river. The hunter in America takes advantage of this clear sight
and of this strength of wing when, he lines a bee to its nest, by
alluring one to a bait of honey within a circle of wet white paint,
watching the subsequent flight, letting off another, similarly secured,
at right angles to that, and looking for the nest at the intersection of
the two white lines. Nor is the hunter their only depredator. At the
Cape of Good Hope there lives a bird known as the Honey-Guide, that
enters into alliance with man, sounds its shrill note, and, fluttering
from spray to spray, leads the way to the sweet resort: it would be
sacrilege, if the Hottentot did not leave a portion of the honey to the
informer. There, too, is the rattel, a little beast that at sunset
shelters its eyes with a paw, for clearer view, spots a bee, and follows
it: often these two make fellowship together, the one for the honey, the
bird for the brood. But these are not the terrors of a temperate clime;
the hives can despatch a field-mouse unassisted; the master who cannot
rid them of the wax-moth they will desert without regrets; sounding the
slogan for aid, no two bees will hesitate to grapple with the bold
butchering wasp that invades them; the humble-bee, making her
underground nest, the poppy-bee, fitting her splendid scarlet tapestry,
however many each may have, recks of few enemies beyond the rain and
storm. What should any one of them all remember about the tomtit that
comes and taps outside and snaps each resident up as it appears
inquiring at the gate? of the little feathered monster that tears bees
to pieces, making shreds of heads and wings for his mere amusement? To
them a briefer memory makes brief life blessed. The happy murmurer of
our morning knows of little but peace and security, he does not even
dream that _savans_ infuriate themselves about him, he buzzes from
flower to flower, daringly puts aside the curtain of sacred shrines and
makes himself luxurious hermitage in the snowy depths of the lilies,
lets the south wind swing him a moment on the golden cradle of kingcups,
pursues his pleasures in the purple recesses of the hyacinth, or,
gliding into a labyrinth of petals, between the silken linings of
perfumed chambers, the tinted sunlight softly sifting through, revels
with the gracious nymphs that wait there, that hail him, caress him, and
give him their confidence all under the rose; he goes his way, and his
music spurns the trail of melancholy that never fails to follow the most
delicious warble that ever trilled from throat of bobolink or throstle.
As you lie and listen, in the golden tenor of the hive-bee's hum seems
diffused the wide whisper of continuous gladness; and giving the
innermost note of summer and of noon, the booming bass of the humble-bee
blazons abroad all poetry and beauty and sumptuous delight.

    "Hot midsummer's petted crone,
    Sweet to me thy drowsy tone,
    Tells of countless sunny hours,
    Long days and solid banks of flowers,
    Of gulfs of sweetness without bound
    In Indian wilderness found,
    Of Syrian peace, immortal leisure,
    Firmest cheer, and bird-like pleasure."



COUNTESS LAURA.


    It was a dreary day in Padua.
    The Countess Laura, for a single year
    Fernando's wife, upon her bridal bed,
    Like an uprooted lily on the snow,
    The withered outcast of a festival,
    Lay dead. She died of some uncertain ill,
    That struck her almost on her wedding-day,
    And clung to her, and dragged her slowly down,
    Thinning her cheeks and pinching her full lips,
    Till, in her chance, it seemed that with a year
    Full half a century was overpast.
    In vain had Paracelsus taxed his art,
    And feigned a knowledge of her malady;
    In vain had all the doctors, far and near,
    Gathered around the mystery of her bed,
    Draining her veins, her husband's treasury,
    And physic's jargon, in a fruitless quest
    For causes equal to the dread result.
    The Countess only smiled, when they were gone,
    Hugged her fair body with her little hands,
    And turned upon her pillows wearily,
    As if she fain would sleep, no common sleep,
    But the long, breathless slumber of the grave.
    She hinted nothing. Feeble as she was,
    The rack could not have wrung her secret out
    The Bishop, when he shrived her, coming forth,
    Cried, in a voice of heavenly ecstasy,
    "O blessed soul! with nothing to confess,
    Save virtues and good deeds, which she mistakes--
    So humble is she--for our human sins!"
    Praying for death, she tossed upon her bed,
    Day after day,--as might a shipwrecked bark
    That rocks upon one billow, and can make
    No onward motion towards her port of hope.
    At length, one morn, when those around her said,
    "Surely the Countess mends, so fresh a light
    Beams from her eyes and beautifies her face,"--
    One morn in spring, when every flower of earth
    Was opening to the sun, and breathing up
    Its votive incense, her impatient soul
    Opened itself, and so exhaled to heaven.
    When the Count heard it, he reeled back a pace;
    Then turned with anger on the messenger;
    Then craved his pardon, and wept out his heart
    Before the menial: tears, ah, me! such tears
    As Love sheds only, and Love only once.
    Then he bethought him, "Shall this wonder die
    And leave behind no shadow? not a trace
    Of all the glory that environed her,
    That mellow nimbus circling round my star?"
    So, with his sorrow glooming in his face,
    He paced along his gallery of Art,
    And strode amongst the painters, where they stood,
    With Carlo, the Venetian, at their head,
    Studying the Masters by the dawning light
    Of his transcendent genius. Through the groups
    Of gayly vestured artists moved the Count,--
    As some lone cloud of thick and leaden hue,
    Packed with the secret of a coming storm,
    Moves through the gold and crimson evening mists,
    Deadening their splendor. In a moment, still
    Was Carlo's voice, and still the prattling crowd;
    And a great shadow overran them all,
    As their white faces and their anxious eyes
    Pursued Fernando in his moody walk.
    He paused, as one who balances a doubt,
    Weighing two courses, then burst out with this:
    "Ye all have seen the tidings in my face;
    Or has the dial ceased to register
    The workings of my heart? Then hear the bell,
    That almost cracks the frame in utterance:
    The Countess--she is dead!"--"Dead!" Carlo groaned.
    And if a bolt from middle heaven had struck
    His splendid features full upon the brow,
    He could not have appeared more scathed and blanched.
    "Dead!--dead!" He staggered to his easel-frame,
    And clung around it, buffeting the air
    With one wild arm, as though a drowning man
    Hung to a spar and fought against the waves.--
    The Count resumed: "I came not here to grieve,
    Nor see my sorrow in another's eyes.
    Who'll paint the Countess, as she lies to-night
    In state within the chapel? Shall it be
    That earth must lose her wholly? that no hint
    Of her gold tresses, beaming eyes, and lips
    That talked in silence, and the eager soul
    That ever seemed outbreaking through her clay,
    And scattering glory round it,--shall all these
    Be dull corruption's heritage, and we,
    Poor beggars, have no legacy to show
    The love she bore us? That were shame to love,
    And shame to you, my masters." Carlo stalked
    Forth from his easel, stiffly as a thing
    Moved by mechanic impulse. His thin lips,
    And sharpened nostrils, and wan, sunken cheeks,
    And the cold glimmer in his dusky eyes,
    Made him a ghastly sight. The throng drew back,
    As if they let a spectre through. Then he,
    Fronting the Count, and speaking in a voice
    Sounding remote and hollow, made reply:
    "Count, I shall paint the Countess. 'Tis my fate,--
    Not pleasure,--no, nor duty." But the Count,
    Astray in woe, but understood assent,
    Not the strange words that bore it; and he flung
    His arm round Carlo, drew him to his breast,
    And kissed his forehead. At which Carlo shrank:
    Perhaps 'twas at the honor. Then the Count,
    A little reddening at his public state,--
    Unseemly to his near and recent loss,--
    Withdrew in haste between the downcast eyes
    That did him reverence as he rustled by.

    Night fell on Padua. In the chapel lay
    The Countess Laura at the altar's foot.
    Her coronet glittered on her pallid brows;
    A crimson pall, weighed down with golden work,
    Sown thick with pearls, and heaped with early flowers,
    Draped her still body almost to the chin;
    And over all a thousand candles flamed
    Against the winking jewels, or streamed down
    The marble aisle, and flashed along the guard
    Of men-at-arms that slowly wove their turns,
    Backward and forward, through the distant gloom.
    When Carlo entered, his unsteady feet
    Scarce bore him to the altar, and his head
    Drooped down so low that all his shining curls
    Poured on his breast, and veiled his countenance.
    Upon his easel a half-finished work,
    The secret labor of his studio,
    Said from the canvas, so that none might err,
    "I am the Countess Laura." Carlo kneeled,
    And gazed upon the picture,--as if thus,
    Through those clear eyes, he saw the way to heaven.
    Then he arose; and as a swimmer comes
    Forth from the waves, he shook his locks aside,
    Emerging from his dream, and standing firm
    Upon a purpose with his sovereign will.
    He took his palette, murmuring, "Not yet!"
    Confidingly and softly to the corpse;
    And as the veriest drudge who plies his art
    Against his fancy, he addressed himself
    With stolid resolution to his task.
    Turning his vision on his memory,
    And shutting out the present, till the dead,
    The gilded pall, the lights, the pacing guard,
    And all the meaning of that solemn scene
    Became as nothing, and creative Art
    Resolved the whole to chaos, and reformed
    The elements according to her law,--
    So Carlo wrought, as though his eye and hand
    Were Heaven's unconscious instruments, and worked
    The settled purpose of Omnipotence.
    And it was wondrous how the red, the white,
    The ochre, and the umber, and the blue,
    From mottled blotches, hazy and opaque,
    Grew into rounded forms and sensuous lines;
    How just beneath the lucid skin the blood
    Glimmered with warmth, the scarlet lips apart
    Bloomed with the moisture of the dews of life;
    How the light glittered through and underneath
    The golden tresses, and the deep, soft eyes
    Became intelligent with conscious thought,
    And somewhat troubled underneath the arch
    Of eyebrows but a little too intense
    For perfect beauty; how the pose and poise
    Of the lithe figure on its tiny foot
    Suggested life just ceased from motion; so
    That any one might cry, in marvelling joy,
    "That creature lives,--has senses, mind, a soul
    To win God's love or dare hell's subtleties!"
    The artist paused. The ratifying "Good"
    Trembled upon his lips. He saw no touch
    To give or soften. "It is done," he cried,--
    "My task, my duty! Nothing now on earth
    Can taunt me with a work left unfulfilled!"
    The lofty flame which bore him up so long
    Died in the ashes of humanity;
    And the mere man rocked to and fro again
    Upon the centre of his wavering heart.
    He put aside his palette, as if thus
    He stepped from sacred vestments, and assumed
    A mortal function in the common world.
    "Now for my rights!" he muttered, and approached
    The noble body. "O lily of the world!
    So withered, yet so lovely! what wast thou
    To those who came thus near thee--for I stood
    Without the pale of thy half-royal rank--
    When thou wast budding, and the streams of life
    Made eager struggles to maintain thy bloom,
    And gladdened heaven dropped down in gracious dews
    On its transplanted darling? Hear me now!
    I say this but in justice, not in pride,
    Not to insult thy high nobility,
    But that the poise of things in God's own sight
    May be adjusted, and hereafter I
    May urge a claim that all the powers of heaven
    Shall sanction, and with clarions blow abroad.
    Laura, you loved me! Look not so severe,
    With your cold brows, and deadly, close-drawn lips!
    You proved it, Countess, when you died for it,--
    Let it consume you in the wearing strife
    It fought with duty in your ravaged heart.
    I knew it ever since that summer-day
    I painted Lila, the pale beggar's child,
    At rest beside the fountain; when I felt--
    Oh, heaven!--the warmth and moisture of your breath
    Blow through my hair, as with your eager soul--
    Forgetting soul and body go as one--
    You leaned across my easel till our cheeks--
    Ah, me! 'twas not your purpose--touched, and clung!
    Well, grant 'twas genius; and is genius nought?
    I ween it wears as proud a diadem--
    Here, in this very world--as that you wear.
    A king has held my palette, a grand-duke
    Has picked my brush up, and a pope has begged
    The favor of my presence in his Rome.
    I did not go; I put my fortune by.
    I need not ask you why: you knew too well.
    It was but natural, it was no way strange,
    That I should love you. Everything that saw,
    Or had its other senses, loved you, sweet!
    And I amongst them. Martyr, holy saint,--
    I see the halo curving round your head,--
    I loved you once; but now I worship you,
    For the great deed that held my love aloof,
    And killed you in the action! I absolve
    Your soul from any taint. For from the day
    Of that encounter by the fountain-side
    Until this moment, never turned on me
    Those tender eyes, unless they did a wrong
    To Nature by the cold, defiant glare
    With which they chilled me. Never heard I word
    Of softness spoken by those gentle lips;
    Never received a bounty from that hand
    Which gave to all the world. I know the cause.
    You did your duty,--not for honor's sake,
    Nor to save sin or suffering or remorse,
    Or all the ghosts that haunt a woman's shame,
    But for the sake of that pure, loyal love
    Your husband bore you. Queen, by grace of God,
    I bow before the lustre of your throne!
    I kiss the edges of your garment-hem,
    And hold myself ennobled! Answer me,--
    If I had wronged you, you would answer me
    Out of the dusty porches of the tomb,--
    Is this a dream, a falsehood? or have I
    Spoken the very truth?"--"The very truth!"
    A voice replied; and at his side he saw
    A form, half shadow and half substance, stand,
    Or, rather, rest; for on the solid earth
    It had no footing, more than some dense mist
    That wavers o'er the surface of the ground
    It scarcely touches. With a reverent look,
    The shadow's waste and wretched face was bent
    Above the picture,--as if greater awe
    Subdued its awful being, and appalled,
    With memories of terrible delight
    And fearful wonder, its devouring gaze.
    "You make what God makes,--beauty," said the shape.
    "And might not this, this second Eve, console
    The emptiest heart? Will not this thing outlast
    The fairest creature fashioned in the flesh?
    Before that figure Time, and Death himself,
    Stand baffled and disarmed. What would you ask
    More than God's power, from nothing to create?"
    The artist gazed upon the boding form,
    And answered: "Goblin, if you had a heart,
    That were an idle question. What to me
    Is my creative power, bereft of love?
    Or what to God would be that selfsame power,
    If so bereaved?"--"And yet the love thus mourned
    You calmly forfeited. For had you said
    To living Laura--in her burning ears--
    One half that you professed to Laura dead,
    She would have been your own. These contraries
    Sort not with my intelligence. But say,
    Were Laura living, would the same stale play
    Of raging passion, tearing out its heart
    Upon the rock of duty, be performed?"
    "The same, O phantom, while the heart I bear
    Trembled, but turned not its magnetic faith
    From God's fixed centre." "If I wake for you
    This Laura,--give her all the bloom and glow
    Of that midsummer day you hold so dear,--
    The smile, the motion, the impulsive heart,
    The love of genius,--yea, the very love,
    The mortal, hungry, passionate, hot love,
    She bore you, flesh to flesh,--would you receive
    That gift, in all its glory, at my hands?"
    A cruel smile arched the tempter's scornful lips,
    And glittered in the caverns of his eyes,
    Mocking the answer. Carlo paled and shook;
    A woful spasm went shuddering through his frame,
    Curdling his blood, and twisting his fair face
    With nameless torture. But he cried aloud,
    Out of the clouds of anguish, from the smoke
    Of very martyrdom, "O God, she is thine!
    Do with her at thy pleasure!" Something grand,
    And radiant as a sunbeam, touched the head
    He bent in awful sorrow. "Mortal, see"----
    "Dare not! As Christ was sinless, I abjure
    These vile abominations! Shall she bear
    Life's burden twice, and life's temptations twice,
    While God is justice?" "Who has made you judge
    Of what you call God's good, and what you think
    God's evil? One to Him, the Source of both,
    The God of good and of permitted ill.
    Have you no dream of days that might have been,
    Had you and Laura filled another fate?
    Some cottage on the sloping Apennines,
    Roses and lilies, and the rest all love?
    I tell you that this tranquil dream may be
    Filled to repletion. Speak, and in the shade
    Of my dark pinions I shall bear you hence,
    And land you where the mountain goat himself
    Struggles for footing." He outspread his wings,
    And all the chapel darkened, as if hell
    Had swallowed up the tapers; and the air
    Grew thick, and, like a current sensible,
    Flowed round the person, with a wash and dash,
    As of the waters of a nether sea.
    Slowly and calmly through the dense obscure,
    Dove-like and gentle, rose the artist's voice:
    "I dare not bring her spirit to that shame!
    Know my full meaning,--I that neither fear
    Your mystic person nor your dreadful power.
    Nor shall I now invoke God's potent name
    For my deliverance from your toils. I stand
    Upon the founded structure of His law,
    Established from the first, and thence defy
    Your arts, reposing all my trust in that!"
    The darkness eddied off; and Carlo saw
    The figure gathering, as from outer space,
    Brightness on brightness; and his former shape
    Fell from him, like the ashes that fall off,
    And show a core of mellow fire within.
    Adown his wings there poured a lambent flood,
    That seemed as molten gold, which plashing fell
    Upon the floor, enringing him with flame;
    And o'er the tresses of his beaming head
    Arose a stream of many-colored light,
    Like that which crowns the morning. Carlo stood
    Steadfast, for all the splendor, reaching up
    The outstretched palms of his untainted soul
    Towards heaven for strength. A moment thus; then asked,
    With reverential wonder quivering through
    His sinking voice, "Who, spirit, and what art thou?"
    "I am that blessing which men fly from,--Death."
    "Then take my hand, if so God orders it;
    For Laura waits me." "But bethink thee, man,
    What the world loses in the loss of thee!
    What wondrous Art will suffer with eclipse!
    What unwon glories are in store for thee!
    What fame, outreaching time and temporal shocks,
    Would shine upon the letters of thy name
    Graven in marble, or the brazen height
    Of columns wise with memories of thee!"
    "Take me! If I outlived the Patriarchs,
    I could but paint those features o'er and o'er;
    Lo! that is done." A pitying smile o'erran
    The seraph's features, as he looked to heaven,
    With deep inquiry in his tender eyes.
    The mandate came. He touched with downy wing
    The sufferer lightly on his aching heart;
    And gently, as the sky-lark settles down
    Upon the clustered treasures of her nest,
    So Carlo softly slid along the prop
    Of his tall easel, nestling at the foot
    As if he slumbered; and the morning broke
    In silver whiteness over Padua.



STRATEGY AT THE FIRESIDE.


I.

Was it the fault of poor Barbara Dinwiddie, that, when Sumter fell, and
the gallant Anderson saw with anguish the old flag pulled down, she was
the most desperate little Rebel in all Dixie? By no means! At school, at
home, at church, she had been taught that Slavery was the divinest of
all divine institutions; that all those outside barbarians, known as
Yankees, who questioned its justice, its policy, its eternal fitness,
were worse than infidels; that those favored individuals whose felicity
it had been to be born and bred under the patriarchal benignity were the
master race of this continent; and that one Southern man could, with
perfect ease to himself, and without any risk whatever of any unpleasant
consequences, whip and put _hors de combat_ any five of the "homeless
and traditionless race" that could be brought against him.

Had not Mr. Jefferson Davis so styled them? and had he not said that he
would rather herd with hyenas than with Yankees? Had not Mr. Yancey
declared that all the Yankees were cowards? Had not Mr. Walker,
Secretary of State of the new Confederacy, predicted that the "stars and
bars" would wave over Faneuil Hall in a twelvemonth? Had not the
Richmond papers assured the high-born sons of the South, who of course
included the whole white population, that it was an utter impossibility
for the chivalry to exist under the same government with the mean,
intolerable mudsills of the North? The wonder was, that the aforesaid
chivalry could live under the same sun, breathe the same atmosphere,
with such miscreants.

Was it, then, surprising that poor little Barbara, receiving in her
narrow sphere no other political influences than these, should find
herself at the age of seventeen the most eager of feminine sympathizers
with Secession? She burned to emulate Mrs. Greenhow, Belle Boyd, and
other enterprising Amazons who early in the war distinguished themselves
as spies or carriers for the Rebels. She almost blamed herself as
recreant, because she read with a shudder the account of that Southern
damsel who bade her lover bring back, as the most precious gift he could
lay at her feet, a Yankee scalp. She tried to persuade herself that
those little mementos, carved from Yankee bones, which were so
fashionable at one time among the _élite_ of the "Secesh" aristocracy,
would not shock her own sensitive heart.

Barbara's mother had done much to encourage these sentiments in her
daughter. A match between Barbara and Colonel Pegram of South Carolina
was one of that mother's pet projects. Mrs. Dinwiddie was of "one of the
first families of Virginia"; in which she was not singular. She had been
brought up to regard the Old Dominion as the lawful dictatress of the
legislation of the American continent; as sovereign, not only over her
own borders, but over the Congress and especially the Treasury of the
United States. The tobacco-lands of her father having given out through
that sagacious system of culture which Slavery applies, and
negro-raising for the supply of the slave-market farther south being in
a temporary condition of paralysis, the lady had so far descended from
her pedestal of ancestral pride as to encourage the addresses of Mr.
Daniel Dinwiddie, a Baltimore merchant, and himself "of excellent
family," though he had tarnished his hereditary honors by condescending
to engage in trade. Two children were the fruits of the alliance which
ensued,--our Barbara, and Mr. Culpepper Dinwiddie, who became eventually
a major in the Rebel army.

What a _dies iræ_ it was for poor Mrs. Dinwiddie, that day that "Beast
Butler" rode at a slow walk through the streets of Baltimore, smoking
his cigar, and swaying to and fro carelessly on his horse! The poor
lady was ready to cuff Mr. Dinwiddie's ears, because that worthy citizen
sat down to his mutton and claret that day at dinner as coolly as if
nothing had happened. Barbara wept, and sang "My Maryland" and the
"Bonnie Blue Flag" till she made herself hoarse. She then glanced at a
photograph of Colonel Pegram, and thought how well he looked the
conquering hero.

Sunday came. It was a blessed satisfaction that at the Church of St.
Fortunatus all the communicants were friends of the Rebellion. The
Reverend Bogus de Bogus was himself an extremist in his advocacy of
Slavery and the Slave Confederacy. But what was the consternation of the
whole assembly, at hearing him, on that eventful Sabbath, pray for the
President and other authorities of the United States! Had he been
tampered with by the Beast? What was the world coming to? How
intolerable that the solar system should move on as regularly and
indifferently as if nothing had happened!

The fomenters of Rebellion in the Monument City continued hopeful,
notwithstanding the defection of the Reverend Bogus de Bogus. Mrs.
Dinwiddie almost worried Dinwiddie's life out, teasing him for money
with which to buy quinine and percussion-caps to smuggle into Rebeldom.
Barbara worked till her taper little forefinger looked like a
nutmeg-grater, making shirts and drawers for the "gallant Palmetto
Tenth," in which certain sprigs of aristocracy from Baltimore had
enlisted. The regiment was commanded by that splendid fellow, Charlie
Pegram.

What was Barbara's despair, on learning that all the products of her
labors had been intercepted by the "Beast," and were safely stored at
"these headquarters"! Mrs. Dinwiddie went into hysterics at the news,
but was suddenly restored, on hearing Dinwiddie enter, and inquire in
the most cold-blooded manner, "Why isn't dinner ready?" Falling upon
that monster in human shape, she crushed him so far into silence by her
indignation, that he was glad to make a meal of a few crackers and a
glass of ale, and then retire for his afternoon cigar to the repose of
his counting-room.

The war (the civil, not the domestic, we mean) went on. Battle succeeded
battle, and skirmish skirmish, with alternating successes, when at last
came the Emancipation Proclamation, not in the earthquake, nor in the
whirlwind, but in the still small voice. "Well, what of it? 'Tis a mere
paper bomb!" said Belshazzar at Richmond, looking out on Libby and Belle
Isle. Mrs. Dinwiddie read the "Richmond Enquirer," and thought, for the
thousandth time, how intolerable life would be, if ever again Yankees
were to be suffered to live within a thousand miles of a genuine
descendant of the Cavaliers. "Spaniels must be whipped into
subservience," said Mr. Jefferson Davis, alluding to the abhorred race
north of Mason and Dixon's line.

"Yes, they must be whipped!" echoed Mrs. Dinwiddie; and soon afterwards
came news of the capture of New Orleans, of Vicksburg, of Port Hudson,
and at last of Atlanta. "These horrid Yankees!" she shrieked. "Why don't
we do something, Dinwiddie? If one Southerner can whip five Yankees,
why, in the name of common sense, don't we do something? Speak, you
stupid, provoking man!"

"Yes, yes, what was it you asked?" meekly interrogated Dinwiddie, who
was calculating how much he had made in the recent rise of United States
five-twenties.

"What was it? Oh, go to your tobacco-casks, your coupons, and your
cotton, you soulless, huckstering old man! You can look on and see
Abolitionism getting rampant in this once proud city, and not lift a
voice or a finger to save us from ruin! You can see Maryland drifting
into the horrible abyss of Yankeeism and Anti-slavery, and keep on doing
business and minding the paltry affairs of your counting-room, as if all
that gives grace and dignity to this wretched State were not on the
verge of destruction! If you'd had the spirit of a hare, you'd have
been a brigadier-general in the Confederate army by this time."

Dinwiddie was not a man of words. He had a wholesome horror of
strong-minded women; and to that class he discovered, too late for his
peace, that his wife belonged. So he simply replied, slightly
stuttering, as was his wont, except when excited,--

"If I had joined the army, Madam, I should have--have--ve"----

"I should have what?"

"I should have been deprived of your--ahem--agreeable society; and then
you might have been a wid--wid--widow."

"I should have been proud. Sir, to have been your widow under such
circumstances."

"Thank you, Mrs. Dinwiddie; but being a mod--mod--modest man myself, I'd
rather not make my wife proud."

"There's no danger of your ever doing that, Sir," quoth Madam; "but I
thank Heaven we're not wholly disgraced. We have one representative of
our family in the Confederate army. My son Culpepper may live to make
amends for his sire's degeneracy."

Dinwiddie was beginning to get roused.

"My degeneracy, Madam? Confound it, Madam, where would you and yours
have been, if I hadn't saved you all from pau--pau--pauperism, Madam?"

It was rare that Dinwiddie made so long a speech, and the lady was
astounded.

"Sir," said she, "do you know it is a Culpepper of whom you speak?"

"Devilish well I know it," said the excited Daniel; "and what you all
had but your pride I never could find out; and what were you proud of?
Of a dozen or two old family nig--nig--niggers, that were only a bill of
expense to that pompous old cove, your father."

Mrs. Dinwiddie began to grow livid with exasperation. Her husband had
touched her on a tender point.

"Go on, Sir," said she; "I see your drift. I have suspected for some
time that you were going to play the renegade; to desert your order; to
prove false to the South; to cooperate with miscreant Yankees in
overturning our sacred institutions."

"Confound your sacred institutions, Madam! Slavery is played out."

"Played out, you monstrous blasphemer? An institution for which
Scripture vouches; an institution which the Reverend Dr. Palmer says
comes right down to us from heaven! Played out? Monster! I thank the
Lord my two children have not been corrupted by these detestable Yankee
notions that are upsetting all our old landmarks in this once noble city
of Baltimore."

"Noble? Ah, yes,--noble, I suppose, when it allowed its ruffians to
shoot down a band of Northern soldiers who were marching to the support
of Government!"

"You yourself said at the time, Mr. Dinwiddie, that it served them
right."

Dinwiddie winced, for this was a blow square on his forehead between his
two eyes. He paused, and then, without knowing it, translated the words
of a Latin moralist, and replied,--

"Times change, and we change with them."

"You will find, Sir, that a Culpepper doesn't change," said Madam; and,
with a gesture of queenly scorn, she swept with expansive crinoline out
of the room.

"So the ice is broken at last," muttered Dinwiddie. "I wouldn't have
believed I could have faced her so well. After all, I'm not sure that
the military is not my true sphere."

His soliloquy was interrupted by the ring of muskets on the sidewalk in
front, of his house, and he jumped with a nervous horror. Looking from
the window, he saw a file of soldiers, and an officer in the United
States uniform, with one arm in a sling, and the hand of the other
holding a drawn sword. He was a pale, but handsome youth, and looked up
as if to read the name on the door. Then, followed by a sergeant, he
ascended the steps and rang the bell.

"What the Deuse is all this for. I wonder?" exclaimed Dinwiddie; and in
his curiosity he opened the outside door, anticipating the negro
footman, Nero, who exchanged a glance of intelligence with the military
man.

"I am Captain Penrose, Sir," said the officer; "this is Sergeant
MacFuse; you, I believe, bear the name on the door-plate before us."

Dinwiddie bowed an affirmative.

"I have orders, Sir," resumed the officer, "to search your house; and I
will thank you to give me the opportunity with as little delay as
possible, and without communicating with any member of your family."

"But, Captain, does anybody doubt my loyalty?"

"No one, Sir, that I am aware of," replied the Captain, with a suavity
that reassured and captivated Dinwiddie. "We haven't the slightest
doubt, Sir, of your thoroughly loyal and honorable conduct and
intentions; but, Sir, there is, nevertheless, a Rebel mail in your house
at this moment. I'll thank you to conduct us quietly to the little
bathing-room communicating with your wife's apartment on the second
story."

Dinwiddie saw through it all. He said not a word, but led the way up
stairs.

"We shall have to pass through Madam's room to get at the place," he
remarked; "for the door is locked on the inside."

"Yes, but the key is out, and I have a duplicate," replied the officer.
"We will enter by the door that opens on this passage-way. I will just
give a gentle knock, to learn whether any one is in the bathing-room."

He knocked, and there was no reply.

"I think we may venture in," he said.

He unlocked the door, and they entered,--Captain Penrose, Sergeant
MacFuse, Dinwiddie, and Nero. The Captain pointed to a chest of drawers
let into the wall, and said,--

"Now, Sir, if you will open that lowest drawer, I think you will find
what I am in search of."

Dinwiddie opened the drawer, and a strong smell of tobacco, in which
some furs were packed, made him sneeze; but the Captain proved to be
correct in his surmise. Nero displayed his ivory in a broad grin, and
Dinwiddie lifted a small, but well-stuffed leather mail-bag.

At that moment the door leading into Mrs. Dinwiddie's apartment opened,
and that lady, followed by Barbara, made her appearance. Nero's grin was
at once transformed into a look of intense solemnity, and the whites of
his eyes were lifted in sympathetic amazement.

Madam's first effort was to snatch the mail-bag from her husband; but he
handed it to Sergeant MacFuse, who, receiving it, shouldered his musket
with military formality.

"But this is an outrage, Sir!" exclaimed Mrs. Dinwiddie, finding words
at length for her rage.

"Madam," said Captain Penrose, "a carriage ought to be by this time at
the door. Have the goodness, you and your daughter, to make the
necessary preparations and accompany me and Sergeant MacFuse to the
office of the Provost Marshal."

"I shall do no such thing!" said Madam, with set teeth, trembling with
exasperation.

"You will relieve me, I am sure, Madam," said the Captain, "of anything
so painful as the exercise of force."

"Force!" cried Madam; "yes, that would be all in the line of you mean
and dastardly Yankees, to use force to unprotected women!"

"Oh, mother!" said Barbara, shocked, in spite of her Secession
sympathies, at the maternal rudeness, and somewhat touched withal by the
pale face and the slung arm of the handsome young officer; "I am sure
the gentleman has"--

"Gentleman! Ha, ha, ha! You call him a gentleman, do you?" gasped Mrs.
Dinwiddie, as, quite beside herself with passion, she sank into a chair.

"Yes, mother," said Barbara, her heart moved by a thrill as natural as
that which stirs the leaves of the embryo bud in May; "yes, mother, I
call him a gentleman; and I hope you will do nothing to prevent his
calling you a lady."

Captain Penrose looked with a sudden interest on the maiden. Strange
that he hadn't noticed it before, but truly she was very, very pretty!
Light, not too light, hair; blue eyes; a charming figure; a face radiant
with sentiment and with intelligence; verily, in all Baltimore, so
justly famed for beautiful women, he had not seen her peer! Barbara
dropped her eyes. Decidedly the young officer's admiration was too
emphatically expressed in his glance.

Mrs. Dinwiddie began to grow hysterical.

"Madam," said Captain Penrose, "I fear your strength will not be equal
to the task it is my painful duty to put you to; and I will venture to
break through my instructions so far as to say, that, if you will give
me your promise--you and your daughter--to remain at home till you
receive permission through me to quit the house, I will waive all
further action at present."

"There, mother," quoth Barbara, "what could be more reasonable,--more
gentlemanly? Say you consent to his terms."

Mrs. Dinwiddie motioned a negative with her handkerchief, and stamped
her feet, as if no power on earth should extort from her the slightest
concession.

"There, Sir, she consents, she consents, you see," said Barbara.

"Um--um--um!" shrieked Mrs. Dinwiddie, shaking her head, and stamping
her feet with renewed vigor.

"I see," said Captain Penrose; "and I need not ask if you, Miss
Dinwiddie, also consent."

"I do, Sir; and I thank you for your consideration," said Barbara.

"I don't--don't--don't!" stormed the elderly lady, quivering in every
limb, like a blown ribbon.

It was strange that Captain Penrose did not hear the exclamation, loud
and emphatic as it was; but he simply bowed and quitted the room,
followed by Dinwiddie, Nero, and Sergeant MacFuse.

No sooner had the military men quitted the house than the dinner-bell
rang. Madam refused to make her appearance. Barbara came down and
presided. Boys in the street were crying the news of Sherman's capture
of Savannah.

"Good for Sherman!" said Dinwiddie. "I'm devilish glad of it."

Little Barbara looked up with consternation. She loved her father, but
never before had she heard from his lips a decided expression of
sympathy with the loyal cause. True, for the last six months he had said
little on either side; but, from the absence of any controversy between
him and her mother, Barbara imagined that their political sentiments
were harmonious.

She made no reply to her father's remark, but kept up in that little
brain of hers an amount of thinking that took away all her appetite for
the dessert. Mrs. Dinwiddie entered before the table was cleared. Then
there was a ring of the door-bell. It was the postman. Nero brought in a
letter. Dinwiddie looked at the address.

"'T is a letter for Anjy," said he. "The handwriting looks like
Culpepper's."

Anjy, or Angelina, was an old black cook, one of the few surviving
representatives of the vanished glories of the old Culpepper estate. She
had taken a lively interest in the course of Maryland towards freedom;
and when at length that noble Commonwealth stripped off the last fetter
from her limbs, and trampled it under her feet, Anjy was loudest among
the colored people with her Hallelujahs. She was no longer a slave,
thank the Lord! There was a future of justice, of self-respect, of
freedom now dawning upon her abused race.

As Anjy could not read, Barbara had been duly authorized to open all her
letters. She did so on this occasion, read, turned pale, and
exclaimed,--

"Horrible! Oh, the villain!"

"What's the matter?" asked her father.

The letter was from his son, Culpepper, to the old family servant, and
was in these words:--

     "DEAR ANJY,--I have very unpleasant news to tell you. Your
     son Tony has been shot by his master, Colonel Pegram, for
     refusing to fight against the Yankees, and trying to run
     away. Tony was much to blame. He had been a good boy till
     some confounded Abolitionists put it into his head that the
     Yankee scum were fighting the battles of the black man;
     when, as you well know, Anjy, the true friends of the black
     man are those who mean to keep him in that state of slavery
     for which the Lord plainly intended him. But Tony got this
     foolish notion of the Abolitionists into his head, and one
     day frankly told the Colonel that he wouldn't fire a gun at
     the Yankees to save his own life; whereupon the Colonel very
     properly had him whipped, and pretty badly, too. The next
     day Tony was caught trying to make his escape into the
     Yankee lines. He was brought before the Colonel, who told
     him, that, for your sake, Anjy, he would forgive him, if he
     would swear on the Bible not to do so again. Tony refused to
     swear this, began to rave about his rights, and finally
     declared that he was free, first under God's law, next under
     the laws of the United States, and finally under the laws of
     Maryland. There were other negroes, slaves of officers, near
     by, listening to all this wicked stuff, and Pegram felt the
     importance of making an example; so he drew his revolver and
     shot Tony through the heart. How could he help it, Anjy? You
     mustn't blame the Colonel. We all felt he couldn't have done
     otherwise, I saw Tony the minute after he was shot. He died
     easy. I emptied his pockets. There was nothing in them but a
     photograph of you, Anjy, a printed proclamation by the
     wretched Yankee tyrant, Abe Lincoln, and a handkerchief
     printed as an American flag. I'm very sorry at this affair;
     but you must seek comfort in religion, and pray that your
     poor deluded boy may be forgiven for his unfaithfulness and
     bad conduct. Affectionately,

                                  "CULPEPPER."

This letter was read aloud,--not by Barbara, nor by her father, but by
Mrs. Dinwiddie, who exclaimed, as she finished it,--

"Here's the result of your Yankee teachings, Mr. Dinwiddie! There wasn't
a better boy than Tony in all Maryland, till the Abolitionists got hold
of him. Pegram served him just right,--just as I would have done."

Dinwiddie rose, pale, trembling, and all his features convulsed. Barbara
covered her face with her hands and groaned. Never before had she seen
such an expression on her father's face. Turning to his wife, he said in
a husky voice, which with a great effort he seemed to make audible,--

"Pegram was a murderer; and you, Madam, if you commend his act, have in
you the stuff out of which murderers are made. Now hear me,--you and
Miss Barbara here. Here I repudiate Slavery, and every man, woman, or
child who helps by word or deed to uphold such deviltry as that you have
just read of. Long enough, Madam, I've allowed my conscience to be
juggled, fooled, and blinded by your imperious will and absurd family
pride. 'T is ended. This day I subscribe ten thousand dollars to the
relief of the Georgia freedmen, made free by Sherman. Utter one syllable
against it, and, so help me God, I'll make it twenty thousand. Further:
if either you or your daughter shall dare, after this warning, to lift a
needle in behalf of this Rebellion,--if I hear of either one of you
lending yourself to the smuggling of Rebel mails, or giving aid of any
kind to Rebel emissaries,--that moment I give you up to the regular
authorities and disown you forever. You know that I am a man of few
threats; but you also know that what I say I mean."

Dinwiddie waited a full minute for some reply to this unparalleled
outburst, and then left the room with an air of dignity which neither
Barbara nor her mother had ever witnessed before.

The mother first broke silence. She began with an hysterical laugh, and
then said,--

"If he thinks to involve me in his cowardly treason to the South, he'll
find himself mistaken. Don't look so pale and frightened, you foolish
girl! Go and put on your things for the Bee."

The Bee was a society of fashionable ladies, of pronounced disloyalty,
who met once a week to make up garments for Rebel officers.

"I shall go to the Bee no more, mother," said Barbara; "besides, I have
given my promise to keep the house till I have permission to quit it."

"And do you venture to set your father's orders above mine, you
presuming girl? Are you, too, going to desert the Southern cause?"

Barbara's reply was interrupted by the entrance of old Anjy. The scene
which had just transpired had been faithfully transferred to the memory
of the listening and observant Nero, who had communicated it all to the
party chiefly interested.

Mrs. Dinwiddie quailed a little as she met Anjy's glance; but Barbara
rose and threw her arms about the faithful old creature's neck, and,
bursting into tears, exclaimed,--

"Oh, Anjy! 't was the act of a devil! I hate him for it!"

"Mind what you say, Barbara!" said Mrs. Dinwiddie.

Barbara withdrew her arms, and, folding them, looked her mother straight
in the face and said,--

"My father did not speak too harshly of it. 'T was a foul and cowardly
murder."

"Oh!" cried Mrs. Dinwiddie, again threatening a relapse into hysterics.

"My dear, dear Anjy," said Barbara, her tears flowing afresh, "come up
to my room, and I will read you your letter."

With a face tearless and inflexible, Anjy allowed herself to be led out
of the dining-hall, and up stairs into Barbara's apartment. The two
stayed there a couple of hours, heedless of every summons for them to
come forth.


II.

At seventeen the process of conversion is apt to be rapid. Barbara lay
awake nearly all that night, thinking, praying, and weeping. With her
sudden detestation of Pegram mingled the personal consideration that he
knew that Tony was the son of her own favorite Anjy,--the friend of her
childhood.

"If he had had one spark of true regard for me," thought Barbara, "not
to save the whole Southern Confederacy would he have shot the son of
Anjy. Pegram is a brutal ruffian, and Slavery has made him that."

Anjy helped on the work of conversion by her anguish and her solemn
adjurations. The old woman had picked up arguments, both moral and
economical, enough to have posed even Mr. Alexander H. Stephens himself,
the philosophical apostle of that new dispensation whose deity was born
of the cotton-gin and sired by the devil Avarice.

Barbara rose and breakfasted late that morning. At eleven o'clock she
took her music-lesson. Let us leave her for a few minutes, and fly to
another part of the city, where, in one of the rooms of the
Provost-Marshal's office, the Rebel mail was being examined. Captain
Penrose entered, and Detective Wilkins handed him a letter he had just
opened. It was addressed to Colonel Pegram, and was signed by Mrs.
Daniel Dinwiddie. We will take the liberty of quoting a portion of it.

     "I know, my dear Charlie, that you have been obliged to draw
     largely on your financial resources in aid of the great
     cause of Southern independence, and I am not surprised that
     you should find yourself so severely pushed for money. I
     sent you five hundred dollars in greenbacks in my last, the
     savings of Barbara and myself. I hope to send you as much
     more by the next mail. I regret to say that for the last six
     months my husband has utterly refused to allow me one cent
     for what he calls disloyal purposes. I consequently have to
     practise some finesse in getting what I do. The money he
     gives us for dresses and for charity is all saved up for
     you; and then I manage to make our grocer's and butcher's
     bills appear twice as large as they really are, and thus add
     to our savings. It is mortifying to have to resort to these
     shifts; but when I reflect on what it is all for, I feel
     abundantly justified. Mr. Dinwiddie's income the last two
     years has been enormous. He is taxed for upwards of a
     million. A good part of this, my dear Charlie, shall be
     yours as soon as you change the title of friend for the
     nearer one of son-in-law. You complain that Barbara wouldn't
     engage herself the last time you met. Her refusal was merely
     an act of maiden coyness, and only meant, 'I want to be won,
     but not too easily.' She sees no young men, and I watch her
     closely; for I am resolved that your interests shall be as
     well looked after as if you were on the spot."

As Captain Penrose finished reading the letter, Mr. Dinwiddie walked in,
and it was handed to him for perusal. That worthy merchant glanced
through it rapidly, and a grim smile overspread his features. "We shall
see, Madam," he said, folding up the letter, and handing it to Detective
Wilkins for filing. Then, turning to the Captain, he remarked,--

"You are from Maine, I believe, Captain Penrose?"

"Yes, Mr. Dinwiddie,--from the very extremity of Yankeedom."

"Well, Captain, I have this morning seen a friend of your father's, who
bade me say to you he is in the city for a day or two, and hopes to see
you before he leaves."

"To whom do you refer?"

"To Mr. Calvin Carver, of Montreal."

"Oh, yes; I've often heard my father speak of him as one of the best men
in the world."

"A man, Captain Penrose, of whom you may truly say, 'His word is as good
as his bond.' I never knew him to overstate a fact, and that is saying a
great deal of an active business man. I have not seen him before to-day
since my marriage."

"I shall take an early opportunity of calling on him, Mr. Dinwiddie."

"He told me, Captain, of your gallant conduct the other day at
Nashville, during Hood's attack. He said I ought to give Stanton no
peace till he has you promoted to a colonelcy."

"All in good time, Mr. Dinwiddie. There are hundreds of brave fellows
who have a prior claim. And now, Sir, permit me to say, that I have
consulted with the Provost-Marshal, and my official duty requires me to
call on your wife and daughter, and notify them that they are at liberty
to go where they please."

The Captain might have added, had he thought it discreet, that the
police authorities had concluded they should learn more of the secrets
of the Rebel plotters by allowing Madam to go at large than by keeping
her shut up.

Dinwiddie stood nervously playing with his watch-key. An idea had
occurred to him,--a glorious, a ravishing idea,--an idea which, if
concreted successfully into action, would revenge him triumphantly on
his wife for the tricks revealed in the letter he had just read.

"Captain," said he, "if you are going to my house, have you any
objection to take a letter for my daughter?"

"I shall be pleased to do so," returned the Captain; but he would have
put more warmth into his reply, had it not been for certain chilly
misgivings in regard to the preoccupation of Barbara's heart.

