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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 99, January, 1866
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.

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THE

ATLANTIC MONTHLY.


A MAGAZINE OF

_Literature, Science, Art, and Politics_.


VOLUME XVII.

[Illustration]

BOSTON:

TICKNOR AND FIELDS,

124 TREMONT STREET.


LONDON: TRÜBNER AND COMPANY.

1866.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1866,
by TICKNOR AND FIELDS,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of
Massachusetts.


UNIVERSITY PRESS:
ELECTROTYPED BY WELCH, BIGELOW, & CO.,
CAMBRIDGE.



CONTENTS.

                                                                     Page
Amazonian Picnic, An                _Mrs. Agassiz_                    313


Bad Symptoms                        _Edward Spenser_                  768

Beauty and the Beast                _Bayard Taylor_                    13

Booth, Edwin                        _E. C. Stedman_                   585


Chimney-Corner for 1866, The.
  I., II., III., IV., V., VI.       _Mrs. H. B. Stowe_      88, 214, 345,
                                                            490, 577, 737

Court-Cards                         _Charles J. Sprague_              178

Communication with the Pacific      _C. C. Coffin_                    333


Doctor Johns. XII., XIII., XIV., XV., XVI., XVII.
                                    _Donald G. Mitchell_         69, 204,
                                                      323, 466, 552, 707


English Opinion on the American War _W. M. Rossetti_                  129


Fenian "Idea," The                 _Frances Power Cobbe_              572

Freedman's Story, The. I., II      _William Parker_              152, 276


Griffith Gaunt: or, Jealousy.
  II., III., IV., V., VI., VII.    _Charles Reade_         100, 221, 365,
                                                            507, 596, 751

Gypsies, The Origin of the         _G. W. Hosmer_                     167


Harmonists, The            _Author of "Life in the Iron-Mills"_       529

High Tide of December, The _Author of "Life in the Iron-Mills"_        47

In the Hemlocks                     _John Burroughs_                  672


Kingdom Coming, The                 _Gail Hamilton_                    81


Landscape Painter, A                _Henry W. James_                  182

Late Insurrection in Jamaica, The   _G. Reynolds_                     480

Last Days of Walter Savage Landor.
  I., II., III.                     _Kate Field_            385, 540, 684

Lucy's Letters                      _Anne M. Brewster_                 64


Madam Waldoborough's Carriage      _J. T. Trowbridge_                 407

Mephistophelean                    _Charles J. Sprague_               632

Monuments, Question of             _W. D. Howells_                    646


Nantucket                          _F. Sheldon_                       296


Passages from Hawthorne's Note-Books.
  I., II., III., IV., V., VI.                  1, 170, 257, 422, 565, 725

Pioneer Editor, A                                                     743

Poor Chloe                         _Mrs. L. M. Child_                 352

President and Congress, The        _E. P. Whipple_                    500


Quicksands                         _Mrs. C. A. Hopkinson_             657


Ramble through the Market, A       _B. W. Ball_                       268

Reconstructionists, Three Months
  Among the                        _Sidney Andrews_                   237


Sainte-Beuve                       _John Foster Kirk_                 432

Snow-Walkers, The                  _John Burroughs_                   302

Struggle for Shelter, A            _Caroline P. Hawes_                456


Tied to a Rope                     _Charles J. Sprague_               721


Were they Crickets?                                                   397

What will it cost us?              _E. H. Derby_                      621

Wilderness, The                    _J. T. Trowbridge_                  39


POETRY.

Abraham Davenport                           _John C. Whittier_        539
Among the Laurels                           _Mrs. Akers_              594

Bells of Lynn, The                          _H. W. Longfellow_         47

Castles in the Air                          _W. C. Bryant_             11

Dead Ship of Harpswell, The                 _John G. Whittier_        705
De Spiridione Episcopo                      _C. G. Leland_            454

Giotto's Tower                              _H. W. Longfellow_        724

In the Sea                                  _Hiram Rich_              344

Killed at the Ford                          _H. W. Longfellow_        479

Mountain, The                               _E. G. Stedman_           734
Mr. Hosea Biglow's Speech in March Meeting  _James Russell Lowell_    635
My Annual                                   _O. W. Holmes_            395

Old Man's Idyl, An                          _Richard Realf_           266

Riviera di Ponente                          _J. F. Clarke_            202

Snow                                        _T. B. Aldrich_           364

To Hersa                                                              311
To-morrow                                   _H. W. Longfellow_        552
Two Pictures                                _John G. Whittier_        149

Wind the Clock                              _Hiram Rich_               80


REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.

Andrews's South since the War                                         778
A Noble Life                                                          650
Bigelow's Address on the Limits of Education                          251
Bowles's Across the Continent                                         524
Brownson's American Republic                                          523
Clark's Mind in Nature                                                649
Croquet, Manuals of                                                   772
Doolittle's Social Life of the Chinese                                779
Foote's War of the Rebellion                                          653
Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates                                    779
Herman; or, Young Knighthood                                          246
Hittell's Resources of California                                     522
Holcombe's Literature in Letters                                      650
Jean Ingelow's Songs of Seven                                         122
Lecky's Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe     248
Life and Letters of Frederick W. Robertson                            119
Life of Michael Angelo                                                124
Life and Times of Sir Joshua Reynolds                                 525
McGilchrist's Richard Cobden                                          253
Meta Lander's Esperance                                               525
Perry's Human Hair                                                    255
Piatt's Poems                                                         653
Savage's History of the Boston Watch and Police                       122
Sarmiento's Vida de Abran. Lincoln                                    252
Smiles's Lives of Boulton and Watt                                    384
Taylor's Story of Kennett                                             775
Towle's History of Henry the Fifth                                    651
Tuckerman's Criterion                                                 651
White's Poetry of the Civil War                                       724
Whittier's Snow-Bound                                                 383
Winifred Bertram                                                      384
Works of Edmund Burke, The                                            122

RECENT AMERICAN PUBLICATIONS                                125, 256, 655



THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

_A Magazine of Literature, Science, Art, and Politics._

VOL. XVII.--JANUARY, 1866.--NO. XCIX.

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.



PASSAGES FROM HAWTHORNE'S NOTE-BOOKS.


I.

     [Mr. Hawthorne's note-books, comprising several volumes of
     closely written memoranda, were found in his study after his
     decease. Extracts from these interesting pages will from
     time to time be printed in this magazine, just as he left
     them. They are the records of his every-day life, and as
     such will be welcome to all who appreciate his genius and
     love his memory.]

Salem, _June 15, 1835._--A walk down to the Juniper. The shore of the
coves strewn with bunches of sea-weed, driven in by recent winds.
Eel-grass, rolled and bundled up, and entangled with it,--large marine
vegetables, of an olive color, with round, slender, snake-like stalks,
four or five feet long, and nearly two feet broad: these are the herbage
of the deep sea. Shoals of fishes, at a little distance from the shore,
discernible by their fins out of water. Among the heaps of sea-weed
there were sometimes small pieces of painted wood, bark, and other
driftage. On the shore, with pebbles of granite, there were round or
oval pieces of brick, which the waves had rolled about, till they
resembled a natural mineral. Huge stones tossed about, in every variety
of confusion, some shagged all over with sea-weed, others only partly
covered, others bare. The old ten-gun battery, at the outer angle of the
Juniper, very verdant, and besprinkled with white-weed, clover, and
buttercups. The juniper-trees are very aged and decayed and moss-grown.
The grass about the hospital is rank, being trodden, probably, by nobody
but myself. There is a representation of a vessel under sail, cut with a
penknife, on the corner of the house.

Returning by the almshouse, I stopped a good while to look at the
pigs,--a great herd,--who seemed to be just finishing their suppers.
They certainly are types of unmitigated sensuality,--some standing in
the trough, in the midst of their own and others' victuals,--some
thrusting their noses deep into the food,--some rubbing their backs
against a post,--some huddled together between sleeping and waking,
breathing hard,--all wallowing about; a great boar swaggering round, and
a big sow waddling along with her huge paunch. Notwithstanding the
unspeakable defilement with which these strange sensualists spice all
their food, they seem to have a quick and delicate sense of smell. What
ridiculous-looking animals! Swift himself could not have imagined
anything nastier than what they practise by the mere impulse of natural
genius. Yet the Shakers keep their pigs very clean, and with great
advantage. The legion of devils in the herd of swine,--what a scene it
must have been!

Sunday evening, going by the jail, the setting sun kindled up the
windows most cheerfully; as if there were a bright, comfortable light
within its darksome stone wall.

       *       *       *       *       *

_June 18._--A walk in North Salem in the decline of yesterday
afternoon,--beautiful weather, bright, sunny, with a western or
northwestern wind just cool enough, and a slight superfluity of heat.
The verdure, both of trees and grass, is now in its prime, the leaves
elastic, all life. The grass-fields are plenteously bestrewn with
white-weed, large spaces looking as white as a sheet of snow, at a
distance, yet with an indescribably warmer tinge than snow,--living
white, intermixed with living green. The hills and hollows beyond the
Cold Spring copiously shaded, principally with oaks of good growth, and
some walnut-trees, with the rich sun brightening in the midst of the
open spaces, and mellowing and fading into the shade,--and single trees,
with their cool spot of shade in the waste of sun: quite a picture of
beauty, gently picturesque. The surface of the land is so varied, with
woodland mingled, that the eye cannot reach far away, except now and
then in vistas perhaps across the river, showing houses, or a church and
surrounding village, in Upper Beverly. In one of the sunny bits of
pasture, walled irregularly in with oak-shade, I saw a gray mare
feeding, and, as I drew near, a colt sprang up from amid the grass,--a
very small colt. He looked me in the face, and I tried to startle him,
so as to make him gallop; but he stretched his long legs, one after
another, walked quietly to his mother, and began to suck,--just wetting
his lips, not being very hungry. Then he rubbed his head, alternately,
with each hind leg. He was a graceful little beast.

I bathed in the cove, overhung with maples and walnuts, the water cool
and thrilling. At a distance it sparkled bright and blue in the breeze
and sun. There were jelly-fish swimming about, and several left to melt
away on the shore. On the shore, sprouting amongst the sand and gravel,
I found samphire, growing somewhat like asparagus. It is an excellent
salad at this season, salt, yet with an herb-like vivacity, and very
tender. I strolled slowly through the pastures, watching my long shadow
making grave, fantastic gestures in the sun. It is a pretty sight to see
the sunshine brightening the entrance of a road which shortly becomes
deeply overshadowed by trees on both sides. At the Cold Spring, three
little girls, from six to nine, were seated on the stones in which the
fountain is set, and paddling in the water. It was a pretty picture, and
would have been prettier, if they had shown bare little legs, instead of
pantalets. Very large trees overhung them, and the sun was so nearly
gone down that a pleasant gloom made the spot sombre, in contrast with
these light and laughing little figures. On perceiving me, they rose up,
tittering among themselves. It seemed that there was a sort of playful
malice in those who first saw me; for they allowed the other to keep on
paddling, without warning her of my approach. I passed along, and heard
them come chattering behind.

       *       *       *       *       *

_June 22._--I rode to Boston in the afternoon with Mr. Proctor. It was a
coolish day, with clouds and intermitting sunshine, and a pretty fresh
breeze. We stopped about an hour at the Maverick House, in the sprouting
branch of the city, at East Boston,--a stylish house, with doors painted
in imitation of oak; a large bar; bells ringing; the bar-keeper calls
out, when a bell rings, "Number --"; then a waiter replies, "Number --
answered"; and scampers up stairs. A ticket is given by the hostler, on
taking the horse and chaise, which is returned to the bar-keeper when
the chaise is wanted. The landlord was fashionably dressed, with the
whitest of linen, neatly plaited, and as courteous as a Lord
Chamberlain. Visitors from Boston thronging the house,--some standing at
the bar, watching the process of preparing tumblers of punch,--others
sitting at the windows of different parlors,--some with faces flushed,
puffing cigars. The bill of fare for the day was stuck up beside the
bar. Opposite this principal hotel there was another, called "The
Mechanics," which seemed to be equally thronged. I suspect that the
company were about on a par in each; for at the Maverick House, though
well dressed, they seemed to be merely Sunday gentlemen,--mostly young
fellows,--clerks in dry-goods stores being the aristocracy of them. One,
very fashionable in appearance, with a handsome cane, happened to stop
by me and lift up his foot, and I noticed that the sole of his boot
(which was exquisitely polished) was all worn out. I apprehend that some
such minor deficiencies might have been detected in the general
showiness of most of them. There were girls, too, but not pretty ones,
nor, on the whole, such good imitations of gentility as the young men.
There were as many people as are usually collected at a muster, or on
similar occasions, lounging about, without any apparent enjoyment; but
the observation of this may serve me to make a sketch of the mode of
spending the Sabbath by the majority of unmarried, young, middling-class
people, near a great town. Most of the people had smart canes and
bosom-pins.

Crossing the ferry into Boston, we went to the City Tavern, where the
bar-room presented a Sabbath scene of repose,--stage-folk lounging in
chairs, half asleep, smoking cigars, generally with clean linen and
other niceties of apparel, to mark the day. The doors and blinds of an
oyster and refreshment shop across the street were closed, but I saw
people enter it. There were two owls in a back court, visible through a
window of the bar-room,--speckled-gray, with dark-blue eyes,--the
queerest-looking birds that exist,--so solemn and wise,--dozing away the
day, much like the rest of the people, only that they looked wiser than
any others. Their hooked beaks looked like hooked noses. A dull scene
this. A stranger, here and there, poring over a newspaper. Many of the
stage-folk sitting in chairs on the pavement, in front of the door.

We went to the top of the hill which formed part of Gardiner Greene's
estate, and which is now in the process of levelling, and pretty much
taken away, except the highest point, and a narrow path to ascend to it.
It gives an admirable view of the city, being almost as high as the
steeples and the dome of the State House, and overlooking the whole mass
of brick buildings and slated roofs, with glimpses of streets far below.
It was really a pity to take it down. I noticed the stump of a very
large elm, recently felled. No house in the city could have reared its
roof so high as the roots of that tree, if indeed the church-spires did
so.

On our drive home we passed through Charlestown. Stages in abundance
were passing the road, burdened with passengers inside and out; also
chaises and barouches, horsemen and footmen. We are a community of
Sabbath-breakers!

       *       *       *       *       *

_August 31._--A drive to Nahant yesterday afternoon. Stopped at Rice's,
and afterwards walked down to the steamboat wharf to see the passengers
land. It is strange how few good faces there are in the world,
comparatively to the ugly ones. Scarcely a single comely one in all this
collection. Then to the hotel. Barouches at the doors, and gentlemen and
ladies going to drive, and gentlemen smoking round the piazza. The
bar-keeper had one of Benton's mint-drops for a bosom-brooch! It made a
very handsome one. I crossed the beach for home about sunset. The tide
was so far down as just to give me a passage on the hard sand, between
the sea and the loose gravel. The sea was calm and smooth, with only the
surf-waves whitening along the beach. Several ladies and gentlemen on
horseback were cantering and galloping before and behind me.

       *       *       *       *       *

A hint of a story,--some incident which should bring on a general war;
and the chief actor in the incident to have something corresponding to
the mischief he had caused.

       *       *       *       *       *

_1835, September 7._--A drive to Ipswich with B----. At the tavern was
an old, fat, country major, and another old fellow, laughing and playing
off jokes on each other,--one tying a ribbon upon the other's hat. One
had been a trumpeter to the major's troop. Walking about town, we
knocked, for a whim, at the door of a dark old house, and inquired if
Miss Hannah Lord lived there. A woman of about thirty came to the door,
with rather a confused smile, and a disorder about the bosom of her
dress, as if she had been disturbed while nursing her child. She
answered us with great kindness.

Entering the burial-ground, where some masons were building a tomb, we
found a good many old monuments, and several covered with slabs of red
freestone or slate, and with arms sculptured on the slab, or an inlaid
circle of slate. On one slate grave-stone, of the Rev. Nathl. Rogers,
there was a portrait of that worthy, about a third of the size of life,
carved in relief, with his cloak, band, and wig, in excellent
preservation, all the buttons of his waistcoat being cut with great
minuteness,--the minister's nose being on a level with his cheeks. It
was an upright grave-stone. Returning home, I held a colloquy with a
young girl about the right road. She had come out to feed a pig, and was
confused, and also a little suspicious that we were making fun of her,
yet answered us with a shy laugh and good-nature,--the pig all the time
squealing for his dinner.

       *       *       *       *       *

Displayed along the walls, and suspended from the pillars of the
original King's Chapel, were coats-of-arms of the king, the successive
governors, and other distinguished men. In the pulpit there was an
hour-glass on a large and elaborate brass stand. The organ was
surmounted by a gilt crown in the centre, supported by a gilt mitre on
each side. The governor's pew had Corinthian pillars, and crimson damask
tapestry. In 1727 it was lined with china, probably tiles.

       *       *       *       *       *

Saint Augustin, at mass, charged all that were accursed to go out of the
church. "Then a dead body arose, and went out of the church into the
churchyard, with a white cloth on its head, and stood there till mass
was over. It was a former lord of the manor, whom a curate had cursed
because he refused to pay his tithes. A justice also commanded the dead
curate to arise, and gave him a rod; and the dead lord, kneeling,
received penance thereby." He then ordered the lord to go again to his
grave, which he did, and fell immediately to ashes. Saint Augustin
offered to pray for the curate, that he might remain on earth to confirm
men in their belief; but the curate refused, because he was in the place
of rest.

       *       *       *       *       *

A sketch to be given of a modern reformer,--a type of the extreme
doctrines on the subject of slaves, cold water, and other such topics.
He goes about the streets haranguing most eloquently, and is on the
point of making many converts, when his labors are suddenly interrupted
by the appearance of the keeper of a mad-house, whence he has escaped.
Much may be made of this idea.

       *       *       *       *       *

The world is so sad and solemn, that things meant in jest are liable, by
an overpowering influence, to become dreadful earnest,--gayly dressed
fantasies turning to ghostly and black-clad images of themselves.

       *       *       *       *       *

A story, the hero of which is to be represented as naturally capable of
deep and strong passion, and looking forward to the time when he shall
feel passionate love, which is to be the great event of his existence.
But it so chances that he never falls in love; and although he gives up
the expectation of so doing, and marries calmly, yet it is somewhat
sadly, with sentiments merely of esteem for his bride. The lady might be
one who had loved him early in life, but whom then, in his expectation
of passionate love, he had scorned.

       *       *       *       *       *

The scene of a story or sketch to be laid within the light of a
street-lantern; the time, when the lamp is near going out; and the
catastrophe to be simultaneous with the last flickering gleam.

       *       *       *       *       *

The peculiar weariness and depression of spirits which is felt after a
day wasted in turning over a magazine or other light miscellany,
different from the state of the mind after severe study; because there
has been no excitement, no difficulties to be overcome, but the spirits
have evaporated insensibly.

       *       *       *       *       *

To represent the process by which sober truth gradually strips off all
the beautiful draperies with which imagination has enveloped a beloved
object, till from an angel she turns out to be a merely ordinary woman.
This to be done without caricature, perhaps with a quiet humor
interfused, but the prevailing impression to be a sad one. The story
might consist of the various alterations in the feelings of the absent
lover, caused by successive events that display the true character of
his mistress; and the catastrophe should take place at their meeting,
when he finds himself equally disappointed in her person; or the whole
spirit of the thing may here be reproduced.

       *       *       *       *       *

Last evening from the opposite shore of the North River, a view of the
town mirrored in the water, which was as smooth as glass, with no
perceptible tide or agitation, except a trifling swell and reflux on the
sand, although the shadow of the moon danced in it. The picture of the
town perfect in the water,--towers of churches, houses, with here and
there a light gleaming near the shore above, and more faintly glimmering
under water,--all perfect, but somewhat more hazy and indistinct than
the reality. There were many clouds flitting about the sky; and the
picture of each could be traced in the water,--the ghost of what was
itself unsubstantial. The rattling of wheels heard long and far through
the town. Voices of people talking on the other side of the river, the
tones being so distinguishable in all their variations that it seemed as
if what was there said might be understood; but it was not so.

       *       *       *       *       *

Two persons might be bitter enemies through life, and mutually cause the
ruin of one another, and of all that were dear to them. Finally, meeting
at the funeral of a grandchild, the offspring of a son and daughter
married without their consent,--and who, as well as the child, had been
the victims of their hatred,--they might discover that the supposed
ground of the quarrel was altogether a mistake, and then be wofully
reconciled.

       *       *       *       *       *

Two persons, by mutual agreement, to make their wills in each other's
favor, then to wait impatiently for one another's death, and both to be
informed of the desired event at the same time. Both, in most joyous
sorrow, hasten to be present at the funeral, meet, and find themselves
both hoaxed.

       *       *       *       *       *

The story of a man, cold and hard-hearted, and acknowledging no
brotherhood with mankind. At his death they might try to dig him a
grave, but, at a little space beneath the ground, strike upon a rock, as
if the earth refused to receive the unnatural son into her bosom. Then
they would put him into an old supulchre, where the coffins and corpses
were all turned to dust, and so he would be alone. Then the body would
petrify; and he having died in some characteristic act and expression,
he would seem, through endless ages of death, to repel society as in
life, and no one would be buried in that tomb forever.

       *       *       *       *       *

Cannon transformed to church-bells.

       *       *       *       *       *

A scold and a blockhead,--brimstone and wood,--a good match.

       *       *       *       *       *

To make one's own reflection in a mirror the subject of a story.

       *       *       *       *       *

In a dream to wander to some place where may be heard the complaints of
all the miserable on earth.

       *       *       *       *       *

Some common quality or circumstance that should bring together people
the most unlike in all other respects, and make a brotherhood and
sisterhood of them,--the rich and the proud finding themselves in the
same category with the mean and the despised.

       *       *       *       *       *

A person to consider himself as the prime mover of certain remarkable
events, but to discover that his actions have not contributed in the
least thereto. Another person to be the cause, without suspecting it.

       *       *       *       *       *

_October 25, 1835._--A person or family long desires some particular
good. At last it comes in such profusion as to be the great pest of
their lives.

       *       *       *       *       *

A man, perhaps with a persuasion that he shall make his fortune by some
singular means, and with an eager longing so to do, while digging or
boring for water, to strike upon a salt-spring.

       *       *       *       *       *

To have one event operate in several places,--as, for example, if a
man's head were to be cut off in one town, men's heads to drop off in
several towns.

       *       *       *       *       *

Follow out the fantasy of a man taking his life by instalments, instead
of at one payment,--say ten years of life alternately with ten years of
suspended animation.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sentiments in a foreign language, which merely convey the sentiment,
without retaining to the reader any graces of style or harmony of sound,
have somewhat of the charm of thoughts in one's own mind that have not
yet been put into words. No possible words that we might adapt to them
could realize the unshaped beauty that they appear to possess. This is
the reason that translations are never satisfactory,--and less so, I
should think, to one who cannot than to one who can pronounce the
language.

       *       *       *       *       *

A person to be writing a tale, and to find that it shapes itself against
his intentions; that the characters act otherwise than he thought; that
unforeseen events occur; and a catastrophe comes which he strives in
vain to avert. It might shadow forth his own fate,--he having made
himself one of the personages.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is a singular thing, that at the distance, say, of five feet, the
work of the greatest dunce looks just as well as that of the greatest
genius,--that little space being all the distance between genius and
stupidity.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Sigourney says, after Coleridge, that "poetry has been its own
exceeding great reward." For the writing, perhaps; but would it be so
for the reading?

       *       *       *       *       *

Four precepts: To break off customs; to shake off spirits ill-disposed;
to meditate on youth; to do nothing against one's genius.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Salem, August 31, 1836._--A walk, yesterday, down to the shore, near
the hospital. Standing on the old grassy battery, that forms a
semicircle, and looking seaward. The sun not a great way above the
horizon, yet so far as to give a very golden brightness, when it shone
out. Clouds in the vicinity of the sun, and nearly all the rest of the
sky covered with clouds in masses, not a gray uniformity of cloud. A
fresh breeze blowing from land seaward. If it had been blowing from the
sea, it would have raised it in heavy billows, and caused it to dash
high against the rocks. But now its surface was not at all commoved with
billows; there was only roughness enough to take off the gleam, and give
it the aspect of iron after cooling. The clouds above added to the black
appearance. A few sea-birds were flitting over the water, only visible
at moments, when they turned their white bosoms towards me,--as if they
were then first created. The sunshine had a singular effect. The clouds
would interpose in such a manner that some objects were shaded from it,
while others were strongly illuminated. Some of the islands lay in the
shade, dark and gloomy, while others were bright and favored spots. The
white light-house sometimes very cheerfully marked. There was a schooner
about a mile from the shore, at anchor, laden apparently with lumber.
The sea all about her had the black, iron aspect which I have described;
but the vessel herself was alight. Hull, masts, and spars were all
gilded, and the rigging was made of golden threads. A small, white
streak of foam breaking around the bows, which were towards the wind.
The shadowiness of the clouds overhead made the effect of the sunlight
strange, where it fell.

       *       *       *       *       *

_September._--The elm-trees have golden branches intermingled with their
green already, and so they had on the first of the month.

       *       *       *       *       *

To picture the predicament of worldly people, if admitted to paradise.

       *       *       *       *       *

As the architecture of a country always follows the earliest structures,
American architecture should be a refinement of the log-house. The
Egyptian is so of the cavern and mound; the Chinese, of the tent; the
Gothic, of overarching trees; the Greek, of a cabin.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Though we speak nonsense, God will pick out the meaning of it,"--an
extempore prayer by a New England divine.

       *       *       *       *       *

In old times it must have been much less customary than now to drink
pure water. Walker emphatically mentions, among the sufferings of a
clergyman's wife and family in the Great Rebellion, that they were
forced to drink water with crab-apples stamped in to relish it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Kirby, author of a work on the History, Habits, and Instincts of
Animals, questions whether there may not be an abyss of waters within
the globe, communicating with the ocean, and whether the huge animals of
the Saurian tribe--great reptiles, supposed to be exclusively
antediluvian, and now extinct--may not be inhabitants of it. He quotes a
passage from Revelation, where the creatures under the earth are spoken
of as distinct from those of the sea, and speaks of a Saurian fossil
that has been found deep in the subterranean regions. He thinks, or
suggests, that these may be the dragons of Scripture.

       *       *       *       *       *

The elephant is not particularly sagacious in the wild state, but
becomes so when tamed. The fox directly the contrary, and likewise the
wolf.

       *       *       *       *       *

A modern Jewish adage,--"Let a man clothe himself beneath his ability,
his children according to his ability, and his wife above his ability."

       *       *       *       *       *

It is said of the eagle, that, in however long a flight, he is never
seen to clap his wings to his sides. He seems to govern his movements by
the inclination of his wings and tail to the wind, as a ship is
propelled by the action of the wind on her sails.

       *       *       *       *       *

In old country-houses in England, instead of glass for windows, they
used wicker, or fine strips of oak disposed checkerwise. Horn was also
used. The windows of princes and great noblemen of crystal; those of
Studley Castle, Holinshed says, of beryl. There were seldom chimneys;
and they cooked their meats by a fire made against an iron back in the
great hall. Houses, often of gentry, were built of a heavy timber frame,
filled up with lath and plaster. People slept on rough mats or straw
pallets, with a round log for a pillow; seldom better beds than a
mattress, with a sack of chaff for a pillow.

       *       *       *       *       *

_October 25, 1836._--A walk yesterday through Dark Lane, and home
through the village of Danvers. Landscape now wholly autumnal. Saw an
elderly man laden with two dry, yellow, rustling bundles of Indian
corn-stalks,--a good personification of Autumn. Another man hoeing up
potatoes. White rows of cabbages lay ripening. Fields of dry Indian
corn. The grass has still considerable greenness. Wild rose-bushes
devoid of leaves, with their deep, bright red seed-vessels.
Meeting-house in Danvers seen at a distance, with the sun shining
through the windows of its belfry. Barberry-bushes,--the leaves now of a
brown red, still juicy and healthy; very few berries remaining, mostly
frost-bitten and wilted. All among the yet green grass, dry stalks of
weeds. The down of thistles occasionally seen flying through the sunny
air.

       *       *       *       *       *

In this dismal chamber FAME was won. (Salem, Union Street.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Those who are very difficult in choosing wives seem as if they would
take none of Nature's ready-made works, but want a woman manufactured
particularly to their order.

       *       *       *       *       *

A council of the passengers in a street: called by somebody to decide
upon some points important to him.

       *       *       *       *       *

All sorts of persons, and every individual, has a place to fill in the
world, and is important in some respects, whether he chooses to be so or
not.

       *       *       *       *       *

A Thanksgiving dinner. All the miserable on earth are to be invited,--as
the drunkard, the bereaved parent, the ruined merchant, the
broken-hearted lover, the poor widow, the old man and woman who have
outlived their generation, the disappointed author, the wounded, sick,
and broken soldier, the diseased person, the infidel, the man with an
evil conscience, little orphan children, or children of neglectful
parents, shall be admitted to the table, and many others. The giver of
the feast goes out to deliver his invitations. Some of the guests he
meets in the streets, some he knocks for at the doors of their houses.
The description must be rapid. But who must be the giver of the feast,
and what his claims to preside? A man who has never found out what he is
fit for, who has unsettled aims or objects in life, and whose mind gnaws
him, making him the sufferer of many kinds of misery. He should meet
some pious, old, sorrowful person, with more outward calamities than any
other, and invite him with a reflection that piety would make all that
miserable company truly thankful.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Merry_, in merry England, does not mean mirthful; but is corrupted from
an old Teutonic word signifying famous or renowned.

       *       *       *       *       *

In an old London newspaper, 1678, there is an advertisement, among other
goods at auction, of a black girl of about fifteen years old, to be
sold.

       *       *       *       *       *

We sometimes congratulate ourselves at the moment of waking from a
troubled dream: it may be so the moment after death.

       *       *       *       *       *

The race of mankind to be swept away, leaving all their cities and
works. Then another human pair to be placed in the world, with native
intelligence like Adam and Eve, but knowing nothing of their
predecessors or of their own nature and destiny. They, perhaps, to be
described as working out this knowledge by their sympathy with what they
saw, and by their own feelings.

       *       *       *       *       *

Memorials of the family of Hawthorne in the church of the village of
Dundry, Somersetshire, England. The church is ancient and small, and has
a prodigiously high tower of more modern date, being erected in the time
of Edward IV. It serves as a landmark for an amazing extent of country.

       *       *       *       *       *

A singular fact, that, when man is a brute, he is the most sensual and
loathsome of all brutes.

       *       *       *       *       *

A snake, taken into a man's stomach and nourished there from fifteen
years to thirty-five, tormenting him most horribly. A type of envy or
some other evil passion.

       *       *       *       *       *

A sketch illustrating the imperfect compensations which time makes for
its devastations on the person,--giving a wreath of laurel while it
causes baldness, honors for infirmities, wealth for a broken
constitution,--and at last, when a man has everything that seems
desirable, death seizes him. To contrast the man who has thus reached
the summit of ambition with the ambitious youth.

       *       *       *       *       *

Walking along the track of the railroad, I observed a place where the
workmen had bored a hole through the solid rock, in order to blast it;
but striking a spring of water beneath the rock, it gushed up through
the hole. It looked as if the water were contained within the rock.

       *       *       *       *       *

A Fancy Ball, in which the prominent American writers should appear,
dressed in character.

       *       *       *       *       *

A lament for life's wasted sunshine.

       *       *       *       *       *

A new classification, of society to be instituted. Instead of rich and
poor, high and low, they are to be classed,--First, by their sorrows:
for instance, whenever there are any, whether in fair mansion or hovel,
who are mourning the loss of relations and friends, and who wear black,
whether the cloth be coarse or superfine, they are to make one class.
Secondly, all who have the same maladies, whether they lie under damask
canopies or on straw pallets or in the wards of hospitals, they are to
form one class. Thirdly, all who are guilty of the same sins, whether
the world knows them or not; whether they languish in prison, looking
forward to the gallows, or walk honored among men, they also form a
class. Then proceed to generalize and classify the whole world together,
as none can claim utter exemption from either sorrow, sin, or disease;
and if they could, yet Death, like a great parent, comes and sweeps them
all through one darksome portal,--all his children.

       *       *       *       *       *

Fortune to come like a peddler with his goods,--as wreaths of laurel,
diamonds, crowns; selling them, but asking for them the sacrifice of
health, of integrity, perhaps of life in the battle-field, and of the
real pleasures of existence. Who would buy, if the price were to be paid
down?

       *       *       *       *       *

The dying exclamation of the Emperor Augustus, "Has it not been well
acted?" An essay on the misery of being always under a mask. A veil may
be needful, but never a mask. Instances of people who wear masks in all
classes of society, and never take them off even in the most familiar
moments, though sometimes they may chance to slip aside.

       *       *       *       *       *

The various guises under which Ruin makes his approaches to his victims:
to the merchant, in the guise of a merchant offering speculations; to
the young heir, a jolly companion; to the maiden, a sighing,
sentimentalist lover.

       *       *       *       *       *

What were the contents of the burden of Christian in the Pilgrim's
Progress? He must have been taken for a peddler travelling with his
pack.

       *       *       *       *       *

To think, as the sun goes down, what events have happened in the course
of the day,--events of ordinary occurrence: as, the clocks have struck,
the dead have been buried.

       *       *       *       *       *

Curious to imagine what murmurings and discontent would be excited, if
any of the great so-called calamities of human beings were to be
abolished,--as, for instance, death.

       *       *       *       *       *

Trifles to one are matters of life and death to another. As, for
instance, a farmer desires a brisk breeze to winnow his grain; and
mariners, to blow them out of the reach of pirates.

       *       *       *       *       *

A recluse, like myself, or a prisoner, to measure time by the progress
of sunshine through his chamber.

       *       *       *       *       *

Would it not be wiser for people to rejoice at all that they now sorrow
for, and _vice versâ_? To put on bridal garments at funerals, and
mourning at weddings? For their friends to condole with them when they
attained riches and honor, as only so much care added?

       *       *       *       *       *

If in a village it were a custom to hang a funeral garland or other
token of death on a house where some one had died, and there to let it
remain till a death occurred elsewhere, and then to hang that same
garland over the other house, it would have, methinks, a strong effect.

       *       *       *       *       *

No fountain so small but that Heaven may be imaged in its bosom.

       *       *       *       *       *

Fame! Some very humble persons in a town may be said to possess it,--as,
the penny-post, the town-crier, the constable,--and they are known to
everybody: while many richer, more intellectual, worthier persons are
unknown by the majority of their fellow-citizens. Something analogous in
the world at large.

       *       *       *       *       *

The ideas of people in general are not raised higher than the roofs of
the houses. All their interests extend over the earth's surface in a
layer of that thickness. The meeting-house steeple reaches out of their
sphere.

       *       *       *       *       *

Nobody will use other people's experience, nor has any of his own till
it is too late to use it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Two lovers to plan the building of a pleasure-house on a certain spot of
ground, but various seeming accidents prevent it. Once they find a group
of miserable children there; once it is the scene where crime is
plotted; at last the dead body of one of the lovers or of a dear friend
is found there; and instead of a pleasure-house, they build a marble
tomb. The moral,--that there is no place on earth fit for the site of a
pleasure-house, because there is no spot that may not have been saddened
by human grief, stained by crime, or hallowed by death. It might be
three friends who plan it, instead of two lovers; and the dearest one
dies.

       *       *       *       *       *

Comfort for childless people. A married couple with ten children have
been the means of bringing about ten funerals.

       *       *       *       *       *

A blind man, on a dark nights, carried a torch, in order that people
might see him and not run against him, and direct him how to avoid
dangers.

       *       *       *       *       *

To picture a child's (one of four or five years old) reminiscences at
sunset of a long summer's day,--his first awakening, his studies, his
sports, his little fits of passion, perhaps a whipping, etc.

       *       *       *       *       *

The blind man's walk.

       *       *       *       *       *

To picture a virtuous family, the different members examples of virtuous
dispositions in their way; then introduce a vicious person, and trace
out the relations that arise between him and them, and the manner in
which all are affected.

       *       *       *       *       *

A man to flatter himself with the idea that he would not be guilty of
some certain wickedness,--as, for instance, to yield to the personal
temptations of the Devil,--yet to find, ultimately, that he was at that
very time committing that same wickedness.

       *       *       *       *       *

What would a man do, if he were compelled to live always in the sultry
heat of society, and could never bathe himself in cool solitude?

       *       *       *       *       *

A girl's lover to be slain and buried in her flower-garden, and the
earth levelled over him. That particular spot, which she happens to
plant with some peculiar variety of flowers, produces them of admirable
splendor, beauty, and perfume; and she delights, with an indescribable
impulse, to wear them in her bosom, and scent her chamber with them.
Thus the classic fantasy would be realized, of dead people transformed
to flowers.

       *       *       *       *       *

Objects seen by a magic-lantern reversed. A street, or other location,
might be presented, where there would be opportunity to bring forward
all objects of worldly interest, and thus much pleasant satire might be
the result.



CASTLES IN THE AIR.

FROM AN UNPUBLISHED POEM.


    "But there is yet a region of the clouds
    Unseen from the low earth. Beyond the veil
    Of these dark volumes rolling through the sky,
    Its mountain summits glisten in the sun,--
    The realm of Castles in the Air. The foot
    Of man hath never trod those shining streets;
    But there his spirit, leaving the dull load
    Of bodily organs, wanders with delight,
    And builds its structures of the impalpable mist,
    Glorious beyond the dream of architect,
    And populous with forms of nobler mould
    Than ever walked the earth." So said my guide,
    And led me, wondering, to a headland height
    That overlooked a fair broad vale shut in
    By the great hills of Cloudland. "Now behold
    The Castle-builders!" Then I looked; and, lo!
    The vale was filled with shadowy forms, that bore
    Each a white wand, with which they touched the banks
    Of mist beside them, and at once arose,
    Obedient to their wish, the walls and domes
    Of stately palaces, Gothic or Greek,
    Or such as in the land of Mahomet
    Uplift the crescent, or, in forms more strange,
    Border the ancient Indus, or behold
    Their gilded friezes mirrored in the lakes
    Of China,--yet of ampler majesty,
    And gorgeously adorned. Tall porticos
    Sprang from the ground; the eye pursued afar
    Their colonnades, that lessened to a point
    In the faint distance. Portals that swung back
    On musical hinges showed the eye within
    Vast halls with golden floors, and bright alcoves,
    And walls of pearl, and sapphire vault besprent
    With silver stars. Within the spacious rooms
    Were banquets spread; and menials, beautiful
    As wood-nymphs or as stripling Mercuries,
    Ran to and fro, and laid the chalices,
    And brought the brimming wine-jars. Enters now
    The happy architect, and wanders on
    From room to room, and glories in his work.

      Not long his glorying: for a chill north wind
    Breathes through the structure, and the massive walls
    Are folded up; the proud domes roll away
    In mist-wreaths; pinnacle and turret lean
    Forward, like birds prepared for flight, and stream,
    In trains of vapor, through the empty air.
    Meantime the astonished builder, dispossessed,
    Stands 'mid the drifting rack. A brief despair
    Seizes him; but the wand is in his hand,
    And soon he turns him to his task again.
    "Behold," said the fair being at my side,
    "How one has made himself a diadem
    Out of the bright skirts of a cloud that lay
    Steeped in the golden sunshine, and has bound
    The bauble on his forehead! See, again,
    How from these vapors he calls up a host
    With arms and banners! A great multitude
    Gather and bow before him with bare heads.
    To the four winds his messengers go forth,
    And bring him back earth's homage. From the ground
    Another calls a wingèd image, such
    As poets give to Fame, who, to her mouth
    Putting a silver trumpet, blows abroad
    A loud, harmonious summons to the world,
    And all the listening nations shout his name.
    Another yet, apart from all the rest,
    Casting a fearful glance from side to side,
    Touches the ground by stealth. Beneath his wand
    A glittering pile grows up, ingots and bars
    Of massive gold, and coins on which earth's kings
    Have stamped their symbols." As these words were said,
    The north wind blew again across the vale,
    And, lo! the beamy crown flew off in mist;
    The host of armèd men became a scud
    Torn by the angry blast; the form of Fame
    Tossed its long arms in air, and rode the wind,
    A jagged cloud; the glittering pile of gold
    Grew pale and flowed in a gray reek away.
    Then there were sobs and tears from those whose work
    The wind had scattered: some had flung themselves
    Upon the ground in grief; and some stood fixed
    In blank bewilderment; and some looked on
    Unmoved, as at a pageant of the stage
    Suddenly hidden by the curtain's fall.

    "Take thou this wand," my bright companion said.
    I took it from her hand, and with it touched
    The knolls of snow-white mist, and they grew green
    With soft, thick herbage. At another touch,
    A brook leaped forth, and dashed and sparkled by;
    And shady walks through shrubberies cool and close
    Wandered; and where, upon the open grounds,
    The peaceful sunshine lay, a vineyard nursed
    Its pouting clusters; and from boughs that drooped
    Beneath their load an orchard shed its fruit;
    And gardens, set with many a pleasant herb
    And many a glorious flower, made sweet the air.

      I looked, and I exulted; yet I longed
    For Nature's grander aspects, and I plied
    The slender rod again; and then arose
    Woods tall and wide, of odorous pine and fir,
    And every noble tree that casts the leaf
    In autumn. Paths that wound between their stems
    Led through the solemn shade to twilight glens,
    To thundering torrents and white waterfalls,
    And edge of lonely lakes, and chasms between
    The mountain-cliffs. Above the trees were seen
    Gray pinnacles and walls of splintered rock.

      But near the forest margin, in the vale,
    Nestled a dwelling half embowered by trees,
    Where, through the open window, shelves were seen
    Filled with old volumes, and a glimpse was given
    Of canvas, here and there along the walls,
    On which the hands of mighty men of art
    Had flung their fancies. On the portico
    Old friends, with smiling faces and frank eyes,
    Talked with each other: some had passed from life
    Long since, yet dearly were remembered still.
    My heart yearned toward them, and the quick, warm tears
    Stood in my eyes. Forward I sprang to grasp
    The hands that once so kindly met my own,--
    I sprang, but met them not: the withering wind
    Was there before me. Dwelling, field, and brook,
    Dark wood, and flowery garden, and blue lake,
    And beetling cliff, and noble human forms,
    All, all had melted into that pale sea
    Of billowy vapor rolling round my feet.



BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

A STORY OF OLD RUSSIA.


I.

We are about to relate a story of mingled fact and fancy. The facts are
borrowed from the Russian author, Petjerski; the fancy is our own. Our
task will chiefly be to soften the outlines of incidents almost too
sharp and rugged for literary use, to supply them with the necessary
coloring and sentiment, and to give a coherent and proportioned shape to
the irregular fragments of an old chronicle. We know something, from
other sources, of the customs described; something of the character of
the people from personal observation, and may therefore the more freely
take such liberties as we choose with the rude, vigorous sketches of the
Russian original. One who happens to have read the work of Villebois can
easily comprehend the existence of a state of society, on the banks of
the Volga, a hundred years ago, which is now impossible, and will soon
become incredible. What is strangest in our narrative has been declared
to be true.


II.

We are in Kinesma, a small town on the Volga, between Kostroma and
Nijni-Novgorod. The time is about the middle of the last century, and
the month October.

There was trouble, one day, in the palace of Prince Alexis, of Kinesma.
This edifice, with its massive white walls, and its pyramidal roofs of
green copper, stood upon a gentle mound to the eastward of the town,
overlooking it, a broad stretch of the Volga, and the opposite shore. On
a similar hill, to the westward, stood the church, glittering with its
dozen bulging, golden domes. These two establishments divided the
sovereignty of Kinesma between them. Prince Alexis owned the bodies of
the inhabitants, (with the exception of a few merchants and tradesmen,)
and the Archimandrite Sergius owned their souls. But the shadow of the
former stretched also over other villages, far beyond the ring of the
wooded horizon. The number of his serfs was ten thousand, and his rule
over them was even less disputed than theirs over their domestic
animals.

The inhabitants of the place had noticed with dismay that the
slumber-flag had not been hoisted on the castle, although it was half an
hour after the usual time. So rare a circumstance betokened sudden wrath
or disaster, on the part of Prince Alexis. Long experience had prepared
the people for anything that might happen, and they were consequently
not astonished at the singular event which presently transpired.

The fact is, that, in the first place, the dinner had been prolonged
full ten minutes beyond its accustomed limit, owing to a discussion
between the Prince, his wife, the Princess Martha, and their son, Prince
Boris. The last was to leave for St. Petersburg in a fortnight, and
wished to have his departure preceded by a festival at the castle. The
Princess Martha was always ready to second the desires of her only
child. Between the two they had pressed some twenty or thirty thousand
rubles out of the old Prince, for the winter diversions of the young
one. The festival, to be sure, would have been a slight expenditure for
a noble of such immense wealth as Prince Alexis; but he never liked his
wife, and he took a stubborn pleasure in thwarting her wishes. It was no
satisfaction that Boris resembled her in character. That weak successor
to the sovereignty of Kinesma preferred a game of cards to a bear-hunt,
and could never drink more than a quart of vodki without becoming dizzy
and sick.

"Ugh!" Prince Alexis would cry, with a shudder of disgust, "the whelp
barks after the dam!"

A state dinner he might give; but a festival, with dances, dramatic
representations, burning tar-barrels, and cannon,--no! He knitted his
heavy brows and drank deeply, and his fiery gray eyes shot such
incessant glances from side to side that Boris and the Princess Martha
could not exchange a single wink of silent advice. The pet bear, Mishka,
plied with strong wines, which Prince Alexis poured out for him into a
golden basin, became at last comically drunk, and in endeavoring to
execute a dance lost his balance and fell at full length on his back.

The Prince burst into a yelling, shrieking fit of laughter. Instantly
the yellow-haired serfs in waiting, the Calmucks at the hall-door, and
the half-witted dwarf who crawled around the table in his tow shirt,
began laughing in chorus, as violently as they could. The Princess
Martha and Prince Boris laughed also; and while the old man's eyes were
dimmed with streaming tears of mirth, quickly exchanged nods. The sound
extended all over the castle, and was heard outside of the walls.

"Father!" said Boris, "let us have the festival, and Mishka shall
perform again. Prince Paul of Kostroma would strangle, if he could see
him."

"Good, by St. Vladimir!" exclaimed Prince Alexis. "Thou shalt have it,
my Borka![A] Where's Simon Petrovitch? May the Devil scorch that
vagabond, if he doesn't do better than the last time! Sasha!"

A broad-shouldered serf stepped forward and stood with bowed head.

"Lock up Simon Petrovitch in the southwestern tower. Send the tailor and
the girls to him, to learn their parts. Search every one of them before
they go in, and if any one dares to carry vodki to the beast,
twenty-five lashes on the back!"

Sasha bowed again and departed. Simon Petrovitch was the court-poet of
Kinesma. He had a mechanical knack of preparing allegorical diversions
which suited the conventional taste of society at that time; but he also
had a failing,--he was rarely sober enough to write. Prince Alexis,
therefore, was in the habit of locking him up and placing a guard over
him, until the inspiration had done its work. The most comely young
serfs of both sexes were selected to perform the parts, and the
court-tailor arranged for them the appropriate dresses. It depended very
much upon accident--that is to say, the mood of Prince Alexis--whether
Simon Petrovitch was rewarded with stripes or rubles.

The matter thus settled, the Prince rose from the table and walked out
upon an overhanging balcony, where an immense reclining arm-chair of
stuffed leather was ready for his siesta. He preferred this indulgence
in the open air; and although the weather was rapidly growing cold, a
pelisse of sables enabled him to slumber sweetly in the face of the
north wind. An attendant stood with the pelisse outspread; another held
the halyards to which was attached the great red slumber-flag, ready to
run it up and announce to all Kinesma that the noises of the town must
cease; a few seconds more, and all things would have been fixed in their
regular daily courses. The Prince, in fact, was just straightening his
shoulders to receive the sables; his eyelids were dropping, and his
eyes, sinking mechanically with them, fell upon the river-road, at the
foot of the hill. Along this road walked a man, wearing the long cloth
caftan of a merchant.

Prince Alexis started, and all slumber vanished out of his eyes. He
leaned forward for a moment, with a quick, eager expression; then a loud
roar, like that of an enraged wild beast, burst from his mouth. He gave
a stamp that shook the balcony.

"Dog!" he cried to the trembling attendant, "my cap! my whip!"

The sables fell upon the floor, the cap and whip appeared in a
twinkling, and the red slumber-flag was folded up again for the first
time in several years, as the Prince stormed out of the castle. The
traveller below had heard the cry,--for it might have been heard half a
mile. He seemed to have presentiment of evil, for he had already set off
towards the town at full speed.

To explain the occurrence, we must mention one of the Prince's many
peculiar habits. This was, to invite strangers or merchants of the
neighborhood to dine with him, and, after regaling them bountifully, to
take his pay in subjecting them to all sorts of outrageous tricks, with
the help of his band of willing domestics. Now this particular merchant
had been invited, and had attended; but, being a very wide-awake, shrewd
person, he saw what was coming, and dexterously slipped away from the
banquet without being perceived. The prince vowed vengeance, on
discovering the escape, and he was not a man to forget his word.

[Footnote A: Little Boris.]

Impelled by such opposite passions, both parties ran with astonishing
speed. The merchant was the taller, but his long caftan, hastily
ungirdled, swung behind him and dragged in the air. The short, booted
legs of the Prince beat quicker time, and he grasped his short, heavy,
leathern whip more tightly as he saw the space diminishing. They dashed
into the town of Kinesma a hundred yards apart. The merchant entered
the main street, or bazaar, looking rapidly to right and left, as he
ran, in the hope of espying some place of refuge. The terrible voice
behind him cried,--

"Stop, scoundrel! I have a crow to pick with you!"

And the tradesmen in their shops looked on and laughed, as well they
might, being unconcerned spectators of the fun. The fugitive, therefore,
kept straight on, notwithstanding a pond of water glittered across the
farther end of the street.

Although Prince Alexis had gained considerably in the race, such violent
exercise, after a heavy dinner, deprived him of breath. He again
cried,--

"Stop!"

But the merchant answered,--

"No, Highness! You may come to me, but I will not go to you."

"Oh, the villain!" growled the Prince, in a hoarse whisper, for he had
no more voice.

The pond cut off all further pursuit. Hastily kicking off his loose
boots, the merchant plunged into the water, rather than encounter the
princely whip, which already began to crack and snap in fierce
anticipation. Prince Alexis kicked off his boots and followed; the pond
gradually deepened, and in a minute the tall merchant stood up to his
chin in the icy water, and his short pursuer likewise, but out of
striking distance. The latter coaxed and entreated, but the victim kept
his ground.

"You lie, Highness!" he said, boldly. "If you want me, come to me."

"Ah-h-h!" roared the Prince, with chattering teeth, "what a stubborn
rascal you are! Come here, and I give you my word that I will not hurt
you. Nay,"--seeing that the man did not move,--"you shall dine with me
as often as you please. You shall be my friend; by St. Vladimir, I like
you!"

"Make the sign of the cross, and swear it by all the Saints," said the
merchant, composedly.

With a grim smile on his face, the Prince stepped back and shiveringly
obeyed. Both then waded out, sat down upon the ground and pulled on
their boots; and presently the people of Kinesma beheld the dripping
pair walking side by side up the street, conversing in the most cordial
manner. The merchant dried his clothes _from within_, at the castle
table; a fresh keg of old Cognac was opened; and although the
slumber-flag was not unfurled that afternoon, it flew from the staff and
hushed the town nearly all the next day.


III.

The festival granted on behalf of Prince Boris was one of the grandest
ever given at the castle. In character it was a singular cross between
the old Muscovite revel and the French entertainments which were then
introduced by the Empress Elizabeth. All the nobility, for fifty versts
around, including Prince Paul and the chief families of Kostroma, were
invited. Simon Petrovitch had been so carefully guarded that his work
was actually completed and the parts distributed; his superintendence of
the performance, however, was still a matter of doubt, as it was
necessary to release him from the tower, and after several days of
forced abstinence he always manifested a raging appetite. Prince Alexis,
in spite of this doubt, had been assured by Boris that the dramatic part
of the entertainment would not be a failure. When he questioned Sasha,
the poet's strong-shouldered guard, the latter winked familiarly and
answered with a proverb,--

"I sit on the shore and wait for the wind,"--which was as much as to say
that Sasha had little fear of the result.

The tables were spread in the great hall, where places for one hundred
chosen guests were arranged on the floor, while the three or four
hundred of minor importance were provided for in the galleries above. By
noon the whole party were assembled. The halls and passages of the
castle were already permeated with rich and unctuous smells, and a
delicate nose might have picked out and arranged, by their finer or
coarser vapors, the dishes preparing for the upper and lower tables. One
of the parasites of Prince Alexis, a dilapidated nobleman, officiated as
Grand Marshal,--an office which more than compensated for the savage
charity he received, for it was performed in continual fear and
trembling. The Prince had felt the stick of the Great Peter upon his own
back, and was ready enough to imitate any custom of the famous monarch.

An orchestra, composed principally of horns and brass instruments,
occupied a separate gallery at one end of the dining-hall. The guests
were assembled in the adjoining apartments, according to their rank; and
when the first loud blast of the instruments announced the beginning of
the banquet, two very differently attired and freighted processions of
servants made their appearance at the same time. Those intended for the
princely table numbered two hundred,--two for each guest. They were the
handsomest young men among the ten thousand serfs, clothed in loose
white trousers and skirts of pink or lilac silk; their soft golden hair,
parted in the middle, fell upon their shoulders, and a band of
gold-thread about the brow prevented it from sweeping the dishes they
carried. They entered the reception-room, bearing huge trays of
sculptured silver, upon which were anchovies, the finest Finnish caviar,
sliced oranges, cheese, and crystal flagons of Cognac, rum, and
_kümmel_. There were fewer servants for the remaining guests, who were
gathered in a separate chamber, and regaled with the common black
caviar, onions, bread, and vodki. At the second blast of trumpets, the
two companies set themselves in motion and entered the dining-hall at
opposite ends. Our business, however, is only with the principal
personages, so we will allow the common crowd quietly to mount to the
galleries and satisfy their senses with the coarser viands, while their
imagination is stimulated by the sight of the splendor and luxury below.

Prince Alexis entered first, with a pompous, mincing gait, leading the
Princess Martha by the tips of her fingers. He wore a caftan of green
velvet laced with gold; a huge vest of crimson brocade, and breeches of
yellow satin. A wig, resembling clouds boiling in the confluence of
opposing winds, surged from his low, broad forehead, and flowed upon his
shoulders. As his small, fiery eyes swept the hall, every servant
trembled: he was as severe at the commencement as he was reckless at the
close of a banquet. The Princess Martha wore a robe of pink satin
embroidered with flowers made of small pearls, and a train and headdress
of crimson velvet. Her emeralds were the finest outside of Moscow, and
she wore them all. Her pale, weak, frightened face was quenched in the
dazzle of the green fires which shot from her forehead, ears, and bosom,
as she moved.

Prince Paul of Kostroma and the Princess Nadejda followed; but on
reaching the table, the gentlemen took their seats at the head, while
the ladies marched down to the foot. Their seats were determined by
their relative rank, and woe to him who was so ignorant or so
absent-minded as to make a mistake! The servants had been carefully
trained in advance by the Grand Marshal; and whoever took a place above
his rank or importance found, when he came to sit down, that his chair
had miraculously disappeared, or, not noticing the fact, seated himself
absurdly and violently upon the floor. The Prince at the head of the
table, and the Princess at the foot, with their nearest guests of equal
rank, ate from dishes of massive gold; the others from silver. As soon
as the last of the company had entered the hall, a crowd of jugglers,
tumblers, dwarfs, and Calmucks followed, crowding themselves into the
corners under the galleries, where they awaited the conclusion of the
banquet to display their tricks, and scolded and pummelled each other in
the mean time.

On one side of Prince Alexis the bear Mishka took his station. By order
of Prince Boris he had been kept from wine for several days, and his
small eyes were keener and hungrier than usual. As he rose now and then,
impatiently, and sat upon his hind legs, he formed a curious contrast to
the Prince's other supporter, the idiot, who sat also in his tow shirt,
with a large pewter basin in his hand. It was difficult to say whether
the beast was most man or the man most beast. They eyed each other and
watched the motions of their lord with equal jealousy; and the dismal
whine of the bear found an echo in the drawling, slavering laugh of the
idiot. The Prince glanced from one to the other; they put him in a
capital humor, which was not lessened as he perceived an expression of
envy pass over the face of Prince Paul.

The dinner commenced with a _botvinia_--something between a soup and a
salad--of wonderful composition. It contained cucumbers, cherries, salt
fish, melons, bread, salt, pepper, and wine. While it was being served,
four huge fishermen, dressed to represent mermen of the Volga, naked to
the waist, with hair crowned with reeds, legs finned with silver tissue
from the knees downward, and preposterous scaly tails, which dragged
helplessly upon the floor, entered the hall, bearing a broad, shallow
tank of silver. In the tank flapped and swam four superb sterlets, their
ridgy backs rising out of the water like those of alligators. Great
applause welcomed this new and classical adaptation of the old custom of
showing the _living_ fish, before cooking them, to the guests at the
table. The invention was due to Simon Petrovitch, and was (if the truth
must be confessed) the result of certain carefully measured supplies of
brandy which Prince Boris himself had carried to the imprisoned poet.

After the sterlets had melted away to their backbones, and the roasted
geese had shrunk into drumsticks and breastplates, and here and there a
guest's ears began to redden with more rapid blood, Prince Alexis judged
that the time for diversion had arrived. He first filled up the idiot's
basin with fragments of all the dishes within his reach,--fish, stewed
fruits, goose-fat, bread, boiled cabbage, and beer,--the idiot grinning
with delight all the while, and singing, "_Ne uyesjaï, golubchik moi_."
(Don't go away, my little pigeon,) between the handfuls which he crammed
into his mouth. The guests roared with laughter, especially when a
juggler or Calmuck stole out from under the gallery, and pretended to
have designs upon the basin. Mishka, the bear, had also been well fed,
and greedily drank ripe old Malaga from the golden dish. But, alas! he
would not dance. Sitting up on his hind legs, with his fore paws hanging
before him, he cast a drunken, languishing eye upon the company, lolled
out his tongue, and whined with an almost human voice. The domestics,
secretly incited by the Grand Marshal, exhausted their ingenuity in
coaxing him, but in vain. Finally, one of them took a goblet of wine in
one hand, and, embracing Mishka with the other, began to waltz. The bear
stretched out his paw and clumsily followed the movements, whirling
round and round after the enticing goblet. The orchestra struck up, and
the spectacle, though not exactly what Prince Alexis wished, was comical
enough to divert the company immensely.

But the close of the performance was not upon the programme. The
impatient bear, getting no nearer his goblet, hugged the man violently
with the other paw, striking his claws through the thin shirt. The
dance-measure was lost; the legs of the two tangled, and they fell to
the floor, the bear undermost. With a growl of rage and disappointment,
he brought his teeth together through the man's arm, and it might have
fared badly with the latter, had not the goblet been refilled by some
one and held to the animal's nose. Then, releasing his hold, he sat up
again, drank another bottle, and staggered out of the hall.

Now the health of Prince Alexis was drunk,--by the guests on the floor
of the hall in Champagne, by those in the galleries in _kislischi_ and
hydromel. The orchestra played; a choir of serfs sang an ode by Simon
Petrovitch, in which the departure of Prince Boris was mentioned; the
tumblers began to posture; the jugglers came forth and played their
tricks; and the cannon on the ramparts announced to all Kinesma, and far
up and down the Volga, that the company were rising from the table.

Half an hour later, the great red slumber-flag floated over the castle.
All slept,--except the serf with the wounded arm, the nervous Grand
Marshal, and Simon Petrovitch with his band of dramatists, guarded by
the indefatigable Sasha. All others slept,--and the curious crowd
outside, listening to the music, stole silently away; down in Kinesma,
the mothers ceased to scold their children, and the merchants whispered
to each other in the bazaar; the captains of vessels floating on the
Volga directed their men by gestures; the mechanics laid aside hammer
and axe, and lighted their pipes. Great silence fell upon the land, and
continued unbroken so long as Prince Alexis and his guests slept the
sleep of the just and the tipsy.

By night, however, they were all awake and busily preparing for the
diversions of the evening. The ball-room was illuminated by thousands of
wax-lights, so connected with inflammable threads, that the wicks could
all be kindled in a moment. A pyramid of tar-barrels had been erected on
each side of the castle-gate, and every hill or mound on the opposite
bank of the Volga was similarly crowned. When, to a stately march,--the
musicians blowing their loudest,--Prince Alexis and Princess Martha led
the way to the ball-room, the signal was given: candles and tar-barrels
burst into flame, and not only within the castle, but over the landscape
for five or six versts around, everything was bright and clear in the
fiery day. Then the noises of Kinesma were not only permitted, but
encouraged. Mead and _qvass_ flowed in the very streets, and the
castle-trumpets could not be heard for the sound of _troikas_ and
_balalaïkas_.

After the Polonaise, and a few stately minuets, (copied from the court
of Elizabeth,) the company were ushered into the theatre. The hour of
Simon Petrovitch had struck: with the inspiration smuggled to him by
Prince Boris, he had arranged a performance which he felt to be his
masterpiece. Anxiety as to its reception kept him sober. The overture
had ceased, the spectators were all in their seats, and now the curtain
rose. The background was a growth of enormous, sickly toad-stools,
supposed to be clouds. On the stage stood a girl of eighteen, (the
handsomest in Kinesma,) in hoops and satin petticoat, powdered hair,
patches, and high-heeled shoes. She held a fan in one hand, and a bunch
of marigolds in the other. After a deep and graceful curtsy to the
company, she came forward and said,--

"I am the goddess Venus. I have come to Olympus to ask some questions of
Jupiter."

Thunder was heard, and a car rolled upon the stage. Jupiter sat therein,
in a blue coat, yellow vest, ruffled shirt, and three-cornered hat. One
hand held a bunch of thunderbolts, which he occasionally lifted and
shook; the other, a gold-headed cane.

"Here I am, Jupiter," said he; "what does Venus desire?"

A poetical dialogue then followed, to the effect that the favorite of
the goddess, Prince Alexis of Kinesma, was about sending his son, Prince
Boris, into the gay world, wherein himself had already displayed all the
gifts of all the divinities of Olympus. He claimed from her, Venus, like
favors for his son; was it possible to grant them? Jupiter dropped his
head and meditated. He could not answer the question at once: Apollo,
the Graces, and the Muses must be consulted: there were few precedents
where the son had succeeded in rivalling the father,--yet the father's
pious wishes could not be overlooked.

Venus said,--

"What I asked for Prince Alexis was for _his_ sake: what I ask for the
son is for the father's sake."

Jupiter shook his thunderbolt and called, "Apollo!"

Instantly the stage was covered with explosive and coruscating
fires,--red, blue, and golden,--and amid smoke, and glare, and fizzing
noises, and strong chemical smells, Apollo dropped down from above. He
was accustomed to heat and smoke, being the cook's assistant, and was
sweated down to a weight capable of being supported by the invisible
wires. He wore a yellow caftan, and wide blue silk trousers. His yellow
hair was twisted around and glued fast to gilded sticks, which stood out
from his head in a circle, and represented rays of light. He first bowed
to Prince Alexis, then to the guests, then to Jupiter, then to Venus.
The matter was explained to him.

He promised to do what he could towards favoring the world with a second
generation of the beauty, grace, intellect, and nobility of character
which had already won his regard. He thought, however, that their gifts
were unnecessary, since the model was already in existence, and nothing
more could be done than to _imitate_ it.

(Here there was another meaning bow towards Prince Alexis,--a bow in
which Jupiter and Venus joined. This was the great point of the evening,
in the opinion of Simon Petrovitch. He peeped through a hole in one of
the clouds, and, seeing the delight of Prince Alexis and the
congratulations of his friends, immediately took a large glass of
Cognac.)

The Graces were then summoned, and after them the Muses,--all in hoops,
powder, and paint. Their songs had the same burden,--intense admiration
of the father, and good-will for the son, underlaid with a delicate
doubt. The close was a chorus of all the deities and semi-deities in
praise of the old Prince, with the accompaniment of fireworks. Apollo
rose through the air like a frog, with his blue legs and yellow arms
wide apart; Jupiter's chariot rolled off; Venus bowed herself back
against a mouldy cloud; and the Muses came forward in a bunch, with a
wreath of laurel, which they placed upon the venerated head.

Sasha was dispatched to bring the poet, that he might receive his
well-earned praise and reward. But alas for Simon Petrovitch! His legs
had already doubled under him. He was awarded fifty rubles and a new
caftan, which he was not in a condition to accept until several days
afterward.

The supper which followed resembled the dinner, except that there were
fewer dishes and more bottles. When the closing course of sweetmeats had
either been consumed or transferred to the pockets of the guests, the
Princess Martha retired with the ladies. The guests of lower rank
followed; and there remained only some fifteen or twenty, who were
thereupon conducted by Prince Alexis to a smaller chamber, where he
pulled off his coat, lit his pipe, and called for brandy. The others
followed his example, and their revelry wore out the night.

Such was the festival which preceded the departure of Prince Boris for
St Petersburg.


IV.

Before following the young Prince and his fortunes in the capital, we
must relate two incidents which somewhat disturbed the ordered course of
life in the castle of Kinesma, during the first month or two after his
departure.

It must be stated, as one favorable trait in the character of Prince
Alexis, that, however brutally he treated his serfs, he allowed no other
man to oppress them. All they had and were--their services, bodies,
lives--belonged to him; hence injustice towards them was disrespect
towards their lord. Under the fear which his barbarity inspired lurked a
brute-like attachment, kept alive by the recognition of this quality.

One day it was reported to him that Gregor, a merchant in the bazaar at
Kinesma, had cheated the wife of one of his serfs in the purchase of a
piece of cloth. Mounting his horse, he rode at once to Gregor's booth,
called for the cloth, and sent the entire piece to the woman, in the
merchant's name, as a confessed act of reparation.

"Now, Gregor, my child," said he, as he turned his horse's head, "have a
care in future, and play me no more dishonest tricks. Do you hear? I
shall come and take your business in hand myself, if the like happens
again."

Not ten days passed before the like--or something fully as bad--_did_
happen. Gregor must have been a newcomer in Kinesma, or he would not
have tried the experiment. In an hour from the time it was announced,
Prince Alexis appeared in the bazaar with a short whip under his arm.

He dismounted at the booth with an ironical smile on his face, which
chilled the very marrow in the merchant's bones.

"Ah, Gregor, my child," he shouted, "you have already forgotten my
commands. Holy St. Nicholas, what a bad memory the boy has! Why, he
can't be trusted to do business: I must attend to the shop myself. Out
of the way! march!"

He swung his terrible whip; and Gregor, with his two assistants, darted
under the counter, and made their escape. The Prince then entered the
booth, took up a yard-stick, and cried out in a voice which could be
heard from one end of the town to the other,--"Ladies and gentlemen,
have the kindness to come and examine our stock of goods! We have silks
and satins, and all kinds of ladies' wear; also velvet, cloth, cotton,
and linen for the gentlemen. Will your Lordships deign to choose? Here
are stockings and handkerchiefs of the finest. We understand how to
measure, your Lordships, and we sell cheap. We give no change, and take
no small money. Whoever has no cash may have credit. Everything sold
below cost, on account of closing up the establishment. Ladies and
gentlemen, give us a call!"

Everybody in Kinesma flocked to the booth, and for three hours Prince
Alexis measured and sold, either for scant cash or long credit, until
the last article had been disposed of and the shelves were empty. There
was great rejoicing in the community over the bargains made that day.
When all was over, Gregor was summoned, and the cash received paid into
his hands.

"It won't take you long to count it," said the Prince; "but here is a
list of debts to be collected, which will furnish you with pleasant
occupation, and enable you to exercise your memory. Would your Worship
condescend to take dinner to-day with your very humble assistant? He
would esteem it a favor to be permitted to wait upon you with whatever
his poor house can supply."

Gregor gave a glance at the whip under the Prince's arm, and begged to
be excused. But the latter would take no denial, and carried out the
comedy to the end, by giving the merchant the place of honor at his
table, and dismissing him with the present of a fine pup of his favorite
breed. Perhaps the animal acted as a mnemonic symbol, for Gregor was
never afterwards accused of forgetfulness.

If this trick put the Prince in a good humor, something presently
occurred which carried him to the opposite extreme. While taking his
customary siesta one afternoon, a wild young fellow--one of his noble
poor relations, who "sponged" at the castle--happened to pass along a
corridor outside of the very hall where his Highness was snoring. Two
ladies in waiting looked down from an upper window. The young fellow
perceived them, and made signs to attract their attention. Having
succeeded in this, he attempted, by all sorts of antics and grimaces, to
make them laugh or speak; but he failed, for the slumber-flag waved over
them, and its fear was upon them. Then, in a freak of incredible
rashness, he sang, in a loud voice, the first line of a popular ditty,
and took to his heels.

No one had ever before dared to insult the sacred quiet. The Prince was
on his feet in a moment, and rushed into the corridor, (dropping his
mantle of sables by the way,) shouting,--

"Bring me the wretch who sang!"

The domestics scattered before him, for his face was terrible to look
upon. Some of them had heard the voice, indeed, but not one of them had
seen the culprit, who already lay upon a heap of hay in one of the
stables, and appeared to be sunk in innocent sleep.

"Who was it? who was it?" yelled the Prince, foaming at the mouth with
rage, as he rushed from chamber to chamber.

At last he halted at the top of the great flight of steps leading into
the court-yard, and repeated his demand in a voice of thunder. The
servants, trembling, kept at a safe distance, and some of them ventured
to state that the offender could not be discovered. The Prince turned
and entered one of the state apartments, whence came the sound of
porcelain smashed on the floor, and mirrors shivered on the walls.
Whenever they heard that sound, the inmates of the castle knew that a
hurricane was let loose.

They deliberated hurriedly and anxiously. What was to be done? In his
fits of blind animal rage, there was nothing of which the Prince was not
capable, and the fit could be allayed only by finding a victim. No one,
however, was willing to be a Curtius for the others, and meanwhile the
storm was increasing from minute to minute. Some of the more active and
shrewd of the household pitched upon the leader of the band, a
simple-minded, good-natured serf, named Waska. They entreated him to
take upon himself the crime of having sung, offering to have his
punishment mitigated in every possible way. He was proof against their
tears, but not against the money which they finally offered, in order to
avert the storm. The agreement was made, although Waska both scratched
his head and shook it, as he reflected upon the probable result.

The Prince, after his work of destruction, again appeared upon the
steps, and, with hoarse voice and flashing eyes, began to announce that
every soul in the castle should receive a hundred lashes, when a noise
was heard in the court, and amid cries of "Here he is!" "We've got him,
Highness!" the poor Waska, bound hand and foot, was brought forward.
They placed him at the bottom of the steps. The Prince descended until
the two stood face to face. The others looked on from court-yard, door,
and window. A pause ensued, during which no one dared to breathe.

At last Prince Alexis spoke, in a loud and terrible voice,--

"It was you who sang, was it?"

"Yes, your Highness, it was I," Waska replied, in a scarcely audible
tone, dropping his head and mechanically drawing his shoulders together,
as if shrinking from the coming blow.

It was full three minutes before the Prince again spoke. He still held
the whip in his hand, his eyes fixed and the muscles of his face rigid.
All at once the spell seemed to dissolve: his hand fell, and he said, in
his ordinary voice,--

"You sing remarkably well. Go, now: you shall have ten rubles and an
embroidered caftan for your singing."

But any one would have made a great mistake, who had dared to awaken
Prince Alexis a second time in the same manner.


V.

Prince Boris, in St. Petersburg, adopted the usual habits of his class.
He dressed elegantly; he drove a dashing _troika_; he played, and lost
more frequently than he won; he took no special pains to shun any form
of fashionable dissipation. His money went fast, it is true; but
twenty-five thousand rubles was a large sum in those days, and Boris did
not inherit his father's expensive constitution. He was presented to the
Empress; but his thin face, and mild, melancholy eyes did not make much
impression upon that ponderous woman. He frequented the salons of the
nobility, but saw no face so beautiful as that of Parashka, the
serf-maiden who personated Venus for Simon Petrovitch. The fact is, he
had a dim, undeveloped instinct of culture, and a crude, half-conscious
worship of beauty,--both of which qualities found just enough
nourishment in the life of the capital to tantalize and never satisfy
his nature. He was excited by his new experience, but hardly happier.

Although but three-and-twenty, he would never know the rich, vital glow
with which youth rushes to clasp all forms of sensation. He had seen,
almost daily, in his father's castle, excess in its most excessive
development. It had grown to be repulsive, and he knew not how to fill
the void in his life. With a single spark of genius, and a little more
culture, he might have become a passable author or artist; but he was
doomed to be one of those deaf-and-dumb natures that see the movement of
the lips of others, yet have no conception of sound. No wonder his
savage old father looked upon him with contempt, for even his vices were
without strength or character.

The dark winter days passed by, one by one, and the first week of Lent
had already arrived to subdue the glittering festivities of the court,
when the only genuine adventure of the season happened to the young
Prince. For adventures, in the conventional sense of the word, he was
not distinguished: whatever came to him must come by its own force or
the force of Destiny.

One raw, gloomy evening, as dusk was setting in, he saw a female figure
in a droschky, which was about turning from the Great Morskoi into the
Gorokhovaya (Pea) Street. He noticed, listlessly, that the lady was
dressed in black, closely veiled, and appeared to be urging the
_istoostchik_ (driver) to make better speed. The latter cut his horse
sharply: it sprang forward, just at the turning, and the droschky,
striking a lamp-post, was instantly overturned. The lady, hurled with
great force upon the solidly frozen snow, lay motionless, which the
driver observing, he righted the sled and drove off at full speed
without looking behind him. It was not inhumanity, but fear of the
knout, that hurried him away.

Prince Boris looked up and down the Morskoi, but perceived no one near
at hand. He then knelt upon the snow, lifted the lady's head to his
knee, and threw back her veil. A face so lovely, in spite of its deadly
pallor, he had never before seen. Never had he even imagined so perfect
an oval, such a sweet, fair forehead, such delicately pencilled brows,
so fine and straight a nose, such wonderful beauty of mouth and chin. It
was fortunate that she was not very severely stunned, for Prince Boris
was not only ignorant of the usual modes of restoration in such cases,
but he totally forgot their necessity, in his rapt contemplation of the
lady's face. Presently she opened her eyes, and they dwelt,
expressionless, but bewildering in their darkness and depth, upon his
own, while her consciousness of things slowly returned.

She strove to rise, and Boris gently lifted and supported her. She would
have withdrawn from his helping arm, but was still too weak from the
shock. He, also, was confused and (strange to say) embarrassed; but he
had self-possession enough to shout, "_Davaï!_" (Here!) at random. The
call was answered from the Admiralty Square; a sled dashed up the
Corokhovaya and halted beside him. Taking the single seat, he lifted her
gently upon his lap and held her very tenderly in his arms.

"Where?" asked the istoostchik.

Boris was about to answer "Anywhere!" but the lady whispered, in a voice
of silver sweetness, the name of a remote street, near the Smolnoi
Church.

As the Prince wrapped the ends of his sable pelisse about her, he
noticed that her furs were of the common foxskin, worn by the middle
classes. They, with her heavy boots and the threadbare cloth of her
garments, by no means justified his first suspicion,--that she was a
_grande dame_, engaged in some romantic "adventure." She was not more
than nineteen or twenty years of age, and he felt--without knowing what
it was--the atmosphere of sweet, womanly purity and innocence which
surrounded her. The shyness of a lost boyhood surprised him.

By the time they reached the Liténie, she had fully recovered her
consciousness and a portion of her strength. She drew away from him as
much as the narrow sled would allow.

"You have been very kind, Sir, and I thank you," she said; "but I am now
able to go home without your further assistance."

"By no means, Lady!" said the Prince. "The streets are rough, and here
are no lamps. If a second accident were to happen, you would be
helpless. Will you not allow me to protect you?"

She looked him in the face. In the dusky light she saw not the peevish,
weary features of the worldling, but only the imploring softness of his
eyes, the full and perfect honesty of his present emotion. She made no
further objection: perhaps she was glad that she could trust the elegant
stranger.

Boris, never before at a loss for words, even in the presence of the
Empress, was astonished to find how awkward were his attempts at
conversation. She was presently the more self-possessed of the two, and
nothing was ever so sweet to his ears as the few commonplace remarks she
uttered. In spite of the darkness and the chilly air, the sled seemed to
fly like lightning. Before he supposed they had made half the way, she
gave a sign to the istoostchik, and they drew up before a plain house of
squared logs.

The two lower windows were lighted, and the dark figure of an old man,
with a skull-cap upon his head, was framed in one of them. It vanished
as the sled stopped; the door was thrown open and the man came forth
hurriedly, followed by a Russian nurse with a lantern.

"Helena, my child, art thou come at last? What has befallen thee?"

He would evidently have said more, but the sight of Prince Boris caused
him to pause, while a quick shade of suspicion and alarm passed over his
face. The Prince stepped forward, instantly relieved of his unaccustomed
timidity, and rapidly described the accident. The old nurse, Katinka,
had meanwhile assisted the lovely Helena into the house.

The old man turned to follow, shivering in the night-air. Suddenly
recollecting himself, he begged the Prince to enter and take some
refreshments, but with the air and tone of a man who hopes that his
invitation will not be accepted. If such was really his hope, he was
disappointed; for Boris instantly commanded the istoostchik to wait for
him, and entered into the humble dwelling.

The apartment into which he was ushered was spacious, and plainly, yet
not shabbily furnished. A violoncello and clavichord, with several
portfolios of music and scattered sheets of ruled paper, proclaimed the
profession or the taste of the occupant. Having excused himself a
moment, to look after his daughter's condition, the old man, on his
return, found Boris turning over the leaves of a musical work.

"You see my profession," he said: "I teach music."

"Do you not compose?" asked the Prince.

"That was once my ambition. I was a pupil of Sebastian Bach.
But--circumstances--necessity--brought me here. Other lives changed the
direction of mine. It was right."

"You mean your daughter's?" the Prince gently suggested.

"Hers and her mother's. Our story was well known in St. Petersburg
twenty years ago, but I suppose no one recollects it now. My wife was
the daughter of a Baron von Plauen, and loved music and myself better
than her home and a titled bridegroom. She escaped, we united our lives,
suffered and were happy together,--and she died. That is all."

Further conversation was interrupted by the entrance of Helena, with
steaming glasses of tea. She was even lovelier than before. Her
close-fitting dress revealed the symmetry of her form, and the quiet,
unstudied grace of her movements. Although her garments were of
well-worn material, the lace which covered her bosom was genuine point
d'Alençon, of an old and rare pattern. Boris felt that her air and
manner were thoroughly noble; he rose and saluted her with the
profoundest respect.

In spite of the singular delight which her presence occasioned him, he
was careful not to prolong his visit beyond the limits of strict
etiquette. His name, Boris Alexeivitch, only revealed to his guests the
name of his father, without his rank; and when he stated that he was
employed in one of the Departments, (which was true in a measure, for he
was a staff officer,) they could only look upon him as being, at best, a
member of some family whose recent elevation to the nobility did not
release them from the necessity of Government service. Of course he
employed the usual pretext of wishing to study music, and either by that
or some other stratagem managed to leave matters in such a shape that a
second visit could not occasion surprise.

As the sled glided homewards over the crackling snow, he was obliged to
confess the existence of a new and powerful excitement. Was it the
chance of an adventure, such as certain of his comrades were continually
seeking? He thought not: no, decidedly not. Was it--could it be--love?
He really could not tell: he had not the slightest idea what love was
like.


VI.

It was something, at least, that the plastic and not unvirtuous nature
of the young man was directed towards a definite object. The elements
out of which he was made, although somewhat diluted, were active enough
to make him uncomfortable, so long as they remained in a confused state.
He had very little power of introversion, but he was sensible that his
temperament was changing,--that he grew more cheerful and contented with
life,--that a chasm somewhere was filling up,--just in proportion as his
acquaintance with the old music-master and his daughter became more
familiar. His visits were made so brief, were so adroitly timed and
accounted for by circumstances, that by the close of Lent he could feel
justified in making the Easter call of a friend, and claim its attendant
privileges, without fear of being repulsed.

That Easter call was an era in his life. At the risk of his wealth and
rank being suspected, he dressed himself in new and rich garments, and
hurried away towards the Smolnoi. The old nurse, Katinka, in her scarlet
gown, opened the door for him, and was the first to say, "Christ is
arisen!" What could he do but give her the usual kiss? Formerly he had
kissed hundreds of serfs, men and women, on the sacred anniversary, with
a passive good-will,--but Katinka's kiss seemed bitter, and he secretly
rubbed his mouth after it. The music-master came next: grisly though he
might be, he was the St. Peter who stood at the gate of heaven. Then
entered Helena, in white, like an angel. He took her hand, pronounced
the Easter greeting, and scarcely waited for the answer, "Truly he is
arisen!" before his lips found the way to hers. For a second they warmly
trembled and glowed together; and in another second some new and sweet
and subtile relation seemed to be established between their natures.

That night Prince Boris wrote a long letter to his "_chère maman_," in
piquantly misspelt French, giving her the gossip of the court, and such
family news as she usually craved. The purport of the letter, however,
was only disclosed in the final paragraph, and then in so negative a way
that it is doubtful whether the Princess Martha fully understood it.

"_Poing de mariajes pour moix!_" he wrote,--but we will drop the
original,--"I don't think of such a thing yet. Pashkoff dropped a hint
the other day, but I kept my eyes shut. Perhaps you remember her?--fat,
thick lips, and crooked teeth. Natalie D---- said to me, 'Have you ever
been in love, Prince?' _Have I, maman?_ I did not know what answer to
make. What is love? How does one feel, when one has it? They laugh at it
here, and of course I should not wish to do what is laughable. Give me
a hint: forewarned is forearmed, you know,"--etc., etc.

Perhaps the Princess Martha _did_ something; perhaps some word in her
son's letter touched a secret spot far back in her memory, and renewed a
dim, if not very intelligible, pain. She answered his question at
length, in the style of the popular French romances of that day. She had
much to say of dew and roses, turtle-doves and the arrows of Cupid.

"Ask thyself," she wrote, "whether felicity comes with her presence, and
distraction with her absence,--whether her eyes make the morning
brighter for thee, and her tears fall upon thy heart like molten
lava,--whether heaven would be black and dismal without her company, and
the flames of hell turn into roses under her feet."

It was very evident that the good Princess Martha had never felt--nay,
did not comprehend--a passion such as she described.

Prince Boris, however, whose veneration for his mother was unbounded,
took her words literally, and applied the questions to himself. Although
he found it difficult, in good faith and sincerity, to answer all of
them affirmatively, (he was puzzled, for instance, to know the sensation
of molten lava falling upon the heart,) yet the general conclusion was
inevitable: Helena was necessary to his happiness.

Instead of returning to Kinesma for the summer, as had been arranged, he
determined to remain in St. Petersburg, under the pretence of devoting
himself to military studies. This change of plan occasioned more
disappointment to the Princess Martha than vexation to Prince Alexis.
The latter only growled at the prospect of being called upon to advance
a further supply of rubles, slightly comforting himself with the
muttered reflection,--

"Perhaps the brat will make a man of himself, after all."

It was not many weeks, in fact, before the expected petition came to
hand. The Princess Martha had also foreseen it, and instructed her son
how to attack his father's weak side. The latter was furiously jealous
of certain other noblemen of nearly equal wealth, who were with him at
the court of Peter the Great, as their sons now were at that of
Elizabeth. Boris compared the splendor of these young noblemen with his
own moderate estate, fabled a few "adventures" and drinking-bouts, and
announced his determination of doing honor to the name which Prince
Alexis of Kinesma had left behind him in the capital.

There was cursing at the castle, when the letter arrived. Many serfs
felt the sting of the short whip, the slumber-flag was hoisted five
minutes later than usual, and the consumption of Cognac was alarming;
but no mirror was smashed, and when Prince Alexis read the letter to his
poor relations, he even chuckled over some portions of it. Boris had
boldly demanded twenty thousand rubles, in the desperate hope of
receiving half that amount,--and he had calculated correctly.

Before midsummer he was Helena's accepted lover. Not, however, until
then, when her father had given his consent to their marriage in the
autumn, did he disclose his true rank. The old man's face lighted up
with a glow of selfish satisfaction; but Helena quietly took her lover's
hand, and said,--

"Whatever you are, Boris, I will be faithful to you."


VII.

Leaving Boris to discover the exact form and substance of the passion of
love, we will return for a time to the castle of Kinesma.

Whether the Princess Martha conjectured what had transpired in St.
Petersburg, or was partially informed of it by her son, cannot now be
ascertained. She was sufficiently weak, timid, and nervous, to be
troubled with the knowledge of the stratagem in which she had assisted
in order to procure money, and that the ever-present consciousness
thereof would betray itself to the sharp eyes of her husband. Certain it
is, that the demeanor of the latter towards her and his household began
to change about the end of the summer. He seemed to have a haunting
suspicion, that, in some way, he had been, or was about to be,
overreached. He grew peevish, suspicious, and more violent than ever in
his excesses.

When Mishka, the dissipated bear already described, bit off one of the
ears of Basil, a hunter belonging to the castle, and Basil drew his
knife and plunged it into Mishka's heart, Prince Alexis punished the
hunter by cutting off his other ear, and sending him away to a distant
estate. A serf, detected in eating a few of the pickled cherries
intended for the Prince's _botvinia_, was placed in a cask, and pickled
cherries packed around him up to the chin. There he was kept until
almost flayed by the acid. It was ordered that these two delinquents
should never afterwards be called by any other names than "Crop-Ear" and
"Cherry."

But the Prince's severest joke, which, strange to say, in no wise
lessened his popularity among the serfs, occurred a month or two later.
One of his leading passions was the chase,--especially the chase in his
own forests, with from one to two hundred men, and no one to dispute his
Lordship. On such occasions, a huge barrel of wine, mounted upon a sled,
always accompanied the crowd, and the quantity which the hunters
received depended upon the satisfaction of Prince Alexis with the game
they collected.

Winter had set in early and suddenly, and one day, as the Prince and his
retainers emerged from the forest with their forenoon's spoil, and found
themselves on the bank of the Volga, the water was already covered with
a thin sheet of ice. Fires were kindled, a score or two of hares and a
brace of deer were skinned, and the flesh placed on sticks to broil;
skins of mead foamed and hissed into the wooden bowls, and the cask of
unbroached wine towered in the midst. Prince Alexis had a good appetite;
the meal was after his heart; and by the time he had eaten a hare and
half a flank of venison, followed by several bowls of fiery wine, he was
in the humor for sport. He ordered a hole cut in the upper side of the
barrel, as it lay; then, getting astride of it, like a grisly Bacchus,
he dipped out the liquor with a ladle, and plied his thirsty serfs until
they became as recklessly savage as he.

They were scattered over a slope gently falling from the dark, dense
fir-forest towards the Volga, where it terminated in a rocky palisade,
ten to fifteen feet in height. The fires blazed and crackled merrily in
the frosty air; the yells and songs of the carousers were echoed back
from the opposite shore of the river. The chill atmosphere, the lowering
sky, and the approaching night could not touch the blood of that wild
crowd. Their faces glowed and their eyes sparkled; they were ready for
any deviltry which their lord might suggest.

Some began to amuse themselves by flinging the clean-picked bones of
deer and hare along the glassy ice of the Volga. Prince Alexis,
perceiving this diversion, cried out in ecstasy,--

"Oh, by St. Nicholas the Miracle-Worker, I'll give you better sport than
that, ye knaves! Here's the very place for a _reisak_,--do you hear me,
children?--a _reisak_! Could there be better ice? and then the rocks to
jump from! Come, children, come! Waska, Ivan, Daniel, you dogs, over
with you!"

Now the _reisak_ was a gymnastic performance peculiar to old Russia, and
therefore needs to be described. It could become popular only among a
people of strong physical qualities, and in a country where swift rivers
freeze rapidly from sudden cold. Hence we are of the opinion that it
will not be introduced into our own winter diversions. A spot is
selected where the water is deep and the current tolerably strong; the
ice must be about half an inch in thickness. The performer leaps head
foremost from a rock or platform, bursts through the ice, is carried
under by the current, comes up some distance below, and bursts through
again. Both skill and strength are required to do the feat successfully.

Waska, Ivan, Daniel, and a number of others, sprang to the brink of the
rocks and looked over. The wall was not quite perpendicular, some large
fragments having fallen from above and lodged along the base. It would
therefore require a bold leap to clear the rocks and strike the smooth
ice. They hesitated,--and no wonder.

Prince Alexis howled with rage and disappointment.

"The Devil take you, for a pack of whimpering hounds!" he cried. "Holy
Saints! they are afraid to make a _reisak_!"

Ivan crossed himself, and sprang. He cleared the rocks, but, instead of
bursting through the ice with his head, fell at full length upon his
back.

"O knave!" yelled the Prince--"not to know where his head is! Thinks
it's his back! Give him fifteen stripes."

Which was instantly done.

The second attempt was partially successful. One of the hunters broke
through the ice, head foremost, going down, but he failed to come up
again; so the feat was only half performed.

The Prince became more furiously excited.

"This is the way I'm treated!" he cried. "He forgets all about finishing
the _reisak_, and goes to chasing sterlet! May the carps eat him up for
an ungrateful vagabond! Here, you beggars!" (addressing the poor
relations,) "take your turn, and let me see whether you are men."

Only one of the frightened parasites had the courage to obey. On
reaching the brink, he shut his eyes in mortal fear, and made a leap at
random. The next moment he lay on the edge of the ice with one leg
broken against a fragment of rock.

This capped the climax of the Prince's wrath. He fell into a state
bordering on despair, tore his hair, gnashed his teeth, and wept
bitterly.

"They will be the death of me!" was his lament. "Not a man among them!
It wasn't so in the old times. Such beautiful _reisaks_ as I have seen!
But the people are becoming women,--hares,--chickens,--skunks! Villains,
will you force me to kill you? You have dishonored and disgraced me; I
am ashamed to look my neighbors in the face. Was ever a man so treated?"

The serfs hung down their heads, feeling somehow responsible for their
master's misery. Some of them wept, out of a stupid sympathy with his
tears.

All at once he sprang down from the cask, crying in a gay, triumphant
tone,--

"I have it! Bring me Crop-Ear. He's the fellow for a _reisak_,--he can
make three, one after another."

One of the boldest ventured to suggest that Crop-Ear had been sent away
in disgrace to another of the Prince's estates.

"Bring him here, I say! Take horses, and don't draw rein going or
coming. I will not stir from this spot until Crop-Ear comes."

With these words, he mounted the barrel, and recommenced ladling out the
wine. Huge fires were made, for the night was falling, and the cold had
become intense. Fresh game was skewered and set to broil, and the tragic
interlude of the revel was soon forgotten.

Towards midnight the sound of hoofs was heard, and the messengers
arrived with Crop-Ear. But, although the latter had lost his ears, he
was not inclined to split his head. The ice, meanwhile, had become so
strong that a cannon-ball would have made no impression upon it.
Crop-Ear simply threw down a stone heavier than himself, and, as it
bounced and slid along the solid floor, said to Prince Alexis,--

"Am I to go back, Highness, or stay here?"

"Here, my son. Thou'rt a man. Come hither to me."

Taking the serf's head in his hands, he kissed him on both cheeks. Then
he rode homeward through the dark, iron woods, seated astride on the
barrel, and steadying himself with his arms around Crop-Ear's and
Waska's necks.


VIII.

The health of the Princess Martha, always delicate, now began to fail
rapidly. She was less and less able to endure her husband's savage
humors, and lived almost exclusively in her own apartments. She never
mentioned the name of Boris in his presence, for it was sure to throw
him into a paroxysm of fury. Floating rumors in regard to the young
Prince had reached him from the capital, and nothing would convince him
that his wife was not cognizant of her son's doings. The poor Princess
clung to her boy as to all that was left her of life, and tried to prop
her failing strength with the hope of his speedy return. She was now too
helpless to thwart his wishes in any way; but she dreaded, more than
death, the terrible _something_ which would surely take place between
father and son, if her conjectures should prove to be true.

One day, in the early part of November, she received a letter from
Boris, announcing his marriage. She had barely strength and presence of
mind enough to conceal the paper in her bosom before sinking in a swoon.
By some means or other the young Prince had succeeded in overcoming all
the obstacles to such a step: probably the favor of the Empress was
courted, in order to obtain her consent. The money he had received, he
wrote, would be sufficient to maintain them for a few months, though not
in a style befitting their rank. He was proud and happy; the Princess
Helena would be the reigning beauty of the court, when he should present
her, but he desired the sanction of his parents to the marriage, before
taking his place in society. He would write immediately to his father,
and hoped, that, if the news brought a storm, Mishka might be on hand to
divert its force, as on a former occasion.

Under the weight of this imminent secret, the Princess Martha could
neither eat nor sleep. Her body wasted to a shadow; at every noise in
the castle, she started and listened in terror, fearing that the news
had arrived.

Prince Boris, no doubt, found his courage fail him, when he set about
writing the promised letter; for a fortnight elapsed before it made its
appearance. Prince Alexis received it on his return from the chase. He
read it hastily through, uttered a prolonged roar like that of a wounded
bull, and rushed into the castle. The sound of breaking furniture, of
crashing porcelain and shivered glass, came from the state apartments;
the domestics fell on their knees and prayed; the Princess, who heard
the noise and knew what it portended, became almost insensible from
fright.

One of the upper servants entered a chamber as the Prince was in the act
of demolishing a splendid malachite table, which had escaped all his
previous attacks. He was immediately greeted with a cry of,--

"Send the Princess to me!"

"Her Highness is not able to leave her chamber," the man replied.

How it happened he could never afterwards describe, but he found himself
lying in a corner of the room. When he arose, there seemed to be a
singular cavity in his mouth: his upper front teeth were wanting.

We will not narrate what took place in the chamber of the Princess. The
nerves of the unfortunate woman had been so wrought upon by her fears,
that her husband's brutal rage, familiar to her from long experience,
now possessed a new and alarming significance. His threats were terrible
to hear; she fell into convulsions, and before morning her tormented
life was at an end.

There was now something else to think of, and the smashing of porcelain
and cracking of whips came to an end. The Archimandrite was summoned,
and preparations, both religious and secular, were made for a funeral
worthy the rank of the deceased. Thousands flocked to Kinesma; and when
the immense procession moved away from the castle, although very few of
the persons had ever known or cared in the least for the Princess
Martha, all, without exception, shed profuse tears. Yes, there was one
exception,--one bare, dry rock, rising alone out of the universal
deluge,--Prince Alexis himself, who walked behind the coffin, his eyes
fixed and his features rigid as stone. They remarked that his face was
haggard, and that the fiery tinge on his cheeks and nose had faded into
livid purple. The only sign of emotion which he gave was a convulsive
shudder, which from time to time passed over his whole body.

Three archimandrites (abbots) and one hundred priests headed the solemn
funeral procession from the castle to the church on the opposite hill.
There the mass for the dead was chanted, the responses being sung by a
choir of silvery boyish voices. All the appointments were of the
costliest character. Not only all those within the church, but the
thousands outside, spared not their tears, but wept until the fountains
were exhausted. Notice was given, at the close of the services, that
"baked meats" would be furnished to the multitude, and that all beggars
who came to Kinesma would be charitably fed for the space of six weeks.
Thus, by her death, the amiable Princess Martha was enabled to dispense
more charity than had been permitted to her life.

At the funeral banquet which followed, Prince Alexis placed the Abbot
Sergius at his right hand, and conversed with him in the most edifying
manner upon the necessity of leading a pure and godly life. His remarks
upon the duty of a Christian, upon brotherly love, humility, and
self-sacrifice, brought tears into the eyes of the listening priests. He
expressed his conviction that the departed Princess, by the piety of her
life, had attained unto salvation,--and added, that his own life had now
no further value, unless he should devote it to religious exercises.

"Can you not give me a place in your monastery?" he asked, turning to
the Abbot. "I will endow it with a gift of forty thousand rubles, for
the privilege of occupying a monk's cell."

"Pray, do not decide too hastily, Highness," the Abbot replied. "You
have yet a son."

"What!" yelled Prince Alexis, with flashing eyes, every trace of
humility and renunciation vanishing like smoke,--"what! Borka? The
infamous wretch who has ruined me, killed his mother, and brought
disgrace upon our name? Do you know that he has married a wench of no
family and without a farthing,--who would be honored, if I should allow
her to feed my hogs? Live for _him?_ live for _him?_ Ah-z-z-z!"

This outbreak terminated in a sound between a snarl and a bellow. The
priests turned pale, but the Abbot devoutly remarked,--

"Encompassed by sorrows, Prince, you should humbly submit to the will of
the Lord."

"Submit to Borka?" the Prince scornfully laughed. "I know what I'll do.
There's time enough yet for a wife and another child,--ay, a dozen
children! I can have my pick in the province; and if I couldn't, I'd
sooner take Masha, the goose-girl, than leave Borka the hope of stepping
into my shoes. Beggars they shall be,--beggars!"

What further he might have said was interrupted by the priests rising to
chant the _Blajennon uspennie_, (Blessed be the dead,)--after which, the
_trisna_, a drink composed of mead, wine, and rum, was emptied to the
health of the departed soul. Every one stood during this ceremony,
except Prince Alexis, who fell suddenly prostrate before the consecrated
pictures, and sobbed so passionately that the tears of the guests flowed
for the third time. There he lay until night; for whenever any one dared
to touch him, he struck out furiously with fists and feet. Finally he
fell asleep on the floor, and the servants then bore him to his sleeping
apartment.

For several days afterward his grief continued to be so violent that
the occupants of the castle were obliged to keep out of his way. The
whip was never out of his hand, and he used it very recklessly, not
always selecting the right person. The parasitic poor relations found
their situation so uncomfortable, that they decided, one and all, to
detach themselves from the tree upon which they fed and fattened, even
at the risk of withering on a barren soil. Night and morning the serfs
prayed upon their knees, with many tears and groans, that the Saints
might send consolation, in any form, to their desperate lord.

The Saints graciously heard and answered the prayer. Word came that a
huge bear had been seen in the forest stretching towards Juriewetz. The
sorrowing Prince pricked up his ears, threw down his whip, and ordered a
chase. Sasha, the broad-shouldered, the cunning, the ready, the untiring
companion of his master, secretly ordered a cask of vodki to follow the
crowd of hunters and serfs. There was a steel-bright sky, a low, yellow
sun, and a brisk easterly wind from the heights of the Ural. As the
crisp snow began to crunch under the Prince's sled, his followers saw
the old expression come back to his face. With song and halloo and blast
of horns, they swept away into the forest.

Saint John the Hunter must have been on guard over Russia that day. The
great bear was tracked, and, after a long and exciting chase, fell by
the hand of Prince Alexis himself. Halt was made in an open space in the
forest, logs were piled together and kindled on the snow, and just at
the right moment (which no one knew better than Sasha) the cask of vodki
rolled into its place.