Mr. Dinwiddie sat down at a table, and wrote these lines:--

     "BARBARA,--Captain Arthur Penrose, of Maine, visits you in
     pursuance of his yesterday's promise. If you have any regard
     for your poor, distracted father,--if you would save me from
     the deepest, the direst mortification,--exert all your
     powers to conciliate Captain Penrose, and to detain him
     till I return home and relieve you. I will explain all to
     you hereafter. My peace of mind depends largely on your
     being able to do this. Urge him to call again. In haste,
     your father."

The Captain received this missive, bowed, and walked off in the
direction of Dinwiddie's house.

Nero came to the door.

"Is Mrs. Dinwiddie in?"

"No, Cap'n, but Miss Barbara is in," said the conspiring Nero, in a tone
of encouragement.

Madam, it should be remarked, was out making calls on a few leading
feminine sympathizers; but she did not notice, that, wherever she went,
a little man in black, with a postman's big pocket-book in his hands,
followed, as if busily employed in delivering letters.

Captain Penrose sent up his card, together with the missive he was
charged with. Nero returned the next minute, and ushered him into the
drawing-room, assuring him, with overflowing suavity, that Miss Barbara
would be down in a minute. It was with profound agitation that that
young lady read her father's note. What could be the matter?

She looked in the glass,--combed back her profuse flaxen hair so as to
expose her fair temples in the most approved fashion of the hour,--took
a little tea-rose from the silver vase on her bureau,--and then, with a
beating heart, stepped down the broad, low stairs into the drawing-room.

Captain Penrose was examining an exquisite painting of an iceberg, which
hung on the wall over the piano. He turned to Barbara, bowed gravely,
and said,--

"I merely came to say, Miss Dinwiddie, that there is no longer any
restraint upon your movements. You are at liberty to go where you
please. Your mother, I learn, has already anticipated the permission for
herself. You may say to her, that, in her case also, the prohibition is
removed. I will bid you a very good morning."

He bowed, and had almost reached the door before Barbara could recover
her composure sufficiently to say,--

"Sir,--Captain Penrose,--I beg you not to leave me so abruptly. Pray be
seated."

The Captain, arch-hypocrite that he was, looked at the clock as if he
were closely pushed for time, and replied,--

"My official duties, Miss Dinwiddie, are so pressing--so"----

"But I've something particular to say to you," said Barbara, grown
desperate.

"Indeed! Then I'm at your service."

Barbara pointed to an arm-chair; but the Captain wheeled it up to her,
and at the same time pushed along an ottoman for himself. As soon as the
lady was seated, he, too, sat.

There was a pause, and rather a long one.

"Now, Miss Dinwiddie, I shall be happy to hear your communication."

"Ahem! I noticed, Sir, as I came in, that you were looking at yonder
painting."

"Yes; is it not most admirable? 'T is by a Boston artist, I see,--by
Curtis."

"Indeed! 'T is a picture my father bought only last week. 'T was
recommended to him by Mr. Carver; for father does not pretend to be a
connoisseur. You think it good?"

"Good? 'T is exquisite! Look at the atmosphere over that water. You
might feel a cool exhalation from it on a hot day. The misty freshness
rolling off, and lit up by the cheery sunlight, is Nature itself. It
carries me away--far away--once more to the coast of Labrador, where I
spent a summer month in my youth. But, Miss Dinwiddie, how happens it
that you condescend, in times like these, to patronize a Yankee artist?
When Colonel Pegram comes, you must take down that picture and hide it."

Barbara started and blushed.

"What do you know, Sir, of Colonel Pegram?"

"Nothing, except that he is a fortunate man, unless Rumor belies him."

"If you refer, Sir, to that foolish report in regard to myself which was
current last winter, I beg to assure you there is no truth in it."

"Not _now_, perhaps."

"_Never_ shall it be true!" exclaimed Barbara, starting up and pacing
the floor.

"Excuse me," said the Captain, also rising,--"excuse me, if I have been
impertinent on so slight an acquaintance."

He had his hat in his hand, and walked towards the door.

"Deuse take the fellow! can't he stay patiently here five minutes?"
thought Barbara. She dropped the rose she had been holding. The Captain
picked it up and offered it.

"Keep it, Sir, if you think it worth while," said Barbara,--driven to
this incipient impropriety by the vague apprehensions excited by her
father's letter.

"Thank you," replied the Captain, so taken by surprise that he forgot
his military laurels, and showed a faint heart by a blush.

Barbara esteemed it a very charming symptom; and as the Captain, with
his one unwounded arm, tried rather awkwardly to put the flower in the
buttonhole of his waistcoat, she stepped up with a "Let me aid you";
and, taking from her own dress a pin, fastened the rose nicely as near
as she could to the beating heart of the imperilled soldier. Alas! if
his thoughts had been put into words, he would have soliloquized, "Look
here, Captain, I'm afraid you are deporting yourself very much like a
simpleton. Pluck up a spirit, man!"

"There! I'm sure 't is very becoming," quoth Barbara, mischievously.

"You see how convenient it is to have two hands," returned the Captain.
"And your having two hands, Miss Dinwiddie, reminds me that your piano
stands open, showing its teeth, as if it, smiling, wanted to say, 'Come,
play on me.'"

"What a lucky idea!" thought Barbara. "Now I have him, and will hold
him. He shall get enough of it. When will pa come, I wonder?--Are you
fond of music, Captain Penrose?"

"Yes; I used to be a performer before I was disabled."

"But your voice is not disabled. You sing?"

"A little; but I'm out of practice."

"No matter. Come! Here's a martial piece, suitable for the times: 'To
Greece we give our shining blades.'"

It was one of the Captain's favorites; and as the two voices, resonant
and penetrating, rose on the chorus in perfect accord, the singers
thought they had never sung so well before, and each attributed it to
the excellent time of the other. Nero and another person listened at the
aperture of the folding-doors: Nero, who was musical, going through a
show of vehement applause, and throwing himself about in a manner that
would have made his fortune as an Ethiopian minstrel.

Other songs followed in rapid succession; and when the Captain sang
"Annie Lawrie," _con espressione_, accompanying himself on the piano
with one hand, Barbara exclaimed, with a frank burst of genuine
admiration,--

"Oh, but you sang that superbly!"

She had quite forgotten her anxiety about her father's return.

Then they talked of the popular composers; and from music their
conversation glanced on literature; and from literature the Captain
ventured on the dangerous ground of politics.

"Are you incorrigibly a Rebel?" he asked.

Barbara looked down. She feared that any confession of change in her
notions would seem too much like insincerity.

"Now I'm going to lecture you," he continued. "Are you not rejoiced that
Maryland is a Free State? that no longer on this soil a man has power to
rob a fellow-man of his labor, and to shoot him down, if he lifts a hand
in opposition to brutal oppression? Does not your generous heart tell
you that the system under which such injustice is organized is wrong,
unchristian, devilish? Are we not well rid of the curse?"

Barbara looked up, and responded in a hearty, emphatic _Yes_.

"But," she added, "my conversion is recent. And who do you suppose
converted me?"

"I cannot imagine."

Here a door was thrown open, and Mr. Dinwiddie entered. The perfidious
man had been listening. Captain Penrose glanced guiltily at the clock,
and saw, to his consternation, that two hours had somehow unaccountably
slipped away.

"I have been a loiterer, you see, Mr. Dinwiddie," he said; "but the
fault is your daughter's. I will now take my leave."

"We shall be happy to see you again," said Barbara, glancing assent to a
nod from her father.

"Yes, Captain Penrose," said Dinwiddie, "I hope you'll not drop our
acquaintance, notwithstanding the circumstances under which it was
made."

"I shall esteem any circumstances fortunate," replied the Captain, "that
have given me so agreeable a visit"; and, bowing, he left the room, and
Barbara rang the bell for Nero to open the outer door.

"Saved! saved!" cried Dinwiddie, sinking into a chair, and covering his
face with his handkerchief.

"Saved? How saved?" asked Barbara, alarmed.

"But no," exclaimed Dinwiddie, starting up with a very tragic
expression. "Perhaps it was but a transient pow--pow--power you exerted
over him. Barbara, should you meet again, put forth all your attractions
to--to--to bind him as with a sp--sp--spell to keep my fatal secret."

"What secret, father?"

"Hush--sh--sh!" said Dinwiddie, stepping on tiptoe to one door and then
to another, and then looking with a cautious air under the sofa. He
beckoned to his daughter. She drew near. Once more he looked anxiously
around the room, and then whispered, in a hoarse, low tone, in her ear,
these words, "You shall know all in due time."

Little Barbara drew a long breath, and resolved that it should not be
her fault, if the Captain was not captivated. At that moment there was a
ring at the door-bell; and Mrs. Dinwiddie came in from high conference
with a select conclave of fashionable ladies, who yet clung with
pathetic tenacity to the declining fortunes of Slavery and Secession.


III.

For a fortnight matters seemed to go on swimmingly. Dinwiddie had, as he
thought, so managed as to bring the young people repeatedly together
without his wife's having a suspicion of what was in the wind; and when
Captain Penrose called on him at his counting-room and asked whether he
might pay his addresses to Barbara, Dinwiddie whirled round on his
office-stool, jumped down, and gave the young soldier a cordial hug.

"Certainly, my dear boy! Win her. She likes you. I like you. Everybody
likes you. Go ahead."

"It is proper to inform you, Sir," said the Captain, "that my income is
only twelve hundred a year; but"--

"Pshaw! What do I care for your income? There! Go and settle it with
Barbara. You'll find her alone, I think. Mrs. Dinwiddie, for the last
week, has been as busy as--as--we'll not say who--in a gale of wind.
Remember, 'Fortune favors the brave.' I'm obliged to go to Philadelphia
this afternoon. Good bye."

In a transport of delight, the Captain darted from the office, took a
carriage, and drove to Dinwiddie's.

"Yes, Miss Barbara is in. Walk up, Captain."

"What could be more propitious? Poets are not always in the right. Isn't
my love true love, and doesn't it run smooth?"

Wait awhile, my Captain! Perhaps Shakspeare was not so much in error,
after all.

Barbara's eyes plainly spoke her pleasure at seeing him. Adjoining the
drawing-room was a little boudoir filled with sunshine and flowers.
Into that she led him. They sat down on one of those snug contrivances
for a _tête-à-tête_, formed like the capital letter S. A fragrance as of
spring was shed through the room from the open door of a conservatory,
and a canary-bird near by was tuning his voice for a song.

"Barbara, do you know it is a whole fortnight that we have known each
other?"

She looked up at him inquiringly, for this was the third time he had
called her by her first name. He continued,--

"Barbara, I had a pleasant interview with your father this morning, and
what do you suppose I said to him?"

"Said it was a fine day, most like," returned Barbara, intent on
spreading out the leaves of a half-blown rose.

"No, I said not a word about the weather. I asked him if he would have
any objection to me for a son-in-law."

"And what did he reply?" asked Barbara, after a pause, during which her
little heart beat wildly.

"He told me I could settle it all with you."

"Indeed!" said Barbara. "But I never had any genius for settlements. I
always hated business."

"But this is a matter of pleasure, not of business," urged the Captain;
and then coming round to her side, and falling on one knee, he took her
unreluctant little hand, put it to his lips, and said, "May I not have
it for my own?"

Before she could reply, approaching steps were heard, and a youth of
some nineteen years, wearing the coarse pea-jacket, red baize shirt, and
glazed hat of a sailor, made his appearance.

"Culpepper!" exclaimed Barbara, while the Captain resumed his seat,--"is
it you?"

"Yes," replied the youth. "Sister, I have a few words to say to this man
privately. Please leave the room."

Master Culpepper was one of those nondescripts in social zoölogy,
classed by some philosophers as "cubs," and by others as
"hobbledehoys,"--"not a man, nor a boy, but a hobbledehoy." At school he
had been set down as a hopeless blockhead, and Barbara had severely
tasked her patience, trying to insinuate into his brains the little
knowledge of the ordinary branches of education which he possessed.
Consequently, though she was two years his junior, she had been
accustomed to regard herself as several years his senior, and to talk to
him as to the inferior he really was in everything but brute strength.
The cub's strong points, morally considered, were his family pride and
his hatred of "Abolitionism": in these he bade fair to surpass even the
maternal proficiency.

"Captain Penrose," said Barbara, "this is my brother Culpepper. Now,
Cully, go and play in the stable, that's a good boy."

"Do you know, Miss Barbara, that you are addressing a Major in the
Confederate army," replied Cully, folding his arms with a great effort
at dignity. "You will accost me hereafter as Major Dinwiddie, if you
please."

"Well, Major, this gentleman and myself are engaged, so"----

"Engaged!" howled Cully, with flashing eyes and vociferous speech.
"Engaged! And you dare to confess it to me, your brother! Engaged! And
to an Abolitionist,--a low-born Yankee! I cancel the engagement."

Barbara was too much roused by the cub's insolence to care to correct
the misapprehension which he had blundered into so precipitately, and
which she was now disposed to make a verity.

"Do you mean to tell me," demanded the cub, "that you are engaged to be
married to this man?"

"Yes, if he'll have me," said Barbara, putting forth her hand, which
Penrose eagerly seized, exclaiming,--

"Will I _have_ you, Barbara? Yes, as the best treasure life can offer."

And the first kiss was exchanged.

"Look here," said Cully, "this business must stop where it is. I demand,
Sir, that you leave the house with me this instant."

And then, as an amused expression flitted over the Captain's face, the
cub asked angrily,--

"Why do you smile, Sir?"

"Sir," said the Captain, "your sister and I have cause for smiling; we
are happy."

The cub took from his side-pocket a revolver and cocked it. Penrose
stood up, and Barbara threw herself between him and her brother.

"Coward!" cried the cub, "to allow yourself to be shielded by a woman!"

The cub, under the influence of Pro-slavery precedents, had really got
it into his thick head, that he, under the circumstances, was the man of
chivalry and valor, and that because the unarmed Penrose would not
present a fair shot to his revolver, that gentleman was chargeable with
an excess of poltroonery of which only a Yankee could be guilty.

The cub's heroics were ignominiously cut short. Suddenly his two arms
were seized from behind, while his pistol was wrenched from his grasp.
Two armed policemen, followed by Mr. Dinwiddie and Nero, had entered the
room.

"Am I betrayed?" exclaimed the cub.

"Blockhead!" said his father, "Fort Warren shall henceforth be your
school, till we knock a little common-sense into that obstinate skull of
yours."

"Fort Warren!" cried Cully, gnashing his teeth. "But I'm here on a
furlough, disguised as a sailor, you perceive. I promised to be back to
my regiment by Friday. Fort Warren?"

"Never!" shrieked Mrs. Dinwiddie, entering the room from the
conservatory, where she had been hiding. "Kill me, but don't compel my
son to break his pledge to the Confederate authority."

"Bah!" said Dinwiddie. "Officers, take the booby away."

Nero almost sank into his boots with excess of enjoyment, but abruptly
put on a very agonized face, and showed the whites of his eyes, as Mrs.
Dinwiddie looked towards him.

Cully submitted, though with an ill grace, to what was plainly a case of
necessity; but he turned, before crossing the threshold, and said to
Penrose,--

"I take everybody to witness, Sir, that I prohibit your having anything
further to do with my sister. The consequences be on your own head, if
you disobey."

"And I, Captain Penrose," said Dinwiddie, "take everybody to witness,
that, if, after having paid the court that you have to my daughter, you
now refuse to take her as your wife, the consequences, Sir, must be on
your own head."

"Sir," said the Captain, "that is the most agreeable threat that I can
imagine. I have already committed myself to your daughter."

"Ah! disgraceful!" groaned Mrs. Dinwiddie.

"What do you say to that, Cully?" said the father, as, with no very
gentle thrust, he replaced the glazed hat on the youth's head.

Cully kept silent. The recollection of certain debts which could be paid
only from the paternal purse inspired a prudent reserve.

"Take him now," said Dinwiddie to the officers; "give him as much
gingerbread as he wants, and charge it to me."

Cully and the officers disappeared.

"And now," resumed Dinwiddie, "it is time for me to drive to the cars.
Mrs. Dinwiddie, this is Captain Penrose, your future son-in-law. Treat
him kindly in my absence. Farewell."

The lady bowed not ungraciously, as Dinwiddie departed. She had been
meditating, during the last minute, a new flank movement in favor of
Colonel Pegram. She determined to change her base of operations. Barbara
was amazed, but, in her inexperience, was wholly unsuspicious of
strategy.

"Captain Penrose, you'll stop and take tea with us?" said the wily lady
of the house.

"I shall be charmed to," replied the Captain.

"Mother, let me kiss you!" cried the innocent Barbara, delighted at what
seemed the vanishing of the only obstacle to the betrothal of herself
and the Yankee officer.

There was an ambush in preparation, of which these two did not dream.


IV.

Two days afterwards, Barbara and her mother were on their way to
Montreal.

This was the flank movement, and it was thus accomplished. The second
morning after her husband's departure, Mrs. Dinwiddie burst into
Barbara's apartment with the intelligence that she had just received a
telegraphic dispatch from Mr. Dinwiddie, bidding her start at once for
Montreal to procure certain funds in the hands of a certain party there,
which funds were immediately wanted. Barbara, to whom all business
matters were mysteries profound as the income-tax or the national debt,
received it all without a question. She did not stop to ask, "Why
doesn't father send one of his clerks?" or "Why can't he do it all by
letter?" She took it for granted that there was a great hurry about
something that required an instant journey to Montreal. So she wrote a
letter to Captain Penrose, (which Mrs. Dinwiddie took good care to
intercept,) and, before another hour had slipped by, mother and daughter
were at the Northern railway station.

The old lady had taken the precaution to send Nero on an errand out of
the city, and had hired a public hack to convey her to the cars. But as
she was attending to her trunk, an officious gentleman in black stepped
up to Barbara, and asked for what place she wished to have the baggage
checked. Before Mrs. Dinwiddie could interpose, Barbara had answered,
"Montreal." Thereupon the gentleman had simply remarked, "I don't think
they check baggage so far," and then had walked away in the direction of
the telegraph-office,--for what purpose the sequel must suggest. Mrs.
Dinwiddie thought nothing more of the matter. They passed through
Philadelphia and New York the next day uninterrupted.

At Rutland, Vt., a very civil sort of gentleman accosted them in the
car, and, on learning that they were on their way to Canada, asked if
they had passports. On Mrs. Dinwiddie's replying in the negative, he
informed her, that, by a recent order of the United States Government,
persons travelling to and from Canada were required to have passports;
and he advised her to stop at Rutland, and he would telegraph to New
York and procure them. After some hesitation, she consented to do this.
The third day of her detention, her volunteer informant came with the
necessary papers, and at the same time introduced Mr. Glide, an
obsequious little gentleman, who said he was going to Montreal, and
should be happy to render any service in his power to the ladies.

"Surely, Sir, I have seen you before," said Mrs. Dinwiddie. "Are you not
from Baltimore?"

"Yes, Madam; and I will tell you where we last met: 't was at the secret
gathering of ladies and gentlemen for purchasing a new outfit for Mrs.
Jefferson Davis."

"Hush!" said Mrs. Dinwiddie, slightly alarmed.

"Oh, there's no danger," returned Mr. Glide. "I'm discreet. Your
devotion to the Confederate cause, Madam, your noble efforts, your
sacrifices, have long been known to me; and I rejoice at having this
opportunity of expressing my thanks and my admiration. Is there anything
I can do for you?"

Mrs. Dinwiddie looked significantly at him, nodded her head by way of
warning, and glanced at her daughter.

"I see, Madam," murmured Mr. Glide, in a confidential tone.

"Barbara, go and pack my trunk," said she.

Barbara left the room.

"Now, Sir," resumed Mrs. Dinwiddie, "I will confide to you my troubles.
That young girl has recently engaged herself, against my wishes, to a
young man,--a captain in the Yankee army."

"Engaged herself to a Yankee? But, oh, Madam, what an affliction! what a
humiliation!"

"Yes, Sir, 't is all that."

"I agree with Mr. Davis, Madam, that the Yankees are the scum of the
world. Is there no way by which you can avert from your family the
threatened disgrace?"

"Well, Sir, I have formed a plan, and, if you will lend me your aid, I
think we may manage to put the infatuated girl for a time where she will
have an opportunity of recovering her senses."

"My dear Madam, I shall be delighted to serve you in any such good work.
To save youth and beauty from the polluting touch of a Yankee captain
might well call forth the warmest zeal, the most devoted daring, of any
native of the sunny South."

"Sir, your sentiments do you honor. This, then, is my scheme--Is there
any chance of our being overheard?"

"By none except the invisibles," said Glide; "and they probably exist
only in the imagination of Yankee fanatics."

"My plan," whispered the lady, "is to put my daughter in a convent until
the gentleman to whom I have promised her, Colonel Pegram of the
Confederate army, can have an opportunity of seeing her. Of course it
would not take him five minutes to drive out of her head all thought of
this Yankee lover."

"And has your daughter, Madam, no suspicion of this admirable scheme of
yours?"

"Not the slightest. She supposes we are going to Montreal on business of
her father's."

"Madam, you couldn't have been more fortunate in your confidence. It
happens that I am on most intimate terms with Father Basil, the
confessor of the nuns, and who, by the rules of the convent, must
interrogate your daughter before she can be admitted to its privileges."

"But," said Mrs. Dinwiddie, anxiously, "will Father Basil have the
proper sympathy with my maternal motives and my Southern sentiments?
Will he be disposed to strain his authority a little in order to put my
daughter in durance?"

"I think I may venture to promise," answered Glide, "that, such is my
influence with him, he will do in the matter whatever I may request."

"How fortunate!"

"And now, Madam, you must make preparations for your departure. The cars
start in ten minutes."

Before seven o'clock that evening the whole party were comfortably
disposed in one of the best of the Montreal hotels. The obliging Mr.
Glide went forth immediately to make inquiries in Mrs. Dinwiddie's
behalf.

After breakfast the next day he presented himself to her and asked,--

"You have said nothing as yet to your daughter?"

"Not a word," she replied.

"Then," said he, "our course will be to drive at once to Father Basil's
residence, and get him to broach the whole matter to Miss Barbara. He
has a very persuasive tongue, and I think she will at once yield to his
exhortations. Should she, however, be disposed to resist forcibly our
measures for her benefit, there will be the means at hand to carry them
out."

Barbara entered the room, wholly unsuspicious of the plots against her
liberty.

"The carriage will soon be at the door," said her mother. "Go and get
ready." And after a whispered hint from Mr. Glide, she added, "Put on
your pearl silk, Barbara. We shall have to call on certain persons of
distinction."

Barbara was soon ready. They all three entered the carriage, and after a
drive of about a mile, it stopped before a large and elegant house.

"Our father confessor lives in style," whispered Mrs. Dinwiddie.

"Yes," returned Glide; "one of his wealthy neophytes gives him a home
here. If you will wait in this little basement room, Madam, I will
conduct your daughter up to his library."

"Go with Mr. Glide, Barbara," said Mrs. Dinwiddie.

Supposing it was merely one of the mysterious forms of business, little
Barbara at once took the gentleman's proffered arm and ascended the
stairs with him.

Ten minutes,--twenty,--thirty,--Mrs. Dinwiddie waited, and nobody came.
She looked at the furniture, the carpets, the paintings, till she had
exhausted the curiosities of the apartment. Suddenly there was a sound
of music from above,--not sacred music,--it sounded very much like the
waltz from "Gustavus." What could it all mean?

At last Mr. Glide made his appearance.

"Now, Madam, 't is all arranged," said he. "I regret to say that we had
to use the most stringent measures for reducing your daughter to terms.
But she is so bound at last that she can have little hope of regaining
her freedom."

"Bound, Sir? Did you have to bind her?" asked Mrs. Dinwiddie, with a
throb of maternal solicitude.

"You shall see, Madam."

He threw open the door at the head of the landing, and they entered a
stately room, where some thirty or forty ladies and gentlemen seemed to
be assembled. Mrs. Dinwiddie drew away her arm and almost swooned with
amazement and consternation.

At the front end of the apartment, before a gorgeous mirror, stood
Barbara and Captain Penrose. A veil and a bunch of orange-blossoms had
been added to the young lady's coiffure. At her side stood a handsome
old gentleman, with bright, affectionate eyes, (very much like the
Captain's,) who seemed to regard her with a gratified look. On the side
of Penrose stood--horrors!--Mr. Dinwiddie himself, a smile of fiendish
exultation on his face; while a gentleman with a white cravat and a
narrow collar to his coat, evidently an Episcopal clergyman, went up and
shook hands with Barbara, and then mingled with the rest of the company.

A middle-aged gentleman, whom the guests accosted as Mr. Carver, drew
near to Dinwiddie, and said,--

"Now introduce me to your wife."

Dinwiddie took his arm, and, leading him to where the lady stood,
said,--

"Wife, this is my old friend Carver, of whom you have so often heard me
speak. Yonder stands your daughter, Mrs. Penrose, waiting for your
maternal kiss of congratulation."

Mrs. Dinwiddie debated with herself a moment whether to shriek, to fall
into hysterics, to explode in a philippic, or to rush from observation.
Her husband, seeing her hesitation, took her by the hand and led her
into an unoccupied room. A veil must be dropped upon the connubial
interview which then and there took place.

Suffice it to say, that, when she came forth leaning on the arm of Mr.
Dinwiddie, it was with the air of one who has made up her mind to make
the best of a case of necessity,--an air very much like that, I fancy,
with which the South will yet take the arm of its consort, the North.
She saw there was no longer any chance for another flank movement.

One vindictive glance she turned on the dapper Mr. Glide, as he stood
guzzling Champagne, and looking the picture of meek fidelity; and then
she courageously walked up, kissed her daughter, shook hands with the
Captain, curtsied condescendingly to old Mr. Penrose, and smothered her
astonishment as she best could, on being taken up to a lady of rare
elegance of person and demeanor, whom she had set down as the wife of
the Governor-General at least, but who, on presentation, she learned was
the mother of her new son-in-law.

"Ladies and gentlemen," said Mr. Carver,--and at his voice the buzz of
conversation was hushed,--"I believe we have none here who will not
readily comply with the request I have now to make. Since all's well
that ends well, I ask it as a favor, that no person of this company, who
may happen to be acquainted with the peculiar circumstances of this
marriage, will mention them outside of the circle here present. Will you
all say _ay_ to this proposition?"

Amid smiles there rose what sounded like a unanimous assent; but a close
observer might have remarked that the Perfidious Mr. Glide, instead of
moving his lips affirmatively, simply lifted his Champagne-glass, and in
the act raised his forefinger so as to cover the side of his nose. To
this individual, no doubt the boon companion of some rascally reporter,
we probably owe the circumstance that a garbled and incorrect account of
this affair appeared in the Baltimore and Washington papers. The present
writer has consequently felt it incumbent on him to place on record a
version which, whatever may be said of it, cannot be stigmatized as
exaggerated.



AROUND MULL.


PART II.

The island of Staffa being nearly a mile in length, we have already had
a distant external view of the huge grassy mound which constitutes its
surface, reared on a steep, craggy base, hear and there exhibiting
superb basaltic columns, and everywhere consisting of basaltic pillars
more or less broken, irregular, and contorted, and in some instances
forming the entrance to caves of great interest, though of less grandeur
and magnificence than the giant temple of Nature which is the principal
feature and pride of Staffa and the chief object of our visit. Ah, here
comes the Bailie, looking as innocent as possible of the pipe! Christie,
too, has crept up from the cabin, and, though professing inability to go
ashore, is relieved by the sudden cessation of the steamer's motion, and
is prepared to witness with cheerfulness the disembarkation of her more
fortunate fellow-passengers. It is the office of boatmen from the
neighboring island of Ulva, hardy and skilful men, accustomed to these
boisterous seas, to row passengers ashore, and in case of calm weather,
such as we are blest with, to conduct their boats within the noble
archway and up the grand broad aisle of Fingal's Cave: for the floor of
this glorious cathedral is the rolling sea, whose green waves surge with
a grand swell and fall to the very extremity of the cave, echoing
through its vaults with a resonance which gave it its early Gaëlic name
of Uaimh Bhinn, the Musical Cave. How and when these boatmen approached
unseen and surrounded our steamer as she lies here in the sun, I cannot
imagine; so perfect are all the arrangements for our convenience, that
they have probably been lying in wait for our approach, and had only to
dash our form among the black rocks of the shore; but in view of the
power of Nature in this locality, the wonderful architecture, of which
we witness as yet the mere _débris_, and the noble palace of the sea
which our imagination is already shadowing forth, it is not difficult to
believe that these hardy mariners spring up from the depths at the
voyager's bidding, and that they are neither more bidding, and that they
are neither more nor less than ocean genii, the servants of some ocean
king, appointed to wait on and convoy his guests. The Dexterity of these
men and the strength of their boats inspire perfect confidence, however;
for the latter are fast filling and putting off for the shore. The
landing-place mist be near at hand, though as yet out of sight; for
"See!" I exclaim to the Bailie, "one or two of the boats have landed
their parties and are already returning! Everybody is disappearing from
the steamer; had we not better make haste and secure a passage?"

But the Bailie, who is something of a philosopher, has confidence that
there is time and accommodation enough for us all; so he and I proceed
very leisurely to the step-ladder, and, as everybody else is in a hurry,
we fall to the very last boat that leaves the steamer. A few unforeseen
claimants and stragglers present themselves just as we are putting off,
and, as often happens at the last chance to go ashore, our boat is
somewhat overloaded, and I find myself separated from my companion, who
is standing upright in the bows, while I am seated in the stern among
the elderly Scotch folk, who seem so familiar with all the detail of the
place and proceedings I am led to believer them faithful worshipper of
Nature who come periodically to pay their vows in the national minster,
as members of some parish church go up reverently to the cathedral
convocations. An eager, excitable gude-wife next to me is especially
anxious and officious, and seems disposed to question the efficiency and
prudence of our Ulva boatmen.

"The boat is too full!" she cries, with the emphasis of certainty. "Tell
them to put back; she is too full!" and the murmur of alarm echoes in
our vicinity. "Don't be afraid, my dear," she adds, in a sort of
stage-aside to me, who, though I have observed that the boat's edge is
almost on a level with the water, have never dreamed of danger until she
put it into my head, "Not a bit of danger," she continues, patting me
encouragingly on the shoulder, while in the same breath she reiterates
to those in authority her startling warning and her assurance that we
shall presently sink by our own weight.

But the Bailie, standing in the bow, still maintains his philosophy, and
the smile on his face reassures me. And now, with only just that sense
of insecurity which adds to the awe of the occasion, I perceive that we
are rounding a cliff, and that the entrance to Fingal's Cave is dawning
on our view.

The magnificent proportions and perfect symmetry of the archway which
forms the entrance to the cave will be seen to better advantage somewhat
later, when the steamer, on leaving the island, sweeps directly past the
vestibule purposely to afford their passengers this opportunity; but one
is never more impressed with the hugeness and stability of this gigantic
structure than when measuring it by gradual approach, and looking up
into its lofty Gothic vault as we glide under the enormous archway and
out of the dazzling sunshine into the twilight of the deep interior.
Those whose imaginations are aided by statistics may form a more real
conception of this great natural structure by reflecting that the
archway at the entrance is forty-two feet in width, and its height
nearly seventy above the level of the sea, and that these vast
proportions are preserved to the farther extremity of the cave, as
distance of some two hundred and thirty feet. The imposing effect of the
portico is still further enhanced by the massive entablature of thirty
feet additional which it supports, and by the noble cluster of pillars
grouped on each side of the entrance-way. These lofty pillars, or
complication of basaltic columns, are in a general sense perpendicular,
their departure from the stern lines and angles of human architecture
serving only to proclaim them the workmanship of that Architect who
alone is independent of artistic rules, and giving new force to what
Goethe tells us is understood by genius, namely, "that Art is called Art
because it is _not_ Nature." Here with the poet of Nature, we may offer

    "Thanks for the lessons of this spot,--fit school
    For the presumptuous thoughts that would assign
    Mechanic laws to agency divine,
    And, measuring heaven by earth, would overrule
    Infinite Power."

And here, if anywhere, is the place to learn how vainly Art may seek to
rival Nature. "How splendid," exclaims a learned prelate, "do the
porticos of the ancients appear in our eyes from the ostentatious
magnificence of the descriptions we have received of them! And with what
admiration are we seized, on seeing the colonnades of our modern
edifices! But when we behold the Cave of Fingal, formed by Nature in the
Isle of Staffa, it is no longer possible to make a comparison; and we
are forced to acknowledge that this piece of Nature's architecture far
surpasses that of the Louvre, that of St. Peter's at Rome, all that
remains of Palmyra and Pæstum, and all that the genius, taste, and
luxury of the Greeks were ever capable of inventing."

So much for a comparison of this ocean cathedral with buildings of human
construction; and no less decisive is the verdict of the French author,
M. de St. Fond, in contrasting Staffa with other natural edifices. "I
have," he says, "seen many ancient volcanoes, and I have given
descriptions of several basaltic causeways and delightful caverns in the
midst of lavas; but I have never found anything which comes near to
this, or can bear any comparison with it, for the admirable regularity
of its columns, the height of the arch, the situation, the form, the
elegance of this production of Nature or its resemblance to the
masterpieces of Art, though Art has had no share in its construction. It
is therefore not at all surprising that tradition should have made it
the abode of a hero."

These are but general descriptions of this _chef d'oeuvre._ Shall I
attempt in my own words, or those of any other, to give even a feeble
impression of the grandeur which overarches and surrounds us as our boat
glides into the interior? Let Wilson speak; I dare not. Listen to his
words while I vouch for their truth.

"How often have we since recalled to mind the regularity, magnitude, and
loftiness of those columns, the fine o'er-hanging cliff of small
prismatic basalt to which they give support, worn by the murmuring waves
of many thousand years into the semblance of some stupendous Gothic
arch,

    'Where, through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault,'

the wild waters ever urge their way; and the receding sides of that
great temple, running inwards in solemn perspective, yet ever and anon,
as ocean heaves and falls, rendered visible in its far sanctuary by the
broad and flashing light reflected by the foaming surges sweeping
onwards from below! Then the broken and irregular gallery which
overhangs that subterranean flood, and from which, looking upwards and
around, we behold the rich and varied hues of red, green, and gold,
which give such splendid relief to the deep and sombre colored
columns,--the clear bright tints which sparkle beneath our feet, from
the wavering, yet translucent sea,--the whole accompanied by the wild,
yet mellow and sonorous moan of each successive billow which rises up
the sides or rolls over the finely formed crowns of the lowlier and
disjointed pillars: these are a few of the features of this exquisite
and most singular scene, which cannot fail to astonish the beholder."

Up this irregular gallery, which extends to the farther extremity of the
cave, most of our steamer's party have already gone, having successively
deserted the boats to take advantage of this natural pathway, whereby,
stepping carefully along the wet slippery floor, and clinging for
security to a rope attached to iron bolts riveted in the solid stone of
the wall, they can penetrate to the innermost depths of the cavern.
Through the dim religious light of the place we can discern their
figures, diminished in the distant perspective, as in long procession
they grope their way, the joyous laughter of the younger votaries
mingling with the little shrieks of alarm or warning with which the more
cautious or timid emphasize every misstep or uncertain footing,--the
entire human murmur, fortunately for us, softened by distance, or
returned to our ears only in the mellowed form of an echo, so that we
are spared in some degree that mockery of mirth and discord, otherwise
so inevitable, and always so uncongenial to the spirit of the
place,--that tumult of voices, exclamations, and shouts so familiar to
the tourist, and which drew from Wordsworth, on occasion of his visit to
the spot, the half-bitter reflection,--

    "We saw, but surely, in the motley crowd,
    Not one of us has felt the far-famed-sight:
    How _could_ we feel it, each the other's blight,
    Hurried and hurrying, volatile and loud?"

Thus the Bailie's philosophy has not proved in fault. There is an
advantage in being the last comers, if it is merely that our
fellow-tourists have taken themselves out of our way. Only the harsh
vituperations of our boatmen make dissonance with Nature, as, their long
poles driven hard now against one side and now the other of the cave,
they strive to keep the boat in middle position, and save a collision
with the rocks. And even this discord is soon overborne. "Sing!" cried
the gude-wife at my elbow, as we passed under the great archway, and her
plastic soul, alive as readily to the spirit of praise as to that of
fear, caught the inspiration of the place; "all of you, sing!"

There was an earnestness, a fervor, in this woman, which made her every
word and thought contagious; and as either she, or some neighbor of hers
who shared her emotion and purpose, struck the key-note, voice after
voice joined in, until there swelled up from our little boat the almost
universal song,--no common trivial melody,--not even a national
air,--such would have been sacrilege,--but a grand old song of praise,
one of those literal versions of the Psalmist familiar to the ear and
lip of every kirk-loving Scot. And so, as the singing chorus went
sailing up that broad aisle, heart and voice united in a spontaneous
liturgy, an act of devout adoration, which seemed the only fit response
to the spirit that whispered to our souls, "Praise ye the Lord!"

The psalm ended, our boat with most of its passengers retraces its
course and is rowed back to the steamer,--the Bailie and I, however,
having first disembarked and clambered up to the rough gallery, with a
view of imitating the parties who are pursuing their explorations on
foot. This gallery, or causeway, which runs along the eastern side of
the cave, is about two feet in width, and consists of the bases of
broken pillars, whose dark purple hexagons, cemented together by
crystallizations or a white calcareous deposit, form a rough mosaic
flooring. The inequality of its surface, and the fact that the stones
are worn smooth and slippery by the action of the sea, render it a very
precarious pathway; and as soon as we have proceeded far enough to
gratify our curiosity and obtain satisfactory points of view, we are
content to abandon the enterprise of penetrating to the remotest depths,
preferring to reserve our time for a ramble over the exterior surface of
the island.

Emerging from the cavern and skirting its eastern side, we still find
ourselves stepping from hexagon to hexagon over a massive bed of refuse
material, and gazing upward at the columnar wall on our left which
upholds the table-land of the island. No traveller, however ignorant or
inappreciative of science, can fail to realize the immense interest
which these evidences of some great natural convulsion must possess for
the geologist; and a knowledge of the recent geological discoveries in
this and other of the Western Islands is not needed to impress us with
the conviction that treasures of truth are beneath and around us
everywhere, waiting to be revealed. But we have not the key, nor can we
pause to pick the lock.

Passing on, then, in our ignorance, but not without an awe of things
unknown, we recognize as within the scope of our comprehension two
broken pillars so lodged as to constitute the seat and back of a rude
chair, which has received the name of Fingal's Chair, and beyond this
the Clamshell Cave, so called from the curved form of the mass of
basaltic pillars at its entrance; and at length we attain a point where,
by scaling a rough staircase constructed for the convenience of
tourists, we gain the grassy summit of the island. So perpendicular is
the cliff at every point, that, these green slopes once reached, the
previous singularity of formation and wildness of scenery at once give
place to the pastoral. Rocks, columns, caves, and cliffs are all hid
from our view; we have gained Nature's upper story, and around us is a
perfect calm. Not even the steamer which brought us hither is visible,
so effectually do the bold precipices conceal every near thing in their
shadow. The great cavern through which ocean surges with a ceaseless
swell lies far beneath us, and no echo of its roar reaches this spot. A
few sheep are nibbling the short grass; the golden star-flowers and the
pink heather plumes at our feet are the lineal descendants, for aught we
can conceive, of star-flowers and heather plumes that flourished here a
thousand years ago,--so undisturbed a possession has Nature had In this
realm of hers for ages. No change, improvement, growth, has added to or
taken from Staffa. Storm-washed in winter, flower-crowned in summer, its
history is forever the same. Sitting here among the heather tufts, and
looking off on the limitless blue sea and the neighboring islands, it is
not hard to dream one's self away into by-gone centuries, to imagine
Bruce and his faithful islesmen sailing past as they go forth to rouse
the clans, or, diving deeper into legendary days, to picture Fingal
himself and his warlike allies bending their white sails towards the
ocean-palace that still claims him as its traditionary king.

"O Ossian, Carril, and Ullin! you know of heroes that are no more. Give
us the song of other years. Raise, ye bards of other times, raise high
the praise of heroes; that my son! may settle on their fame."

"Soon shall my voice be heard no more, and my footsteps cease to be
seen," was the prophetic cry of the "first of a thousand heroes," as he
learned from "Ullin, the bard of song" that his young son Ryno was "with
the awful forms of his fathers." But "the bards will tell of Fingal's
name, the stones will talk of me," was the consolatory thought of him,
who, grown old in fame, had a foreshadowing of the glory which would
hang round his memory, when he exclaimed, "But before I go hence, one
beam of fame shall rise, I will remain renowned; the departure of my
soul shall be a stream of light."

And who among ancient heroes could better deserve to have his memory
embalmed than he whom an honorable foe thus eulogized?--"Blest be thy
soul, thou king of shells! In peace thou art the gale of spring; in war,
the mountain storm." And what touching interest to us of later times
hangs round this legendary champion of the right, when we listen to his
mingled strain of triumph, lament, and justification!--"When will Fingal
cease to fight? I was born in the midst of battles, and my steps must
move in blood to the tomb, But my hand did not injure the weak, my steel
did not touch the feeble in arms. I behold thy tempests, O Morven! which
will overturn my halls, when my children are dead in battle, and none
remains to dwell in Selma. Then will the feeble come, but they will not
know my tomb. My renown is only in song, My deeds shall be as a dream to
future times!"

Yes, a dream,--and we are the dreamers. The songs of the bards are
ringing in our ears, and though no stone marks the tomb of Fingal, the
stones talk of him; the great basaltic columns are his memorial pillars,
and the sea yet sounds his dirge as its wailing echo sweeps mournfully
through Fingal's Cave.

But hark! The bell of the Pioneer is rousing us with the cry, "Wake up,
ye dreamers! Come back from the clouds, ye visionaries!" The time for
Staffa is up, and the steamer, like a cackling hen who is eager to call
her brood together, commences a system of coaxing, warning, and threat,
which soon results in the converging of her passengers from every
quarter of the island. Most of them are by this time rambling over its
upper surface, and all make for the rough stairway where the comparative
difficulties of the "ascensus" and "descensus" are in complete
contradiction to classical authority: the former having been
accomplished with ease, while the latter proves a terrific experience.
There is truly something maternal about the Pioneer; for here, as at
every other point of difficulty on our excursion, faithful guides are
stationed and strong hands outstretched for our assistance. Still it is
with a plunge,--half a nightmare and half a miracle,--that we, who are
among the earliest to make the experiment, arrive safely at the bottom,
and, stepping on board a boat, regain the steamer, where we sit at our
leisure and laugh at the absurd figure made by later comers as they
scramble down the cliff: Sir Thomas even forgetting his dignity in the
difficulties of the operation, and the interjectional phrases of her
Ladyship, as she now and then comes to a hopeless stand-still, tickling
our ears at the distance where we sit watching them.

Our entire party fairly on board, the Pioneer, now panting to be off,
sets her wheels in motion and starts on her further course, not,
however, without first skirting the base of the island and affording us,
as I have already intimated, one last view of Fingal's Cave, and that
the finest. It is an impressive circumstance, that at this moment the
attention of the tourist on the steamer's deck is divided between
Nature's great cathedral and man's early efforts in the same
direction,--that immediately opposite the pillared vestibule of the
Staffa minster the Abbey tower of the Blessed Isle looms boldly on our
view, the mimic architecture of man paying silent homage to the spot,

    "Where, as to shame the temples decked
    By skill of earthly architect,
    A minster to her Maker's praise!
    Not for a meaner use ascend
    Her columns, or her arches bend;
    Nor of a theme less solemn tells
    That mighty surge that ebbs and swells,
    And still, between each awful pause,
    From the high vault an answer draws,
    In varied tone, prolonged and high,
    That mocks the organ's melody.
    Nor doth its entrance front in vain
    To old Iona's holy fane,
    That Nature's voice might seem to say,
    'Well hast thou clone, frail child of clay!
    Thy humble powers that stately shrine
    Tasked high and hard,--but witness mine!'"

And so, with a great lesson behind us and before, we sail away on that
summer sea and bid farewell to Staffa. The timid seal whom we have
disturbed creeps back to her cell, the wild-fowl returns to its nest,
the sea-swell rolls in and out in waves unbroken by our keel, and the
warm sun holds all in his soft embrace. The winter winds will roar
through the cavern erelong, the ocean lash pillar and ceiling with its
foam, tempests will beat and rage against its giant columns, the stormy
petrel will flap its wings in the archway, and the piercing cry of the
sea-gull keep time to the diapason of the deep; but the massive
structure whose corner-stone is hid beneath the waters, and which leans
upon the Rock of Ages, will still defy the tempest and loom in lonely
grandeur, alike in summer's smile and winter's frown the dwelling-place
of the Almighty. Iona's walls, reared centuries ago, and dedicated to
Him by human tribute, have crumbled or are fast crumbling to decay; but
this mighty temple, whose foundations no man laid, has gazed calmly
through all these ages at man's feeble work, and will gaze unchanged
until He who holds the sea in the hollow of His hand shall uproot its
columns.