When the serfs saw the Prince mount astride of it, with his ladle in his
hand, they burst into shouts of extravagant joy. "_Slava Bogu!_" (Glory
be to God!) came fervently from the bearded lips of those hard, rough,
obedient children. They tumbled headlong over each other, in their
efforts to drink first from the ladle, to clasp the knees or kiss the
hands of the restored Prince. And the dawn was glimmering against the
eastern stars, as they took the way to the castle, making the ghostly
fir-woods ring with shout and choric song, Nevertheless, Prince Alexis
was no longer the same man: his giant strength and furious appetite were
broken. He was ever ready, as formerly, for the chase and the
drinking-bout; but his jovial mood no longer grew into a crisis which
only utter physical exhaustion or the stupidity of drunkenness could
overcome. Frequently, while astride the cask, his shouts of laughter
would suddenly cease, the ladle would drop from his hand, and he would
sit motionless, staring into vacancy for five minutes at a time. Then
the serfs, too, became silent, and stood still, awaiting a change. The
gloomy mood passed away as suddenly. He would start, look about him, and
say, in a melancholy voice,--

"Have I frightened you, my children? It seems to me that I am getting
old. Ah, yes, we must all die, one day. But we need not think about it,
until the time comes. The Devil take me for putting it into my head!
Why, how now? can't you sing, children?" Then he would strike up some
ditty which they all knew: a hundred voices joined in the strain, and
the hills once more rang with revelry.

Since the day when Princess Martha was buried, the Prince had not again
spoken of marriage. No one, of course, dared to mention the name of
Boris in his presence.


IX.

The young Prince had, in reality, become the happy husband of Helena.
His love for her had grown to be a shaping and organizing influence,
without which his nature would have fallen into its former confusion. If
a thought of a less honorable relation had ever entered his mind, it was
presently banished by the respect which a nearer intimacy inspired; and
thus Helena, magnetically drawing to the surface only his best
qualities, loved, unconsciously to herself, her own work in him. Erelong
she saw that she might balance the advantages he had conferred upon her
in their marriage by the support and encouragement which she was able to
impart to him; and this knowledge, removing all painful sense of
obligation, made her both happy and secure in her new position.

The Princess Martha, under some presentiment of her approaching death,
had intrusted one of the ladies in attendance upon her with the secret
of her son's marriage, and such presents of money and jewelry as she was
able to procure without her husband's knowledge. These presents reached
Boris very opportunely; for, although Helena developed a wonderful skill
in regulating his expenses, the spring was approaching, and even the
limited circle of society in which they had moved during the gay season
had made heavy demands upon his purse. He became restless and
abstracted, until his wife, who by this time clearly comprehended the
nature of his trouble, had secretly decided how it must be met.

The slender hoard of the old music-master, with a few thousand rubles
from Prince Boris, sufficed for his modest maintenance. Being now free
from the charge of his daughter, he determined to visit Germany, and, if
circumstances were propitious, to secure a refuge for his old age in his
favorite Leipsic. Summer was at hand, and the court had already removed
to Oranienbaum. In a few weeks the capital would be deserted.

"Shall we go to Germany with your father?" asked Boris, as he sat at a
window with Helena, enjoying the long twilight.

"No, my Boris," she answered; "we will go to Kinesma."

"But--Helena,--_golubchik_,--_mon ange_,--are you in earnest?"

"Yes, my Boris. The last letter from your--our cousin Nadejda convinces
me that the step must be taken. Prince Alexis has grown much older since
your mother's death; he is lonely and unhappy. He may not welcome us,
but long he will surely suffer us to come to him; and we must then begin
the work of reconciliation. Reflect, my Boris, you have keenly wounded
him in the tenderest part,--his pride,--and you must therefore cast away
your own pride, and humbly and respectfully, as becomes a son, solicit
his pardon."

"Yes," said he, hesitatingly, "you are right. But I know his violence
and recklessness, as you do not. For myself, alone, I am willing to meet
him; yet I fear for your sake. Would you not tremble to encounter a
maddened and brutal _mujik_?--then how much more to meet Alexis
Pavlovitch of Kinesma!"

"I do not and shall not tremble," she replied. "It is not your marriage
that has estranged your father, but your marriage with _me_. Having
been, unconsciously, the cause of the trouble, I shall deliberately, and
as a sacred duty, attempt to remove it. Let us go to Kinesma, as humble,
penitent children, and cast ourselves upon your father's mercy. At the
worst, he can but reject us; and you will have given me the consolation
of knowing that I have tried, as your wife, to annul the sacrifice you
have made for my sake."

"Be it so, then!" cried Boris, with a mingled feeling of relief and
anxiety.

He was not unwilling that the attempt should be made, especially since
it was his wife's desire; but he knew his father too well to anticipate
immediate success. All threatening _possibilities_ suggested themselves
to his mind; all forms of insult and outrage which he had seen
perpetrated at Kinesma filled his memory. The suspense became at last
worse than any probable reality. He wrote to his father, announcing a
speedy visit from himself and his wife; and two days afterwards the pair
left St. Petersburg in a large travelling _kibitka_.


X.

When Prince Alexis received his son's letter, an expression of fierce,
cruel delight crept over his face, and there remained, horribly
illuminating its haggard features. The orders given for swimming horses
in the Volga--one of his summer diversions--were immediately
countermanded; he paced around the parapet of the castle-wall until near
midnight, followed by Sasha with a stone jug of vodki. The latter had
the useful habit, notwithstanding his stupid face, of picking up the
fragments of soliloquy which the Prince dropped, and answering them as
if talking to himself. Thus he improved upon and perfected many a hint
of cruelty and was too discreet ever to dispute his master's claim to
the invention.

Sasha, we may be sure, was busy with his devil's work that night. The
next morning the stewards and agents of Prince Alexis, in castle,
village, and field, were summoned to his presence.

"Hark ye!" said he; "Borka and his trumpery wife send me word that they
will be here to-morrow. See to it that every man, woman, and child, for
ten versts out on the Moskovskoi road, knows of their coming. Let it be
known that whoever uncovers his head before them shall uncover his back
for a hundred lashes. Whomsoever they greet may bark like a dog, mee-ouw
like a cat, or bray like an ass, as much as he chooses; but if he speaks
a decent word, his tongue shall be silenced with stripes. Whoever shall
insult them has my pardon in advance. Oh, let them come!--ay, let them
come! Come they may: but how they go away again"--

The Prince Alexis suddenly stopped, shook his head, and walked up and
down the hall, muttering to himself. His eyes were bloodshot, and
sparkled with a strange light. What the stewards had heard was plain
enough; but that something more terrible than insult was yet held in
reserve they did not doubt. It was safe, therefore, not only to fulfil,
but to exceed, the letter of their instructions. Before night the whole
population were acquainted with their duties; and an unusual mood of
expectancy, not unmixed with brutish glee, fell upon Kinesma.

By the middle of the next forenoon, Boris and his wife, seated in the
open kibitka, drawn by post-horses, reached the boundaries of the
estate, a few versts from the village. They were both silent and
slightly pale at first, but now began to exchange mechanical remarks, to
divert each other's thoughts from the coming reception.

"Here are the fields of Kinesma at last!" exclaimed Prince Boris. "We
shall see the church and castle from the top of that hill in the
distance. And there is Peter, my playmate, herding the cattle! Peter!
Good day, brotherkin!"

Peter looked, saw the carriage close upon him, and, after a moment of
hesitation, let his arms drop stiffly by his sides, and began howling
like a mastiff by moonlight. Helena laughed heartily at this singular
response to the greeting; but Boris, after the first astonishment was
over, looked terrified.

"That was done by order," said he, with a bitter smile. "The old bear
stretches his claws out. Dare you try his hug?"

"I do not fear," she answered; her face was calm.

Every serf they passed obeyed the order of Prince Alexis according to
his own idea of disrespect. One turned his back; another made
contemptuous grimaces and noises; another sang a vulgar song; another
spat upon the ground or held his nostrils. Nowhere was a cap raised, or
the stealthy welcome of a friendly glance given.

The Princess Helena met these insults with a calm, proud indifference,
Boris felt them more keenly; for the fields and hills were prospectively
his property, and so also were the brutish peasants. It was a form of
chastisement which he had never before experienced, and knew not how to
resist. The affront of an entire community was an offence against which
he felt himself to be helpless.

As they approached the town, the demonstrations of insolence were
re-doubled. About two hundred boys, between the ages of ten and
fourteen, awaited them on the hill below the church, forming themselves
into files on either side of the road. These imps had been instructed to
stick out their tongues in derision, and howl, as the carriage passed
between them. At the entrance of the long main street of Kinesma, they
were obliged to pass under a mock triumphal arch, hung with dead dogs
and drowned cats; and from this point the reception assumed an
outrageous character. Howls, hootings, and hisses were heard on all
sides; bouquets of nettles and vile weeds were flung to them; even
wreaths of spoiled fish dropped from the windows. The women were the
most eager and uproarious in this carnival of insult: they beat their
saucepans, threw pails of dirty water upon the horses, pelted the
coachman with rotten cabbages, and filled the air with screeching and
foul words.

It was impossible to pass through this ordeal with indifference. Boris,
finding that his kindly greetings were thrown away.--that even his old
acquaintances in the bazaar howled like the rest,--sat with head bowed
and despair in his heart. The beautiful eyes of Helena were heavy with
tears; but she no longer trembled, for she knew the crisis was yet to
come.

As the kibitka slowly climbed the hill on its way to the castle-gate,
Prince Alexis, who had heard and enjoyed the noises in the village from
a balcony on the western tower, made his appearance at the head of the
steps which led from the court-yard to the state apartments. The dreaded
whip was in his hand; his eyes seemed about to start from their sockets,
in their wild, eager, hungry gaze; the veins stood out like cords on his
forehead; and his lips, twitching involuntarily, revealed the glare of
his set teeth. A frightened hush filled the castle. Some of the
domestics were on their knees; others watching, pale and breathless,
from the windows: for all felt that a greater storm than they had ever
experienced was about to burst. Sasha and the castle-steward had taken
the wise precaution to summon a physician and a priest, provided with
the utensils for extreme unction. Both of these persons had been
smuggled in through a rear entrance, and were kept concealed until their
services should be required.

The noise of wheels was heard outside the gate, which stood invitingly
open. Prince Alexis clutched his whip with iron fingers, and
unconsciously took the attitude of a wild beast about to spring from its
ambush. Now the hard clatter of hoofs and the rumbling of wheels echoed
from the archway, and the kibitka rolled into the court-yard. It stopped
near the foot of the grand staircase. Boris, who sat upon the farther
side, rose to alight, in order to hand his wife down; but no sooner had
he made a movement than Prince Alexis, with lifted whip and face
flashing fire, rushed down the steps. Helena rose, threw back her veil,
let her mantle (which Boris had grasped, in his anxiety to restrain her
action) fall behind her, and stepped upon the pavement.

Prince Alexis had already reached the last step, and but a few feet
separated them. He stopped as if struck by lightning,--his body still
retaining, in every limb, the impress of motion. The whip was in his
uplifted fist; one foot was on the pavement of the court, and the other
upon the edge of the last step; his head was bent forward, his mouth
open, and his eyes fastened upon the Princess Helena's face.

She, too, stood motionless, a form of simple and perfect grace, and met
his gaze with soft, imploring, yet courageous and trustful eyes. The
women who watched the scene from the galleries above always declared
that an invisible saint stood beside her in that moment, and surrounded
her with a dazzling glory. The few moments during which the suspense of
a hundred hearts hung upon those encountering eyes seemed an eternity.

Prince Alexis did not move, but he began to tremble from head to foot.
His fingers relaxed, and the whip fell ringing upon the pavement. The
wild fire of his eyes changed from wrath into an ecstasy as intense, and
a piercing cry of mingled wonder, admiration, and delight burst from his
throat. At that cry Boris rushed forward and knelt at his feet. Helena,
clasping her fairest hands, sank beside her husband, with upturned face,
as if seeking to hold the old man's eyes, and perfect the miracle she
had wrought.

The sight of that sweet face, so near his own, tamed the last lurking
ferocity of the beast. His tears burst forth in a shower; he lifted and
embraced the Princess, kissing her brow, her cheeks, her chin, and her
hands, calling her his darling daughter, his little white dove, his
lambkin.

"And, father, my Boris too!" said she.

The pure, liquid voice sent thrills of exquisite delight through his
whole frame. He embraced and blessed Boris, and then, throwing an arm
around each, held them to his breast, and wept passionately upon their
heads. By this time the whole castle overflowed with weeping. Tears fell
from every window and gallery; they hissed upon the hot saucepans of the
cooks; they moistened the oats in the manger; they took the starch out
of the ladies' ruffles, and weakened the wine in the goblets of the
guests. Insult was changed into tenderness in a moment. Those who had
barked or stuck out their tongues at Boris rushed up to kiss his boots;
a thousand terms of endearment were showered upon him.

Still clasping his children to his breast, Prince Alexis mounted the
steps with them. At the top he turned, cleared his throat, husky from
sobbing, and shouted,--

"A feast! a feast for all Kinesma! Let there be rivers of vodki, wine,
and hydromel! Proclaim it everywhere that my dear son Boris and my dear
daughter Helena have arrived, and whoever fails to welcome them to
Kinesma shall be punished with a hundred stripes! Off, ye scoundrels, ye
vagabonds, and spread the news!"

It was not an hour before the whole sweep of the circling hills
resounded with the clang of bells, the blare of horns, and the songs and
shouts of the rejoicing multitude. The triumphal arch of unsavory
animals was whirled into the Volga; all signs of the recent reception
vanished like magic; festive fir-boughs adorned the houses, and the
gardens and window-pots were stripped of their choicest flowers to make
wreaths of welcome. The two hundred boys, not old enough to comprehend
this sudden _bouleversement_ of sentiment, did not immediately desist
from sticking out their tongues: whereupon they were dismissed with a
box on the ear. By the middle of the afternoon all Kinesma was eating,
drinking, and singing; and every song was sung, and every glass emptied,
in honor of the dear, good Prince Boris, and the dear, beautiful
Princess Helena. By night all Kinesma was drunk.


XI.

In the castle a superb banquet was improvised. Music, guests, and rare
dishes were brought together with wonderful speed, and the choicest
wines of the cellar were drawn upon. Prince Boris, bewildered by this
sudden and incredible change in his fortunes, sat at his father's right
hand, while the Princess filled, but with much more beauty and dignity,
the ancient place of the Princess Martha. The golden dishes were set
before her, and the famous family emeralds--in accordance with the
command of Prince Alexis--gleamed among her dark hair and flashed around
her milk-white throat. Her beauty was of a kind so rare in Russia that
it silenced all question and bore down all rivalry. Every one
acknowledged that so lovely a creature had never before been seen.
"Faith, the boy has eyes!" the old Prince constantly repeated, as he
turned away from a new stare of admiration, down the table.

The guests noticed a change in the character of the entertainment. The
idiot, in his tow shirt, had been crammed to repletion in the kitchen,
and was now asleep in the stable. Razboi, the new bear,--the successor
of the slaughtered Mishka,--was chained up out of hearing. The jugglers,
tumblers, and Calmucks still occupied their old place under the gallery,
but their performances were of a highly decorous character. At the least
sign of a relapse into certain old tricks, more grotesque than refined,
the brows of Prince Alexis would grow dark, and a sharp glance at Sasha
was sufficient to correct the indiscretion. Every one found this natural
enough; for they were equally impressed with the elegance and purity of
the young wife. After the healths had been drunk and the slumber-flag
was raised over the castle, Boris led her into the splendid apartments
of his mother,--now her own,--and knelt at her feet.

"Have I done my part, my Boris?" she asked.

"You are an angel!" he cried. "It was a miracle! My life was not worth a
_copek_, and I feared for yours. If it will only last!--if it will only
last!

"It _will_," said she. "You have taken me from poverty, and given me
rank, wealth, and a proud place in the world: let it be my work to keep
the peace which God has permitted me to establish between you and your
father!"

The change in the old Prince, in fact, was more radical than any one who
knew his former ways of life would have considered possible. He stormed
and swore occasionally, flourished his whip to some purpose, and rode
home from the chase, not outside of a brandy-cask, as once, but with too
much of its contents inside of him: but these mild excesses were
comparative virtues. His accesses of blind rage seemed to be at an end.
A powerful, unaccustomed feeling of content subdued his strong nature,
and left its impress on his voice and features. He joked and sang with
his "children," but not with the wild recklessness of the days of
_reisaks_ and indiscriminate floggings. Both his exactions and his
favors diminished in quantity. Week after week passed by, and there was
no sign of any return to his savage courses.

Nothing annoyed him so much as a reference to his former way of life, in
the presence of the Princess Helena. If her gentle, questioning eyes
happened to rest on him at such times, something very like a blush rose
into his face, and the babbler was silenced with a terribly significant
look. It was enough for her to say, when he threatened an act of cruelty
or injustice, "Father, is that right?" He confusedly retracted his
orders, rather than bear the sorrow of her face.

The promise of another event added to his happiness: Helena would soon
become a mother. As the time drew near, he stationed guards at the
distance of a verst around the castle, that no clattering vehicles
should pass, no dogs bark loudly, nor any other disturbance occur which
might agitate the Princess. The choicest sweetmeats and wines, flowers
from Moscow and fruits from Astrakhan, were procured for her; and it was
a wonder that the midwife performed her duty, for she had the fear of
death before her eyes. When the important day at last arrived, the
slumber-flag was instantly hoisted, and no mouse dared to squeak in
Kinesma until the cannon announced the advent of a new soul.

That night Prince Alexis lay down in the corridor, outside of Helena's
door: he glared fiercely at the nurse as she entered with the
birth-posset for the young mother. No one else was allowed to pass, that
night, nor the next. Four days afterwards, Sasha, having a message to
the Princess, and supposing the old man to be asleep, attempted to step
noiselessly over his body. In a twinkle the Prince's teeth fastened
themselves in the serf's leg, and held him with the tenacity of a
bull-dog. Sasha did not dare to cry out: he stood, writhing with pain,
until the strong jaws grew weary of their hold, and then crawled away to
dress the bleeding wound. After that, no one tried to break the
Prince's guard.

The christening was on a magnificent scale. Prince Paul of Kostroma was
godfather, and gave the babe the name of Alexis. As the Prince had paid
his respects to Helena just before the ceremony, it may be presumed that
the name was not of his own inspiration. The father and mother were not
allowed to be present, but they learned that the grandfather had
comported himself throughout with great dignity and propriety. The
Archimandrite Sergius obtained from the Metropolitan at Moscow a very
minute fragment of the true cross, which was encased in a hollow bead of
crystal, and hung around the infant's neck by a fine gold chain, as a
precious amulet.

Prince Alexis was never tired of gazing at his grandson and namesake.

"He has more of his mother than of Boris," he would say. "So much the
better! Strong dark eyes, like the Great Peter,--and what a goodly leg
for a babe! Ha! he makes a tight little fist already,--fit to handle a
whip,--or" (seeing the expression of Helena's face)--"or a sword. He'll
be a proper Prince of Kinesma, my daughter, and we owe it to you."

Helena smiled, and gave him a grateful glance in return. She had had her
secret fears as to the complete conversion of Prince Alexis; but now she
saw in this babe a new spell whereby he might be bound. Slight as was
her knowledge of men, she yet guessed the tyranny of long-continued
habits; and only her faith, powerful in proportion as it was ignorant,
gave her confidence in the result of the difficult work she had
undertaken.


XII.

Alas! the proud predictions of Prince Alexis, and the protection of the
sacred amulet, were alike unavailing. The babe sickened, wasted away,
and died in less than two months after its birth. There was great and
genuine sorrow among the serfs of Kinesma. Each had received a shining
ruble of silver at the christening; and, moreover, they were now
beginning to appreciate the milder _régime_ of their lord, which this
blow might suddenly terminate. Sorrow, in such natures as his,
exasperates instead of chastening: they knew him well enough to
recognize the danger.

At first the old man's grief appeared to be of a stubborn, harmless
nature. As soon as the funeral ceremonies were over, he betook himself
to his bed, and there lay for two days and nights, without eating a
morsel of food. The poor Princess Helena, almost prostrated by the blow,
mourned alone, or with Boris, in her own apartments. Her influence, no
longer kept alive by her constant presence, as formerly, began, to
decline. When the old Prince aroused somewhat from his stupor, it was
not meat that he demanded, but drink; and he drank to angry excess. Day
after day the habit resumed its ancient sway, and the whip and the
wild-beast yell returned with it. The serfs, even, began to tremble as
they never had done, so long as his vices were simply those of a strong
man; for now a fiendish element seemed to be slowly creeping in. He
became horribly profane: they shuddered, when he cursed the venerable
Metropolitan of Moscow, declaring that the old sinner had deliberately
killed his grandson, by sending to him, instead of the true cross of the
Saviour, a piece of the tree to which the impenitent thief was nailed.

Boris would have spared his wife the knowledge of this miserable
relapse, in her present sorrow, but the information soon reached her in
other ways. She saw the necessity of regaining, by a powerful effort,
what she had lost. She therefore took her accustomed place at the table,
and resumed her inspection of household matters. Prince Alexis, as if
determined to cast off the yoke which her beauty and gentleness had laid
upon him, avoided looking at her face or speaking to her, as much as
possible: when he did so, his manner was cold and unfriendly. During her
few days of sad retirement, he had brought back the bear Razboi and the
idiot to his table, and vodki was habitually poured out to him and his
favorite serfs in such measure that the nights became hideous with
drunken tumult.

The Princess Helena felt that her beauty no longer possessed the potency
of its first surprise. It must now be a contest of nature with nature,
spiritual with animal power. The struggle would be perilous, she
foresaw, but she did not shrink; she rather sought the earliest occasion
to provoke it.

That occasion came. Some slight disappointment brought on one of the old
paroxysms of rage, and the ox-like bellow of Prince Alexis rang through
the castle. Boris was absent, but Helena delayed not a moment to venture
into his father's presence. She found him in a hall overlooking the
court-yard, with his terrible whip in his hand, giving orders for the
brutal punishment of some scores of serfs. The sight of her, coming thus
unexpectedly upon him, did not seem to produce the least effect.

"Father!" she cried, in an earnest, piteous tone, "what is it you do?"

"Away, witch!" he yelled. "I am the master in Kinesma, not thou! Away,
or"--

The fierceness with which he swung and cracked the whip was more
threatening than any words. Perhaps she grew a shade paler, perhaps her
hands were tightly clasped in order that they might not tremble; but she
did not flinch from the encounter. She moved a step nearer, fixed her
gaze upon his flashing eyes, and said, in a low, firm voice,--

"It is true, father, you are master here. It is easy to rule over those
poor, submissive slaves. But you are not master over yourself; you are
lashed and trampled upon by evil passions, and as much a slave as any of
these. Be not weak, my father, but strong!"

An expression of bewilderment came into his face. No such words had ever
before been addressed to him, and he knew not how to reply to them. The
Princess Helena followed up the effect--she was not sure that it was an
advantage--by an appeal to the simple, childish nature which she
believed to exist under his ferocious exterior. For a minute it seemed
as if she were about to reestablish her ascendency: then the stubborn
resistance of the beast returned.

Among the portraits in the hall was one of the deceased Princess Martha.
Pointing to this, Helena cried,--

"See, my father! here are the features of your sainted wife! Think that
she looks down from her place among the blessed, sees you, listens to
your words, prays that your hard heart may be softened! Remember her
last farewell to you on earth, her hope of meeting you"--

A cry of savage wrath checked her. Stretching one huge, bony hand, as if
to close her lips, trembling with rage and pain, livid and convulsed in
every feature of his face, Prince Alexis reversed the whip in his right
hand, and weighed its thick, heavy butt for one crashing, fatal blow.
Life and death were evenly balanced. For an instant the Princess became
deadly pale, and a sickening fear shot through her heart. She could not
understand the effect of her words: her mind was paralyzed, and what
followed came without her conscious volition.

Not retreating a step, not removing her eyes from the terrible picture
before her, she suddenly opened her lips and sang. Her voice, of
exquisite purity, power, and sweetness, filled the old hall and
overflowed it, throbbing in scarcely weakened vibrations through
court-yard and castle. The melody was a prayer,--the cry of a tortured
heart for pardon and repose; and she sang it with almost supernatural
expression. Every sound in the castle was hushed: the serfs outside
knelt and uncovered their heads.

The Princess could never afterwards describe, or more than dimly recall,
the exaltation of that moment. She sang in an inspired trance: from the
utterance of the first note the horror of the imminent fate sank out of
sight. Her eyes were fixed upon the convulsed face, but she beheld it
not: all the concentrated forces of her life flowed into the music. She
remembered, however, that Prince Alexis looked alternately from her face
to the portrait of his wife; that he at last shuddered and grew pale;
and that, when with the closing note her own strength suddenly
dissolved, he groaned and fell upon the floor.

She sat down beside him, and took his head upon her lap. For a long time
he was silent, only shivering as if in fever.

"Father!" she finally whispered, "let me take you away!"

He sat up on the floor and looked around; but as his eyes encountered
the portrait, he gave a loud howl and covered his face with his hands.

"She turns her head!" he cried. "Take her away,--she follows me with her
eyes! Paint her head black, and cover it up!"

With some difficulty he was borne to his bed, but he would not rest
until assured that his orders had been obeyed, and the painting covered
for the time with a coat of lamp-black. A low, prolonged attack of fever
followed, during which the presence of Helena was indispensable to his
comfort. She ventured to leave the room only while he slept. He was like
a child in her hands; and when she commended his patience or his good
resolutions, his face beamed with joy and gratitude. He determined (in
good faith, this time) to enter a monastery and devote the rest of his
life to pious works.

But, even after his recovery, he was still too weak and dependent on his
children's attentions to carry out this resolution. He banished from the
castle all those of his poor relations who were unable to drink vodki in
moderation; he kept careful watch over his serfs, and those who became
intoxicated (unless they concealed the fact in the stables and
outhouses) were severely punished: all excess disappeared, and a reign
of peace and gentleness descended upon Kinesma.

In another year another Alexis was born, and lived, and soon grew strong
enough to give his grandfather the greatest satisfaction he had ever
known in his life, by tugging at his gray locks, and digging the small
fingers into his tamed and merry eyes. Many years after Prince Alexis
was dead, the serfs used to relate how they had seen him, in the bright
summer afternoons, asleep in his arm-chair on the balcony, with the rosy
babe asleep on his bosom, and the slumber-flag waving over both.

Legends of the Prince's hunts, _reisaks_, and brutal revels are still
current along the Volga; but they are now linked to fairer and more
gracious stories; and the free Russian farmers (no longer serfs) are
never tired of relating incidents of the beauty, the courage, the
benevolence, and the saintly piety of the Good Lady of Kinesma.



THE WILDERNESS.


In conversation with a young Rebel on the field of Fredericksburg, I
learned that a certain Elijah of his acquaintance sometimes conveyed
travellers over the more distant battle-fields. Him, therefore, I sent
to engage, with his horse and buggy, for the following day.

Breakfast was scarcely over the next morning, when, as I chanced to look
from my hotel window, I saw a thin-faced countryman drive up to the door
in an old one-horse wagon with two seats and a box half filled with
corn-stalks. I was admiring the anatomy of the horse, every prominent
bone of which could be counted through his skin, when I heard the man
inquiring for me. It was Elijah, with his "horse and buggy."

I was inclined to criticize the establishment, which was not altogether
what I had been led to expect.

"I allow he a'n't a fust-class hoss," said Elijah. "Only give three
dollars for him. Feed is skurce and high. But let him rest this winter,
and git some meal in him, and he'll make a plough crack next spring."

"What are you going to do with those corn-stalks?"

"Fodder for the hoss. They're all the fodder he'll git till night; for
we're go'n' into a country whar thar's noth'n' mo' for an animal to eat
than thar is on the palm of my hand."

I took a seat beside him, and made use of the stalks by placing a couple
of bundles between my back and the sharp board which travellers were
expected to lean against. Elijah cracked his whip, the horse frisked his
tail, and struck into a cow-trot which pleased him.

"You see, he'll snake us over the ground right peart!"

He proceeded to tantalize me by telling what a mule he had, and what a
little mare he had, at home.

"She certainly goes over the ground! I believe she can run ekal to
anything in this country for about a mile. But she's got a set of legs
under her jest like a sheep's legs."

He could not say enough in praise of the mule.

"Paid eight hundred dollars for him in Confederate money. He earned a
living for the whole family last winter. I used to go reg'lar up to
Chancellorsville and the Wilderness, buy up a box of clothing, and go
down in Essex and trade it off for corn."

"What sort of clothing?"

"Soldiers' clothes, from the battle-fields. Some was flung away, and
some, I suppose, was stripped off the dead. Any number of families jest
lived on what they got from the Union armies in that way. They'd pick up
what garments they could lay hands on, wash 'em up, and sell 'em. I'd
take a blanket, and git half a bushel of meal for it down in Essex. Then
I'd bring the meal back, and git may-be two blankets, or a blanket and a
coat, for it. All with that little mule. He'll haul a load for ye! He'll
stick to the ground go'n' up hill jest like a dry-land tarrapin! But I
take the mare when I'm in a hurry; she makes them feet rattle ag'in' the
ground!"

We took the plank road to Chancellorsville, passing through a waste
country of weeds or undergrowth, like every other part of Virginia which
I had yet seen.

"All this region through yer," said Elijah, "used to be grow'd up to
corn and as beautiful clover as ever you see. But since the wa', it's
all turned out to bushes and briers and hog-weeds. It's gittin' a start
ag'in now. I'll show 'em how to do it. If we git in a crap o' wheat this
fall, which I don't know if we sha'n't, we kin start three big teams,
and whirl up twenty acres of land directly. That mule," etc.

Elijah praised the small farmers.

"People in ordinary sarcumstances along yer are a mighty industrious
people. It's the rich that keep this country down. The way it generally
is, a few own too much and the rest own noth'n'. I know hundreds of
thousands of acres of land put to no uset, which, if it was cut up into
little farms, would make the country look thrifty. This is mighty good
land; clay bottom; holds manure jest like a chany bowl does water. But
the rich ones jest scratched over a little on 't with their slave labor,
and let the rest go. They wouldn't sell: let a young man go to 'em to
buy, and they'd say they didn't want no poo' whites around 'em; they
wouldn't have one, if they could keep shet of 'em. And what was the
result? Young men would go off to the west, if they was enterpris'n',
and leave them that wa'n't enterpris'n' hyer to home. Then as the old
heads died off, the farms would run down. The young women would marry
the lazy young men, and raise up families of lazy children."

The country all about Fredericksburg was very unhealthy. Elijah, on
making inquiries, could hear of scarcely a family on the road exempt
from sickness.

"It was never so till since the wa'. Now we have chills and fever, jest
like they do in a new country. It's owin' to the land all comin' up to
weeds; the dew settles in 'em, and they rot, and that fills the air with
the agur. I've had the agur myself till about a fortnight ago; then,
soon as I got shet of that, the colic took me. Eat too much on a big
appetite, I suppose. I like to live well; like to see plenty of
everything on the table, and then I like to see every man eat a heap."

I commended Elijah's practical sense; upon which he replied,--

"The old man is right ignorant; can't read the fust letter; never went
to school a day; but the old man is right sharp!"

He was fond of speaking of himself in this way. He thought education a
good thing, but allowed that all the education in the world could not
give a man sense. He was fifty years old, and had got along thus far in
life very well.

"I reckon thar's go'n' to be a better chance for the poo' man after
this. The Union bein' held together was the greatest thing that could
have happened for us."

"And yet you fought against it."

"I was in the Confederate army two year and a half. I was opposed to
Secession; but I got my head a little turned after the State went out,
and I enlisted. Then, when I had time to reconsider it all over, I
diskivered we was wrong. I told the boys so.

"'Boys,' says I, 'when my time's up, I'm go'n' out of the army, and you
won't see me in ag'in.'

"'You can't help that, old man,' says they; 'fo' by that time the
conscript law'll be changed so 's to go over the heads of older men than
you.'

"'Then,' says I, 'the fust chance presents itself, I fling down my
musket and go spang No'th.'

"They had me put under arrest for that, and kep' me in the guard-house
seven months. I liked that well enough. I was saved a deal of hard
march'n' and lay'n' out in the cold, that winter.

"'Why don't ye come in, boys,' says I, 'and have a warm?'

"I knowed what I was about! The old man was right ignorant, but the old
man was right sharp!"

We passed the line of Sedgwick's retreat a few miles from
Fredericksburg.

"Shedrick's men was in line acrost the road hyer, extendin' into the
woods on both sides; they had jest butchered their meat, and was ishyin'
rations and beginnin' to cook their suppers, when Magruder struck 'em on
the left flank." (Elijah was wrong; it was not Magruder, but McLaws.
These local guides make many such mistakes, and it is necessary to be on
one's guard against them.) "They jest got right up and skedaddled! The
whole line jest faced to the right, and put for Banks's Ford. Thar's the
road they went. They left it piled so full of wagons, Magruder couldn't
follah; but his artillery jest run around by another road I'll show ye,
hard as ever they could lay their feet to the ground, wheeled their guns
in position on the bluffs by the time Shedrick got cleverly to crossin',
and played away. The way they heaped up Shedrick's men was awful!"

Every mile or two we came to a small farm-house, commonly of logs, near
which there was usually a small crop of corn growing.

"Every man after he got home, after the fall of Richmond, put in to
raise a little somethin' to eat. Some o' the corn looks poo'ly, but it
beats no corn at all, all to pieces."

We came to one field which Elijah pronounced a "monstrous fine crap."
But he added,--

"I've got thirty acres to home not a bit sorrier'n that. Ye see, that
mule of mine," etc.

I noticed--what I never saw in the latitude of New England--that the
fodder had been pulled below the ears and tied in little bundles on the
stalks to cure. Ingenious shifts for fences had been resorted to by the
farmers. In some places the planks of the worn-out plank road had been
staked and lashed together to form a temporary inclosure. But the most
common fence was what Elijah called "bresh wattlin'." Stakes were first
driven into the ground, then pine or cedar brush bent in between them
and beaten down with a maul.

"Ye kin build a wattlin' fence that way so tight a rabbit can't git
through."

On making inquiries, I found that farms of fine land could be had all
through this region for ten dollars an acre.

Elijah hoped that men from the North would come in and settle.

"But," said he, "'twould be dangerous for any one to take possession of
a confiscated farm. He wouldn't live a month."

The larger land-owners are now more willing to sell.

"Right smart o' their property was in niggers; they're pore now, and
have to raise money.

"The emancipation of slavery," added Elijah, "is wo'kin' right for the
country mo'e ways 'an one. The' a'n't two men in twenty, in middlin'
sarcumstances, but that's beginnin' to see it. I'm no friend to the
niggers, though. They ought all to be druv out of the country. They
won't wo'k as long as they can steal. I have my little crap o' corn, and
wheat, and po'k; when night comes, I must sleep; then the niggers come
and steal all I've got."

I pressed him to give an instance of the negroes' stealing his property.
He could not say that they had taken anything from him lately, but they
"used to" rob his corn-fields and hen-roosts, and "they would again."
Had he ever caught them at it? No, he could not say that he ever had.
Then how did he know that the thieves were negroes? He knew it, because
"niggers would steal."

"Won't white folks steal, too, sometimes?"

"Yes," said Elijah, "some o' the poo' whites are a durned sight wuss 'n
the niggers!"

"Then why not drive them out of the country, too? You see," said I,
"your charges against the negroes are vague, and amount to nothing."

"I own," he replied, "thar's now and then one that's ekal to any white
man. Thar's one a-comin' thar."

A load of wood was approaching, drawn by two horses abreast and a mule
for leader. A white-haired old negro was riding the mule.

"He's the greatest man!" said Elijah, after we had passed. "He's been
the support of his master's family for twenty year and over. He kin
manage a heap better 'n his master kin. The' a'n't a farmer in the
country kin beat him. He keeps right on jest the same now he's free;
though I suppose he gits wages."

"You acknowledge, then, that some of the negroes are superior men?"

"Yes, thar's about ten in a hundred honest and smart as anybody."

"That," said I, "is a good many. Do you suppose you could say more of
the white race, if it had just come out of slavery?"

"I don't believe," said Elijah, "that ye could say as much!"

We passed the remains of the house "whar Harrow was shot." It had been
burned to the ground.

"You've heerd about Harrow; he was Confederate commissary; he stole mo'e
hosses f'om the people, and po'ed the money down his own throat, than
would have paid fo' fo'ty men like him, if he was black."

A mile or two farther on, we came to another house.

"Hyer's whar the man lives that killed Harrow. He was in the army, and
because he objected to some of Harrow's doin's, Harrow had him arrested,
and treated him very much amiss. That ground into his conscience and
feelin's, and he deserted fo' no other puppose than to shoot him. He's a
mighty smart fellah! He'll strike a man side the head, and soon 's his
fist leaves it, his foot's thar. He shot Harrow in that house you see
burnt to the ground, and then went spang to Washington. Oh, he was
sharp!"

On our return we met the slayer of Harrow riding home from
Fredericksburg on a mule,--a fine-looking young fellow, of blonde
complexion, a pleasant countenance, finely chiselled nose and lips, and
an eye full of sunshine. "Jest the best-hearted, nicest young fellah in
the wo'ld, till ye git him mad; then look out!" I think it is often the
most attractive persons, of fine temperaments, who are capable of the
most terrible wrath when roused.

The plank road was in such a ruined condition that nobody thought of
driving on it; although the dirt road beside it was in places scarcely
better. The back of the seat was cruel, notwithstanding the corn-stalks.
But by means of much persuasion, enforced by a good whip, Elijah kept
the old horse jogging on. Oak-trees, loaded with acorns, grew beside the
road. Black walnuts, already beginning to lose their leaves, hung their
delicate balls in the clear light over our heads. Poke-weeds dark with
ripening berries, wild grapes festooning bush and tree, sumachs
thrusting up through the foliage their sanguinary spears,
persimmon-trees, gum-trees, red cedars with their bluish-green clusters,
chestnut-oaks, and chincapins, adorned the wild wayside.

So we approached Chancellorsville, twelve miles from Fredericksburg.
Elijah was raised in that region, and knew everybody.

"Many a frolic have I had runnin' the deer through these woods! Soon as
the dogs started one, he'd put fo' the river, cross, take a turn on t'
other side, and it wouldn't be an hour 'fo'e he'd be back ag'in. Man I
lived with used to have a mare that was trained to hunt; if she was in
the field and heard the dogs, she'd whirl her tail up on her back, lope
the fences, and go spang to the United States Ford, git thar 'fo'e the
dogs would, and hunt as well without a rider as with one."

But since then a far different kind of hunting, a richer blood than the
deer's, and other sounds than the exciting yelp of the dogs, had
rendered that region famous.

"Hyer we come to the Chancellorsville farm. Many a poo' soldier's
knapsack was emptied of his clothes, after the battle, along this road!"
said Elijah, remembering last winter's business with his mule.

The road runs through a large open field bounded by woods. The marks of
hard fighting were visible from afar off. A growth of saplings edging
the woods on the south had been killed by volleys of musketry: it looked
like thickets of bean-poles. The ground everywhere, in the field and in
the woods, was strewed with mementoes of the battle,--rotting knapsacks
and haversacks, battered canteens and tin cups, and fragments of
clothing which Elijah's customers had not deemed it worth the while to
pick up. On each side of the road were breastworks and rifle-pits
extending into the woods. The clearing, once a well-fenced farm of
grain-fields and clover-lots, was now a dreary and deserted common. Of
the Chancellorsville House, formerly a large brick tavern, only the
half-fallen walls and chimney-stacks remained. Here General Hooker had
his head-quarters until the wave of battle on Sunday morning rolled so
hot and so near that he was compelled to withdraw. The house was soon
after fired by a Rebel shell, when full of wounded men, and burned.

"Every place ye see these big bunches of weeds, that's whar the' was
hosses or men buried," said Elijah. "These holes are whar the bones have
been dug up for the bone-factory at Fredericksburg."

It was easy for the bone-seekers to determine where to dig. The common
was comparatively barren, except where grew those gigantic clumps of
weeds. I asked Elijah if he thought many human bones went to the
factory.

"Not unless by mistake. But people a'n't always very partic'lar about
mistakes thar's money to be made by."

Seeing a small inclosure midway between the road and the woods on the
south, we walked to it, and found it a burying-ground ridged with
unknown graves. Not a headboard, not an inscription, indicated who were
the tenants of that little lonely field. And Elijah knew nothing of its
history; it had been set apart, and the scattered dead had been gathered
together and buried there, since he passed that way.

We found breastworks thrown up all along by the plank road west of the
farm,--the old worn planks having been put to good service in their
construction. The tree-trunks pierced by balls, the boughs lopped off by
shells, the strips of timber cut to pieces by artillery and musketry
fire, showed how desperate the struggle on that side had been. The
endeavors of the Confederates to follow up with an overwhelming victory
Jackson's swift and telling blows on our right, and the equally
determined efforts of our men to retrieve that disaster, rendered this
the scene of a furious encounter.

Elijah thought, that, if Jackson had not been killed by his own men
after delivering that thunderstroke, Hooker would have been annihilated.
"Stonewall" was undoubtedly the enemy's best fighting general. His death
was to them equal to the loss of many brigades. With regard to the
manner of his death there can be no longer any doubt. I have conversed
with Confederate officers who were in the battle, all of whom agree as
to the main fact. General Jackson, after shattering our right wing,
posted his pickets at night with directions to fire upon any man or body
of men that might approach. He afterwards rode forward to reconnoitre,
returned inadvertently by the same road, and was shot by his own orders.

The Battle of Bull Run in 1861, Pope's campaign, and Burnside's defeat
at Fredericksburg in 1862, and, lastly, Hooker's unsuccessful attempt at
Chancellorsville in the spring of 1863, had shown how hard a road to
Richmond this was to travel. Repeatedly, as we tried it and failed, the
hopes of the Confederacy rose exultant; the heart of the North sank as
often, heavy with despair. McClellan's Peninsular route had resulted
still more fatally. We all remember the anguish and anxiety of those
days. But the heart of the North shook off its despair, listened to no
timid counsels; it was growing fierce and obdurate. We no longer
received the news of defeat with cries of dismay, with teeth close-set,
a smile upon the quivering lips, and a burning fire within. Had the
Rebels triumphed again? Then so much the worse for them! Had we been
once more repulsed with slaughter from their strong line of defences?
Was the precious blood poured out before them all in vain? At last it
should not be in vain! Though it should cost a new thirty years' war and
a generation of lives, the red work we had begun must be completed;
ultimate failure was impossible, ultimate triumph certain.

This inflexible spirit found it embodiment in the leader of the final
campaigns against the Rebel capital. It was the deep spirit of humanity
itself, ready to make the richest sacrifices, calm, determined,
inexorable, moving steadily towards the great object to be achieved. It
has been said that General Grant did not consider the lives of his men.
Then the people did not consider them. But the truth lies here: precious
as were those lives, something lay beyond far more precious, and they
were the needful price paid for it. We had learned the dread price, we
had duly weighed the worth of the object to be purchased: what, then,
was the use of hesitating and higgling?

We were approaching the scene of Grant's first great blow aimed at the
gates of the Rebel capital. On the field of Chancellorsville you already
tread the borders of the field of the Wilderness,--if that can be called
a field which is a mere interminable forest, slashed here and there with
roads.

Passing straight along the plank road, we came to a large farm-house,
which had been gutted by soldiers, and but recently reoccupied. It was
still in a scarcely habitable condition. However, we managed to obtain,
what we stood greatly in need of, a cup of cold water. I observed that
it tasted strongly of iron.

"The reason of that is, we took twelve camp-kettles out of the well,"
said the man of the house, "and nobody knows how many more there are
down there."

The place is known as Locust Grove. In the edge of the forest, but a
little farther on, is the Wilderness Church,--a square framed building,
which showed marks of such usage as every uninhabited house receives at
the hands of a wild soldiery. Red Mars has little respect for the
temples of the Prince of Peace.

"Many a time have I been to meet'n' in that shell, and sot on hard
benches, and heard long sermons!" said Elijah. "But I reckon it'll be a
long while befo'e them doo's are darkened by a congregation ag'in. Thar
a'n't the population through hyer thar used to be. Oncet we'd have met a
hundred wagons on this road go'n' to market; but I count we ha'n't met
mo'e 'n a dozen to-day."

Not far beyond the church we approached two tall guide-posts erected
where the road forks. The one on the right pointed the way to the
"Wilderness National Cemetery, No. 1, 4 miles," by the Orange
Court-House turnpike. The other indicated the "Wilderness National
Cemetery, No. 2," by the plank road.

"All this has been done since I was this way," said Elijah.

We kept the plank road,--or rather the clay road beside it, which
stretched before us dim in the hollows, and red as brick on the
hillsides. We passed some old fields, and entered the great
Wilderness,--a high and dry country, thickly overgrown with dwarfish
timber, chiefly scrub oaks, pines, and cedars. Poles lashed to trees for
tent-supports indicated where our regiments had encamped; and soon we
came upon abundant evidences of a great battle. Heavy breastworks thrown
up on Brock's cross-road, planks from the plank road piled up and lashed
against trees in the woods, to form a shelter for our pickets,
knapsacks, haversacks, pieces of clothing, fragments of harness, tin
plates, canteens, some pierced with balls, fragments of shells, with
here and there a round-shot, or a shell unexploded, straps, buckles,
cartridge-boxes, socks, old shoes, rotting letters, desolate tracts of
perforated and broken trees,--all these signs, and others sadder still,
remained to tell their silent story of the great fight of the
Wilderness.

A cloud passed over the sun: all the scene became sombre, and hushed
with a strange brooding stillness, broken only by the noise of twigs
crackling under my feet, and distant growls of thunder. A shadow fell
upon my heart also, as from the wing of the Death-Angel, as I wandered
through the woods, meditating upon what I saw. Where were the feet that
wore those empty shoes? Where was he whose proud waist was buckled in
that belt? Some soldier's heart was made happy by that poor, soiled,
tattered, illegible letter, which rain and mildew have not spared; some
mother's, sister's, wife's, or sweetheart's hand, doubtless, penned it;
it is the broken end of a thread which unwinds a whole life-history,
could we but follow it rightly. Where is that soldier now? Did he fall
in the fight, and does his home know him no more? Has the poor wife or
stricken mother wailed long for the answer to that letter, which never
came, and will never come? And this cap, cut in two by a shot, and stiff
with a strange incrustation,--a small cap, a mere boy's, it
seems,--where now the fair head and wavy hair that wore it? O mother and
sisters at home, do you still mourn for your drummer-boy? Has the story
reached you,--how he went into the fight to carry off his wounded
comrades, and so lost his life for their sakes?--for so I imagine the
tale which will never be told.

And what more appalling spectacle is this? In the cover of thick woods,
the unburied remains of two soldiers,--two skeletons side by side, two
skulls almost touching each other, like the cheeks of sleepers! I came
upon them unawares as I picked my way among the scrub oaks. I knew that
scores of such sights could be seen here a few weeks before; but the
United States Government had sent to have its unburied dead collected
together in the two national cemeteries of the Wilderness; and I had
hoped the work was faithfully done.

"They was No'th-Carolinians; that's why they didn't bury 'em," said
Elijah, after a careful examination of the buttons fallen from the
rotted clothing.

The ground where they lay had been fought over repeatedly, and the dead
of both sides had fallen there. The buttons may, therefore, have told a
true story: North-Carolinians they may have been: yet I could not
believe that the true reason why they had not been decently interred. It
must have been that these bodies, and others we found afterwards, were
overlooked by the party sent to construct the cemeteries. It was
shameful negligence, to say the least.

The cemetery was near by,--a little clearing in the woods by the
roadside, thirty yards square, surrounded by a picket-fence, and
comprising seventy trenches, each containing the remains of I know not
how many dead. Each trench was marked with a headboard, inscribed with
the invariable words,--

"Unknown United States soldiers, killed May, 1864."

Elijah, to whom I read the Inscription, said, pertinently, that the
words, _United States soldiers_ indicated plainly that it had not been
the intention to bury Rebels there. No doubt: but these might at least
have been buried in the woods where they fell.

As a grim sarcasm on this neglect, somebody had flung three human
skulls, picked up in the woods, over the paling, into the cemetery,
where they lay blanching among the graves.

Close by the southeast corner of the fence were three or four Rebel
graves, with old headboards. Elijah called my attention to them, and
wished me to read what the headboards said. The main fact indicated was,
that those buried there were North-Carolinians. Elijah considered this
somehow corroborative of his theory derived from the buttons. The graves
were shallow, and the settling of the earth over the bodies had left the
feet of one of the poor fellows sticking out.

The shadows which darkened the woods, and the ominous thunder-growls,
culminated in a shower. Elijah crawled under his wagon; I sought the
shelter of a tree: the horse champed his fodder, and we ate our
luncheon. How quietly upon the leaves, how softly upon the graves of the
cemetery, fell the perpendicular rain! The clouds parted, and a burst of
sunlight smote the Wilderness; the rain still poured, but every drop was
illumined, and I seemed standing in a shower of silver meteors.

The rain over and luncheon finished, I looked about for some solace to
my palate after the dry sandwiches, moistened only by the drippings from
the tree,--seeking a dessert in the Wilderness. Summer grapes hung their
just ripened clusters from the vine-laden saplings, and the chincapin
bushes were starred with opening burrs. I followed a woodland path,
embowered with the glistening boughs, and plucked, and ate, and mused.
The ground was level, and singularly free from the accumulations of
twigs, branches, and old leaves, with which forests usually abound. I
noticed, however, many charred sticks and half-burnt roots and logs.
Then the terrible recollection overtook me: these were the woods that
were on fire during the battle. I called Elijah.

"Yes, all this was a flame of fire while the fight was go'n' on. It was
full of dead and wounded men. Cook and Stevens, farmers over hyer, men I
know, heard the screams of the poor fellahs burnin' up, and come and
dragged many a one out of the fire, and laid 'em in the road."

The woods were full of Rebel graves, with here and there a heap of
half-covered bones, where several of the dead had been hurriedly buried
together.

I had seen enough. We returned to the cemetery. Elijah hitched up his
horse, and we drove back along the plank road, cheered by a rainbow
which spanned the Wilderness and moved its bright arch onward over
Chancellorsville towards Fredericksburg, brightening and fading, and
brightening still again, like the hope which gladdened the nation's eye
after Grant's victory.



THE BELLS OF LYNN, HEARD AT NAHANT.


    O curfew of the setting sun! O Bells of Lynn!
    O requiem of the dying day! O Bells of Lynn!

    From the dark belfries of yon cloud-cathedral wafted,
    Your sounds aërial seem to float, O Bells of Lynn!

    Borne on the evening wind across the crimson twilight,
    O'er land and sea they rise and fall, O Bells of Lynn!

    The fisherman in his boat, far out beyond the headland,
    Listens, and leisurely rows ashore, O Bells of Lynn!

    Over the shining sands the wandering cattle homeward
    Follow each other at your call, O Bells of Lynn!

    The distant lighthouse hears, and with his flaming signal
    Answers you, passing the watchword on, O Bells of Lynn!

    And down the darkening coast run the tumultuous surges,
    And clap their hands, and shout to you, O Bells of Lynn!

    Till from the shuddering sea, with your wild incantations,
    Ye summon up the spectral moon, O Bells of Lynn!

    And startled at the sight, like the weird woman of Endor,
    Ye cry aloud, and then are still, O Bells of Lynn!



THE HIGH TIDE OF DECEMBER.


Breakfast was ready. Captain Lufflin, who, like most retired old salts,
had a healthy stomach, and humored it, crossed and uncrossed his stumpy
little legs, and pulled his gray moustache complacently, when he caught
the first sniff of the hot coffee and broiling beefsteak.

He had been down on the foggy beach, (for the high winter tides were
worth watching on that lonely coast,) and was now quietly drying his
feet before the crackling wood-fire in the dining-room grate; but even
Ann, (the clam-digger's daughter, promoted to cook,) as she bustled in
and out, had seen the Captain was out of temper, as he waited, frowning
portentously, and wagging his bald head now and then as if a wasp stung
it.

Lufflin, who aboard ship would have risked a thousand lives on his own
cool judgment, had been uneasy and irritable for two months back, ever
since Mrs. Jacobus had written to him about buying this house for her.

"It was to be a Christmas gift from her to her husband," she wrote.
"She wanted it, therefore, kept a secret from him. Any quiet corner
along the coast which they could make into a home." Adding something
about M. Jacobus "being fagged out with work, and needing rest," at
which Lufflin shook his head. The Captain knew, that, bookworm and
picture-maniac though he might be, Jacobus had managed to squander, in
some unaccountable way, his own and his wife's fortune. So much of their
history had got back to the fishing-town where she had lived when a
child. People even hinted that they had been almost starving latterly in
New York. However that might be, Old Lufflin knew that the sum she
remitted to him was the last they had left; and beyond this, he had a
shrewd suspicion that in the shipwreck the Jacobuses had made of life,
something of more worth than money had been lost, and that this home she
talked of was most probably a last effort to bury some shameful secret.

The Captain, in his disgust at the unknown bookworm, fretted under the
whole affair. "It's not in my line," he would growl. "It's a cursed
bore. Poor Charlotte! she used to swim like a frog in the inlet there,
when she was only eleven. She's little heart for swimming now, it's
likely!" And would begin his search with re-doubled vigor.

This house, a gray stone cottage of five or six rooms, in the most
solitary part of the lee-coast, had been vacant for some time, and was
to be sold cheap. Lufflin bought and furnished it in his own name; and
then, as she directed, asked the Professor and his wife down to spend
the Christmas holidays with him. He was anxious and awkward as a
school-boy when they arrived the night before.

"It was too tough a job for you to set me, Charlotte," he grumbled. "How
was I to choose a home for a man that lives, they say, by the sight of
his eyes and the hearing of his ears? Water's water to me, and rocks
rocks,"--trotting after her as she went through the house in silence,
ending the survey with two or three sharp, decisive nods, and a quick,
pleased little laugh.

"Satisfied? Yes, I am. Yes, I am. We've had a good many houses, Jerome
and I; but this is home."

The Captain understood her.

In the morning, however, he felt all his doubts return. Mrs. Jacobus's
quick, firm step sounded above, below him; presently she came in with a
jug of yellow cream, and set it on the table, adjusting the dishes,
putting a glass of holly in the middle, opening the window-curtains to
let the cold, gray, wintry light fall on the white cloth and pretty blue
china service.

"Those oysters now?" said the Captain, anxiously. "Ann's a poor cook."

"She's clean as a Shaker, though. But I broiled them myself,"--laughing
to herself to see his relieved face.

"They're all right, then, Charlotte?"

"Yes."

She would give her mind to the oysters, he knew. It had been her way to
put a little of her brains and blood into all her jobs in life,
finishing each with a self-satisfied little nod. No wonder that she was
worn, now that she was a middle-aged woman.

"She's lost something, Lotty has since I knew her," he thought, watching
the light figure in its dark blue dress moving about; "but she's the
right stuff for home use,"--with some vague idea in his old salt-water
brain of delicate, incomplete faces suiting best with moonlight and
country strolls, and of the sparkle of dinner-lights and brilliant eyes
agreeing together, but that a face like Charlotte's was the one for the
breakfast-table. The shrewd, kindly eyes, the color on her face, and the
laugh came on you as fresh as a child's,--if her hair was a bit gray.

She had gone to the bay-window that overlooked the stretch of coast on
which the heavy winter tide was coming in, and grown silent watching it.
The Captain called to her; he wanted nothing to put the breakfast back
this morning. And he fancied that to a woman who had been a leader in
the world of culture and refinement yonder this sky and loud foreboding
surf might have some meaning of which he knew nothing.

"Nature's voices, eh?" coming to her side.

Some expression that had held her face suddenly escaped it.

"I am watching for Jerome. Yonder he comes with your fisherman, by the
inlet,"--pointing to two dark figures in the mist crossing the sands
below.

The house stood on a ledge, facing the sea: ramparts of rock, gray and
threatening in this light, running down on either side, and shutting out
all outlook but that of the dull, obstinate stretch of sand on which the
sea had beaten and fallen back for centuries, with the same baffled,
melancholy cry. Behind the house were clumps of pines and cedars. Nature
had done all she could in wringing out whatever green and lusty life was
left in rocks and sand to make the place home-like and cheerful. Beside
the trees, there was a patch of kitchen-garden back of the house, a
grape-vine or two on the walls, trailing moss hanging to its eaves,--the
delicate web-like moss that grows along this coast out of dead wood;
even the beach rocks glowed into colors,--dark browns, purples, and
reds.

But for all these it needed summer and sunshine. On this, the day before
Christmas, the house and the land about it were smothered in a cold
mist: only the shivering sea beyond had voice or motion.

"It's a dull, uncanny place, Mrs. Jacobus," said Lufflin, anxiously. "It
looks like a prison to me to-day. What if we've made a mistake?"

"We have made no mistake," calmly.

"Indoors," he persisted, "the house is cheerful enough. But it's a rough
coast, and the oyster-dredgers and wrackers hint that the house be n't
above highest water-mark. They're a wild pack, them wrackers. I doubt
it's a gloomy home I've picked for M. Jacobus, after all his"--

Something in her face silenced him.

"You did right, Uncle George," she answered, cheerfully.

But the pleasant eyes he had liked so much last night he noticed were
turned to the sea now with a hard look, new to him, begotten both of
great pain and obstinate endurance.

"Of course you know, Charlotte,--of course. God knows I want to do
what's for the best."

He hesitated, then went on briskly, taking courage.

"See now, Lotty, I'm an old fellow. I've walked you to sleep many's the
night, being your father's chum, and living in his house till the day of
his death. I'd like you to know I'm a true friend. If so be as you're in
trouble, you must tell me. If this house is a sort of hiding, as I've
thought once or twice, speak the word, and there's nobody shall get
below Barnegat, to disturb it, or"--

Mrs. Jacobus faced him suddenly,--the nerves in her body seeming to
stiffen, her half-shut eyes fixed on his. The Captain's quailed.

"You mean Jerome?" in a low voice.

He did not answer. She waited a moment, and then turned again to the
window,--holding forcibly down whatever resistance his touch had roused
in her.

"You mean well," she said, quietly, after a pause. "But you do not know
my husband. I was a fool to expect that; yet I did expect
it,"--remembering bitterly how, when she brought her husband here, she
had counted surely on a real justice for him from the single-minded old
Captain, which shrewd, sensible men had not given.

"How could I know him? You talk like a woman, Lotty," stammered the
Captain. "I never saw M. Jacobus till last night. It was a vague
whisper, or rather an old man's whim, that there might be something gone
which both you and he wished forgotten."

She had her face pressed against the pane, but Lufflin fancied that it
lost color, and that the delicate jaws closed with the firmness of a
steel spring.

"There was no crime," she said, in a moment or two.

The old man came close to her after a while, and put his hand gently on
her hair; streaked with gray as it was, she seemed nothing but a child
to him still.

"You're growing like your mother, Lotty," he said.

After a long while she spoke again, but under her breath, as if half
talking to herself.

"We had a child once, Jerome and I," she said.

"I know," the Captain rejoined, quickly turning his eyes from her face,
and, after waiting for her to go on, added, "Never but the one,--I
know."

"It was a boy,--little Tom."

There was a sudden choking gulp in the mother's throat; she had
overrated her strength a little. The old man looked steadily out to sea,
and took no notice.

"They never were apart, Jerome and the boy," she went on at last,
firmly; "and when I would see them at work with their play-tools, or
romping together, I used to wonder which of the two had the most simple,
affectionate nature, or knew less of the ways of the world."

Lufflin said nothing to this defence. He was annoyed at himself for
having vexed her,--conscious and remorseful for any wrong he had done M.
Jacobus, but with a stronger suspicion than before that he had galled
some old wound in her memory. Whatever the secret might be, it had made
her feeling for her husband, he saw, as tender and keen with pain as
that for the little child she had lost, and whose place none had ever
come to fill.

"I've often thought, too, that when the time comes"--

She stopped abruptly.

"Yes, Charlotte,"--to hide her effort to control herself.

"He's gone, Tom is, you know,--eleven years ago, now. But when the time
comes for Jerome to see his boy again, I've often thought _he_ would
have no reason to dread the child's eyes. It's different with me. But
they may say of my husband what they will, my baby need not be afraid to
lay his head upon his father's breast. He needn't be afraid."

The Captain took up the cold hand that was nervously thrumming on the
window-sill, and held it quiet, averting his eyes from her face,
distorted with dry, silent weeping.

"It's different with me," she cried, "Sometimes I think, Uncle George,
it would be better if I'd never see my boy again. I'm sharper and
coarser than other women. I've had to rub with the world."

Lufflin was a queer old fellow. He did not tell her these were but the
morbid fancies of an hysterical woman, or blame himself for rousing
them. He muttered something about low tide and George Cathcart, and
bustled off down the stairs. She had a stronger mind than he, he
suspected; silence and her own will would bring her to herself quicker
than any comfort of his could do.

He proved to be right. She did not notice his going; stood at first
looking into the dark bank of sea-horizon, as if she would have forced
out of that vague Beyond where her child had gone the truth of all that
had hurt her in her life. The dull thud of the retreating tide kept time
to her thoughts,--finally came into them: it was so natural for her mind
to swing back into whatever was real and at hand.

Not that she forgot the little fellow whose restless feet and hands were
quiet at last in the graveyard at Salem: she never forgot him; since
they laid him there, the thought of him had sounded in every day of her
busy life like a faint hymn sung by lips far away, holy and calm,--a
story of God in it.

But she held it down; watched the tide go out, measuring each sullen
sweep with calculating eyes: the old swimming and fishing education in
the inlet had not worn out its effect on her.

"The wreckers talk folly," she said; "no tide could touch the
house,"--leaning farther out to see the two approaching figures go into
the doorway beneath.

One man looked up, waving his hat as he passed, and she drew in her
head with a sudden blush and a dewy light in her eyes, catching her
breath.

"I have made no mistake," she thought, vehemently. "Look in his face! It
is the right home for Jerome."

As she listened to the footsteps coming up the stairway, she moved
uneasily about the room, touching almost every article in it with the
eager fondness of a child: she knew what it had cost her; for the house
had been paid for by money she had earned; it seemed as if she could
remember now every seam she had stitched, every page she had
copied,--the days of heat and sickness and weariness, when she had
almost given up in despair.

That was all over now; she could put her hand on the result in actual
stone and mortar; and as she thanked God for it, she went about,
woman-like, touching and looking for the hundredth time to enjoy it more
utterly. Nothing was too trivial to give her pleasure: she measured the
depth of the window-frames with her arm, tested the grain of the doors,
felt the texture of the curtains; how warm and clear a crimson they
were!--remembering how becoming they would be, and touching her worn
cheeks with a quick smile.

She peered through into the open door from the dining-room into the room
beyond: she meant that for the library; planning rapidly where on the
gray walls their one or two pictures could hang,--how Jerome's old desk
would fit into one corner, and her work-table in the other: the
book-shelves were below, and the books and what other home treasures she
had been able to smuggle with her; she would arrange them all to-night,
after he was in bed.

In New York they lived in a crowded tenement-house, out of which Old
Jacobus, as the boys called him, went to give his daily lessons. How he
had argued and prosed for weeks as to whether they could afford these
few days! although it was vacation, and Lufflin had sent free passes for
the road. To-morrow he would know that the holiday would last always,
and that the book could be finished which was to bring them bread.
Madame Jacobus knitted her brows, counting for the twentieth time how
many months the money she had would last: long enough for the book to be
done, provisions were so cheap here.

So would they start afresh, thank God! There would be nothing here to
tempt him to----The old look of defiance flashed over her face.

"It was no crime," she said, half aloud; and just then the door-knob
turned.

Captain Lufflin, who had left her with conscience and grief both at work
with her a few minutes before, opened the door with a half-scared look,
pushing Jacobus before him, whose sleeve she caught eagerly, bidding him
good-morning with a laugh.

"God bless us all!" said Lufflin. "The ways of women!"

M. Jacobus had a fisherman's corduroy trousers and red shirt hung on
him, as one might say. He made a formal apology to Madame for sitting
down to breakfast in them.

"But I like to clothe myself according to my occupation," he said to
Lufflin, gravely. "I have begun at dawn to make my holiday, the time is
so short; I feel myself quite of the sea already."

The clothes being too small for him, his gaunt legs and bony neck
protruded above and below, capped by a brown, honest, homely face, over
which thin, iron-gray hairs straggled.

"A younger man than I expected to see," thought the Captain; "but that's
one of the faces that never grows old."

M. Jacobus munched his breakfast in silence, and then, clearing a space
on the table, dragged out of his pocket one or two crabs, a sea-horse
finger-length, and a general mess of slimy legs and tails.

"_Cancer pagurus! Cirripedes!_" triumphantly spreading them on the
table-cloth. "The fruits of my morning's labor, except _Hippcampus
brevirostris_, vulgarly called Sea-Horse, which stood to me in the sum
of forty cents: it shall be saved in other modes of expenditure,--say
shoes,"--with a deprecating glance at his wife.

"Yes, Jerome," her eyes fixed, hungrily, on the childish delight in his
face.

Lufflin began to perceive now for what she had worked; he chafed his
whiskers, and entered into the spirit of the thing with zest.

"You'd call me a happy man, now, Mounchere, to be the owner of this bit
of ground, eh?"

"I can conceive," said the Professor, gravely, catching his squirming
prey, and tying them up in a handkerchief,--"I can conceive no better
abode than this for a man of _esprit_,--of what you call stamina in
mind. His wants are little; he rests, he works, he studies books,
Nature. She is greatly good to him in this place; she opens her most
delicate secrets; she gives to him grandeur, beauty, from full hands."

"She fills his stomach, too," said the Captain, hastily. "No better
fishing on the coast, not to mention clams and oysters. Yes, Mounchere,"
after a pause, as they rose from table, "Nature's grand here, as you
say,--or God, which is the same thing. If a man don't come nearer to Him
by a day's outlook on yon sea than by years of town-life, it's because
his eyes aren't worth the having."

M. Jacobus stretched his long neck to look out at the dull, creeping,
moaning waste without, his warm Gallic blood shivering with a vague idea
that the relentless, inexorable Thing was no bad symbol of the Puritan's
God.

"Ah, _le bon Dieu!_" he muttered. "All that is best in men's nature has
been given to make up that image,--and all that is most cruel."

"Eh? yes," said the Captain, not understanding, but wagging his bald
head wisely.

"I will go now and preserve my specimens," said the Professor, "and then
join our friend George below,--with your permission, Madame? He is but a
fisher for the oyster, but I find in him a man of many facts."

When he had mounted to his chamber and secured his prey in a jar,
however, he did not return to George Cathcart, but stood irresolute, his
hands clasped behind his back, the shiny boatman's hat he wore pulled
over his eyes.

Twelve years ago the poor Frenchman and his son had planned this coming
to the sea: the boy used to get into his father's bed by dawn to talk it
over snugly. It came to be their grand scheme and hope for the future;
for neither the father nor little Tom had intellects of a high achieving
order. Jacobus had never, I suppose, considered whether his son had
genius or not, or what he was to do in the world: to get the boy out of
the poisonous city, to see his first look at the ocean, to watch the
sturdy little rogue fight the breakers, fish, swim, net for crabs, was
about the highest pleasure which the simple old man had ever pictured
for them. Now the holiday had come for him; and Tom----

He walked about the room, glancing unsteadily from side to side, as if
in search of something lost. The sick, intolerable loneliness of those
first days after Tom died came back to him.

"_Mon fils! mon fils!_" he muttered once, holding his hand to his side.

It gave him actual pain to breathe just then; but his eyes were dry. He
never had cried for Tom as his mother did,--never named him to her; she
thought he had forgotten. The fancy seized him, that, now that he was
here, if Tom cared for him, and for coming there, as he did once, he was
not far off at that moment. His sallow jaws colored at the boyish
notion, and then he laughed at it,--in a strange saturnine fashion. It
was as if another man than the simple Professor suddenly looked out
through his eyes,--a man older, more untrustworthy, weak through a
life-long doubt,--not his natural self, in a word, but the man which
years of life in dirty ways, and the creed which his father gave him,
had made of him. He looked out of the window, his fingers knitted behind
him.

"There is the sea, and I am here, but Tom is not here; he's dust and
ashes, yonder in Salem graveyard,--a heap of yellow dust, nothing
more,"--a laugh, which the foulest of French skeptics would have envied,
crossing his grim face at this fancy of the child's being yet alive and
near to him.

But the creed having asserted itself thus, the simple face grew suddenly
blank, and the gray eyes looked out of their dark hollows as if the
world were empty and he alone lived to tell the tale.

M. Jacobus had a watchful keeper; she was never far off; she put her
hand on his shoulder now with,--

"What do you look for at sea, Jerome?"--speaking cheerfully, and in his
own tongue.

He did not turn his head until he thought he had put all his trouble out
of sight.

"I pursue your Captain's fancy," he said. "_I_ find in the sea but muddy
water, with power to bring rage and destruction for no cause. I find
great treasures lying useless below, starving men sailing above,--great
pain, death every day,--the baby washed from its mother's arms, the
husband from the wife. The good Captain sees a loving God behind all
these: my eyes are not so clear."

She pushed the lattice farther open.

"It is a strong sea for December," was all she said. "The tides run
higher later, usually."

"Everyman makes his own God and heaven," maundered on the Professor, in
a set, monotonous voice, "out of his individual animal or mental needs.
The Southern European surrounds Him with virgins, paradise, and music;
and the cold Scotchman gives us a magnified shadow of his own grim face,
gracious and merciful only to his own petty clan."

Mrs. Jacobus did not reply. It was an old tale to her ears, perhaps; she
remembered it croaked by his father with a venomous zest; but Jerome
repeated it with a stolid apathy, like one who asked for bread in life,
and they gave him but this stone.

"Come down on the beach," she said. "There are curious bits of wreck
washed ashore to-day, they tell me: broken sea-weeds from far-off
coasts, unknown here; and small shell-fish coming into shoal water for
safety, that never ventured so far inland in the memory of any of the
wreckers. Come look at this sky, Jerome: how rapidly it has changed!"

M. Jacobus thrust out his head with an assumption of sagacity.

"It was there that Captain Lufflin warned me the danger lay," said his
wife, pointing to a mere fleck of quiet and black in the northeast,
which remained immovably solid while the whole heaven around was broken
into drifting frightened masses. Beneath, (yet not far beneath, for
ocean and sky to-day seemed like gray, fast-approaching planes,) the
angry roar of the waves and the tossing of yellow frothy caps had been
suddenly quelled into the vast silence which rose and fell in slowly
darkening, awful pulsations. Jacobus and his wife looked on anxiously.

"These are peculiar features of a storm," he said, "if they forebode a
storm. The tide should be at its lowest ebb now. I will go and consult
our friend George. Come down! come down!"

As he hurried out of the door, however, he stopped, and put his hand on
her shoulder with a deprecating smile.

"I ought not to let those old thoughts strike the life out of the day
for me, ought I?"

"No, Jerome, no!" She caught his hand and kissed it as a mother might a
child's.

"I had almost ceased to make holiday," he added, gravely, putting his
foot up, retying the leather strings of his heavy shoes, and looking
down on his fisherman's rig with secret complacency.

"Shall we go down? There are foreboding signs in the sea, that I would
wish to study."

       *       *       *       *       *

Late in the afternoon of that day, Captain Lufflin, coming up the rocks
from the beach, (for he had spent the day measuring the advancing
tide,) saw a queer-shaped cart or van drive up to the side door, and a
woman with divers bundles alight and go in. About an hour after, Madame
Jacobus came out to him, a woollen shawl over her head, and stood beside
the garden-fence with him, pulling the heads off the dead
hollyhock-stalks as she talked.

"I've a story to tell you," she said, her voice thick at first, and her
face hot.

"Eh? About yourself, Charlotte?" The Captain's small eyes kindled with
curiosity, and he pushed a log for her to sit down. "Go on, my dear."

"About ourselves,--M. Jacobus and me,"--with another pause.

"I perceived," said her father's friend, preparing for the confession of
some imprudence, "that your married life has been peculiar: modelled
after the ideas of young people, I suppose."

"I do not know," she said, absently. She balanced herself more
comfortably against the fence, and went on with her story with a quiet
unconsciousness that balked Lufflin's intention of censure.

"We have been poor in the two or three years just past," she
said,--"wanted enough to satisfy even his favorite Saint-Simon's theory.
My husband is no"----

"Financier?" gently suggested the Captain.

"No. He could beard the world in defence of an idea; but for bread and
butter, ah-h! I'm rougher! I ought to have been the man for that! About
a year ago he was offered a chance to go with a geological party to
Brazil. I was glad of that. The air and sights of our close court were
killing him. I wanted to finish some work I had to do, and then"----

She stopped; a scarlet flush broke over her neck and face.

"Yes, child?"

"God was very good to us,"--in an almost whisper. "Six months after my
husband left home, He gave us another child."

"You never told me this," cried Lufflin, aghast.

"I never told Jerome," quietly. "I put my baby out to nurse, where it
could breathe air, and not poison,--not far from here. I have left it
there since. May-be it was wrong," said poor Charlotte, hiding her face
in her hands, with a happy laugh. "It was a whim, I know. I may have
wronged him, but I had a fancy to give him his home and his child both
upon this Christmas day."

The Captain gasped, took a fresh bit of tobacco, but said nothing.

"There is no more to say,--but you want to see the baby?" suddenly.

"Certainly, Charlotte, certainly,--see the baby!" And the old Captain
followed her, glancing about him in a mild imbecility of astonishment.

"God bless my soul!" he broke out at last. "The idea of springing a
house and a baby on a man in one day! It assuredly is, child, the most
unprecedented whim"----

"Yes, yes,"--dodging suddenly into a room, and bringing out a bundle of
white linen and wool. She stood in the passage by a window, the red
evening light falling about her.

"It's a boy," she whispered, lifting off the covering. "He is very like
little Tom,"--an inexpressible awe on her face.

"Yes," said the Captain. He had meant to say a few sensible words to
bring her to reason about this matter; but, instead, he took up the
little white foot thrust out of the blanket and kissed it sheepishly,
looking askance at the woman's figure and face bent over the child,
beaming with a rare and tender beauty.

They said little after that. The mother stood playing with her baby,
touching its cheeks and chin until it laughed. She forgot Lufflin was
there, I suppose. Her soul seemed to be in her fingers, her pure passion
to envelop the mite of flesh as the weak sunshine did herself, and to
hold it in life. There was something in this wife-and-mother-love which
poor Lufflin did not understand.

"Well, well," he said, "I'll go now. God bless you, Lotty! You'll let me
have a share in this young fellow here, eh?"--and trotted down the back
stairs, leaving her in the narrow hall. "Old Mounchere Jacobus must have
been a good fellow," he thought, "to have deserved all this. God deals
so differently with different men!"

She had nothing more to say about it, Madame Jacobus had told him; yet,
standing there in the quiet cold light, within a few steps of the closed
door behind which was her husband, her feet on the floor of the house
she had worked hard to buy him, the child in her arms she would give him
to-morrow, she thought she had touched in this hour the very depth and
height of life.

"It is worth all the pain that's gone,--it's worth it all," she said
again and again, pressing the boy so closely that he cried. When she
turned to the window, the cold and gathering night somehow made her home
more real, the future alive with great and good possibilities.

Yet it was a foreboding, revengeful night. Outside the little panes of
the passage-window she could see the gray walls of the house and the
bare trunks of the trees darken and draw apart in the dull light. There
was no mellowness in the outlines of rocks or beach: they loomed up
harsh and threatening. From the low, dingy horizon came at intervals
subdued soughs of wind that broke on the projecting headlands with a
muffled cry. The floor grew chilly to her feet; the strip of carpet
shook in the gusts; and the passage was dark, but for a cheerful glimmer
of light under the Professor's door. Charlotte went shivering with her
baby into the nurse's room; and when she had watched it safe into its
cradle, came out, going again through the hall to the library. As she
touched the door-handle, she checked herself in humming some song,
growing colorless as she thought what it was,--an old ditty with which
she used to lull little Tom to sleep, but never had sung since then. But
in a moment a curious smile came on her lips. "That is all right," she
said, opening the door. From that moment her little boy and poor Tom,
dead in the city graveyard yonder, were as one to the mother: she nursed
them in her heart together.

One word as to the plan of the house, for the better understanding of
what followed. It was niched, as we said, into a cove of rocks, open
only to the sea. In spite of all the croaking of the wreckers, the
highest tide had never yet approached nearer than to ten feet sheer
descent from the foundation-stones. On the ground-floor was a room
appropriated by the Captain, filled with his bunk, fishing-nets, guns,
and other trumpery, and the kitchen and offices; above were the library
and dining-room; and on the third floor three bed-chambers.

M. Jacobus sat now by the fire in the dining-room, his feet on the
fender, some books scattered around him, rapidly getting out with them
into a world where northeasters, nor high tides, nor his wife either,
ever came. She saw that in the half-frown with which he looked at her
over his spectacles.

"M. Jacobus!" she said.

"_Plait-il, Madame?_" and afterwards laid down his book, thinking the
figure before him could hardly be that of his matter-of-fact wife: which
was true enough,--for her heart was brimful of her little project and
the child, and the face, with its low forehead and resolute jaws, beamed
curiously young and eager. Her husband seated her, and stood leaning on
the mantel-shelf while she talked: he had all the courtesy of an
old-fashioned Frenchman towards women; and besides, M. Jacobus had a
keen eye for beauty in this the only woman he had ever loved.

"Go down, Jerome; the tide turns," she said. "Captain Lufflin is
watching it. Besides, I want this room to make ready for to-morrow."

M. Jacobus began, obedient as usual, to button his coat, muttering,
"To-morrow?" however, with a puzzled face.

"It is Christmas,"--with the repressed excitement now in her voice as in
her eyes. "I want that we shall keep the day this year; I have some
little plans"--

The skeptic's face altered; he lingered over the last button of the
coat.

"It is worth more to you than other days?"--dryly.

"We never observed it before. God has been so good to us, Jerome,--and
it is His day of the whole year,--the day," her voice sinking with an
inexpressible tenderness, "when Love came into the world as a little
child,--_as a little child._"

He looked at her wistfully for a moment, then took up his stick and an
hygrometer, saying, as he opened the door,--

"But hear to the cry of the sea! it grows more muffled and dull each
hour. If Death itself could speak, that is his voice, I think." He spoke
vaguely, with an anxious, absent look, then went groping down the dark
stairway. Presently she heard him come back hurriedly.

"Will it cost you much to give up this day, child?" he demanded, coming
close and putting his hand on her head. "I ask it of you. I must be with
you in your little plans, and"--

"Your mother kept it," interrupted she, sharply.

"I know,"--with dull, pained looks at the fire, at the night without,
everything but her face. "Her faith is not mine."

"No, Jerome," gently,--for she was tender with him always, when he
seemed weaker than herself. "But if it could be, my husband?"--her voice
growing unsteady. "Humor me this one time: I have looked forward to it
so long! Perhaps it was to remember my own childhood; perhaps I had some
little gifts to offer you. But let me keep it. If it be childish, let me
be a child."

Something in the broken voice reminded him of little Tom's. She put her
hands on his arms, too, and in the thin face turned up to his there was
a look left by all the years of patient love and work she had borne for
him; it struck him back somehow, as by a touch, to those first days when
they were lovers together in Canada. It was curious, that, in after
years, when M. Jacobus remembered his wife, it was always as she looked
at that last moment.

"Don't think me harsh, Sharley," he faltered.

She caught at her advantage. "We will keep it together,"--eagerly.

He thrust her hands from his arms, and went about the room with long,
unsteady strides.

"I cannot lie to God! I cannot lie!" he said.

His wife, seeing his face, when he turned, cried hurriedly,--

"It is a trifle; let it go, Jerome. I can give you my little gifts all
the same; it is a trifle."

Down below his credulous simplicity and the weight of borrowed ideas
with which books had loaded his brain, (borrowed infidelity with the
rest,) M. Jacobus was a sturdy, honest man, with a keen sense of honor:
it was no trifle to him. She saw that some rough touch of hers had
reached a secret depth of his soul never bared to her before.

"What is it, Jerome?"--coming up to catch him again with her trembling
hand. "It is to me a matter of so little import!"

He stopped.

"It is this to me. She did keep it,--my mother. It is my first
remembrance of our home,--when she was dead. We children made yet a
feast upon that day, that she might look back and see. Now that I am no
longer a child, and know that she can never look back, that what was my
mother is but a heap of bones and dust, I--I cannot keep the day."

She stood in his way.

"Dead is dead!" he cried, fiercely, "When I know that she and the child
I loved cannot speak or look at me more than this stone at my feet, I
cannot believe in the day on which you say He came to bring eternal
life."

"There is nothing more alive to me than my little Tom. I'm sorry you do
not feel it so, Jerome," said matter-of-fact Charlotte. "I was not what
you call a religious woman before he died; and when better thoughts come
to me now, I am sure he brings them from the good Lord."

"Do you remember," he said, suddenly, "a habit the boy had of sitting
on the sunny door-step, quite silent, by the hour?"

"I remember,"--turning her head away.

"It used to remind me of the days when I was a boy, on the shore of Lake
Erie. My father was a squatter there. There was nothing I did not dare
nor hope in those long dreams of what my life was to be. I would hunt,
wrestle, fight, as no man had done before. I would be the first leader
in the world,--a soldier, a priest,--God! what was there I would not be!
What came of it all?"--his voice rising into a weak, wiry cry. "There
was a tiny cancer, a little taint in my blood,--a trifle,--bah! a
nothing! My grandfather died a drunkard; my father ate opium.
I--Sharley, it's an old story to you."

She did not shame him by a look at him: her own face had the old pallor
and defiant clench of the jaws which Lufflin had seen. She drew his hand
under her arm, and kissed it passionately.

"It was no crime," she cried,--the old burden for many years.

A fine, sad smile crossed his face.

"Poor Sharley!" he said. "No,--no crime; for with the temptation was
given me a weak will. So they're gone now, hopes and chances in
life,--mind and body eaten away by that one animal thirst,--gone! Who
was to blame?"

"You told me," she said, eagerly, "that the stimulant in this air would
be all that you would require,--that it would effect a cure."

"Yes; but was it right that the fate of a man's soul should thus depend
on outward chances? Was I to blame for this hereditary plague in my
blood? Half of the lost millions who crowd the cities can plead against
the crime that dragged them down some inherited vice; theft,
drunkenness, butchery, were born with them, sucked in with their
mothers' milk. This world, that God called good, is but a gigantic mass
of corruption, foul with disease and pain, which man did not first
create, and never will conquer."

"Why do you talk of this to-night?" said Charlotte, shunning the storm,
as usual.

"Because I thank God, that, if He has made this failure, He will blot it
out. I liked to fancy once that my mother would waken out of her long
sleep into all her old loves and hates and fancies. I thank God now that
she knows nothing,--that for her, and for all of us, after death, lies
but an eternal blank."

In the pause, the dulled throb of the sea rose for an instant into a
fierce warning cry, and then was gloomily still.

"It is as if the dead yonder would drive us back from their rest and
silence,"--his speculative eye wandering dreamily out into the night.

But death and all that lay beyond were real to the practical woman
beside him; there was no speculation in her eyes; it was an actual life
he was dragging from before her; her child was in it; some day her own
feet in Mesh and blood would tread there. She put her hand on his
shoulder and leaned out beyond him, peering down over the shore, just as
if in the night and cold beyond lay in truth the land of the dead.

"I am not afraid of their rest and silence," she cried,--"I'm not
afraid, Jerome!"

The fair, clear-cut face came warm and living between him and the
darkness; her voice called into the vague distance cheerful and strong.

She turned back to him glowing with color.

"Our boy is there," she said; "and there are others dead that I loved. I
always knew they'd keep a watch for us, Jerome!"

He listened with a sad smile.

"And I've _no_ fear," she went on, energetically, "I never had any fear,
that He would give them back to us just misty, holy angels, who could
neither cry nor laugh with us, when our very hearts were sick to catch
their hands and kiss their lips again.--I know," after a pause, "my boy
will come first to me, with his old trick of hiding and calling for
'Mother, mother!'--he'll not forget I liked that name the best; and
he'll have the same laugh in his eyes, just the same,--he'd find no
better look in heaven than that was. I knew, when I closed his eyes that
night, it was but for a little while." Yet she stopped suddenly, putting
her hand to her throat to choke back a cry of pain, "A little while,"
she repeated, firmly.

Her husband listened, the smile growing more bitter: she had never
seemed more silly or more dear to him than then.

"I am not a child," she said, quickly. "It is not fancy. The dead are in
Christ's kingdom; and He is alive, not dead, yonder. It was a real man,
Jerome, that ascended from the mountain, loving his friend, censuring
Peter, taking care of his mother. Mary found no spirit there, when she
died, but the son whose baby-head rested on her breast; and I shall find
my boy."

He soothed her, for she had grown nervous and trembling; let her cling
to his neck and cry away her trouble, after the fashion of women who
have brought their hearts out to argue for them.

"Let us forget that far-away country," he said, after a while, "and go
to rest, Lotty. The moans of this storm will wear your strength
out,"--leading her to the foot of the chamber-stairway.

She went up, pausing at the top to look back, a smile on her flushed
cheeks and swollen eyes.

"It will be a quiet morning," she said, waving a good-night.

There was some meaning in her words which he could not penetrate, but it
touched and startled him.

"A quiet morning?"

The words haunted the simple old man, sitting alone to watch the night
wear away. He had never been more utterly alone. The new home was
strange; the very wood-fire had burned out on the hearth; unfamiliar,
cold lines met his eye, wherever he turned; the heavy mist crept in from
the sea through every cranny, like vapors from a charnel-house. He had a
dull, superstitious dread of what lay beyond that sullen beach of
mist,--the undefined. There, whence these low rumblings, and sharp,
inarticulate cries reached him: he stood up, looking into it, shivering.
A bat swooped past the open window, and struck its clammy wing against
his face; the moon had gone down, and the mist that saturated his
clothes, so present and close at hand was it, stretched up and possessed
the very sky as well as the shore,--yellowed thickened the air he
breathed, hid the line where the breakers struck the coast, driven in
with a subdued, persistent fury he had never known before. The
shore-mist had its bounds: it did not touch that clear darkness beyond,
into which Jacobus looked, drawing down his grizzled brows, trying to
jeer his cowardice away.

"By daylight," he said, "it is but a bulk of water, full enough of
danger and death; but now it might be hell itself yonder, that has 'made
the clouds its band.'"

He was not sure how long a portion of the night crept by. Sometime in
it, however, he saw flashes of light moving through the fog among the
rocks: Lufflin and the fishermen keeping watch,--"uneasy ghosts that
could not pass over into Hades," he laughed, with the same miserable
attempt at a joke; but the laugh died away feebly in the empty room, and
it was with a grave face the Professor made his way down the dark
staircase, and, finding the Captain's dread-nought coat, put it on
before he ventured out into the storm. "To please Lotty," he muttered.
His heart was strangely tender to-night to the only friend he had known
for years.

There was a dead quiet in the fog as he came out and waited on the
flagging before the house. Lufflin and George Cathcart came by,
presently, carrying lanterns and ropes, their faces looking ghastly in
the greenish light; their voices, too, were thin and far off as in a
dream, though the Captain tried to be hearty and gruff as usual.

"Best within, Mounchere Jacobus; it's an uncertain night; best within."

"You apprehend the rain?"

"No; it's a dry storm; unpleasant on this coast. Go in; there's no
telling what frenzy may seize the wind, and Charlotte is alone."

But M. Jacobus did not go in. He had observed a curious motion on the
part of both men, as they talked: bending their ears at intervals to
listen intently, and keeping a keen scrutiny fixed on the small patch of
ground at their feet, made visible by their lanterns. He saw, too, that
Cathcart stooped, as he turned from them, and, picking up a crisp,
yellow flake, showed it to his companion; and he fancied, too, that the
grim face of the old Captain lost its color when he saw it. He would not
go in: he had a right to see what danger threatened her,--to watch for
it,--to know what were these messengers of coming death sent in from the
silence yonder. And at that fancy, the old wonder and dread of the far
darkness seized him, and he went slowly on through the mist, forgetting
alike danger and warning.

With a mocking smile on his face, as he pursued his fantastic theory.
What if the dead were not dead? What if, unforgetting and cruel, they
could stretch out shadowy hands from that mysterious distance which they
peopled, and summon the living to join them? What if Death itself served
them to-night, and crept upon Charlotte and him unawares in some horror
of this coming storm? Jacobus, like all skeptics, was superstitious; but
he had courage and zest enough to fight down the terror that seized him,
to pamper and play with it. He threw his lank length upon the wet beach,
and clasped his hands under his head; where he disturbed the sand,
gleamed sudden flashes of phosphoric light; he brought them out of the
darkness with his finger: "Fit writing for the dead gone over to leave
upon the shore for those who should follow!" he thought.

Lying on his back, and staring straight up into the fog-covered sky, the
thunder of the sea, that before had filled the whole night, seemed to
his startled senses to drive its direct tide beneath him,--to
articulate, at last, with a new and unexpected meaning. He shut his
eyes; the terror had taken shape; he lay drenched and shivering, his
brain on fire with fancies. What was vision to Dante was real to him. He
lay upon the edge of the fathomless gulf, warm and living, with the cry
from Hades made audible to him; as it ebbed and flowed, it wailed like
the wind through leafless forests; it shook the earth to its centre,
then died into the solitary cry of one in nameless pain. Some broad,
dark figure stood afterwards beside him in the fog, and a voice repeated
the old word of the prophet,--

"Hell from beneath is moved to meet thee at thy coming; it stirreth up
the dead for thee"--

"There is no hell," he cried, getting up and staggering forward,--then
smiled at his own folly.

It might have been Lufflin who had spoken, after all; he was well read
in the Bible. But he could see no sign of their torches, in the stretch
of damp, darkening fog; he was left alone to keep guard.

Jacobus tried to shake off his sickly fancies, and measure coolly
whatever danger waited in this strange night; but it rose before him in
a form so ghastly and new that his strength was but as a woman's. He was
but a landsman,--dull and ignorant besides, outside his library. What
was he to do, when the very ground trembled beneath his feet,--when the
sky was blotted out,--when, there was lack of a single known stationary
object to guide eye or ear? This side of that gray horizon of darkness
which absorbed all his fears, the northern lights streamed up, a pale
orange glare, and showed him a heavy, impenetrable bulwark of shadow,
that rose closer and closer with each throb of the breakers, walling out
the sea. His feet sank curiously in the yielding sand, as if he stood at
the verge of a maelstrom. Some rough hand griping his shoulder roused
him from his daze.

"Cathcart!" he said; then pointing out, "what lies yonder, George? It
might be Death's world, I think!"

The fisherman's arm shook, he fancied; but he answered steadily, in his
usual piping, weak tones,--

"It don't matter whether it's God's world or the Devil's world, as I
see, so long as it kin send ashore a grip on us like that,"--glancing
down at his feet, where Jacobus saw the yellow, flaky foam curling up
from under the sand. He stooped leisurely to examine it.

"What does this portend?" he asked.

"God! it be the tide, man," shrieked out Cathcart, with an oath. "Can't
you see that it's broken over the topmost boundaries? You be standing
now above the level of your own house."

One swift, sharp glance was enough to waken him into real life out of
his vague dreams. The man, nervous and fierce, that had been smothered
in the unable bookworm so long, sprang up to cope with the sudden death
that faced him.

"You be too late!" he heard Cathcart's shrill cry, as he fought his way
through the surging surf; and at the same moment there was a heavy
crash,--where, he could not see.

The fog blinded him; the sand, driven by the resistless wind, cut his
skin, penetrated his eyes and nostrils; while higher and higher, as he
waded on, the muddy water crept up his body, slimy and cold, and
tangling his feet in its undertow of kelp. There was a weight on his
chest which strangled him when he tried to cry aloud.--No matter; the
next headland passed and the house would be gained.

       *       *       *       *       *

She was there, standing on a heap of fallen stone, her white night-dress
torn and muddied by the rocks and branches which the water swept by her.
Jacobus wondered if that were the house whose ruins curdled the dull
sweep of water beneath her; then the thought of his wife blotted out all
besides. Around her was a creeping, seething stream, widening each
moment; he did not see how deep it was, nor that the unsteady pile of
stones on which she had climbed was crumbling into it. He threw off
Lufflin's coat and his shoes, calling out almost joyously to her, so
fierce was the new strength in his muscles, and the passion in his
heart.

_"Sois tranquille!_" he shouted. "Lotty! It is I who comes! I go to
swim!"

She never heard the words, it is probable, for only a faint cry reached
him, of which he distinguished nothing; but he saw her hand waving him
back, and laughed.

"Poor child! she thinks to die, and stupid old Jerome so near! Foolish
Sharley!"

But the water weighed him down already, as he struggled ignorantly in
it, his gaunt limbs floundering, the tender smile yet on his bony face;
it cramped his arms, closed over his head: with a groping wrench he
recovered his footing, and breast-high in the rising tide looked at her.

"It is I who comes, Sharley!" he shouted, fiercely. "Wife! wife!" The
old English word meant so much to him at that moment!

Whether hours or minutes passed in that struggle he never knew; but at
its close he lay washed, like a poor wisp of weed, upon the shore. The
stream between them, which he never should pass, deepened, deepened: it
licked her feet now, her knees. She stretched out her hands to
him,--whether for help, or to say good-bye, he never knew.

He made no sign in reply. Her face was turned to him, not heeding the
death at her feet,--the thin face set in its iron-gray hair, with the
beauty of all those years of love upon it, the same wistful smile on it
with which it looked at him across the fire on winter evenings;--and he
was to sit there, unmanned, impotent, helpless, to watch the slow death
creep up to her lips, her eyes?

He lifted one hand feebly to his chest, with a dull hope of crushing out
the faint life beating uselessly there; then, with a desperate clutch on
the sand, struggled towards the water.

"I go to swim! Sharley! Sharley!" he cried, and that was all.

The morning dawned, bleak and blue; the thin light came into the cracks
of a wrecker's hut, colder than even on the sea. Jacobus had made a heap
of ropes and driftwood on which to lay his dead. He sat holding her head
on his breast, having twisted up her wet hair in a vain effort to adjust
it as she liked it best. There was no wild vagueness in his eyes, such
as dimmed them sometimes over his books; it was a grave, simple,
reasonable face that bent over this cold and unanswering one. It seemed
as if this one great blow, which God had given, had struck out from his
life all its vain vagaries and dreams.

Lufflin and one or two fishermen stood by, looking on; and outside he
heard women's voices, in shrill whispers, and a sob now and then.

"I want to carry her in the shore farther," he said, looking up
impatiently. "I will not have her vexed by these sounds of trouble."

"Yes, yes," said Lufflin, soothingly. "But you forget, dear Sir, she's
beyond all reach of pain now. Sorrow and tears cannot come near her
again."

"I don't know," said Jacobus,--"she has a quick ear for any cry of
trouble,"--holding the thin, blue-veined hand in his, and looking at it
with a face which made old Lufflin turn away.

"She be at rest now, yer woman," piped George Cathcart, in true
class-meeting twang. "Not all yer cries, nor the cries of the sea,
neyther, 'u'd wake her. Glory be to God!"

Jacobus looked from one to the other, his sickly frame in a heat of
inarticulate rage. That these boors, that death itself, should come
between him and his wife and say she could not hear his lightest word!

"Why, it's Lotty!"--in a whisper, hugging the stiff body closer, looking
up to Lufflin. "Dead or alive, it's my wife. It's Lotty. Do not you
understand?"

"Yes, Mounchere, yes, I understand,"--sopping his face and bald head
with his handkerchief. "My good men, had you not better go out a moment?
We need air here. He only meant," gently, when they were gone, "that she
is at rest; our pain cannot pain her now."

"When I do suffer, she will suffer with me," muttered Jacobus. "You
don't know," after a pause, "how together we have been, or that you
could not say. Is it that I should go back to that den in New York
_alone_? That I live there for days,--for years? That I hunger and work
as before, and _she_ not heed nor care,--my wife? Ah! you do not know
Lotty!" touching the closed white lids with an inexpressibly tender
smile. "I call her 'Sharley,' when we are alone together,"--going on in
his simple, monotonous fashion; "and when she sleeps the heaviest, she
have never forgot to hear that name. _She never will_,"--looking up
quietly.

"But your wife is dead now," said Lufflin, almost impatiently; "and you
yourself thank God that she will never waken to her old loves and hates
and fancies."

"I?" gasped Jacobus.

There was a long silence; as his old creed came back to him, the blood
rushed thick and cold about his heart.

"God's world, and all His creatures," persisted Lufflin, "are foul with
sin. You blessed Him that for them and it death was an eternal sleep."

"I did not remember her love for me," pleaded Jacobus, humbly. "_It_
could not sleep. Why! you man, Lufflin," starting to his feet, and
drawing up his full height, "if that could be, would I stand to look at
her here? Could I live, if she were truly gone?--she, that has been
strength and hope and hands for me these many years? I'm not a strong
man, like--like you, Captain," with a sudden weak giving way. "God gave
me Sharley. Death cannot take her away."

Lufflin took up her hand.

"So soft it used to be!" he said. "It's been hard-worked since then. It
would be well for Lotty, if death were a long sleep: she needs it."

Jacobus made no reply. He sat down and held his dead in his arms; she
was his own; so were those years of hard work which had worn her hands
rough, and left these sharp lines in her face. He only knew what they
had been: in the long silence that followed, while the daylight
broadened bluer and colder about him, he lived them over again; and he
knew then, by every day of griping poverty, which it wrung the clammy
drops out of his face to remember,--by all her patient tenderness,--by
the happiness they had hoped for, but which never came,--by the true
love they had borne to each other, and to little Tom, which knew so
little comfort, he knew that the recompense would come, that the end was
not yet She had shaken off the hunger and the pain, and had gone into
the world where only the love endured and found its comfort and its late
reward. There was such a world--somewhere. He put back the grayed hair
from the forehead; little Tom had such a brow,--broad, quiet,
melancholy.

"'I will go to them,'" he said, "'but they will not return to me!'"

       *       *       *       *       *

Was it he that had been dead, and waked again? A strong hand lifting his
head; a warm face and breath at his cheek; a voice calling him as sweet
and cheerful as when first he heard it on the banks of the--little creek
in Canada? Then out of the reeling and groping of shadows and real
objects came a square bay-window opening on a sea-horizon of drifting
olive-gray clouds, the crackle and glow of a great wood-fire, a cheerful
breakfast-room, and some busy chatter about a night spent sleeping in
drenched clothes and night-fogs.

Lufflin's round, red face was the first real grip his senses took of it
all. The Captain was in his holiday suit of blue and brass, and pulled
down his jacket with a complacent twinkle in his eyes.

"Faith, ye'll suffer a sea-change in short order, Mounchere, if you
spend a few more nights dreaming by that window! Your very eyes look
rheumy and glazed already."