III.

Now on to Iona, a distance of seven or eight miles, a formidable voyage,
perhaps, for early pilgrims to this sacred shrine, to us barely
affording time for dinner, a meal of which I have no remembrance of
partaking on this eventful day,--though my recollections would doubtless
have been more poignant, if I had failed to do so,--and of which I can
at least certify that it was sumptuous and well-served, since the
luxurious habits of life enjoyed on these floating hotels of the
Hutchesons are proverbial, and the flavor of good cheer still clings to
my palate, especially that of the daily "salmon so fresh as still to
retain its creamy curd."

The approach to Iona, Icolmkill, or Colmeskill, as it is variously
termed, has in it nothing imposing, if we except the ancient Abbey,
already descried at a distance, and the neighboring ruins, the simple
fact of whose presence in this lonely isle is suggestive of all that has
given interest and sanctity to this cradle of Christianity in Britain.
On landing at the rude pier, formed of masses of gneiss and granite
boulders, we find ourselves opposite the modern village, a row of some
forty cottages, running parallel with the shore, and, as is the case in
nearly all Scotch villages, including both an established and a free
church. We have scarcely set foot on the beach before we have a
verification of Wordsworth's experience:--

    "How sad a welcome! To each voyager
    Some ragged child holds up for sale a store
    Of wave-worn pebbles, pleading on the shore
    Where once came monk and nun with gentle stir,
    Blessings to give, news ask, or suit prefer."

But I have no heart to find fault with this small fry of the modern
fishing-town, whose trade in pressed sea-weeds, shells, and stones is
now so extensive that near the ruins they have established rival
counters, and are a most clamorous set of persecutors; for I still have
pleasure in looking on the really precious and suggestive mementos of
the place which they thrust upon me, a willing victim.

A little to the rear of the village, though still nearly on a level with
the beach, are the ruins, to which we are guided by Archibald Macdonald,
chief boatman, and authorized to act as our cicerone. In setting forth
on our explorations, we must premise that little now remains to mark the
age of the Culdees and the simple life of St. Columba and those
companions of his apostolic zeal who first settled in Iona, and thence,
going forth in pilgrim fashion and with the endurance of pilgrim
hardships, diffused Christianity through Britain. A huge mound, or
cairn, yet marks the place where the missionaries first landed; and
there are still, in a remote part of the island, vestiges of the rude
dwelling-place or cell in which the Culdees first made their abode and
set up the cross as a luminary for the yet uncivilized nations. With the
exception of these rude vestiges, the tradition of their virtues and the
results of their self-sacrificing labors are their only memorial. But
the standard which they planted followers of later ages have continued
to maintain; and the monastic buildings, now more or less ruinous, and
marking successive eras of Church history, are all of great antiquity,
many being of a date so remote that the records of them are merely
traditional. But wherever the pilgrim turns his eye or sets his foot,
voices whisper to him that this is holy ground. The very silence and
mystery which inwrap the place have a tendency to exalt the soul; and
although doubts may arise in regard to some of the traditions, and
incredulity may condemn others as simply mythical, faith so often
becomes sight, and the essence of faith is so triumphant everywhere, as
to make us feel, with the great moralist, that "that man is little to be
envied whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plain of Marathon,
or whose piety would not grow warmer among the ruins of Iona."

Our first visit is to the Nunnery, of which the chapel only remains
standing. The style of its architecture is Norman, and it probably dates
no farther back than the beginning of the thirteenth century. The tomb
of the Princess Anna, the last prioress, is still preserved, though much
defaced by the rude feet of soulless tourists. Her figure is sculptured
in bas-relief on the stone, and the mirror and comb which are introduced
as symbolic of the female sex suggest that instinct of decoration
inherent in woman, and which, if superfluous anywhere, certainly would
be so in a nunnery at Iona. There is a sad interest in the remains of
this sanctuary, the only refuge for innocence and gentleness in a
barbarous age, when many a votary was doubtless driven hither by motives
similar to those which actuated the fair maid of Lorn, of whom Sir
Walter Scott tells us,--

    "The maid has given her maiden heart
      To Ronald of the Isles;
    And, fearful lest her brother's word
    Bestow her on that English lord,
      She seeks Iona's piles;
    And wisely deems it best to dwell
    A vot'ress in the holy cell,
    Until these feuds, so fierce and fell,
      The abbot reconciles."

"The cemetery of the nunnery," as we learn on the authority of Dr.
Johnson, and at the date of his visit, "was, till very lately, regarded
with such reverence that only women were buried in it." And how the
burly speech and rugged bluntness characteristic of the old philosopher
are softened and atoned for, to my thinking, when he adds, "These relics
of veneration always produce some mournful pleasure. I could have
forgiven a great injury more easily than the violation of this imaginary
sanctity."

Next to its renown as an ancient seat of piety and learning, it is as a
burial-place that Iona is chiefly known and venerated. Though it is
difficult now to identify the tombs of kings, or to distinguish them
from those of the humbler individuals who have found a last
resting-place in Reilig Orain, the burial-place of St. Oran, it is
unquestionably true that the sanctity of the island gave it a preference
over any other spot as a place of sepulture, especially for royalty,--a
preference, doubtless, partly due to the belief in an ancient Gaëlic
prophecy, which foretold that before the end of the world "the sea at
one tide shall cover Ireland and the green-headed Islay, but Columba's
Isle shall swim above the flood."

Forty Scottish kings are said to have been interred in Iona, among whom
we have Shakspeare's authority for including King Duncan.

    "_Rosse._ Where is Duncan's body?

    "_Macd._ Carried to Colmeskill,
    The sacred storehouse of his predecessors,
    And guardian of their bones."

Among the monuments of Christianity in Iona, none are more conspicuous
and eloquent than the numerous crosses, of which the original number is
said to have been three hundred and sixty. Most of them have been
ruthlessly carried away or demolished. For myself, much as I deplore the
Vandalism which has mutilated nearly all these sacred memorials, I can
well dispense with the other three hundred and fifty-nine crosses for
the sake of the vivid recollection, I may almost say consciousness, I
have of one, that of St. Martin, which stands upright and in good
preservation just at the entrance of the cathedral inclosure, and
produces a solemn effect upon the mind of every reverential beholder. It
consists of a solid column of mica schist, fourteen feet in height,
fixed in a massive pedestal of red granite, and is of substantial rather
than graceful proportions. It is carved in high relief, and on one side
is sculptured with emblematic devices, of which the Virgin and Child,
surrounded by cherubs, occupy the central place. But its most
characteristic feature is its antiquity, enhanced to the eye by the gray
lichens and the rust of time, with which it is so incrusted that it
presents a hoary and venerable aspect, and seems the embodiment of that
ancient faith to which the whole island is consecrated. Here saints and
abbots of distant ages have knelt and wept and prayed, and caught the
inspiration for their labor of love, and here still, if we listen to the
voices in our hearts, we may hear the Spirit's whisper, and he who runs
may read the everliving sermon written on the old gray stone.

We have now gained the Cathedral, by far the best preserved and most
imposing of the ruined edifices of Iona,--a building which exhibits
various styles of architecture, and which is probably of more recent
construction than the other monastic or ecclesiastical monuments. It is
cruciform, and the square tower at the intersection, about seventy feet
in height, remains entire. The building is unroofed: for here, as in the
case of every other ancient structure on the island, every particle of
wood-work has been carried away, that material being too precious in
Iona to escape being converted to utilitarian purposes. The dimensions
of the cathedral or abbey church are spacious, and it boasted, even in
recent centuries, a noble altar and many other decorations, of which it
has been despoiled,--partly, no doubt, by the inhabitants of the island;
but tourists and pilgrims to the place are in no slight degree
responsible for these depredations, since, in their eagerness for
mementos, they have mercilessly robbed and mutilated it, and it is
prophesied, that, in spite of every possible precaution, many of the
interesting memorials of antiquity in Iona will soon be unrecognizable
or will have ceased to exist.

The tomb of Abbot Mackinnon, who died in 1500, though greatly defaced,
still exhibits a sculptured figure of its occupant, thought to do much
credit to the art of that period; and the largest monument in the
island, that of Macleod of Macleod, is still preserved. It is in this
church that the celebrated "Black Stones" of Iona were kept, on which
the old Highland chieftains were accustomed to take oaths of contract or
allegiance, and for which they entertained so sincere a reverence that
oaths thus ratified were never broken. Dr. Johnson observes,--"In those
days of violence and rapine, it was of great importance to impress upon
savage minds the sanctity of an oath, by some particular and
extraordinary circumstances. They would not have recourse to the black
stones upon small or common occasions; and when they had established
their faith by this tremendous sanction, inconstancy and treachery were
no longer feared."

Though neither the ancient structures nor the modern village of Iona are
situated much above the sea-level, and are so near to the shore as to
constitute the foreground of the picture, as seen from the usual
landing-place, the island is not without its highlands, which rise to a
considerable elevation immediately behind the village, some bold cliffs
even obtruding themselves upon our return pathway to the steamer: for I
can recall the picturesque effect produced upon the landscape by the
figure of one of the Baronet's daughters, seated at her ease upon the
summit of a huge, precipitous rock, her sketch-book in her lap, and her
pencil busily delineating the prospect in our direction. I scarcely
think, however, that, like the travelling photographer, she dreamed of
including her fellow-tourists in her sketch-book of reminiscences, any
more than I then anticipated the day when I should be tempted to
illustrate mine by her own and her sister's portraits.

I believe some rare ferns are to be found in Iona; it includes in its
vegetable kingdom one hawthorn, and a species of dwarf-oak is said to
occur there sparingly; but I cannot remember seeing even the most
inferior specimen of a tree upon the island. Bareness, desolation, is
its one characteristic,--a feature from which the meanness and poverty
of the row of village huts by no means detracts. As, once more
re-embarked on our steamer, we take a final view of Iona, the external
impression is meagre and poor indeed. So much the warmer and more
animated, then, is the glow of enthusiasm and gratitude with which we
dwell on the piety and self-sacrifice of those saints of old with whose
memory the Blessed Isle is still fragrant. Nor are the piety and zeal of
God's saints perpetuated chiefly by ecclesiastical monuments, or
embalmed in human hearts alone; for,

          "when, subjected to a common doom
    Of mutability, those far-famed piles
    Shall disappear from both the sister Isles,
    Iona's saints, forgetting not past days,
    Garlands shall wear of amaranthine bloom,
    While heaven's vast sea of voices chants their praise."

Is it the weariness of body entailed on us by our pilgrimages among the
wonders of Staffa and the ruins of Iona,--is it the mind overtasked by
the effort to grasp and comprehend so much of interest and novelty,--or
is it the soul tuned to deeper thoughts and holier sympathies than are
wont to engage it, which steeps us for the remainder of our voyage in
the luxury of repose? A mingling of all, I suspect. And happily the
sentiment seems universal. Christie, who, warned by her painful
experience of the steamer's oscillations, as she swung like a pendulum
on the sea-swell off Staffa, has been only too glad to accompany us on
shore at Iona, is not only relieved of her sea-sickness, but insured for
the rest of the trip. Somehow she, the Bailie, and I find ourselves
among that large proportion of our company who have gradually migrated
to the forward part of the boat, where, forgetful of the
conventionalities which have hitherto restrained us, we are grouped on
the fore-deck in whatever listless or indolent attitude the prevailing
mood may suggest. The August afternoon is drawing to a close, and the
sun is declining. Our share in the day's labor--though it be but
laborious pleasure--is done; the remainder of the task devolves on the
Pioneer, and, while she ploughs the waves, we have but to rest,
meditate, and congratulate ourselves and one another. There is a hum of
merry voices from the knot of gay young Scots, whose spirits are toned
down, not damped, by the experiences of the day. Our English girls, with
their young brother, are prettily grouped on the deck-floor, the latter
stretched at the feet of the youngest girl, and exchanging with her
those sweet confidences which always exist between a chivalrous boy and
the sister nearest his own age. Their confiding parents have remained
aft, as have a majority of the elders of the company; but, though youth,
freedom, and high natural spirits preponderate at our end of the boat,
peace seems to be brooding over us with dove-like wings.

We are still skirting the bold, precipitous shores of Mull, the central
loadstone which has kept us all day to our course, and now and then our
attention is especially engrossed by the view of her rugged cliffs,
terrible in winter's storms, and her natural arches of basalt, through
which the sea washes at high-water, and which betray in every feature a
family likeness to great Staffa. But for the most part our hearts and
thoughts now are with the past, and gratitude and thanksgiving are
welling up within us for a day on which sunshine, fair breezes, and a
prosperous voyage have combined with Nature's most glorious revelations
and humanity's holiest relics in opening up to us pleasures and
privileges beyond compare. Or, if a thought of the future mingles with
our meditations, it is the rapturous thought that these gifts of
Providence once ours are ours for a life-time.

At length, a softening of the majestic landscape, a contraction from the
sea's wide expanse into comparatively still waters, and, bidding
farewell to Mull, we have entered the Sound of Kerrera, and the great
island is hid from us by its less imposing sister, Kerrera Island, the
same that land-locks the Bay of Oban. We have but to make our way
through the picturesque channel, whose scenery is already familiar to
our eyes, and now Dunolly, the moss-crowned warder of the bay, greets us
once more, her friendly face, as we sweep into our little harbor,
seeming to hail us with a "Welcome Home!"

Home to the Caledonian, where a "towsy tea," as my Scotch friends would
term it, awaits the tired and hungry travellers: a motley, substantial
meal: fowls of the daintiest,--fresh herring, never eaten in such
perfection as on the Hebridean coast,--honey-comb of the tint of burnt
umber,--fragrant, ambrosial honey, the very juice of the heather, the
crystallized sun and dew in which these unshadowed hills bask and bathe
without let or hindrance.

Then a stroll round the bay and along the white sea-wall, now glistening
in the moonlight, and then to bed, to dream perhaps of Ossian's heroes,
of storm-swept castles, of old monkish rites, and of the ocean
cathedral's eternal chant,--dreams which, however varied and strange,
can lull the spirit into no softer illusions, can rouse it to no wilder
ecstasies than the reality of our experience in our twelve hours' sail
round Mull.



JOHN BRIGHT AND THE ENGLISH RADICALS.


In the June number of this magazine a review of the career of Richard
Cobden presented the lifelong activity and loftiness of purpose which
distinguished that great man, whom we have so recently been called to
mourn. It is our purpose to record something of his friend and ally, Mr.
Bright, whose devotion to America has led him for once to raise his
voice in vindication of war, as the only method of preserving liberty.

John Bright was born at Greenbank, near the thrifty town of Rochdale, on
the 16th of November, 1811. His father was Mr. Jacob Bright, a gentleman
who, by his own exertions, had risen from humble means to wealth, in the
vocation of a cotton manufacturer. John was the second of eleven
children, the oldest of whom died in infancy. The family were devoted
members of the Society of Friends, and the subject of this sketch still
adheres to the hereditary faith. John's health, during childhood, caused
much solicitude to his parents. His constitution was apparently feeble,
and it was found that study injured his already delicate system. At the
age of fifteen he was taken from school, and placed in his father's
counting-room. Mr. Jacob Bright was a shrewd, yet highly honorable man,
entirely engrossed in the superintendence of his business, and an adept
in the conduct of his manufactory. It was his ambition that his sons
should follow in his footsteps, and should become, like himself,
influential members of the commercial community. He doubtless
underrated, as the class to which he belonged are apt to do in England,
the value of a university education; and as soon as the boys reached the
suitable age, they were set to work in the mills. Had John Bright
received the culture which a residence at Oxford or Cambridge would have
afforded him, he would doubtless have occupied a place in the first rank
of that group of accomplished statesmen who now grace either House of
Parliament, and whose elegant erudition is as conspicuous as their
enlightened statecraft. As it was, we find him spending his youth at the
desk, learning how to buy and sell, and how to rule the miniature
commonwealth which an English manufactory presents. In the discharge of
these duties he proved himself skilful, prompt, and energetic.

As he grew to manhood, however, a new interest and a new ambition awoke
within him. He had always been more of a thinker than the other members
of his family. When scarcely twenty, he had addressed the people of
Rochdale in favor of the great Reform of 1832, and with the effect of
giving him at that early age a local popularity. He had seemingly thrown
his vigorous mind into the study of the complex elements of the
Constitution, with especial reference to those parts which affected
commerce and manufactures. From such studies he had become the confirmed
disciple of those doctrines which, with a narrower view to
self-interest, the commercial class almost universally adopted. When the
passage of the Reform Bill had quieted for a while the agitation on that
score, Mr. Bright, his interest being now thoroughly awakened to the
excitements of a public career, turned his attention to the Temperance
question, then much mooted in the larger towns. The idea of total
abstinence was at that time new to Englishmen, and Mr. Bright was one of
the earliest champions of that principle, which has since attracted so
many powerful orators, and which has reclaimed so many from the
debasement of the cup. In the year 1835, Mr. Bright, with a view to
extending his experience, and in order to observe the systems of other
nations, made the tour of the Continent, extending his travels to Athens
and Palestine. On his return, he was invited to lecture before the local
Institute at Rochdale, and he delivered a series of lectures, taking as
his subjects the observations he had made abroad. These he followed by
another series on questions more nearly connected with the practical
interests of his auditors,--putting before them with admirable
perspicuity the ideas he had formed on the commercial policy of England.
About this time contentions arose respecting the Church Rates, and Mr.
Bright took active ground for their abolition.

The sufferings of the manufacturing class now revived that agitation
against the Corn-Laws which had once before engaged the earnest
attention of the country. Mr. Bright had the patent evidence all around
him of the misery which the inequitable adjustment of the tariff had
created. The class over whom he had supervision were materially affected
by this injustice. With that promptness which is one of his conspicuous
qualities, he devoted himself to the study of the science which would
open to him the causes, consequences, and remedies of the evils which a
legalized monopoly had brought into existence. He found that the landed
proprietors, whose influence in Parliament had long continued paramount
through the protection of the Tory party, had secured laws which enabled
them to enjoy the monopoly of the corn trade, to the practical exclusion
of foreign competition. Prices were thus increased to such an extent, as
to put it beyond the power of factory hands, with the wages which their
employers could afford to pay them, to buy bread.

The distress of the operatives from this cause was already great, and
was constantly becoming more serious and more alarming. The lower
classes of England have never been patient under unusual pressure. They
are prone to take redress by violent resistance to law. Thus the
agricultural ascendency threatened to drive the rival element to
desperation. The Tories, led by Wellington, already obnoxious from their
long opposition to Reform, steadily maintained the existing laws, and
continued to be the devoted partisans of the landed interest. The
aristocratic Whigs, who were in power under Viscount Melbourne, and who
were reaping the fruit of a reform carried by the cooperation of
popular leaders, were reluctant to do more than make slight
modifications,--modifications which still left the evil great and
dangerous. At this juncture, a new force sprang up, which from small
beginnings finally effected a total revolution in the economical policy
of the Government. This was the Anti-Corn-Law League. It was instituted
by a number of liberal noblemen and gentlemen in Parliament, who had the
sense to perceive, and the wisdom to provide for, the gloomy crisis
which seemed to be impending. Charles Pelham Villiers, a son of the Earl
of Clarendon, and one of the ablest of the younger generation of
statesmen, was the most prominent leader. The object of the association
was to organize a crusade against agricultural tyranny, and to effect
the abrogation of the odious laws by which farmers grew rich by starving
manufacturers. As usual with all organizations for reform, the League at
first met with clamorous denunciation from all quarters, was sneered at
in Parliament, and laughed at by the great proprietors. But it grew
rapidly. Every day people awakened more and more to the increasing
necessity. The champions of the League, spreading among the rural
communities, eloquently and convincingly pointed out the great evils
which they sought to eradicate. They were untiring in their exertions,
and their success was beyond their best hopes.

The great advantage to be gained by keeping their cause in constant
agitation before the public made the Leaguers desirous to employ active
and eloquent orators. John Bright, in his twenty-seventh year, began to
speak in advocacy of commercial reform in his own neighborhood. The
League heard of him, called him to their assistance, and he became one
of their authorized speakers. This was a triumph not a little flattering
to a young merchant whose training had been in a manufactory, and to
whom the field of forensic eloquence was entirely new. He was thoroughly
convinced, both from observation and from a naturally quick reason, that
the principles of which he was now to be a public advocate were just and
practical. His whole soul was in the effort to alleviate suffering, and
to find a balance between interests which had been, but were not of
necessity, conflicting. With that hearty zeal which has ever since
marked his public career, he entered the political arena, turned over to
his partners the affairs of the firm, and devoted himself to the study
and exposition of the new commercial theories. Through the influence of
the League, he obtained opportunities to speak in many considerable
places; and he every-day increased his reputation as a vigorous reasoner
and a pleasing speaker. He went boldly into the agricultural districts,
where the hard-headed old Tories who believed in Wellington formed his
audiences, and put to them unwelcome truths which they found it hard to
swallow. On one occasion he appeared before a large assemblage at
Drury-Lane Theatre, when the effect of his eloquence was such that his
name became immediately known throughout the kingdom. Copies of the
speech were distributed by order of the League, and Bright found himself
in demand from all quarters. Working in concert with Villiers, Morpeth,
and the other leaders, he assisted in instituting branches of the League
in the principal cities. Besides his unquestioned ability as an orator,
he had one advantage which most of his co-workers did not possess,--he
was emphatically a man of the people. He came out from the busy
community in which he was born and reared, to labor for the people.
Those who might distrust a Villiers or a Howard,--who might suspect that
an agitation set on foot by noblemen was designed for selfish ends,--who
might be indifferent to those whom they had been accustomed to regard as
political schemers,--would trust and follow one who threw aside his
commercial vocation and came forward to sustain that commercial interest
in which he himself was concerned. He could gain the ear and reason of
many who would not listen to one whose profession was political
agitation. Thus his influence became considerable; his origin reassuring
his hearers, his eloquence charming them, and his honesty and
earnestness commanding their sympathy and approval.

The rapid spread of Free-Trade principles, resulting from the organized
efforts of the League, and from the demonstration, which actual
occurrences confirmed, that the farming monopoly could not continue,
gave the leaders of the League much importance in Parliament. The Whigs,
nay, even the more moderate Tories, began to profess conversion to
Free-Trade doctrines. When Parliament was dissolved in 1841, both
parties went to the country on the issue of Free-Trade or Protection.
Sir Robert Peel, who afterward became the patriotic instrument by which
the Corn-Laws fell, represented those who adhered to Protection and the
agricultural interest. Lord Melbourne came forward as the advocate of
those principles which the League had been the first to avow, and which
as Premier he had not been anxious to put in practice. Notwithstanding
the Reform of 1832, the landed nobility still retained a large control
in the composition of the House of Commons. Peel had organized the
Conservatives with great tact, and the ministry of Melbourne was
suffering from the weakness of internal dissension. The result of the
election was, that Peel's candidates were so generally successful that
he gained a clear working majority in the House, and he consequently
became Prime-Minister.

It was soon after the Conservatives thus attained office that John
Bright came forward as a candidate for Parliament in the northern city
of Durham. The Free-Traders were wise enough to seek the assistance of
the best men their ranks could furnish. Bright, it was universally
thought, would be a valuable auxiliary, coming as he did from the
mercantile class, and possessing a clear mind and ready tongue. Durham
was conservative by tradition. In 1843 the city rejected Bright; but in
1844, so rapid was the growth of Liberalism, that the same constituency
returned him to the House of Commons by a handsome majority.

Meanwhile Sir Robert Peel, elected and supported by Protectionists, was
gradually turning his steps toward the more liberal policy which his
opponents had advocated. Soon after assuming office, he had proposed a
modification of the tariff. The Duke of Buckingham, representing the
extreme wing of the Protectionists, resigned in alarm. The Premier did
not falter, but approached still nearer the Free-Trade standard. Lord
Stanley, a stronger man than Buckingham, retired from the council-board.
When John Bright entered Parliament, Peel was rapidly coming to the
abolition of the Corn-Laws. Bright at once mingled in the debates, which
now daily absorbed the attention of the House, on the one question
before the country. The little band of Leaguers stood in the front rank
of the opposition. They were pressing Sir Robert, by steady and
oft-repeated appeals, to make the final concession. To the voices of
Villiers, Morpeth, Russell, Gibson, were added the sonorous tones of the
merchant-orator, and he maintained the debate with the best, whether of
friends or foes. He reasoned with such clearness, he brought the evils
of the corn monopoly so vividly before the minds of his auditors, he
pressed the necessity and justice of its abrogation with such power of
argument, that from that day he took rank as one of the first speakers
and logicians in the lower House.

Sir Robert soon threw aside all party and selfish considerations, and
did fearlessly what his judgment convinced him was urgently demanded by
the interests of the country. He proposed the repeal of the Corn-Laws.
He thus exhibited a rare spirit for an English statesman,--a spirit of
self-sacrifice for the public good. His old associates assailed him with
bitter, powerful eloquence. The Whigs, whose thunder he had stolen,
looked with the coldness of partisan selfishness upon his conversion to
their views. But in spite of every discouragement, he carried that
magnanimous measure through both Houses by his influence as First Lord
of the Treasury. Hardly ever during the present century has Parliament
been more electrified by stirring and splendid contests of forensic
genius than during these debates on the repeal. And in these debates
John Bright proved a worthy competitor to Disraeli, whose caustic
oratory was justly feared,--and to Stanley, whose excellence in
rejoinder made him to be regarded as the equal of Fox in extempore
debate.

The fall of Sir Robert Peel, who could not retain power whilst Tories
and Whigs were alike arrayed against him, was followed by the elevation
of Lord John Russell and his Whig friends to the ministry. Several of
the leaders of the League accepted office; but John Bright received no
overtures from the new Premier. No thought of personal ambition, indeed,
seems to have entered into his views. Possessing that independence and
fearlessness which men of his origin are apt to exhibit, and deeply
interested in the new field in which he found himself, his sole desire
seems to have been to arrive at a knowledge of what would most benefit
his country. In this search, he rejected all party creeds. He declined
to put himself under a pledge to abide by the will of a caucus. He
considered himself bound by no precedent which was unjust, committed to
no policy which did not have a present reason. He was ready to act with
the party that sustained, in each individual case, the measure which he
considered right; nor would he hesitate to vote with those with whom he
usually found himself at variance, if they brought forward measures
which his judgment approved.

At the time Lord Russell came into power, Mr. Bright was regarded as
opposed to the Established Church and to the House of Lords, as
favorable to a system of general suffrage, and as decidedly
anti-monarchical in political theory. With opinions so radical the
aristocratic Whigs were the last to have any sympathy. They were much
less likely to encourage that class of politicians than their old
antagonists, the Tories. The reason is evident. Radicalism, by startling
the masses by the novelty of its doctrines, and thus driving a large
majority to seek certain safety under the protection of the Tories, had
kept the Whigs out of Whitehall for half a century. John Wilkes and
Horne Tooke secured Pitt in his power. Francis Burdett and his
confederates faithfully served Liverpool. If Lord Russell should
recognize the later Radicals by calling one of their leaders to his
counsels, he might well fear a defection far outweighing the
acquisition. Thus Mr. Bright, an active participant in the contest for
Free Trade, which had just resulted in a complete victory, cheerfully
continued to be simply an independent commoner, representing the
constituency of Durham,--free to judge, and to speak his honest
thought,--at liberty to advocate reforms more thorough than ministers
dared to propose,--ready to represent the feelings and wants of that
great multitude of Englishmen to whom the timeworn restrictions of the
franchise prohibited a voice in the Government,--anxious to keep ideas
in agitation which needed stout hearts and steady heads to maintain them
in existence.

In 1847, the ministers having caused his defeat as member for Durham, he
became the successful contestant for the seat for Manchester. This
metropolis of manufacture was then the centre, as it is now, of extreme
liberal notions. The fame of Mr. Bright, who had gone forth into public
life from its immediate neighborhood, was grateful to a district which
sorely needed such an advocate. He continued to represent Manchester
through the Parliament which sustained and finally ousted Lord John
Russell. In 1852, when the Premier, joining issue with Lord Derby,
(formerly Lord Stanley,) went to the country, Mr. Bright again stood for
Manchester, and was gratified by receiving a majority of eleven hundred.
It was the just reward of labors incessant and courageous, to keep the
interests of the constituency always before the legislature, and to
bring about that system of equality to which they were thoroughly
devoted. Mr. Bright continued to represent Manchester until 1857. During
the session of that year, the late Mr. Cobden, the earnest co-worker
with Mr. Bright, brought forward a motion condemnatory of the Chinese
War, then transpiring under the conduct of Lord Palmerston's Government.
The House divided against the minister. The Radicals and Conservatives
were in a majority. Palmerston dissolved Parliament, and appealed to the
nation. Bright once more went before his constituents, on the issue of
war or peace with China. His notions respecting the iniquity of war in
general, which resulted from his Quaker education, and his opinion that
this attack on the Celestial Empire was especially unjustifiable, were
not welcome to the electors of Manchester. His opponent, like himself a
radical Whig, but an advocate of the war, was returned by five thousand
votes. In 1859 Palmerston being again forced to the expedient of a new
election, Mr. Bright was invited to stand as a candidate for the
constituency of Birmingham, by whom he was returned to Parliament, where
he has since continued to represent them. Here he has been very active
in the advocacy of his own peculiar doctrines, some of which have within
a few years gained much in public estimation. Independent of all
parties, he votes usually with the ministry, but sometimes follows Mr.
Disraeli and Lord Stanley below the bar on a division of the House.

This record of eighteen years in the House of Commons is certainly a
remarkable one. While constantly opposing both of the great parties, Mr.
Bright has won the respect of all. His ability as a logician and as an
effective speaker, and his evident honesty and earnestness of purpose,
are conceded by every one. The courage and persistency with which he has
upheld unpopular doctrines compel the admiration of those who recoil
from the changes which he seeks to effect. It is not too much to say
that his character has greatly enhanced the influence of those for whom
he acts, and of whom he is the unquestioned leader. The Radicals were a
mere handful when Bright entered Parliament. They are now beginning to
be feared. Several of the largest and most prosperous cities regularly
send Radical members to Westminster. Some of the profoundest thinkers in
England are inclined to admit that the time is approaching when Radical
ideas shall become practical. Many of them already declare these ideas
to be abstractly just. The English are getting _accustomed_ to Radical
doctrines. In due time they will be ready to pass a fair judgment upon
them.

The progressive party in a nation too often possesses leaders who, being
low-born, are coarse and lawless, or who seek to foster discontent by an
artful demagoguism. A good cause is often discountenanced and rendered
futile by reason of the ignorance or wickedness of those who have been
prominent in its advocacy. John Wilkes and Thomas Paine scandalized the
cause of progress in their time by the profligacy of their lives and the
badness of their motives. So did Robespierre and Danton by the cruel
ambition which actuated them. The character of such men naturally
frightened people of honest intentions from their leadership; while the
extremities to which they carried their views deterred men of practical
sense from upholding them. The reformers of the present generation,
however, exhibit traits which command respect. They pursue a course
which, if not altogether moderate or suited to the times, is evidently
grounded upon deductions of thoughtful reason.

If we were to compress the description of Mr. Bright's character into a
few words, we should say he was honest, earnest, fearless, eloquent. He
is honest; for he casts aside the objects of personal ambition in a life
devotion to an unpopular cause. He is earnest; for he is constant to his
faith, untiring in the effort to instil it into the community. He is
fearless,--morally fearless; for he permits no obstacle, no obloquy, no
powerful antagonism, to check him in the expression of unwelcome
thoughts. He is eloquent; inasmuch as he stands up amid the silence of
the most critical and restless legislature in the world, and compels
members to listen, without interruption, to ideas which in the opinion
of the vast majority are hateful and destructive. His character, as it
has been displayed by a consistent public record, bears the stamp of
truth and ingenuousness. He is candid, almost to a fault. He has no
subtle statecraft; he recognizes no code of expediency. He is impatient
of that spirit which actuates statesmen as a class to sacrifice
something of good for the practical attainment even of a worthy end,--a
spirit which, for our own part, we cannot wholly disapprove. While as a
business man his integrity is perfectly unimpeachable, as a legislator
his opponents have only to fear his strong and indignant eloquence: they
are safe from any thrust which is not open and manly. He was not
destined to become a great statesman: he is too rash, too little
tolerant of antagonistic opinion, too much inclined to absolute
conclusions, too open by nature in giving expression to his thoughts. In
the demolishing process which properly precedes, in a long-established
polity, the constructing process, he has every quality which would fit
him to be a leader. His Quaker blood is of little avail in making him
sit in patience whilst deep social wrongs stare him in the face on every
side. The uprising of the people, especially that peaceable uprising to
which the English people are by nature and precedent inclined to resort,
seeking to cure by prompt action what statesmanship has failed to mend,
would give him the best of opportunities. Quaker though he is, he would
revel in taking the van of a lawful reformation aimed at the abuses he
hates so heartily. So far as the expunging of an iniquitous law from the
statute-book goes, his work would be well done; but when the time came
to fill up the page with a new and just enactment, it would be his part
to yield to more deliberate and judicious counsels. Like Lord Brougham,
he is great in opposition. He can defend well; he can attack far better.
Aggressive warfare is his forte. He is as positive in his theological
and social as in his political opinions. He is a practical
philanthropist, leads a life of strict probity and temperance, and seeks
his pleasure, as well as his duty, in benefiting the human race. He
carries the nervousness and enthusiasm of his public displays into the
amenities of private life. Hearty in his friendships, and affable in
social intercourse, he is liked by most persons and respected by all. He
possesses in a remarkable degree that faculty which is considered as the
trait of an accomplished gentleman,--the faculty of putting you at once
at your ease. In temperament impulsive, he is perhaps too little mindful
of the feelings of others, and somewhat careless of his expressions when
pursuing a subject in which his attention is engrossed. In his manner
there is a blunt sincerity which one who is in his company for the first
time is apt to mistake almost for ill-temper. It, however, results from
his entirely candid disposition, his rigidly practical and business
education, and his carelessness of forms,--by no means from a want of
kindliness or an intention to be discourteous.

A first glance gives one a very good impression of Mr. Bright's
character. He is of medium height, a little inclined to corpulency,
and quick and nervous in his movements. His eye is full of
intelligence,--small, bright, and sharp, apparently powerful to read
another through the countenance. Its expression is, perhaps, a little
hard; it seems to search your thought, and to detect the bent of your
mind. His face is a true British face,--round and full, with firmly set
mouth, positive chin, and that peculiar sort of _hauteur_ which is a
national characteristic. His hair, somewhat gray, is brushed off his
forehead, which is broad and admirably proportioned; and he wears
whiskers on the side of his face, like most middle-aged Englishmen. His
voice is clear, his enunciation rapid, yet distinct, and his choice of
words exact,--excellent, indeed, for one self-educated in the correct
use of language.

Mr. Bright is very attractive as an orator. When it is known that he is
to speak, the galleries are insufficient to hold the multitude which
gathers to hear him. His delivery is prompt and easy. He has none of
that hesitation and apparent timidity which mark the address of many
English orators; but neither, on the other hand, does he possess that
rich and fascinating intonation which forces us to concede the forensic
palm to Mr. Gladstone of all contemporary Englishmen. He expresses
himself with boldness, sometimes almost with rudeness. His declamation
is fresh, vigorous, and almost always even. At times he is unable to
preserve the moderation of language and manner which retains the mastery
over impulse; his indignation carries him away; his denunciation becomes
overwhelming; his full voice rings out, trembling with agitation, as he
exposes some wrongful or defends some good measure: then his vigorous
nature appears, unadorned by cultivated graces, but admirable for its
manliness and strength. This impetuosity, which is so prominent a
characteristic of his oratory, is in marked contrast with the manner of
the late Mr. Cobden, his friend and coöperator. Mr. Cobden was always
guarded, cautious, and studiously accurate, in his language. Mr. Bright
often says things, in the excitement of controversy, which exaggerate
his real sentiments, and which may be used to misrepresent his opinions.
Mr. Cobden, whose temperament was more phlegmatic, was careful to avoid
any undue heat of speech, and hence often passed, erroneously, for a
more moderate thinker than Mr. Bright.

It is with pleasure that we turn for a moment to speak of Mr. Bright's
course towards America, and especially while we were suffering under the
plague of civil war. Ever since he entered public life, his admiration
of our institutions and history has been frequently the subject of his
discourse. He has not hesitated to declare that feeling when he must
have been aware how unwelcome it was to the greater part of his
countrymen. He has, indeed, recognized in our success the practical
attainment of those views to which he has so long been devoted, and
which his experience as a public man seems only to have confirmed. His
magnanimous mind has scornfully rejected that too prevalent English
characteristic,--envy at the growing power of a sister nation. He has
only seen in our progress a benefit and an example to mankind. As such
he has gloried in it, and not the less because we are a kindred race and
an offshoot from British civilization. The fact that we have been the
inheritors and partakers of the glories of the English nation, which
seems to increase the asperity with which many English statesmen now
regard us, is to Mr. Bright a greater reason why sympathy should be
extended to us. His speeches on America manifest a thorough knowledge of
our history and of the spirit of our Constitution. He has studied us in
the earnest desire to know and believe the truth, and faithfully to
present to others the results of his study. We do not think it
extravagant to say that few of our own public men evince a more
intelligent knowledge of our record than Mr. Bright: certainly in this
respect he is far in advance of the leading English statesmen. When in
1861 the Rebellion broke out, Mr. Bright raised his voice boldly against
the non-committal policy of England, in declaring herself neutral. He
seemed to comprehend at once the causes of the war. He correctly
regarded the North as really on the defensive,--defending the integrity
of the nation. He saw the cause of republican liberty trembling in the
balance. From that day to this,--at times when public indignation ran so
high in England that it was almost dangerous to justify the North,--at
times when to avow Northern sentiments was to be met with a howl from
Spithead to the Frith of Forth,--at times when his own supporters, the
manufacturing and commercial classes, feeling sore over the want of
cotton, bitterly complained and pleaded for intervention,--John Bright
has been our constant, zealous, and fearless champion, braving all
England in our cause, and never silent when we were to be vindicated. In
the issue of the war Mr. Bright will see the fruition of the hopes of
the lovers of liberty everywhere. He will rejoice in it as the
successful assertion by national power of those principles which he has
devoted his life to advocating. To his mind the assassination of Lincoln
will appear as the legitimate fruit of Southern treason. We may be sure,
that, whilst the press of England endeavors to divert the guilt of this
atrocity from the heads which gave birth to it, there is one Englishman
at least--that Englishman, John Bright--who will be bold to trace it to
its proper source.

We can do no better than to close this notice by quoting the conclusion
of a speech made by Mr. Bright in December, 1861, to which our attention
has been called during the preparation of this article.

"Whether the Union will be restored or not, or the South will achieve an
unhonored independence or not, I know not and I predict not. But this I
think I know, that in a few years, a very few years, the twenty millions
of freemen in the North will be thirty millions or fifty millions,--a
population equal to or exceeding that of this kingdom. When that time
comes, I pray it may not be said among them, that, in the darkest hour
of their country's trials, England, the land of their fathers, looked on
with icy coldness, and saw, unmoved, the perils and calamities of her
children. As for me, I have but this to say: I am one in this audience,
and but one in the citizenship of this country; but if all other tongues
are silent, mine shall speak for that policy which gives hope to the
bondsmen of the South, and tends to generous thoughts and generous words
and generous deeds between the two great nations who speak the English
language, and from their origin are alike entitled to the English name."

Let Americans honor the Englishman who spoke thus nobly!



NEEDLE AND GARDEN.

THE STORY OF A SEAMSTRESS WHO LAID DOWN HER NEEDLE AND BECAME A
STRAWBERRY-GIRL.

WRITTEN BY HERSELF.


CHAPTER VIII.

That was a long and dreary winter which succeeded this beginning of my
experimental life. The snow fell heavily, and so frequently that my
plants were completely hidden from view during a great part of the
season. But, so far from doing them an injury, the fleecy mantle
protected them from the open exposure to cold under which the strawberry
will sometimes perish. It was a privation to me to have them thus
entirely shut up from observation; but more than once, when the snow had
softened under the influence of an incipient thaw, I could not refrain
from plunging my hands into it and uncovering a plant here and there, to
see how they were faring. So far from perishing under the continued
cold, I found them holding up their heads with wonderful erectness,
their leaves crisp and fresh, with an intense greenness that contrasted
strongly with the white blanket in which Nature had kindly wrapped them.
Thus satisfied that they were well provided for, I endeavored to check
my impatience for the coming spring: for really it seemed the longest
winter I had ever known.

Both my sister and myself continued our labors at the factory, though we
discovered evidences that even at machine-sewing there was likely to be
some uncertainty as to continued employment at the usual remunerative
prices. We had learned to have entire confidence in its stability; but
symptoms were appearing that the business, in some of its branches, was
likely to be overdone. The makers of the first machines, having sold
immense numbers at high prices, had acquired vast fortunes. This invited
competition, and manufactories of rival machines having been established
by those who had invented modifications of the original idea, the
quantity thrown upon the market was very great, while prices were so
reduced that additional thousands were now enabled to obtain machines
and set them to work. The competition among the makers thus gave rise to
competition among those who used the machines. Prices of work declined
in consequence, and of course the sewing-girls were required to bear a
large share of this decline, in the shape of a reduction of wages. We
could do nothing but submit, for the needle was the only staff we had to
lean upon. If we were to continue realizing as much per week as before,
we could do so in no other way than by working longer and more
industriously. This fell very hard upon us during that long winter. We
could afford no holidays, no recreation, not even to be sick. As we felt
we had no dependence but the needle, we still clung to the idea, that,
if we could purchase machines of our own, we should do much better But
though now reduced in price, yet the hope of getting them grew fainter
and fainter under the reduction of wages, and hence my growing
impatience to achieve some more remunerative employment.

The bright spring at last opened kindly and genially upon us. The snow
disappeared, leaving my strawberries in the most healthy condition, and
free from the unsightly fringe-work of dead foliage which encircles
plants that have been compelled to go through a hard winter without
protection. I was exultant at the promise which their vigorous
appearance held forth. I even stole a view, through the cracks in the
fence, at those of our disagreeable neighbors, to see if they were doing
any better, and was gratified by finding that mine were equally thrifty.
Fred and I contrived to stir up the ground about them with heavy rakes,
though a harrow would have been more effective. April covered the whole
bed with a profusion of blossoms that even our experienced neighbors
could not exceed. They came often to our gate, and with more impudence
than I could muster when stealing an observation through their fence,
there they stood, two or three together, inspecting my beautiful rows
for an hour at a time. I wondered what they could find to interest them
so greatly, as in their eyes the sight could have been no novelty; but I
fear, that, if surprised at my success thus far, their wonder must have
been tinged with a jealousy that rendered the display as unpleasant to
them as it was encouraging to me.

No one ever watched the opening of the blossoms, their dropping off, and
the formation of the fruit, more attentively than I did. Every spare
hour was passed among them. The bees flew over the beds, dipping into
one flower after another, and filling the air with a perpetual humming.
Even at the earliest morning hour, when the sun had barely reached the
garden, I found them at their honeyed labors. The poet who declared that
many a flower was born to blush unseen, and waste its sweetness on the
desert air, must have believed that the winged denizens of the air had
no inheritance in them,--that their sweets were wasted because no human
eye was present to admire them. I cannot agree with him; for here, when
our garden was a solitude, with no human eye to admire its wealth of
blossoms, they were thick with bees, and surely upon them their sweets
were far from being wasted. The flowers must have been created as much
for the enjoyment of nameless insects as for the gratification of man.