Jacobus got up, stunned and dull beyond his wont,--his eyes fixed, not
on the joking Captain, but on the anxious, wondering face upturned to
his. He touched the cheek, a little worn and haggard, may-be, but with
good, healthy blood reddening it,--felt the nervous hands,--then stooped
and solemnly kissed her lips.

They trembled a little; then she laughed.

"Did the sea send you dreams of me?"--trying to jest, but with some of
last night's trouble in her eyes.

"Not the sea,"--putting his hand to his head; "I think God sent them,
Lotty."

Lufflin, whose instincts were quick as a woman's, glanced at the two,
and then said something about its not being long enough after dawn to
begin the day, and that he would turn into his bunk for an hour or two,
and made his way down stairs. He turned into the kitchen instead, to
give Ann and the breakfast a warning look, and, for aught we know, put
his own shoulder to the wheel, so far as broiling the chops was
concerned. He had been up half the night, helping "the child get ready
her holiday," steadying shelves, hanging pictures, dusting books in the
library, and now meant to stand aside until the great joy of the day was
over: "only they two could share it together."

Yet he stepped to the kitchen-door and listened keenly, when, after a
long silence, he heard the door above open, and Charlotte lead her
husband into the library.

"Mounchere knows what his wife's done for him at last," he
muttered;--"and there goes in the baby," as a faint cry and a rush of
skirts followed,--with an amused laugh, and his eyes dim.

But when he heard Lotty coming presently for him, he hurried in, to
stretch himself on his bunk, and began to snore.

"It's kind in them to think of an old fellow like me; but they're best
alone. They have had a rough pull of it together, and I think this is
their first glimpse of land."

He could not wait long, however, but soon went bustling up, with the
eager glow of all his childish Christmases in his simple old face and
mind. They made ready for the day inland, he supposed; but they could
do nothing like this,--glancing in, as he trotted up stairs, at the big
fires he had built, and the bits of holly stuck around, and then out at
the sweep of barren lee-coast and the desolate sea.

"And Lotty's surprise of the house, and that blessed baby! She's a
devilish clever woman to contrive such a day for Mounchere, that's a
fact!"

The library, when he reached it, seemed the very heart and core of all
Christmas brightness. The very cold, and the hungry solitude of the
restless sea on which the window opened widely, deepened the warmth
within. The room slept in a still comfort: no fire was ever so clear, no
air so calm, no baby so content to be alive as this which lay on its
mother's breast while she walked to and fro. Her face was paler and
humbler than he had ever seen it; her husband followed her unceasingly
with his eyes,--a strange sense of almost loss in them Lufflin fancied,
idly.

Jacobus was very silent and still; he did not seem so nervous with
happiness as the Captain had fancied this opening of a new life would
make him; but there was about him a rested and hushed look,--a depth of
content which he did not believe any gain of the house or child could
give. Lufflin was awed, he knew not why.

"It is as if they had found something which Death itself could not take
away," he thought, after a space of wonder, as if they had talked to God
Himself to-day.

The Professor wished him a happy Christmas, in his simple, hearty
fashion, and then the two men sat talking of how they kept the day long
ago: Lufflin telling of frolics on ship-board, but M. Jacobus going back
constantly to the time when he was a boy with his mother.

"I have neglected it for long," he said. "I shall never again. I think
she will like us to keep it. She and--our boy."

He laid his hand on the baby's head, but his eyes wandered dreamily away
out beyond the sea.

The day was fuller of cheerfulness and pleasure than even the lonely old
sailor had hoped; the two people in whom he was beginning to confine his
whole interest were happy in a way he could not fathom; he could not
understand why Jacobus should look and listen to his wife so hungrily.

"It was the child that the day gave to him, not 'Sharley,' as he calls
her," thought Lufflin.

So he took the baby in his arms, feeling as if it were in some sort
neglected.

"I like to think," he said, after looking in its face awhile, and
speaking with an effort, as he always did, about "religion,"--"I like to
think of Christ as a helpless baby; that's the reason I like Christmas
for."

"To think," said Charlotte, softly, "that to-day Eternal Love came into
the world!--and Life!" glancing at her husband.

But Jacobus did not speak; he had his face covered with his hand, and
when he looked up was paler than before. Lufflin fancied there was a
change in the simple-hearted old bookworm's manner all day, a quiet
composure, the dignity of a man who knew his place both with God and his
brother man.

He went down again presently, leaving them alone for a little while. M.
Jacobus was standing by the window, watching the awful stillness with
which a new day lifts itself over the sea; he had the child in his arms,
and beckoned Lotty to his side. She came and leaned her head on his
shoulder.

"You will never leave me now, Sharley,--_never_," he said, his face
kindling with a new, strange triumph.

The waves lapped the shore in gentle rifts of spray; the beach itself
shone in the rising light like fretted silver. Beyond the foamy
earth-colored breakers lay the illimitable sea, a dark violet glow,
fading into the dim horizon whence came the dawn. The man's eye was
fixed on the far line which his sight could never pass; his wife's quick
glance followed his. It was from that dread Beyond, she knew, that he
had fancied last night the dead beckoned to him.

She touched him again.

"It is a quiet morning yonder," she said, calmly.

"Yes, Lotty."

"God sent your dream. I hardly hoped, Jerome," her eyes filling with
tears, "that we should keep Christmas together,--you, the baby, and I."

He smiled and pressed her hand, touched the little cheek, and then
looked wistfully out again.

He held the baby God had given to comfort his old age proudly and
tenderly; but his heart would turn to the other child's face that was
watching for him yonder behind the dawn, and listen for the weak little
voice which he knew on that Christmas morning was somewhere
calling,--"Father! father!"



LUCY'S LETTERS.


On a cold January night I returned home after a holiday visit to town.
Snow was just beginning to fall, and a desolate sort of feeling came
over me as the omnibus drove up to my residence. A bright, cheerful
light shone out of the library-windows, and Ernestina, a maid who had
lived with me half a score of years before her marriage, was at the gate
to receive me.

"It is owing to her kind, capable hands that the house looks so
comfortable," I said to myself, with a little sigh; "but what am I to do
when, she returns to her own home?"

Then, with a true spinster selfishness, I wished her good husband and
beautiful boy "better off" in Abraham's bosom, and wondered what could
make women so foolish as to get married. The cause of all this
discomfort was the consciousness of having a new serving-maid. My last
experience in that necessary domestic article had not been an agreeable
one. The woman, though not "as old as Sibyl," was

            "as curst and shrewd
    As Socrates' Xantippe, or a worse."

She was a dusky Melpomene, who openly insulted the furniture, assaulted
violently the china, and waged universal war against all inanimate
objects. Being a trifle deaf, she used this defect as an excuse for not
hearing any request or command; when spoken to, she glared grimly,
turned her back, and strode off with a tragic _loup_, reminding one of a
Forest in petticoats. I never knew I was an amiable woman, until her
advent into my peaceable establishment.

"Now I return to a new experience, may-be no better than the former," I
thought.

Upon entering the house, I saw through the open kitchen-door--out of
which streamed a savory smell of broiled chicken, buns, and tea--an
encouraging picture for a housekeeper: there was a bright fire, and a
tidy room, with a nice-looking colored girl who wore a headkerchief and
a check apron over her chintz gown. She rose up from her seat, and gave
me a slight curtsy, which civility I acknowledged half shyly, half
coldly.

"This is Lucy," said Ernestina, "the new maid I have engaged for you,
Ma'am." Then, addressing the girl, she added,--"Lucy, you may dish up
supper now."

"I wonder how I shall like her," was my remark to Ernestina, as we went
into the library. "Do you think she will bully me much?"

Ernestina laughed.

"No, indeed, Ma'am! She is gentle and civil. I think she will suit you.
I have found her both capable and agreeable while we have been putting
the house in order."

"Oh I can dispense with capability,--a little of it, at least,--if she
will only not frighten me out of my wits with a vixen temper!"

"No fear of that, I assure you," said Ernestina, encouragingly.

Nor was there any cause for fear. During the five months the girl lived
with me, I found her uniformly civil and amiable. I do not intend
inflicting on my readers any more of my personal experience with Lucy;
it is her own little history I wish to relate.

A few days after my return home, I noticed, that, when Lucy was left to
herself, she seemed sad. I often observed her suppressing tears; and
every little while she gave a heavy, long sigh, as if apprehensive of
some trouble.

I am as unwilling to meddle with the affairs of inferiors as with those
of equals; so I contented myself with speaking very gently, granting
little unexpected indulgences, and smiling cheerfully at her. I knew she
was married to a man who was many years her senior, and it was said they
were much attached to each other. This husband had gone into the army,
and Ernestina told me that Lucy and he were looking anxiously forward to
the period of his return,--more than two years off,--when they hoped to
take his bounty-money and savings, and buy therewith a little house and
small "garden-patch" for a settled home.

One day I asked her if she could read or write.

"Neither," was the reply.

"How then, do you write to your husband?"

This question brought out the whole story of her anxiety. Hitherto her
friends had written in her name, but her husband had received only three
of the many letters she had sent him during the six months he had been
gone. In his last letter he had complained bitterly of her silence.

"Oh, if he could only hear straight from me!" she exclaimed. "For he
thinks, Ma'am, I don't write because I gets no money. 'T isn't the money
I care for. I'd sooner never have a cent from him than have him keep
a-thinkin' I don't send no letters."

When she said this, big round tears fell down like pebbles on her cheeks
and hands and apron. Of course I offered to write for her, saying that I
would do so once a week, if she wished. She then gave me his last letter
to read, which I will copy without correction; for he wrote it himself,
being "a scholar," as she said, with some little pride.

And she endowed him with another possession, or gift, which seemed to
give her almost as much satisfaction as his scholarly attainments.

"He kin see _sperits_, Ma'am, as plain as me and you sees folks; and so
kin his little boy, his fust wife's child. Once when I was a-walkin' in
the road with 'em, one moonlighty night, when we was a-goin' home to
Spring-Town, them two stepped quick-like away from the path.

"'Lucy,' says my husband, says he, a'most in a whisper, 'quick! step
furder over on t' other side.'

"After we got along a piece, them both told me there wor a band of
_sperits_ a-comin' along; and if we gets out of the way of 'em, them
don't do us no hurt, you know."

I did not like to suggest to the credulous wife that probably her sharp
husband had been seeing at the tavern, before starting on the homeward
walk with her,

    "Black spirits and white,
    Blue spirits and gray."

I fancy the cunning fellow, with a true masculine, marital love of
power, had wished to inspire this young wife of his with a becoming awe
and reverence for her him. But we will return to his letter.

     "Januwerry the/18teen, 1864, Mooreses Island

     "MY DEARE WIEF

     "i take this opertunity to informe you that i am not well at
     preasante. and i hope you are injoyin' goode helthe providin
     that they ever doe finde you and of you are enny whares that
     you can be found

     "Enny whares in the State of N Jarsey.

     "And i hev been in the servise 6 monthes. And i hev writen
     sume 15teen or 16teen leturs and hev not reseved but 3
     leturs from you yet sences i have been in the servise

     "And i wante you to write to me in answer to this letur and
     let me know what you meane to doe and ef you donte intend
     writin why jess say so.

     "i suppose because you didente get no munny you wonte write
     but ef that has insulted you i will stope to. i hope that
     you may understand this.

     "And i know what i say. you hev never writen to me. you
     havente let me known whether you got that munny I sent you
     by Edwurd Towns or no. you heve never sent me enny word
     whether you got the munny or no. it is pay day nowe but they
     donte wante to pay us but 7 dollurs pur munthe and thats
     what i didente inlist fore. and i wonte take it. i shall
     wait til congres ses what we are to hev. thats the reason i
     havente got no munny to send you.

     "i donte intend to stope a writin until i give you a fare
     chance and then ef i donte get enny more leturs than i hev i
     shall stope writin before long for ef you are mad i am
     tired. i shall write so as to heare from my childrun i know
     that you think i might send you some munny but ef we donte
     get it we cante send it. i hope that you may doe well and
     that I may see you againe.

     "my deare bruther Samul Stores will you please giv this to
     my deare wief and reade it to hur and write to me ef you
     please. give my luv to everry boddy. and ef you see my
     muther please to giv luv to hur and tell hur that i am not
     well at preasante. i am verry weake at preasante. and i
     donte kepe well long at a time. and i donte know how i shall
     apeare in your preasance. giv my luv to everry boddy. and
     tell them to pray fore mee.

     "i wante to know how my childrun is. what is anny doin. aske
     anny ef she cante sende mee a letur and has the absentes of
     hur farthur hurt hur. but i shall remember hur to God. it
     donte rendur meeany satisfaction to see othurs get leturs
     and i cante gete none myself sum of our boys has gote as hye
     as 20ty leturs and sum more and i donte get none, remember
     me your

                                  "afect tunate husband

                                      "JAMES WILLIAMS.

     "james harris is agoin to send a letur to the church at
     spring town in the care of mister saffron to be rede in the
     congration. no more at preasante fur i am verry weake

                                  "your luvin husband

                                      "J. WILLIAMS."


After I finished reading this poor fellow's letter, I felt like laughing
and crying. The ignorance it displays is droll enough; but the keen
yearning for home, the longing after domestic affection and remembrance,
the dread of being forgotten, are all very touching.

We replied to it immediately, and after that seldom allowed a week to
pass without writing. On Saturday afternoons Lucy would come into the
library with a little piece of sewing in her hands, and, sitting on a
stool by the dogs' baskets, repeat her proposed letter faster than I
could write it.

She related all the news of the two colored villages situated on either
side of this town; the meetings they were holding,--the jubilees and
quarterlies,--which last seemed to come every Sunday; the payment of the
church debts; the births of children; the deaths of old people; the
marriages and engagements of young ones; and even the hatching of
chickens and killing of pigs. The letters were a droll medley; and when
I could not help smiling sometimes at the odd bits of information given,
she would say, with innocent earnestness,--

"I know he'll like to hear all this, Ma'am. It'll make him and the other
boys from Spring Town and Gould Town feel like bein' among us again."

She dictated very rapidly; and her expressions were right pretty, being
so natural and affectionate. Once I remarked to her that she did it so
nicely that it sounded sometimes as if read from a book.

"Oh, it's because I keep _a-studyin_' about what to say to him," she
replied, "I talks it all over to myself when I'm alone. That's what
makes me so forgetful, and gives me this everlastin' _misery_ in my
head. I'm forever and ever _a-studyin_' so much about him."

These weekly letters seemed to make Lucy feel as if she were having a
stated talk with her absent husband. She gradually grew more cheerful
under their influence. While at her work, she would burst out into
perfect gusts of wild chanting: scraps of Methodist hymns suited her
best. There was one verse she would peal out to a shrill, weird minor
melody that was anything but cheerful or gay in its effect; and yet she
repeated it over and over, morning, noon, and night, with unparalleled
constancy:--

    "I know there's room in heaven for me,
      So I'm a-goin', I'm a-goin';
    And don't you hope there's room for you?
      Let's both be goin', let's both be goin';
    I should n't wonder if room's for them,
      So we'll all be goin' we'll all be goin',
          Some day soon."

About two months after she came to live with me, there was a battle
somewhere South, in which several colored men from our two villages were
killed and wounded. By some mistake, William's name was included in the
list; and the publication of it set his poor wife nearly beside herself
with grief. The following day, however, some of his old companions
received a letter from him, written after the date of the battle, in
which he spoke of the others being killed, adding,--

"Tell Lucy, my deare wief im not dede yet. i havente seene a fite sence
i hev bene in the servise but i hope i shall soon. My dere bruther Samul
Stores can you finde oute why Lucy my wief donte write to me."

We immediately sent off a letter to him by mail; and I advised Lucy to
inclose one with that of the friend who had just heard from him, and who
intended writing the next day. She never tired of dictating to me; and
after this last report from him, we prepared letters and dispatched them
with redoubled energy.

One morning she came into the library, and asked me if I could spare
time to write a letter.

"I'm so full, Ma'am, of all I want to say, it kind o' bewilders me at my
work. I think I shall be more quieter, if I have it written off to him."

This letter was a remarkably pretty and touching one, and had in it the
burden of all:--

"If I could only get a letter from you, and you could get one from me, I
should not fret so much. I have not had one since January, and have only
had four since you left. For three months me and my lady have written to
you nigh about every week. All the other women go to the office, and
take out two, three, and four letters at a time, some with money in; but
if I could only get one from you, I should be happier than they are with
all their money. I don't want no money. I can make enough to take care
of me and 'Nervy" (their little daughter, glorying in the name of
Minerva). "But, my dear husband, do, do write to me."

This letter was sent off about midday; then Lucy went singing about her
work, as if she had just seen her husband. Her favorite assurance of
there being room in heaven for her and all her friends rang out so
shrill and clear that my little Skye terrier grew testy and nervous at
the reiteration. At last, when its slumber was broken for the dozenth
time, it could bear it no longer, and, leaping out to the basket,
crouched on the ground, and, raising its tiny black muzzle in the air,
gave one prolonged howl, as if protesting against the information.

I could not blame the dog, for the chant was not pleasant to my ears. It
made me feel very melancholy; but I had not the hard heart to check the
girl, she seemed to take so much comfort in the hymn. My daily papers
came in; I read them; and the news of the Fort Pillow tragedy, which
reached us that day, draped around with the crimson and black of a first
report, deepened my sadness.

After luncheon I went out with the dogs for a walk, and spent two or
three hours roaming through the woods, groping among the fallen leaves
and mosses for the spicy-smelling, pinkish sprays of the
trailing-arbutus, or Pilgrims' Mayflower listening to the song of the
robins, and the fretful, querulous note of

                                  "April's bird
    Blue-coated, flying before from tree to tree,"

and lulling my heart-pain in the fine, rushing sound made by the
pond-waters falling through the open gates of the dam.

I took a seat in a boat which was lying at anchor near the pebbled shore
of the pond, and looked up into the branches of a glowing swamp-maple,
whose starry blossoms were all aflame in the afternoon sunlight. A
congress of robins had assembled on the tree, and were in high
discussion,--probably on the rights of the blackbirds to the occupancy
of certain upper chambers of the air; presently they spread their little
wings, and as they floated off over my head, their flashing red-breasts
looked like winged scarlet tulip-petals.

"God's world is very beautiful!" I murmured, "but human sorrows weigh
the heart down."

I sat in the boat on the pond-strand without heeding the lapse of time,
just _mooning_, in that vague, listless way we women have, over

    "Troubles too great to be my own,"--

the sore griefs and trials of a mighty nation.

The washing of the beautiful pond-waters on the shore gradually soothed
me: had they been ocean breakers, their solemn rhythm would have
increased my melancholy; but these inland streams have a cheerful,
every-day note. I watched the sparkling, leaping light on the surface of
the pond, and the long shimmers of rosy gleams that played over the
dancing waters, until my heart grew as bright as millions of
water-diamonds. The joyful little ripple against the pebbled bank helped
me amazingly, and so my heart slipping off insensibly form the weary,
useless fretting, I found myself at sunset feeling as free from care as
a child, and my homeward step was as springy as the gambols of my young
dogs.

I walked out into the high-road; slightly undulating country had lost
its monotonous expression under the influence of the ruddy twilight; the
distant fields and woods were bathed in a soft violet atmosphere, and a
fire-glow lay spread over the young wheat.

To the left, the smoke of the factory rolled against the purple and gold
of the sky; the dense black brought out finely the beautiful unfolding
forms of the white vapor, as the soft evening wind swept in among it;
these snowy shapes, as they mounted high and floated off, looked like
ascending spirits of the blest in a Judgment scene; at last they were
all blended with the ashen gray of the descending night.

As I struck my front-door-bell, I heard Lucy still screaming out her
assurance of a heavenly home; but the chanting had lost its irritating
sound, and I listened to it, if not with pleasure, at least with
patience: even the Skye, Ton-Ton was so improved in temper by the walk
as to coil up its little silky gray body in the basket with perfect
indifference to the domestic music. While I was dining, the watchful
ears of my dogs detected the steps of strangers on the terrace-steps of
the entrance, which news they announced in shrill barks.

"Some Spring-Town visitors to Lucy," I thought, as I heard the steps
pass under the side window, which supposition was confirmed by the
ceasing of the hopeful hymn.

There was a profound silence for a little while in the back part of the
house; and the dogs resumed their slumbers, dreaming pleasantly of their
nice walk and good meal. I pushed the little dinner-table away, lighted
the spirit-lamp under the tea, which was on a small tray on the
library-table, and leaned back in the easy-chair to read a comforting
page or two in De Quincey's Cæsars. I would not disturb Lucy and her
guests for a little while at least, I thought. I had just reached,--

"Peace, then, rhetoricians! false threnodists of false liberty! hollow
chanters over the ashes of a hollow republic! Without Cæsar we affirm a
thousand times that there would have been no perfect Rome; and but for
Rome there could have been no such man as Cæsar"--

--when I heard Lucy crossing the anteroom. The library-door opened, and
in the poor girl tottered, sobbing bitterly as if her heart would surely
burst. She crouched down on the floor, and moaned so like a poor wounded
animal, that the dogs, who are very fond of her, ran up and commenced
whining and licking her. To my repeated inquiries as to the cause of her
weeping, she could only sob out,--

"Oh! I can't tell, Ma'am, I can't tell you!"

At last she summoned enough courage to say,--

"He's dead now real! No mistake this time,--real, real dead! He died in
the 'ospital three weeks ago,--and never, never got none of them 'ere
letters!"

Yes, the poor fellow was, as his wife said, "dead real"; and I found, on
inquiry, that, at the very time the false rumor of his death reached us,
he was then actually dying of a fever at a hospital in Florida!

She was right, too, about the ill-luck of the letters. He had not
received one of them! Not knowing of his change of place, we had
addressed the letters to the regiment station, where I suppose they
went, while he was far off in a distant hospital, tossing on a sick-bed;
and when he died, he had added to his physical sufferings the anguish of
thinking himself forgotten by the wife and friends he loved so tenderly.

This narrative is a simple report of one of the thousands of sad
romances which were daily and hourly happening to American women during
the late civil struggle.

    "Too common! Never morning wore
    To evening but some heart did break."



DOCTOR JOHNS.


XLIII.

The foreign letters rarely came singly; and Adèle had already
accomplished the reading of her own missive, in which Maverick had
spoken of his having taken occasion to address, by the same mail, a line
to the Doctor on matters of business, "in regard to which," (he had
said,) "don't, my dear Adèle, be too inquisitive, even if you observe
that it is cause of some perplexity to the good Doctor. Indeed, in such
case, I hope you will contribute to his cheer, as I am sure you have
often done. We owe him a large debt of gratitude, my child, and I rely
upon you to add your thankfulness to mine, and speak for both."

"You look troubled, New Papa," said Adèle. "Can I help you? Eh, Doctor?"

And she came toward him in her playful manner, and patted the old
gentleman on the shoulder, while he sat with his face buried in his
hands.

"I don't think papa writes very cheerfully, do you?
Eh,--Doctor--Benjamin--Johns?" (tapping him with more spirit.)--"Why,
New Papa, what does this mean?"

For the Doctor had raised his head now, and regarded her with a look of
mingled yearning and distrust that was wholly new to her.

"Pray, New Papa, what is it?"

The old gentlemen--so utterly guileless--was puzzled for an answer; but
his ingenuity came to his relief at length.

"No, Adaly, your father does not write cheerfully,--certainly not; he
speaks of the probable loss of his fortune."

Now Adèle, with her parsonage training, had really very little idea of
fortune.

"That means I won't be rich, New Papa, I suppose. But I don't believe
it; he will have money enough, I'm sure. It don't disturb me, New
Papa,--not one whit."

The Doctor was so poor a hand at duplicity that he hardly knew what to
say, but meantime was keeping his eye with the same dazed look upon the
charming Adèle.

"You look so oddly, New Papa,--indeed you do! You have some sermon in
your head, now haven't you, that I have broken in upon?--some sermon
about--about--let us see."

And she moved toward his desk, where the letter of Maverick still lay
unfolded.

The Doctor, lost in thought, did not observe her movement until she had
the letter fairly in her hand; then he seized it with a suddenness of
gesture that instantly caught the attention of Adèle.

A swift, deep color ran over her face.

"It is for my eye only, Adaly," said the Doctor, excitedly, folding it
and placing it in his pocket.

Adèle, with her curiosity strangely piqued, said,--

"I remember now, papa told me as much."

"What did he tell you, my child?"

"Not to be too curious about some business affairs of which he had
written you."

"Ah!" said the Doctor, with a sigh of relief.

"But why shouldn't I be? Tell me, New Papa," (toying now with the
silvered hair upon the forehead of the old gentleman,) "is he really in
trouble?"

"No new trouble, my child,--no new trouble."

For a moment Adèle's thought flashed upon that mystery of the mother she
had never seen, and an uncontrollable sadness came over her.

"Yet if there be bad news, why shouldn't I know it?" said she. "I must
know it some day."

"'Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof,'" said the Doctor,
gravely. "And if bad news should ever come to you, my dear
Adaly,--though I have none to tell you now,--may you have strength to
bear it like a Christian!"

"I will! I can!" said she, with a great glow upon her face.

Never more than in that moment had the heart of the old gentleman warmed
toward Adèle. Not by any possibility could he make himself the willing
instrument of punishing the sin of the father through this trustful and
confiding girl. Nay, he felt, as he looked upon her, that he could
gladly make of himself a shelter for her against such contempt or
neglect as the world might have in store.

When Reuben came presently to summon Adèle to their evening engagement
at the Elderkins', the Doctor followed their retreating figures, as they
strolled out of the parsonage-gate, with a new and strange interest.
Most inscrutable and perplexing was the fact, that this outcast child,
whom scarce one in his parish would have been willing to admit to the
familiarities of home,--this daughter of infidel France, about whose
mind the traditions of the Babylonish harlot had so long lingered,--who
had never known motherly counsel or a father's reproof,--that she, with
the stain of heathenism upon her skirts, should have grown into the
possession of such a holy, placid, and joyous trust. And there was his
poor son beside her, the child of so many hopes, reared, as it were,
under the very droppings of the altar, still wandering befogged in the
mazes of error, if, indeed, he were not in his secret heart a scoffer.
Now that such a result was wholly impracticable and impossible, it did
occur to him that perhaps no helpmeet for Reuben could so surely guide
him in the way of truth. But of any perplexity of judgment on this
score he was now wholly relieved. If his own worldly pride had not stood
in the way, (and he was dimly conscious of a weakness of this kind,) the
wish of Maverick was authoritative and final. The good man had not the
slightest conception of how matters might really stand between the two
young parties; he had discovered the anxieties of Miss Eliza in regard
to them, and had often queried with himself if too large a taint of
worldliness were not coloring the manoeuvres of his good sister. For
himself he chose rather to leave the formation of all such ties in the
hands of Providence, and entertained singularly old-fashioned notions in
regard to the sacredness of the marriage-bond and the mystery of its
establishment.

In view, however, of possible eventualities, it was necessary that he
should come to a full understanding with the spinster in regard to the
state of affairs between Adèle and Reuben, and that he should make
disclosure to her of the confessions of Maverick. For the second time in
his life the Doctor dreaded the necessity of taking his sister into full
confidence. The first was on that remarkable occasion--so long past
by--when he had declared his youthful love for Rachel, and feared the
opposition which would grow out of the spinster's family pride. Now, as
then, he apprehended some violent outbreak. He knew all her positiveness
and inflexibility,--an inflexibility with which, fortunately, his
convictions of duty rarely, if ever, came in conflict. He therefore
respected it very greatly. In all worldly affairs, especially in all
that regarded social proprieties, he was accustomed to look upon the
opinions of his sister as eminently sound, and to give them full
indorsement. Unwittingly the old gentleman had subordinated the whole
arrangement of his ceremonious visitings and of his wardrobe to the
active and lively suggestions of Miss Eliza. Over and over, when in an
absent moment he had slipped from his study for a stroll down the
street, the keen eye of the maiden sister had detected him before yet he
had passed through the parsonage-gate, and her keen voice came after
him,--

"Really, Benjamin, that coat is hardly respectable at this hour on the
street. You'll find your new one hanging in the press."

And the Doctor, casting a wary look over his person, as if to protest in
favor of an old friend, would go back submissively to comply with the
exactions of the precise spinster. A wife could not have been more
irritatingly observant of such shortcomings; and it is doubtful if even
so godly a man would have yielded to a wife's suggestions with fewer
protests.

After due reflection on the letter of Maverick, the Doctor stepped
softly to the stairs, and said,--

"Eliza, may I speak with you for a few moments in the study?"

There was something in the parson's tone that promised an important
communication; and Miss Johns presently appeared and seated herself,
work in hand, over against the parson, at the study-table. Older than
when we took occasion to describe her appearance in the earlier portion
of this narrative, and--if it could be--more prim and stately. A pair of
delicately bowed gold spectacles were now called into requisition by
her, for the nicer needle-work on which she specially prided herself.
Yet her eye had lost none of its apparent keenness, and, inclining her
head slightly, she threw an inquiring glance over her spectacles at the
Doctor, who was now as composed as if the startling news of the day had
been wholly unheard.

"Eliza," said he, "you have sometimes spoken of the possibility of an
attachment between Adaly and our poor Reuben."

"Yes, I have, Benjamin," said the spinster, with an air of confidence
that seemed to imply full knowledge of the circumstances.

"Do you see any strong indications of such attachment, Eliza?"

"Well, really, Benjamin," said she,--holding her needle to the light,
and bringing her spectacles to bear upon the somewhat difficult
operation (at her age) of threading it,--"really, I think you may leave
that matter to my management."

"The letter which I have received to-day from Mr. Maverick alludes to a
rumor of such intimacy."

"Really!"--and the lady eyes the Doctor with a look of keen expectation.

"Mr. Maverick," continued the Doctor, "in referring to the matter,
speaks of the probable loss of his fortune."

"Is it possible, brother? Loss of his fortune!" And the spinster gives
over attention to her work, while she taps with her thimble,
reflectively, upon the elbow of her chair. "I don't think, Benjamin,"
said she, "that Reuben has committed himself in any way."

"That is well, perhaps, Eliza; it is quite as I had supposed."

"And so the poor man's fortune is gone!" continued the spinster,
plaintively.

"Not gone absolutely, Eliza. Maverick's language is, that his estate is
in great peril," returned the Doctor.

"Ah!" The spinster is thoughtful and silent for a while, during which
the thimble-finger is also quiet. "Does your friend Maverick speak
approvingly of such an attachment, brother?"

"By no means, Eliza; he condemns it in the strongest terms."

Miss Johns is amazed at this revelation; and having taken off her
golden-bowed spectacles, she passes them, in a nervous way, from end to
end, upon the Doctor's table.

"Benjamin," says she presently, with a shrewd look and her sharpest
tone, "I don't think his fortune is in any peril whatever. I think
Reuben Johns is a good match for Miss Adèle Maverick, any day."

"Tut, tut, Eliza! we must not glorify ourselves vainly. If Maverick
disapproves, and Reuben shows no inclination, our course is both plain
and easy."

"But I am not so sure about the inclination, Benjamin," said the
spinster, sharply; and she replaced her spectacles.

"If that is the case, I am very sorry," said the parson.

The good man had hoped that by only a partial revelation of the contents
of the letter he might divert his sister effectually from any
matrimonial schemes she might have in hand, and so spare himself the
pain of a full disclosure. It was quite evident to him, however, that
the opposition of Maverick, if unexplained, would only stimulate the
spinster to a new zeal in the furtherance of her pet project. There was
nothing for it but to lay before her the whole disagreeable truth.

When the Doctor commenced the reading of the letter, Miss Johns resumed
her needle-work with a resolute composure that seemed to imply, "The
Johns' view of the case has been stated; let us now listen to what Mr.
Maverick may have to say."

For a while her fingers plied nimbly; but there came a pause,--an
exclamation of amazement, and her work (it was a bit of embroidery for
poor Adèle) was dashed upon the floor.

"Benjamin, this is monstrous! The French hussy! Reuben, indeed!"

The Doctor returned composedly to his reading.

"No, brother, I want to hear no more. What a wretch this Maverick must
be!"

"A sinner, doubtless, Eliza; yet not a sinner before all others."

The spinster was now striding up and down the room in a state of
extraordinary excitement. With a strange inconsequence, she seized the
letter from the Doctor's hands, and read it through to the end.

"I am bewildered, Benjamin. To think that the Johns' name should be
associated with such shame and guilt!"

"Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased," murmured the Doctor.

But the spinster was in no mood for listening to Scriptural
applications.

"And that he should dare to ask us to cloak for him this great scandal!"
continued she, wrathfully.

"For the child's sake, Eliza,--for poor Adaly."

"While I am mistress of your household, brother, I shall try to maintain
its dignity and respectability. Do you consider, Benjamin, how much
these are necessary to your influence?"

"Without doubt, Eliza; yet I cannot perceive how these would suffer by
dealing gently with this unfortunate child. A very tender affection for
her has grown upon me, Eliza; it would sadden me grievously, if she were
to go out from among us bearing unkind thoughts."

"And is your affection strong enough, Benjamin, to make you forget all
social proprieties, and the honorable name of our family, and to wish
her stay here as the wife of Reuben?"

The Doctor may have winced a little at this; and possibly a touch of
worldly pride entered into his reply.

"In this matter, Eliza, I think the wish of Maverick is to be
respected."

"Pah! For my part, I respect much more the Johns' name."

As the spinster retired to her room, after being overheated in the
discussion, in which the calmness of the Doctor, and the news he had
communicated, contributed almost equally to her frenzy, she cast a look,
in passing, upon the bed-chamber of Adèle. There were all the delicate
fixtures, in which she had taken such a motherly pride,--the spotless
curtains, the cherished vases, and certain toilette adornments,--her
gifts,--by each one of which she had hoped to win a point in the
accomplishment of her ambitious project. In the flush of her
disappointment she could almost have torn down the neatly adjusted
drapery, and put to confusion this triumph of her housewifely skill. But
cooler thoughts succeeded; and, passing on into her own chamber, she
threw herself into her familiar rocking-chair and entered upon a long
train of reflections, whose result will very likely have their bearing
upon the development of our story.


XLIV.

About this time, Phil Elderkin had come back from his trip to the West
Indies,--not a little bronzed by the fierce suns he had met there, but
stalwart as ever, with his old free, frank manner, to which he had
superadded a little of that easy confidence and self-poise which come of
wide intercourse with the world. All the village greeted him kindly; for
there was not a man or a woman in it who bore Phil Elderkin a
grudge,--unless it may have been the schoolmaster, who, knowing what a
dullard Phil had been at his books, had to bear some measure of the
reproach which belonged to his slow progress. But there are some young
gentlemen (not, however, so many as dull fellows are apt to think) who
ripen best by a reading of the world, instead of books; and Phil
Elderkin was eminently one of them. The old Squire took a pride he had
never anticipated in walking down the street arm in arm with his
stalwart son, (whose support, indeed, the old gentleman was beginning to
need,) and in watching the admiring glances of the passers-by, and of
such old cronies as stopped to shake hands and pass a word or two with
the Squire's youngest boy. There is this pleasant feature about such
quiet, out-of-the-way New England towns, (or was twenty-five years
since,) that the old people never forget to feel a pride in the young
men, who, having gone out from their borders to try their fortunes, win
any measure of success. Of course they are apt to attribute it, with a
pleasant vanity, to their own good advice or example; but this by no
means detracts from the cordiality of their praises. Phil won all
this,--since it was hinted, on the best possible authority, that he had
tried certain business chances on his own account in the West Indies,
which promised the grandest success.

Even the Doctor had said, "You have reason to be proud of your boy,
Squire. I trust that in time he may join piety to prudence."

"Hope he may, hope he may, Doctor," said the Squire. "Fine stout lad,
isn't he, Doctor?"

Of course Phil had met early with Reuben, and with the fresh spirit of
their old school-days. Phil had very likely been advised of the
experiences which had brought Reuben again to Ashfield, and of the
questionable result,--for even this had become subject of village
gossip; but of such matters there was very coy mention on the part of
young Elderkin. Phil's world-knowledge had given him wise hints on this
score. And as for Reuben, the encounter with such frank, outspoken
heartiness and manliness as belonged to his old school-friend was, after
his weary mental struggle of the last few months, immensely refreshing.

"Phil, my good fellow, your coming is a great godsend to me. I've been
worrying at the theologies here: but it's blind work. I think I shall
get back to business again."

"But you haven't made it blind for Adèle, Reuben.--so they tell me."

"And it is true. Faith, Phil, if I could win her beautiful trusts I
would give my right arm,--indeed, I would."

"But she's not blue," said Phil; "she's as cheery and mirthful as I ever
saw her."

"There's the beauty of it," said Reuben. "Many women carry their faith
with a face as long and as dull as a sermon. But, by Jove, her face
bubbles over with laughter as easily as it ever did."

Sister Rose had, of course, met Phil on his return most gushingly. There
is something very beautiful in that warm sisterly affection which at a
certain age can put no bounds to its admiring pride. There is a fading
away of it as the years progress, and as the sisters drop into little
private clamorous circles of their own, and look out upon other people
through the spectacles of their husband's eyes,--as they are pretty apt
to do; but for a long period following upon the school age it is very
tender and beautiful. If Phil had been coarse, or selfish, or awkward,
or ten times the sinner in any way that he was, Rose would most surely
have found some charming little excuse for each and every sin, and
delighted in reflecting upon him the glow of her own purity.

Of course she insists coyly upon his making the village rounds with her.
Those intellectual ladies, the Misses Hapgood, must have an opportunity
of admiring his grand air, and the easy manner he has brought back with
him of entering a parlor, or of passing the compliments of the day: and,
indeed, those respectable old ladies do pay him the honor of keeping him
in waiting, until they can arrange their best frontlets, and present
themselves in their black silks and in kerchiefs wet with lavender. Now
little Rose maintains an admiring and eager silence while that rare
brother astonishes these good Ashfield ladies with the great splendors
of his walk and conversation.

Then with what a bewildering success the traveller, under convoy of the
delighted Rose, comes down upon the family of the Tourtelots! What an
elaborate toilette Almira matures for his reception! and how the Dame
nervously dusts and redusts her bombazine at sight of his grand manner,
as she peeps through the half-opened blinds!

The Deacon is not, indeed, so much "taken off the hooks" by Phil, but
entertains him in the old way.

"Pooty well on't for beef cattle in Cuby, Philip?"

And Rose's eyes glisten, as Brother Philip goes on to set forth some of
the wonders of the crops, and the culture.

"Waäl, they're smart farmers, I've heerd," says the Deacon; "but we're
makin' improvements here in Ashfield. Doän't know as you've seen Square
Wilkinson's new string o' wall he's been a-buildin' all the way between
his home pastur' and the west medders?"

Phil has not.

"Waäl, it's wuth seein'. I doän't _know_ what they pretend to have in
Cuby; but in my opinion, there a'n't such another string o' stone fence,
not in the whole caounty!"

And Phil has had his little private talks with Rose,--about Adèle, among
other people.

"She is more charming than ever," Rose had said.

"I suppose so."

And there had been a pause here.

"I suppose Reuben is as tender upon her as ever," Phil had said at last,
in his off-hand way.

"He has been very devoted; but I'm not sure that it means anything,
Phil, dear."

"I should think it meant a great deal," said Phil.

"I mean," continued Rose, reflectingly, and with some embarrassment of
speech, "I don't think Adèle speaks of Reuben as if--as I
should--think--

"As you would, Rose,--is that it?"

"For shame, Phil!"

And Phil begged pardon with a kiss.

"Do you think, Phil," said Rose, concealing a little fluttering of the
heart under very smoothly spoken words, "do you think that Reuben really
loves Adèle?"

"Think so? To be sure, Rose. How can he help it? It's enough for me to
see her as I do, odd whiles in our parlor, or walking up and down the
garden with you, Rose; if I were to meet her every night and morning, as
Reuben must, I should go mad."

"Aha!" said Rose, laughingly; "that's not the way lovers talk,--at
least, not in books. I think you are safe, Phil. And yet" (with a
soberer air) "I did think, Phil, one while, that you thought very, very
often, and a great deal, of Adèle; and I was not sorry."

"Did you, Rose?" said Phil, eagerly; "did you truly? Then I'll tell you
a secret, Rose,--mind, Rose, a great secret, never to be lisped,--not to
mother even. I did love Adèle as far back as I can remember. You know
the strange little French hat she used to wear? Well, I used to draw it
on my slate at school, Rose; it was all I could draw that belonged to
her. Many's the time, when, if a boy came near, I would dash in some
little flourishes about it, and call it a basket or a coal-scoop; but
all the while, for me, her little dark eyes were shining under it. But
there was Reuben,--I told him I thought Suke Boody the prettiest girl in
Ashfield, but it wasn't true,--and he beat me in reading and writing,
and everything, I think, but fisticuffs."

"Did he?" said Rose, with the prettily arched brow which mostly
accompanied only her mischievous sallies; and it seemed to Phil
afterward that she would have resented the statement, if he had made it
concerning any other young fellow in Ashfield.

"Yes, indeed," continued he. "I knew he must beat me out and out with
Adèle. Do you remember, Rose, how you told me once that he had sent a
gift of furs to her? Well, Rose, I had my own little gift hidden away
for her for that same New-Year's day, and I burned it. Those furs kept
me awake an awful time. And when I went away, Rose, I prayed that I
might learn to forget her; but there was never a letter of yours that
came with her name in it, (and most of them had it, you know,) but I saw
her as plainly as ever, with her arm laced in yours, as I used to see
you many a time from my window, strolling down the garden. And now that
I have come back, Rose, it's the same confounded thing. By Jove, I feel
as if I could pitch into Reuben, as I used to do at school. But then
he's a good fellow, and a good friend of mine, I'm sure."

"I'm sure he is," said Rose. "But, Phil," continued she, meditatively,
"it seems to me, if I were a man, and loved a woman as you love Adèle, I
should find some way of letting her know it."

"Would you, Rosy? Do you think there's a ghost of a chance?"

"I don't know, Phil: Adèle is not one who talks of such things."

"Nor you, I think, Rose."

"Of course not, Phil." And after a little hesitation, "Of whom should I
talk, pray?"

Now it happened that this private conversation took place upon the same
day on which had transpired the interview we have already chronicled
between the Doctor and Miss Johns. Reuben and Adèle were to pass the
evening at the Elderkins'. Adèle was not of a temper to be greatly
disturbed by the rumor at which the Doctor had hinted of a lost fortune.
(We write, it must be remembered, of a time nearly thirty years gone
by.) Indeed, as she tripped along beside Reuben, it seemed to him that
she had never been in a more jocular and vivacious humor. A reason for
this (and it is what, possibly, many of our readers may count a very
unnatural one) lay in the letter which she had that day received from
her father, in which Maverick, in alluding to a possible _affaire du
coeur_ in connection with Reuben, had counselled her, with great
earnestness, to hold her affections in reserve, and, above all, to
control most rigidly any fancy which she might entertain for the son of
their friend the Doctor.

It amused Adèle; for Reuben had been so totally undemonstrative in
matters of sentiment, (possibly keeping his deeper feelings in reserve,)
that Adèle had felt over and over a girl's mischievous propensity to
provoke it. Not that she was in any sense heartless; not that she did
not esteem him, and feel a keen sense of gratitude; but his kindest and
largest favors were always attended with such demureness and reticence
of manner as piqued her womanly vanity. For these reasons there was
something exhilarating to her in the intimation conveyed by Maverick's
letters, that she was the party, after all, upon whose decision must
rest the peace of mind of the two, and that she must cultivate the
virtue of treating him with coolness.

Possibly it would have been an easy virtue to cultivate, even though
Reuben's attentions had shown the warmth which the blood of nineteen
feminine years craves in a lover; but as the matter stood, there was
something amusing to her in Maverick's injunction. As if there were any
danger! As if there could be! Should it grow serious some day, it would
be time enough then to consider her good papa's injunction; very
possibly she would pay the utmost heed to it, since a respect for Mr.
Maverick's opinions and advice was almost a part of Adèle's religion.


XLV.

We left Miss Eliza Johns in her chamber, swaying back and forth in her
rocking-chair, and resolutely confronting the dire news which the Doctor
had communicated. What was to be done? Never had so serious a problem
been presented to her for solution. There were both worldly and
religious motives, as the spinster reckoned them, for plucking out of
her heart all the growing tenderness which she had begun to feel toward
Adèle; and the sudden discomfiture of that engaging, ambitious scheme
which she had fondled so long prompted a feeling of resentment which was
even worse than worldly.

How would you have treated the matter, Madam? Would your Christian
charities have shrunk from the ordeal? But whatever might have been the
other sins of the spinster, there was in her no disposition to shrink
from the conclusions to which her logic of propriety and respectability
might lead. Adèle was to be discarded, but not suddenly. All her art
must be employed to disabuse Reuben of any lingering tenderness. The
Doctor's old prejudice against French blood must be worked to its
utmost. But there must be no violent clamor,--above all, no disclosure
of the humiliating truth. Maverick (the false man!) must be instructed
that it would be agreeable to the Johns family--nay, that their sense of
dignity demanded--that he should reclaim his child at an early day. On
this last score, it might be necessary, indeed, to practise very adroit
management with the Doctor; but for the rest, she had the amplest
confidence in her own activity and discretion.

She was not the woman to sleep upon her plans, when once they were
decided on; and she had no sooner forecast her programme than she took
advantage of the lingering twilight to arrange her toilette for a call
upon the Elderkins. Of course she led off the Doctor in her trail. The
spinster's "marching orders," as he jocularly termed them, the good man
was as incapable of resisting as if he had been twenty years a husband.

In a few swift words she unfolded her design.

"And now, Benjamin, don't, pray, let your sentiment get the better of
you, in regard to this French girl. Think of the proprieties in the
case, Benjamin,--the proprieties,"--which she enforced by a little shake
of her forefinger.

Whenever it came to a question of the "proprieties," the Doctor was
conscious of his weakness. What, indeed, could the poor man know about
the proprieties, as set forth by Miss Johns, that he should presume to
argue against them? What, indeed, can any man do, when a woman bases
herself on the "proprieties"?

It was summer weather, and the windows of the hospitable Elderkin
mansion were wide open. As the Doctor and spinster drew near, little
gusts of cheery music came out to greet their ears. For, at this time,
Miss Almira had her rival pianos about the village; and the pretty Rose
had been taught a deft way of touching the "first-class" instrument,
which the kind-hearted Squire had bestowed upon her. And, if it must be
told, little sparkling waltzes had from time to time waked the parlor
solitude, and the kind Mistress Elderkin had winked at little furtive
parlor-dances on the part of Rose and Adèle,--they had so charmed the
old Squire, and set all his blood (as he said, with a gallant kiss upon
the brow of Mrs. Elderkin) flowing in the old school-boy currents. Now
it happened upon this very evening, that the Squire, though past seventy
now, was in the humor to see a good old-fashioned frolic, and, Rose
rattling off some crazy waltz, Phil, at a hint from the old gentleman,
had taken possession of Adèle, and was showing off with a good deal of
grace, and more spirit, the dancing-steps of which he had had experience
with the Spanish señoritas.

Dame Tourtelot, who chanced to be present, wore a long face, which (it
is conceivable) the hearty old Squire enjoyed as much as the dancing.
But Mrs. Elderkin must have looked with a warm maternal pride upon the
fine athletic figure of her boy, as he went twirling down the floor,
with that graceful figure of Adèle.

Upon the very midst of it, however, the Doctor and Miss Johns came like
a cloud. The fingers of Rose rested idly on the keys. Adèle, who was gay
beyond her wont, alone of all the company could not give over her
light-heartedness on the instant: so she makes away to greet the
Doctor,--Miss Johns standing horrified.

"New Papa, you have surprised us. Phil was showing me some new steps. Do
you think it very, very wrong?"

"Adaly! Adaly!"

"Ah, you dear old man, it isn't wrong;--say it isn't wrong."

By this time the Squire has come forward.

"Ah, Doctor, young folks will be young folks; but I think you won't have
a quarrel with Mrs. Elderkin yonder. My dear," (addressing Mrs.
Elderkin,) "you must set this matter right with the Doctor. We must keep
our young people in his good books."

"The good books are not kept by me, Squire," said the parson.

Reuben, who had been loitering about Rose, and who, to do him justice,
had seen Phil's gallant attention to Adèle without one spark of
jealousy, was specially interested in this interruption of the
festivities. In his present state of mind, he was most eager to know how
far the evening's hilarity would be imputed as a sin to the new convert,
and how far religious severities (if she met any) would control the
ardor of Adèle. The Doctor's face softened, even while he talked with
the charming errant,--Reuben observed that; but with Aunt Eliza the case
was different. Never had he seen such a threatening darkness in her
face.

"We have interrupted a ball, I fear," she said to the hostess, in a tone
which was as virulent as a masculine oath.

"Oh! no! no!" said Mrs. Elderkin. "Indeed, now, you must not scold Adèle
too much; 't was only a bit of the Squire's foolery."

"Oh, certainly not; she is quite her own mistress. I should be very
sorry to consider myself responsible for all her tastes."

Reuben, hearing this, felt his heart leap toward Adèle in a way which
the spinster's praises had never provoked.

Dame Tourtelot here says, in her most aggravating manner,--

"I think she dances beautiful, Miss Johns. She dooz yer credit, upon my
word she dooz."

And thereupon there followed a somewhat lively altercation between those
two sedate ladies,--in the course of which a good deal of stinging
mockery was covered with unctuous compliment. But the spinster did not
lose sight of her chief aim, to wit, the refusal of all responsibility
as attaching to the conduct of Adèle, and a most decided intimation that
the rumors which associated her name with Reuben were unfounded, and
were likely to prove altogether false.

This last hint was a revelation to the gossipping Dame; there had been
trouble, then, at the parsonage; things were clearly not upon their old
footing. Was it Adèle? Was it Reuben? Yet never had either shown greater
cheer than on this very night. But the Dame none the less eagerly had
communicated her story, before the evening closed, to Mrs.
Elderkin,--who received it doubtingly,--to Rose, who heard it with
wonder and a pretty confusion,--and to the old Squire, who said only,
"Pooh! pooh! it's a lover's quarrel; we shall be all straight
to-morrow."

Adèle, by her own choice, was convoyed home, when the evening was over,
by the good Doctor, and had not only teased him into pardon of her wild
mirth, before they had reached the parsonage-gate, but had kindled in
him a glow of tenderness that made him utterly forgetful of the terrible
news of the day. Reuben and the spinster, as they followed, talked of
Rose; never had Aunt Eliza spoken so warmly of her charms; but before
him was tripping along, in the moonlight, the graceful figure of Adèle,
clinging to the old gentleman's arm, and it is doubtful if his eye did
not feast more upon that vision than his ear upon the new praises of the
spinster.

Yet, for all that, Rose was really charming. The young gentlemen, it
would seem, hardly knew his own heart; and he had a wondrous dream that
night. There was a church, (such as he had seen in the city,) and a
delicately gloved hand, which lay nestling in his; and Mr. Maverick,
oddly enough, appeared to give away a bride, and all waited only for the
ceremony, which the Doctor (with his old white hat and cane) refused to
perform; whereat Phil's voice was heard bursting out in a great laugh;
and the face of Rose, too, appeared; but it was only as a saint upon a
painted window. And yet the face of the saint upon the window was more
distinct than anything in his dream.

The next morning found Miss Eliza harsh and cold. Even the constrained
smile with which she had been used to qualify her "good morning" for
Adèle was wanting; and when the family prayers were said, in which the
good Doctor had pleaded, with unction, that the Christian grace of
charity might reign in all hearts, the poor girl had sidled up to Miss
Eliza, and put her hand in the spinster's,--

"You think our little frolic last night to be very wrong, I dare say?"

"Oh, no," said the spinster. "I dare say Mr. Maverick and your French
relatives would approve."

It was not so much the language as the tone which smote on poor Adèle,
and brought the tears welling into her eyes.

Reuben, seeing it all, and forgetful of the good parson's plea, gnawed
his lip to keep back certain very harsh utterances.

"Don't think of it, Ady," said he, watching his chance a little later;
"the old lady is in one of her blue moods to-day."

"Do you think I did wrong, Reuben?" said Adèle, earnestly.

"I? Wrong, Adèle? Pray, what should I have to say about the right or
wrong? and I think the old ladies are beginning to think I have no clear
idea of the difference between them."

"You have, Reuben! you have! And, Reuben," (more tenderly,) "I have
promised solemnly to live as you thought a little while ago that you
would live. And if I were to break my promise, Reuben, I know that you
would never renew yours."

"I believe you are speaking God's truth, Adèle," said he.

The summer months passed by, and for Adèle the little table at the
parsonage had become as bleak and cheerless as the autumn. Miss Johns
maintained the rigid severity of manner, with which she had undertaken
to treat the outcast child, with a constancy that would have done credit
to a worthier intent. Even the good Doctor was unconsciously oppressed
by it, and by the spinster's insistence upon the due proprieties was
weaned away from his old tenderness of speech; but every morning and
every evening his voice trembled with emotion as he prayed for God's
grace and mercy to descend upon all sinners and outcasts.

He had written to Maverick, advising him of the great grief which his
confession had caused him, and imploring him to make what reparation he
yet might do, by uniting in the holy bonds of matrimony with the erring
mother of his child. He had further advised him that his apprehensions
with regard to Reuben were, so far as was known, groundless. He further
wrote,--"Upon consultation with Miss Johns, who is still at the head of
our little household, I am constrained to ask that you take as early a
time as may be convenient to relieve her of the further care of your
daughter. Age is beginning to tell somewhat upon my sister; and the
embarrassment of her position with respect to Adèle is a source, I
believe, of great mental distress."

All which the good Doctor honestly believed,--upon Miss Eliza's
averment,--and in his own honest way he assured his friend, that, though
his sins were as scarlet, he should still implore Heaven in his favor,
and should part from Adèle--whenever the parting might come--with real
grief, and with an outpouring of his heart.

As for Reuben, a wanton levity had come over him in those latter days of
summer that galled the poor Doctor to the quick, and that strangely
perplexed the observant spinster. It was not the mischievous spirit of
his boyhood revived again, but a cold, passionless, determined levity,
such as men wear who have secret griefs to conceal. He talked in a free
and easy way about the Doctor's Sunday discourses, that fairly shocked
the old people of the parish; rumor said that he had passed some
unhallowed jokes with the stolid Deacon Tourtelot about his official
duties; and it was further reported that he had talked open infidelity
with a young physician who had recently established himself in Ashfield,
and who plumed himself--until his tardy practice taught him better--upon
certain arrogant physiological notions with regard to death and disease
that were quite unbiblical. Long ago the Doctor had given over open
expostulation; every such talk seemed to evoke a new and more airy and
more adventurous demon in the backslidden Reuben. The good man half
feared to cast his eye over the books he might be reading. If it were
Voltaire, if it were Hume, he feared lest his rebuke and anathema should
give a more appetizing zest.

But he prayed--ah, how he prayed! with the dead Rachel in his
thought--as if (and this surely cannot be Popishly wicked)--as if she,
too, in some sphere far remote, might with angel voice add tender
entreaty to the prayer, whose burden, morning after morning and night
after night, was the name and the hope of her boy.

And Adèle? Well, Reuben pitied Adèle,--pitied her subjection to the iron
frowns of Miss Eliza; and almost the only earnest words he spoke in
those days were little quiet words of good cheer for the French girl.
And when Miss Eliza whispered him, as she did, that the poor child's
fortune was gone, and her future insecure, Reuben, with a brave sort of
antagonism, made his words of cheer and good-feeling even more frequent
than ever. But about his passing and kindly attentions to Adèle there
was that air of gay mockery which overlaid his whole life, and which
neither invited nor admitted of any profound acknowledgement. His
kindest words--and some of them, so far as mere language went, were
exuberantly tender--were met always by a half-saddened air of
thankfulness and a little restrained pressure of the hand, as if Adèle
had said,--"Not in earnest yet, Reuben! Earnest in nothing!"



WIND THE CLOCK.


    Warden, wind the clock again;
    Mighty years are going on,
    Through the shadow and the dream,
    And the happy-hearted dawn.
      Wind again, wind again,--
    Fifty hundred years are gone.

    Through the harvest and the need,
    Wealthy June and dewy May,
    Grew the year from the old,
    Grows to-morrow from to-day.
      Wind again, wind again,--
    Who can keep the years at bay?

    Four-and-twenty conjurers
    Lie in wait on land and sea,
    Plucking down the startled ship,
    Bud-embroidering the tree.
      Wind again, wind again,--
    We have neither ship nor tree.

    Four-and-twenty kings to come
    Up the never-vacant stair,--
    Four-and-twenty dead go down;
    Follow, sacred song and prayer.
      Wind again, wind again,--
    Warden, why delaying there?

    To his interrupted dream
    Comes the long-entreated day.
    What are lesser words to him?
    Sweet pursuing voices say,--
      "Warden, wind, wind again,
    Up the ever-golden way."

    Other hands will wind the clock
    While the frequent years go on,
    Never noting need or name
    Nor the rapture of the dawn.
      Wind again, wind again,
    Ere the given year be gone.



THE KINGDOM COMING.


If one looks to the individual for proof of the power of Christianity,
he will generally look in vain. Creeds differ; but of persons from the
same rank in life, one is, on the whole, apparently about as good as
another. If we are virtuous where we are not tempted, liberal in matters
concerning which we are indifferent, reticent when we have nothing to
say,--in one word, pleasant when we are pleased,--it is all that our
best friends have any reason to expect of us. What religion does for a
man may be great, and even radical, from his near point of view; but
from the world's position it is scarcely visible, and is often wholly
lost in the more palpable influences of temperament and circumstance.
But when we look at society, we can see that some silent agency is at
work, slowly, but surely, attuning our life to finer issues than the
Golden Ages knew. The hidden leaven of Christianity is working its
noiseless way through the whole lump. Christendom is on a higher plane
than Pagandom, and is still ascending. In the stress of daily life, we
are sometimes tempted to lose heart, and cry, "Who shall show us any
good for all this toil and watch and struggle?"--but in calmer moments,
looking back over the Difficult Hills, we cannot fail to see that we
have gained ground. The sacredness of humanity is gradually overtopping
the prerogatives of class. More and more clearly man asserts himself,
the end of every good, the standard by which every change is to be
judged. With many an ebb, the tide of all healthful and helpful force is
flooding our associated life; and the brotherhood of the race attests
itself by many infallible signs.

But they are not always nor only found where they are sought.
Workmanship does not show to the best advantage in workshops. The din
and whirl of machinery confuse us. We need to see the wonderful engine
in actual operation, the beautiful ornament fitly placed, before we can
decide finally upon its character. The churches have been the workshops
of Christianity. There it has been received, fused, hammered, polished,
fashioned for all human needs; but nothing less than the whole world is
the true theatre of its activity. Not what it has done for the Church,
but what it has done, is doing, and purposes to do for humanity, is the
measure of its merit. Not upon the mitre of the priest, but upon the
bells of the horses, is the millennial day to see inscribed "Holiness
unto the Lord!"

Since, then, the kingdom of God cometh not with observation, we need not
look for fearful sights and great signs in the heavens. They are but
false prophets who cry, "Lo, here!" or "Lo, there!" when the still,
small voice is whispering all the while, "The kingdom of God is within
you," Yes, within this framework of society, in the midst of this busy,
trivial, daily life, which seems so full of small cares and selfish
seeking, the Divine Spirit lives and works, and will yet raise it to the
heights of heavenly fellowship. It breathes in the thousand methods
devised by ingenuity to lighten the burdens of labor, by benevolence to
soothe away the bitterness of sorrow, by taste to beautify the homes of
poverty. The little photograph leaves that flutter down into every
household in the land are a great cloud of witnesses showing us that
science is but the handmaid of God, whose service is to bear to all the
blessings once reserved for a class. In the old time it was only the few
who could fix for future years the beloved features of a friend. Now
every fond mother may transcribe from birthday to birthday the face of
her darling, to note its beautiful changes, and every lowliest bride
preserve for her children's children the bloom of her budding youth.

The religious world has hardly learned to look for its millennium in
the horsecars. Nevertheless, its signs are there, not to be mistaken.
The poor sewing-woman feels their presence, if she does not trace them
to their source. The humble invalid knows them, the domestic drudge, the
ailing, puny child, the swart and stalwart workman, who ride their one
or ten miles as swiftly and smoothly as a millionaire, and are set down
at shop or home, or among the freshness and fragrance and song of the
beautiful country. The horsecar is the poor man's private carriage, as
carefully fashioned for his convenience, as tidy and comfortable and
comely, as if it cost him hundreds of dollars, instead of the daily
sixpence. With a lifted finger he commands his coachman, who waits
promptly on his wish. Without care, he is cared for. Without capital, he
controls capital. Free society does more for him than the richest despot
does for the enslaved people whom the instinct of self-preservation
forces him to cajole, and does it, too, without any infringement upon
his manhood. We call it energy, enterprise, modern conveniences. It _is_
the millennium.

But these matters are under full headway. Science and self-interest have
taken them in hand, and there is no danger that they will not be carried
out to their farthest beneficial limits. There is another measure just
struggling into uncertain life,--a measure which may be helped by
attention, and hindered by neglect,--a measure that appeals less
directly to self-advantage, but which is yet so fraught with good or
evil, according as it is carefully studied, clearly understood, and
wisely managed, or suffered to fail through inattention, or to lead an
irregular, riotous life for a few years and then to be abated as a
nuisance, that we cannot safely pass it by. I refer to the movement
making itself felt in various ways, but aiming always to give more
leisure to the working classes. In one phase, it is seeking to reduce
the hours of daily labor; in another, it is trying to close the shops on
Saturday afternoons. In both, it is a step so radically in the right
direction, that we can but give thanks for the opportunity, while we
tremble lest it may not be firmly and wisely laid hold of. In planning
for human weal, one is met on every side by the want of leisure. Every
day and every hour comes so burdened with its material necessities, that
the wants of heart and mind and spirit can find no adequate
gratification. The work goes on satisfactorily; wealth accumulates;
farms are well tilled; mechanism becomes more and more exquisite; but
drunkenness, profligacy, stupidity, insanity, and crime undermine the
man, for whom all these things are and were created, and to whom they
ought to bring wisdom and power and peace. Thus our boasted improvements
become our folly. All labor-saving machinery that does not save labor in
the sense of giving leisure, that merely increases the quantity or
improves the quality of that which is produced, but does not redound to
the improvement of the producer, rather contributes to his degradation,
has somewhere a fatal flaw. Mind may legitimately fashion matter into a
machine; but when it would reduce mind also to the same level, it steps
beyond its province. When it fails to continue through the sphere of
mind the impulse it communicates to matter,--when its benefit stops with
fabric, falling short of the man who stands over it,--it lags behind its
mission, and is so far unsuccessful.

The movement for diminishing the number of laboring hours has already
been brought before the notice of the Massachusetts Legislature,--has
been made the subject of careful and extensive inquiry by a special
committee, who have returned a report so able, eloquent, and convincing
as to leave little to be said in that direction,--and is now, for closer
and more exhaustive investigation, in the hands of a committee whose
names are a guaranty that nothing will be left undone to secure a just
and righteous decision, for which let all Christian people devoutly
pray. In the intelligence and virtue of its workingmen lies the hope of
the Republic. If the proposed change shall tend to promote that
intelligence and virtue, it will be the part of true patriotism to
effect it. Whether this particular means be or be not the wisest for the
end in view, the path of the higher life unquestionably lies in this
direction. The accomplishment of the greatest results with the least
outlay of time and toil is the problem in physical science. With the
leisure and strength thus redeemed from lower needs, to build up a royal
manhood is the problem of moral science.

The Saturday half-holiday is less an affair of law and legislature,
depends more upon private men and women, but is of scarcely less
importance. It is not to be disguised that there are difficulties and
dangers attending the plan. It is as yet probably regarded only as an
experiment, though certain classes of mercantile men have been trying it
for years, with what satisfaction their persistence in it indicates.
Undoubtedly there are many young men who misspend their holiday, and
many more who do not know what to do with it, and who will finally fall
into mischief through sheer idleness. The hours drag so heavily, that
they half conclude they would about as soon be at work as at liberty
with nothing to do. Possibly there are more who abuse their holiday than
use it advantageously. But just as far as this trouble extends, so far
it shows, not the harm of leisure, but the sore straits we have been
brought to for lack of it. There is no sadder result of the disuse of a
faculty than the decadence of that faculty. Time is the essential gift
of God to man,--essential not merely to providing for his physical
wants, but to forming his character, to developing his powers, to
cultivating his taste, to elevating his life. Is it, then, that he has
devoted so disproportionate a share of that time to one of its uses, and
that not the noblest, that he has lost the desire and the ability to
devote any of it to its higher uses? Have young men given themselves to
buying and selling till they have no interest in books, in Nature, in
Art, in manly sport and exercise? Then surely it behooves us at once to
change all this. No man can have a well-balanced mind, a good judgment,
who is interested in nothing but his business. If, when released from
that for a half-day each week, he is listless, aimless, discontented, it
is a sure sign that undue devotion to it has corroded his powers, and is
making havoc of his finer organization.

It is to be feared that many of our young men do not know what
recreation means. They confound it with riot. Fierce driving, hard
drinking, violence, and vice they understand; but with quiet, refining,
soothing, and strengthening diversions they have small acquaintance.
This is very largely the fault of the community in which they live. Do
Christian families in our large cities feel the obligations which they
are under towards the young men who come among them? I believe that a
very large part of the immorality, the irreligion, the skepticism and
crime into which young men fall is due to their being so coldly and
cruelly let alone by Christian families. A boy comes up from the
country, where every one knows him and greets him, into the solitude of
the great city. He has left home behind him, and finds no new home to
receive him. When he is released from his work in shop or counting-room,
nothing more inviting awaits him than the silent room in the dreary
boarding-house. He misses suddenly, and at a most sensitive age, the
graces and unthinking kindnesses of home, the thousand little teasings
and pettings, the common interests, and tendernesses, that he never
thought of till he lost them. He is surrounded by men and boys all bent
on their several ways. He must have amusement. It is as necessary to him
as daily food. What wonder, then, if he accepts the first that offers?
And if Satan, as usual, is beforehand with his invitations, what shall
hinder him from following Satan? The saloon, warmed and lighted, and
enlivened with music or merry talk, is more attractive than the dingy,
solitary room; and if his feet do slip now and then, who is the worse
for it? He will never write it home, and there is nobody in the city who
will discover it; provided he is prompt at his business, no one will
meddle with his leisure hours. And if full-grown men are found to need
the restraining influences of wife and child and neighbor, and to plunge
into brutality whenever they form a community by themselves, what can
prevent boys, when cast adrift, from drifting into sin? Genius is
supreme, but genius is the heritage of but few; while passion and
appetite, love of society and amusement, need of watchfulness and
susceptibility to temptation, belong to all. "I don't like wine," said a
young man,--"I hate the taste of it; but what am I to do? A lot of
fellows carousing isn't the best thing in the world; but I can't stay
moping in my room alone all the time. There's my violin. Well, I took it
out once or twice, but it was no go. When I could go into the parlor
after supper, and mother round, and Bess to sing, it was worth while;
but there is no fun in fiddling to yourself by wholesale. Besides, I
suppose it bores the rest to have a fellow sawing away." And this was a
fine, handsome, healthy young man, all ready to be made a warm friend, a
patriotic citizen, a pure and happy man, and just as ready to become a
reckless, dissipated, sorrow-bringing failure. And, alas! where were the
hands that should have helped him? Alas! alas! what are the hands that
will _not_ be backward to lay hold on him?

If any holiday is to be made useful, if young men are to be saved from
ruin, saved to their mothers and sisters and wives, saved to themselves,
to their country, and to God, Christian people must bestir themselves.
Young Men's Christian Associations may be ever so efficient, but they
cannot do everything. The work that is to be done cannot be wrought by
associations alone, nor by young men, nor by any men. It needs fathers
and mothers and sons and daughters and firesides. The only way to keep
boys from the haunts of vice is to open to them the haunts of virtue.
Give them access to loving families, to happy homes. Nothing can supply
this want. No attendance at any church is to be for a moment compared to
attendance at the sacred shrine of an affectionate family. But when, a
little while ago, a young man, who had been for years a clerk in Boston,
was asked in how many families he was acquainted, he replied quickly,
"Not one." Yet he was a member of an Orthodox Congregational Church,
which, I take it, is to be as good as anybody can be in this world, and
a regular attendant upon religious services in one of the most
influential Orthodox churches in Boston. Sunday after Sunday he occupied
his seat, yet neither pastor nor people--not one of all that great
congregation--ever took him by the hand and constrained him to sit by
their hearthstones, ever welcomed him to the warmth and gladness and
gentle endearments of their homes. What is the communion of saints? If
that young man had brought a letter of introduction from some
distinguished person, would they have thus let him go in and out among
them unnoticed and uncared for? But to church-members, surely, a
certificate of church-membership ought to be as weighty as a letter of
introduction. A Christian church should be so managed that it should be
impossible for any attendant upon its services to escape observation;
and it should be so trained to its social duties that every person who
takes shelter in its sanctuary should at least have the opportunity to
find shelter in its homes. I think it would be well, even, that those
who are present at a single church service should be courteously noticed
and encouraged to repeat the visit. If the church is indeed God's house,
let the servants of the Master dispense His hospitalities in such a
manner as befits His divine character, remembering that the world judges
of Him through them. Let fathers and mothers be on the watch to speak
kindly words to such homeless wanderers as may roam within the circle of
their influence. If a stranger is introduced into the family pew, let
him be no longer a stranger, but a guest. Let him not remain during the
service and pass out at its close without some brotherly or fatherly
recognition, without some assurance by word or look or little attention
that his presence there gave pleasure. This is a beginning of home
feeling.

It would be a fit thing, if every country pastor should give to every
boy who leaves his parish a letter of introduction to some clergyman in
the city whither he is going, so that there should be no
interregnum,--no time when the boy should be utterly unfriended, loosed
from restraint, and a prey to unclean and hateful things. But this is
not done, and we should not wait for it. The Prince of Evil never stands
upon etiquette. He is instant in season and out of season; and those who
would circumvent him must be equally prompt and vigilant. The Church
should weave its meshes of watchful care and love and friendship so
close that nobody can slip through unseen.

A duty rests upon all merchants and tradesmen, upon all, indeed, who
employ clerks or apprentices, which is not discharged when their
quarterly payments are made. A man is in some sense the father of the
young men whom he employs, and he should do them fatherly service. It is
not possible to enter into relations with any human being without at the
same time incurring responsibility concerning him. How much might be
done for young men, if merchants would feel a domestic as well as a
mercantile interest in them! It may not be advisable to renew the old
custom of making clerks and apprentices members of the family; but
surely the pleasantly lighted parlor, with its pictures, its piano, its
little sheltered window-nooks, its agreeable daughters, its matronly and
dignified mother, may be made a Mecca for the homesick young pilgrim,
without any sacrifice that shall seem too great to the followers of Him
who laid down the glory which He had with the Father before the world
was, for nothing but that He might save sinners. Is it a dangerous thing
to introduce strangers into a young family? But is the character that is
not good enough for the drawing-room quite safe and harmless in the
counting-room? If merchants, master mechanics, and employers generally,
would set a premium upon integrity and good manners, those qualities
would not long be found wanting. Incalculable is the influence which
these civilizing surroundings would have upon a susceptible boy. Only
let them come in early. Do not wait till sin has thrown out its more
brilliant and showy lures, and then attempt to tear him away from them
already half polluted; but while his soul is yet unstained, while,
lonely, inexperienced, self-distrustful, he is ready to be moulded by
the first skilful touch, let it come from the wise hands of honorable
and responsible men whose position gives weight to their opinions, from
the gentle hands of motherly women, and merry, guileless girls.
Provide,--even if it be at the cost of a little pains, a little
sacrifice of the quiet and seclusion of home,--provide for his youth its
fitting and innocent delights, that sinful pleasures may not seize him
and hold him in their destructive clutch. The good which the merchant
does to his clerks will redound to the good of his own children. There
is probably as much intelligence and virtue and youthful promise among
his clerks as among his sons and daughters; and what the former receive
of home the latter receive in variety and relish. The influence of man
upon woman, also, is just as healthful as that of woman upon man; for
both are in the order of Nature. The brothers and sisters will dance to
their mother's playing all the more gleefully for a stranger or two in
the set; and Mary will enter with fresher zest into the game of cards,
because Mr. Gordon is her partner instead of that provoking Harry. And
it is not whist nor dancing that harms young people. It is outlawry.
Whist does not lead to gambling. Dancing does not lead to dissipation.
It is playing cards "on the sly" that leads to gambling. It is having
to get out of the way of ministers, and church-members, and all
religious people, when dancing is to be done, that leads to dissipation.
It is loneliness, want of interest and amusement, any unjust and
unnatural restriction, that leads to all manner of wild and boisterous
and vicious amusements, which prey upon the soul. If to a young man, on
his first coming to the city, there open only so many as two or three
houses, where he can now and then find welcome admittance,--where are
two or three excellent women who exercise a gentle jurisdiction over
him, who will notice if his eye be heavy or his cheek pale, who will
administer, upon occasion, a little sweet motherly chiding, mend a rent
in his gloves, advise in the choice of a neck-tie, and call upon him
occasionally for trifling service or attendance,--where he can find a
few hot-headed, perhaps; but well-fathered and well-mothered boys, who
have the same headstrong will, the same fierce likes and dislikes, the
same temptations and weaknesses as himself, but who are saved from
disaster by gentle, but firm authority, and constant, yet scarcely
perceptible influence,--a few bright girls, who will sing and dance and
talk with him, and pique and tease and tantalize him,--how infinitely
are the chances multiplied against his ever turning aside into the
debasing saloon! He naturally likes purity better than impurity. The
breath of innocence is sweeter than the fumes of poisoned wine. The
interests of a man at whose table he sits, whose children are his
companions, whose wife is his friend and confidant, will be far nearer
to him than those of one whom he rarely sees and little knows. Something
of the atmosphere of home will cling to office-walls, and soften the
sharp outlines and sweeten the unfragrant air of perpetual traffic and
self-seeking. The society of pure and sprightly girls will be a constant
inducement to keep himself sprightly and pure. Reading, studying,
riding, singing, driving, boating, with well-bred and high-hearted young
friends, will give plentiful outlet to his animal spirits, plentiful
gratification to his social wants, plentiful food for his mental hunger;
and while he is thus enjoying the pleasures which are but the lawful
dues of his spring-time, he will be all the while becoming more and more
worthy of love and respect, more and more fitted to bear, in his turn,
the burdens of Church and State. And if, in spite of it all, his feet
are still swift to do evil, it will be a satisfaction to those who have
thus striven for his welfare to know that his blood is not on them nor
on their children.

There are other things to be taken into account. The leisure of Saturday
afternoon must, it would seem, conduce greatly to quiet Sundays. When
young men are confined six long days behind the counter, it is but
natural that on the seventh they should give themselves to merry-making.
For, let it be remembered, sport is natural, yes, and as necessary, to
youth as worship; and in order of human development, it comes first. It
is very hard to say to a boy, "You have been writing, and weighing, and
measuring all the week. Now the sun is shining, the birds are singing,
the flowers blooming, the river sparkling, and boat and horse await your
hand, but you must turn away from them all and go to church. You have
been boxed up for six days, and now you must be boxed up again. There
are no fresh airs, no summer sounds for you; but only noise and dust and
pavements all the days of your life." It happens, at any rate, that
there is no use in saying this; for young blood overleaps it all, and
city suburbs resound on Sunday with the clatter of hoofs and the rattle
of wheels; and no one need be surprised, who has any acquaintance with
human nature one the one side, or any conception of the irksomeness of
continued confinement on the other. It would, indeed, be a very strange,
and, I think, a very sad thing, if young people _were_ willing to let
suns rise, and stars set, and all the beautiful changes of Nature go on,
without an irresistible, instinctive prompting to fly from the grave
monotone of the city, and live and breathe in her freshness and her
song. If a young man must choose between play of muscle, swiftness of
motion, the free air of the hills, and sitting in church to hear a
sermon, he will often choose the former; and if he cannot enjoy these
things without going in opposition to the best sense of the community,
if they cannot be compassed without a certain consciousness of
wrong-doing, they will lead to recklessness and lawlessness; for be
compassed, they will.

But let the young men have Saturday afternoon for their boating and
bowling and various pastimes, and they will be far more disposed to hear
what the minister has to say on Sunday,--far more disposed, let us hope,
to join in prayer and praise. One very obvious and practical
consideration is, that many of them, probably the larger part, can spend
on a single holiday all the holiday money they have to spend. So--there
will be nothing for it but to stay at home on Sunday by force of the
_res angustæ domi_. But, also, is it too much to believe, that, the
half-day having given them that physical exercise, amusement, and change
which they need, Sunday will find them the more ready to absorb and
appropriate spiritual nourishment? that bodily and mental recreation
will prepare them for religious recreation? I have said that sport is as
natural and necessary as worship. But, on the other hand, worship is as
natural as sport, Very few, I think, are the persons, young or old, in
all of whose thoughts it may be said God is not. And if this natural,
spontaneous turning to God were not interfered with by our pernicious
modes of training and management, we should not become so fearfully
alienated from Him. Play and work and worship would be animated by one
spirit. Many surely there are who would be _more likely_ to devote a
part of their Sunday to the direct worship of God, and to a more
intimate knowledge of His works and words, who would be more likely to
come under the influence of the Bible and the pulpit, from having had
opportunity first to free their lungs from the foul air, and their limbs
from the lifelessness, which a long confinement to business had caused.
At least let us not tempt any to make Sunday a day of fun and frolic, by
giving them no other day for their fun and frolic. Provide things honest
in the sight of all men.

Women can do much towards bringing about this holiday, and towards
keeping it intact when it is once secured. Let every woman make a point
of doing no shopping on Saturday afternoons. A very little forethought
will prevent any inconvenience from the deprivation. If a tradesman
chooses to keep his shop open on Saturdays, when others of the same kind
are shut, let every woman take care not only not to enter it on that
day, but on any day. And in order that the holiday may begin as promptly
as the working-day, women should not put off their purchases till the
last minute before closing. If the shops are to be shut at two o'clock,
let no one enter them after one, except in case of emergency. If the
clerks have to take down goods from their shelves, overhaul box and
drawer, and unroll and unfold and derange till the time for closing
arrives, an hour or an hour and a half of their holiday must be consumed
in the work of putting the store in order. Let this last hour of the
working-week be spent in arrangement, not in derangement. Be ashamed to
ask a clerk to disturb a shelf which he has just set in Sunday order.
Let the young men be ready, so that, when the clock strikes the hour of
release, release may come.

Many of the shops are advertised to be closed on Saturday afternoons
through the summer. But there are just as many hours to the day and just
as many days to the week in winter as in summer; and the ice and snow
and sleigh-bells of January are just as fascinating and as exhilarating
and invigorating as the rivers and roses of June. Therefore it is to be
hoped the half-holiday will not migrate with the birds, but remain and
become a permanent national institution.



THE CHIMNEY-CORNER FOR 1866.

BEING A FAMILY-TALK ON RECONSTRUCTION.


Our Chimney-Corner, of which we have spoken somewhat, has, besides the
wonted domestic circle, its _habitués_ who have a frequent seat there.
Among these, none is more welcome than Theophilus Thoro.

Friend Theophilus was born on the shady side of Nature, and endowed by
his patron saint with every grace and gift which can make a human
creature worthy and available, except the gift of seeing the bright side
of things. His bead-roll of Christian virtues includes all the graces of
the spirit except hope; and so, if one wants to know exactly the flaw,
the defect, the doubtful side, and to take into account all the untoward
possibilities of any person, place, or thing, he had best apply to
friend Theophilus. He can tell you just where and how the best-laid
scheme is likely to fail, just the screw that will fall loose in the
smoothest-working machinery, just the flaw in the most perfect
character, just the defect in the best-written book, just the variety of
thorn that must accompany each particular species of rose.

Yet Theophilus is without guile or malice. His want of faith in human
nature is not bitter and censorious, but melting and pitiful. "We are
all poor trash, miserable dogs together," he seems to say, as he looks
out on the world and its ways. There is not much to be expected of or
for any of us; but let us love one another, and be patient.

Accordingly, Theophilus is one of the most incessant workers for human
good, and perseveringly busy in every scheme of benevolent enterprise,
in all which he labors with melancholy steadiness without hope. In
religion he has the soul of a martyr,--nothing would suit him better
than to be burned alive for his faith; but his belief in the success of
Christianity is about on a par with that of the melancholy disciple of
old, who, when Christ would go to Judæa, could only say, "Let us also
go, that we may die with him." Theophilus is always ready to die for the
truth and the right, for which he never sees anything but defeat and
destruction ahead.

During the late war, Theophilus has been a despairing patriot, dying
daily, and giving up all for lost in every reverse from Bull Run to
Fredericksburg. The surrender of Richmond and the capitulation of Lee
shortened his visage somewhat; but the murder of the President soon
brought it back to its old length. It is true, that, while Lincoln
lived, he was in a perpetual state of dissent from all his measures. He
had broken his heart for years over the miseries of the slaves, but he
shuddered at the Emancipation Proclamation; a whirlwind of anarchy was
about to sweep over the country, in which the black and the white would
dash against each other and be shivered like potters' vessels. He was in
despair at the accession of Johnson,--believing the worst of the
unfavorable reports that clouded his reputation. Nevertheless he was
among the first of loyal citizens to rally to the support of the new
administration, because, though he had no hope in that, he could see
nothing better.

You must not infer from all this that friend Theophilus is a social wet
blanket, a goblin shadow at the domestic hearth. By no means. Nature has
gifted him with that vein of humor and that impulse to friendly
joviality which are frequent developments in sad-natured men, and often
deceive superficial observers as to their real character. He who laughs
well and makes you laugh is often called a man of cheerful disposition;
yet in many cases nothing can be farther from it than precisely this
kind of person.

Theophilus frequents our chimney-corner, perhaps because Mrs. Crowfield
and myself are, so to speak, children of the light and the day. My wife
has precisely the opposite talent to that of our friend. She can
discover the good point, the sound spot, where others see only defect
and corruption. I myself am somewhat sanguine, and prone rather to
expect good than evil, and with a vast stock of faith in the excellent
things that may turn up in the future. The Millennium is one of the
prime articles of my creed; and all the ups and downs of society I
regard only as so many jolts on a very rough road that is taking the
world on, through many upsets and disasters, to that final consummation.

Theophilus holds the same belief, theoretically; but it is apt to sink
so far out of sight in the mire of present disaster as to be of very
little comfort to him.

"Yes," he said, "we are going to ruin, in my view, about as fast as we
can go. Miss Jennie, I will trouble you for another small lump of sugar
in my tea."

"You have been saying that, about our going to ruin, every time you have
taken tea here for four years past," said Jennie; "but I always noticed
that your fears never spoiled your relish either for tea or muffins.
People talk about being on the brink of a volcano, and the country going
to destruction, and all that, just as they put pepper on their potatoes:
it is an agreeable stimulant in conversation,--that's all."

"For my part," said my wife, "I can speak in another vein. When had we
ever in all our history so _bright_ prospects, so much to be thankful
for? Slavery is abolished; the last stain of disgrace is wiped from our
national honor. We stand now before the world self-consistent with our
principles. We have come out of one of the severest struggles that ever
tried a nation, purer and stronger in morals and religion, as well as
more prosperous in material things."

"My dear Madam, excuse me," said Theophilus; "but I cannot help being
reminded of what an English reviewer once said,--that a lady's facts
have as much poetry in them as Tom Moore's lyrics. Of course poetry is
always agreeable, even though of no statistical value."

"I see no poetry in my facts," said Mrs. Crowfield. "Is not slavery
forever abolished, by the confession of its best friends,--even of those
who declare its abolition a misfortune, and themselves ruined in
consequence?"

"I confess, my dear Madam, that we have succeeded as we human creatures
commonly do, in supposing that we have destroyed an evil, when we have
only changed its name. We have contrived to withdraw from the slave just
that fiction of property relation which made it for the interest of some
one to care for him a little, however imperfectly; and having destroyed
that, we turn him out defenceless to shift for himself in a community
every member of which is embittered against him. The whole South
resounds with the outcries of slaves suffering the vindictive wrath of
former masters; laws are being passed hunting them out of this State and
out of that; the animosity of race--at all times the most bitter and
unreasonable of animosities--is being aroused all over the land. And the
Free States take the lead in injustice to them. Witness the late vote of
Connecticut on the suffrage question. The efforts of Government to
protect the rights of these poor defenceless creatures are about as
energetic as such efforts always have been and always will be while
human nature remains what it is. For a while the obvious rights of the
weaker party will be confessed, with some show of consideration, in
public speeches; they will be paraded by philanthropic sentimentalists,
to give point to their eloquence; they will be here and there sustained
in Governmental measures, when there is no strong temptation to the
contrary, and nothing better to be done; but the moment that political
combinations begin to be formed, all the rights and interests of this
helpless people will be bandied about, as so many makeweights in the
political scale. Any troublesome lion will have a negro thrown to him
to keep him quiet. All their hopes will be dashed to the ground by the
imperious Southern white, no longer feeling for them even the interest
of a master, and regarding them with a mixture of hatred and loathing as
the cause of all his reverses. Then, if, driven to despair, they seek to
defend themselves by force, they will be crushed by the power of the
Government, and ground to powder, as the weak have always been under the
heel of the strong.

"So much for our abolition of slavery. As to our material prosperity, it
consists of an inflated paper currency, an immense debt, a giddy,
fool-hardy spirit of speculation and stock-gambling, and a perfect furor
of extravagance, which is driving everybody to live beyond his means,
and casting contempt on the republican virtues of simplicity and
economy.

"As to advancement in morals, there never was so much intemperance in
our people before, and the papers are full of accounts of frauds,
defalcations, forgeries, robberies, assassinations, and arsons. Against
this tide of corruption the various organized denominations of religion
do nothing effectual. They are an army shut up within their own
intrenchments, holding their own with difficulty, and in no situation to
turn back the furious assaults of the enemy."

"In short," said Jennie, "according to your showing, the whole country
is going to destruction. Now, if things really are so bad, if you really
believe all you have been saying, you ought not to be sitting drinking
your tea as you are now, or to have spent the afternoon playing croquet
with us girls; you ought to gird yourself with sackcloth, and go up and
down the land, raising the alarm, and saying, 'Yet forty days and
Nineveh shall be overthrown.'"

"Well," said Theophilus, while a covert smile played about his lips,
"you know the saying, 'Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow,' etc. Things
are not yet _gone_ to destruction, only _going_,--and why not have a
good time on deck before the ship goes to pieces? Your chimney-corner is
a tranquil island in the ocean of trouble, and your muffins are
absolutely perfect. I'll take another, if you'll please to pass them."

"I've a great mind _not_ to pass them," said Jennie. "Are you in earnest
in what you are saying or are you only saying it for sensation? How
_can_ people believe such things and be comfortable? _I_ could not. If I
believed all you have been saying, I could not sleep nights,--I should
be perfectly miserable; and _you_ cannot really believe all this, or you
would be."

"My dear child," said Mrs. Crowfield, "our friend's picture is the truth
painted with all its shadows and none of its lights. All the dangers he
speaks of are real and great, but he omits the counterbalancing good.
Let _me_ speak now. There never has been a time in our history when so
many honest and just men held power in our land as now,--never a
government before in which the public councils recognized with more
respect the just and the right. There never was an instance of a
powerful government showing more tenderness in the protection of a weak
and defenceless race than ours has shown in the care of the freedmen
hitherto. There never was a case in which the people of a country were
more willing to give money and time and disinterested labor to raise and
educate those who have thus been thrown on their care. Considering that
we have had a great, harassing, and expensive war on our hands, I think
the amount done by Government and individuals for the freedmen
unequalled in the history of nations; and I do not know why it should be
predicted from this past fact, that, in the future, both Government and
people are about to throw them to the lions, as Mr. Theophilus supposes.
Let us wait, at least, and see. So long as Government maintains a
freedmen's bureau, administered by men of such high moral character, we
must think, at all events, that there are strong indications in the
right direction. Just think of the immense advance of public opinion
within four years, and of the grand successive steps of this
advance,--Emancipation in the District of Columbia, the Repeal of the
Fugitive-Slave Law, the General Emancipation Act, the Amendment of the
Constitution. All these do not look as if the black were about to be
ground to powder beneath the heel of the white. If the negroes are
oppressed in the South, they can emigrate; no laws hold them; active,
industrious laborers will soon find openings in any part of the Union."

"No," said Theophilus, "there will be black laws like those of Illinois
and Tennessee, there will be turbulent uprisings of the Irish, excited
by political demagogues, that will bar them out of Northern States.
Besides, as a class, they _will_ be idle and worthless. It will not be
their fault, but it will be the result of their slave education. All
their past observation of their masters has taught them that liberty
means licensed laziness, that work means degradation,--and therefore
they will loathe work, and cherish laziness as the sign of liberty. 'Am
not I free? Have I not as good a right to do nothing as you?' will be
the cry.

"Already the lazy whites, who never lifted a hand in any useful
employment, begin to raise the cry that "niggers won't work"; and I
suspect the cry may not be without reason. Industrious citizens can
never be made in a community where the higher class think useful labor a
disgrace. The whites will oppose the negro in every effort to rise; they
will debar him of every civil and social right; they will set him the
worst possible example, as they have been doing for hundreds of years;
and then they will hound and hiss at him for being what they made him.
This is the old track of the world,--the good, broad, reputable road on
which all aristocracies and privileged classes have been always
travelling; and it's not likely that we shall have much of a secession
from it. The Millennium isn't so near us as that, by a great deal."

"It's all very well arguing from human selfishness and human sin in that
way," said I; "but you can't take up a newspaper that doesn't contain
abundant facts to the contrary. Here, now,"--and I turned to the
Tribune,--"is one item that fell under my eye accidentally, as you were
speaking:--

"'The Superintendent of Freedmen's Affairs in Louisiana, in making up
his last Annual Report, says he has 1,952 blacks settled temporarily on
9,650 acres of land, who last year raised crops to the value of
$175,000, and that he had but few worthless blacks under his care, and
that, as a class, the blacks have fewer vagrants than can be found among
any other class of persons.'

"Such testimonies gem the newspapers like stars."

"Newspapers of your way of thinking, very likely," said Theophilus; "but
if it comes to statistics, I can bring counter statements, numerous and
dire, from scores of Southern papers, of vagrancy, laziness,
improvidence, and wretchedness."

"Probably both are true," said I, "according to the greater or less care
which has been taken of the blacks in different regions. Left to
themselves, they tend downward, pressed down by the whole weight of
semi-barbarous white society; but when the free North protects and
guides, the results are as you see."

"And do you think the free North has salt enough in it to save this
whole Southern mass from corruption? I wish I could think so; but all I
can see in the free North at present is a raging, tearing, headlong
chase after _money_. Now money is of significance only as it gives
people the power of expressing their ideal of life. And what does this
ideal prove to be among us? Is it not to ape all the splendors and vices
of old aristocratic society? Is it not to be able to live in idleness,
without useful employment, a life of glitter and flutter and show? What
do our New York dames of fashion seek after? To avoid family care, to
find servants at any price who will relieve them of home
responsibilities, and take charge of their houses and children while
they shine at ball and opera, and drive in the park. And the servants
who learn of these mistresses,--what do they seek after? _They_ seek
also to get rid of care, to live as nearly as possible without work, to
dress and shine in their secondary sphere, as the mistresses do in the
primary one. High wages with little work and plenty of company express
Biddy's ideal of life, which is a little more respectable than that of
her mistress, who wants high wages with no work. The house and the
children are not hers; and why should she care more for their well-being
than the mistress and the mother?

"Hence come wranglings and moanings. Biddy uses a chest of tea in three
months, and the amount of the butcher's bill is fabulous; Jane gives the
baby laudanum to quiet it, while she slips out to _her_ parties; and the
upper classes are shocked at the demoralized state of the Irish, their
utter want of faithfulness and moral principle! How dreadful that there
are no people who enjoy the self-denials and the cares which they
dislike, that there are no people who rejoice in carrying that burden of
duties which they do not wish to touch with one of their fingers! The
outcry about the badness of servants means just this: that everybody is
tired of self-helpfulness,--the servants as thoroughly as the masters
and mistresses. All want the cream of life, without even the trouble of
skimming; and the great fight now is, who shall drink the skim-milk,
which nobody wants, _Work_,--honorable toil,--manly, womanly
endeavor,--is just what nobody likes; and this is as much a fact in the
free North as in the slave South.

"What are all the young girls looking for in marriage? Some man with
money enough to save them from taking any care or having any trouble in
domestic life, enabling them, like the lilies of the field, to rival
Solomon in all his glory, while they toil not neither do they spin; and
when they find that even money cannot purchase freedom from care in
family life, because their servants are exactly of the same mind with
themselves, and hate to do their duties as cordially as they themselves
do, then are they in anguish of spirit, and wish for slavery, or
aristocracy, or anything that would give them power over the lower
classes."

"But surely, Mr. Theophilus," said Jennie, "there is no sin in disliking
trouble, and wanting to live easily and have a good time in one's
life,--it's so very natural."

"No sin, my dear, I admit; but there is a certain amount of work and
trouble that somebody must take, to carry on the family and the world;
and the mischief is, that all are agreed in wanting to get rid of it.
Human nature is, above all things, lazy. I am lazy myself. Everybody is.
The whole struggle of society is as to who shall eat the hard
bread-and-cheese of labor, which must be eaten by somebody. Nobody wants
it,--neither you in the parlor, nor Biddy in the kitchen.

"'The mass ought to labor, and _we_ lie on sofas,' is a sentence that
would unite more subscribers than any confession of faith that ever was
presented, whether religious or political; and its subscribers would be
as numerous and sincere in the Free States as in the Slave States, or I
am much mistaken in my judgment. The negroes are men and women, like any
of the rest of us, and particularly apt in the imitation of the ways and
ideas current in good society; and consequently to learn to play on the
piano, and to have nothing in particular to do, will be the goal of
aspiration among colored girls and women, and to do house-work will seem
to them intolerable drudgery, simply because it is so among the fair
models to whom they look up in humble admiration. You see, my dear, what
it is to live in a democracy. It deprives us of the vantage-ground on
which we cultivated people can stand and say to our neighbor,--'The
cream is for me, and the skim-milk for you; the white bread for me, and
the brown for you. I am born to amuse myself and have a good time, and
you are born to do everything that is tiresome and disagreeable to me.'
The 'My Lady Ludlows' of England can stand on their platform and
lecture the lower classes from the Church Catechism, to 'order
themselves lowly and reverently to all their betters'; and they can base
their exhortations on the old established law of society, by which some
are born to inherit the earth, and live a life of ease and pleasure, and
others to toil, without pleasure or amusement, for their support and
aggrandizement. An aristocracy, as I take it, is a combination of human
beings to divide life into two parts, one of which shall comprise all
social and moral ease, pleasure, and amusement,--and the other,
incessant toil, with the absence of every privilege and blessing of
human existence. Life thus divided, we aristocrats keep the good for
ourselves and our children, and distribute the evil as the lot of the
general mass of mankind. The desire to monopolize and to dominate is the
most rooted form of human selfishness; it is the hydra with many heads,
and, cut off in one place, it puts out in another.

"Nominally, the great aristocratic arrangement of American society has
just been destroyed; but really, I take it, the essential _animus_ of
the slave system still exists, and pervades the community, North as well
as South. Everybody is wanting to get the work done by somebody else,
and to take the money himself; the grinding between employers and
employed is going on all the time, and the field of controversy has only
been made wider by bringing in, a whole new class of laborers. The Irish
have now the opportunity to sustain their aristocracy over the negro.
Shall they not have somebody to look down upon?

"All through free society, employers and employed are at incessant feud;
and the more free and enlightened the society, the more bitter the feud.
The standing complaint of life in America is the badness of servants;
and England, which always follows at a certain rate behind us in our
social movements, is beginning to raise very loudly the same complaint.
The condition of service has been thought worthy of public attention in
some of the leading British prints; and Ruskin, in a summing up article,
speaks of it as a deep ulcer in society,--a thing hopeless of remedy."

"My dear Mr. Theophilus," said my wife, "I cannot imagine whither you
are rambling, or to what purpose you are getting up these horrible
shadows. You talk of the world as if there were no God in it, overruling
the selfishness of men, and educating it up to order and justice. I do
not deny that there is a vast deal of truth in what you say. Nobody
doubts, that, in general, human nature _is_ selfish, callous, unfeeling,
willing to engross all good to itself, and to trample on the rights of
others. Nevertheless, thanks to God's teaching and fatherly care, the
world has worked along to the point of a great nation founded on the
principles of strict equality, forbidding all monopolies, aristocracies,
privileged classes, by its very constitution; and now, by God's
wonderful providence, this nation has been brought, and forced, as it
were, to overturn and abolish the only aristocratic institution that
interfered with its free development. Does not this look as if a
Mightier Power than ours were working in and for us, supplementing our
weakness and infirmity? and if we believe that man is always ready to
drop everything and let it run back to evil, shall we not have faith
that God will _not_ drop the noble work He has so evidently taken in
hand in this nation?"

"And I want to know," said Jennie, "why your illustrations of
selfishness are all drawn from the female sex. Why do you speak of
_girls_ that marry for money, any more than men? of _mistresses_ of
families that want to be free from household duties and
responsibilities, rather that of masters?"

"My charming young lady," said Theophilus, "it is a fact that in
America, except the slaveholders, women have hitherto been the only
aristocracy. Women have been the privileged class,--the only one to
which our rough democracy has always end everywhere given the
precedence,--and consequently the vices of aristocrats are more
developed in them as a class than among men. The leading principle of
aristocracy, which is to take pay without work, to live on the toils and
earnings of others, is one which obtains more generally among women than
among men in this country. The men of our country, as a general thing,
even in our uppermost classes, always propose to themselves some work or
business by which they may acquire a fortune, or enlarge that already
made for them by their fathers. The women of the same class propose to
themselves nothing but to live at their ease on the money made for them
by the labors of fathers and husbands. As a consequence, they become
enervated and indolent,--averse to any bracing, wholesome effort, either
mental or physical. The unavoidable responsibilities and cares of a
family, instead of being viewed by them in the light of a noble
life-work, in which they do their part in the general labors of the
world, seem to them so many injuries and wrongs; they seek to turn them
upon servants, and find servants unwilling to take them; and so selfish
are they, that I have heard more than one lady declare that she didn't
care if it was unjust, she should like to have slaves rather than be
plagued with servants who had so much liberty. All the novels, poetry,
and light literature of the world, which form the general staple of
female reading, are based upon aristocratic institutions, and
impregnated with aristocratic ideas; and women among us are constantly
aspiring to foreign and aristocratic modes of life rather than to those
of native, republican simplicity. How many women are there, think you,
that would not go in for aristocracy and aristocratic prerogatives, if
they were only sure that they themselves should be of the privileged
class? To be 'My Lady Duchess,' and to have a right by that simple title
to the prostrate deference of all the lower orders! How many would have
firmness to vote against such an establishment merely because it was bad
for society? Tell the fair Mrs. Feathercap, 'In order that you may be a
duchess, and have everything a paradise of elegance and luxury around
you and your children, a hundred poor families must have no chance for
anything better than black bread and muddy water all their lives, a
hundred poor men must work all their lives on such wages that a
fortnight's sickness will send their families to the almshouse, and that
no amount of honesty and forethought can lay up any provision for old
age'"--

"Come now, Sir," said Jennie, "don't tell me that there any girls or
women so mean and selfish as to want aristocracy or rank so purchased!
You are too bad, Mr. Theophilus!"