As May advanced, I could see the fruit forming in clusters that gave
token of an ample crop. But as the heat increased I found that other
candidates for observation presented themselves in prodigious numbers,
not near so interesting, but imperatively demanding attention. The weeds
shot up all through and between the rows with a luxuriance that
astonished me. The winter reading of my agricultural library had taught
me that good strawberries cannot be expected when a rank growth of weeds
is permitted to occupy the soil. My father's garden-tools were heavy and
clumsy, made only for a strong man to use; but we plied the hoes
vigorously in keeping down the interlopers. They were dull tools, with
thick handles, unsuitable for women's use, so that the mere weight of
the implements fatigued us more than the labor of hoeing. But all the
family shared in this work until it was accomplished, and our ground was
made as cleanly as that of our neighbors. Besides the extermination of a
host of pests that sucked up the nutriment and moisture necessary to the
plants, the operation kept the surface of the ground open and mellow,
permitting the sun and air to penetrate, and thus stimulate the growing
fruit into berries of superior size. I am sure that it is by attention
to this single matter of permitting no weeds to grow that most of the
success in strawberry-culture may be attributed.

As I watched my fruit-laden plants as attentively as if each one had
been an infant, it should not be wondered at that my ever-present eye
detected the first tinge of redness that showed itself among them. No
one can imagine with how absorbing an interest I hung over this pioneer
evidence of complete success. I could tell which row contained it, and
on which plant in the row a blushing cheek was held up to the sun. But
in a day or two the identity of the ripening berry was lost, for a
thousand of its fellows became equally ambitious of notice, changing
their delicate green into a softened, but decided scarlet. The hot suns
of early June were pouring down upon the sheltered spot where the plants
were growing, and it was time for them to ripen their wealth of fruit. I
presume that he who boasts the possession of a dozen acres of
strawberries has never experienced sensations such as were now the
ruling ones of my heart. Here was I--a sewing-girl--breaking through the
ordinary routine of female occupations, and standing on the threshold of
an enterprise considered by the world unsuited to my sex, unfeminine
because uniformly undertaken by men, hazardous because untried by women,
but practically within the power of all having taste and courage to
venture upon it,--here was I about to realize the dream of a whole year,
the reward of untold anxieties, the solution of the great problem
whether the garden were better than the needle.

The very day I made the discovery that the first berry had begun to
change color, I hastened to my friend the market-woman, intending to
tell her how finely I was coming on, and that she must be prepared to
sell my crop. As I had no acquaintance with other strawberry-growers, I
had little opportunity of ascertaining by comparison with them whether
my fruit would come earlier or later into market than that of others,
but took it for granted that mine would be first. It was the mistake of
an ignorance which subsequent reading and observation have corrected.
Thus, when I came up to the widow's stand in the market, I was
confounded at seeing her sitting beside a huge wooden tray heaped up
with ripe berries. No doubt I had seen the same thing as early in the
season, years before, but, having no interest in the subject as a
fruit-grower, I had never consulted dates. But now, being deeply
interested, the effect of this prematurely early display of fruit was
that of astonishment and disappointment. I knew that being early in the
market was a vital point, and supposed that I was as early as the
earliest; but here was evidence that I had been forestalled. I had
hardly courage to inquire where these berries came from, or what price
she was getting for them. But the crowd of purchasers around the stand
was so great that no one would have noticed my appearance, even if my
emotions had been written on my face. They were contending with each
other to be served, and at seventy-five cents a quart! This much could
be seen and heard without the trouble of inquiry. How I envied the
grower of the precious fruit in which so many were indulging at this
extravagant price! How the sight dismayed me,--I had been so completely
anticipated by some more skilful cultivator! I did not even seek to
catch the widow's eye, nor to ask a single question. The spectacle so
discouraged me that I moved off with a heavy heart to my accustomed
avocations.

It was but dull practice on my sewing-machine during the whole of that
day. It is true I thought a thousand times of my own strawberries, but
then those of my successful competitor were quite as often in my mind.
How this thing could happen, and why one cultivator should thus
anticipate all others, and command the market when prices were so
enormous, I could not then understand. But I resolved to have the matter
explained. Next morning I was up at daybreak and at the widow's stand.
She was already there, and was engaged in putting the little fixtures in
order on which her daily stock of fruits and vegetables was to be
displayed. No customers were yet visible in this early gray of the
morning, and there was an opportunity for me to make the momentous
inquiries I desired. But there was the same great wooden tray, again up
with at least a bushel of strawberries. My first question was as to
where they came from.

"From Baltimore, Miss," was the reply. "You know they ripen there two
weeks earlier than here. It is farther south, the climate is warmer, and
they come here on the railroad until the price falls so low as to make
it unprofitable to send them. But they are a small, poor berry, not
equal to yours, and will not be in your way. When yours come to market,
these will be all gone. People buy these only because they can get no
better ones."

Here was a mountain of discouragement removed at once. I had not been
forestalled by a neighbor, but only anticipated by some one who had
taken advantage of a warmer climate. Besides, the widow repeated her
cheering assurance of the year before, that she could readily dispose of
all I might have,--not, however, at the high prices she then was
getting, because the same sun that was to ripen mine would ripen those
of all others around me, and bring them into market at the same time;
but if mine should be better than others, she would be able to secure
better prices for them.

I went home to breakfast with a lighter heart, and that day at the
factory made up for the deficiencies of the preceding. But since then,
after the experience of an entire season, I have looked carefully into
this matter of the importance of being first in the market, and I find
it runs through and influences almost every department of horticulture
which is pursued as a source of gain. The struggle everywhere appears to
be for precedence. The horticultural world knows that there is a waiting
community of consumers who stand impatient for the advent of the first
ripened fruits. It knows that with these the price occasions no
hesitancy in the purchase: they are able to pay. Hence no resource of
art or skill is left unpractised to minister to a craving appetite that
yields a reward so golden. One producer erects hot-houses, into which he
crowds the plants that otherwise would be hybernating, and, creating an
artificial summer, stimulates the strawberry into bloom, then into
fruit, even in the depth of winter the ripened berries are seen at some
of the most celebrated fruit-stores. They command fabulous prices,--a
spoonful of them readily bringing a dollar, without the demand being
supplied. The rich always have money to spend; and though the world is
never without its poor, yet it seems also to be never without an
abundance of those who have more than they can wisely dispose of. This
branch of horticulture must be profitable, as it is rapidly extending in
the neighborhood of all our large cities. These hot-house fruits are the
earliest in the market.

Other growers move off to a warmer climate, within one or two days' ride
of the great city by railroad, and, by help of hotter suns, crowd their
half-ripened fruits into Northern markets nearly a month in advance of
local cultivators. Only those varieties being grown which are naturally
earlier than all others, they blush into redness while ours have
scarcely reached their full size. Taken from the vines in an unripe
condition, they are crisp and firm, and the fast express-train whirls
them over hundreds of miles, the ripening process, as well as the
decaying one, going on meanwhile. It is costly transportation to the
growers, but the impatient public pay with readiness a price so
extravagant as to make for these wholesale pioneers a stupendous profit.
Thus the warm alluvial lands encircling Norfolk fill the markets from
Baltimore to Boston with the earliest fruit. It is unripe, and deficient
in the full flavor of the strawberry; but what care the wealthy public
for that? It is the first in market,--they have been a year without
it,--it has somewhat of the genuine aroma,--and, ripe or unripe, they
cannot refrain. Great sums are annually realized by these earliest
caterers for the public palate. The hot-house process is comparatively a
retail operation; but this traffic reaches to the dignity of a great
industrial enterprise, employing hundreds of hands, pouring ample
freightage into the coffers of express-companies, and enriching the men
by whom it is conducted. It is exclusively the offspring of Northern
shrewdness, the sluggish instincts of the Southerner unfitting him for
an occupation requiring incessant activity and promptness,--while its
apparent littleness, the peddling of strawberries, were unworthy a race
whose inheritance is cotton or tobacco.

For a few weeks these cultivators have entire possession of the Northern
market. In time, however, our suns become hotter, ripening the fruits of
our own fields. Then comes the rivalry among ourselves,--who shall be
earliest with the best fruit;--for herein lies an important element of
general success.

My berries ripened rapidly, and I knew they must be ready for picking by
hearing that our neighbors were about beginning. It was a momentous day
when we began. My mother and myself undertook it: for that afternoon I
stayed away from the factory, as it was impossible for me to be absent
from so interesting a scene. I had no idea what quantity we were to
expect, though I had ransacked my agricultural library in hopes of
discovering some approximate solution of this question. Crops were found
to vary as unaccountably as modes of culture. One grower would obtain
more fruit from a few rods of ground than another from a whole acre.
These prevailing contrarieties were well calculated to make me doubtful
of what my luck was to be. Hence, when we had gone over the whole
half-acre, and found that we had gathered ninety quarts, I was entirely
satisfied, and more so from noticing, on a survey of the bed, that there
was no perceptible diminution of the quantity remaining on the vines.

The fruit was of very superior size, for perhaps few cultivators could
have bestowed more labor in keeping the ground in order; and this labor
of our own hands was nearly all that the experiment had cost. As I was
anxious to follow the directions given by my market friend, we had a
great time that evening in assorting the berries, putting them in three
lots,--the very largest in one, then the next best, and the smallest in
a third. They were placed in nice new baskets as assorted, so as to be
handled as little as possible. These were safely stowed in a
wheelbarrow, and before daybreak the next morning Fred wheeled them to
market. I was with him, of course. It was my first errand,--the first
fruits of my long anxiety,--my first appearance as a strawberry-girl.

The streets at that early hour were deserted and silent, for the busy
multitudes were not yet stirring. No pedestrians were about but those in
some way connected with the markets, whither all were repairing; nor
were any vehicles moving except the market carts and wagons coming in
from the adjacent country, most of them driven by women, thus early
forced from home to be at their daily stands. I confess this freedom
from curious public observation was not unpleasant to me. Somehow I had
felt no compunction, no pride, at bearing through the streets, even at
noonday, the symbol of my calling as a sewing-girl, in the shape of an
unsightly bundle; but here, notwithstanding long reflection had
familiarized me with what my new duties would necessarily be, yet when I
came to the performance of them I felt no ambition to be publicly
recognized as a strawberry-girl. My mother, who had been up to see us
off, had covered each basket with a cloth, so that really it was
impossible for a stranger, seeing the load I had in charge, to know
whether it was work for the tailor or fruit for the market-house. I
cannot account for this weakness,--why I, who had been so strong and
undismayed on occasions really trying, should have been so affected on
one that afforded so much reason for exultation. I have sometimes blamed
my sister as the cause of this unusual nervousness. She, too, was up to
aid us in getting under way, for all hearts were in the
enterprise,--and knowing that I had a nervous apprehension of our
neighbors, especially of Mrs. Tetchy, and that I would prefer going
without any of them seeing me, she cried out suddenly, as we came
through the gate,--

"Is that Mrs. Tetchy coming after you?"

It was the veriest trifle in the world; but I was so full of what I had
in hand, and so really desirous of avoiding observation in that quarter,
that Jane's pleasantry had an unusual effect upon me. I did feel a
little ashamed at any of the Tetchys watching my movements; yet somehow,
as we went along to market, the feeling insensibly expanded so as to
apply to all others. But I have long since mastered it.

The widow was already at her accustomed stand, and had what appeared to
me a plentiful supply of strawberries. But I saw directly, for I now had
a quick and practised eye, that they were far inferior to mine. All
sizes were mixed up together, just as they came from the vines. When I
uncovered my best baskets and handed them to her, she was loud in
expressions of admiration at their superior excellence. No customers
were about, so in a few moments I had handed over my whole stock of
ninety quarts, and Fred and I were about departing homeward, when the
widow's first customer for the day came up to the stand. We had a
natural curiosity to see what would be the result, so moved back a few
paces, but were still near enough to see and hear whatever might occur.

The customer was a young man of probably three or four and twenty,
dressed so genteelly as particularly to attract my attention, yet, while
a model of outward neatness, with not a sign of fashionable glare about
him. I think it probable that his really handsome face, and the pleasant
smile that played around his mouth as he approached us, had something to
do in establishing him thus suddenly in my favor, apart from my
anticipating him as my first customer. He glanced a moment at the
strawberries, then turned and looked at me so intently, though not at
all impertinently, that I felt myself abashed and blushing. All this,
however, was the sensation of but a single moment. Immediately turning
again to the widow, and courteously touching his hat as he spoke to
her,--a civility which was in perfect keeping with his whole
demeanor,--his eye fell on my choicest berries. He seemed struck with
their superiority, and was so generous in his commendation of them,
that, as I heard it all, I turned my face away, as I felt the blood
rushing up from my heart and covering my cheeks with deepening crimson.
I did not wish him to suspect that he was buying _my_ berries. He
inquired of the widow where this beautiful fruit was raised, and by whom
I was in terror lest she should point to me, and was moving out of
hearing of the reply, when she answered that they were raised just below
the city, by a young lady.

"You surprise me, Madam. By a young lady? They are the finest I have
ever seen," he replied. "She must understand her business. I am greatly
interested in such pursuits, and would like to know more about her. Will
you have her fruit all through the season?"

I had turned away before he had made these remarks, and did not observe
whether the idea could have occurred to him of connecting me with the
lady culturist; but Fred told me, on our way home, that he directed his
attention strongly to me, and, as my face was averted, surveyed me with
a long and scrutinizing gaze, then raising the cover of quite a large
basket which he held in his hand, caused it to be filled with my finest
berries.

I did not hear the price, as the strangest thoughts that ever occupied
my mind came thronging in with impetuous vehemence. I was unaccountably
confused. Here was I with my first little venture surprised by the
presence of my first customer, and he a gentleman whose whole outward
demeanor seemed to me the embodiment of whatever might be considered
agreeable in the other sex. I shrank with instinctive diffidence from
having my little secret unfolded in such a presence. It may have been
mortification of spirit,--I will not, cannot say,--but somehow I was
terrified lest _he_ should know that I was a strawberry-girl.

But Fred was subject to no such useless compunctions, and watched and
listened with eager attention. His quick ear had caught the price,--for
the purchaser had not ascertained it until after his basket had been
filled.

"Did you hear that?" said Fred, in a voice intended for a whisper, but
which in my confusion I was sure the young gentleman had overheard.
"Half a dollar a quart!"

I moved away instantly toward home, never daring to look back at either
the widow or her customer, lest my eyes should encounter those of the
latter, as I was sure he must have heard my brother's exclamation, and
been satisfied that it was I who raised the berries he had so much
admired. It was unaccountable to me that I should be so foolish. But no
one, unable to correctly analyze his feelings, can at the moment account
for the strange impulses which an unlooked-for emergency will send
hurrying through the heart. Time and a succession of events may
sometimes unlock the mystery of their origin. I am sure that it required
both to solve the problem for me.

Fred trundled his barrow at my side as we returned to breakfast. He was
full of exultation at our success, and even began to count up what our
profits would be. We had made so capital a beginning that he was sure
they must be very large. Alas! he knew little of the world except its
sanguine hopes. He reasoned only from the beginning, without knowing the
stumbling-blocks that might be encountered before we reached the end.
But then what would this world be, if hope were banished from it? Still,
though fairly estimating all these contingent disappointments, my
spirits were buoyant as his own. That was apparently a short walk to our
distant home, for there was abundant conversation and debate to beguile
the way. My mother stood in the doorway as we approached the house; but
when Fred told her the story of the young gentleman, how he looked and
behaved,--I somehow felt unable to do it,--with the crowning incident of
the great basketful of berries he had purchased at half a dollar a
quart, and that without even asking the price, I think I never knew my
dear mother to be so delighted at any event in the quiet history of our
little family. Ah, what a happy breakfast it was that we sat down to
that morning! I could not repeat the exultations expressed on all hands
over my success. My mother seemed so supremely gratified at the prospect
now opening before us, that her delight was a bountiful reward for me.
She had never manifested so much cheerfulness since we lost our father.
Fred insisted on continuing his calculations of what our profits would
be; but though he brought out great results on paper, for he was
remarkably expert at figures, yet, even with my constitutional
enthusiasm, I refused to be unduly set up by his extravagant
anticipations. It seemed with him to be as great a happiness to merely
calculate the profit as it was for me to produce it.

I know that all these are very trifling matters, at least to others, and
that, if the gentler hearts are kind enough to become interested in
them, there must be many others that will pass them by as uneventful and
dull. Yet the life that all these are living is made up of incidents,
which, if they would but reflect upon them, are not more exciting. But
they were great affairs to us. They developed the prominent fact, that
it was possible for a woman, when favorably situated, to become a
successful fruit-grower, and that a new door could be opened through
which she might be emancipated from perpetual bondage to the needle,
without violating the conventional proprieties of the sex. This was the
problem which my imperfect labors were solving for us. All aspirants may
not be required to pass through the same experience, while some may be
compelled to encounter even a greater diversity than I did.

Thus far my first day's picking had been very encouraging. As in a great
city there are a thousand daily wants, so thousands are kept continually
employed in ministering to them. When the supply of strawberries begins,
the public require it to be maintained. The picking of the day is mostly
eaten up before bedtime, and hence the grower must gather daily
reinforcements from his vines to meet the public demand. The fruit
ripens with a continuous rapidity. The hot sun of a cloudless day brings
it to perfection with wonderful uniformity, while the wet and cloudy one
retards and injures it. Besides, the price is gradually declining as
neighboring growers crowd their products into market; hence it is
imperative to pick daily while the price is up, so as to secure the
highest return for the longest period. Perfect ripeness no one waits
for. The consumer never secures it, because his impatient appetite
stimulates the grower to furnish him with fruit which, though tinged
with redness, is far from being ripe. Color alone, not flavor, is the
guide; for the public taste is not yet sufficiently educated to detect
the great difference between an unripe and a ripe strawberry.

I soon learned these peculiarities of my new calling, and hence picked
over my beds with daily regularity. As color, not ripeness, was all the
public cared for, we carried much immature fruit to market,--though no
doubt we lost in bulk by thus picking before it had grown to its full
size. The second day we took forty quarts to the widow, and received for
the preceding day's consignment nearly forty dollars. It was less than
Fred had figured up, but we were, all of us, satisfied. Our care in
assorting the fruit had secured for it the highest market price, while
the widow was so lavish in her commendation, as well as so full of
encouragement to me for what I was doing, that the satisfaction of
dealing with her was almost equal to that which attended my success:
indeed, I think her kind words went far towards securing it. One day she
spoke to me of the young gentleman, my first customer, who, she reminded
me, had praised my fruit so highly and bought so liberally. I am sure my
cheeks colored as she recalled a circumstance which I had by no means
forgotten; but as there were many buyers round her stand, I knew she
would not notice it. Though I went at daybreak every morning with my
brother to deliver fruit, yet I never met him there but once again.
Still, she said, he was as punctual as myself, only coming a little
later, buying my berries, always asking if they were the same young
lady's fruit, and when told that they were, taking them without
inquiring the price. But I never understood why she related these little
incidents to me, unless it was to show me how quickly my works had
become popular. It may be that her heart melted with sympathetic
tenderness toward me; for I had told her all about my condition as a
sewing-girl, my hopes, my efforts, my longing to be able to lay down the
needle for something that would be less exacting while equally
remunerative. She, too, had been a drudge of the slop-shops, and thus
understanding all that I might feel, or suffer, or hope for, it was
natural that she should enter with interest into my novel enterprise.

Thus my mother and I continued to gather fruit from our little half-acre
during the whole of the strawberry-season. I was away from the factory
for many afternoons to assist in picking and assorting. I think no miser
could have counted his gold more lovingly than we did our gains, when
summing up, day by day, the yield of our miniature plantation. There
were several afternoons, at the height of the season, when the product
ran up surprisingly. There seemed to be a general competition among the
berries as to which should ripen first. They enlarged in size, putting
on a crimson corpulency into which the sunbeams infused a sweetened
juiciness which is the peculiar charm of the perfectly ripened fruit.
This was in the hottest days of June, which, in spite of an ample
sun-bonnet, tanned me into a perfect brunette. After the general
ripening, the quantity picked began to decline, and the remainder was of
smaller size. The price, fell off; but then, while the fruit was
abundant, we had secured the highest rates, so that the declining prices
affected only a diminishing quantity. Hitherto we had treated ourselves
to none of the best fruit, but had reserved for home consumption only
such as we considered unfit for market. As in former times, we thought
ourselves too poor now to eat even our own strawberries. Every quart
that we should thus consume would be an average loss of thirty cents. I
was sure they were not costing us anything like that, and it seemed a
positive hardship to be thus kept to such rigorous self-denial. But we
held out until the price declined as the quality depreciated, and then,
when we knew the sacrifice was trifling, there was a unanimous and
abundant indulgence in this delicious fruit. I think it tasted even
sweeter than when it was selling at half a dollar. My mother was sure
that not half the sugar was required to make it palatable, and all
agreed that in point of flavor it was unexceptionable. I feel certain
that none of _that_ crop was lost. Thus our domestic strawberry-season
began market only when that of the outer world had passed away; but
though late in entering upon it, it may be set down as certain that none
enjoyed it with a higher relish than ourselves.

As Fred was wonderfully exact in keeping accounts, he was ready to tell
us, the moment our last picking had been made, how much our half-acre
had produced. I sometimes thought it a sort of useless trouble, however,
this keeping an account, because every one of the family seemed to have
the figures by heart from the very day when the first picking occurred.
They were talked over so often at table, that we all remembered what
they were, nor was there any difficulty in our carrying forward the
sum-total from day to day, as the amount ran up after each successive
picking. What had we to remember that was half so interesting as this?
But as what the sum-total would be was gradually becoming manifest, Fred
was compelled to come down from the magnificent calculations as to
profit with which he had set out. He had insisted that we were to get
the same high prices all through the season, not reflecting that we had
many competitors, nor that, though our early pickings were really very
superior, yet there must necessarily be many that would be quite
otherwise. Still, his persistency had had its effect on all of us; nor
was it until we got halfway down the column of our daily receipts, and
noticed the perceptibly diminishing figures, that we were thoroughly
undeceived. As I had never been over-sanguine, I was not greatly
disappointed. My study had been to ascertain whether it was possible for
a family of inexperienced sewing-women to produce strawberries for
market at a fair profit, the whole labor to be performed by themselves.
If our first effort were tolerably successful, I was sure we could do
better the next time, as successful horticulturists are not born, but
made. Well, the result was, that we had produced a little over four
hundred quarts, of which the widow had sold enough to bring us a hundred
and thirty dollars, after deducting her commission. It was not much, I
confess, but it was a beginning that fully satisfied me. Our half-acre
had never before yielded so large a profit.



THE WILLOW.


    O willow, why forever weep,
      As one who mourns an endless wrong?
    What hidden woe can lie so deep?
      What utter grief can last so long?

    The Spring makes haste with step elate
      Your life and beauty to renew;
    She even bids the roses wait,
      And gives her first sweet care to you.

    The welcome redbreast folds his wing
      To pour for you his freshest strain;
    To you the earliest bluebirds sing,
      Till all your light stems thrill again.

    The sparrow trills his wedding song
      And trusts his tender brood to you;
    Fair flowering vines, the summer long,
      With clasp and kiss your beauty woo.

    The sunshine drapes your limbs with light,
      The rain braids diamonds in your hair,
    The breeze makes love to you at night,--
      Yet still you droop, and still despair.

    Beneath your boughs, at fall of dew,
      By lovers' lips is softly told
    The tale that all the ages through
      Has kept the world from growing old.

    But still, though April's buds unfold,
      Or Summer sets the earth aleaf,
    Or Autumn pranks your robes with gold,
      You sway and sigh in graceful grief.

    Mourn on forever, unconsoled,
      And keep your secret, faithful tree!
    No heart in all the world can hold
      A sweeter grace than constancy.



MY SECOND CAPTURE.


The Adjutant T---- and myself, not inexperienced in battles, though,
perhaps, like most Americans, infants in warfare, were captured in
September last, in the Valley of the Shenandoah, Nature's noble
art-gallery, on the west side of Opequan Creek, a stream that is a
picture at almost any point. In one of the gallant charges which our
eager cavalry, under General Sheridan, made before the great charge that
captured Winchester and the Valley, our regiment had the right, and
gained a fine position in the end. But two or three encounters were very
close. The sea of battle surged back and forth, tormented only, however,
by the mild breezes of a day like May; and as the waves of our army
withdrew from the ridge on which the enemy rested, to gain greater
impetus, my poor horse was shot under me, stranded, and left rolling
upon the ground, midway between friend and foe. The orderly, my
attendant, had another in the rear of the retreating column; but,
inasmuch as that was now swept by the swift-receding current far beyond
us, he could neither have me mounted nor command other present means
whereby to get me off. I reclined, like Adonis, upon a soft bed of
meadow-grass studded here and there with wild-flowers, an emerald velvet
with silver spangles,--but suffering, unlike him, from bruises, and with
my best soulless friend dead at my side. I was somewhat sprained by the
fall the dying beast had given me. The enemy was close at hand,
following with yells and chaotic eagerness upon our troops.

"We'll take a march to Libby," said my orderly, dropping on his knees to
feel my bones.

He drew his arm through his rein, (having had no idea of deserting me in
his sound health by the aid of his ready animal,) and continued his
examination; whilst his sturdy favorite chopped the short grass within
reach of his breathing hitching-post as closely as his long bit would
allow. In a very few moments the Rebel foam was surging like wild beyond
us,--a private pausing at me for a second, to poke me in the ribs with
his piece.

"There's life there, Grayback," growled my attendant; and the Rebel
ordered us to the rear.

Indeed, had we remained where we were, we would soon have been in the
rear, so impetuously did the foe sweep by us. But private soldiers, the
potent keystones of the Rebel arch, built to crush the voice of the
many, command the Southern armies in every great engagement; and one of
these important atoms had given us our hint to move. You never see
anything but the rank and file in the heart of a Rebel corps. Our new
commander mounted my orderly's horse, and soon was lost in the distance.

It is not, I have found, a very diverting entertainment to wander free a
few moments (a free prisoner) in search of some authority, out of the
myriads who have the opportunity, who shall choose to take charge of
one. I felt peculiarly as I stood irresolute, now framing one thought,
now another, casting about in my mind, weighing the odds with no light
fancy-scales, which of the rushing demons on all sides would draw up
before me with a curse, and command me to follow him. Our regiment, our
corps, our whole army, (this last had not left its works for the little
fight,) were far in the distance now; and the ground on which I stood,
and which but a short time since was tramped by Northern troops, had, in
the mutations of war, become a portion of the Rebel dominions. The
September sun shone brightly through the white fleece of the cloud-swans
swimming in the morning air; and the early spring breeze that
I have mentioned--for Æolus had given freedom to but a tender
dove-zephyr--played with the silk fringe of the meadow grass, finding
no olive-branch here, venturing its ripple, with the audacity of
innocence, under the very heels of the contending forces. Possibly the
feeling of loneliness which overwhelms a man at such a time as this is
the most acute of all his feelings. I looked my orderly in the face as
he supported me on his shoulder. He was gazing coolly before him.

"If we have to march soon, you had better rest," he said, deliberately.
"There's a tree you can sit under. And if you have money or a watch, you
had better hide them in your armpits."

We went to the tree, and set ourselves against it.

The fresh air that brushed by us, like fine steel points, relieved me of
my oozing faintness, and in the ease of my circumstances I could attend
somewhat to my bruises. With the aid of my canteen, I relaxed the
strained muscles. It was my desire to have my loins girt about and my
limbs in good order for the foot-journey that I doubted not was before
us. They would march us to Gordonsville, and thence to Libby, carrying
us through in an incredibly short time, and without boots at that. I had
two objects to labor for, as I began to get myself into condition:
first, to be taken in charge by an officer; and then--to escape from him
that night, whilst the train was in disorder. I was of opinion that my
companion, a taciturn machine, who labored, like the miners, well with
his little light, had some such plan of his own, as I saw him buckling
his belt beneath his trousers. He was stowing away his watch and a
photograph,--which every soldier must have, of some poor maid or other
who toils in the shades of obscurity at home,--and making himself ready
for a run at any favorable moment. I thought that I would sound him.

"You had better do it, orderly, soon in the day," I said; "since the
enemy will march you between two files, and you will then have but
little chance."

"So I think," he replied. "I thought no time better than now. But
then"----

"But what?" I asked.

"Well, it's rather hard to leave you here. What with your sprain, and
your blow on the head, you're pretty sure to halt at Libby."

I had no chance to answer, for the Rebel was before me who was to have
the honor of my capture.

He was of the flabby white-flesh species of the genus Rebel, a Quaker
scarecrow with matty locks, that many of my brethren in arms have met;
harmless in units, but ponderous, as even scarecrows will be, if hurled
back and forth in thousands, swarms; lank, cadaverous, and whining;
snuff-chewing, and grossly filthy, even under the best of circumstances.
His flesh was set dough, and his hair was long and yellow. He spoke
through the dirty causeway of his nose. The road-dust and drab of his
uniform, so called in satire, have often been described. These
gentlemen's faces, to me, who incline to an intelligent expression on
the human index, look like tallow-vats or nursery-suet, pliable and
swill-fed; and their mien and carriage have never impressed me
favorably. I had seen them rush with a wild yell, an army like the Paris
mob of intoxicated rags, upon our Gibraltar at Gettysburg; and had
myself charged upon their Attila-works (behind which they had their
household gods piled up and ready for burning) at Fredericksburg. I had
even taken a ball from one of them in the shoulder, whilst skirmishing,
in the shiftings of my experience; and they had before had the honor of
my capture, in sunny, grape-growing Maryland. Perhaps all these scenes
passed in panorama before my mind's eye, as I rose to my captor and eyed
his dirty linen. Here was an indignity, indeed. My soul revolted at the
thought of a journey southward, and all my instincts warned me against
so dire an undertaking. I stood before the Rebel with my determination
in my eye.

"A couple of Yanks, lolling under a tree," he screamed to his
companions, pointing the finger, and garnishing his speech, in Rebel
manner, with an oath.

"P'rhaps you thought you were off," he chuckled.

He was "goin'" to take us to the "Gen'ral." He muttered more oaths with
his orders, and directed us to be "right smart," and to "git."

I glanced at my orderly, who was inaugurating an onset upon the weaker
side of this mean battery, or ditch-work,--and who evidently counted
upon effecting a breach by rapid, electric charges,--by handing over his
pistol. It was freely offered, before demanded, and the recipient took
it in silence. He then drew out his tobacco, a treasure with which, I
well knew, he would not willingly part, and which was the little
ewe-lamb of his unjewelled life,--which, also, was taken quickly, but
under a nod of acknowledgments from the Rebel. The battery was shaken,
but, in truth, continued to draw fire. "Give me your boots," said the
critical captor, and the orderly knocked off his leathers in the best
good-humor in the world. When we had walked a little farther, the
orderly, now marching as the Moslems do on holy ground, asked our guide
if he had any grub about him; and accepted a piece of pork. There was a
variety of viands in the haversack from which this fragment came,--both
pork and bacon,--but the fire-eaters, I have noticed, always prefer the
latter meat. I divined at once that my orderly was laying in stores for
a solitary tramp, and making a raven in this, to him, strange desert, of
the ill-omened bird that had pounced upon us. He would conciliate his
enemy, and when the latter was growing careless he would spring into
some woods. The pork, with the berries to be found there, would sustain
him after he had broken leash,--and would be all that he would eat, no
doubt, in the course of two or three suns.

We noticed a great stir on all sides of us, converging streams of
stragglers, wounded men, and prisoners, as we made our way, scattering
grasshoppers, over the fields, and soon mingled with the throng of
troops on the open road to Winchester. It was about three miles from
this town that our capture had taken place; and from the immense
wagon-trains rumbling along with us, and the excited manner of their
officers, I augured not as well for the Rebel cause. Perhaps Fortune had
altered her humor, and the white eagles of victory had settled with the
opposite side. Other parties of Union prisoners journeyed with us, and
through the urgent manner of their guards I thought I could discern a
sunlit loop-hole to freedom. In five minutes' time I was assured that
the Rebels were preparing to retreat. Their six-horse teams were rushing
to the rear, and their outlying bodies of cavalry were being hurriedly
dispatched the other way. My mind was very busy upon the new aspect of
affairs.

The last I saw of my orderly was when he had divested himself of the
workman's incumbrance,--his coat,--and was tramping, bootless, haltingly
along in the dustiest part of the road. He had conciliated his watchman
into almost indifference, and was spreading himself with the sand,
(tossed knee-high in little clouds by his feet,) having then become
quite a Rebel in looks. In five minutes I turned upon him; but he had
fallen out of the squad. I have never seen him since.

My own plans would keep me in the Rebel lines some hours longer. It was
my object to escape; but I had already decided upon the evening, when
darkness, and, I hoped, rain, would settle down upon us. I indulged a
hasty prayer in behalf of the vanished man, and durst not more than
snatch a look at where he should have been, lest the guard should miss
him also. At one mile beyond Winchester, which town we had avoided by a
branching road, we came to the office of the provost marshal, a very
humble shell-work; and those of us who wore shoulder-straps were hustled
into his presence. He stood, the central figure in a dun picture, in an
atmosphere of smoke, a dirty-looking Georgian in flying coat and
high-boots. With hands in pocket he surveyed the objects brought before
him, concisely delivering his orders over the stem of his teeth-clasped
pipe. His clerk was at a table near, on which lay the papers of his
office; and the splintered rafters behind him made the background to a
cabinet-picture that should have been done in chocolate.

We were placed in charge of a rather mild-looking officer, who wore his
rank upon his sleeve in so elegantly twisted a knot that I could not
make out his degree, and who had on a brand-new riding-jacket, of a dark
blue, to which the sleeve was attached, adorned with the staff-buttons
of our army. It was his duty to command the guard that drove the
captives of the Rebel hosts, in which safe branch of the service, as I
afterwards learned, he had been engaged since '62. No doubt his many
opportunities for demanding what he wanted, and for seizing, like Ahab,
what was denied him, had furnished alike the jacket and the buttons; and
were it not for his placid countenance, I should have fathered his
entire outfit upon the Yankees,--as having fallen to his shoulders by
the same easy process. He was directed to drive us to the road at once,
and to keep his herd in motion all the time. Hurried orders had come
from headquarters, that set all the small bees about this lesser hive in
a whirl of confused labors, whereby our departure was delayed for some
moments. The provost-marshal's clerk was even then packing up his
rattling desk, pigeon-holing papers that would hatch knotty questions in
the coop, and making due preparation for the departure of the Georgian
magnate himself. I observed that their army-wagons kept trailing
southward, like chalk vertebræ, in an unbroken string, and promised for
a long while yet to obstruct the road. It was growing a little cloudy,
too. It was now three hours after noon, and I hoped nervously for a
sullen night.

Just before we set out on our melancholy march, I saw a man make a move
towards me, and hastily clap one finger across his firm lips. It was the
Adjutant T----, of whom I have spoken, and who did not wish me to
recognize him. It was his object to approach me, and to walk as a
stranger at my side, so that the guards should not part us,--and, I knew
at once, to speak of a project common to both. The old stories of our
camp-fires had flitted across his mind, and had blanched his cheek since
morning. His blood was just thawing as he signalled me. I took no notice
of him till after we had started, a company of men with bent brows, and
he had marched on my right some forty rods. I then muttered slowly,
"Speak little, and to the point"; whereat he waved his hand. It was
singular and sad to ignore thus an old companion in the very hour of
need, when surely a bitterness hung upon our souls that more than ever
required balm. We were, perforce, to play the stranger, when at no time
in life did we more thirst for the tender friend. Doubtless, our hopes
of escape depended much upon each other; and we could but communicate
those plans in insufficient monosyllables, which, if misunderstood,
would lead to disaster. If ever plentiful words, in great ear-measures,
are pardonable, it is at such moments as this,--when even
half-words--diamonds flashing betrayal--are imprudent The Adjutant edged
a little closer.

"Before dark, or after?" he asked.

To which I replied,--

"After."

He gradually glided away from me, and for some time marched at the other
side of the column.

I had noticed that he was walking without his jacket. The guards were
accosting the officers in their neighborhood, and had taken his among
other vestments. Most of the party of sad victims were well peeled ere
their melancholy was an hour older. A rough boor turned to me and
demanded my gauntlets. A basilisk fire shone through his eyes, and the
breath which he blew through the grating of his teeth, over his thin,
livid lips, and into my face, was freighted heavily with the fumes of
whiskey. When I made bold to refuse him, he was dumbfoundered in
astonishment, and was pleased to compress his jaws.

"You d----d Yankee!" he screamed, profanely, red with the inspiration
of his anger, "if you don't give me your gauntlets, I'll tear your hands
from your body."

There was enough energy in his action to have guarantied even a more
vehement manoeuvre; and as he made his threat, he raised his arm above
me. But I had it in my mind to see myself through the affair in the
course that I had chosen; and having noticed our mild officer a few
paces in the rear of us, mounted upon his horse, and placidly sitting
with his hand upon the pommel, I turned to him at once.

"If you will do me the favor, Sir," I said, with some gravity of manner,
"I would like you to accept my gauntlets,--a new pair from the box, that
has only seen this day's work."

"They've had an unlucky birthday," he said, not inaptly, and rather
courteously, as he took them.

"Yes, my gloves heretofore have all been spoiled by the sabre," I
replied, keeping step with his charger. "I don't know but that you have
to thank a drunken guard for the pair, Sir; since he threatened to kill
me, if I kept them on my hands."

He gave a hasty look for his orderly.

"Point out the man, if you can, Sir," he said to me, and beckoned a
trooper to his side.

"I am obliged to you for your interference," I answered. "The man
marches third on the left there, and has his piece slung behind him. I
hope that some day, Sir, I may do you a favor."

A sense of humor, for which I must be grateful, considering the sombre
dejection of my marching mates, filled my breast as I thanked him for
putting one under guard for attempting (drunk) what he himself so
soberly accomplished,--the capture of my buckskins. He kept the
gauntlets very willingly, and ordered a sergeant to accompany me. But
there was generosity and magnificence in his action; the acquisition,
per duress, of others' property was a daily habit with him,--and to have
a sergeant for a guard was a considerable favor.

It was my desire to cultivate the Sergeant thus cast within my reach,
who otherwise might be a marplot, and who had good of some sort in him,
I judged from his appearance; although, as with his kind, it was
evidently very barren winter in his purse, and his summer clothes were
apparently too open. His butternut jacket, a poor tweed with a cotton
filling, was clasped about his throat with a shred of twine, flying away
thence loosely, showing a dirty cotton shirt beneath, and the rough edge
of the waistband of his pantaloons. The material of which these last
were made was a very impressible jean, and marked the number of his
journeys, could one but decipher them, in stains and intricate creases.
He had the same face of lifeless suet, and the yellow hair, that I have
noticed as very prevalent in the Rebel armies,--but withal an elasticity
of carriage that seemed too honest for the cause, an almost openness of
countenance, a cast of features tending towards amiability, which imbued
me with a trembling hope. I had designs upon the Sergeant, and intended
opening upon him with rhetoric, after, perhaps, some amicable
skirmishing. His detail to guard my person was a compliment to me which
only the initiated--those who have made the same journey--can
appreciate. The young provost-officer with the sleeve-knots desired to
offer me a delicate attention in return for my hand-furniture, and,
perhaps, to impress me in some sort with his sense of right, even though
he was of so wrong-headed a company. What a dainty, dew-sipping bunch of
violets would be to conscious beauty,--what a quaint volume of old
matter, dust-breeding and crumbling, would be to the blinking
scholar,--what refined gold, or gold ore, or gold stamped in the mint,
would be to a Wall-Street broker,--was this sergeant to myself. He was
the gift of a royal potentate who stood not upon little matters. There
was no calculation in the largess. I was to have the entire sergeant as
all my own. We fell a rod behind the officer, and trudged evenly along.

Although big with an evil design, I did not intend to address my
companion at once. The monotony of my walk, as I had at present nought
else to think of, I allowed to engage a number of my thoughts. I
hazarded conjectures upon many idle points, as my narrative will show. I
fell to watching my feet, and to placing them, as far as practicable, in
the footmarks of him who marched before me, instituting a sort of
comparison between our soles, finding his smaller than mine, as, behind
his back, I ventured upon his measure, watched the ruts in the road,
made the wagons in advance of us, and wondered if those behind us had
axle-trees as wide to an inch,--as they would have, if made by the same
contractor;--in which case, I mused, it is just possible the coming
train may move in this same rut. It seemed, then, a comfortable sort of
place. I saw the clouds of dust that had been provoked rising in anger
and rolling away sullenly many a day that weary summer, and that almost
buried the wretched company in which we journeyed, hover heavily above
the road-side, and choke the pretty weeds blooming there, by way of a
mean revenge upon its human tormentors. Thereupon I envied the blue
things, not their incubus, but their insignificance: for neither
artillery, nor camp wagon, nor passing prisoner was aught to them. I
wondered what each man here would say, if each man could tell his
thoughts. Primarily, I was convinced, each captive would declare himself
sick at heart: that is the only expression which will convey the sinking
feeling. Once I heard a bird sing gayly a clear-throated song from a
clump of trees; at which my heart grew sick also, to render me as
miserable as the rest.

My mind reverted to the Adjutant T----, of the manner of whose capture I
knew nothing, and whom I had left that morning in camp, as the regiment
set out for the fight. I doubted not but that he would be with me in a
moment, to throw another mild projectile, a half-sentence, at me. I had
myself a catechism of one question with which to greet him. As some
little parley might be necessary between us, which could not go on
without the consent of our guardian, I concluded that then was the time
to throw a sop to my sergeant, I turned coolly upon him.

"We are marching rather briskly, are we not, Sergeant?" I said,
endeavoring to insinuate the independence of unconcern in my bearing.

"Wal,--right smart," he replied.

"I cannot tell by your uniform," I continued, with a half-smile, for the
fellow was all beggar's rags and patches, "whether you are in the
cavalry or not; but a pair of spurs, at any rate, may not come amiss to
you,--and I can have no use for mine for some time yet. They don't allow
us, I believe, to kick one another in Libby?"

I took my long spurs from my boots, like fringe from my heart-strings,
(of which the officer had directed my sergeant to allow no one to
deprive me,--the boots, not the heart-strings, they being inaccessible:
I would, possibly, not lose those till I arrived in Richmond,) and
handed them over to him.

"I'm of the Thirteenth Virginia Infantry," he said, "but do right smart
duty on horseback" (he liked the steel). "I'm detailed to the provost
marshal. They do treat a fellow rather hard down there."

I augured ever so much good from the Sergeant's "do," upon which there
was an emphasis.

"Were you ever a prisoner, Sergeant?" I asked, always careful to bestow
his title.

"Once," he said, laconically.

"Well! it's all one in the end," I said, carelessly turning from him, to
show that I had no desire for the conversation, if he did not relish it.
"You have a chance now to give me the devil of a time, in revenge for
your treatment among my friends. 'T is an ill wind that blows nobody
good."

My sang-froid had the savor of a good pickle. It was a very peculiar
turn to give the affair, I must own; but I saw that the Sergeant was
struck by it. Possibly, that one was my best stroke of the day. I have,
at any rate, ever since deemed it so.

I walked along as before, speculating, not lightly, upon the dejected
beings about me, who marched, spectre-fashion, in the dust, like the
unhappy (would-be) crew on the shores of the Styx, trying to appease
Charon. They never would be at rest till he ferried them over to the
shades of the world of death,--or (what to them seemed impossible) till
they were remanded back to life among the loved ones of their race. I
remember particularly one trifle of this momentous march, that
threatened towards night to gnaw into my very brain-tissues. Soldiers,
it is known, are not over-careful in their dress, when in daily action
in the field, nor have they time to grow fastidious during the fighting
summer months. They then, perforce, disregard tapes with a loftier
indifference to appearances than that which distinguishes the noble
cynic of the world. But officers generally use tapes about their ankles
(perhaps to keep some garment in place immediately upon the stocking);
and I have known them myself, for prudence' sake, to tie them in hard
knots. A poor limping lieutenant, a little to the left, and some ten
feet in advance of me, had not adopted this precaution, and now,
consequently, more as a punishment to me than to him, one of his nursery
ties had come undone, and was trailing after his foot in shadow-like
persistency. I had here a world of torture in a nutshell. When,
unluckily, my eyes fastened upon this appendage, I could not keep them
from it. It fascinated me with more than the juggler's success upon the
serpent. I fell to conjecturing how long the affair might be,--if four
inches or five; and pondered the allowance to be made in the calculation
by reason of the man's distance; merging this view of the matter in
another, as I watched his heel touch the ground, and noted the time
which elapsed between that and the jumping forward of the foot, with the
string, ever faithful, behind it. I conjectured how much dust the tape
took up at each step, and wondered, if, in a long march, merely by
accretion thereof, the end of it would not be a sort of dirt-coil,
perhaps a tenth of an inch in diameter,--soaring higher, too, in my
delirium of nervousness, till I could imagine the incalculable increase
in size which would be insured, should the lieutenant step into a
puddle, and get the thing all wet: he would wear a sand rope for
ankle-fetter, upon entering Richmond.