"Perhaps they might not, were it stated in just these terms; yet I
think, if the question of the establishment of an order of aristocracy
among us were put to vote, we should find more women than men who would
go for it; and they would flout at the consequences to society with the
lively wit and the musical laugh which make feminine selfishness so
genteel and agreeable.

"No! It is a fact, that, in America, the women, in the wealthy classes,
are like the noblemen of aristocracies, and the men are the workers. And
in all this outcry that has been raised about women's wages being
inferior to those of men there is one thing overlooked,--and that is,
that women's work is generally inferior to that of men, because in every
rank they are the pets of society, and are excused from the laborious
drill and training by which men are fitted for their callings. Our fair
friends come in generally by some royal road to knowledge, which saves
them the dire necessity of real work,--a sort of feminine
hop-skip-and-jump into science or mechanical skill,--nothing like the
uncompromising hard labor to which the boy is put who would be a
mechanic or farmer, a lawyer or physician.

"I admit freely that we men are to blame for most of the faults of our
fair nobility. There is plenty of heroism, abundance of energy, and love
of noble endeavor lying dormant in these sheltered and petted daughters
of the better classes; but _we_keep it down and smother it. Fathers and
brothers think it discreditable to themselves not to give their
daughters and sisters the means of living in idleness; and any
adventurous fair one, who seeks to end the ennui of utter aimlessness by
applying herself to some occupation whereby she may earn her own living,
infallibly draws down on her the comments of her whole circle:--'Keeping
school, is she? Isn't her father rich enough to support her? What could
possess her?'"

"I am glad, my dear Sir Oracle, that you are beginning to recollect
yourself and temper your severities on our sex, said my wife. As usual,
there is much truth lying about loosely in the vicinity of your
assertions; but they are as far from being in themselves the truth as
would be their exact opposites.

"The class of American women who travel, live abroad, and represent our
country to the foreign eye, have acquired the reputation of being
Sybarites in luxury and extravagance, and there is much in the modes of
life that are creeping into our richer circles to justify this.

"Miss Murray, ex-maid-of-honor to the Queen of England, among other
impressions which she received from an extended tour through our
country, states it as her conviction that young American girls of the
better classes are less helpful in nursing the sick and in the general
duties of family life than the daughters of the aristocracy of England;
and I am inclined to believe it, because even the Queen has taken
special pains to cultivate habits of energy and self-helpfulness in her
children. One of the toys of the Princess Royal was said to be a cottage
of her own, furnished with every accommodation for cooking and
housekeeping, where she from time to time enacted the part of
housekeeper, making bread and biscuit, boiling potatoes which she
herself had gathered from her own garden-patch, and inviting her royal
parents to meals of her own preparing; and report says, that the
dignitaries of the German court have been horrified at the energetic
determination of the young royal housekeeper to overlook her own
linen-closets and attend to her own affairs. But, as an offset to what I
have been saying, it must be admitted that America is a country where a
young woman can be self-supporting without forfeiting her place in
society. All our New England and Western towns show us female teachers
who are as well received and as much caressed in society, and as often
contract advantageous marriages, as any women whatever; and the
productive labor of American women, in various arts, trades, and
callings, would be found, I think, not inferior to that of any women in
the world.

"Furthermore, the history of the late war has shown them capable of
every form of heroic endeavor. We have had hundreds of Florence
Nightingales, and an amount of real hard work has been done by female
hands not inferior to that performed by men in the camp and field, and
enough to make sure that American womanhood is not yet so enervated as
seriously to interfere with the prospects of free republican society."

"I wonder," said Jennie, "what it is in our country that spoils the
working-classes that come into it. They say that the emigrants, as they
land here, are often simple-hearted people, willing to work, accustomed
to early hours and plain living, decorous and respectful in their
manners. It would seem as if aristocratic drilling had done them good.
In a few months they become brawling, impertinent, grasping, want high
wages, and are very unwilling to work. I went to several
intelligence-offices the other day to look for a girl for Marianne, and
I thought, by the way the candidates catechized the ladies, and the airs
they took upon them, that they considered themselves the future
mistresses interrogating their subordinates.

"'Does ye expect me to do the washin' with the cookin'?'

"'Yes.'

"'Thin I'll niver go to that place!'

"'And does ye expect me to get the early breakfast for yer husband to
be off in the train every mornin'?'

"'Yes.'

"'I niver does that,--that ought to be a second girl's work.'

"'How many servants does ye keep, Ma'am?'

"'Two.'

"'I niver lives with people that keeps but two servants.'

"'How many has ye in yer family?'

"'Seven.'

"'That's too large a family. Has ye much company?'

"'Yes, we have company occasionally.'

"'Thin I can't come to ye; it'll be too harrd a place.'

"In fact, the thing they were all in quest of seemed to be a very small
family, with very high wages, and many perquisites and privileges.

"This is the kind of work-people our manners and institutions make of
people that come over here. I remember one day seeing a coachman touch
his cap to his mistress when she spoke to him, as is the way in Europe,
and hearing one or two others saying among themselves,--

"'That chap's a greenie; he'll get over that soon.'"

"All these things show," said I, "that the staff of power has passed
from the hands of gentility into those of labor. We may think the
working-classes somewhat unseemly in their assertion of self-importance;
but, after all, are they, considering their inferior advantages of
breeding, any more overbearing and impertinent than the upper classes
have always been to them in all ages and countries?

"When Biddy looks long, hedges in her work with many conditions, and is
careful to get the most she can for the least labor, is she, after all,
doing any more than you or I or all the rest of the world? I myself will
not write articles for five dollars a page, when there are those who
will give me fifteen. I would not do double duty as an editor on a
salary of seven thousand, when I could get ten thousand for less work.

"Biddy and her mistress are two human beings, with the same human wants.
Both want to escape trouble, to make their life comfortable and easy,
with the least outlay of expense. Biddy's capital is her muscles and
sinews; and she wants to get as many greenbacks in exchange for them as
her wit and shrewdness will enable her to do. You feel, when you bargain
with her, that she is nothing to you, except so far as her strength and
knowledge may save you care and trouble; and she feels that you are
nothing to her, except so far as she can get your money for her work.
The free-and-easy airs of those seeking employment show one thing,--that
the country in general is prosperous, and that openings for profitable
employment are so numerous that it is not thought necessary to try to
conciliate favor. If the community were at starvation-point, and the
loss of a situation brought fear of the almshouse, the laboring-class
would be more subservient. As it is, there is a little spice of the
bitterness of a past age of servitude in their present attitude,--a
bristling, self-defensive impertinence, which will gradually smooth away
as society learns to accommodate itself to the new order of things."

"Well, but, papa," said Jennie, "don't you think all this a very severe
test, if applied to us women particularly, more than to the men? Mr.
Theophilus seems to think women are aristocrats, and go for enslaving
the lower classes out of mere selfishness; but I say that we are a great
deal more strongly tempted than men, because all these annoyances and
trials of domestic life come upon us. It is very insidious, the
aristocratic argument, as it appeals to us; there seems much to be said
in its favor. It does appear to me that it is better to have servants
and work-people tidy, industrious, respectful, and decorous, as they are
in Europe, than domineering, impertinent, and negligent, as they are
here,--and it seems that there is something in our institutions that
produces these disagreeable traits: and I presume that the negroes will
eventually be travelling the same road as the Irish, and from the same
influences.

"When people see all these things, and feel all the inconveniences of
them, I don't wonder that they are tempted not to like democracy, and to
feel as if aristocratic institutions made a more agreeable state of
society. It is not such a blank, bald, downright piece of brutal
selfishness as Mr. Theophilus there seems to suppose, for us to wish
there were some quiet, submissive, laborious lower class, who would be
content to work for kind treatment and moderate wages."

"But, my little dear," said I, "the matter is not left to our choice.
Wish it or not wish it, it's what we evidently can't have. The day for
that thing is past. The power is passing out of the hands of the
cultivated few into those of the strong, laborious many. _Numbers_ is
the king of our era; and he will reign over us, whether we will hear or
whether we will forbear. The sighers for an obedient lower class and the
mourners for slavery may get ready their crape, and have their
pocket-handkerchiefs bordered with black; for they have much weeping to
do, and for many years to come. The good old feudal times, when two
thirds of the population thought themselves born only for the honor,
glory, and profit of the other third, are gone, with all their beautiful
devotions, all their trappings of song and story. In the land where such
institutions were most deeply rooted and most firmly established, they
are assailed every day by hard hands and stout hearts; and their
position resembles that of some of the picturesque ruins of Italy, which
are constantly being torn away to build prosaic modern shops and houses.

"This great democratic movement is coming down into modern society with
a march as irresistible as the glacier moves down from the mountains.
Its front is in America,--and beyond are England, France, Italy,
Prussia, and the Mohammedan countries. In all, the rights of the
laboring masses are a living force, bearing slowly and inevitably all
before it. Our war has been a marshalling of its armies, commanded by a
hard-handed, inspired man of the working-class. An intelligent American,
recently resident in Egypt, says it was affecting to notice the interest
with which the working-classes there were looking upon our late struggle
in America, and the earnestness of their wishes for the triumph of the
Union. 'It is our cause, it is for us,' they said, as said the
cotton-spinners of England and the silk-weavers of Lyons. The forces of
this mighty movement are still directed by a man from the lower orders,
the sworn foe of exclusive privileges and landed aristocracies. If Andy
Johnson is consistent with himself, with the principles which raised him
from a tailor's bench to the head of a mighty nation, he will see to it
that the work that Lincoln began is so thoroughly done, that every man
and every woman in America, of whatever race or complexion, shall have
exactly equal rights before the law, and be free to rise or fall
according to their individual intelligence, industry, and moral worth.
So long as everything is not strictly in accordance with our principles
of democracy, so long as there is in any part of the country an
aristocratic upper class who despise labor, and a laboring lower class
that is denied equal political rights, so long this grinding and discord
between the two will never cease in America. It will make trouble not
only in the South, but in the North,--trouble between all employers and
employed,--trouble in every branch and department of labor,--trouble in
every parlor and every kitchen.

"What is it that has driven every American woman out of domestic
service, when domestic service is full as well paid, is easier,
healthier, and in many cases far more agreeable, than shop and factory
work? It is, more than anything else, the influence of slavery in the
South,--its insensible influence on the minds of mistresses, giving them
false ideas of what ought to be the position and treatment of a female
citizen in domestic service, and its very marked influence on the minds
of freedom-loving Americans, causing them to choose _any_ position
rather than one which is regarded as assimilating them to slaves. It is
difficult to say what are the very worst results of a system so
altogether bad as that of slavery; but one of the worst is certainly the
utter contempt it brings on useful labor, and the consequent utter
physical and moral degradation of a large body of the whites; and this
contempt of useful labor has been constantly spreading like an infection
from the Southern to the Northern States, particularly among women, who,
as our friend here has truly said, are by our worship and exaltation of
them made peculiarly liable to take the malaria of aristocratic society.
Let anybody observe the conversation in good society for an hour or two,
and hear the tone in which servant-girls, seamstresses, mechanics, and
all who work for their living, are sometimes mentioned, and he will see,
that, while every one of the speakers professes to regard useful labor
as respectable, she is yet deeply imbued with the leaven of aristocratic
ideas.

"In the South the contempt for labor bred of slavery has so permeated
society, that we see great, coarse, vulgar _lazzaroni_ lying about in
rags and vermin, and dependent on government rations, maintaining, as
their only source of self-respect, that they never have done and never
_will_ do a stroke of useful work, in all their lives. In the North
there are, I believe, no _men_ who would make such a boast; but I think
there are many women--beautiful, fascinating _lazzaroni_ of the parlor
and boudoir--who make their boast of elegant helplessness and utter
incompetence for any of woman's duties with equal _naïveté_. The
Spartans made their slaves drunk, to teach their children the evils of
intoxication; and it seems to be the policy of a large class in the
South now to keep down and degrade the only working-class they have, for
the sake of teaching their children to despise work.

"We of the North, who know the dignity of labor, who know the value of
free and equal institutions, who have enjoyed advantages for seeing
their operation, ought, in true brotherliness, to exercise the power
given us by the present position of the people of the Southern States,
and put things thoroughly right _for_ them, well knowing, that, though
they may not like it at the moment, they will like it in the end, and
that it will bring them peace, plenty, and settled prosperity, such as
they have long envied here in the North. It is no kindness to an invalid
brother, half recovered from delirium, to leave him a knife to cut his
throat with, should he be so disposed. We should rather appeal from
Philip drunk to Philip sober, and do real kindness, trusting to the
future for our meed of gratitude.

"Giving equal political rights to all the inhabitants of the Southern
States will be their shortest way to quiet and to wealth. It will avert
what is else almost certain,--a war of races; since all experience shows
that the ballot introduces the very politest relations between the
higher and lower classes. If the right be restricted, let it be by
requirements of property and education, applying to all the population
equally.

"Meanwhile, we citizens and citizenesses of the North should remember
that Reconstruction means something more than setting things right in
the Southern States. We have saved our government and institutions, but
we have paid a fearful price for their salvation; and we ought to prove
now that they are worth the price.

"The empty chair, never to be filled,--the light gone out on its
candlestick, never on earth to be rekindled,--gallant souls that have
exhaled to heaven in slow torture and starvation,--the precious blood
that has drenched a hundred battle-fields,--all call to us with warning
voices, and tell us not to let such sacrifices be in vain. They call on
us by our clear understanding of the great principles of democratic
equality, for which our martyred brethren suffered and died, to show to
all the world that their death was no mean and useless waste, but a
glorious investment for the future of mankind.

"This war, these sufferings, these sacrifices, ought to make every
American man and woman look on himself and herself as belonging to a
royal priesthood, a peculiar people. The blood of our slain ought to be
a gulf, wide and deep as the Atlantic, dividing us from the opinions and
the practices of countries whose government and society are founded on
other and antagonistic ideas. Democratic republicanism has never yet
been perfectly worked out either in this or any other country. It is a
splendid edifice, half built, deformed by rude scaffolding, noisy with
the clink of trowels, blinding the eyes with the dust of lime, and
endangering our heads with falling brick. We make our way over heaps of
shavings and lumber to view the stately apartments,--we endanger our
necks in climbing ladders standing in the place of future staircases;
but let us not for all this cry out that the old rat-holed mansions of
former ages, with their mould, and moss, and cockroaches, are better
than this new palace. There is no lime-dust, no clink of trowels, no
rough scaffolding there, to be sure, and life goes on very quietly; but
there is the foul air of slow and sure decay.

"Republican institutions in America are in a transition state; they have
not yet separated themselves from foreign and antagonistic ideas and
traditions, derived from old countries; and the labors necessary for the
upbuilding of society are not yet so adjusted that there is mutual
pleasure and comfort in the relations of employer and employed. We still
incline to class-distinctions and aristocracies. We incline to the
scheme of dividing the world's work into two orders: first, physical
labor, which is held to be rude and vulgar, and the province of a lower
class; and second, brain labor, held to be refined and aristocratic, and
the province of a higher class. Meanwhile, the Creator, who is the
greatest of levellers, has given to every human being _both_ a physical
system, needing to be kept in order by physical labor, and an
intellectual or brain power, needing to be kept in order by brain labor.
_Work_, use, employment, is the condition of health in both; and he who
works either to the neglect of the other lives but a half-life, and is
an imperfect human being.

"The aristocracies of the Old World claim that their only labor should
be that of the brain; and they keep their physical system in order by
violent exercise, which is made genteel from the fact only that it is
not useful or productive. It would be losing caste to refresh the
muscles by handling the plough or the axe; and so foxes and hares must
be kept to be hunted, and whole counties turned into preserves, in order
that the nobility and gentry may have physical exercise in a way
befitting their station,--that is to say, in a way that produces
nothing, and does good only to themselves.

"The model republican uses his brain for the highest purposes of brain
work, and his muscles in _productive_ physical labor; and useful labor
he respects above that which is merely agreeable.

"When this equal respect for physical and mental labor shall have taken
possession of every American citizen, there will be no so-called
laboring class: there will no more be a class all muscle without brain
power to guide it, and a class all brain without muscular power to
execute. The labors of society will be lighter, because each individual
will take his part in them; they will be performed better, because no
one will be overburdened.

"In those days, Miss Jennie, it will be an easier matter to keep house,
because, house-work being no longer regarded as degrading drudgery, you
will find a superior class of women ready to engage in it.

"Every young girl and woman, who in her sphere and by her example shows
that she is not ashamed of domestic labor, and that she considers the
necessary work and duties of family life as dignified and important, is
helping to bring on this good day. Louis Philippe once jestingly
remarked,--'I have this qualification for being a king in these days,
that I have blacked my own boots, and could black them again.'

"Every American ought to cultivate, as his pride and birthright, the
habit of self-helpfulness. Our command of the labor of good _employés_
in any department is liable to such interruptions, that he who has
blacked his own boots, and can do it again, is, on the whole, likely to
secure the most comfort in life.

"As to that which Mr. Ruskin pronounces to be a deep, irremediable ulcer
in society, namely, domestic service, we hold that the last workings of
pure democracy will cleanse and heal it. When right ideas are
sufficiently spread,--when everybody is self-helpful and capable of
being self-supporting,--when there is a fair start for every human being
in the race of life, and all its prizes are, without respect of persons,
to be obtained by the best runner,--when every kind of useful labor is
thoroughly respected,--then there will be a clear, just, wholesome basis
of intercourse on which employers and employed can move without
wrangling or discord.

"Renouncing all claims to superiority on the one hand, and all thought
of servility on the other, service can be rendered by fair contracts and
agreements, with that mutual respect and benevolence which every human
being owes to every other.

"But for this transition period, which is wearing out the life of so
many women, and making so many households uncomfortable, I have some
alleviating suggestions, which I shall give in my next paper."



GRIFFITH GAUNT; OR, JEALOUSY.


CHAPTER IV.--_Continued._

He uttered a little shout of joy and amazement; his mare reared and
plunged, and then was quiet. And thus Kate Peyton and he met,--at right
angles,--and so close that it looked as if she had meant to ride him
down.

How he stared at her! How more than mortal fair she shone, returning to
those bereaved eyes of his, as if she had really dropped from heaven!

His clasped hands, his haggard face channelled by tears, showed the keen
girl she was strong where she had thought herself weak, and she
comported herself accordingly, and in one moment took a much higher tone
than she had intended as she came along.

"I am afraid," said she, very coldly, "you will have to postpone your
journey a day or two. I am grieved to tell you that poor Mr. Charlton is
dead."

Griffith uttered an exclamation.

"He asked for you; and messengers are out after you on every side. You
must go to Bolton at once."

"Well-a-day!" said Griffith, "has he left me, too? Good, kind old man,
on any other day I had found tears for thee! But now, methinks, happy
are the dead. Alas! sweet mistress, I hoped you came to tell me you
had--I might--what signifies what I hoped?--when I saw you had deigned
to ride after me. Why should I go to Bolton, after all?"

"Because you will be an ungrateful wretch else. What! leave others to
carry your kinsman and your benefactor to his grave, while you turn your
back on him, and inherit his estate? For shame, Sir! for shame!"

Griffith expostulated, humbly.

"How hardly you judge me! What are Bolton Hall and Park to me now? They
were to have been yours, you know. And yours they shall be. I came
between and robbed you. To be sure, the old man knew my mind. He said to
himself,--'Griffith or Kate, what matters it who has the land? They will
live together on it.' But all that is changed now; you will never share
it with me; and so I do feel I have no right to the place. Kate, my own
Kate, I have heard them sneer at you for being poor, and it made my
heart ache. I'll stop that, any way. Go you in my place to the funeral;
he that is dead will forgive me; his spirit knows now what I endure; and
I'll send you a writing, all sealed and signed, shall make Bolton Hall
and Park yours; and when you are happy with some one you _can_ love, as
well as I love you, think sometimes of poor jealous Griffith, that loved
you dear and grudged you nothing; but," grinding his teeth and turning
white, "I _can't_ live in Cumberland, and see you in another man's
arms."

Then Catharine trembled, and could not speak awhile; but at last she
faltered out,--

"You will make me _hate_ you."

"God forbid!" said simple Griffith.

"Well, then, don't thwart me, and provoke me so, but just turn your
horse's head and go quietly home to Bolton Hall, and do your duty to the
dead and the living. You can't go _this_ way, for me and my horse."
Then, seeing him waver, this virago faltered out, "And I have been so
tried to-day, first by one, then by another, surely _you_ might have
some pity on me. Oh! oh! oh! oh!"

"Nay, nay," cried Griffith, all in a flutter, "I'll go without more
words; as I am a gentleman, I will sleep at Bolton this night, and will
do my duty to the dead and the living. Don't you cry, sweetest; I give
in. I find I have no will but yours."

The next moment they were cantering side by side, and never drew rein
till they reached the cross-roads.

"Now tell me one thing," stammered Griffith, with a most ghastly attempt
at cheerful indifference. "How--do you--happen to be--on George
Neville's horse?"

Kate had been expecting this question for some time; yet she colored
high when it did come. However, she had her answer pat. The horse was in
the stable-yard, and fresh; her own was tired.

"What was I to do, Griffith? And now," added she, hastily, "the sun will
soon set, and the roads are bad; be careful. I wish I could ask you to
sleep at our house; but--there are reasons"--

She hesitated; she could not well tell him George Neville was to dine
and sleep there.

Griffith assured her there was no danger; his mare knew every foot of
the way.

They parted: Griffith rode to Bolton, and Kate rode home.

It was past dinner-time. She ran up stairs, and hurried on her best gown
and her diamond comb. For she began to quake now at the prank she had
played with her guest's horse; and Nature taught her that the best way
to soften censure is--to be beautiful.

    "On pardonne tout aux belles."

And certainly she was passing fair, and queenly with her diamond comb.

She came down stairs and was received by her father. He grumbled at
being kept waiting for dinner.

Kate easily appeased the good-natured Squire, and then asked what had
become of Mr. Neville.

"Oh, he is gone long ago! Remembered, all of a sudden, he had promised
to dine with a neighbor."

Kate shook her head skeptically, but said nothing. But a good minute
after, she inquired,--

"How did he go? on foot?"

The Squire did not know.

After dinner old Joe sought an interview, and was admitted into the
dining-room.

"Be it all right about the gray horse, Master?"

"What of him?" asked Kate.

"He be gone to Neville Court, Mistress. But I suppose" (with a horrid
leer) "it is all right. Muster Neville told me all about it. He said,
says he,--

"'Some do break a kine or the likes on these here j'yful occasions;
other some do exchange goold rings. Your young mistress and me, _we_
exchange nags. She takes my pieball, I take her gray,' says he. 'Saddle
him for me, Joe,' says he, 'and wish me j'y.'

"So I clapped Muster Neville's saddle on the gray, and a gave me a
goolden guinea, a did; and I was so struck of a heap I let un go without
wishing on him j'y; but I hollered it arter un, as hard as I could. How
you looks! It be all right, bain't it?"

Squire Peyton laughed heartily, and said he concluded it was all right.

"The piebald," said he, "is rising five, and _I've_ had the gray ten
years. We have got the sunnyside of the bargain, Joe."

He gave Joe a glass of wine and sent him off, inflated with having done
a good stroke in horseflesh.

As for Kate, she was red as fire, and kept her lips close as wax; not a
word could be got out of her. The less she said, the more she thought.
She was thoroughly vexed, and sore perplexed how to get her gray horse
back from such a man as George Neville; and yet she could not help
laughing at the trick, and secretly admiring this chevalier, who had
kept his mortification to himself, and parried an affront so gallantly.

"The good-humored wretch!" said she to herself. "If Griffith ever goes
away again, he will have me, whether I like or no. No lady could resist
the monster long without some other man close at hand to help her."


CHAPTER V.

As, when a camel drops in the desert, vultures, hitherto unseen, come
flying from the horizon, so Mr. Charlton had no sooner succumbed than
the air darkened with undertakers flocking to Bolton for a lugubrious
job. They rode up on black steeds, they crunched the gravel in grave
gigs, and sent in black-edged cards to Griffith, and lowered their
voices, and bridled their briskness, and tried hard, poor souls! to be
sad; and were horribly complacent beneath that thin japan of venal
sympathy.

Griffith selected his Raven, and then sat down to issue numerous
invitations.

The idea of eschewing funereal pomp had not yet arisen. A gentleman of
that day liked his very remains to make a stir, and did not see the fun
of stealing into his grave like a rabbit slipping aground. Mr. Charlton
had even left behind him a sealed letter containing a list of the
persons he wished to follow him to the grave and attend the reading of
his will. These were thirty-four, and amongst them three known to fame:
namely, George Neville, Esq., Edward Peyton, Esq., and Miss Catherine
Peyton.

To all and each of the thirty-four young Gaunt wrote a formal letter,
inviting them to pay respect to their deceased friend, and to honor
himself, by coming to Bolton Hall at high noon on Saturday next. These
letters, in compliance with another custom of the time and place, were
all sent by mounted messengers, and the answers came on horseback, too;
so there was much clattering of hoofs coming and going, and much
roasting, baking, drinking of ale, and bustling, all along of him who
lay so still in an upper chamber.

And every man and woman came to Mr. Gaunt to ask his will and advice,
however simple the matter; and the servants turned very obsequious, and
laid themselves out to please the new master, and retain their old
places.

And, what with the sense of authority, and the occupation, and growing
ambition, love-sick Griffith grew another man, and began to forget that
two days ago he was leaving the country and going to give up the whole
game.

He found time to send Kate a loving letter, but no talk of marriage in
it. He remembered she had asked him to give her time. Well, he would
take her advice.

It wanted just three days to the funeral, when Mr. Charlton's own
carriage, long unused, was found to be out of repair. Griffith had it
sent to the nearest town, and followed it on that and other business.
Now it happened to be what the country folk called "justicing day"; and
who should ride into the yard of the "Roebuck" but the new magistrate,
Mr. Neville? He alighted off a great bony gray horse before Griffith's
very nose, and sauntered into a private room.

Griffith looked, and looked, and, scarcely able to believe his senses,
followed Neville's horse to the stable, and examined him all round.

Griffith was sore perplexed, and stood at the stable-door glaring at the
horse; and sick misgivings troubled him. He forgot the business he came
about, and went and hung about the bar, and tried to pick up a clew to
this mystery. The poor wretch put on a miserable assumption of
indifference, and asked one or two of the magistrates if that was not
Mr. Peyton's gray horse young Neville had ridden in upon.

Now amongst these gentlemen was a young squire Miss Peyton had refused,
and galled him. He had long owed Gaunt a grudge for seeming to succeed
where he had notably failed, and now, hearing him talk so much about the
gray, he smelt a rat. He stepped into the parlor and told Neville Gaunt
was fuming about the gray horse, and questioning everybody. Neville,
though he put so bold a face on his recent adventure at Peyton Hall, was
secretly smarting, and quite disposed to sting Gaunt in return. He saw a
tool in this treacherous young squire,--his name was Galton,--and used
him accordingly.

Galton, thoroughly primed by Neville, slipped back, and, choosing his
opportunity, poisoned Griffith Gaunt.

And this is how he poisoned him.

"Oh," said he, "Neville has bought the gray nag; and cost him dear, it
did."

Griffith gave a sigh of relief; for he at once concluded old Peyton had
sold his daughter's very horse. He resolved to buy her a better one next
week with Mr. Charlton's money.

But Galton, who was only playing with him, went on to explain that
Neville had paid a double price for the nag: he had given Miss Peyton
his piebald horse in exchange, and his troth into the bargain. In short,
he lent the matter so adroit a turn, that the exchange of horses seemed
to be Kate's act as much as Neville's, and the interference inevitable.

"It is a falsehood!" gasped Griffith.

"Nay," said Galton, "I had it on the best authority: but you shall not
quarrel with me about it; the lady is nought to me, and I but tell the
tale as 'twas told to me."

"Then who told it you?" said Gaunt, sternly.

"Why, it is all over the country, for that matter."

"No subterfuges, Sir! I am the lady's servant, and you know it: this
report, it slanders her, and insults me: give me the author, or I'll lay
my hunting-whip on your bones."

"Two can play at that game," said Galton; but he turned pale at the
prospect of the pastime.

Griffith strode towards him, black with ire.

Then Galton stammered out,--

"It was Neville himself told me."

"Ah!" said Griffith; "I thought so. He is a liar, and a coward."

"I would not advise you to tell _him_ so," said the other, maliciously.
"He has killed his man in France: spitted him like a lark."

Griffith replied by a smile of contempt.

"Where is the man?" said he, after a pause.

"How should I know?" asked Galton, innocently.

"Where did you leave him five minutes ago?"

Galton was dumbfoundered at this stroke, and could find nothing to say.

And now, as often happens, the matter took a turn not in the least
anticipated by the conspirators.

"You must come with me, Sir, if you please," said Griffith, quietly:
and he took Galton's arm.

"Oh, with all my heart," said the other. "But, Mr. Gaunt, do not you
take these idle reports to heart: _I_ never do. What the Devil, where
are you carrying me to? For Heaven's sake, let this foolish business go
no farther."

For he found Griffith was taking him to the very room where Neville was.

Griffith deigned no reply; he just opened the door of the room in
question, and walked the tale-bearer into the presence of the
tale-maker. George Neville rose and confronted the pair with a vast
appearance of civility; but under it a sneer was just discernible.

The rivals measured each other from head to foot, and then Neville
inquired to what he owed the honor of this visit.

Griffith replied,--

"He tells me you told him Miss Peyton has exchanged horses with you."

"Oh, you indiscreet person!" said George, shaking his finger playfully
at Galton.

"And, by the same token, has plighted her troth to you."

"Worse and worse," said George. "Galton, I'll never trust you with any
secrets again. Besides, you exaggerate."

"Come, Sir," said Griffith, sternly, "this Ned Galton was but your tool,
and your mouth-piece; and therefore I bring him in here to witness my
reply to _you_: Mr. George Neville, you are a liar and a scoundrel."

George Neville bounded to his feet like a tiger.

"I'll have your life for those two words," he cried.

Then he suddenly governed himself by a great effort.

"It is not for me to bandy foul terms with a Cumberland savage," said
he. "Name your time and place."

"I will. Ned Galton, you may go. I wish to say a few words in private to
Mr. Neville."

Galton hesitated.

"No violence, Gentlemen: consider."

"Nonsense!" said Neville. "Mr. Gaunt and I are going to fight: we are
not going to brawl. Be so good as to leave us."

"Ay," said Griffith; "and if you repeat a word of all this, woe be to
your skin!"

As soon as he was gone, Griffith Gaunt turned very grave and calm, and
said to George Neville,--

"The Cumberland savage has been better taught than to expose the lady he
loves to gossiping tongues."

Neville colored up to the eyes at this thrust.

Griffith continued,--

"The least you can do is to avoid fresh scandal."

"I shall be happy to coöperate with you so far," said Neville, stiffly.
"I undertake to keep Galton silent; and for the rest, we have only to
name an early hour for meeting, and confide it to but one discreet
friend apiece who will attend us to the field. Then there will be no
gossip, and no bumpkins nor constables breaking in: such things have
happened in this country, I hear."

It was Wednesday. They settled to meet on Friday at noon on a hillside
between Bolton and Neville's Court. The spot was exposed, but so wild
and unfrequented that no interruption was to be feared. Mr. Neville
being a practised swordsman, Gaunt chose pistols,--a weapon at which the
combatants were supposed to be pretty equal. To this Neville very
handsomely consented.

By this time a stiff and elaborate civility had taken the place of their
heat, and at parting they bowed both long and low to each other.

Griffith left the inn and went into the street; and as soon as he got
there, he began to realize what he had done, and that in a day or two he
might very probably be a dead man. The first thing he did was to go with
sorrowful face and heavy step to Mr. Houseman's office.

Mr. Houseman was a highly respectable solicitor. His late father and he
had long enjoyed the confidence of the gentry, and this enabled him to
avoid litigious business, and confine himself pretty much to the more
agreeable and lucrative occupation of drawing wills, settlements, and
conveyances, and effecting loans, sales, and transfers. He visited the
landed proprietors, and dined with them, and was a great favorite in the
country.

"Justicing day" brought him many visits; so on that day he was always at
his place of business. Indeed, a client was with him when Griffith
called, and the young gentlemen had to wait in the outer office for full
ten minutes.

Then a door opened and the client in question came out, looking
mortified and anxious. It was Squire Peyton. At sight of Gaunt, who had
risen to take his vacant place, Kate's father gave him a stiff nod, and
an unfriendly glance, then hurried away.

Griffith was hurt at his manner. He knew very well Mr. Peyton looked
higher for his daughter than Griffith Gaunt: but for all that the old
gentleman had never shown him any personal dislike or incivility until
this moment.

So Griffith could not but fear that Neville was somehow at the bottom of
this, and that the combination was very strong against him. Now in thus
interpreting Mr. Peyton's manner he fell into a very common error and
fruitful cause of misunderstanding. We go and fancy that Everybody is
thinking of _us_. But he is not: he is like us; he is thinking of
himself.

"Well, well," thought Griffith, "if I am not to have her, what better
place for me than the grave."

He entered Mr. Houseman's private room and opened his business at once.

But a singular concurrence of circumstances induced Lawyer Houseman to
confide to a third party the substance of what passed between this young
gentleman and himself. So, to avoid repetition, the best way will be to
let Houseman tell this part of my tale, instead of me; and I only hope
his communication, when it comes, may be half as interesting to my
reader as it was to his hearer.

Suffice it for me to say that lawyer and client were closeted a good
hour, and were still conversing together when a card was handed in to
Mr. Houseman that seemed to cause him both surprise and pleasure.

"In five minutes," said he to the clerk. Griffith took the hint, and
bade him good-bye directly.

As he went out, the gentleman who had sent in his card rose from a seat
in the outer office to go in.

It was Mr. George Neville.

Griffith Gaunt and he saluted and scanned each other curiously. They
little thought to meet again so soon. The clerks saw nothing more than
two polite gentlemen passing each other.

       *       *       *       *       *

The more Griffith thought of the approaching duel, the less he liked it.
He was an impulsive man, for one thing; and with such, a cold fit
naturally succeeds a hot one. And besides, as his heat abated, Reason
and Reflection made themselves heard, and told him that in a contest
with a formidable rival he was throwing away an advantage. After all,
Kate had shown him great favor; she had ridden Neville's horse after
him, and made him resign his purpose of leaving her; surely, then, she
preferred him on the whole to Neville: yet he must go and risk his
chance of possessing her upon a personal encounter, in which Neville was
at least as likely to kill him as he to kill Neville. He saw too late
that he was playing his rival's game. He felt cold and despondent, and
more and more convinced that he should never marry Kate, but that she
would very likely bury him.

With all this he was too game to recoil, and indeed he hated his rival
too deeply. So, like many a man before him, he was going doggedly to the
field against his judgement, with little to win and all to lose.

His deeper and more solemn anxieties were diversified by a lighter one.
A few days ago he had invited half the county to bury Mr. Charlton on
Saturday, the 19th of February. But now he had gone and fixed Friday the
18th for a duel. A fine thing, if he should be himself a corpse on
Friday afternoon! Who was to receive the guests? who conduct the
funeral?

The man, with all his faults, had a grateful heart; and Mr. Charlton was
his benefactor, and he felt he had no right to go and get himself killed
until he had paid the last rites to his best friend.

The difficulty admits of course of a comic view, and smells Hibernian;
but these things seem anything but droll to those whose lives and
feelings are at stake; and, indeed, there was something chivalrous and
touching in Griffith's vexation at the possibility of his benefactor
being buried without due honors, owing to his own intemperate haste to
be killed. He resolved to provide against that contingency: so, on the
Thursday, he wrote an urgent letter to Mr. Houseman, telling him he must
come early to the funeral, and be prepared to conduct it.

This letter was carried to Mr. Houseman's office at three o'clock on
Thursday afternoon.

Mr. Houseman was not at home. He was gone to a country-house nine miles
distant. But Griffith's servant was well mounted, and had peremptory
orders; so he rode after Mr. Houseman, and found him at Mr. Peyton's
house,--whither, if you please, we, too, will follow him.

In the first place, you must know that the real reason why Mr. Peyton
looked so savage, coming out of Mr. Houseman's office, was this: Neville
had said no more about the hundred pounds, and, indeed, had not visited
the house since; so Peyton, who had now begun to reckon on this sum,
went to Houseman to borrow it. But Houseman politely declined to lend it
him, and gave excellent reasons. All this was natural enough, common
enough; but the real reason why Houseman declined was a truly singular
one. The fact is, Catharine Peyton had made him promise to refuse.

Between that young lady and the Housemans, husband and wife, there was a
sincere friendship, founded on mutual esteem; and Catharine could do
almost what she liked with either of them. Now, whatever might have been
her faults, she was a proud girl, and an intelligent one: it mortified
her pride to see her father borrowing here, and borrowing there, and
unable to repay; and she had also observed that he always celebrated a
new loan by a new extravagance, and so was never a penny the richer for
borrowed money. He had inadvertently let fall that he should apply to
Houseman. She raised no open objection, but just mounted Piebald, and
rode off to Houseman, and made him solemnly promise her not to lend her
father a shilling.

Houseman kept his word; but his refusal cost him more pain than he had
calculated on when he made the promise. Squire Peyton had paid him
thousands, first and last; and when he left Houseman's room, with
disappointment, mortification, and humiliation deeply marked on his
features, usually so handsome and jolly, the lawyer felt sorry and
ashamed,--and did _not_ show it.

But it rankled in him; and the very next day he took advantage of a
little business he had to do in Mr. Peyton's neighborhood, and drove to
Peyton Hall, and asked for Mistress Kate.

His was a curious errand. Indeed, I think it would not be easy to find a
parallel to it.

For here was an attorney calling upon a beautiful girl,--to do what?

To soften her.

On a daughter,--to do what?

To persuade her to permit him to lend her father £100 on insufficient
security.

Well, he reminded her of his ancient obligations to her family, and
assured her he could well afford to risk a hundred or even a thousand
pounds. He then told her that her father had shown great pain at his
refusal, and that he himself was human, and could not divest himself of
gratitude and pity and good-nature,--all for £100.

"In a word," said he, "I have brought the money; and you must give in
for this once, and let me lend it him without more ado."

Miss Peyton was gratified and affected, and a tear trembled a moment in
her eye, but went in-doors again; and left her firm as a rock sprinkled
with dew. She told him she could quite understand his feeling, and
thanked him for it; but she had long and seriously weighed the matter,
and could not release him from his promise.

"No more of this base borrowing," said she, and clenched her white teeth
indomitably.

He attacked her with a good many weapons; but she parried them all so
gently, yet so nobly, and so successfully, that he admired her more than
ever.

Still, lawyers fight hard, and die very hard. Houseman got warm in his
cause, and cross-examined this defendant, and asked her whether _she_
would refuse to lend her father £100 out of a full purse.

This question was answered only by a flash of her glorious eyes, and a
magnificent look of disdain at the doubt implied.

"Well, then," said Houseman, "be your father's surety for repayment,
with interest at six per centum, and then there will be nothing in the
business to wound your dignity. I have many hundreds out at six per
centum."

"Excuse me: that would be dishonest," said Kate; "I have no money to
repay you with."

"But you have expectations."

"Nay, not I."

"I beg your pardon."

"Methinks I should know, Sir. What expectations have I? and from whom?"

Houseman fidgeted on his seat, and then, with some hesitation,
replied,--

"Well, from two that I know of."

"You are jesting, methinks, good Mr. Houseman," said she, reproachfully.

"Nay, dear Mistress Kate, I wish you too well to jest on such a theme."

The lawyer then fidgeted again on his seat in silence,--sign of an
inward struggle,--during which Kate's eye watched him with some
curiosity. At last his wavering balance inclined towards revealing
something or other.

"Mistress Kate," said he, "my wife and I are both your faithful friends
and humble admirers. We often say you would grace a coronet, and wish
you were as rich as you are good and beautiful."

Kate turned her lovely head away, and gave him her hand. That
incongruous movement, so full of womanly grace and feeling, and the soft
pressure of her white hand, completed her victory, and the remains of
Houseman's reserve melted away.

"Yes, my dear young lady," said he, warmly, "I have good news for you;
only mind, not a living soul must ever know it from your lips. Why, I am
going to do for you what I never did in my life before,--going to tell
you something that passed yesterday in my office. But then I know you;
you are a young lady out of a thousand; I can trust you to be discreet
and silent,--can I not?"

"As the grave."

"Well, then, my young mistress,--in truth it was like a play, though the
scene was but a lawyer's office"--

"Was it?" cried Kate. "Then you set me all of a flutter; you must sup
here, and sleep here. Nay, nay," said she, her eyes sparkling with
animation, "I'll take no denial. My father dines abroad: we shall have
the house to ourselves."

Her interest was keenly excited: but she was a true woman, and must
coquette with her very curiosity; so she ran off to see with her own
eyes that sheets were aired, and a roasting fire lighted in the blue
bed-room for her guest.

While she was away, a servant brought in Griffith Gaunt's letter, and a
sheet of paper had to be borrowed to answer it.

The answer was hardly written and sent out to Griffith's servant, when
supper and the fair hostess came in almost together.

After supper fresh logs were heaped on the fire, and the lawyer sat in a
cosey arm-chair, and took out his diary, and several papers, as
methodically as if he was going to lay the case by counsel before a
judge of assize.

Kate sat opposite him with her gray eyes beaming on him all the time,
and searching for the hidden meaning of everything he told her. During
the recital which follows, her color often came and went, but those
wonderful eyes never left the narrator's face a moment.

They put the attorney on his mettle, and he elaborated the matter more
than I should have done: he articulated his topics; marked each salient
fact by a long pause. In short, he told his story like an attorney, and
not like a romancist. I cannot help that, you know; I'm not Procrustes.


MR. HOUSEMAN'S LITTLE NARRATIVE.

"Wednesday, the seventeenth day of February, at about one of the clock,
called on me at my place of business Mr. Griffith Gaunt, whom I need not
here describe, inasmuch as his person and place of residence are well
known to the court--what am I saying?--I mean, well known to yourself,
Mistress Kate.

       *       *       *       *       *

"The said Griffith, on entering my room, seemed moved, and I might say
distempered, and did not give himself time to salute me and receive my
obeisance, but addressed me abruptly and said as follows: 'Mr. Houseman,
I am come to make my will.'"

("Dear me!" said Kate: then blushed, and was more on her guard.)

       *       *       *       *       *

"I seated the young gentleman, and then replied, that his resolution
aforesaid did him credit, the young being as mortal as the old. I said
further, that many disasters had happened, in my experience, owing to
the obstinacy with which men, in the days of their strength, shut their
eyes to the precarious tenure under which all sons of Adam hold
existence; and so, many a worthy gentleman dies in his sins,--and, what
is worse, dies intestate.

       *       *       *       *       *

"But the said Griffith interrupted me with some signs of impatience, and
asked me bluntly, would I draw his will, and have it executed on the
spot.

       *       *       *       *       *

"I assented, generally; but I requested him, by way of needful
preliminary, to obtain for me a copy of Mr. Charlton's will, under
which, as I have always understood, the said Griffith inherits whatever
real estate he hath to bequeath.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Mr. Griffith Gaunt then replied to me, that Mr. Charlton's will was in
London, and the exact terms of it could not be known until after the
funeral,--that is to say, upon the nineteenth instant.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Thereupon I explained to Mr. Gaunt that I must see and know what
properties were devised in the will aforesaid, by the said Charlton, to
Gaunt aforesaid, and how devised and described. Without this, I said, I
could not correctly and sufficiently describe the same in the instrument
I was now requested to prepare.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Mr. Gaunt did not directly reply to this objection. But he pondered a
little while, and then asked me if it were not possible for him, by
means of general terms, to convey to a sole legatee whatever lands,
goods, chattels, etc., Mr. Charlton might hereafter prove to have
devised to him, the said Griffith Gaunt.

       *       *       *       *       *

"I admitted this was possible, but objected that it was dangerous. I let
him know that in matters of law general terms are a fruitful source of
dispute, and I said I was one of those who hold it a duty to avert
litigation from our clients.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Thereupon Mr. Gaunt drew out of his bosom a pocket-book.

       *       *       *       *       *

"The said pocket-book was shown to me by the said Gaunt, and I say it
contained a paragraph from a newspaper, which I believe to have been cut
out of the said newspaper with a knife, or a pair of scissors, or some
trenchant instrument; and the said paragraph purported to contain an
exact copy of a certain will and testament under which (as is, indeed,
matter of public notoriety) one Dame Butcher hath inherited and now
enjoys the lands, goods, and chattels of a certain merry parson late
deceased in these parts, and, _I believe_ little missed.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Mr. Gaunt would have me read the will and testament aforesaid, and I
read it accordingly: and inasmuch as bad things are best remembered, the
said will and testament did, by its singularity and profaneness, fix
itself forthwith in my memory; so that I can by no means dislodge it
thence, do what I may.

"The said document, to the best of my memory and belief, runneth after
this fashion.

"'I, John Raymond, clerk, at present residing at Whitbeck, in the County
of Cumberland, being a man sound in body, mind, and judgment, do deliver
this as my last will and testament.

"'I give and bequeath all my real property, and all my personal
property, and all the property, whether real or personal, I may
hereafter possess or become entitled to, to my housekeeper, Janet
Butcher.

"'And I appoint Janet Butcher my sole executrix, and I make Janet
Butcher my sole residuary legatee; save and except that I leave my
solemn curse to any knave who hereafter shall at any time pretend that
he does not understand the meaning of this my will and testament.'"

(Catharine smiled a little at this last bequest.)

       *       *       *       *       *

"Mr. Gaunt then solemnly appealed to me as an honest man to tell him
whether the aforesaid document was bad, or good, in law.

       *       *       *       *       *

"I was fain to admit that it was sufficient in law; but I qualified, and
said I thought it might be attacked on the score of the hussy's undue
influence, and the testator's apparent insanity. Nevertheless, I
concluded candidly that neither objection would prevail in our courts,
owing to the sturdy prejudice in the breasts of English jurymen, whose
ground of faith it is that every man has a right to do what he will with
his own, and even to do it how he likes.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Mr. Gaunt did speedily abuse this my candor. He urged me to lose no
time, but to draw his will according to the form and precedent in that
case made and provided by this mad parson; and my clerks, forsooth, were
to be the witnesses thereof.

       *       *       *       *       *

"I refused, with some heat, to sully my office by allowing such an
instrument to issue therefrom; and I asked the said Gaunt, in high
dudgeon, for what he took me.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Mr. Gaunt then offered, in reply, two suggestions that shook me.
_Imprimis_, he told me the person to whom he now desired to leave his
all was Mistress Catharine Peyton." (An ejaculation from Kate.)
"_Secundo_, he said he would go straight from me to that coxcomb
Harrison, were I to refuse to serve him in the matter.

       *       *       *       *       *

"On this, having regard to your interest and my own, I temporized: I
offered to let him draw a will after his parson's precedent, and I
agreed it should be witnessed in my office; only I stipulated that next
week a proper document should be drawn by myself, with due particulars,
on two sheets of paper, and afterwards engrossed and witnessed: and to
this Mr. Gaunt assented, and immediately drew his will according to
newspaper precedent.

       *       *       *       *       *

"But when I came to examine his masterpiece, I found he had taken
advantage of my pliability to attach an unreasonable condition, to wit:
that the said Catharine should forfeit all interest under this will, in
case she should ever marry a certain party therein nominated, specified,
and described."

("Now that was Griffith all over," cried Catharine, merrily.)

       *       *       *       *       *

"I objected stoutly to this. I took leave to remind the young
gentleman, that, when a Christian man makes his last will and testament,
he should think of the grave and of the place beyond, whither we may
carry our affections, but must leave the bundle of our hates behind, the
gate being narrow. I even went so far as to doubt whether such a proviso
could stand in _law_; and I also put a practical query: what was to
hinder the legatee from selling the property and diverting the funds,
and then marrying whom she liked?

       *       *       *       *       *

"Mr. Gaunt was deaf to reason. He bade me remember that he was neither
saint nor apostle, but a poor gentleman of Cumberland, who saw a
stranger come between him and his lover dear: with that he was much
moved, and did not conclude his argument at all, but broke off, and was
fain to hide his face with both hands awhile. In truth, this touched me;
and I looked another way, and began to ask myself, why should I
interfere, who, after all, know not your heart in the matter; and, to be
brief, I withstood him and Parson's law no more, but sent his draught
will to the clerks, the which they copied fair in a trice, and the
duplicates were signed and witnessed in red-hot haste,--as most of men's
follies are done, for that matter.

       *       *       *       *       *

"The paper writing now produced and shown to me--tush! what am I
saying?--I mean, the paper writing I now produce and show to you is the
draught of the will aforesaid, in the hand-writing of the testator."

       *       *       *       *       *

And with this he handed Kate Peyton Griffith Gaunt's will, and took a
long and satirical pinch of snuff while she examined it.

Miss Peyton took the will in her white hands and read it. But, in
reading it, she held it up and turned it so that her friend could not
see her face while she read it, but only her white hands, in which the
document rustled a little.

It ran thus:--

     "I, Griffith Gaunt, late of the Eyrie, and now residing at
     Bolton Hall, in the County of Cumberland, being sound in
     body and mind, do deliver this as my last will and
     testament. I give and bequeath all the property, real or
     personal, which I now possess or may hereafter become
     entitled to, to my dear friend and mistress, Catharine
     Peyton, daughter of Henry Peyton, Esquire, of Peyton Hall:
     provided always that the said Catharine Peyton shall at no
     time within the next ten years marry George Neville of
     Neville's Court in this county. But should the said
     Catharine marry the said George within ten years of this
     day, then I leave all my said property, in possession,
     remainder, or reversion, to my heir-at-law."

The fair legatee read this extraordinary testament more than once. At
last she handed it back to Mr. Houseman without a word. But her cheek
was red, and her eyes glistening.

Mr. Houseman was surprised at her silence; and as he was curious to know
her heart, he sounded her, asked her what she thought of that part of
his story. But she evaded him with all the tact of her sex.

"What! that is not all, then?" said she, quickly.

Houseman replied, that it was barely half.

"Then tell me all, pray tell me all," said Kate, earnestly.

"I am here to that end," said Houseman, and recommenced his narrative.

       *       *       *       *       *

"The business being done to Mr. Gaunt's satisfaction, though not to
mine, we fell into some friendly talk; but in the midst of it my clerk
Thomas brought me in the card of a gentleman whom I was very desirous to
secure as a client.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Mr. Gaunt, I think, read my mind; for he took leave of me forthwith. I
attended him to the door, and then welcomed the gentleman aforesaid. It
was no other than Mr. George Neville.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Mr. Neville, after such gracious civilities as his native breeding and
foreign travel have taught him, came to business, and requested me--to
draw his will."

("La!" said Kate,)

       *       *       *       *       *

"I was a little startled, but hid it and took his instructions. This
done, I requested to see the title-deeds of his estates, with a view to
describing them, and he went himself to his banker's for them and placed
them in my hands.

       *       *       *       *       *

"I then promised to have the will ready in a week or ten days. But Mr.
Neville, with many polite regrets for hurrying me, told me upon his
honor he could give me but twenty-four hours, 'After that,' said he, 'it
might be too late.'"

("Ah!" said Miss Peyton.)

       *       *       *       *       *

"Determined to retain my new client, I set my clerks to work, and this
very day was engrossed, signed, and witnessed, the last will and
testament of George Neville, Esquire, of Neville's Court, in the County
of Cumberland, and Leicester Square, London, where he hath a noble
mansion.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Now as to the general disposition of his lands, manorial rights,
messuages, tenements, goods, chattels, etc., and his special legacies to
divers ladies and gentlemen and domestic servants, these I will not
reveal even to you.

       *       *       *       *       *

"The paper I now produce is a copy of that particular bequest which I
have decided to communicate to you in strict and sacred confidence."

And he handed her an extract from George Neville's will.

Miss Peyton then read what follows:--

"And I give and bequeath to Mistress Catharine Peyton, of Peyton Hall,
in the said County of Cumberland, in token of my respect and regard, all
that my freehold estate called Moniton Grange, with the messuage or
tenement standing and being thereon, and the farm-yard buildings and
appurtenances belonging thereto, containing by estimation three hundred
and seventy-six acres three roods and five perches, be the same little
more or less, to hold to her the said Catharine Peyton, her heirs and
assigns, forever."

       *       *       *       *       *

The legatee laid down the paper, and leaned her head softly on her fair
hand, and her eyes explored vacancy.

"What means all this?" said she, aloud, but to herself.

Mr. Houseman undertook the office of interpreter.

"Means? Why, that he has left you one of the snuggest estates in the
county. 'Tis not quite so large as Bolton; but lies sunnier, and the
land richer. Well, Mistress, was I right? Are you not good for a
thousand pounds?"

Kate, still manifestly thinking of something else, let fall, as it were,
out of her mouth, that Mr. Gaunt and Mr. Neville were both men in the
flower of their youth, and how was she the richer for their folly?

"Why," said Houseman, "you will not have to wait for the death of these
testators,--Heaven forbid! But what does all this making of wills show
me? That both these gentlemen are deep in love with you, and you can
pick and choose; I say, you can wed with Bolton Hall or Neville's Court
to-morrow; so, prithee, let the Squire have his hundred pounds, and do
you repay me at your leisure."

Miss Peyton made no reply, but leaned her exquisite head upon her hand
and pondered.

She did not knit her brows, nor labor visibly at the mental oar; yet a
certain reposeful gravity and a fixity of the thoughtful eye showed she
was applying all the powers of her mind.

Mr. Houseman was not surprised at that: his own wife had but little
intellect; yet had he seen her weigh two rival bonnets in mortal
silence, and with all the seeming profundity of a judge on the bench.
And now this young lady was doubtless weighing farms with similar
gravity, care, and intelligence.

But as this continued, and still she did not communicate her decision,
he asked her point-blank which of the two she settled to wed: Neville's
Court or Bolton Grange.

Thus appealed to, Miss Peyton turned her great eye on him, without
really looking at him, and replied,--

"You have made me very uneasy."

He stared. She relapsed into thought a moment, and then, turning to
Houseman, asked him how _he_ accounted for those two gentlemen making
their wills. They were very young to make their wills all of a sudden.

"Why," said Houseman, "Mr. Neville is a man of sense, and every man of
sense makes his will; and as for Mr. Gaunt, he has just come into
prospect of an estate; that's why."

"Ah, but why could not Griffith wait till after the funeral?"

"Oh, clients are always in a hurry."

"So you see nothing in it? nothing alarming, I mean?"

"Nothing very alarming. Two landed proprietors in love with you; that is
all."

"But, dear Mr. Houseman, that is what makes me uneasy: at this rate,
they must look on one another as--as--rivals; and you know rivals are
sometimes enemies."

"Oh, I see now," said Houseman: "you apprehend a quarrel between the
gentlemen. Of course there is no love lost between them: but they met in
my office and saluted each other with perfect civility. I saw them with
my own eyes."

"Indeed! I am glad to hear that,--very glad. I hope it was only a
coincidence then, their both making their wills."

"Nothing more, you may depend: neither of them knows from me what the
other has done, nor ever will."

"That is true," said Kate, and seemed considerably relieved.

To ease her mind entirely, Houseman went on to say, that, as to the
report that high words had passed between the clients in question at the
"Roebuck," he had no doubt it was exaggerated.

"Besides," said he, "that was not about a lady: I'm told it was about a
horse,--some bet belike."

Catharine uttered a faint cry.

"About a horse?" said she. "Not about a gray horse?"

"Nay, that is more than I know."

"High words about a horse," said Catharine,--"and they are making their
wills. Oh! my mind misgave me from the first." And she turned pale.
Presently she clasped her hands together,--"Mr. Houseman!" she cried,
"what shall I do? What! do you not see that both their lives are in
danger, and that is why they make their wills? And how should _both_
their lives be in danger, but from each other? Madmen! they have
quarrelled; they are going to fight,--fight to the death; and I fear it
is about me,--me, who love neither of them, you know."

"In that case, _let_ them fight," said her legal adviser,
dispassionately. "Whichever fool gets killed, you will be none the
poorer." And the dog wore a sober complacency.

Catharine turned her large eyes on him with horror and amazement, but
said nothing.

As for the lawyer, he was more struck with her sagacity than with
anything. He somewhat overrated it,--not being aware of the private
reasons she had for thinking that her two testators were enemies to the
death.

"I almost think you are right," said he; "for I got a curious missive
from Mr. Gaunt scarce an hour agone, and he says--let me see what he
says"----

"Nay, let _me_ see," said Kate.

On that he handed her Griffith's note. It ran thus:--

     "It is possible I may not be able to conduct the funeral.
     Should this be so, I appoint you to act for me. So, then,
     good Mr. Houseman, let me count on you to be here at nine of
     the clock. For Heaven's sake fail me not.

                                  "Your humble servant,

                                  "G. G."


This note left no doubt in Kate's mind.

"Now, first of all," said she, "what answer made you to this?"

"What answer should I make? I pledged my word to be at Bolton at nine of
the clock."

"Oh, blind!" sighed Kate. "And I must be out of the room! What shall I
do? My dear friend, forgive me: I am a wretched girl. I am to blame. I
ought to have dismissed them both, or else decided between them. But who
would have thought it would go this length? I did not think Griffith was
brave enough. Have pity on me, and help me. Stop this fearful fighting."
And now the young creature clung to the man-of-business, and prayed and
prayed him earnestly to avert bloodshed.

Mr. Houseman was staggered by this passionate appeal from one who so
rarely lost her self-command. He soothed her as well as he could, and
said he would do his best,--but added, which was very true, that he
thought her interference would be more effective than his own.

"What care these young bloods for an old attorney? I should fare ill,
came I between their rapiers. To be sure, I might bind them over to keep
the peace. But, Mistress Kate, now be frank with me; then I can serve
you better. You love one of these two: that is clear. Which is the
man?--that I may know what I am about."

For all her agitation, Kate was on her guard in some things.

"Nay," she faltered, "I love neither,--not to say love them: but I pity
him so!"

"Which?"

"Both."

"Ay, Mistress; but which do you pity most?" asked the shrewd lawyer.

"Whichever shall come to harm for my sake," replied the simple girl.

"You could not go to them to-night, and bring them to reason?" asked
she, piteously.

She went to the window to see what sort of a night it was. She drew the
heavy crimson curtains and opened the window. In rushed a bitter blast
laden with flying snow. The window-ledges, too, were clogged with snow,
and all the ground was white.

Houseman shuddered, and drew nearer to the blazing logs. Kate closed the
window with a groan.

"It is not to be thought of," said she, "at your age, and not a road to
be seen for snow. What shall I do?"

"Wait till to-morrow," said Mr. Houseman.

(Procrastination was his daily work, being an attorney.)

"To-morrow!" cried Catharine. "Perhaps to-morrow will be too late.
Perhaps even now they have met, and he lies a corpse."

"Who?"

"Whichever it is, I shall end my days in a convent praying for his
soul."

She wrung her hands while she said this, and still there was no catching
her.

Little did the lawyer think to rouse such a storm with his good news.
And now he made a feeble and vain attempt to soothe her, and ended by
promising to start the first thing in the morning and get both her
testators bound over to keep the peace by noon. With this resolution he
went to bed early.

She was glad to be alone, at all events.

Now, mind you, there were plenty of vain and vulgar, yet respectable
girls, in Cumberland, who would have been delighted to be fought about,
even though bloodshed were to be the result. But this young lady was not
vain, but proud. She was sensitive, too, and troubled with a conscience.
It reproached her bitterly: it told her she had permitted the addresses
of two gentlemen, and so mischief had somehow arisen--out of her levity.
Now her life had been uneventful and innocent: this was the very first
time she had been connected with anything like a crime, and her remorse
was great; so was her grief; but her fears were greater still. The
terrible look Griffith had cast at his rival flashed on her; so did his
sinister words. She felt, that, if he and Neville met, nothing less than
Neville's death or his own would separate them. Suppose that even now
one of them lay a corpse, cold and ghastly as the snow that now covered
Nature's face!

The agitation of her mind was such that her body could not be still. Now
she walked the room in violent distress, wringing her hands; now she
kneeled and prayed fervently for both those lives she had endangered;
often she flew to the window and looked eagerly out, writhing and
rebelling against the network of female custom that entangled her and
would not let her fly out of her cage even to do a good action,--to
avert a catastrophe by her prayers, or her tears, or her good sense.

And all ended in her realizing that she was a woman, a poor, impotent
being, born to lie quiet and let things go: at that she wept helplessly.

So wore away the first night of agony this young creature ever knew.

Towards morning, exhausted by her inward struggles, she fell asleep upon
a sofa.

But her trouble followed her. She dreamed she was on a horse, hurried
along with prodigious rapidity, in a darkened atmosphere, a sort of dry
fog: she knew somehow she was being taken to see some awful, mysterious
thing. By-and-by the haze cleared and she came out upon pleasant, open,
sunny fields, that almost dazzled her. She passed gates, and hedges too,
all clear, distinct, and individual. Presently a voice by her side said,
"This way!" and her horse seemed to turn of his own accord through a
gap, and in one moment she came on a group of gentlemen. It was Griffith
Gaunt, and two strangers. Then she spoke, and said,--

"But Mr. Neville?"

No answer was made her; but the group opened in solemn silence, and
there lay George Neville on the snow, stark and stiff, with blood
issuing from his temple, and trickling along the snow.

She saw distinctly all his well-known features: but they were pinched
and sharpened now. And his dark olive skin was turned to bluish white.
It was his corpse. And now her horse thrust out his nose and snorted
like a demon. She looked down, and, ah! the blood was running at her
preternaturally fast along the snow. She screamed, her horse reared
high, and she was falling on the blood-stained snow. She awoke,
screaming; and the sunlight seemed to rush in at the window.

Her joy that it was only a dream overpowered every other feeling at
first. She kneeled and thanked God for that.

The next thing was, she thought it might be a revelation of what had
actually occurred.

But this chilling fear did not affect her long. Nothing could shake her
conviction that a duel was on foot,--and, indeed, the intelligent of her
sex do sometimes put this and that together, and spring to a just, but
obvious inference, in away that looks to a slower and safer reasoner
like divination,--but then she knew that yesterday evening both parties
were alive. Coupling this with Griffith's broad hint that after the
funeral might be too late to make his will, she felt sure that it was
this very day the combatants were to meet. Yes, and this very morning:
for she knew that gentlemen always fought in the morning.

If her dream was false as to the past, it might be true as to what was
at hand. Was it not a supernatural warning, sent to her in mercy? The
history of her Church abounded in such dreams and visions; and, indeed,
the time and place she lived in were rife with stories of the
kind,--one, in particular, of recent date.

This thought took hold of her, and grew on her, till it overpowered even
the diffidence of her sex; and then up started her individual character;
and now nothing could hold her. For, languid and dreamy in the common
things of life, this Catharine Peyton was one of those who rise into
rare ardor and activity in such great crises as seem to benumb the
habitually brisk, and they turn tame and passive.

She had seen at a glance that Houseman was too slow and apathetic for
such an emergency. She resolved to act herself. She washed her face and
neck and arms and hands in cold water, and was refreshed and
invigorated. She put on her riding-habit and her little gold spur,
(Griffith Gaunt had given it her,) and hurried into the stable-yard.

Old Joe and his boy had gone away to breakfast: he lived in the village.

This was unlucky: Catharine must wait his return and lose time, or else
saddle the horse herself. She chose the latter. The piebald was a good
horse, but a fidgetty one; so she saddled and bridled him at his stall.
She then led him out to the stone steps in the stable-yard, and tried to
mount him. But he sidled away; she had nobody to square him; and she
could get nothing to mount but his head. She coaxed him, she tickled him
on the other side with her whip. It was all in vain.

It was absurd, but heart-sickening. She stared at him with wonder that
he could be so cruel as to play the fool when every minute might be life
or death. She spoke to him, she implored him piteously, she patted him.
All was in vain.

As a last resource, she walked him back to the stable and gave him a
sieveful of oats, and set it down by the corn-bin for him, and took an
opportunity to mount the bin softly.

He ate the oats, but with retroverted eye watched her. She kept quiet
and affected _nonchalance_ till he became less cautious,--then suddenly
sprang on him, and taught him to set his wit against a woman's. My Lord
wheeled round directly, ere she could get her leg over the pommel, and
made for the stable-door. She lowered her head to his mane and just
scraped out without injury,--not an inch to spare. He set off at once,
but luckily for her she had often ridden a bare-backed horse. She sat
him for the first few yards by balance, then reined him in quietly, and
soon whipped her left foot into the stirrup and her right leg over the
pommel; and then the piebald nag had to pay for his pranks: the roads
were clogged with snow, but she fanned him along without mercy, and
never drew bridle till she pulled him up, drenched and steaming like a
washtub, at Netley Cross-Roads.

Here she halted irresolute. The road to the right led to Bolton, distant
two miles and a half. The road in front led to Neville's Court, distant
three miles. Which should she take? She had asked herself this a dozen
times upon the road, yet could never decide until she got to the place
and _must_. The question was, With which of them had she most influence?
She hardly knew. But Griffith Gaunt was her old sweetheart; it seemed
somewhat less strange and indelicate to go to him than to the new one.
So she turned her horse's head towards Bolton; but she no longer went
quite so fast as she had gone before she felt going to either in
particular. Such is the female mind.

She reached Bolton at half-past eleven, and, now she was there, put a
bold face on it, rode up to the door, and, leaning forward on her horse,
rang the hall-bell.

A footman came to the door.

With composed visage, though beating heart, she told him she desired to
speak for a moment to Mr. Griffith Gaunt. He asked her, would she be
pleased to alight; and it was clear by his manner no calamity had yet
fallen.

"No, no," said Kate; "let me speak to him here."

The servant went in to tell his master. Kate sat quiet, with her heart
still beating, but glowing now with joy. She was in time, then, thanks
to her good horse. She patted him, and made the prettiest excuses aloud
to him for riding him so hard through the snow.

The footman came back to say that Mr. Gaunt had gone out.

"Gone out? Whither? On horseback?"

The footman did not know, but would ask within.

While he was gone to inquire, Catharine lost patience, and rode into the
stable-yard, and asked a young lout, who was lounging there, whether his
master was gone out on horseback.

The lounging youth took the trouble to call out the groom, and asked
him.

The groom said, "No," and that Mr. Gaunt was somewhere about the
grounds, he thought.

But in the midst of this colloquy, one of the maids, curious to see the
lady, came out by the kitchen-door, and curtsied to Kate, and told her
Mr. Gaunt was gone out walking with two other gentlemen. In the midst of
her discourse, she recognized the visitor, and, having somehow imbibed
the notion that Miss Peyton was likely to be Mrs. Gaunt, and govern
Bolton Hall, decided to curry favor with her; so she called her "My
Lady," and was very communicative. She said one of the gentlemen was
strange to her; but the other was Doctor Islip, from Stanhope town. She
knew him well: he had taken off her own brother's leg in a jiffy.

"But, dear heart, Mistress," said she, "how pale you be! Do come in, and
have a morsel of meat and a horn of ale."

"Nay, my good girl," said Kate; "I could not eat; but bring me a mug of
new milk, if you will. I have not broken my fast this day."

The maid bustled in, and Catharine asked the groom if there were no
means of knowing where Mr. Gaunt was. The groom and the boy scratched
their heads, and looked puzzled. The lounging lout looked at their
perplexity, and grinned satirically.

This youth was Tom Leicester, born in wedlock, and therefore, in the
law's eye, son of old Simon Leicester; but gossips said his true father
was the late Captain Gaunt. Tom ran with the hounds for his own
sport,--went out shooting with gentlemen, and belabored the briers for
them at twopence per day and his dinner,--and abhorred all that sober
men call work.

By trade, a Beater; profession, a Scamp.

Two maids came out together now,--one with the milk and a roll, the
other with a letter. Catharine drank the milk, but could not eat. Then
says the other maid,--

"If so be you are Mistress Peyton, why, this letter is for you. Master
left it on his table in his bed-room."

Kate took the letter and opened it, all in a flutter. It ran thus:--

"SWEET MISTRESS,--When this reaches you, I shall be no more here to
trouble you with my jealousy. This Neville set it abroad that you had
changed horses with him, as much as to say you had plighted troth with
him. He is a liar, and I told him so to his teeth. We are to meet at
noon this day, and one must die. Methinks I shall be the one. But come
what may, I have taken care of thee; ask Jack Houseman else. But, O dear
Kate, think of all that hath passed between us, and do not wed this
Neville, or I could not rest in my grave. Sweetheart, many a letter have
I written thee, but none so sad as this. Let the grave hide my faults
from thy memory; think only that I loved thee well. I leave thee my
substance--would it were ten times more!--and the last thought of my
heart.

    "So no more in this world

      "From him that is thy true lover

        "And humble servant till death,

          "GRIFFITH GAUNT."

There seems to be room in the mind for only one violent emotion at one
instant of time. This touching letter did not just then draw a tear from
her, who now received it some hours sooner than the writer intended. Its
first effect was to paralyze her. She sat white and trembling, and her
great eyes filled with horror. Then she began to scream wildly for help.
The men and women came round her.

"Murder! murder!" she shrieked. "Tell me where to find him, ye wretches,
or may his blood be on your heads!"

The Scamp bounded from his lounging position, and stood before her
straight as an arrow.

"Follow me!" he shouted.

Her gray eyes and the Scamp's black ones flashed into one another
directly. He dashed out of the yard without another word.

And she spurred her horse, and clattered out after him.

He ran as fast as her horse could canter, and soon took her all round
the house; and while he ran, his black gypsy eyes were glancing in
every direction.

When they got to the lawn at the back of the house, he halted a moment,
and said quietly,--

"Here they be."

He pointed to some enormous footsteps in the snow, and bade her notice
that they commenced at a certain glass door belonging to the house, and
that they all pointed outwards. The lawn was covered with such marks,
but the Scamp followed those his intelligence had selected, and they
took him through a gate, and down a long walk, and into the park. Here
no other feet had trodden that morning except those Tom Leicester was
following.

"This is our game," said he. "See, there be six footsteps; and, now I
look, this here track is Squire Gaunt's. I know his foot in the snow
among a hundred. Bless your heart, I've often been out shooting with
Squire Gaunt, and lost him in the woods, and found him again by tracking
him on dead leaves, let alone snow. I say, wasn't they useless idiots?
Couldn't tell ye how to run into a man, and snow on the ground! Why, you
can track a hare to her form, and a rat to his hole,--let alone such big
game as this, with a hoof like a frying-pan,--in the snow."

"Oh, do not talk; let us make haste," panted Kate.

"Canter away!" replied the Scamp.

She cantered on, and he ran by her side.

"Shall I not tire you?" said she.

The _mauvais sujet_ laughed at her.

"Tire _me?_ Not over this ground. Why, I run with the hounds, and mostly
always in at the death; but that is not altogether speed: ye see I know
Pug's mind. What! don't you know _me_? I'm Tom Leicester. Why, I know
you: I say, you are a good-hearted one, you are."

"Oh, no! no!" sighed Kate.

"Nay, but you are," said Tom. "I saw you take Harrowden Brook that day,
when the rest turned tail; and that is what I call having a good heart.
Gently, Mistress, here,--this is full of rabbit-holes. I seen Sir
Ralph's sorrel mare break her leg in a moment in one of these. Shot her
dead that afternoon, a did, and then b'iled her for the hounds. She'd
often follow at their tails; next hunting-day she ran inside their
bellies. Ha! ha! ha!"

"Oh, don't laugh! I am in agony!"

"Why, what is up, Mistress?" asked the young savage, lowering his voice.
"'Murder,' says you; but that means _nought_. The lasses they cry
murder, if you do but kiss 'em."

"Oh, Tom Leicester, it _is_ murder! It's a duel, a fight to the death,
unless we are in time to prevent them."

"A jewel!" cried Master Leicester, his eyes glittering with delight. "I
never saw a jewel. Don't you hold him in for me, Mistress: gallop down
this slope as hard as you can pelt; it is grass under foot, and ye can't
lose the tracks, and I shall be sure to catch ye in the next field."

The young savage was now as anxious to be in at the death as Kate was to
save life. As he spoke, he gave her horse a whack on the quarter with
his stick, and away she went full gallop, and soon put a hundred yards
between her and Tom.

The next field was a deep fallow, and the hard furrows reduced her to a
trot; and before she got out of it Tom was by her side.

"Didn't I tell you?" said he. "I'd run you to Peyton Hall for a pot o'
beer."

"Oh, you good, brave, clever boy!" said Kate, "how fortunate I am to
have you! I think we shall be in time."

Tom was flattered.

"Why, you see, I am none of Daddy Leicester's breed," said he. "I'm a
gentleman's by-blow, if you know what that is."

"I can't say I do," said Kate; "but I know you are very bold and
handsome, and swift of foot; and I know my patron saint has sent you to
me in my misery. And, oh, my lad, if we are in time,--what can I do for
you? Are you fond of money, Tom?"

"That I be,--when I can get it."

"Then you shall have all I have got in the world, if you get me there in
time to hinder mischief."

"Come on!" shouted Tom, excited in his turn, and took the lead; and not
a word more passed till they came to the foot of a long hill. Then said
Tom,--

"Once we are at top of this, they can't fight without our seeing 'em.
That is Scutchemsee Nob: you can see ten miles all round from there."

At this information Kate uttered an ejaculation, and urged her horse
forward.

The first part of this hill, which stood between her and those whose
tracks she followed, was grass; then came a strip of turnips; then on
the bleak top a broad piece of heather. She soon cantered over the
grass, and left Tom so far behind he could not quite catch her in the
turnips. She entered the heather, but here she was much retarded by the
snow-drifts and the ups and downs of the rough place. But she struggled
on bravely, still leading.

She fixed her eyes earnestly on the ridge, whence she could cry to the
combatants, however distant, and stop the combat.

Now as she struggled on, and Tom came after, panting a little for the
first time, suddenly there rose from the crest of the hill two columns
of smoke, and the next moment two sharp reports ran through the frosty
air.

Kate stopped, and looked round to Tom with a scared, inquiring air.

"Pistols!" yelled Tom behind her.

At that the woman overpowered the heroine, and Kate hid her face and
fell to trembling and wailing. Her wearied horse came down to a walk.

Presently up comes Tom.

"Don't lose your stomach for that," he panted out. "Gentlefolks do pop
at one another all day sometimes, and no harm done."

"Oh, bless you!" cried Kate; "I may yet be in time."

She spurred her horse on. He did his best, but ere he had gone twenty
yards he plunged into a cavity hidden by the snow.

While he was floundering there, crack went a single pistol, and the
smoke rose and drifted over the hill-top.

"Who--op!" muttered Tom, with horrible _sang-froid_. "There's one done
for this time. Couldn't shoot back, ye see."

At this horrible explanation Kate sank forward on her horse's mane as if
she herself had been killed; and the smoke from the pistol came
floating, thinner and thinner, and eddied high over her head.

Tom spoke rude words of encouragement to her. She did not even seem to
hear them. Then he lost all patience at her, and clutched her arm to
make her hear him. But at that it seemed as if some of his nature passed
into her down his arm; for she turned wild directly, and urged her horse
fiercely up the crest. Her progress was slow at first; but the sun had
melted the snow on the Nob or extreme summit. She tore her way through
the last of the snow on to the clear piece,--then, white as ashes,
spurred and lashed her horse over the ridge, and dashed in amongst them
on the other side. For there they were.

What was the sight that met her eyes?

That belongs to the male branch of my story, and shall be told
forthwith, but in its proper sequence.



REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.


     _Life and Letters of Frederick W. Robertson, M.A._,
     Incumbent of Trinity Chapel, Brighton, 1847-1853. Edited by
     STOPFORD A. BROOKE, M. A. Two Volumes. Boston: Ticknor &
     Fields.

The Life and Letters of Mr. Robertson will find a most extended and
appreciative welcome among a large company of sympathizing and grateful
readers on both sides of the ocean. The way has been prepared for them,
and their most hearty reception has been assured, by the acquaintance
opened for us with his mind and heart through the extensive circulation
of the several volumes containing his Sermons and Addresses. When the
first of those volumes was reprinted here, it wrought an immediate
effect upon hundreds, who were instinctively drawn to its perusal, and
who have since seized with avidity upon each subsequent opportunity
furnished them for possessing themselves of everything that could be put
into print which would renew and intensify that effect. An exhaustive
review of that one department of our religious literature which embraces
utterances from the pulpit would, we believe, fully establish these two
positions: first, that the ability shown alike in the composition and in
the delivery of sermons is at least equal in each age and generation to
the average of that which is exhibited in the forum and at the bar; and,
second, that preachers of extraordinary power appear at just such
intervals and under just such conditions as will best assure us of a
reserved and as yet unrecognized capability in the pulpit, redeeming it
from the charge of a general dulness and exhaustion. It was at the very
time when the newspaper press of England and America was reiterating and
illustrating this charge, not without many tokens that supported it,
that the sermons of Mr. Robertson were offering at least one signal
exception to its truth, sufficient even to silence it within the range
of his ministry. An eminently able and effective preacher appears often
enough to reassert the loftiest ideal of his profession, and, what is
more, to vindicate it against the distrust and contempt to which it may
seem to be exposed by the "popular preachers." As we write, there is
circulating through the papers a very striking paragraph from an article
by that distinguished divine, Mr. Caird, in which, with a sharp
criticism, he deals, as we should suppose a man of his high tone would
deal, with the theme of popular preaching, especially as to its effects
upon the dispenser of it and upon the crowds who gather to it. Mr.
Robertson shrank from the repute of it, and the inflictions which it
visits, as he did from sin. He knew full well, that, as the popular
taste and standard were not educated to an appreciation and approval of
the very loftiest style of ministration, the more of curious, gaping
notoriety, or even admiration, he might draw towards him, the poorer was
the incense.

Yet there must be a fallacy somewhere involved in the common judgment on
this subject. For Mr. Robertson certainly was a popular preacher; and
yet, as he never made the slightest concession to any of the arts or
trickeries, the displays or exaggerations, which are supposed to be
essential conditions of that repute, his own example and experience may
stand as at least an exceptional proof of the possible dignity and
solidity of the position. When he had been addressing a thronged
congregation, who hung, impressed and awed, upon his utterances, he goes
home to write about the scene and its circumstances in strong disdain,
almost with angry contempt, as if it were a reproach to himself. Did not
the large majority of his hearers receive in their hearts and minds the
electric power of his earnest and ever instructive speech? Suppose it
were true, as he had painful reasons for knowing, that there were always
before him frivolous, empty-headed, and unappreciative hearers, the
hangers-on of a fashionable watering-place, who went to listen to him
because he was the rage; such as these could be only a scattering among
his auditors. Suppose, too, that the captious, the jealous, the bigoted,
and the conceited were represented there, intending to catch matter for
bringing him under public odium in their own circles, because he
trespassed upon the borders of heresy, or shocked the conventional
standards of snobbish society, or spread his range broadly over the
widest fields of moral and political relations; the very presence and
purpose of such listeners were, to one of his grandeur and purity of
spirit, a new inspiration of courage and fidelity. On the whole, so far
as Mr. Robertson really came under the designation which he so dreaded
to bear, he has made it an honorable one. Perhaps it would not be saying
the right, as it certainly is not saying the best thing about his
sermons, now so widely circulated on both sides of the Atlantic, to
speak of them as meeting any popular taste. Would that we could estimate
so highly the craving and the standard, among what are called religious
readers, as to assert for him a favoritism equal to that accorded to a
Cumming, a Spurgeon, or even a Chalmers. Chalmers may have spoken from
what was, in his time, the highest round of elevation at which he would
have been listened to by those who demanded fidelity to an accepted
doctrinal system as the basis for whatever eloquence, logic, rhetoric,
or unction might avail in presenting it. But Mr. Robertson rose to a
higher plane, and took a far wider horoscope. His freest ventures
require that he have readers able and willing to share them.

The biographical materials now furnished will afford a high
gratification to readers on this continent, who, after perusing the
sermons of Mr. Robertson, have felt a keen desire to know something
about the man. We believe that very many of those readers, after
availing themselves of the information concerning him imparted in these
volumes, will turn back again to his discourses to give them a more
deliberate study. He was a man to engage the profoundest interest of
those who live to scrutinize the elements of character and the
developments of a life-history and work in an individual whose mission
is that of a reconciler and a reconstructor of opinions, creeds, and
theories, in one of the great transitional periods of thought and
belief.

The biography before us is a model which cannot be too closely followed
by any one who in time to come shall be privileged to have a subject for
his pen at all resembling, or approximating to, the character and career
of this extraordinary man. The editor was himself rarely privileged for
his work in the quality of his materials, and he has shown an admirable
skill in their use. His chapters begin with the statement of dates,
facts, incidents of a biographical or local character, marking the
life-periods, the external relations and positions of Mr. Robertson, and
are then substantially made up of his correspondence. We can recall now
no collection of letters which can be compared with these for
comprehensiveness of matter, felicity of diction, and elevation of tone
and sentiment, in discussing alike the commonplace and the loftiest
themes of didactic and spiritual religion, under the most vitalized and
intense dealing with it in our modern life. If we should utter all we
have felt, as we have lingered as if entranced over many of these pages,
we should fail of carrying with us those who, not having yet read them,
would, after their perusal, pronounce our encomiums inadequate. Mr.
Robertson's life was a short one, covering only thirty-seven years.
There was nothing conspicuous in the sphere of it. He held only the
lower offices of his clerical profession. Yet we believe we can say,
without exaggeration, that no one member of that profession, from its
bishops down to its curates, with perhaps the single exception of Dean
Stanley, has so wisely divined or so ably presented as he did the
modifications which must be made in the popular dispensation of religion
through the Church, if it is longer to expect a hearing, or even its
present show of tolerance, from those who share the average intelligence
of the age.

This man, who so nobly, and with a rare consistency of character and
life, fulfilled the office of a minister of the Prince of Peace, seems
all along to have had a heart divided by its first love for a military
life and service. Many readers will find a puzzling problem in
reconciling themselves to this fact, as it shows tokens all through his
career that the preference of his youth was also that of his experienced
manhood. His honored father still survives him as a Captain in the Royal
Artillery, retired from service. Three brothers in the military service
also survive the preacher. He was brought up, as he often writes, in
camps and barracks, and loved no sound as he did the boom of artillery.
It was a grievous cross to his cherished inclinations, when he was sent
by parental authority to the University. Being there, he had no
misgiving as to the choice left him for life. He gave himself heart and
soul to the ministry, and that, too, under views of doctrine and duty,
to be followed out in its discharge, amazingly unlike those to which the
free, expanding, and grandly independent growth of his own rare powers
finally led him. Would he have been the same heroic, conscientious, and
devout man as a soldier that he was as a minister? the reader will more
than once be prompted to ask over these pages. He would have been a
splendid example of heroism and chivalry in any cause which his
conscience could have espoused. But if military orders had constrained
his loyalty in behalf of some of the infamous predatory outrages which
English arms have of late years visited upon India and China, could a
man such as he was have retained his commission? His letters give
abundant proof that his ecclesiastical superiors had no prerogative sway
over his conscience. How could he have borne the constraints of
subordination in following a flag which recognizes no scruples of
distinctions between right and wrong when it rallies its champions?
However this might have been, certain it is that all the grand imagery
of the battle-field and the fight, of spear and breastplate, shield and
sword, of soldierly manliness and fidelity, by which St. Paul symbolizes
the warfare of life, and the armor of those who would come off
conquerors, is literally and gloriously realized in Mr. Robertson's
course and in himself. He was a soldier of the sublimest type,--a bold,
earnest, self-denying, effective, and high-souled battler of the worst
foes of man, and the gentle, kindly, loving defender of the weak, the
unfriended, the wronged. He his wishes which left him free to fight the
enemies of truth and righteousness.

During his student-life at Oxford his mind seemed to have been held in a
balance by his affections between those who had committed themselves
respectively to the Tractarian and the Evangelical parties. The solution
which he was to work out for himself of any real perplexities involved
in the issue between them was to lead him clear of both of them. His own
devoutness and sincerity, aided no doubt by the domestic and social
influences of his early religious training, set him forward, in the
first experimentings as a curate, as an earnest disciple of the
"evangelical" fellowship. He made a faithful trial of its principles and
methods. His reading and his self-training, his standard of fidelity,
and the tone and style of his ministerial work, were all dictated by the
teaching of that school. He outgrew it, and cast aside all that belonged
to it: he came utterly to detest and loathe its characteristic
peculiarities. Ever remaining heartily loyal, as he believed, in
essential doctrinal conviction, and in practical conformity, to the
Church of England, he allowed himself a range of liberty within the
terms of its formulas, which left him, as he felt, not only unfettered,
but also quickened by the inspiration of a freedom restrained by no
other bounds than those of humility and reverence. His power of
apprehension, his skill in analysis, his keen sagacity and penetration
in detecting the kernel of truth through all husks and integuments, made
him the most facile of critics, as well as one of the most trustworthy
interpreters of conflicting theories. His magnanimity and catholicity of
spirit gave him an almost preternatural comprehensiveness of sympathy
with minds and consciences struggling in opposite directions for
satisfaction. He engaged himself upon all the freshest problems which
the critical, scientific, and radical restlessness of our age has
opened. We believe that professional experts, and even the foremost
pioneers in the new fields which have thus been opened, will find valued
help, either of cheering encouragement, or of wise, restraining caution,
in his passing comments on their materials or methods. He was wholly
free of that conceit and superciliousness of temper by which most of the
rash and blatant empirics of "advanced thought" manage to disgust the
slow and conservative makeweights of moderation. If we should attempt to
express in a single phrase the charm and loftiness of Mr. Robertson's
personal and representative manifestation, we should say, that he, more
than any other man of the age, was the saint of the new liberalism, even
of the extreme radicalism. More than any other conspicuous man who had
cast aside and spurned the old traditionalisms of credulity, ignorance,
and prejudice, he consecrated free-thinking. For each single negation he
offers a positive belief, or a tenable ground of belief, which
substitutes an efficient and quickening tenet for a faith such as will
satisfy and sanctify. Of course he shocked and startled many, but none
through flippancy or irreverence. He was capable of a holy indignation,
and even occasionally, it would seem, of bitterness of tone, when he
knew, by a divining spirit which no sham or hypocrisy could blind, that
he was challenged not in the interests of truth, but of falsehood. Like
all great and searching souls, he had a dark shadow of melancholy often
cast over him. He is another witness to us of a well-certified truth,
that deep thoughts, while they are in process, not in repose, are sad
thoughts. What sort of friends he had, and by what tenacity of love,
reverence, and gratitude he held them, and how the delicate ties which
bound them to his heart were felt by him as inspirations to fidelity in
such lofty trusts, a score of letters in these volumes will touchingly
illustrate. As we have been enjoying their perusal with a rare delight,
we have anticipated the same experience as multitudes around us will
share in.


     _The Works of the Right Honorable Edmund Burke._ Revised
     Edition. Vols. I.-III. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co.

It is interesting to know that Burke was not really accounted among the
attractive orators of his day, and that people had a habit of going out
of Parliament when he rose to his feet. It illustrates the compensations
of time, atoning to the literary man for the immediate superiorities of
the public speaker. Fox said, that, the better a man spoke, the harder
it usually was for him to compose; and that brilliant orator now lingers
only as a name, while his laborious adversary still holds his own in
literature, and resumes his career in this admirable American edition.

It shows the intellectual comprehensiveness of our people, that they are
ready to be taught by this great man, so resolute an opponent of our
most fundamental ideas. Everything that American institutions affirm
Burke denied, except the spirit of truth and faith which alone give any
institutions their value. Grattan said of him, that, so great was his
love for arbitrary power, he could not sleep comfortably on his pillow,
unless he thought the king had a right to take it from under him. He
demonstrated to his own satisfaction that it was far more congenial to
the human mind to yield to the will of one ruler than of a majority, and
stated it as a "ridiculous" theory, that "twenty-four millions should
prevail over two hundred thousand." Regarding it as the very essence of
property that it should be unequal, he could conceive of no safeguard
for it but that it should be "out of all proportion predominant in the
representation."

Yet, so vast were his natural abilities, his acquirements, and his aims,
that he is instructive even as an antagonist, and has, moreover, left
much that can now be quoted on the right side of every great question.
If he can also be quoted on the other side, no matter. For instance,
Buckle claims for him, that "he insisted on an obedience to the popular
wishes which no man before him had paid, and which too many statesmen
since have forgotten." Yet Burke himself boasted, at the time of his
separation from Fox, that he was "the first man who, on the hustings, at
a popular election, rejected the authority of instructions from
constituents, or who in any place has argued so fully against it."


     _Songs of Seven._ By JEAN INGELOW. Illustrated. Boston:
     Roberts Brothers.

The sweet female singer who has been so warmly welcomed of late in
England and America deserves to be "illustrated." "Songs of Seven" is
one of her best pieces, but not her best. The "High Tide on the Coast of
Lincolnshire" is certainly worthy of the special honor here accorded to
the "Songs of Seven"; and we are somewhat surprised at the selection, by
her American publishers, of these particular verses for illustration.

The wood-cuts in "Songs of Seven" vary materially, and are not in
harmony throughout. Some are of the first order of excellence, while
some are weak and inadequate. Nearly all the _square_ blocks show
artistic thought and skill, and really _illustrate_ the poem. Those by
another hand (the artists' names are not given) betray paucity of mind,
as well as uncertain fingers.

The most attractive merit of this volume is the printer's part of it.
The red borders are as beautiful in their way as any ornamental
inclosures can be; and we have only to compare them with some others in
books published this year in America to note how superior they are in
every respect. The University Press, to which belongs the credit of this
work, has justly won to itself the first praise where printing is
appreciated as a fine art. We have recently seen an edition of the
King's-Chapel Liturgy, with rubrics, from this press, which must rank
among the best-printed books of our time.


    _A Chronological History of the Boston Watch and Police, from
    1631 to 1865; together with the Recollections of a Boston
    Police-Officer, or Boston by Daylight and Gaslight._ From the
    Diary of an Officer Fifteen Years in the Service. By EDWARD
    H. SAVAGE. Boston: Published and sold by the Author.

This book can hardly be characterized as an important addition to
elegant or learned literature; nor, indeed, does it aspire to any such
distinction. We notice it, in passing, as giving us a glimpse into that
world within the world, over whose surface we walk every day, scarcely
conscious of its existence; and we accept also the opportunity to make
due and honorable mention of the services of that class of men through
whose sagacity, integrity, and steadfastness the rest of us are enabled
to become sleek-headed men and such as sleep o' nights. It is well
occasionally to recollect how far the safety and order of the city
depend upon a brave, vigilant, and trustworthy police, that a due
recognition of the fact may serve both as acknowledgment for the past
and increased security for the future.

The brief chronological sketch at the beginning of the book furnishes
many curious and interesting facts of old as well as new time, some of
which we should, on the whole, be rather glad to forget. Without
confessing that we were sinners above others, we yet are not so clean
given over to mutual admiration as to take special pleasure in learning
that Hugh Bowett was banished for maintaining that he was free from
original sin, (though in our day we generally find such saints
disagreeable enough to deserve banishment,)--nor that Oliver Holmes was
whipped for being a Baptist,--nor that William Robinson and Marmaduke
Stevenson were hung on the Common as Antinomians and heretics,--nor that
a Frenchman, who was _suspected_ of setting a fire near the dock, which
consumed eighty buildings, was sentenced to stand in the pillory, to
have both ears cut off, pay charges of court, give five hundred pounds
bonds with sureties, and stand committed till sentence was performed. We
must also suspect the early English traveller, Mr. Ward, of a little
Old-Country prejudice, when he writes of Boston,--"The buildings, like
their women, are neat and handsome; and their streets, like the hearts
of their men, are paved with pebbles. They have four churches, built
with clapboards and shingles, and supplied with four ministers,--one a
scholar, one a gentleman, one a dunce, and one a clown. The captain of a
ship met his wife in the street after a long voyage, and kissed her, for
which he was fined ten shillings. What a happiness, thought I, do we
enjoy in Old England, where we can not only kiss our own wives, but
other men's, without a danger of penalty!" Unquestionably Boston was no
place for Mr. Ward, and Mr. Ward not at all the man for Boston. Yet,
with an occasional blemish and many a casualty, the record is also one
of good works and alms-deeds.

Reading the Police Recollections is like peering down through a crevice
into some subterranean cavern, where an intense convulsive activity
prevails without ceasing, day and night. The actors seem scarcely to be
men and women, but such puppets as dance on electric machines, of
movements too swift and sudden for human beings, too reckless,
eccentric, and apparently inconsequent for moral beings. A certain
phenomenal life they have, a fitful flare of gusty, fierce existence,
and then the instant flicker and fading into extinction. Yet the
philanthropist remembers, with a sigh, that these are living souls,
children of the same Father as himself, amenable to the same laws,
accountable at the same judgment-seat; and the practical question bears
down upon him with ever-increasing force, How shall these outcasts of
society be brought into the Father's house?

More hopeless than the Pariahs are the Brahmins of our
heathenism,--those miserable men whose corrupt lives are glossed over
with a varnish of respectability. Church, assembly, and drawing-room see
the outer surface; the police know the under side, and a sorry side it
seems too often to be. The solid man of Boston bears himself loftily to
wife, child, and neighbor; but the bluecoat on the corner perceives a
shameful secret of crime and guilt lurking under the fair outward
seeming. These are the spots in our feasts of charity.

There are kind hearts for sorrow, as well as sharp eyes for crime, among
our policemen, as many a deed of charity and humanity bears witness; and
their varied duties bring them into contact with human nature in its
oddest manifestations. At a large fire they were obliged to carry out by
main strength "an old lady weighing nearly two hundred pounds, very much
against her will.... When told that her life was in danger, she replied,
'It is all bosh that ye tell me. Has not my landlord repeatedly told me
that the house was insured?' Kitty Quadd was very much delighted that
her trunk had been found. 'It's not the value of me clothing, Sir, but
it's me character that's there,--me character it is'; and, hurrying her
hand into the pocket of an old dress, as she lifted it from the trunk,
she drew forth a dirty piece of paper with much apparent satisfaction.
'This is it, an' sure enough it's safe it is, and it's yerself that
shall read it too, for yer kindness,' said she. I unfolded the paper,
and read as follows:--

"'This certifies that Kitty Quadd is a good domestic, capable of doing
all kinds of work; _but she will get drunk_ when opportunity offers.

                                      "'(Signed) MRS. S----.'"


     _The Life of Michael Angelo._ By HERMAN GRIMM. Translated,
     with the Author's Sanction, by FANNY ELIZABETH BUNNÉTT. Two
     Volumes, Boston; Little, Brown, & Co.

Although it is impossible, in the short space usually allotted to
book-notices, to criticize such an important work as M. Grimm's Life of
Michael Angelo, a concise description of its contents may still be
desirable. The work may be taken as an example of the great advance made
in the art of writing biography since the commencement of the present
century. Old biographies, like old histories, are little else than
gossiping chronicles of events, interspersed with vague moral
reflections, which usually have as much to do with every other subject
in the realm of thought as with the subject especially under
consideration. The present generation, however, has produced histories,
like those of Buckle and Draper, which, whether successfully or not,
have endeavored to exhibit the causal relation of events to one another.
In them, historic occurrences are viewed as the evidence, confirmatory
or illustrative, of certain laws of progress, the elucidation of which
is the main object of the work. A similar change has occurred in the
manner of writing biography. The Life of Robespierre, and the still more
elaborate and finished Life of Goethe, by Mr. Lewes, have aimed at
presenting the circumstances which influenced the development of their
heroes,--at showing us the steps by which they have obtained, the one an
infamous and horrible notoriety, the other the love and veneration of
mankind, both now and as long as mankind shall endure. The work of M.
Grimm is in some respects similar to these. The author is not content
with telling us when the great Michael Angelo was born, when he died,
who his parents were, what he painted, wrote, sculptured, and builded,
where he lived, and how many feet and inches he measured in his
stockings. He aims at more than this. He presents us with a vivid
picture of the life and manners, the opinions and feelings of Italian
men at the time when this great creative genius lived. He sets before us
the circumstances which guided his career, the occurrences upon which
his intellect was brought to bear, and the objects with which his
imagination was nurtured. In short, he shows us Michael Angelo in his
environment. The life of Michael Angelo is, indeed, peculiarly
susceptible of such a treatment. To a far greater extent in him than in
most creators can be traced the influence of external circumstances. His
long life, extending over nearly a century, was affected for good or ill
by very many of the great political events contemporaneously
occurring,--and few other ages have been more fruitful in great events.
Born in 1475, in the good old days of Florentine freedom under the
earlier Medici, when the Arabs still ruled from the Alhambra the fairest
portion of Spain, when America was yet undiscovered, and before England
had recovered from the civil wars of the Roses, his life extended to
1564, to the times of Elizabeth, of Philip II., and of William the
Silent. He saw the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of modern
times. He beheld the rise and fall of Savonarola; the invasions of
Naples by Charles VIII. and Louis XII., and its conquest by Gonsalvo;
the struggle for supremacy between Charles V. and Francis I.; the rise
of Protestantism and the establishment of the Inquisition; the horrible
sack of Rome by the troops of De Bourbon; and the extinction of liberty
in his native city,--the robbing of the Florentine Peter in 1530 to
reimburse the Roman Paul for damages sustained in 1527. In the last
fearful struggle of the Florentines for their liberty Michael Angelo
took an important part. The city-walls were fortified under his
direction, and not a day of the dreadful siege saw him absent from his
post on San Miniato. Before that, he had been connected with the
proceedings of Savonarola; and his marvellous group of the Mourning
Madonna and the Dead Christ is supposed by Grimm to have been called
forth by the sad occurrences of 1498. He was connected with Lorenzo de'
Medici, Piero his son, Julius II., Leo X., Clement VII, Paul III., Paul
IV., and Pius IV.; and the complicated affairs of each of these rulers
affected at every turn his life, and not unfrequently gave to his labors
an entirely new direction.

It is M. Grimm's great merit to have described all these events so that
they appear with the vividness of contemporaneous history, and to have
clearly indicated their effect upon the life of his hero. He has given
us a charming history of the sixteenth century, with Michael Angelo as
its colossal central figure. The work contains much else that is
admirable: reflections upon Grecian and Venetian art, and a sketch of
the history of design in later times.--But to discuss or even to
enumerate all its beauties, and to criticize its few defects, would be
here impossible. We will therefore dismiss the subject, hoping that M.
Grimm may gratify and instruct us by still further productions of the
nature of that which has already rendered him so illustrious.



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