But the most provoking of all the phases to which my humor was reduced,
and which my dilapidated body had to submit to, by means of this tape,
was the almost irresistible desire to spring lightly forward, and to
catch the thing beneath my toe. It invoked me to all sorts of gymnastic
efforts. The impulse racked my breast, and set up an argument against
every reason in favor of a jog-trotting march for the balance of the
daylight. I surveyed the poor lieutenant from head to foot, and pictured
to myself his surprise, should he find himself hitched to the ground. He
would turn, I thought, with open, questioning eyes, and perhaps look
flushed by the accident. He might only hop a step farther on, and trust
to my not again overreaching him. He might, impelled by the influence
that tormented me, fall behind me. I had an unwavering conviction that
that tape would never be removed,--and that, consequently, in some way,
the lieutenant, who played guide to it, would be my haunting demon all
the weary hours of my march.

Soon after I had conferred my tart speech upon the Sergeant, and had so
sealed my failure to gain his grace in behalf of my friend and myself,
the Adjutant was at my side. A hale, hearty, well-made man, unperturbed
usually, he was now almost another person than himself. I thought I knew
what causes produced the pallor on his face and the quiver about the
loose-hanging under-lip. The good fellow had had in his jacket (before
it was stolen) the leave-of-absence which was to have carried him home
to be married, and he was to have availed himself of it in a week.
Perhaps the thought of his lady gave him the woebegone expression. All
sorts of sweet dreams, that had illumined his life for months, and
filled up the wide chinks of camp monotony, were now quite bitterly
ended,--capped by the reality worse than the dream which is called
nightmare. His smiling eyes were hooded only a little sooner than were
those milder ones at home, no doubt under traced eyebrows and with far
finer lashes. The marriage, perforce, was put off. The view of home was
put off. Perhaps the Adjutant's solemn quietus, like an extinguisher of
the light of his and his sweetheart's hopes, would drop upon him in
loathsome Libby, and cancel the leave forever. This, being the weightier
thought, was evidently bearing upon his mind.

I had resolved, in a business way, upon two points,--perchance brought
to my decision through some such tender passage as the above: first,
that, as we could not escape from the lines together, he must take the
earlier, because, as in mortgages, the better risk; and second, that if
he did not answer in a satisfactory manner the one question that I had
kept for some time uppermost in my brain to propound to him, he must
pocket my North Star.

"Have you a compass?" I muttered, as he edged by me.

"No," he replied.

My second resolution, then, was, that he should carry my compass.

"I've been robbed of everything," he said.

"Take--my--compass--quick!" I returned, and pressed it into his hand.

He was not as good an astronomer as I. He looked a hurried remonstrance
at me; but was obliged to hide it at once, and could not, I knew, waste
any eloquence now. Although, moreover, he was a lover, Nature had never
endowed him with the art of speaking through the eye. There were
stronger reasons in favor of his escape than of mine,--worldly, if not
spiritual,--and he suffered from a dangerous nervousness, in dwelling
upon the magnitude of the issue before him, which was not in my way.

"It is now five," I said; "at seven, if in such woods as this, you must
watch your chance and double."

"Which way?" he asked.

"Travel north-northeast, seven miles," I whispered.

Then, as if anxious to burst into a flood of eager words, he began,--

"But you"----

I looked at him fixedly, and moved off towards my Sergeant. That cursed
tape before me now again made a twist in my brain.

I was astonished at my Sergeant's opening a conversation.

We were travelling (wearily enough) through a piece of woods,
overarching and autumn-tinted, the road being cut down, and,
consequently, either side of it walled in by upheaving embankments,
green-covered and yellow-fringed, over which the declining sun could not
dart its rays upon us. The heavy trains of the entire army were making
the march along with us, disturbing the modest influences of the
spot,--some trundling forward in the van, others toiling after in our
rear, the tending angels of all being drowsy, in the shape of the lazy
teamsters astride their beasts. Only that peculiar music, made up of the
ponderous _thud_ (the birds had all grown still) or tramp of the men for
a bass,--of the clink and clatter of the canteens for a treble,--and of
a little broken conversation, in the whining, drawling tones of the
guard, on their own side of the lines, and so with no quieting weight
upon their tongues, for a _viva-voce_ accompaniment,--broke the sweet
summer stillness. The shafts of sunlight bridging the road above our
heads, making a golden ether-plank for the air-insects to cross upon,
and lighting up the veins in the trembling leaves as the breeze put them
to confusion, set me to thinking of the eyebrows that the Adjutant was
engaged to, and, no doubt, of eyebrows in general. A cool air, smelling
of mould and fallen leaves, perhaps a little damp, fell upon us here.
The charms of Nature may have loosened the Sergeant's tongue.

"I was captured in Mar'land," he began, looking straight before him, but
of course honoring me with his address.

I was grateful to him, a little for companionship's sake, but chiefly
for here giving me a chance that I had hoped for, as I deemed it of
considerable value,--I mean, a chance to dig down to the mine of good
feeling, to the heart of this gray-covered, slumbering crater, that, an
hour since, had thrust out that "do"; and also, I was beholden to him
for taking my thoughts from the tape.

"How did our boys treat you?" I asked.

"Very fair," he said quickly, with a faint Judas-start, as if it were a
matter of conscience, and he had now twitched it out. "They done well by
me."

Here was good fortune, indeed! The mine, with all its riches, mine
without any digging.

"I am glad of it," I said, briefly; for I saw that laconics were his
jewels, perhaps from a sense of expediency as well as of beauty. "We
always try to treat you well, whenever we are not firing our guns at
you."

This he acknowledged with a nod, but without turning from his look
directly front.

"I lay two months in hosp't'l," he began again,--"in Fred'r'k, in
Mar'land. I was wounded in the hip."

"In '62, I suppose?" said I.

"Yes,--at Boonsboro'."

Here the conversation ended as suddenly as it had opened. It was very
clear that the Sergeant had said his last word for some time. But I was
convinced in my own mind that at length more good would fall to my lot.

He pondered the matter some ten minutes, and then quite overwhelmed me
with his story.

"One of your boys," he began, "lay wounded by me on the field,--of a
ball in the lungs,--and wanted some water. Whenever he spoke, he threw
out blood, and wasn't likely to live, nohow. I said,----

"'Yank, will you take my tin?'--for there was a drop in it yet, and I
rolled on my side and gave it him.

"'I am goin' to die,' he said.

"'Yes,' says I.

"'They'll treat you well,' he said; 'they'll carry you to the hosp't'l,
and I hope you'll live to git home.'

"'Thank you,' says I.

"He gave me some 'baccy and a roll of money.

"'The paymaster's been about, and he gave me more 'n I want now. You'll
want 'baccy in hosp't'l,--you'll want it all,' he said.

"And he run over in blood and died. He gave me right smart of money. I
rolled away from him when he died, and they took me to hosp't'l."

The Sergeant paused for my comment.

Under my peculiar circumstances, I was very much touched by this story.

"Poor fellow! many such a one has gone to his account," I said, sadly.

"And I want to give back some of the money to you," said the Sergeant.

I looked at him in astonishment.

"You'll want it down there, as much as you can git. I have no need of
it. It a'n't mine. It's his'n."

The Sergeant had evidently taken it in trust.

"What claim have I to it?" I asked.

"Any poor fellow's got a claim to it. It's meant to help poor fellows,
that money is. It's a dead man's work."

I was more than ever touched now, in the presence of the wealth of this
mine which I had tapped.

"I will take some of it, Sergeant," I replied; "and I shall do my best
to use it as well as you have."

(This incident, strange to say, in its display of human purity, almost
tempted me to abandon my scheme of escape, and to go with the Sergeant
down to Richmond. But he was no measure of his fellows.)

After that we chatted easily off and on, and had a feeling of confidence
in each other which a two or three days' march could not alone have
created.

At about half after six that night, (I had made the Sergeant take my
watch, which otherwise I should surely be robbed of, I told him; and he
gave me the time,)--at about half after six, two officers came riding
furiously up to our mild officer and kept along with him for awhile,
making three dim figures above our heads (they only were mounted) in the
forest shades, in place of the one that, unlike the erl-king, had
continued on his way harmlessly from our outset. Their consultation
over, the two strangers dashed over snapping weeds and underbrush to the
command on ahead, and our mild officer ordered our column (of prisoners)
to halt. We were in the woods still, but we had emerged from between
those sun-spanned embankments some time since. The ground was ill chosen
by our gentle ruler, but he may have depended much upon his men, whose
vigilance, no doubt, he had before tried in the fall of day. They seemed
to me but a handful, and only a sieve for their charge to dribble
through, the latter aided by the time and place in their work of
dropping off. I drew closer to the Adjutant.

"Say what you have to say for home, in case we miss," I said,--and in
the confusion of the halt I could talk rather freely. "Your time has
come now."

"You will write, if I'm not heard from,--and--my love to my"--he
gurgled.

"Yes, yes," I said, cheerily. "All right, old fellow,--we'll both laugh
over this, some day."

I gave him a moment.

"You'll do me the same favor, if I don't happen to turn up," I said; and
we seized each other's hands. "You have the compass,--you know the way.
There is nothing more, I believe, Ned?" I said, hastily, and looked into
his eyes.

"I shall watch my chance as the wagons pass; there is nothing more," he
replied; and we parted immediately.

It was as if we had agreed to toss pennies for the guillotine. I had no
time to think further of him, for my own plans were maturing.

It was soon whispered about that we were to let the trains get ahead of
us, since it was necessary that they should move faster; and the Rebel
authorities, I presume, had decided to save their transportation, at the
risk even of their captives. One or other, then, it seemed likely, would
be taken. The Yankees were driving us before them, having reversed the
fortunes of the day, and, perhaps, might liberate the prisoners who so
impeded this retreat. We stood, I presume, for half an hour, drawn up in
a compressed mass upon the skirt of the highway, whilst, startled by
fear, a powerful task-master over teamsters, the late drowsy drivers
urged forward their toil-worn trains. It was seasonable, but I believed
that my time had not yet come. The deep shades encouraged me, but I
awaited the hour that I had hit upon. I thought for a moment of the
Adjutant, perhaps then ducking his head beneath the bushes, and
watching, with his heart beating time, the heavy mass by degrees moving
on. I trusted that the wheel of Fortune, whilst these other wheels were
moving Rebelward, had turned in his favor.

At a little after seven we again fell into line, not having allowed all
the teams to pass us; and as the same Fortune would have it, we left the
woods behind us, and marched between open meadows. It had now grown
quite dark. My face wore a look of anxiety as I noted the wide stretch
of open field beyond me.

But there were as anxious faces as mine among the groups of Rebel
officers who rode slowly along the lines. This was the chill season of
perturbation to the hot-blooded gentlemen. Some communications were
passing rapidly between the commander of our detachment and the
commander of the army. Things were not working satisfactorily to either.
Orderlies were dispatched to the front and to the rear, and the
air-blasting bugle was sounded on ahead, as if to chide the teamsters.
When we had marched up an ascent, and were on the brow of a low ridge,
we were halted, and then turned into an open field. It was decided,
apparently, that the rest of the train should pass us.

No doubt I should here have all the graces of a ready pen at my beck,
honey-dipped, or Vulcan-forged, in accordance with my humor, whether sad
or harsh, in making up the climax of my account; for at this spot the
good writer would be most impressive in his language, and set the reader
in a tremble. We waited for seventy minutes in this road-side field, the
prisoners resignedly huddling together, with the callous guards making a
circle about them. Let me enlarge upon our circumstances. The time,
about eight o'clock; the atmosphere thick and murky; the sky overcast,
promising a warm September night. I asked the Sergeant if it would rain,
and said carelessly some other trifles. I feigned an excess of
sleepiness. Our detachment lay some thirty yards from the highway,
spread into a thin line of no evenness, running parallel with the road,
which, in the gloom, our eyes could scarcely find. The exigencies of the
service had proved the ruin of the fences; and only here and there in
the vague darkness could one make out the black bunch of a shadowy tree.
Just beyond us--for my Sergeant and myself stood at the rear extremity,
the land's--end of this shoal of prisoners, outside of the ring of
guards sparely posted, on the very top of the ridge which we had
ascended--was a low clump of bushes, (perhaps neck-high,) squat and
opaque, with much the appearance of a ball of garden boxwood. The hill,
I thought, rolled away on either side,--taking some comfort to myself in
the conjecture; and the inky leaf-globe, only a little more sombre than
its background, could not be seen in a hasty glance. This clump, in its
innocent blackness, would cover my purposed guilt; and I resolved to
confide to it alone the secret crime of my attempted escape.

But there were calculations to be made, which I set about with the
eagerness which the occasion required, watching my Sergeant very closely
as my head ran over its prospectus. And, first, if he stood by my side,
I revolved, I could not by any chance whisper my tale to the silent
bushes; although, if, at the favorable moment, when the squad was
ordered to march, he but stepped a feather's-throw in advance of me, the
confession could be readily made. His presence would frustrate my plans.
There was one expedient at my beck, but quite hazardous, by the adoption
of which against odds I might compass his death and my freedom,--a
thought which I dismissed on the instant, as it savored of murder and
ingratitude. I must trust that he would give me his back, in spite of
his sense of responsibility, for a breathing-space ere we "fell in."
With his fellow watch-dogs my ruminations had nothing to do. The nearest
of them, owing to their scarcity, (and they had grown trebly valuable
this campaign, as they had grown rarer,) was not within twenty yards of
me. My new world was scarce that distance in the rear. The moment of all
moments, the crisis, the vision of a life-time, eddying through the
brain in the flash of a powder-pan, and stamping red-hot impressions
there, (which in some cases bleach men's hair-roots,) was finally upon
me. My Sergeant turned from me, and I glided with tiger-tread to the
bushes, and laid myself down.

I was, of course, between him and my new friends, and I pretended to
sleep, so that, if he found me, he could scarce suppose that I meditated
leaving him in so loose a manner; and, moreover, my being asleep would
follow naturally upon my reiterated statement that I was sleepy. It
would have been madness to have taken the other side, since, if there
found, the case against me would have been clear. I depended, as is ever
man's wont, upon mere shadows to do much for me where I was.

I have thought often since, however, (then other than the deliberate
thought which every man in trying circumstances has experienced, and
which centres upon one subject, being so severe a tension of all the
faculties as to seem no thought at all, was impossible,) that it would
be unwise, and perhaps a stumbling-block to future Union captives in the
custody of that horrid host, to ascribe my unbroken rest under those
dry, dusty bush-branches simply to the heavy darkness of the evening,
excluding all other causes from participation in my affairs. It was
unusually cloudy, the sky resting overhead like a hanging pall, and
threatening rain with thunder every moment, as is almost always the case
after a hotly contested engagement. The fight that morning had been a
grand one, (quite a Horace Vernet picture,) and hence the clouds that
night. But I must own that I give my Sergeant a place in my memory now
with a feeling of gratitude, induced thereto by the strong supposition
that he did not allow himself to see me as I glided under cover. I count
much upon his heart, as shown in his little proffered narrative. The
other guards on the line might readily have failed to notice me, the
more so as I had a special attendant to see to my wants; and I should
have been very sorry, indeed, had one of them disturbed my rest. But my
Sergeant was not three body-lengths from me when I slipped away from his
protection; and although he had his back turned, I am inclined to think
that he had only fewer eyes than Argus. His general reputation, to be
read in his bearing, pronounced him vigilant, and his every act
betokened circumspection. Far be it from me, however, to bespatter his
character by avowing him negligent in performing his duty in this case,
whilst lauding him for his honest devotion to his masters. Perhaps it
may have been a part of his care to see the squad "fall in," and he
could not abandon that line of his duty to search for a stray officer,
smooth-spoken and amiable, to whom he had just shown a kindness. The
bustle and unnatural darkness of the moment could not inspire one who
was not a demon with a demoniacal desire to set a screeching and rash
body of troopers upon my track. The detachment of melancholy mutes was
moving off when I tried my fate; and he could have had but little time
to think ere the miserable men were in the distance. The farther my
Sergeant journeyed, the more likely he was to keep quiet upon my
subject.

I experienced very peculiar emotions as I lay there and found myself
alone. I even seemed to hear the whine of the soldiery, the ringing of
canteens and sabres, and the peculiar sound of the tramping feet, long
after they had passed away,--chanting, in my soul's depths, my
fluttering song of triumph to that imagined accompaniment. I had an
almost accurate idea of where I was, having observed our course quite
closely during the day, and proposed going over very nearly the same
ground in the next twenty-four hours. I had already decided in my own
mind that the Rebel general was making a retreat before the gallant
General Sheridan, whose outposts I hoped soon to come upon. But dangers
many, and some hidden, lay thick-strewn upon my path, which had not run
over roses hither; and I deemed it best to encumber the cold earth for
an hour, ere I sallied from my Moses-harbor.

The highway lay within a hundred feet of me; and as I intended taking up
my lost stitches of the morning in a peculiar (and, I hoped, original)
manner, having no knowledge of the country beyond the line of our late
march, I was obliged to count upon keeping within sound of the troops
and wagons travelling there, if I desired at all to gain my end. The
Adjutant T---- had my compass, and was, I trusted, quite free from
danger as I remained supinely within hail of men who would be delighted
to shoot me. His image, as I fancied him, cumbersome and crouching, as
he hurried along, dodging from tree to tree, reminded me of the hunts
which the chivalry indulge in farther south, (near that very horrible
Andersonville slaughter-house,) where the bay of the blood-hound rings
over the marshes, and the pack is let loose in the clear morning air,
crystal-bright and all aglow, to lap up the dew with overhanging
tongues, and to run down escaped prisoners. There is no poetical charm
attaching to that pack, although Pan never played his reeds in a more
poetical country; and its existence and employment are solemnly sober
truths. They made me very grave, suggesting, as they did, some other
dangers to which I was then liable. After working myself into a nervous
state of body, I began pulling off my coat, leaving my shoulder-straps
therewith, to play the part of asterisks, and explain who was within. My
pantaloons the soil would soon make as white as a gray-back's; and my
cap was to stay with the uniform, to grace some indigent discoverer of
the other side.

When I had secreted my money in my waistband, (not deeming my orderly's
suggestion feasible,) and had strapped my suspenders tightly about my
body, I worked my way round the bushes to the other side of the clump.
As I had expected, I found an even sweep downwards of meadow-land,
stretching parallel with the road, and as far before me as I could see
through the darkness.

I got myself flat upon the ground, with my feet, as in Christian burial,
pointing towards the east,--for there the highway ran,--and with my
handkerchief bound about my head. I then commenced rolling as gently as
possible down the grassy declivity.

I should be unable to give any account of my thoughts during the first
ten minutes of my novel evolutions. I moved at one time slowly, at
another rapidly, as the ideas of prudence and danger by turns reigned in
my bosom. I risked much in being obliged to keep in line with the
current of life flowing so noisily the other way, the thought of which
spurred me onward; and I had far to go, and not very great endurance to
fall back upon,--a reflection which counselled a cautious expenditure of
effort. I was anon anxious to fly over the hard lumps of earth and
pricking straw-blades,--anon, eager to move gently, with deliberate hand
upon the brake. I suffered much at my elbows, which were crushed as my
body passed over them, (a pulverizing process,) and which, as I had
clasped my arms across my breast, were most palpably in the way. It
seemed as if they would be unhinged. My feet, too, demonstrated to me
the causes of the circular motion of a penholder or a ruler when started
down a desk-lid, and had the same influence upon my course as the
pin-point has upon the whole pin when in motion. My head and upper
members inclined to swing in a circle about my feet. I spent much labor
upon this defaulting portion of Æsop's body of sovereign independencies,
which threatened the greatest difficulties. My neck, also, in the narrow
space between the band of my low woollen shirt and my hair-roots, was
harassed at every turn by the needle-bed of short grass that I passed
over; and the loose stones, stubble, and gravel, that had irritated the
skin, worked their way beneath the garment. I was quite a child's
rattle, full of pebbles. I could have endured all this for a long while,
however, the spirit then actuating me being one of those unreflecting
forces which would (as a last resort) have carried me down the same
slope in a Regulus-cask. But after travelling quite a distance, I began
to revolve, not any complete remedy for these manifold ills, but some
amelioration of the exaggerated violence of their sway. I tore one
sleeve from my undershirt and wound that around my neck. I held my arms
straight down my side and flat against my body. Nothing short of
amputation could have crushed the rebellion in my lower members, and so
(with the power to amputate not abandoned) I nursed them into insolence
with a compromise.

A psychological history of the uneven progress of that billowy retreat
would be as far beyond my reach as of the ten minutes of outset trial. I
thought only vaguely of my home, of my regiment, of my moments of danger
in past life. I listened during that night till my sense of hearing
changed from a passive to an active sense. I got my neck sadly cramped
in lifting my head from the ground every time my body rolled face upward
to gain some knowledge of the enemy. My imagination started up all sorts
of shapes about me. The damp, heavy atmosphere sent a chill through my
veins. I apprehended rain. I soon, also, began to think of daylight,
(before which I had many hours,) and to wonder how I should secrete
myself after sunrise. I did not feel hungry; but I had not gone far
before I felt the faint longings of thirst.

The ground, too, over which I travelled, was not all meadow land, and
had worse features than grass-swords and gravel bullets. I did not find
many fences, but I crossed innumerable small streams and one heavy
hedge.

I noticed that by degrees, judging from the sound, the Rebel troops were
getting by, only dropping along finally in dish-water driblets,--and
that, at last, but scattering bodies of infantry, and at intervals some
wagons, occupied the road, moving like dark lobsters in the midnight
mists. I could not take to it myself, because of them; and I knew too
well how full it would be of stragglers, those worthless gleanings of an
army, even after the rear-guard had swept onwards. But I did not
hesitate to erect my body from its voluntary abasement and to make
walking a branch of my exercise, when convinced that only vagrants could
chance to see me. They never capture prisoners on either side. Thus was
I enabled for two hours before sunrise to accomplish more than twice as
much as my five hours' rolling labors had attained.

The long-expected rain began to fall in a heavy mist at about dawn, and
shortly grew in importance, till the windows of heaven were wide open
and it became a settled pour. Most fortunately, by that time I had
entered some of the first woods we had passed through in the journey of
the previous day, and had fair shelter (from Aurora, not Pluvius) within
my reach. It was a colossal pepper-box lid, that could keep men from
seeing through it, but not the rain from dropping in. My first impulse
was to make a fire, so chilled to the very marrow was I in the early
morning air, that chilliest of all atmospheres, and so wet was I also in
my light summer garments. But of course Prudence had no word in that
matter, nor any countenance for a suggestion so reckless, and my soberer
senses got to casting about for a fitting retreat ere broad day lay
before me. I must reconnoitre, I thought, dripping at every point, like
a convict in the marshes, before I continued a tramp here that might
expose me to a scouting-party at any moment. That hunger, too, which had
not troubled me in the night-hours, came upon me now and urged very
suggestive hints. I had made a cup of my hands more than once, and
slaked my thirst from the streams in my way, Narcissus-fashion; but
nothing solid had passed my lips for seventeen hours. First, logs and
leaves for a cover, then food, then a critical examination of my
position, were my objects, as I hastily settled my plans. The thought of
the intelligent contraband, so beyond ordinary human excellence in the
richness of his heart, who might minister to all my wants, (as without
question many such had done to my distressed brethren flying from
Libby,) and whose homely traits become to us golden virtues in moments
of suffering, crossed my brain as the depression of hunger increased.
Very dim visions of clean and savory cooking haunted me as I took off my
boots and shook the water from them. I could not imagine anything to
equal in value a good steak or a hot hash; nor could I check my feeling
of discontent, a hopeless feeling, at having many a time and oft
partaken of like viands, perhaps, unappreciatively. The slimy dirt of my
uppers soiled my hands, as I endeavored to make myself less
uncomfortable, and I took the shirtsleeve from my neck as the driest
article about me upon which to wipe them, Near by lay the trunk of a
large walnut-tree, water-logged and growing sponge-moss; and small
bushes, like coral reefs in this sea of troubles, were on all sides of
me. I had not accomplished much when I heard distinctly the sound of a
bugle.

It was, I supposed, about half a mile distant; but there was no knowing
how near the wet horsemen whom it signalled might be to my proposed
hiding place; and, accordingly, I got hastily down by the walnut, a good
squirrel-cover, without shelter or head-piece. I lay along that side of
it which was farthest from the road, and durst not move for fear of
capture. The woods were quite thick at that place, and from the hidden
pathway (now become scarce a highway) a body of the enemy might emerge
at any moment. The unwelcome music of their bugle broke the Sabbath
stillness of the morning, and interrupted the harmony of the falling
rain-drops as they pattered through the great cathedral branches
overhead. I spent, I presume, two hours in this lazy manner, without
thought of any food, and scarce daring to look about me. During the
first half of that period I heard the bugle thrice send its clear,
ringing notes--for it is sometimes lark-throated--through the
tree-aisles and under the half-arches above me, the tones lingering in
waves on the air, and not failing to startle me. At the first commanding
blast I got to watching for the troops that did not come forth at all.
Being quite three grasshopper's flights from the road, I could
reconnoitre the few rods of it passing near me with comparative ease and
safety, and the intentness of my look-out drove thoughts of discomfort
from my head. The silence grew oppressive to one who had been perforce
so long alone. The thought that at times man has to avoid his
fellow-beings in his misery, lest his misery be augmented, was
productive of a tender feeling of self-pity in my bosom, which, perhaps,
(strange to say,) was a source of some comfort to me. I had, I found,
awakened a present sympathy in my case, the passive part of my nature
having enlisted its kindly feelings in behalf of the bespattered,
dripping gentleman who lay there before it, a sad mass of ooze, soaking
on wet leaves. I was growing reflective over my woes, when the second
blast broke upon my ear, and I started much as young ladies do at the
sudden gun which, on the boards, sends the unholy Caspar to his account.

In a word, I was worn out, wet, and hungry; and had become so unstrung,
in the accumulated discomforts of the roll from Rebeldom, and the rain
of the last stages of my journey, that I could not control my growing
nervousness. Having waited a full hour from the third signal-call of the
bugle, I jumped desperately to my feet, with a mind made up to hazard
everything. Many unlucky fellows, escaping from their captors, have
toiled with a wonderful energy, and have failed, when worthy of
immediate success, if we rate them by (the war standard) their bravery
and coolness. They succumb to fever, and despair finally, but a few
moments ere the object of their toils would drop before them. It is
ill-advised ever to cast one's hopes adrift as long as life is in
us,--an imprudence of which I myself was guilty, and which might have
carried me back to thraldom. The dragging anchor may fasten, spell-bound
by some fluke-enamored reef, as the vessel seems on the point of
striking. I jumped to my feet in desperation, and walked hastily a few
rods nearer home. I allowed no after-thought in the premises, but
decided to dodge from tree to tree, like the hunting Indian, as long as
my present humor impelled me.

I know not how far I advanced thus, through the most desperate (but to
the reader, whom I commiserate, least interesting) stage of my
adventure,--nor anything of my thoughts or emotions, after the hot
resolve had taken hold of me. I was in a fever, a mad fever, the
evidence of cold, and the handiwork of the past night's rolling-mill,
and, I doubt not, was entirely unfitted to evade the enemy with presence
of mind or skill. I did not pause till I heard the sound of axes, and
the confused noises of a body of men.

I then again took the serpent's position upon the earth, after he, like
myself, had lost his Eden, and summoned my oft-trusted counsellors, my
ears, to their familiar duty of serving for all my senses in one. The
sounds were very distinct indeed; I could even hear the men's voices,
chopped up by their active tools; and I knew, by the noise of their
labors, that they were driving stakes into the ground. It could scarce
be the Rebels, I thought, in camp this distance in the rear: it might be
our men, I hoped, pushing our advance up the Valley. I drew carefully
forward on hands and knees.

In a little while I saw a bending figure, with its back to me, holding
something that I could not see over a smoking bundle of fagots. There
was a poncho about the neck, that covered it down to the ground, and in
the morning gray, the figure, the colonnade of tree-trunks, the lazy
smoke, a cabinet picture, wore an India-rubber look.

Presently another came up to my first discovery, as if emerging from the
bustle elsewhere, and stood erect before him, seeming almost as wet as
myself. There was a tasselled bugle in his hand, covered with a corner
of his poncho, under which he had a cavalry sabre. He wore, also, a
dripping cavalry cord round his hat. After a few words, the two sat upon
their heels before the fire, which they bent over, paternally, to
protect, watching the thing that was cooking.

Having drawn myself cautiously nearer, I waited a long while for one of
the men to display his colors.

The bugler was burnishing his instrument upon his blouse beneath his
rubber, hazarding some chance notes under shelter, as he laughed and
chatted with his friend. He would, apparently, consult with him of his
performance; and he finally lifted himself upon his feet, with the
instrument tight to his lips. He then blew a rasping, grating blast upon
the air, ear-splitting and dissonant, that was his own rendition of a
few bars of Yankee Doodle.

The blouse, being dark, had given me much hope; the air gave me
certainty; and before the bugler could wind his final note, I became one
of the group.

My pantaloons showed that I was an officer, but in all other respects I
appeared less than a highwayman. Accustomed to roughnesses, however, the
men before me would not have divined that I was miserable, had not my
appearance been by a few degrees more wretched than that of the most
dilapidated of warriors. They gave over, the one his mess, the other his
music, for a second, to inquire into my circumstances, and then
conducted me to the Major who had command of the detachment some quarter
of a mile in the rear.

The eight days' leave-of-absence that was given me, after a full report
at headquarters, garnished with less ornament than the present record,
afforded me an opportunity to reach my physician in time to have it
extended by ten more; and in that period I learned from a letter,
written in a thin, peaked hand, that the Adjutant T---- had escaped, but
had been shot in the thigh. The compass, that had been his cloud by day
and pillar of fire by night during his sad exodus, was returned to me,
with his old lady-mother's thanks. Many simple, yet touching, speeches
welled up from her rich heart, and shone on the thin white paper; and,
no doubt, her great, manly son was tended by another, whilst, at her
escritoire, the kindly epistle was made for me. In the subsequent hurry
of camp-life, I received a second, that contained all those mournful
expressions of resignation, and dependence upon the Higher Power, which
broken-hearted Christians so sweetly utter. The Adjutant T----, indeed,
had received his solemn quietus in running from the Libby Prison, and
the extinguisher of his life was down.



DOCTOR JOHNS.


XXVIII.

"Doctor, we miss Reuby," said the Tew partners.

And the good old people said it with feeling,--though, over and over, at
winter's dusk, the boy had given a sharp rattle to their shop-door, and
the warning bell called them away from their snug fire only to see his
light pair of heels whisking around the corner of the Eagle Tavern. The
mischief in the lad was, indeed, of such elastic, irrepressible temper,
that even the gravest of the parishioners were disposed to regard it
with a frown in which a comic pardon was always lurking. Perhaps this
may have been by reason of the tender recollections of the poor young
mother Rachel, who had so suddenly yielded up her life, and taken away
the charm of her smiles to another country; or it may have been that the
pranks of the parson's boy found greater toleration by reason of their
contrast with the sturdy and unyielding gravity of the Doctor; they made
up a good average of mirth for the household of the parsonage,--a sort
of average which the wicked world craves, and which, it is to be feared,
will be craved until we take on a wholly new moral shape. Or, to put the
reflection in other form, if the Doctor's immovable serenity was a type
of the highest embodiment of good in this world, the playful humors of
the boy were reckoned by the good-natured villagers as the most
pardonable shape which the inevitable principle of evil that belongs to
our heritage could possibly take on; and thus, while the father
challenged their admiration, only the more, by reason of the contrast,
the boy challenged all their tenderest sympathies.

Even the Tourtelots "quite missed the boy"; though over and over the
brindled cow of the Deacon was found to have slipped the bars, (a thing
the orderly creature was never known to do of her own head,) and was
reported at twilight by the sober-faced Reuben as strolling far down
upon the Common.

It is but a small bit of canvas we have chosen for the painting in of
these figures of ours; and returning to the old town of Ashfield, as we
do now, where the central interest must lie, there is little of change
to declare, still less of dramatic incident. A serene quietude, year
after year, is the characteristic of most of the interior New England
towns. The elections come and go with their fury of previous
declamation. The Squire presides over the deliberations of his party,
and some leading Adams man presides over the deliberations of the other;
even the boys are all Jackson men or Adams men; but when the result is
declared, there is an acquiescence on all hands that is beautiful to
behold; and in process of time, Mr. Troop, the postmaster, yields up the
mail pouches and locks and canvas bags to some active little Jackson
partisan with the utmost suavity, and smokes off his discontent upon the
porch of the Eagle Tavern, under the very shadow of the tall hickory
pole, which for one third of its height is protected by old wagon-tire
heavily spiked on, against the axes of zealous political opponents.

The old blear-eyed Boody is not so cheery as we have seen him, although
his party has won brilliant success. There is a sad story of domestic
grief that has marked a new wrinkle in his forehead and given a droop to
his eye, which, had all gone fairly, he might have weathered for ten
years more. The glory of the ringleted Suke has indeed gone, as Phil had
told; but it has not gone in the way of marriage. God only knows where
those pink cheeks are showing their graces now,--not, surely, in any
home of hers,--not in any home at all. God only knows what repinings
have come, all too late, over the glitter and the triumph of an hour.
The elderly, grave ones shake their heads dismally over this fall, and
talk of the terribly demoralizing associations amidst which the poor
child has lived; but do they ask themselves if they did their best to
mend them? Decoyed toward evil fast and frequently enough, without
doubt; but were there any decoys, such as kind hands and welcoming
words, in the other direction? The meeting-house doors have, indeed,
been always open, for the just and for the unjust. But have not the
starched, good women of the parish been a little disposed to count the
pretty tavern-keeper's daughter as outside the fold--so far as all
social influences were concerned--from the beginning? That exuberant
life in her which led to the dance at a tavern ball, was there any
palliative for it,--any hope for it, except to go on in the way of
destruction?

But we would not judge unjustly. Certain it is, that Miss Johns indulged
in such scathing condemnation of the poor sinner as made Adèle shiver:
with the spinster at least, there would be little hope for a Magdalen,
or a child of a Magdalen. Nor could such as she fully understand the
measured and subdued tone with which the good Doctor talked of a lapse
from virtue which had so shocked the little community. But the parson
lived so closely in that spiritual world where all his labor and love
centred, that he saw under its ineffable light only two great ranks of
people pressing toward the inevitable goal: a lesser rank, which had
found favor of God; and a greater, tumultuous one, toward whom his heart
yearned, that with wavering and doubt and evil intention pressed on to
destruction. What mattered to him the color of the sin, or who was he to
judge it? When the secret places of the heart were so full of
wickedness, why anathematize above the rest those plague-spots which
revealed themselves to mortals? "Fearful above all others," he was wont
to say, "will be those sins which, being kept cautiously smouldering
through life, will, at the blast of the Archangel's trump, blaze out in
inextinguishable fire!"

The Doctor kept himself and his pulpit mostly free of that theological
fermentation which in those years was going on throughout New
England,--at least of all such forms of it as marked a division in the
orthodox churches. If he had a leaning, it was certainly in favor of the
utmost severity of Calvinism. He distrusted human philosophy, and would
rather have accepted the theory of natural inability in all its
harshness than see it explained away by any metaphysic subtilties that
should seem to veil or place in doubt the paramount efficiency of the
Spirit.

But though slow to accept theological reforms, the Doctor was not slow
to advocate those which promised good influence upon public morals. Thus
he had entered with zeal into the Temperance movement; and after 1830,
or 1832 at the latest, there was no private locker in the parsonage for
any black bottle of choice Santa Cruz. His example had its bearing upon
others of the parish; and whether by dint of the Doctor's effective
preaching, or whether it were by reason of the dilapidated state of the
buildings and the leaky condition of the stills, it is certain that
about this time Deacon Simmons, of whom casual mention has been made,
abandoned his distillery, and invested such spare capital as he chose to
keep afloat in the business of his son-in-law, Mr. Bowrigg of New York,
who had up to this time sold the Deacon's gin upon commission.

Mr. Bowrigg was a thriving merchant, and continued his wholesale traffic
with eminent success. In proof of this success, he astonished the good
people of Ashfield by building, in the summer of 1833, at the
instigation of his wife, an elegant country residence upon the main
street of the town; and the following year, the little Bowriggs--two
daughters of blooming girl age--brought such a flutter of city ribbons
and silks into the main aisle of the meeting-house as had not been seen
in many a day. Anne and Sophia Bowrigg, aged respectively thirteen and
fifteen, fell naturally into somewhat intimate associations with our
little friends, Adèle and Rose: an association that was not much to the
taste of the Doctor, who feared that under it Adèle might launch again
into those old coquetries of dress against which Maverick had cautioned
him, and which in their quiet country atmosphere had been subdued into a
modest homeliness that was certainly very charming.

Miss Sophia, however, the elder of the two Bowrigg daughters, was a
young lady not easily balked of her intent; and conceiving a violent
fondness for Adèle, whether by reason of the graces of her character, or
by reason of her foreign speech, in which she could stammeringly join,
to the great mystification of all others, she soon forced herself into a
patronizing intimacy with Adèle, and was a frequent visitor at the
parsonage. With a great fund of assurance, a rare and unappeasable
glibness of tongue, and that lack of refined delicacy which invariably
belongs to such noisy demonstrativeness, Miss Sophia had after only one
or two interviews ferreted out from Adèle all that the little stranger
herself knew respecting her history.

"And not to know your mother, Adèle! that s so very queer!"

Adèle winces at this, but seems--to so coarse an observer--only
preoccupied with her work.

"Is'nt it queer?" persists the garrulous creature. "I knew a girl in the
city who did not see her mother after she was three,--think of that! But
then, you know, she was a bad woman."

The hot Provençal blood mounts to the cheek and brow of Adèle in an
instant, and her eye flashes. But it is quite impossible to show anger
in view of the stolid face of her companion, with nothing in it but an
unthinking, girlish curiosity.

"We will talk of something else, Sophie."

"Oh! then you don't like to speak of it! Dear me! I certainly wont,
then."

Yet this rattle-brained girl has no real ill-nature; and it is
surprising what a number of such well-meaning people go blundering about
society, inflicting cheerful wounds in all directions by mere reason of
their bluntness and lack of all delicacy of feeling.

But it is by no means the first time the sensibilities of Adèle have
been touched to the quick. She is approaching that age when they ripen
with marvellous rapidity. There is never an evening now at that cheerful
home of the Elderkins--lighted up as it is with the beaming smiles of
that Christian mother, Mrs. Elderkin--but there sweeps over the mind of
the poor girl, at some interval in the games or the chat, a terrible
sense of some great loss she has suffered, of which she knows not the
limits,--a cruel sense of isolation in which she wanders, and on which
comes betimes the recollection of a father's kindly face, that in the
growing distance makes her isolation seem even more appalling.

Rose, good soul, detects these humors by a keen, girlish instinct, and,
gliding up to her, passes her arm around her,--

"What is it now, Adèle, dear?"

And she, looking down at her, (for Adèle was the taller by half a head,)
says,--

"What a good mother you have, Rose!"

"Only that!"--and Rose laughs gleefully for a moment, when, bethinking
herself where the secret grief lay, her sweet face is overcast in an
instant, and reaching up her two hands, she draws down the face of Adèle
to hers, and kisses her on either cheek.

Phil, who is at a game of chess with Grace, pretends not to see this
side demonstration; but his next move is to sacrifice his only remaining
castle in the most needless manner.

Dame Tourtelot, too, has pressed her womanly prerogative of knowing
whatever could be known about the French girl who comes occasionally
with Miss Eliza to her tea-drinkings, and who, with a native taste for
music, is specially interested in the piano of Miss Almira.

"It must be very tedious," says the Dame, "to be so long away from home
and from those that love you. Almiry, now, hardly goes for a week to
Cousin Jerushy's at Har'ford but she is a-frettin' to be back in her old
home. Don't you feel it, Adeel?" (The Dame is not to be driven out of
her own notions of pronunciation by any French accents.) "But don't be
down-hearted, my child; it's God's providence that's brought you away
from a Popish country."

And she pushes her inquiries regarding the previous life of Adèle with
an earnestness and an authoritative air which at times do not fail to
provoke a passionate retort. To this the old lady is wholly unused; and
condemning her straightway as a hot-headed Romanist, it is to be feared
that we must regard the Dame henceforth as one disposed to look upon the
least favorable lights which may appear, whether in the past history of
Adèle or in the developments to come.

The spinster, also, who is mistress of the parsonage, though never
giving up her admiring patronage of Adèle, and governing her curiosity
with far more tact than belongs to Dame Tourtelot, has yet shown a
persistent zeal in pushing her investigations in regard to all that
concerned the family history of her little _protégée_. She has lent an
eager ear to all the communications which Maverick has addressed to the
Doctor; and in moments of what seemed exceptional fondness, when she has
toyed with the head-gear of Adèle, has plied the little brain with
motherly questions that have somehow widely failed of their intent.

Under all this, Adèle ripens into a certain reserve and individuality of
character which might never have belonged to her, had the earlier
circumstances of her life been altogether familiar to the circle in
which she was placed. The Doctor fastens, perhaps, an undue reliance
upon this growing reserve of hers: sure it is that an increasing
confidence is establishing itself between them, which it is to be hoped
nothing will shake.

And as for Phil, when the Squire teases him with his growing fondness
for the little Jesuit of the parsonage, the boy, though past seventeen
now, and "with views of his own," (as most young men have at that age,)
blushes like a girl.

Rose, seeing it, and her eyes flashing with sisterly pride, says to
herself,--

"Oh, I hope it may come true!"


XXIX.

From time to time Maverick had written in reply to the periodical
reports of the Doctor, and always with unabating confidence in his
discretion and kindness.

"I have remarked what you say" (he had written thus in a letter which
had elicited the close attention of Miss Eliza) "in regard to the rosary
found among the girlish treasures of Adèle. I am not aware how she can
have come by such a trinket from the source named; but I must beg you to
take as little notice as possible of the matter, and please allow her
possession of it to remain entirely unremarked. I am specially anxious
that no factitious importance be given to the relic by opposition to her
wishes."

Heavy losses incident to the political changes of the year 1831 in
France had kept him fastened at his post; and with the reviving trade
under the peaceful _régime_ of Louis Philippe, he had been more actively
engaged even than before. Yet there was no interruption to his
correspondence with Adèle, and no falling off in its expressions of
earnest affection and devotion.

"I fancy you almost a woman grown now, dear Adèle. Those cheeks of yours
have, I hope, not lost their roundness or their rosiness. But, however
much you may have grown, I am sure that my heart would guide me so truly
that I could single you out from a great crowd of the little Puritan
people about you. I can fancy you in some simple New England dress,--in
which I would rather see you, my child, than in the richest silks of
those about me here,----gliding up the pathway that leads to the door
of the old parsonage; I can fancy you dropping a word of greeting to the
good Doctor within his study (he must be wearing spectacles now); and at
evening I seem to see you kneeling in the long back dining-room, as the
parson leads in family prayer. Well, well, don't forget to pray for your
old father, my child. I shall be all the safer for it, in what the
Doctor calls 'this wicked land.' And what of Reuben, whose mischief, you
told me, threatened such fearful results? Sobered down, I suppose, long
before this, wearing a stout jacket of homespun, driving home the 'keow'
at night, and singing in the choir of a Sunday. Don't lose your heart,
Adèle, with any of the youngsters about you. I claim the whole of it;
and every day and every night mine beats for you, my child."

And Adèle writes back:--

"My heart is all yours, papa,--only why do you never come and take it?
So many, many years that I have not seen you!

"Yes, I like Ashfield still; it is almost a home to me now, you know.
New Papa is very kind, but just as grave and stiff as at the first. I
know he loves me, but he never tells me so. I don't believe he ever told
Reuben so. But when I sing some song that he loves to hear, I see a
little quirk by his temple, and a glistening in his eye, as he thanks
me, that tells it plain enough; and most of all when he prays, as he
sometimes does after talking to me very gravely, with his arm tight
clasped around me, oh, I am sure that he loves me!--and indeed, and
indeed, I love him back again!

"It was funny what you said of Reuben; for you must know that he is
living in the city now, and happens upon us here sometimes with a very
grand air,--as fine, I dare say, as the people about Marseilles. But I
don't think I like him any better; I don't know if I like him as well.
Miss Eliza is, of course, very proud of him, as she always was."

As the nicer observing faculties of his child develop,--of which, ample
traces appear in her letters,--Maverick begs her to detail to him as
fully as she can all the little events of her every-day life. He has an
eagerness, which only an absent parent can feel, to know how his pet is
received by those about her; and would supply himself, so far as he may,
with a full picture of the scenes amid which his child is growing up.
Sheet after sheet of this simple, girlish narrative of hers Maverick
delights himself with, as he sits upon his balcony, after business
hours, looking down upon the harbor of Marseilles.

"After morning prayers, which are very early, you know, Esther places
the smoking dishes on the table, and New Papa asks a blessing,--always.
Then he says, 'I hope Adaly has not forgotten her text of yesterday.'
And I repeat it to him. Such a quantity of texts as I can repeat now!
Then Aunt Eliza says, 'I hope, too, that Adèle will make no mistake in
her "Paradise Lost" to-day. Are you sure you've not forgotten that
lesson in the parsing, child?' Indeed, papa, I can parse almost any page
in the book.

"'I think,' says New Papa, appealing to Miss Eliza, 'that Larkin may
grease the wheels of the chaise this morning, and, if it should be fair,
I will make a visit or two at the north end of the town; and I think
Adaly would like to go with me.'

"'Yes, dearly, New Papa,' I say,--which is very true.

"And Miss Eliza says, very gravely, 'I am perfectly willing, Doctor.'

"After breakfast is over, Miss Eliza will sometimes walk with me a short
way down the street, and will say to me, 'Hold yourself erect, Adèle;
walk trimly.' _She_ walks very trimly. Then we pass by the Hapgood
house, which is one of the grand houses; and I know the old Miss
Hapgoods are looking through the blinds at us, though they never show
themselves until they have taken out their curl-papers in the afternoon.

"Dame Tourtelot isn't so shy; and we see her great, gaunt figure in a
broad sun-bonnet, stooping down with her trowel, at work among the
flower-patches before her door; and Miss Almira is reading at an upper
window, in pink muslin. And when the Dame hears us, she lifts herself
straight, sets her old flapping bonnet as square as she can, and stares
through her spectacles until she has made us out; then says,--

"'Good mornin', Miss Johns. You're 'arly this mornin'.'

"'Quite early,' says Miss Eliza. 'Your flowers are looking nicely, Mrs.
Tourtelot.'

"'Well, the pi'nys is blowed pretty good. Wouldn't Adeel like a pi'ny?'

"It's a great red monster of a flower, papa; but I thank her for it, and
put it in my belt. Then the Dame goes on to tell how she has shifted the
striped grass, and how the bouncing-Bets are spreading, and where she
means to put her nasturtiums the next year, and brandishes her trowel,
as the brigands in the story-books brandish their swords.

"And Miss Eliza says, 'Almira is at her reading, I see.'

"'Dear me!' says the Dame, glancing up; 'she's always a-readin'. What
with novils and histories, she's injurin' her health, Miss Johns, as
sure as you're alive.'

"Then, as we set off again,--the Dame calling out some last word, and
brandishing her trowel over the fence,--old Squire Elderkin comes
swinging up the street with the 'Courant' in his hand; and he lifts his
hat, and says, 'Good morning to you, Miss Johns; and how is the little
French lady this morning? Bright as ever, I see,' (for he doesn't wait
to be answered,)--'a peony in her belt, and two roses in her cheeks.'
Yet my cheeks are not very red, papa; but it's his way....

"After school, I go for the drive with the Doctor, which I enjoy very
much. I ask him about all the flowers along the way, and he tells me
everything, and I have learned the names of all the birds; and it is
much better, I think, than learning at school. And he always says, 'It's
God's infinite love, my child, that has given us all these beautiful
things, and these songsters that choir His praises.' When I hear him say
it, I believe it, papa. I am very sure that the priest who came to see
godmother was not a better man than he is.

"Then, very often, he lifts my hand in his, and says, 'Adaly, my dear,
God is very good to us, sinners though we are. We cannot tell His
meaning always, but we may be very sure that He has only a good meaning.
You do not know it, Adaly, but there was once a dear one, whom I loved
perhaps too well;--she was the mother of my poor Reuben; God only knows
how I loved her! But He took her from me.'--Oh, how the hand of New Papa
griped on mine, when he said this!--'He took her from me, my child; He
has carried her to His home. He is just. Learn to love Him, Adaly. The
love we give to Him we can carry with us always. He does not die and
leave us. He is everywhere. The birds are messengers of His, when they
sing; the flowers you love come from His bounty: oh, Adaly, can you not,
will you not, love Him?'

"'I do! I do!' I said.

"He looked me full in the face, (I shall never forget how he looked,)
'Ah, Adaly, is this a fantasy of yours,' said he, 'or is it true? Could
you give up the world and all its charms, could you forego the
admiration and the love of all others, if only He who is the Saviour of
us all would smile upon you?'

"I felt I could,--I felt I could, papa.

"But then, directly after, he repeated to me some of those dreary things
I had been used to hear in the Catechism week after week. I was _so_
sorry he repeated them, for they seemed to give a change to all my
thought. I am _sure_ I was trustful before, when he talked to me so
earnestly; but when he repeated only what I had learned over and over,
every Saturday night, then I am afraid my faith drooped.

_"'Don't_ tell me that, New Papa,' said I, 'it is so old; talk to me as
you _were_ talking.'

"And then the Doctor looked at me with the keenest eyes I ever saw, and
said,--

"'My child, are you right, and are the Doctors wrong?'

"'Is it the Catechism that you call the Doctors?' said I.

"'Yes,' said he.

"'But were they better men than you, New Papa?'

"'All men alike, Adaly, all struggling toward the truth,--all wearying
themselves to interpret it in such way that the world may accept it, and
praise God who has given us His Son a sacrifice, by whom, and whom only,
we may be saved.' And at this he took my hand and said, 'Adaly, trust
Him!'

"By this time" (for Adèle's letter is a true transcript of a day) "we
have reached the door of some one of his people to whom he is to pay a
visit. The blinds are all closed, and nothing seems to be stirring but a
gray cat that is prowling about under the lilac bushes. Dobbins is
hitched to the post, and the Doctor pounds away at the big knocker.
Presently two or three white-headed children come peeping around the
bushes, and rush away to tell who has come. After a little the stout
mistress opens the door, and wipes her fingers on her apron, and shakes
hands, and bounces into the keeping-room to throw up the window and open
the blinds, and dusts off the great rocking-chair for the Doctor, and
keeps saying all the while that they are 'very back'ard with the spring
work, and she really had no time to slick up,' and asks after Miss Eliza
and Reuben, and the Tourtelots, and all the people on the street, so
fast that I wonder she can keep her breath; and the Doctor looks so
calm, and has no time to say anything yet. Then she looks at me, 'Sissy
is looking well,' says she, and dashes out to bring in a great plate of
gingerbread, which I never like at all, and say, 'No.' But she says, 'It
won't hurt ye; it a'n't p'ison, child.' So I find I must eat a little;
and while I sit mumbling it, the Doctor and she talk on about a great
deal I don't understand, and I am glad when she bounces up again, and
says, 'Sis would like to get some posies, p'raps,' and leads me out of
doors. 'There's lalocs, child, and flower-de-luce: pick what you want.'

"So I go wandering among the beds along the garden, with the bees
humming round me; and there are great tufts of blue-bell, and
spider-wort, and moss-pink; and the white-haired grandchildren come and
put their faces to the paling, looking at me through the bars like
animals in a cage; and if I beckon to them, they glance at each other,
and dash away."

Thus much of Adèle's account. But there are three or four more visits to
complete the parson's day. Possibly he comes upon some member of his
flock in the field, when he draws up Dobbins to the fence, and his
parishioner, spying the old chaise, leaves his team to blow a moment
while he strides forward with his long ox-goad in hand, and, seating
himself upon a stump within easy earshot, says,--

"Good mornin', Doctor."

And the parson, in his kindly way, "Good morning, Mr. Pettibone. Your
family pretty well?"

"Waäl, middlin', Doctor,--only middlin'. Miss Pettibone is a-havin'
faint-ish spells along back; complains o' pain in her side."

"Sorry, sorry," says the good man: and then, "Your team is looking
pretty well, Mr. Pettibone."

"Waäl, only tol'able, Doctor. That nigh ox, what with spring work an'
grass feed is gittin' kind o' thin in the flesh. Any news abaout,
Doctor?"

"Not that I learn, Mr. Pettibone. We're having fine growing weather for
your crops."

"Waäl, only tol'able, Doctor. You see, arter them heavy spring rains,
the sun has kind o' baked the graound; the seed don't seem to start
well. I don't know as you remember, but in '29, along in the spring, we
had jist sich a spell o' wet, an' corn hung back that season amazin'ly."

"Well, Mr. Pettibone, we must hope for the best: it's all in God's
hands."

"Waäl, I s'pose it is, Doctor,--I s'pose it is." And he makes a cut at
a clover-head with the lash upon his ox-goad; then--as if in
recognition of the change of subject--he says,--

"Any more talk on the street abaout repairin' the ruff o' the
meetin'-house, Doctor?"

At sundown, all visits being paid, they go jogging into town again,--the
Doctor silent by this time, and thinking of his sermon, Dobbins is tied
always at the same post,--always the hitch-rein buckled in the third
hole from the end.

After tea, perhaps, Phil and Rose come sauntering by, and ask if Adèle
will go up 'to the house'? Which request, if Miss Eliza meet it with a
nod of approval, puts Adèle by their side: Rose, with a beautiful
recklessness common to New England girls of that day, wearing her hat
drooping half down her neck, and baring her clear forehead to the
falling night-dews. Phil, with a pebble in his hand, makes a feint of
throwing into a flock of goslings that are waddling disturbedly after a
pair of staid old geese, but is arrested by Rose's prompt "Behave,
Phil!"

The Squire is reading his paper by the evening lamp, but cannot forbear
a greeting to Adèle:--

"Ah, here we are again! and how is Madamòizel?" (this is the Squire's
style of French,)--"and has she brought me the peony? Phil would have
given his head for it,--eh, Phil?"

Rose is so bright, and glowing, and happy!

Mrs. Elderkin in her rocking-chair, with her gray hair carefully plaited
under the white lace cap whose broad strings fall on either shoulder, is
a picture of motherly dignity. Her pleasant "Good evening, Adèle," would
alone have paid the warm-hearted exile for her walk.

Then follow games, chat, and an occasional noisy joke from the Squire,
until the nine o'clock town-bell gives warning, and Adèle wends homeward
under convoy of the gallant Phil.

"Good night, Adèle!"

"Good night, Phil!"

Only this at the gate. Then the Doctor's evening prayer; and after
it,--in the quiet chamber, where her sweet head lay upon the
pillow,--dreams. With recollections more barren than those of most of
her years, of any early home, Adèle still dreamed as hopefully as any of
a home to come.


XXX.

In the autumn of 1836, Maverick wrote to his friend, the Doctor, that,
in view of the settled condition of business, he intended to visit
America some time in the course of the following season. He preferred,
however, that Adèle should not be made acquainted with his expected
coming. He believed that it would be a pleasant surprise for his child;
nor did he wish her anticipations of his arrival to divert her from the
usual current of her study and every-day life.

"Above all," he writes, "I wish to see her as she is, without any note
of preparation. You will therefore, I beg, my dear Johns, keep from her
scrupulously all knowledge of my present intentions, (which may possibly
miscarry, after all,) and let me see, to the very finest touch, whether
of a ribbon or of a ringlet, how far you have New-Englandized my dear
girl. I form a hundred pictures in my fancy; but every new letter from
her somehow disturbs the old image, and another is conjured up. The only
_real_ thing in my mind is, after all, a little child of eight, rosy and
piquantly coquettish, who slaps my cheek when I tease her, and who, as I
bid her adieu at last upon the ship's deck, looks through her tears at
me and waves her little kerchief.

"It is quite possible that I may manage for her return with me, (of this
plan, too, I beg you to give no hint,) and in view of it I would suggest
that any available occasion be seized upon to revive her knowledge of
French, which, I fear, in your staid household she may almost have
forgotten. Tell dear Adèle that I am sometimes at Le Pin, where her
godmother never fails to inquire after her and call down blessings on
the dear child."

Upon this the Doctor and Miss Johns take counsel. Both are not a little
disturbed by the anticipation of Adèle's leave. The grave Doctor finds
his heart wrapped about by the winning ways of the little stranger in a
manner he could hardly have conceived possible on the day when he first
greeted her. On the score of her religious beliefs, he is not, indeed,
as yet thoroughly satisfied; but he feels sure that she is at least in a
safe path. The old idols are broken: God, in His own time, will do the
rest.

The spinster, though she has become unconsciously attached to Adèle to a
degree of which she hardly believes herself capable, is yet not so much
disconcerted by the thought of any violence to her affections,--for all
violence of this kind she has schooled herself to regard with cool
stoicism,--but the possible interruption of her ambitious schemes with
respect to Reuben and Adèle discomposes her sadly. Such a scheme she has
never given over for one moment. No plan of hers is ever given over
lightly; and she has that persistent faith in her own sagacity and
prudence which is not easily shaken. The growing intercourse with the
Elderkins, in view of the evident devotion of Phil, has been, indeed,
the source of a little uneasiness; but even this intimacy she has
moderated to a certain degree by occasional judicious fears in regard to
Adèle's exposure to the night air; and has made the most--in her quiet
manner--of Phil's exceptional, but somewhat noisy, attentions to that
dashing girl, Sophie Bowrigg.

"A very suitable match it would be," she says some evening, casually, to
the Doctor; "and I really think that Phil, if there were any seriousness
about the lad, would meet his father's wishes in the matter. Adèle,
child," (she is sitting by at her worsted,) "are you sure you've the
right shade of brown there?"

But, like most cool schemers in what concerns the affections, she makes
her errors. Her assurance in regard to the improved habits and character
of Reuben, and her iteration of the wonderful attachment which the
Brindlocks bear to the lad, have a somewhat strained air to the ear of
Adèle. And when the spinster says,--folding up his last letter,--"Good
fellow! always some tender little message for you, my dear," Adèle
thinks--as most girls of her age would be apt to think--that she would
like to see the tender message with her own eyes.

But what of the French? Where is there to be found a competent teacher?
Not, surely, in Ashfield. Miss Eliza, with grave doubts, however,
suggests a winter in New York with the Brindlocks. The Doctor shakes his
head:--

"Not to be thought of, Eliza. It is enough that my boy should undergo
the perils of such godless association: Adaly shall not."

The question, however, of the desired opportunity is not confined to the
parsonage; it has currency up and down the street; and within a week the
buoyant Miss Bowrigg comes to the rescue.

"Delighted above all things to hear it. They have a charming teacher in
the city, Madame Arles, who has the best accent. And now, Adèle, dear,
you must come down and pass the winter with us. It will be charming."

It is, indeed, a mere girlish proposal at first; but, much to the
delight of Miss Eliza, it is abundantly confirmed by a formal invitation
from Mrs. Bowrigg, a few weeks after, who, besides being attracted by
the manners and character of Adèle, sees in it an admirable opportunity
for the accomplishment of her daughters in French. Her demonstrative
girls and a son of twenty comprise her family. For these reasons, she
will regard it as a favor, if the Doctor will allow Miss Maverick to
establish herself with them for the winter.

Miss Eliza is delighted with the scheme, but fears the cool judgment of
the Doctor: and she has abundant reason.

"It cannot be," he said, and was quite inexorable.

The truth is, that Mrs. Bowrigg, like a good many educated with a narrow
severity, had expanded her views under the city influences in
directions that were by no means approved by the good Doctor. Hers was
not only a godless household, but given over to the lusts of the eye and
the pride of life. It was quite impossible for him to entertain the idea
of submitting Adèle to any such worldly associations.

Miss Eliza pleaded the exigencies of the case in vain; and even Adèle,
attracted by the novelty of the proposed situation, urged her claim in
the cheeriest little manner conceivable.

"Only for the winter, New Papa; please say 'Yes'!"

And the tender hands patted the grave face, as she seated herself with a
childish coquetry upon the elbow of his chair.

"Impossible, quite impossible," says the Doctor. "You are too dear to
me, Adaly."

"Oh, now, New Papa, you don't mean that,--not _positively_?"--and the
winning fingers tap his cheek again.

But for this time, at least, Adèle is to lose her claim; the Doctor well
knows that to suffer such endearments were to yield; so he rises
brusquely,--

"I must be just, my child, to the charge your father has imposed upon
me. It cannot be."

It will not be counted strange, if a little ill-disguised petulance
appeared in the face of Adèle that day and the next.

The winter of 1836-7 was a very severe one throughout New England.
Perhaps it was in view of its severity, that, on or about New Year's
Day, there came to the parsonage a gift from Reuben for Adèle, in the
shape of a fur tippet, very much to the gratification of Miss Eliza and
to the pleasant surprise of the Doctor.

Rose and Phil, sitting by the fire next day, Rose says, in a timid
voice, with less than her usual sprightliness,--

"Do you know who has sent a beautiful fur tippet to Adèle, Phil?"

"No," says Phil, briskly. "Who?"

"Reuben," says Rose,--in a tone as if a blush ran over her face at the
utterance.

If there was one, however, Phil could not have seen it; he was looking
steadfastly into the fire, and said only,--

"I don't care."

A little after, (nothing having been said, meantime,) he has occasion to
rearrange the wood upon the hearth, and does it with such preposterous
violence that the timid little voice beside him says,--

"Don't, Phil, be angry with the fire!"

It was a winter, as we have said, for fur tippets and for glowing
cheeks; and Adèle had now been long enough under a Northern sky to
partake of that exhilaration of spirits which belongs to every true-born
New-Englander in presence of one of those old-fashioned snowstorms,
which, all through the day and through the night, sifts out from the
gray sky its fleecy crystals,--covering the frosted high-roads, covering
the withered grasses, covering the whole summer's wreck in one glorious
white burial; and after it, keen frosty mornings, the pleasant jingling
of scores of bells, jets of white vapor from the nostrils of the
prancing horses, and a quick electric tingle to the blood, that makes
every pulse beat a thanksgiving. Squire Elderkin never made better
jokes, the flame upon his hearth never danced more merrily,--the Doctor
never preached better sermons, and the people never listened more
patiently than in those weeks of the dead of winter.

But in the midst of them a black shadow fell upon the little town. News
came overland, (the river being closed,) that Mrs. Bowrigg, after an
illness of three days, was dead; and the body of the poor woman was to
come home for burial. She had been reared, as we have said, under a
harsh regimen, and had signalized her married escape from the somewhat
oppressive formalities of home by a pretty free entertainment of all the
indulgences accessible in her new life. Not that she offended against
any of the larger or lesser proprieties of society, but she showed a
zest for the pleasures of the world, and for a certain measure of
display, which had been the occasion of many a sober shake of the head
along the streets of Ashfield, and the subject of particular
commiseration on the part of the good Doctor.

Now that her brilliant career (as it seemed to many of the staid folk of
Ashfield) was so suddenly closed, the Doctor could not forbear taking
advantage of the opportunity to press home upon his people, under the
influences of this sombre funeral procession, the vanities of the world
and the fleeting character of its wealth and pride. "We may build
palaces," said he, (and people thought of the elegant Bowrigg mansion,)
"but God locks the door and assigns to us a narrower home; we may court
the intoxicating air of cities, but its breath, in a day, may blast our
strength, and, except He keep us, may blast our souls." Never had the
Doctor been more eloquent, and never had he so moved his people. After
the evening prayer, Adèle stole into the study of the Doctor, and
said,--

"New Papa, it was well I stayed with you."

The old gentleman took her hand in his,--

"Right, I believe, Adaly; but vain, utterly vain, except you be counted
among the elect."

The poor girl had no reply, save only to drop a kiss upon his forehead
and pass out.

With the opening of the spring the townspeople were busy with the
question, if the Bowriggs would come again to occupy their summer
residence, that, with its closed doors and windows, was mournfully
silent. But soon the gardeners were set to work; it was understood that
a housekeeper had been engaged, and the family were to occupy it as
usual. Sophie writes to Adèle, confirming it all, and adding,--"Madame
Arles had proposed to make us a visit, which papa hearing, and wishing
us to keep up our studies, has given her an invitation to pass the
summer with us. She says she will. I am so glad! We had told her very
much of you, and I know she will be delighted to have you as a scholar."

At this Adèle feels a thrill of satisfaction, and looks longingly
forward to the time when she shall hear again from native lips the
language of her childhood.

"_Ma fille! ma fille!_"

The voices of her early home seem to ring again in her ear. She basks
once more in the delicious flow of the sunshine, and the perfume of the
orange-blossoms regales her.

----"_Ma fille!_"

Is it the echo of your voice, good old godmother, that comes rocking
over the great reach of sea, and so touches the heart of the exile?



LETTER TO A SILENT FRIEND.


Were you, my friend, one of those who make a merit of their silence, I
should have little occasion to write this letter. But as I know you, on
the contrary, to have lamented your colloquial deficiencies as sincerely
as any one, as I know that you have most earnestly coveted greater
fluency of speech and admired most warmly those who possessed it, I
venture to hope that I may say something to convince you that your case
is not so bad as you think. Yes, I am bold enough to believe that you
may aspire to the character which now seems to you so utterly beyond
reach,--the character of a talker! Before you smile incredulously,
listen to me, a fellow-sufferer. I also have known the misery and
weakness of an unready tongue. No poor man ever looked upon a heap of
gold coin with more longing eyes than I have looked upon those who could
so easily coin their thoughts into words. From a boy I conceived myself
doomed to taciturnity. The charge, to "talk more," was a well-meant
appeal to awaken my powers of utterance, but its only effect was to shut
my mouth closer than ever. Few persons can talk upon compulsion, and
boys least of all. As I grew old enough, however, to recognize some
responsibility for conversation, I was the more distressed that I could
not do what I knew I ought to do. I was beyond measure vexed with myself
this incapacity. It stood in the way of my usefulness, it did not make
my company desirable, it drove me into morbid and depressing thoughts.
And yet--to make a long story short--I have gradually come to be, not a
"talker" certainly, but no longer afraid that I "can find nothing to
say," no longer trammelled by a false reserve, but presuming, on the
contrary, that with most persons whom I meet it will be quite possible
to engage in easy and fluent conversation,--a presumption, by the way,
always likely to justify itself by the event. I insist, therefore, from
my own experience, that conversation is an art as well as a gift; and
that where it is not a gift, the deficiency may be more surely
supplemented by art than almost any other. You will tell me, perhaps, in
common with others who are not talkers, that speech must be natural to
be attractive, and that all appearance of effort will spoil its charm.
Is not this rather the excuse of indolence than the valid objection of
reason? It has been finely argued, that even with children "work" must
precede "play." The proverb, too, says that "every beginning is hard." I
know that the _appearance_ of effort is not attractive; but after a
while there is no such appearance, not merely because "the province of
art is to conceal art," but because habit has become a second nature.
When you think what a trained and educated thing our life is in its
minutest particulars, and how not only the civilized, but the savage man
has to _learn_ the use of his senses, his muscles, and his brain, you
must admit that it is frivolous to urge against the charm or value of
conversation, that it must be studied. It is hardly too much to say,
that all the noblest things in the world are the result of study. Why
not also study the noble and most desirable art of framing our thoughts,
opinions, sentiments, tastes, into free, familiar, and appropriate
speech?

But here I fancy you may meet me with a question,--Is it, after all, so
desirable an art, and one well worth the learning? I have, it is true,
given you credit for coveting earnestly a greater facility of speech;
and yet you may have become more reconciled to your deficiency than you
like to acknowledge, through the influence of certain popular maxims and
fallacies. The one I wish especially to challenge now is expressed in
that German proverb which Mr. Carlyle has taken under his peculiar
patronage,--"Speech is silver, silence is gold." A great comfort, to be
sure, to one who is either too lazy or too diffident to open his lips to
get credit so cheaply for superior wisdom! When he does not talk, of
course it can only be because he keeps up such an incessant thinking!
"Too deep for utterance" is the character of all his meditations! Do you
remember Coleridge's amusing experience with one of these reputed sages?
But for the appearance of the "dumplings,"--almost as historic now as
King George's famous ones,--it might never have been suspected that this
empty-headed fellow was not the profoundest of philosophers. Can you or
anybody explain the reasons for this singular praise of silence and
disparagement of speech? You do not expect to be commended for shutting
your eyes instead of keeping them open. The feeble and unused hand is
not preferred to the strong cunning one. Nor is there any sense or
faculty of our nature of which the simple non-use is better than the
use. Why, then, account it a merit to refrain from using this wondrous
faculty of speech? I may grant all that you will tell me of the
deplorable amount of vapid, idle, bitter, malicious, foul, and profane
talk. Silence is better than the _abuse_ of words,--none of us will
question that. I am only defending the normal and legitimate exercise
of this faculty. And perhaps you will see the matter in still clearer
light, if you should undertake to apply the principle of the Carlyle
proverb to some other endowments and opportunities, to which in fact
many do apply it. If one may say, "I am weary of all this talking,
henceforth let there be silence," why may not another, improving upon
this hint, say, "I am sick of these miserable daubs, there shall be no
more painting," and another, "I am disgusted with politics, I will have
nothing more to do with the science or the art of government"? Because
there are infelicities of married life, is it so certain that "single
blessedness" is the best estate? Because there are some timeservers and
worldlings among the clergy, shall we join in denunciation of priests
and churches everywhere? I see that you are prepared to answer, that
speech is peculiarly liable to abuse. Exactly, and that is true of all
the most excellent and valuable gifts of Providence. It is impossible to
escape the condition of peril attached to everything under the sun that
is most worthy of desire. Have we not learned by this time the folly of
every form of asceticism, of every attempt to trample upon God's gifts
as evil instead of using them for good?

Now I shall not attempt a dissertation, however tempting the theme, upon
the uses of speech in general. I will only ask you to consider that
single department of it which we call conversation. Did you ever think
how great a power in the world this is? See how early it begins to shape
our opinions, our plans, our studies, our tastes, our attachments, etc.
I remember that a casual remark, dropped in conversation by a beloved
and revered relative long before I had entered my teens, made me for
years feel more kindly towards the much-abused natives of the Emerald
Isle, though I have no doubt that she whose word I had listened to with
so much deference was entirely unsuspicious of having lodged such a
fruitful seed in my memory. If you can recall the formative periods of
your own life, I have no doubt you also will find hundreds of similar
instances, where a new direction was given to your sentiments and
purposes by some quite random words of friendly and domestic talk.
Consider how large a part of the life of most human beings is spent in
society of some sort, and then reflect how that society is bound
together and constituted, as it were, by familiar speech, and you will
begin to appreciate the extent of the power of conversation. Compare
this power with that of written language,--as books, letters, etc.,--or
even with more formal spoken language,--such as orations, sermons, and
the like,--and I think you will allow that it surpasses them all in its
diffusion and its permanence. Were the question solely as to the amount
of information imparted, books and deliberate addresses certainly stand
higher. But you must not fall into the common error, that the chief
object of conversation is or should be to instruct. It has manifold
objects, and some of them, to say the least, are quite as desirable as
instruction. We talk to keep up good feeling, to enliven the else dull
hours, to give expression to our interest in one another, to throw off
the burden of too much private care and thought. We have also, in
special cases, more serious ends in view, when we talk to reprove or
encourage, to console or arouse. Even this partial enumeration of the
offices of familiar speech may suffice to show you how desirable it is
to wield such a power. Conversation establishes a personal relation
between yourself and another soul. It is the open door through which
your spiritual treasures are interchanged. For the time, at least, it
supposes some degree of equality, some power both to give and receive,
in those who take part in the dialogue. I know very well how the cynics
like to quote the diplomatist's sarcasm, that "speech is the art of
hiding thought." Let this perversion have what force it may. I am
speaking now of the higher uses and possibilities of conversation. You
can hide your thoughts under your words, if you choose to be a
hypocrite; but I am taking for granted that you are a man of truth,--a
"man of your word," as the common phrase happily has it. I assume that
you would be glad to talk, because you wish to form sincere and friendly
relations with your fellow-men. When two or more human beings meet, the
rule, the normal condition, is, that they give utterance to some
thoughts, feelings, or sentiments in audible words. _Silence is
unsocial_: there lies its condemnation. It is true that silence may
often be justified, notwithstanding; for social claims must sometimes
yield to higher considerations, or even to physical necessity. But most
persons, I believe, feel instinctively that a persistent silence is an
affront to them,--a denial, in some sort, of their right to be received
into your company. "You won't speak to me" is their resentful
interpretation of your silence. You ought not to ask so much as "a penny
for your thoughts." They should, so far as practicable, be shared freely
by those whom you call friends. The limitations and exceptions to this
rule we will presently refer to, but the rule is important and clear.
True social feeling, true warmth and cordiality, naturally expresses
itself in words, and is strengthened by the expression. Will you not
admit, that, if we are conscious of having anything to say which might
please or profit a friend, it is a reproach to us to keep it back? Yes,
it is desirable to talk, were it simply a mark of interest and
confidence in those whom you come in contact with. I have noticed that a
great deal of taciturnity comes from a very discreditable diffidence, by
which I mean a distrust or suspicion that our words may be misconstrued,
or that they may not be appreciated, or that they may chance to give
serious offence. Now, in my opinion, one had better make innumerable
_faux pas_ than indulge such unworthy fears and suspicions. A little
less vanity, and vastly more courage and self-forgetfulness,--such is
the remedy to be administered to many of the taciturn. You are the best
judge whether it would suit your own case.

As an illustration of the value of conversation in its more familiar
forms and its daily requirements, consider its service at meal-times.
General usage has determined that three times a day we shall assemble
with our families for the common purpose of appeasing the demands of
hunger and satisfying the fancies or whims of the palate. Moreover, to
many men these are the only times of the day when they can have the
opportunity to meet all the members of their family in free and
unrestrained intercourse. Now to make this occasion something more than
mere "feeding," and to elevate it to the dignity of rational
intercourse, conversation is indispensable. We must open our mouths for
something more than the reception of food. As a mere hygienic rule, I
wish that excellent old proverb could be circulated among our
countrymen,--"Chatted food is half digested." I would almost pledge
myself by this single rule to cure or prevent nearly half the cases of
dyspepsia. But for higher reasons chiefly I speak of it now. We ought to
insist that everything shall be favorable at meal-times to the truest
sociality. No clouded brows, no absent or preoccupied demeanor, should
be permitted at our tables. Whoever is not ready to do his part in
making it a cheerful hour should be made to feel that he does not belong
there. Better the merest nonsense, better anything that is not scandal
and detraction, than absolute and freezing silence then. I am sure that
the usages of all the most civilized and refined people will bear me out
in this,--that the only way to dignify our meals, and make them
something better than the indulgence of mere animal appetites, is to
intersperse them largely with social talk. There, if not elsewhere, we
look for the _soluta lingua_. There all reserve and embarrassment of
speech, we trust, will have vanished, and each will feel free to impart
to the rest his brightest and most joyous moods. Shall we ever realize
this ideal, as long as "bolting" usurps the place of eating?

And what, after all, constitutes the charm and the power of
conversation, and makes it so desirable an attainment? Not, certainly,
the amount of knowledge one can bring into play; for, as I have already
shown you, instruction is a secondary object of conversation; and it is
well known also that some of the most learned and best-informed men have
been very poor talkers. Indeed, the scholastic habits which learning
usually engenders are almost a disqualification for fluent and eloquent
speech. The student is one of the last persons who are expected to shine
at a social reunion. But neither can you rely upon brilliant talents, or
original genius, or even upon wit and humor, to make the most charming
converser. The qualities more immediately in requisition for this end
are moral and social. Truth, courage, deference, good-nature,
cheerfulness, sympathy, courtesy, tact, charity,--these are ingredients
of the best conversation, which it would seem that no one need despair
of attaining, and without which, in large measure, the most brilliant
wit, the liveliest imagination, must soon repel rather than attract. And
observe also, in connection with this, that it is not so much the words
a man utters as the tones of his voice which express these moral and
social qualities. Harsh, rude, blunt, severe tones will spoil the
greatest flow of ideas or the utmost elegance of language. But when we
are listening to the low, sweet music in which a genial and joyous and
tender soul will utter itself, what care we for the wit or genius which
are so much envied elsewhere? We did not miss it here. We may have
brought away with us from such company no great fund of new ideas, but
you may be sure something deeper than thought has been awakened,--the
well-spring of purest and tenderest sensibilities has been made to
overflow, and our life will be the greener for it hereafter. Perhaps, if
you think of this a little more, my friend, you will not find it in your
heart to condemn so unsparingly the more ordinary staple of
conversation. Some cynical or unsocial character, deeming himself
superior to the vulgar vacuity and insipidity, will take no part in the
every-day talk which deals so largely in commonplace and truisms.
"Absurd waste of time and breath!" he exclaims. "Of what use this
incessant harping on the weather, or the renewed inquiries after one's
health, or the utterly pointless, if not insincere, exchange of daily
civilities? Who is the wiser for it? What possible good can it do
anybody?" Let us look a little at this, Mr. Cynic. You think it a waste
of breath to greet a friend with a "good morning," or to give your
testimony to the beauty of the day? Of course you are right, if one
should never open his mouth but to impart a new idea, or to announce
some startling fact. But what would you substitute for the morning
salutation? Nothing! And would you really have two friends or brothers
meet on the threshold of a new day, and interchange--blank silence? I
admit, there is no variety in the words,--they are stale, they have been
repeated a thousand times over. But it is the heartiness we put into
them which gives them their value, and I am sure that you, with all your
objections to the form of greeting, would find the world many shades
more dreary, were _no_ such forms to welcome us with the rising sun. For
myself I can truly say, that, many and many a time, this morning
salutation, spoken out with a generous fulness, and not with that
grudging curtness which sometimes distinguishes it, has touched my heart
as with a happy prophecy which the day was sure to fulfil. As to the
dreadfully threadbare topic of the weather, I must confess I often hear
it to satiety; but that is when it ceases to be the mere prelude to the
dialogue, and occupies one's whole talk. In itself you cannot deny that
it is natural and proper enough to invite another's sympathy in a
subject which so nearly concerns the physical, if not the moral
well-being of most of us. "What a glorious day we have!" when
interpreted rationally, means nothing less than this,--"Come, let us
enjoy together the lavish bounty of the Creator!" We may be sensible of
a new and purer joy for such an appeal. Already we were glad to have the
sun shine so brightly; but it seems doubly bright now that our friend
has invited us to share his joy. Does it seem to you superfluous,
perhaps, to give utterance to a thought which is obviously already in
the mind of your companion? Well, let us try this by some familiar test.
You have just gone among the mountains to spend a few weeks with an
agreeable company. You wake in the morning and find yourself in the
midst of a most majestic spectacle. At the very door of the farm-house
where you have taken lodgings, your eyes travel upward five thousand
feet to admire that cloud-piercing summit which stands there to give you
the welcome of the morning. As you watch its coursing shadows and all
its wondrous variety of beauty and grandeur, have you nothing to say to
the friend who has come with you there to see it all? What would be more
unnatural than to repress all words or tokens of admiration,--to meet
your friend day after day and interchange no word of recognition amid
such scenes? I know that he who feels most in the presence of these
sublimities will often say least. But because it is impossible to give
expression to one's deepest thoughts, shall one say nothing? You may
reasonably be supposed to care something for the sympathy of those whom
you have accompanied hither; and sympathy, though not entirely dependent
on words, naturally seeks some words to express itself, and is injured
when that expression is restrained.

But now I fancy you replying to all this,--"You do not hit my
difficulty. I have no trouble in talking with a chosen companion. My
friend 'draws me out,' because I am his friend. In his presence my
tongue is easily loosed, I have no hesitation in saying exactly what I
wish, and there are innumerable things that I wish to say. But the great
majority of men 'shut me up.' All my fluency departs when they enter.
There is an indescribable awkwardness in our interview. We belong to
different spheres, and it is mere pretence to affirm that we have
anything to communicate to each other."--Here I am willing to admit that
you have touched upon a very important consideration, although it by no
means justifies all that you would build upon it. I am myself conscious
that with some persons it is an effort to talk, and with others a
delight; nor can I always understand whence this difference. It is
certainly not owing to the length or shortness of acquaintance. It has
been no infrequent experience with me, to meet persons who at the first
interview broke down all my natural reserve. And on the other hand, I
have known men all my life with whom it is still a study what I shall
say when we meet. Who shall tell us what this magic is? Who shall give
us the "open sesame" to every heart? We name it "sphere,"
"organization," "sympathy," or what not, to cover our ignorance: all I
insist upon is, that you will not name it _fate_. Pride or indolence is
always suggesting that these lines of demarcation are fixed and
unalterable. Beware of entertaining that suggestion! Were two of the
most uncongenial persons in the world to be thrown together on a desert
island, would they have nothing to say to each other? Would they not
learn by the necessities of the case to communicate more and more? Would
it not probably be a constant discovery, that they had vastly more in
common than either had ever dreamed? I think so, at least. Well, if mere
external necessity can surmount these natural barriers, may not a
determined will, backed by a strong sense of moral obligation, do the
same? Let me tell you this also, as one of my experiences: that I have
not seldom reversed my first judgments or impressions of men, and have
found, that, after a very thin crust was once broken through, there was
no further obstacle to easy conversation. You will observe that some
persons, at the first encounter, bristle all over with uncongenial
points; and yet, if you will quietly ignore these, or boldly rush upon
them, you shall gain a true friend. Behind that formidable barrier is a
field all your own, and worth cultivating. This needs to be considered,
especially under our northern skies, where cultivated society intrenches
itself behind a triple wall of reserve. The code of this society seems
to assume, that no stranger has a right to our confidence, that every
new person may be supposed to have little in common with us, till we
learn the contrary. Hence conversation in the saloons is a dexterous
tossing about of the most vapid generalities, or a series of desperate
attempts at non-committal. I do not wonder that you, my friend, like
many other sensible people, infinitely prefer saying nothing to talking
on this wise. But, with a little more courage, may not one break boldly
through these artificial restraints, and ignore these supposed claims of
polite society? Do not call me Quixotic, because I exhort you to show
something like independence. Why may you not establish your own claim to
confidence by confiding in others? Why not, without affectation, have to
some extent your own standard of polite usage,--not, indeed, rashly
despising all conventionalisms, but conforming to whatever is
essentially refined, courteous, and deferential, yet proving in your
manners and language that such conformity does not require one to
suppress all that is simple, natural, spontaneous, enthusiastic, and
fresh? Do not be afraid, however, that I would have you addicted to
superlatives,--though I might object to them for another reason than
that given by our American Essayist. He complains of them, that "they
put whole drawing-rooms to flight,"--a result which I am almost
malicious enough to say might sometimes be by no means undesirable. I do
not say it, however. I merely express my impatience at the extremely
artificial barriers which society interposes to any genuine, unaffected
intercourse of human souls.

To return to the question of spheres and sympathy. I frankly admit, that
it is very unreasonable to suppose we can talk equally well and feel
equally at ease with all kinds of persons. Not only organization, but
habits, occupations, and culture, make inevitable differences between
men, such as render it less easy for them to converse together. The
scholar and the mechanic, the sailor and the farmer, the mistress and
the maid, in most cases will have little to interest each other. Their
interview will probably be awkward and brief, their words few and
constrained. This, perhaps, cannot be essentially remedied. But I trust
you will agree with me, that the true remedy is to be sought in a more
hearty recognition of that _common humanity_ which underlies all the
shades and diversities of human character. "_Nihil humani alienum_"--we
must go back to old Terence still, even to learn how to talk. You happen
to be thrown into the same public conveyance with a man of no literary
or intellectual tastes. "All his talk is of oxen," or perchance of his
speculations and profits in trade. Moreover, he offends your ear by a
shocking disregard of grammar, and vulgarisms of pronunciation. Your
first reflection is,--"What can I have to say to such a man? How
unfortunate to be condemned to such company!" Yet is there not _aliquid
humani_ even here? Were it only as an intellectual exercise, why not try
to find out the real man beneath all these wrappages? The gold-miner
does not grumble at having to crush the quartz, that he may bring to
light the few grains of precious metal hidden in it. Infinitely more is
it worth all the labor it costs to break through that harder shell in
which man hides his intrinsic gold. And besides, it will not reflect
much credit on the largeness of your own culture, if you suffer a mere
offence against taste and manners to keep you ignorant of your
companion's deeper nature. "But how to draw him out? What effectual
method to break through this hard or coarse covering?" I have no
infallible directions to give you. But you must first have a genuine
interest in him as a new specimen of _a man_; and then you must be able
to inspire him with confidence in you, confidence that you respect him
for his human nature and hold yourself to be on an equality with him,
inasmuch as "man measures man the world over." Start some topic which
will evidently not be remote from his familiar range, and by a little
tact you will easily find other related topics, till at last, as the
field continually widens, you will both be amazed to see how many common
interests, desires, beliefs you had, and how much unexpected benefit
each has received from the other. Were there no other advantage to be
sought from the power of general conversation, this alone should be
enough to induce us to cultivate it: that so many uncomfortable social
distinctions would thereby be removed. Have you not heard it often said,
that, if certain classes only "knew each other better," they would be
better friends, no longer separated by mutual envies, jealousies, and
contempt? Now conversation is the readiest way to this mutual
acquaintance, and it specially behooves one of the educated class to
make the first advances in conversation. I have in my mind an instance
of a man of natural reserve and diffidence, and of scholastic habits,
who greatly to his grief had the reputation among some uneducated people
of being "proud." But having occasion to do some little service to a
woman of this class, he entered her plain dwelling, seated himself at
once as if at home, and had no sooner uttered a few words of sympathy,
such as the occasion called for, than all that suspicion of pride was
most thoroughly dissipated, leaving only the wonder that it could ever
have been entertained. My friend, will you not, in this world of
frequent misunderstanding, do your part, by _word_ as well as deed, to
show others, whom society classes below you, that you are not divided
from them in respect to all those great interests which make the true
dignity of human nature? Talk of the virtue of silence! I will tell you
from my own experience of a thousand cases where the simple failure to
speak has kept up a coolness and alienation which one little word would
have dispersed forever. Among the many sins and weaknesses which I have
to lay at my own door, few give me greater compunction than the
cowardice--or whatever else it was--which kept back the timely words
that ought to have been uttered, but were not.

Can I make this letter more practically useful by a few rules? It would
seem, that, if conversation is an art, like other arts, there must be
rules and methods to attain to it. This is true; but I must first remind
you that mere facility, propriety, or elegance of speech is but a small
part of the discipline required to make an agreeable and profitable
talker. You must have something to express, something that you long to
utter, something that you feel it would be for the advantage of others
to hear. For the furnishing of mind and heart comes before any special
power to _bring out_ of one's treasury things new or old. In other
words, the power to converse well is not an isolated and independent
power; it has a close relation to the entire character, moral and
intellectual. An enlightened conscience would make many persons better
talkers than they are now, for it would present the matter in the light
of a duty. A consciousness of intellectual power or of ample learning
makes one more ready to open his mouth before intelligent men; for,
whether rightly or not, one does not like to talk before others of
subjects on which he knows that they are better informed than he. And
yet it is no good reason for maintaining silence in the company of some
eminent scholar, that he _knows_ so much more than you. You are
naturally shy of expressing your opinion on the "origin of species," or
the "antiquity of man," before some great naturalist. But why not come
to him as a learner, then? The art of putting questions well is no small
part of the art of conversation. You can derive information from him in
the most direct and impressive manner, while at the same time you are
showing a pleasing deference to his superior knowledge. Or suppose the
case reversed, and that you are the more learned of the two, may you not
benefit some young scholar by questioning him so skilfully that he
shall seem to have imparted all the information evolved, instead of
receiving it? The "wisest of mankind" always declared that he merely
drew out the sentiments of those he talked with. He assisted in the
delivery of their thoughts. He simply helped them to that most valuable
knowledge,--the knowledge of themselves. He was forever putting
questions to them, with a result which often surprised and sometimes
made them angry, but which, at any rate, effectually served the
interests of truth. And, upon the whole, I do not know any rule for
making a good talker which deserves a more prominent place than this:
Put your questions properly, and ask many questions. Observe how
naturally nearly all conversation begins with an inquiry. "When did you
arrive?" "Are you a stranger here?" "How far did you walk to-day?"
"Which view did you most enjoy?" "Did you hear any news from the seat of
war?" The simple reason of this method, as already intimated, is, that
it puts the questioner in a more modest position. He whom you question
has the agreeable consciousness of being able to impart something which
you have not. You put yourself in the background, and make him the
important person. He is therefore at once amicably disposed towards you,
and is not likely to let the conversation languish, so auspiciously
begun. He in turn becomes the questioner, and so in not many moments you
stand on the footing of equals. But remember, all this is true only on
condition that the questions are _properly put_. If they manifest an
impertinent curiosity, a mere disposition to pry into affairs which do
not belong to one,--if they are of a nature to expose the ignorance of
the questioned, even though not intended for such,--if they are
incessant, and unrelieved by any affirmations, as though you were
unwilling to commit yourself, or grudged to impart your knowledge,--and,
finally, if the tone and voice of the questioner imply a feeling of
superiority,--then, instead of promoting conversation, you will have
done your worst to check it. You will have made the breach wider than if
you had said nothing. Again, before putting your questions, consider a
little the character of the man or woman whom you would address; for,
while some evidently delight in being the objects of interrogation,
others are as plainly, beyond a very moderate amount, annoyed by it. You
must, of course, take this into account. You will gain nothing by the
rudeness of pressing your questions upon unwilling ears. If one
obstinately (or not obstinately) refuses to be drawn out, there is no
help for it but silence. Conversation implies _some_ reciprocity,--not
by any means an equal amount of words on both sides, but at any rate
some sign of intelligence, some expression of interest, some listening
ear and face to encourage you; else it were better to utter your
monologue to the woods and flowers.

Another rule of conversation, as old at least as George Herbert, is, to
talk with men on the subjects which belong to their peculiar calling or
occupation,--with a farmer about his crops, with a merchant about the
markets, with a sailor about the charms and perils of the sea, etc. Let
it be only with considerable qualification that you accept this rule. I
like Coleridge's comment on it: Talk with a man about his trade or
business, if your object is to get information on such points; but if
you wish to know the man himself, try him on all other topics sooner.
The rule, however, is a convenient one; it is almost instinctively
adopted in general society; and if judiciously applied, it may express a
friendly feeling, which it is very desirable to commence with. It is not
applied judiciously, when you seem to assume by it that your
interlocutor is _limited_ to these topics, and that "the cobbler must
stick to his last," in word as well as deed. Or, again, if your
questions shall have the air of "pumping" him, you will not make much
progress towards friendly communication; for that seems an unfair
advantage to take of your position, besides that it is making of him a
mere convenience, not treating him as an equal. No one likes to be
catechized after he has grown to man's estate. I advise you, therefore,
to use this rule simply as a convenient introduction to conversation
where other methods fail, and to rely more upon a rule which is in some
respects the reverse of this: Begin by talking about those things which
interest yourself, assuming that your interlocutor is interested in them
also. But I must warn you that here even more tact and discretion are
required than in the other case. Follow such a rule literally and
everywhere, and you would often have no hearer left. Fancy some student,
fresh from his Greek or Sanscrit, endeavoring to impart his enthusiasm
to a crowd of rustics! It is plain that I must add to my rule,
_provided_ your interest does not lie in things too remote from common
apprehension and sympathy. Remember what I have already said about our
"common humanity." Do not be so absorbed in your favorite study that you
shall not also have an eye and a heart for matters pertaining to the
general welfare. Then there will be no company in which you need be
wholly silent, though there will always be preference for a company
which sympathizes with your more decided tastes and pursuits. I cannot,
indeed, understand how one should ever arrive at that state in which he
has no preference for any particular class or society. Yet the more one
cultivates acquaintance with a variety of characters, the more one will
enjoy conversation in the favorite circle. Looking upon society simply
as the means of developing the power of speech in man, the wider and
more intimate our acquaintance with it, the more varied and attractive
will be that power. I have somewhere read of two prisoners of state in
Europe, who, entire strangers to each other before, were thrown into the
same prison-cell to pass years together. One of them, after his release,
relates, that, for the first year, they told each other all that they
ever did,--every incident that memory could possibly rake up out of
their past lives. For the second year, they talked over all their
interior life, confiding to each other every phase of thought and
affection and spiritual experience. But in the third year, they were
_utterly silent_. They had "talked out." And what could more strikingly
picture the misery of such a confinement than this entire exhaustion of
materials for mutual communication? Yet how could it be otherwise? With
absolutely nothing new to flow in, how could anything new be drawn out?

The story impresses upon us the lesson, that, if we would enrich and
enliven our conversation, we must always be supplying ourselves with new
resources, new studies, new experiences. Let me lay it down, then, as a
further rule to help one in the attainment of this valuable art: Make it
a point to inform yourself on a variety of topics. One of the greatest
hindrances, you will observe, to profitable or entertaining conversation
is the extremely limited range of ideas with which most persons are
familiar. Take any miscellaneous company, brought together in some
public conveyance, or detained at some public house. The chances are,
that very few out of the whole number will be conscious of any definite
opinions to express on the higher departments of thought. They could
doubtless tell you a great many _facts_ which have interested them; but
ask them for their _ideas_ upon science, theology, politics, or morals,
and they are dumb. They will talk with you of _persons_ as long as you
will listen, but of _principles_ they seem to have only the remotest
conception. Now I do not quite agree with the "Guesses at Truth," that
"personality is the bane of conversation"; for persons come nearer to
our every-day sympathies, and one need not, one does not, always bring
them forward for gossip and scandal. But does it not denote extreme
poverty of thought to introduce personalities into every conversation?
Let them rather be illustrations, and thus stepping-stones to something
higher and more edifying. Come now and then, at least, fully prepared
for something like intellectual gymnastics. Put your whole strength into
the conflict. Gather up all your forces of thought and knowledge, and do
your best as a man among men, contending not for victory or display, but
for the truth and the right. If you ever belonged to a literary club or
debating-society of any kind, you will remember what healthy glow and
freshness it gave to all your faculties to enter into this intellectual
arena. You could read and study with a great deal more interest after
that. You knew better what you really believed and thought concerning
the great interests of humanity. Your ideas of art, of ethics, of
history, of government, of philosophy, were set in clearer order, and
made you conscious of greater power. Now I am not pretending that you
can make a debating-club out of every mixed company you may chance to
meet, but only that you should carry into all society a readiness to
discuss the higher topics, whenever they come up naturally to mind. Here
it is _tact_ again, and evermore tact, which is required to make the
rule efficient,--tact to prevent "lugging in" unseasonable topics,--tact
to avoid too long a discussion,--tact to keep out offensive
egotism,--tact, in general, to adapt one's self to one's surroundings.

I will not conclude this letter, however imperfectly it may meet your
wants, without devoting a few words to the grave question, Shall we talk
of a subject so sacred as _religion_ in mixed society? For myself, I
must confess to some change of opinion on this point. I have greater
respect than I once had for that reserve which keeps one habitually
silent on this highest of all themes. I protest against the assumption,
that a religious man will feel it his duty to converse often about
religion. His duty must be governed by the peculiar circumstances of
each case. He certainly must not do violence to his own feelings of
reverence; nor ought he to suppose that the mere introduction of
religious themes into conversation, anyhow and anywhere, is sure to do
good. On the contrary, I believe that an injudicious treatment of this
subject has done vastly more harm than good. And yet there is no power,
in my opinion, within the whole range of the human faculties, more
desirable than that of awakening religious life and thought by means of
familiar speech. Whoever would wield such a power must know, as one of
the chief requisites, how to seize the _mollia tempora fandi_. The word
in season,--the very word to reach and move this individual heart,--find
_this_, and you have found the great secret of influence. And be sure
there is such a key to every man. Somewhere and sometime, if you watch
for it, you shall discover the tender place in the roughest and hardest
character. Men arm themselves against you by a thousand assumptions of
indifference, stoicism, and irreverence, put on for the occasion, that
you may not invade their inner sanctuary. Do not therefore be led into
the mistake that for them there is no sanctuary, no citadel to defend.
Better take for granted the reverse, and use every lawful art and
persuasion to find the entrance to it. Of multitudes it is indeed true,
that they have "no religion to speak of"; but that with any intelligent
man is no longer a reproach. To sound a trumpet before one has a
disagreeable reminder of certain ancient pretenders. Some men, when the
heart is fullest, cannot speak; and nothing would be more unjust than to
charge with want of feeling for the deepest and highest subjects of
thought those who cannot frame a sentence to convey their emotions. Yet,
after all these considerations have been fairly weighed, it is still
desirable that men should communicate with each other far oftener than
they do, on the interests which concern all men alike,--the interests,
not of a temporal, but of an eternal state. A wholly unnatural reserve,
the result of false education, hedges in the subject of religion.
Never,--let this he a sacred and inviolable rule to you,--never, by
word, tone, or manner, falsify your own nature and experience, when
referring to this subject; never affect in the slightest degree an
interest you do not feel; never dare to open your mouth merely because
you are expected to do so,--and, my word for it, you will already
possess important negative qualifications, to say the least, for
conversing on the highest of all topics. I have exalted "tact" in
conversation, but here I would exalt simplicity no less. Lay aside the
_too many_ folds. Learn the courage to "speak right out," when you know
that your heart is charged with no malice or vanity, that you should
fear to speak. Have you never envied the courage of children in this
respect? I have. And it has seemed to me that to "become as little
children" is nowhere more urgently required than here, and that no rule
would sooner make talkers out of the silent ones,--you, my friend,
included. So with this, my last and best word, I take leave of you, not
despairing that you will yet be able to overcome your taciturnity, if
you take to heart these counsels of

                                      YOUR FRIEND.



THE CHIMNEY-CORNER.


VIII.

THE NOBLE ARMY OF MARTYRS.

When the first number of the Chimney-Corner appeared, the snow lay white
on the ground, the buds on the trees were closed and frozen, and beneath
the hard frost-bound soil lay buried the last year's flower-roots,
waiting for a resurrection.

So in our hearts it was winter,--a winter of patient suffering and
expectancy,--a winter of suppressed sobs, of inward bleedings,--a cold,
choked, compressed anguish of endurance, for how long and how much God
only could tell us.

The first paper of the Chimney-Corner, as was most meet and fitting, was
given to those homes made sacred and venerable by the cross of
martyrdom,--by the chrism of a great sorrow. That Chimney-Corner made
bright by home firelight seemed a fitting place for a solemn act of
reverent sympathy for the homes by whose darkness our homes had been
preserved bright, by whose emptiness our homes had been kept full, by
whose losses our homes had been enriched; and so we ventured with
trembling to utter these words of sympathy and cheer to those whom God
had chosen to this great sacrifice of sorrow.

The winter months passed with silent footsteps, spring returned, and the
sun, with ever-waxing power, unsealed the snowy sepulchre of buds and
leaves,--birds reappeared, brooks were unchained, flowers filled every
desolate dell with blossoms and perfume. And with returning spring, in
like manner, the chill frost of our fears and of our dangers melted
before the breath of the Lord. The great war, which lay like a mountain
of ice upon our hearts, suddenly dissolved and was gone. The fears of
the past were as a dream when one awaketh, and now we scarce realize our
deliverance. A thousand hopes are springing up everywhere, like
spring-flowers in the forest. All is hopefulness, all is bewildering
joy.

But this our joy has been ordained to be changed into a wail of sorrow.
The kind hard hand, that held the helm so steadily in the desperate
tossings of the storm, has been stricken down just as we entered
port,--the fatherly heart that bore all our sorrows can take no earthly
part in our joys. His were the cares, the watchings, the toils, the
agonies of a nation in mortal struggle; and God looking down was so well
pleased with his humble faithfulness, his patient continuance in
well-doing, that earthly rewards and honors seemed all too poor for him,
so He reached down and took him to immortal glories. "Well done, good
and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!"

Henceforth the place of Abraham Lincoln is first among that noble army
of martyrs who have given their blood to the cause of human freedom. The
eyes are yet too dim with tears that would seek calmly to trace out his
place in history. He has been a marvel and a phenomenon among statesmen,
a new kind of ruler in the earth. There has been something even
unearthly about his extreme unselfishness, his utter want of personal
ambition, personal self-valuation, personal feeling.

The most unsparing criticism, denunciation, and ridicule never moved him
to a single bitter expression, never seemed to awaken in him a single
bitter thought. The most exultant hour of party victory brought no
exultation to him; he accepted power not as an honor, but as a
responsibility; and when, after a severe struggle, that power came a
second time into his hands, there was something preternatural in the
calmness of his acceptance of it. The first impulse seemed to be a
disclaimer of all triumph over the party that had strained their utmost
to push him from his seat, and then a sober girding up of his loins to
go on with the work to which he was appointed. His last inaugural was
characterized by a tone so peculiarly solemn and free from earthly
passion, that it seems to us now, who look back on it in the light of
what has followed, as if his soul had already parted from earthly
things, and felt the powers of the world to come. It was not the formal
state-paper of the chief of a party in an hour of victory, so much as
the solemn soliloquy of a great soul reviewing its course under a vast
responsibility, and appealing from all earthly judgments to the tribunal
of Infinite Justice. It was the solemn clearing of his soul for the
great sacrament of Death, and the words that he quoted in it with such
thrilling power were those of the adoring spirits that veil their faces
before the throne: "Just and true are thy ways, thou King of Saints!"

Among the rich treasures which this bitter struggle has brought to our
country, not the least is the moral wealth which has come to us in the
memory of our martyrs. Thousands of men, women, and children too, in
this great conflict, have "endured tortures, not accepting deliverance,"
counting not their lives dear unto them in the holy cause: and they have
done this as understandingly and thoughtfully as the first Christians
who sealed their witness with their blood.

Let us in our hour of deliverance and victory record the solemn vow,
that our right hand shall forget her cunning before we forget them and
their sufferings,--that our tongue shall cleave to the roof of our
mouth, if we remember them not above our chief joy.

Least suffering among that noble band were those who laid down their
lives on the battle-field, to whom was given a brief and speedy passage
to the victor's meed. The mourners who mourn for such as these must give
place to another and more august band, who have sounded lower deeps of
anguish, and drained bitterer drops out of our great cup of trembling.

The narrative of the lingering tortures, indignities, and sufferings of
our soldiers in Rebel prisons has been something so harrowing that we
have not dared to dwell upon it. We have been helplessly dumb before it,
and have turned away our eyes from what we could not relieve, and
therefore could not endure to look upon. But now, when the nation is
called to strike the great and solemn balance of justice, and to decide
measures of final retribution, it behooves us all that we should at
least watch with our brethren for one hour, and take into our account
what they have been made to suffer for us.

Sterne said he could realize the miseries of captivity only by setting
before him the image of a miserable captive with hollow cheek and wasted
eye, notching upon a stick, day after day, the weary record of the
flight of time. So we can form a more vivid picture of the sufferings of
our martyrs from one simple story than from any general description; and
therefore we will speak right on, and tell one story which might stand
as a specimen of what has been done and suffered by thousands.

In the town of Andover, Massachusetts, a boy of sixteen, named Walter
Raymond, enlisted among our volunteers. He was under the prescribed age,
but his eager zeal led him to follow the footsteps of an elder brother
who had already enlisted; and the father of the boy, though these two
were all the sons he had, instead of availing himself of his legal right
to withdraw him, indorsed the act in the following letter addressed to
his Captain.

                            "ANDOVER, MASS., August 15th, 1862.

"CAPTAIN HUNT,--My eldest son has enlisted in your company. I send you
his younger brother. He is, and always has been, in perfect health, of
more than the ordinary power of endurance, honest, truthful, and
courageous. I doubt not you will find him on trial all you can ask,
except his age, and that I am sorry to say is only sixteen; yet if our
country needs his service, take him.

                           "Your obedient servant,

                                  "SAMUEL RAYMOND."

The boy went forth to real service, and to successive battles at
Kingston, at Whitehall, and at Goldsborough; and in all did his duty
bravely and faithfully. He met the temptations and dangers of a
soldier's life with the pure-hearted firmness of a Christian child,
neither afraid nor ashamed to remember his baptismal vows, his
Sunday-school teachings, and his mother's wishes.

He had passed his promise to his mother against drinking and smoking,
and held it with a simple, childlike steadiness. When in the midst of
malarious swamps, physicians and officers advised the use of tobacco.
The boy writes to his mother,--"A great many have begun to smoke, but I
shall not do it without your permission, though I think it does a great
deal of good."

In his leisure hours, he was found in his tent reading; and before
battle he prepared his soul with the beautiful psalms and collects for
the day, as appointed by his church, and writes with simplicity to his
friends,--

"I prayed God that He would watch over me, and if I fell, receive my
soul in heaven; and I also prayed that I might not forget the cause I
was fighting for, and turn my back in fear."

After nine months' service, he returned with a soldier's experience,
though with a frame weakened by sickness in a malarious region. But no
sooner did health and strength return than he again enlisted, in the
Massachusetts cavalry service, and passed many months of constant
activity and adventure, being in some severe skirmishes and battles with
that portion of Sheridan's troops who approached nearest to Richmond,
getting within a mile and a half of the city. At the close of this raid,
so hard had been the service, that only thirty horses were left out of
seventy-four in his company, and Walter and two others were the sole
survivors among eight who occupied the same tent.

On the 16th of August, Walter was taken prisoner in a skirmish; and from
the time that this news reached his parents, until the 18th of the
following March, they could ascertain nothing of his fate. A general
exchange of prisoners having been then effected, they learned that he
had died on Christmas Day in Salisbury Prison, of hardship and
privation.

What these hardships were is, alas! easy to be known from those too well
authenticated accounts published by our Government of the treatment
experienced by our soldiers in the Rebel prisons.

Robbed of clothing, of money, of the soldier's best friend, his
sheltering blanket,--herded in shivering nakedness on the bare
ground,--deprived of every implement by which men of energy and spirit
had soon bettered their lot,--forbidden to cut in adjacent forests
branches for shelter, or fuel to cook their coarse food,--fed on a pint
of corn-and-cob-meal per day, with some slight addition of molasses or
rancid meat,--denied all mental resources, all letters from home, all
writing to friends,--these men were cut off from the land of the living
while yet they lived,--they were made to dwell in darkness as those that
have been long dead.

By such slow, lingering tortures,--such weary, wasting anguish and
sickness of body and soul,--it was the infernal policy of the Rebel
government either to wring from them an abjuration of their country, or
by slow and steady draining away of the vital forces to render them
forever unfit to serve in her armies.

Walter's constitution bore four months of this usage, when death came to
his release. A fellow-sufferer, who was with him in his last hours,
brought the account to his parents.

Through all his terrible privations, even the lingering pains of slow
starvation, Walter preserved his steady simplicity, his faith in God,
and unswerving fidelity to the cause for which he was suffering.

When the Rebels had kept the prisoners fasting for days, and then
brought in delicacies to tempt their appetite, hoping thereby to induce
them to desert their flag, he only answered,--"I would rather be carried
out in that dead-cart!"

When told by some that he must steal from his fellow-sufferers, as many
did, in order to relieve the pangs of hunger, he answered,--"No, I was
not brought up to that!" And so when his weakened system would no longer
receive the cob-meal which was his principal allowance, he set his face
calmly towards death.

He grew gradually weaker and weaker and fainter and fainter, and at last
disease of the lungs set in, and it became apparent that the end was at
hand.

On Christmas Day, while thousands among us were bowing in our garlanded
churches or surrounding festive tables, this young martyr lay on the
cold, damp ground, watched over by his destitute friends, who sought to
soothe his last hours with such scanty comforts as their utter poverty
afforded,--raising his head on the block of wood which was his only
pillow, and moistening his brow and lips with water, while his life
ebbed slowly away, until about two o'clock, when he suddenly roused
himself, stretched out his hand, and, drawing to him his dearest friend
among those around him, said, in a strong, clear voice,--

"I am going to die. Go tell my father I am ready to die, for I die for
God and my country,"--and, looking up with a triumphant smile, he passed
to the reward of the faithful.

And now, men and brethren, if this story were a single one, it were
worthy to be had in remembrance; but Walter Raymond is not the only
noble-hearted boy or man that has been slowly tortured and starved and
done to death, by the fiendish policy of Jefferson Davis and Robert
Edmund Lee.

No,--wherever this simple history shall be read, there will arise
hundreds of men and women who will testify,--"Just so died my son!" "So
died my brother!" "So died my husband!" "So died my father!"

The numbers who have died in these lingering tortures are to be counted,
not by hundreds, or even by thousands, but by tens of thousands.

And is there to be no retribution for a cruelty so vast, so aggravated,
so cowardly and base? And if there is retribution, on whose head should
it fall? Shall we seize and hang the poor, ignorant, stupid, imbruted
semi-barbarians who were set as jailors to keep these hells of torment
and inflict these insults and cruelties? or shall we punish the
educated, intelligent chiefs who were the head and brain of the
iniquity?

If General Lee had been determined _not_ to have prisoners starved or
abused, does any one doubt that he could have prevented these things?
Nobody doubts it. His raiment is red with the blood of his helpless
captives. Does any one doubt that Jefferson Davis, living in ease and
luxury in Richmond, knew that men were dying by inches in filth and
squalor and privation in the Libby Prison, within bowshot of his own
door? Nobody doubts it. It was his will, his deliberate policy, thus to
destroy those who fell into his hands. The chief of a so-called
Confederacy, who could calmly consider among his official documents
incendiary plots for the secret destruction of ships, hotels, and cities
full of peaceable people, is a chief well worthy to preside over such
cruelties; but his only just title is President of Assassins, and the
whole civilized world should make common cause against such a miscreant.

There has been, on both sides of the water, much weak, ill-advised talk
of mercy and magnanimity to be extended to these men, whose crimes have
produced a misery so vast and incalculable. The wretches who have
tortured the weak and the helpless, who have secretly plotted to
supplement, by dastardly schemes of murder and arson, that strength
which failed them in fair fight, have been commiserated as brave
generals and unfortunate patriots, and efforts are made to place them
within the comities of war.

It is no feeling of personal vengeance, but a sense of the eternal
fitness of things, that makes us rejoice, when criminals, who have so
outraged every sentiment of humanity, are arrested and arraigned and
awarded due retribution at the bar of their country's justice. There are
crimes against God and human nature which it is treason alike to God and
man not to punish; and such have been the crimes of the traitors who
were banded together in Richmond.

If there be those whose hearts lean to pity, we can show them where all
the pity of their hearts may be better bestowed than in deploring the
woes of assassins. Let them think of the thousands of fathers, mothers,
wives, sisters, whose lives will be forever haunted with memories of the
slow tortures in which their best and bravest were done to death.

The sufferings of those brave men are ended. Nearly a hundred thousand
are sleeping in those sad, nameless graves,--and may their rest be
sweet! "There the wicked cease from troubling, there the weary are at
rest. There the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the
oppressor." But, O ye who have pity to spare, spare it for the
broken-hearted friends, who, to life's end, will suffer over and over
all that their dear ones endured. Pity the mothers who hear their sons'
faint calls in dreams, who in many a weary night-watch see them pining
and wasting, and yearn with a lifelong, unappeasable yearning to have
been able to soothe those forsaken, lonely death-beds. Oh, man or woman,
if you have pity to spare, spend it not on Lee or Davis,--spend it on
their victims, on the thousands of living hearts which these men of sin
have doomed to an anguish that will end only with life!

Blessed are the mothers whose sons passed in battle,--a quick, a
painless, a glorious death! Blessed in comparison,--yet we weep for
them. We rise up and give place at sight of their mourning-garments. We
reverence the sanctity of their sorrow. But before this other sorrow we
are dumb in awful silence. We find no words with which to console such
grief. We feel that our peace, our liberties, have been bought at a
fearful price, when we think of the sufferings of our martyred soldiers.
Let us think of them. It was for _us_ they bore hunger and cold and
nakedness. They might have had food and raiment and comforts, if they
would have deserted our cause,--and they did not. Cutoff from all
communication with home or friends or brethren,--dragging on the weary
months, apparently forgotten,--still they would not yield, they would
not fight against us; and so for us at last they died.

What return can we make them? Peace has come, and we take up all our
blessings restored and brightened; but if we look, we shall see on every
blessing a bloody cross.

When three brave men broke through the ranks of the enemy, to bring to
King David a draught from the home-well, for which he longed, the
generous-hearted prince would not drink it, but poured it out as an
offering before the Lord; for he said, "Is not this the blood of the men
that went in jeopardy of their lives?"

Thousands of noble hearts have been slowly consumed to secure to us the
blessings we are rejoicing in.

We owe a duty to these our martyrs,--the only one we can pay.

In every place, honored by such a history and example, let a monument be
raised at the public expense, on which shall be inscribed the names of
those who died for their country, and the manner of their death.

Such monuments will educate our young men in heroic virtue, and keep
alive to future ages the flame of patriotism. And thus, too, to the
aching heart of bereaved love shall be given the only consolation of
which its sorrows admit, in the reverence which is paid to its lost
loved ones.



PEACE.


         Daybreak upon the hills!
    Slowly, behind the midnight murk and trail
    Of the long storm, light brightens, pure and pale,
         And the horizon fills.

         Not bearing swift release,--
    Not with quick feet of triumph, but with tread
    August and solemn, following her dead,
         Cometh, at last, our Peace.

         Over thick graves grown green,
    Over pale bones that graveless lie and bleach,
    Over torn human hearts her path doth reach,
         And Heaven's dear pity lean.

         O angel sweet and grand!
    White-footed, from beside the throne of God,
    Thou movest, with the palm and olive-rod,
         And day bespreads the land!

         His Day we waited for!
    With faces to the East, we prayed and fought;
    And a faint music of the dawning caught,
         All through the sounds of War.

         Our souls are still with praise!
    It is the dawning; there is work to do:
    When we have borne the long hours' burden through,
         Then we will pæans raise.

         God give us, with the time,
    His strength for His large purpose to the world!
    To bear before Him, in its face unfurled,
         His gonfalon sublime!

         Ay, we _are_ strong! Both sides
    The misty river stretch His army's wings:
    Heavenward, with glorious wheel, one flank He flings;
         And one front still abides!

         Strongest where most bereft!
    His great ones He doth call to more command.
    For whom He hath prepared it, they shall stand
         On the Right Hand and Left!



RECONSTRUCTION AND NEGRO SUFFRAGE.


The submission of the Rebel armies and the occupation of the Rebel
territory by the forces of the United States are successes which have
been purchased at the cost of the lives of half a million of loyal men
and a debt of nearly three thousand millions of dollars; but, according
to theories of State Rights now springing anew to life, victory has
smitten us with impotence. The war, it seems, was waged for the purpose
of forcing the sword out of the Rebel's hands, and forcing into them the
ballot. At an enormous waste of treasure and blood, we have acquired the
territory for which we fought; and lo! it is not ours, but belongs to
the people we have been engaged in fighting, in virtue of the
constitution we have been fighting for. The Federal government is now,
it appears, what Wigfall elegantly styled it four years ago,--nothing
but "the one-horse concern at Washington": the real power is in the
States it has subdued. We are therefore expected to act like the savage,
who, after thrashing his Fetich for disappointing his prayers, falls
down again and worships it. Our Fetich is State Rights, as perversely
misunderstood. The Rebellion would have been soon put down, had it been
merely an insurrectionary outbreak of masses of people without any
political organization. Its tremendous force came from its being a
revolt of States, with the capacity to employ those powers of taxation
and conscription which place the persons and property of all residing in
political communities at the service of their governments. And now that
characteristic which gave strength to the Rebel communities in war is
invoked to shield them from Federal regulation in defeat. We are
required to substitute technicalities for facts; to consider the
Rebellion--what it notoriously was not--a mere revolt of loose
aggregations of men owing allegiance to the United States; and to hold
the States, which endowed them with such a perfect organization and
poisonous vitality, as innocent of the crime. The verbal dilemma in
which this reasoning places us is this: that the Rebel States could not
do what they did, and therefore we cannot do what we must. Among other
things which it is said we cannot do, the prescribing of the
qualifications of voters in the States occupies the most important
place; and it is necessary to inquire whether the Rebel communities now
held by our military power are States, in the sense that word bears in
the Federal Constitution. If they are, we have not only no right to say
that negroes shall enjoy in them the privilege of voting, but no right
to prescribe any qualifications for white voters.

In the American system, the process by which constitutions are made and
governments instituted is by conventions of the people. The State
constitutions were ordained by conventions of the people of the several
States; the constitution of the United States was made the supreme law
of the land by conventions of the people of all the States; and the only
method by which a State could be released, with any show of legality,
from its obligations to the United States, would be the assent of the
same power which created the Federal constitution,--namely, conventions
of the people of _all_ the States. The course adopted by the so-called
"seceding" States was separate State action by popular conventions in
the States seceding. This was an appeal to the original authority from
which State governments and constitutions derived their powers, but a
violation of solemn faith towards the government and constitution
decreed by the people of all the States, and which, by the assent of
each State, formed a vital part of each State constitution. No State
convention could be called for the purpose of separating from the
Union,--of destroying what the officers calling it had sworn to
support,--without making official perjury the preliminary condition of
State sovereignty. Looked at from the point of view of the State
seceding, the act was an assertion of State independence; looked at from
the point of view of the constitution of the United States, it was an
act of State suicide. The State so acting through a convention of its
people was no longer a State, in the meaning that word bears in the
Federal constitution; for, whatever it may have been before it was one
of the United States, it was transformed into a different political
society by making the Federal constitution a part of its own organic
law. In cutting that bond, it bled to death as a State, as far as the
Federal constitution knows a State, to rise again as a Rebel community,
holding a portion of the Federal territory by force of arms. A State, in
the meaning of the Federal constitution, is a political community
forbidden to exercise sovereign powers, and at once a part of the
Federal government and owing allegiance to it. Is South Carolina, which
has exercised sovereign powers, which has broken its allegiance to the
Federal government, and which at present is certainly not a part of it,
such a political society?

It is, we know, contended by some reasoners on the subject, that the
Rebel States _could not_ do what they palpably _did_. This course of
argument is sustained only by confounding duties with powers. By the
constitution a State cannot (that is, has no right to) secede, only as,
by the moral law, a man cannot (that is, has no right to) commit murder;
nevertheless, States have broken away from their obligations to the
Union, as murderers have broken away from their obligations to the moral
law. It is folly to claim that criminal acts are impossible because they
are unjustifiable. The real question relates to the condition in which
the criminal acts of the Rebel States left them as political societies.
They cannot claim, as some of their Northern champions do for them, that
being _in_ the Union in our view, and _out_ of it in their own, the only
result of defeating them as Rebels is to restore them as citizens. This
would be playing a political game of "Heads I win, tails you lose,"
which they must know can hardly succeed with a nation which has made
such enormous sacrifices of treasure and blood in putting them down.
After having, by a solemn act of their own, through conventions of the
people, forsworn their duties to the constitution, they by that act
forfeited its privileges. In our view they became Rebel enemies, against
whom we had both the rights of sovereignty and the rights of war; in
their own view, they became foreigners; and from that moment they had no
more "constitutional" control of the area they occupied, were no more
"States," than if they had transferred their allegiance to a European
power, and the war had been prosecuted to wrest the territory they
occupied, and the people they ruled, from the clutch of England or
France. Even if we consider the Union a mere partnership of States, the
same principle will apply; for partnership implies mutual obligations,
and no partner can steal the property of his firm, and abscond with it,
and then, after he has been hunted down and arrested, claim the rights
in the business he enjoyed before he turned rogue.

But it is sometimes asserted that the small minority of citizens in the
Rebel States claiming to be, and to have been, loyal, constitute the
States in the constitutional meaning of the term. Now without insisting
on the fact that it is so plainly impossible to accurately distinguish
these from the disloyal, that an oath, not required by State
constitutions, has, in the recent attempt at reconstruction, been
imposed by Federal authority on all voters alike, it is plain that no
minority in a political society can claim exemption from political evils
it had not power to prevent. Had we gone to war with Great Britain, the
property of Cobden and Bright on the high seas would have been as liable
to capture as that of Lindsay or Laird. No loyal citizens at the South
could have been more bitterly opposed to Secession than some of our
Northern Copperheads were to the war for the Union; and yet the persons
of the Copperheads were as liable to conscription, and their property to
taxation, as those of the most enthusiastic Republicans. There would be
an end to political societies, if men should refuse to be held
responsible for all public acts except those they personally approved. A
member of a community whose people, in a convention, broke faith with
the United States, and made war against it, the Southern Unionist was
forced into complicity with the crime. By the pressure of a power he
could not resist he was compelled to pay Confederate taxes, serve in
Confederate armies, and become a portion of the Confederate strength.
More than this: the property in human beings, which he held by local
law, was confiscated by the Federal government's edict of emancipation,
equally with the same kind of property held by the most disloyal. And
now that the war is over, he and those who sympathized with him are not
the State, which was extinguished by its own act when it rebelled. He
and his friends may be the objects of sympathy, of honor, of reward; but
in the work of reconstruction the interest and safety of the great body
of loyal citizens of the United States, of the persons who have bought
the territory at such a terrible price, are to be primarily consulted.
And not simply because such a course is expedient, but because the
Southern Unionists can advance no valid claim to be the political
societies which were recognized by the Federal constitution as States
before the Rebellion. If they were, they might proceed at once to assume
the powers of the States, without any authority from Washington, and
without calling any convention to form a _new_ constitution. If, on the
breaking out of the Rebellion, they had rallied in defence of the old
constitutions within State limits, preserved the organization of the
States in all departments, raised and equipped armies, and conducted a
war against the Confederates as traitors to their respective States as
well as to the United States, they might present some claims to be
considered the States; but this they did not do, and they were not
powerful enough to do it. The large proportion of them were compelled to
form a part of the Rebel power.

And this brings us directly to the heart of the matter. It is asserted
that the Acts of Secession, being unconstitutional, were inoperative and
void. But they were passed by the people of the several States which
seceded, and the persons and property of the whole people were
indiscriminately employed in making them effective. The States held by
Rebel armies were Rebel States. All the population were necessarily, in
the view of the Federal government, Rebel enemies. Consequently the
territory of the States was as "void" of citizens of the United States
as the Acts of Secession were "void." The only things left, then, were
the inoperative ideas of States.

Again, to put the argument in another form, it is asserted, that, though
the people of a State may commit treason, the State itself remains
unaffected by the crime. A distinction is here made between a State and
the people who constitute it,--between the State and the persons who
create its constitution and organize its government. The State
constitution which existed while it was a State, in the Federal meaning
of the word, was destroyed in an essential part by the same authority
which created it, namely, a convention of the people of the State; and
yet it is said that the State remained unaffected by the deed. By this
course of reasoning, a State is defined an abstract essence which can
comfortably exist in all its rights and privileges, _in potentia_, apart
from all visible embodiment; a State which is the possibility of a State
and not the actuality of one; a State which can be brought into the line
of real vision only by some such contrivance as that employed by the
German playwright, who, in a drama on the subject of the Creation,
represented Adam crossing the stage _going_ to be created.

There is, it is true, one method of getting a kind of body to this
abstract State, but it is a method which may well frighten the hardiest
American reasoner. It was employed by Burke in one of the audacities of
his logic directed against the governments established after the French
Revolution of 1789. He took the ground, that France was not in the
French territory or in the French people, but in the persons who
represented its old polity, and who had escaped into England and
Germany. These constituted what he called "Moral France," in distinction
from "Geographical France"; and Moral France, he said, had emigrated.

But as few or none will be inclined to take the ground that South
Carolina and Georgia exist in the persons who left their soil on the
breaking out of the Rebellion, we are forced back to the conception of
an invisible spiritual soul and essence of a State, surviving its bodily
destruction. But even this abstraction must still, from the point of
view of the Federal constitution, be conceived of as owing allegiance to
the Federal government; and it can confessedly get a new body only by
the exercise of Federal authority. Its leading institution has been
destroyed by Federal power. Its old legislature and governor, who alone,
on State principles, could call a convention of the people, are spotted
all over with treason, and might be hanged as traitors, by the law of
the United States, while engaged in measures to repair the broken unity
of the State life,--a fact which is of itself sufficient to show that
the old State is dead beyond all bodily resurrection. The white
inhabitants who occupy its old geographical limits are defeated Rebels,
and not one can exercise the privilege of voting without taking an oath
which no real "State" prescribes. They are all born again into citizens
by a Federal fiat; they are "pardoned" into voters; they derive their
rights, not from their old charters, but from an act of amnesty. Far
from any discrimination being made between loyal and disloyal, the great
body of both classes are compelled to submit to Federal terms of
citizenship or be disfranchised; and they are called upon, not to revive
the old State, but to make a new one, within the old State lines. And
all this would result from the necessity of the case, even if it were
not made justifiable by the essential sovereignty of the United States,
of which the war-power is but an incident. But if the Federal government
can thus give the white inhabitants, or any portion of them, the right
of suffrage, cannot it confer that right upon the black freedmen? It
will not do, at this stage, to say that the Federal government has no
right to prescribe the qualifications of voters in the States: because,
in the case of the whites, it does and must prescribe them; and
President Johnson has just the same right to say that negroes shall
vote as to say that pardoned Rebels shall vote. The right of States to
decide on the qualifications of its electors applies only to loyal
States; it cannot apply to political communities which have lost by
Rebellion the Federal character of "States," which notoriously have no
legitimate State authority to decide the question of qualification, and
which are now taking the preparatory steps of forming themselves into
States through the agency of provisional Federal governors, directing
voters, constituted such by Federal authority, to elect delegates to a
convention of the people. It is a misuse of constitutional language to
Call North Carolina and Mississippi "States," in the same sense in which
we use the term in speaking of Ohio and Massachusetts. When their
conventions have framed State constitutions, when their State
governments are organized, and when their senators and representatives
have been admitted into the Congress of the United States, then, indeed,
they will be States, entitled to all the privileges of Ohio and
Massachusetts; and woe be to us, if they are reconstructed on wrong
principles!

It is often said, that, although the Federal government may have the
right and power to decide who shall be considered "the people" of the
Rebel States, in so important a matter as the conversion of them into
States of the Federal Union, it is still politic and just to make the
qualifications of voters as nearly as possible what they were before the
Rebellion. Conceding this, we still have to face the fact, that a large
body of men, held before the war as slaves, have been emancipated, and
added to the body of the people. They are now as free as the white men.
The old constitutions of the Slave States could have no application to
the new condition of affairs. The change in the circumstances, by which
four years have done the ordinary work of a century, demands a
corresponding change in the application of old rules, even admitting
that we should take them as a guide. Having converted the loyal blacks
from slaves into the condition of citizens of the United States, there
can be no reason or justice or policy in allowing them to be made, in
localities recently Rebel, the subjects of whites who have but just
purged themselves from the guilt of treason.

The question of negro suffrage being thus reduced to a question of
expediency, to be decided on its own merits, the first argument brought
against it is based on the proposition, that it is inexpedient to give
the privilege of voting to the ignorant and unintelligent. This sounds
well; but a moment's reflection shows us that the objection is directed
simply against deficiencies of education and intelligence which happen
to be accompanied with a black skin. Three fifths or three fourths of
the poor whites of the South cannot read or write; and they are cruelly
belied, if they do not add to their ignorance that more important
disqualification for good citizenship,--indisposition or incapacity for
work. In general, the American system proceeds on the idea that the best
way of qualifying men to vote is voting, as the best way of teaching
boys to swim is to let them go into the water. "Our national
experience," says Chief-Justice Chase, in a letter to the New Orleans
freedmen, "has demonstrated that public order reposes most securely on
the broad base of Universal Suffrage. It has proved, also, that
universal suffrage is the surest guaranty and most powerful stimulus of
individual, social, and political progress." But even if we take the
ground, that education and suffrage, though not actually, should
properly be, identical, the argument would not apply to the case of the
freedmen. What we need primarily at the South is loyal citizens of the
United States, and treason there is in inverse proportion to ignorance.
If, in reconstructing the Rebel communities, we make suffrage depend on
education, we inevitably put the local governments into the hands of a
small minority of prominent Confederates whom we have recently defeated;
of men physically subdued, but morally rebellious; of men who have used
their education simply to destroy the prosperity created by the industry
of the ignorant and enslaved, and who, however skilful they may be as
"architects of ruin," have shown no capacity for the nobler art which
repairs and rebuilds. If, on the other hand, we make suffrage depend on
color, we disfranchise the only portion of the population on whose
allegiance we can thoroughly rely, and give the States over to white
ignorance and idleness led by white intrigue and disloyalty. We are
placed by events in that strange condition in which the safety of that
"republican form of government" we desire to insure the Southern States
has more safeguards in the instincts of the ignorant than in the
intelligence of the educated. The right of the freedmen, not merely to
the common privileges of citizens, but to _own themselves_, depends on
the connection of the States in which they live with the United States
being preserved. They must know that Secession and State Independence
mean their reënslavement. Saulsbury of Delaware, and Willey of West
Virginia, declared in the Senate, in 1862, that the Rebel States, when
they came back into the Union, would have the legal power to reënslave
any blacks whom the National government might emancipate; and it is only
the plighted faith of the United States to the freedmen, which such a
proceeding would violate, which can prevent the crime from being
perpetrated. It is as citizens of the United States, and not as
inhabitants of North Carolina or Mississippi, that their freedom is
secure. Their instincts, their interests, and their position will thus
be their teachers in the duties of citizenship. They are as sure to vote
in accordance with the most advanced ideas of the time as most of the
embittered aristocracy are to vote for the most retrograde. They will,
though at first ignorant, necessarily be in political sympathy with the
most educated voters of New York, Ohio, and Massachusetts; if they were
as low in the scale of being as their bitterest revilers assert, they
would still be forced by their instincts into intuitions of their
interests; and their interests are identical with those of civilization
and progress. We suppose that those who think them most degraded would
be willing to concede to them the possession of a little selfish
cunning; and a little selfish cunning is enough to bring them into
harmony with the purposes, if not the spirit, of the largest-minded
philanthropy and statesmanship of the North.

It is claimed, we know, by some of the hardiest dealers in assertion,
that the freedmen will vote as their former masters shall direct; but as
this argument is generally put forward by those whose sympathies are
with the former masters rather than with the emancipated bondmen, one
finds it difficult to understand why they should object to a policy
which will increase the power of those whom they wish to be dominant.
The circumstances, however, under which credulous ignorance becomes the
prey of unscrupulous intelligence are familiar to all who have observed
our elections. An ignorant Irish Catholic may be the victim of a
pro-slavery demagogue, because the latter flatters his prejudices; but
can he be deceived by a bigoted Know-Nothing, who is the object of them?
The only demagogue who could control the negro would be an abolition
demagogue, and he could control him to his harm only when the negro was
deprived of his rights. The slave-masters were wont to pay considerable
attention to zoölogy,--not because they were interested in science, but
because in that science they thought they could obtain arguments for
expelling blacks from the human species. In their zoölogical studies,
did they ever learn that mice instinctively seek the protection of the
cat, or that the deer speeds to, instead of from, the hunter? The
persons whose votes the late masters would be most likely to control
would palpably be those whose votes they always have controlled, namely,
the poor whites; for, in the late Slave States, white aristocrat is
still bound to white democrat by the strong tie of a common contempt of
"the nigger." Meanwhile it is not difficult to believe, that, among four
millions of black people, there are enough plantation Hampdens and
Adamses to give political organization to their brethren, and make their
votes efficient for the protection of their interests.

We think, then, it may be taken for granted, that, while ignorant, the
freedmen will vote right by the force of their instincts, and that the
education they require will be the result of their possessing the
political power to demand it. Free schools are not the creations of
private benevolence, but of public taxation; it is useless to expect a
system of universal education in a community which does not rest on
universal suffrage; and the children of the poor freeman are educated at
the public expense, not so much by the pleading of the children's needs
as by the power of the father's ballot. To take the ground, that the
"superior" race will educate the "inferior" race it has but just held in
bondage, that it will humanely set to work to prepare and qualify the
"niggers" to be voters, only escapes from being considered the artifice
of the knave by charitably referring it to the credulity of the
simpleton. We do not send, as Mr. Sumner has happily said, "the child to
be nursed by the wolf"; and he might have added, that the only precedent
for such a proceeding, the case of Romulus and Remus, has lost all the
little force it may once have had by the criticism of Niebuhr.

If the negroes do not get the power of political self-protection in the
conventions of the people which are now to be called, it is not
reasonable to expect they will ever get it by the consent of the whites.
Legal State conventions are called by previous law. There is no previous
State law applicable to the Rebel communities, because, revolutionized
by rebellion, the very persons who are qualified by the old State laws
to call conventions are disqualified by the laws of the United States.
The result is, that the people are an unorganized mass, to be
reorganized under the lead of the Federal government; and of this mass
of people--literally, in this case, "the masses"--the free blacks are as
much a part as the free whites. As soon, however, as the machinery of
State governments is set in motion by these conventions,--as soon as
these governments are recognized by the President and Congress,--no
conventions to alter the constitutions agreed upon can be called, except
by previous State laws. If negro suffrage is not granted in the election
of members to the present conventions, the power will pass permanently
into the hands of the whites, and the only opportunity for a peaceful
settlement of the question will be lost. At the very time when,
abstractly, no party has legal rights, and only one party has claims, we
propose to deliberately sacrifice the party that has claims to the party
which will soon acquire legal rights to oppress the claimants. For,
disguise it as we may, the United States government really holds and
exercises the power which gives vitality to the preliminaries of
reconstruction, and it is therefore responsible for all evils in the
future which shall spring from its neglect or injustice in the present.

The addition, too, of four millions of persons to the people of the
South, without any corresponding addition of voters, will increase the
political power of the ruling whites to an alarming extent, while it
will remove all checks on its mischievous exercise. The constitution
declares that "representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned
among the several States, which may be included in this Union, according
to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the
whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a
term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all
other persons." The unanswerable argument presented at the time against
the clause relating to the slaves did not prevent its adoption. "If," it
was said, "the negroes are property, why is other property not
represented? if men, why three fifths?" Still the South has always
enjoyed the double privilege of treating the negro as an article of
merchandise and of using three fifths of him as political capital. He
has thus added to the power by which he was enslaved, and has been
represented in Congress by persons who regarded him either as a beast or
as "a descendant of Ham." In 1860, when the ratio of representation was
about one hundred and twenty-seven thousand, the South had, by the
three-fifths rule, the right to eighteen more representatives in
Congress, and eighteen more electoral votes, than it would have had, if
only free persons had been counted. The emancipation of the slaves will
give it twelve more; for the blacks will now no longer be constitutional
fractions, but constitutional units. The three-fifths arrangement was a
monstrous anomaly; but the five-fifths will be worse, if negro suffrage
be denied. Four millions of free people will, by the mere fact of being
inhabitants of Southern territory, confer a political power equal to
thirty members of Congress, and yet have no voice in their election. It
has been computed by the Hon. Robert Dale Owen, in a paper on the
subject, published in the New York "Tribune," that in some States, where
the blacks and whites are about equal in number, and where two thirds of
the whites shall "qualify" as voters, this new condition of things will
give the Southern white voter, in a Presidential or Congressional
election, three times as much political influence as a Northern voter.
And on whom shall we, in many localities, confer this immense privilege?
Here is Mr. Owen's description of a specimen of the class of Southern
"poor whites" we propose thus to exalt.

"I have often encountered this class. I saw many of them last year,
while visiting, as member of a Government commission, some of the
Southern States. Labor degraded before their eyes has extinguished
within them all respect for industry, all ambition, all honorable
exertion to improve their condition. When last I had the pleasure of
seeing you at Nashville, I met there, in the office of a gentleman
charged with the duty of issuing transportation and rations to indigent
persons, black and white, a notable example of this strange class. He
was a Rebel deserter,--a rough, dirty, uncouth specimen of
humanity,--tall, stout, and wiry-looking, rude and abrupt in speech and
bearing, and clothed in tattered homespun. In no civil tone, he demanded
rations. When informed that all rations applicable to such a purpose
were exhausted, he broke forth,--

"What am I to do, then? How am I to get home?'

"'You can have no difficulty,' was the reply. 'It is but fifteen or
eighteen hours down the river' (the Cumberland) 'by steamboat to where
you live. I furnished you transportation; you can work your way.'

"'Work my way!' (with a scowl of angry contempt.) 'I never did a stroke
of work since I was born; and I never expect to, till my dying day.'

"The agent replied, quietly,--

"'They will give you all you want to eat on board, if you help them to
wood.'

"'Carry wood!' he retorted, with an oath. 'Whenever they ask me to carry
wood, I'll tell them they may set me on shore; I'd rather starve for a
week than work for an hour; I don't want to live in a world that I can't
make a living out of without work.'

"Is it for men like that, ignorant, illiterate, vicious, fit for no
decent employment on earth except manual labor, and spurning _all_ labor
as degradation,--is it in favor of such insolent swaggerers that we are
to disfranchise the humble, quiet, hard-working negro? Are the votes of
three such men as Stanton or Seward, Sumner or Garrison, Grant or
Sherman, to be neutralized by the ballot of one such worthless;
barbarian?"

But this great power, wielded by a population imperfectly qualified to
vote, in the name of a population which do not vote at all,--a power
equivalent to thirty members of Congress and thirty electoral
votes,--will be directed as much against Northern interests as against
negro interests. Added to the power which the South will derive from its
voting population, it will enable that section to control one third of
all the votes in the House of Representatives; and, says Professor
Parsons, "if they stand together, and vote as a unit, they will need
only about one sixth more to get and hold control of our national
legislation and all our foreign and domestic policy." Our political
experience has unfortunately not been such as to justify us in believing
it to be impossible for any party, under a resolute Southern lead, to
obtain one sixth of the Northern strength in Congress. What would be the
result of such a combination? Why, the National government would be
substantially in the hands of those who have been engaged in a desperate
struggle to overthrow it; and it would be a government converted into a
great military and naval power by the war which resulted in their
defeat, and fully competent to enforce its decisions at home and abroad
by the strong hand. Nothing is purchased at such a frightful price as
the indulgence of a prejudice; the cry against "nigger equality" is a
prejudice of the most mischievous kind; and it may be we shall hereafter
find cause to deplore, that, when we had to choose between "nigger
equality" and Southern predominance, our choice was to keep the "nigger"
down, even if we failed to keep ourselves up.

One result of Southern predominance everybody can appreciate. The
national debt is so interwoven with every form of the business and
industry of the loyal States that its repudiation would be the most
appalling of evils. A tax to pay it at once would not produce half the
financial derangement and moral disorder which repudiation would cause;
for repudiation, as Mirabeau well observed, is nothing but taxation in
its most cruel, unequal, iniquitous, and calamitous form. But what
reason have we to think that a reconstructed South, dominant in the
Federal government, would regard the debt with feelings similar to ours?
The negroes would associate it with their freedom, of which it was the
price; their late masters would view it as the symbol of their
humiliation, which it was incurred to effect. We must remember that the
South loses the whole cost of Rebellion, and is at the same time
required to pay its share of the cost of suppressing Rebellion. The cost
of Rebellion is, in addition to the devastation of property caused by
invasion, the whole Southern debt of some two or three thousand millions
of dollars, and the market value of the slaves, which, estimating the
slaves at five hundred dollars each, is two thousand millions of dollars
more. The portion of the cost of suppressing Rebellion which the South
will have to pay can be approximately reached by taking a recent
calculation made in the Census Office of the Department of the Interior.

Estimating the national debt at twenty-five hundred millions of dollars,
and apportioning it according to the number of the white male adults
over twenty years of age in the different sections of the country, it
has been found that the proportion of the New England States is
$308,689,352.07; of the Middle States, $740,195,342.32; of the Western
States, $893,288,781.01; of the Southern States, $461,929,846.85; and of
the Pacific States, $95,896,677.75. This calculation makes the South
responsible for over four hundred and sixty millions of the debt. What
amount have the Southerners invested in it? Where both interest and
passion furiously impel men to repudiation, can they be trusted with the
care of the public credit? "But," the Northern people may exclaim, "in
case of such an execrable violation of justice, we would revolt,--we
would"----Ah! but in whose hands would then be "the war power"?

From every point of view, then, in which we can survey the subject,
negro suffrage is, unless we are destitute of the commonest practical
reason, the logical sequence of negro emancipation. It is not more
necessary for the protection of the freedmen than for the safety and
honor of the nation. Our interests are inextricably bound up with their
rights. The highest requirements of abstract justice coincide with the
lowest requirements of political prudence. And the largest justice to
the loyal blacks is the real condition of the widest clemency to the
Rebel whites. If the Southern communities are to be reorganized into
Federal States, it is of the first importance that they should be States
whose power rests on the proscription or degradation of no class of
their population. It would be a great evil, if they were absolutely
governed by a faction, even if that faction were a minority of the
"loyal" people, whose loyalty consisted in merely taking an oath which
the most unscrupulous would be the readiest to take, because the
readiest to break. We are bound either to give them a republican form of
government, or to hold them in the grasp of the military power of the
nation; and we cannot safely give them anything which approaches a
republican form of government, unless we allow the great mass of the
free people the right to vote. And least of all should we think of
proscribing that particular class of the free people who most thoroughly
represent in their localities the interests of the United States, and
whose ballots would at once do the work and save the expense of an army
of occupation.



REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.


     _Life of Horace Mann._ By his Wife. Boston: Walker, Fuller &
     Co.

The American readers of Mr. Spencer's "Social Statics" have raised their
eyes in wholesome wonderment at the condemnation which is there found of
all systems of national education. It is unfortunate that a writer who
has given effective presentation to many truths should have failed to
scrutinize his inductions by the light of certain ascertainable facts.
The presumed requirements of a system caused him to prejudge what should
have been investigated; and hence, upon the great theme of state
education his rare illuminating powers shed a few side-lights of
suggestion, and nothing more. The rough common sense of our humblest
citizen disperses the philosopher's subtilties of logic with some such
decisive sentence as that with which Dr. Johnson cut the meshes of the
Fate-argument, or President Lincoln carried the pious defences of
man-stealing. "We know we're free, and there's an end on 't." "If
slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong." If the state has no right to
educate, it has no right to protect itself from the assaults of
ignorance, and consequently no right to exist at all. This, to be sure,
is dogmatism; but with loyal Americans to-day it comes so near being a
moral instinct that it may be provisionally assumed and tested at
leisure by the experience to which it has conducted us. In the crisis
through which the nation has just passed, education as a state
expediency has received its fullest vindication. The people whom the
state educated up to an appreciation of the republican idea arose to be
its saviours. No magnetism of personal leadership was given them. It was
the instructed sense of the community which overcame the perils of
faction and the incompetence of chiefs. And now, while we gratefully
recognize those who at the critical moment fell or suffered or wrought
for the Republic, let us not forget the unapplauded heroism which in
time past laboriously accumulated the force lately revealed in many
manly acts. The Trent Catechism declares that a final judgment is
necessary, in order that the bad may be punished for the evil which in
future time results from their mortal acts. If it may be held,
conversely, that the conduct of the good is entitled to ever-increasing
honor, we think it well that the biography of Horace Mann, educator and
statesman, has been withheld to this day. It is nobly prophetic of the
perfected faith in popular government and universal liberty which fills
our hearts. It is in deep accordance with the psalm of victory which
rises from loyal lips.

The present volume supplies materials for filling up the admirable
outline of Mr. Mann's life which appeared in Livingston's "Law Journal,"
and was copied in other publications. For it must necessarily be
materials for the study of a majestic character, rather than any
critical _dicta_ concerning it, that Mrs. Mann can offer us. And this is
not to be regretted. The judgments of an impartial biographer would have
been dearly purchased at the sacrifice of that sweetest testimony of
household reverence which only the most intimate relation can supply.
The little glimpses of Horace Mann, with his children about him, are
worth many discriminating estimates of services and judicial
investigations into the merits of forgotten controversies. We are made
fully acquainted with the noble spirit in which he labored, and this is
a better bequest to the American people than even the noble results it
brought to pass. Poor enough seems any halting, sentimental interest in
human well-being in the presence of that sturdy life, throbbing with
executive energy, and dignified by thorough disinterestedness.

Horace Mann was born into the narrow circumstances of a small New
England farm. His father died when he was still a boy. The educational
opportunities offered by the poorest district of the little town of
Franklin, Massachusetts, were meagre enough. Knowledge in the husk was
thrown before the pupils, who were allowed the privilege of picking out
what they might. The training which stimulates memory had not given
place to that which encourages thought. In spite of all obstructions,
Horace displayed an irrepressible love of learning, and obtained that
sort of education which was probably the best possible for the work he
had to do. For it was from vividly realizing the hindrances which he had
the strength partially to surmount that he was able to adjust the means
for their removal. His youth was far from being a happy one. The poverty
of his parents subjected him to continual privation, and the remorseless
logic of the current theology weighed upon his sensitive spirit. Having
obtained the consent of his guardian to prepare for college, he entered
Brown University in 1816. His graduating oration was upon the
progressive character of the human race,--a subject prophetic of his
subsequent mission. A tutorship of the Latin and Greek languages gave
the opportunity to perfect himself in classical culture. Afterwards he
studied law, and in 1823 was admitted to the Norfolk bar. From this time
his life was devoted to the welfare of the ignorant and unfortunate. As
a leading member of the State Legislature, both in the House and
afterwards as President of the Senate, Mr. Mann took an active part in
forwarding measures relating to public charities and education. The
establishment of the State Insane Hospital at Worcester was wholly due
to his vigorous advocacy. In 1837 he retired from the distinguished
professional and political career that was opening before him, and
devoted his rare abilities to the service of common schools. As
Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education, he effected a
thorough reform in the school system of the State. Of the unexampled
labor and self-denial of eleven successive years his Annual Reports and
the "Common School Journal" are noble, though inadequate memorials. In
1848 Mr. Mann was sent to Congress as successor to John Quincy Adams.
Here his powers were at once concentrated in resisting the usurpations
of Slavery. Two years later came his memorable collision with Mr.
Webster. In opposing the doctrines of the famous 7th of March speech,
and in his subsequent criticism of its author, Mr. Mann well knew the
bitter judgments he would provoke and the social position he must
sacrifice. He counted the cost and accepted the duty. Insight lent him
the fire with which foresight kindled the prophets. He saw in the slave
system those inner depths of cruelty and baseness which Andersonville
and Port Hudson have lately revealed. At the ensuing election in
November, Mr. Mann's renomination was defeated in the Whig Convention.
Appealing to the people as an independent candidate, he was re-elected
to Congress, and there served until he was offered the Presidency of
Antioch College in 1852. The toil, the perseverance, the
self-renunciation which associate Mr. Mann with Antioch are too great
for conventional phrases of eulogy. Whether judged by the mighty things
he accomplished, or by the harmonious development of the moral,
intellectual, and affectional nature which he displayed, there are few
human records which show an appreciation of duty so exhaustive united to
a performance so heroic.

The life of Horace Mann was full of severe work. Few men have had the
grace to return so uncompromising an answer to the question whether
their service was to be rendered to God or Mammon. He had the gift of
separating religion from its accidental trappings, and of recognizing in
the simplest intuition of accountability for our neighbor's welfare the
best working hypothesis. Like Theodore Parker, he excelled the common
citizen, not in reach of skepticism, but in might of faith. His was
never that gentlemanly sort of virtue which devotes unoccupied corners
of the being, as it were in decorative fashion, to the interests of
humanity. He would toil patiently at the humblest crank-work, content to
move puppets who received whatever public credit was to be had. Mr. Mann
abandoned a political career that was calculated to satisfy a generous
ambition, to take the newly created office of Secretary of the Board of
Education, unassociated with dignity or emolument. "If the position is
not honorable now," he replied to the remonstrances of a friend, "then
it is clearly for me to elevate it; and I would rather be creditor than
debtor to the title." He combined in a rare degree the working powers of
the enthusiast with the balance of the philosopher. He wrought at
high-pressure, yet looked to no immediate or showy success. "If no seed
were ever sown save that which would promise the requital of a full
harvest, how soon would mankind revert to barbarism!" The exclamation
was with him no disregarded truism.

Mr. Mann's views of the true ends to be sought in our systems of
education receive daily confirmation. Burying the mind under a heap of
ready-made generalizations may give a conceit of knowledge, amusing or
dangerous as the case may be, but never gives the "power" promised in
the aphorism. When Montaigne said that he would rather forge his mind
than furnish it, he suggested the true principle of education. The
problem is not to fill the mind from without, but to give the most
efficient aid to its efforts to form itself from within. The energies
that Mr. Mann put forth for the direction and government of Antioch
College, his noble sacrifices far exceeding the requirements that could
justly be demanded at his hands, not only show his lofty and resolute
nature, but clearly exhibit the substantial _animus_ of the scheme of
instruction he had at heart. While fully recognizing the intimate
connection between physical organization and mental phenomena, he never
doubted our inherent ability to subdue the animal nature, and considered
that a recognizable effort so to do should be an essential condition of
intellectual culture. The great features of the institution for which he
sacrificed his life were, an unsectarian basis, and instruction to woman
as well as man. The touching narrative shows how broad and firm was the
foundation upon which he built. The glory of Horace Mann the educator
culminates in this: he proved that without dogma or formulary the tone
of a large body of students might be unusually religious and their
conduct unusually moral; and also, that the properly guarded intercourse
of young men and young women engaged in the pursuit of knowledge might
be elevating and beneficial to both.

The present volume furnishes a just conception of Mr. Mann's remarkable
character. We see a human life consistently governed by the highest
human instincts. Yet if shortcomings there were, they may be found, or
inferred, by those who will look for them. Mr. S. J. May thinks it not
judicious to publish certain letters that Mr. Mann addressed to him,
lest they should injure their author's fame with some good men. But the
controlling sincerity of the biographer will not permit her to withhold
them. In the never-ending battle between the theoretically right and
what to mortal vision seems the practically expedient, Horace Mann for a
moment inclines to the latter. He fears that Mr. May will peril his
usefulness as Principal of the Lexington Normal School by an open
connection with the Abolitionists. He urges the duty of considering the
consequences of our acts: as if we could weigh, or in any manner
estimate, the eternal consequences of the least of them; as if all
history did not show us that the temporary loss of influence, of
usefulness, the sacrifice of life itself, was necessary to the
incorporation of a higher truth with the existing intelligence of men
and the means of its final triumph in the world. But Mr. Mann's own
brave career was never deflected by the sophistries of the timid. He
never doubted that he best influenced the whole by fulfilling the
highest law of his individual life. What other faith could sustain him,
when his exhausting labors were not rewarded by a recognized success in
any way commensurate with their desert? Yet no one ever saw him when the
luminous quality of his spiritual nature was clouded, or the special
stimulus to use his powers to the utmost was withdrawn.

Few recipes for comfortable living are to be gathered from such a story.
Vainly we ask for a little repose upon our pilgrimage along those
sublime heights of holy exertion whither that example leads us. We
examine the chronicle of labor and privation, if haply we may find some
paragraph wherein the philanthropist dines out or goes to the theatre.
But the solemn claims of humanity are always in his keeping, and we must
get inured as we may to his rigorous stewardship. And it is by the grace
of such exceptional men that our country is to become less the paradise
of charlatanry, and better to deserve the title of Model Republic. They
draw the poison from that current philosophy which maintains that the
intellect of man has always led the way in social advancement, his moral
nature being subordinate thereto. Not as the sum of past forces, but by
his own inherent moral life, does Horace Mann fill these pages. It is a
sterling biography, which no educated American can afford not to read.
It is only partial praise to call the book deeply interesting. It
vivifies and inspires.


     _The Gentle Life_. Essays in Aid of the Formation of
     Character. London: Sampson Low, Son, and Marston.

The title of this book constitutes its chief, we had almost said its
sole, claim to consideration. We open its pleasant-looking pages with
pleasant memories of Charles Lamb and Leigh Hunt, and pleasant
anticipations, not of brilliancy, indeed, nor trenchant truth, but of
medicine for our weariness, a moment of quiet in the rush and whirl of
things, a breath of repose from over the sea to cool and tranquillize
these fervid days of ours. We are tranquillized, indeed! We find
ourselves straightway in a desert, stuck full of flowers, it is true,
from innumerable gardens, but a desert still: for the unhappy exotics
have suffered so severely in the transportation as to be scarcely able
to hold up their heads, and, where they still preserve their original
beauty, only serve to throw into stronger relief the surrounding
sterility. It is a medley of dismal platitudes; truths which have been
truisms for at least a century, uttered with all the pomp and
circumstance of newly discovered laws; quotations garbled, pointless, or
dipped in a feeble venom; shreds of learning pieced together, with or
without adaptation, in a nondescript patchwork; the fragments of a
thousand feasts huddled into one pot, simmered over a slow fire, and
served up as a pretty dish to set before a king.

The uniformity of the book is wonderful. It is always heavy. Its
falsehood is insipid. Its very malice has no pungency. It is dull even
where it hates. Now and then we stumble on a paragraph which starts up
from the dead level around it, glowing with real fire; but at the end we
are sure to find that it is translated from Victor Hugo or transferred
from Emerson; and generally these borrowed plumes are so torn and
bedraggled in their clumsy removal that the very bird they grew on would
scarcely recognize them. There is no intentional, no malign
maltreatment, to give us the relief of a real indignation; but we are
kept in a state of constant irritation by a series of petty
encroachments upon the integrities of literature. There is no law
compelling a man to garnish his speech with floating verse; but if he
choose to do so, he should make a point of presenting it in its true
form. At the very least, if he must garble, let him garble rhythmically,
and not add splay feet to spoiled force. One may not have a poetic taste
or a musical ear; but if he has fingers and toes, he need not say,

    "Yet I doubt not through ages one increasing purpose runs."

It is utter demoralization to write "pride in his port and fire in his
eye." Indeed, the singular fatality which attends these quotations has
something of the sublime. If a sentiment _can_ be reproduced with all
its sparkle extinguished, our Gentle Man is the one to do it. Diffuse
everywhere else, he is compact in erring, and crowds more mistakes into
a paragraph than are often met on a page. He says incidentally, "Lord
Byron wrote a very pretty song, conveying the idea in its refrain 'that
the day of my destiny _is_ over, the star of my hope has declined.' Now
it is not a song, as he uses the word; the idea, if it is an idea, is
not in the refrain; there is no refrain in the piece; and there is
nothing said in the piece about the star of his hope. Lord Burleigh's
fulsome she-fool is euphemized into an irksome female fool, and Lord
Byron _jumped up_ one morning and found himself famous. We are informed
that nothing

    "Can ennoble slaves, or fools, or cowards";

and that

    "My days are in the yellow leaf,
      The flowers and the fruit are gone";

Burton was pleasing himself with _phantasies_ sweet; Addison wedded
_misery_ in a noble wife; Wolsey had nothing more pathetic to say than
"Had I served my God as I served my King, He would not now have deserted
me"; and _King James_, contrary to all historic tradition and all the
probabilities of the case, "never said a foolish thing and never did a
wise one."

Here is a bit of concentrated history:--

"On one of the last Sundays in December, 1862, in the midst of a
dispirited city, and with a perplexed Senate and a beaten army as that
city's safeguards, Mr. Henry Ward Beecher asserted in the Puritan Church
in New York, that 'Generals were of no use; that God fought against the
North for upholding the slaves; that the time was come when wickedness
was to be "rooted out"; and, finally, that it was not only the province
of the preacher to condemn vice, but that he should "pluck it out by the
root," should "slay" wickedness, and that slavery and alcohol should be
put down by the arm of flesh and the sword of the preacher.'"

Now, frankly confessing that we have no knowledge whatever of the facts
in question and cannot therefore authoritatively deny a single
statement, we are yet willing, on "circumstantial evidence," to risk
both our intelligence and veracity by declaring our belief, first, that
Mr. Beecher did not say this in the Puritan Church, but in the Plymouth
Church; secondly, that it was not in New York, but in Brooklyn; and,
thirdly, that he never said it at all. We leave out of view the haze
which evidently beclouds this Gentle Brain regarding the location of the
Senate, and its prevailing impression that the Potomac flows nine times
around New York before it empties itself into Lake Pontchartrain.

We do not claim to display any superior learning in pointing out these
mistakes. We shall never set ourselves above our contemporaries for
corrections which--we will not say every school-boy, but--every
school-girl of ordinary literary aptitude is entirely competent to make.
There are many things which it is no credit to know, but a serious
discredit not to know; and when a man presumes to write a book, we have
at least a right to expect that he shall not stumble in the primer. The
Gentle Man claims to have been a student of English literature. He has
certainly been a very stupid or a very careless one. Indications are not
wanting that his proper seat is on both horns of the dilemma.

When he leaves other writers and has recourse to his own pen, matters
are but indifferently mended. The slovenliness of his style is
extraordinary. "Ought a gentleman," he quotes from Thackeray, "to be a
loyal son, a true husband, an honest father? Ought his life to be
decent, his bills to be paid, his tastes to be high and elegant, his
aims in life to be noble?" "Yes," responds the astute essayist, "he
should be all these, and somewhat more; and these all men can be, and
women, too." What is the English of this gibberish? "In Miss Thackeray's
excellent novel, the 'Story of Elizabeth,' there is a somewhat new point
in such books." He tells us that General Blücher "had his
disappointments, no doubt, but turned them, like the oyster does the
speck of sand which annoys it, to a pearl,"--that in every state people
may be cheerful; "the lambs skip, birds sing and fly _joyously_, puppies
play, kittens are _full_ of _joyance_, the whole air _full_ of careering
and _rejoicing_ insects, _that every_where the good outbalances the bad,
and _that every_ evil _that there is_ has its compensating balm." And in
face of such slop-work he dares to speak of having "formed his style"!

And, stranger still, a book which indulges in these pranks has gone to a
third edition in the land of Addison and Macaulay! Moreover, our copy
belongs to this veritable third edition, whose preface informs us that
"the Essays have undergone a careful revision." What must have been the
glories of the first edition?

The style is not more hopelessly muddled than the sentiment. The man's
skull seems to be undergoing a perpetual house-cleaning. His
intellectual furniture is always at sixes and sevens. It would be very
strange, if so wide a rover and so indefatigable a collector should
never by any chance come back with some valuable specimens for his
cabinet; but the few curiosities displayed as his own property have so
very awkward an air in his wilderness of common pebbles, that we have a
deep inward conviction that they are stolen, though the theft may be an
unconscious one. Moreover, if he ever lights on a genuine gem, he cannot
keep his hands off it, but paws it over and over till it is as
lustreless as its companions. He seems to have an organic inaptitude for
combination. He lays a fact down and straightway forgets where he put
it, what it was for, or what manner of fact it was, and goes serenely on
with his argument as if no such fact existed. Some of his facts are of
such a nature that the pity is not that he occasionally forgets them,
but that he ever remembered them. To show that old truths are "now
proved to have been lies," he quotes,--

    "Doubt that the stars are fire,
      Doubt that the sun doth move,
    Doubt truth to be a liar,
      But never doubt I love,"

and adds this comment,--"Well, we know now that the sun does not move,
and that the stars are not fire; that the voices of the learned, who
held up these things as immutable truths, were unconsciously lying after
all." Yet any astronomical horn-book would have told our philosopher,
that, if one scientific theory is firmly founded on truth, it is that
the sun does move; and for the matter of the stars, it is as likely to
be fire as anything else. "William Penn," he says elsewhere, "is now
tainted, and Washington suspected." By whom? and of what?--will this new
historian inform us? "Great artists think differently, as witness
wondrous Giotto, the shepherd boy, and our own clever, but mediocre
Opie." A man may mistake a mediocre painter for a great artist and only
err in judgment, but that he should in the same breath proclaim him to
be both is a marvel of stultification. "All men are not born equal," he
says, presumptuously dabbling in politics and drawing his feeble bow
against the Declaration of Independence,--"all men are not equally wise,
gifted, clever, strong, handsome, or tall. The brains of one nation and
the brains of one man are superior in weight, form, and activity to the
brains of another nation or another man." "The framers of the celebrated
American Declaration knew just as well as we do that they were preaching
a doctrine of romantic falsehood." A moment or two after this fine
philosophical distinction and this courteous and eminently Gentle
assertion,--but quite long enough for him to have forgotten both,--he
makes another affirmation, that equality exists "in the grave and in the
church." How, then? Are men equally wise, gifted, clever, strong,
handsome, or tall in church? "A hundred years after death we may weigh
the dust of the greatest hero, and it is no more than that of the
poorest beggar; and the name that remains is as light and useless as the
dust." But if the great hero were very strong and tall and the poor
beggar a feeble dwarf, the dust of the one would be appreciably more
than that of the other, And what means this Daniel come to judgment by
teaching that a hero's name is light and useless? We had supposed it was
agreed among all civilized people that a nation's heroic memories are
her most priceless possessions. We ask the question simply as a
rhetorical one. We are perfectly aware that the author means nothing. He
seldom does mean anything. And if he did, he is the last person to whom
we should apply for any exact definition of his meaning. He uses words
with very little comprehension of their ordinary meaning; of the
delicacy or the force of language he has no sort of conception. He
grasps at the skirts of any notion that flutters through his disorderly
mind, fastens to it the word that comes first to hand, and sets it
fluttering again. Juxtaposition is his all-sufficient substitute for
connection, and "a moment's time, a point of space," between two
statements is fatal to his arguments. "We all differ. _Therefore_," is
his extraordinary inference, "every individual should live, not for
himself, but to be valuable to others; _for_," and here we turn another
of his inexplicable corners, "it would be sheer midsummer madness to
preach up that all are equally valuable." Consequently we embark on his
sentences, paragraphs, and chapters in entire ignorance of the point
where they will land us. He takes Mr. Helps to task for bowing the knee
to the Moloch of success in writing Mr. Stephenson's life, accuses Mr.
Stephenson of borrowing and purloining ideas, yet himself constantly
holds him up to admiration as a hero. The putting down of the
Slaveholders' Rebellion is to him a mere "blundering into slaughter";
but the Crimean War "showed that heroism is not yet extinct in high
life"; and in the Indian Mutinies, we, the English, "were attacked,
undermined, betrayed," and that rebellion was quelled with "courage,
skill in arms, anything you will, or all things combined, and God's
blessing chief of all, which enabled us to preserve a mighty empire." Of
these "high people" he advises us to "adopt the polish, suavity, and
politeness, one towards another, which, with few exceptions, they all
have," only two pages after he has illustrated "vulgar curiosity in high
life" by telling us how, "at an entertainment given by the Prince and
Princess of Wales, to which, of course, only the very cream of the cream
of society was admitted, there was such a pushing and struggling to see
the Princess ... that a bust of the Princess Royal was thrown from its
pedestal and damaged, and the pedestal upset; the ladies, in their
eagerness to view the Princess, coolly took advantage of the overthrown
pillar by standing on it." In one place he testifies that "the majority
of men's wives in the upper and middle classes fall far short of that
which is required of a good wife. They are not made by love, but by the
chance of a good match. They are the products of worldly prudence, not
of a noble passion.... The consequence is, that after the first novelty
has passed away, the chain begins to rub and the collar to gall." A
little later in the same essay he gives an ideal wife, and says,--"It is
not too much to say that the great majority of wives equal this ideal."
"By far the larger portion of marriages are happy ones ... and ... of
men's wives we still can write ... 'her voice is sweet music, her smiles
his brightest day,' &c., &c." "Women," he says, "differ from men in this
respect. They all, very properly, look forward to marriage." So, we
suppose, men do not look forward to marriage; or if they do, it is
improperly. "Nay, the great majority [of women], even in our factitious
state of society, are utterly dependent upon it." That is, if society
were not factitious, every woman, without exception, would be utterly
dependent upon marriage for a living. "The majority of girls are looking
forward to be married at an early age, and are in despair of being left
old maids when they are twenty-one." As usual, he means the contrary of
what he says,--not that girls hope to be old maids till they are
twenty-one and then settle down into the certainty that they must become
wives, but that they hope to be wives and are in despair at being old
maids by the time they are twenty-one. The difficult task of evolving
his meaning from his words is, to be sure, entirely a work of
supererogation on our part, as the statement he means and the statement
he makes are usually alike baseless. But we choose to free him from the
meshes in which he has entangled himself and give him a chance to run
for his life.

The brilliancy and originality of his views on social questions appear
in such startling announcements as "Woman should be true to herself."
"Woman was created to be a wife and a mother." "The accomplished woman
in these days of general education is, however, a grand mistake." "Why
should lovely woman ever condescend to dabble in political economy? Can
a gentleman be a gentleman when logic requires the truth? Will dry
dissertation fill up the place of compliment and flowery talk? Will
agricultural measures,--Mill on Liberty,--Buckle on Civilization,--High,
Low, or Middle Church,--Pleiocene periods,--Hind's new comet, and the
division of labor, suffer us to enjoy life as we used, and to amuse
ourselves with the innocent prattle of ladies' tongues?" Rosy, posy,
pinky, honey, pepper_mint_, and sugar-plummy! "One part of management in
husbands lies in a judicious mixture of good-humor, attention, flattery,
and compliments." Here, helping him to his meaning, which he flounders
after in vain through a page of wish-wash, we may explain that he is not
speaking, as would naturally be supposed, of the manner in which
husbands manage wives, but, advancing in his usual crab-fashion, of the
manner in which wives manage husbands; nor by flattery let it be
imagined for a moment that he means flattery, but "an offered flower, a
birthday gift, a song when we are weary, a smile when we are sad, a look
which no eye but our own will see," in which, if truth is, as has been
said, "a fixed central sun," our comet must be considered in its
perihelion. And having thus set him on his feet again, let us see
whether he can stand by himself a tottering moment or two.

The preventive of these ill-assorted marriages (which for the greater
part are never made) is, if the young men "only chose by sense _or_
fancy, _or_ because they saw some good quality in a girl,--if they were
not all captivated by the face alone," (Query: What is being captivated
by a face but choosing by fancy? and what is choosing by sense but
choosing by some good quality?) "every Jill would have her Jack, and
pair off happily, like the lovers in a comedy." At the same time he
agrees with Swift that the reason why so many marriages are unhappy is
because young ladies spend their "time in making nets and not in making
cages."

We have said that the Gentle Man is dull even when he hates. It is true,
so far as he has anything to do with expressing his hatred; yet the time
for the publication of his dulness is so inaptly--or perhaps we should
rather say so aptly--chosen, that the incongruity awakens our sense of
the ridiculous, while a certain childlike confidingness with which he
credits any statement that makes against the objects of his dislike
comes nearer to amusing us than anything else in the book. America is
his _bête noir_. It points the moral of every sad tale. "Vulgarity,
hoydenishness, coarseness, and the contempt which accompanies these
qualities, are the effects of bad manner and manners. It may pervade a
whole nation, as it has done the Americans." What the particular "it" is
which pervades us, we cannot, and the Gentle Man, also, "true to
himself," cannot say; but there it is. A nation is exhorted to
politeness; for, "sitting with their legs over the chair-back of
another, carrying bowie-knives, cutting the furniture, and spitting in a
circle around them, are not only national faults, but absolutely sins
amongst Americans." Call a spade a spade, and speak not as in "America,
where they talk of the 'stands' of the tables, not daring to say 'legs';
and a young lady will be highly offended, if you dare to ask her to take
a leg of a fowl or a breast of a turkey. There the latter is called
'bosom'; and a mock modesty, which to us seems highly improper, has
altered some round dozen of good, sound English words, which our best
and purest girls use without so much as thinking upon them." Avoid
exaggeration, for in America "it produces a general decay of truth and a
boastful habit of exaggeration, for which the nation has grown famous,
and at which its best friends are truly grieved." (Oh!) ... "They have
asserted so long that they are the finest and best nation in the world,
and they have come out so poorly under trial, that, what with a
remembrance of the old story and the presence of the new, the English
thinker is completely puzzled.... So general was the falsification, that
the best men in the Northern States no longer credited a Government
despatch or a general's 'order';... and the sad state into which the
great nation has fallen has arisen from the spread of that vile disease,
a love of exaggeration." His profound political penetration is evinced
by the sagacious remark, that "America, the disciple of Lafayette (!)
and French doctrines, determined to propagate liberty by enslaving six
millions of brothers." His opinion of the character and career of our
late beloved President--a name almost too pure and now too sacred to be
mentioned here--is for once succinctly given,--"A cunning attorney sits
upon a chair he cannot fill, and is leading a party and country to
destruction." "With all his undoubted conceit and endurance, with his
keenness for praise and for being talked about, we doubt whether there
are many more miserable men in the world than President Abraham Lincoln.
The bitter, bitter tears which Louis XVI. ... shed because of his own
unfitness have been chronicled; but he, knowing his incompetence, was
born to the estate of king; the American President wriggled himself
forward into notoriety." "To an American, all the world seemed bound up
in his Boston or Philadelphia.... He could whip John Bull, and John Bull
could whip all the world. As, since that, he has been 'whipped into a
cocked hat' by his own relations, we hope some of the conceit has been
taken out of him." Yes, unhappy that we are, the secret is at last
revealed. We carry bowie-knives in our breast-pockets (venturing to
discard for once, under the protection of our Transatlantic Mentor, the
usual term of _bosom-pocket_). We dine off the stands of fowl. We have
come out poorly under trial, our finances are deranged, our country
bankrupt, our confidence in Government lost, and we have no loyalty,
because there is nothing to be loyal to. We are tossing on a sea of
anarchy, we are rushing on to ruin, we have been braggart in peace and
cowardly in war, and are at this moment whipped by our own relations
into such a cocked hat as was never before seen. We do not credit the
order to stop recruiting, and we have no belief in the evacuation of
Richmond. We are confident that Sherman is gasping in the last ditch,
that Jefferson Davis is dictator at Washington, and that General Grant
is flying in his wife's gown before the victorious legions of Lee.

In his preface, the writer of this book repels the charge of being like
Thackeray and Dickens. We can assure him, that, with an American public,
he may spare himself that trouble. He is not in the smallest danger of
being mistaken for either of those eminent writers. He is so entirely
unlike them that we do not for a moment suspect him of having attempted
to imitate them. We do not even reckon him their disciple, nor Bacon's,
nor Montaigne's, nor Steele's, nor any other's whose plan he professes
himself to have adopted; for a disciple is a learner, which the Gentle
Man seems never capable of becoming. Good and bad alike, he is a feeble
and confused echo of all men's notions, but the steadfast adherent of
none. The snob's soul within him bows down to the authority of great
men, yet he produces their great thoughts in disjointed and distorted
shape. He does not scruple to sneer where sneers are safe, blind to the
glaring fact that sneers are never safe for him. Bold behind his Tory
bulwarks, he warns boys against adopting Mr. Bright's opinions, and so
becoming "selfish, calculating, cold; as careless of true nobility of
purpose and of soul and as worshipful of material success as Mr. Bright
himself;" and he has his little fling at Tupper, in common with many
another literary drummer-boy who would earn a cheap reputation for valor
by attacking what his superiors have already demolished. We should scorn
to parry the puny thrust of this Liliputian at the noble name which
America delights to honor, or to repel the charge of coldness against
that great heart whose burst of anguish over the grave of his friend,
and our friend, and humanity's, awoke an answering sob in a thousand
homes of this Western World; but we beg to assure this fine old English
Gentle Man and scholar, that, reading these essays, we are ready to
pronounce Mr. Tupper a master of style and his philosophy a striking and
valuable treatise.

We really beg pardon of our readers for covering so much space with this
flummery. We intended to despatch it with a thrust or two; but when our
pen was once caught in the flimsy stuff, it was difficult to withdraw it
again without bringing away considerable portions of the tangle.
Moreover, a book of so much pretension is not to be as lightly passed by
as its humbler brethren. A book that comes to us in fair type and fine
paper, bearing the imprint of a well-known and highly respected
publishing house,--a book that invokes the first names in literature and
meddles with the higher laws of life, that takes on the airs of a censor
and pushes forward into the guild of genius, that by the assumption of
its tone and the broadcast scatteration--depend upon it, that is the
word--of its odds and ends of learning, or by what hocus-pocus we know
not, has attained to a third edition in a country proud of the accuracy
and elegance of its scholarship, and that now brings its brazen face to
our doors, seeking a welcome at the hearthstones which it has insulted,
is not to be dismissed with a simple "Not at home." We have chosen
rather to pillory the pretender, pelting him only with such missiles as
his own pockets furnished. We now discharge him from custody, bidding
him and all his kind bear in mind the assurance, that, while for English
genius, English wisdom, English truth, and English love, we have only
admiration and gratitude, the time has gone by for English charlatanry
to expect from our hands anything but the scourging it deserves.


     _Essays in Criticism_. By MATTHEW ARNOLD. Boston: Ticknor &
     Fields.

A more satisfactory volume of English prose than this has not come into
our hands since the first appearance of the famous "Essays and Reviews."
Differing widely from that collection in kind and scope, it yet belongs
in the main to the same school of liberal thought in which England has
made of late such rapid strides.

As a poet, Matthew Arnold had been known among us for a decade or more
of years, and, though not celebrated with the wide popularity of
Tennyson, had been as cordially cherished as the Laureate himself by all
who valued in poetry the indications of profound intellectual experience
as well as the singer's native gift. Those who are most familiar with
the verses of the Oxford Professor will be least surprised with the
critical insight and judicial wisdom of these Essays. For, independently
of any question of natural affinity or natural incompatibility between
the functions of bard and critic, there is that in Mr. Arnold's poetry
which makes the fortune of the essayist,--an intense subjectiveness
united to an analytic subtilty, which would mar the beauty of his verse,
as it certainly does that of Mr. Browning, were it not compensated by a
depth and truth of poetic feeling, in which Arnold far excels Browning,
and has no superior among recent English poets. Some of his poems are
critical essays, without losing the distinctive character of poetry; and
some of his best criticisms are done in verse. What better, for example,
than the sentence on Byron in "Memorial Verses"?

    "He taught us little: but our soul
    Had felt him like the thunder's roll.
    With shivering heart the strife we saw
    Of Passion with Eternal Law;
    And yet with reverential awe
    We watched the fount of fiery life
    Which served for that Titanic strife."

Or that on Goethe in "Obermann"?

    "For he pursued a lonely road,
      His eye on Nature's plan,--
    Neither made man too much a God,
      Nor God too much a man."

Of living Englishmen, it seems to us that Matthew Arnold combines in the
highest degree great wealth of literary culture with the deepest
thoughtfulness. This makes the charm of the present volume. Also, to his
honor be it said,--and let due commendation be given to that trait,--he
is of modern English essayists the least dogmatic. With fixed
principles of art and very decided views of his own he combines a
tolerance and a flexibility of mind which are very un-English. He is the
least insular of his countrymen. It cannot be said of him, as he himself
has said of Carlyle, that, with all his genius, he "has for the
functions of the critic a little too much of the self-will and
eccentricities of a genuine son of Great Britain." And yet, un-British
as he is in these respects, Arnold, in one thing, is more national far
than Carlyle,--in the manner, namely, in which he chooses to express his
thought. Though deeply conversant with German literature, (as he is with
French,) he has not suffered himself to be bitten with the Teutomania
which infects so unpleasantly the diction of his self-willed
countryman,--making his sentences seem like translations from Jean Paul,
rather than utterances conceived in an English mind. He unites
cosmopolitan liberality with English self-possession.

As a stylist, he is singularly inartificial. Would that our American
writers might take a lesson from Arnold's prose, and correct their
ambitious rhetoric, affected quaintness, and other varieties of fine
writing, by this pure, simple, honest English. The peculiarity of his
style, we should say, is its freedom from peculiarity. It is the style
of a cultivated, thoughtful man, without the pedantry and mannerism
which thoughtful and cultivated men so often contract. Easy, almost
careless in its movement, but far from careless in its choice of words,
it is neither bookish nor vulgarly colloquial, but maintains a just mean
between elaborateness and rudeness. In our young days Macaulay was
considered the model writer, and Ruskin has been thought to occupy that
place in these latter years; but Macaulay is tumid, and even Ruskin
stilted and stiff, in comparison with Matthew Arnold.

For the matter, here are fourteen essays, including the three lectures,
"On translating Homer," and the "Last Words," not ponderously and
oppressively learned, and not abstrusely and obtrusively philosophical,
but as full of wisdom and intellectual stimulus and graceful humor as
any we know, and more tolerant and liberal than most,--together with a
preface as entertaining as any of the essays. So healthy and nourishing
a book, in the way of literary essays, has not for a long while appeared
among us. We are far from assenting to all of Professor Arnold's
positions. We altogether repudiate the statement, that "on Heine, of all
German authors who have survived Goethe, incomparably the largest
portion of Goethe's mantle fell"; nor can we adopt all his criticisms
and views on the Homeric question; nevertheless, we can with the utmost
confidence recommend this volume to the literary men of America to whom
the author is yet unknown, or known only by name.



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