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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 18, No. 109, November, 1866
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 18, No. 109, November, 1866" ***

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(This file was produced from images generously made
available by Cornell University Digital Collections).



THE

ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

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

VOL. XVIII.--NOVEMBER, 1866.--NO. CIX.

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

Transcriber's Note: Minor typos have been corrected and footnotes moved
to the end of the article.



RHODA.


Uncle Bradburn took down a volume of the new Cyclopædia, and placed it
on the stand beside him. He did not, however, open it immediately, but
sat absorbed in thought. At length he spoke:--"Don't you think a young
girl in the kitchen, to help Dorothy, would save a good many steps?"

"I don't know," replied Aunt Janet, slowly. "Dorothy has a great deal to
do already. Hepsy is as good and considerate as possible, but Dorothy
won't let her do anything hardly. Hepsy says herself that within doors
she has only dusted furniture and mended stockings ever since she came."

"Can't you find sewing for Hepsy?"

"She ought not to do much of that, you know."

"Very true; but then this girl,--she will have to go to the poor-house
if we don't take her. She has been living with Mrs. Kittredge at the
Hollow; but Mrs. Kittredge has made up her mind not to keep her any
longer. The fact is, nobody will keep her unless we do; and she is
terribly set against going back to the poor-house."

"Who is she?" asked Aunt Janet, a little hurriedly. She guessed already.

"Her name is Rhoda Breck. You have heard of her."

"Heard of her! I should think so!"

"If I were you, Oliver," said grandmother, who sat in her rocking-chair
knitting, "I would have two or three new rooms finished off over the
wood-shed, and then you could accommodate a few more of that sort. Just
like you!"

And she took a pinch of snuff from a little silver-lidded box made of a
sea-shell. She took it precipitately,--a sign that she was slightly
disturbed. This snuff-box, however, was a safety-valve.

Uncle Bradburn smiled quietly and made no reply.

"We will leave it to Dorothy," said Aunt Janet. "It is only fair, for
she will have all the trouble."

Uncle Bradburn regarded the point as gained: he was sure of Dorothy. But
he added by way of clincher, "Probably the girl never knew a month of
kind treatment in her life, and one would like her to have a chance of
seeing what it is. Just imagine a child of fifteen subjected to the
veriest vixen in the country. There is some excuse for old Mrs.
Kittredge, too, exasperated as she is by disease. No wonder if she is
not very amiable; but that makes it none the less hard for the child."

So the upshot of the matter was, that Rhoda Breck was installed nominal
aid to Dorothy.

Uncle brought her the next day in his sulky,--a slight little creature,
with a bundle as large as herself.

Presently she appeared at the sitting-room door. She was scarcely taller
than a well-grown ten-years child. She wore a dress of gay-hued print, a
bright shawl whose fringe reached lower than the edge of her skirt, and
on her head an old-world straw bonnet decorated with a mat of crushed
artificial flowers, and a faded, crumpled green veil. The small head had
a way of moving in quick little jerks, like a chicken's; and it was odd
to see how the enormous bonnet moved and jerked in unison. The face and
features were small, except the eyes, which were large and wide open,
and blue as turquoise.

She took time to look well around the room before she spoke:--"Well, I'm
come; I suppose you've been expecting of me. See here, be I going to
sleep with that colored woman?"

It was not possible to know from her manner to whom the query was
addressed; but Aunt Janet replied, "No, Rhoda, there is a room for you.
We never ask Dorothy to share her room with any one." Then, turning to
me, "Go and show Rhoda her room, my dear."

I rose to obey. Rhoda surveyed me, as if taking an inventory of the
particulars which made up my exterior; and when I in turn felt my eyes
attracted by her somewhat singular aspect, she remarked, in an
indescribably authoritative tone, "Don't gawp! I hate to be gawped at."

"See what a pretty room Dorothy has got ready for you," said I,--"a
chest of drawers in it, too; and there's a little closet. I am sure you
will like your room."

"No, you ain't sure neither," she replied. "Nobody can't tell till
they've tried. Likely yourn has got a carpet all over it. Hain't it,
now?"

"It has a straw matting," I answered.

"And it's bigger'n this, I'll bet Ain't it, now?"

"It is larger; but Louise and I have it together," said I.

"Yes, I've heard tell about her," said Rhoda. "Well, you see you and her
ain't town-poor. If you was town-poor you'd have to put up with
everything,--little room, and straw bed, and old clothes, and
everything. I expect I'll have to take your old gowns; hain't you got
any? Say, now."

"Yes," I said, "but I wear them myself. Surely, that you have on is not
old."

"Well, that's because I picked berries enough to buy it with. My bundle
there's all old duds, though. It takes me half my time to patch 'em.
You'd pitch 'em into the rag-bag. Wouldn't you, now?"

"I have not seen them, you know," I replied.

"More you hain't, nor you ain't agoing to. I hate folks peeking over my
things."

"Well," said I, "you may be sure I shall never do it. I must go back to
my work now."

"O, you feel above looking at town-poor's things, don't you? Wait till
I've showed you my new apron. I didn't ride in it for fear I'd dust it.
It's real gay, ain't it, now?"

"Yes," said I; "it looks like a piece of a tulip-bed. But I must really
go. I hope you will like your room."

When I went back into the sitting-room, grandmother was wiping her eyes.
She had been laughing till she cried at the new help Uncle Oliver had
brought into the house.

"No matter, though," she was saying; "let him call them help if he
likes. If Dorothy will put up with it, I am sure we ourselves may. He
says Hepsy more than pays her way in eggs and chickens. Just as if he
thought about the eggs and chickens! Of course, if persons are really
in need, it always pays to help them; and I guess Oliver has about as
much capital invested that way as any one I know of, and I'm glad of it.
But it's his funny way of doing it; it's all help, you see." And she
laughed again till the tears came.

In half an hour, during which time grandmother had a nap in her chair
and Aunt Janet read, the little apparition stood in the doorway again.
She had doffed the huge bonnet; and in her lint-white locks, drawn back
from her forehead so straight and tight that it seemed as if that were
what made her eyes open so round, she wore a tall horn comb. Around her
neck, and standing well out, was a broad frill of the same material as
her dress, highly suggestive of Queen Elizabeth.

"You hain't got any old things, coats and trousers and such, all worn
out, have you? 'Cause if you have, I guess I'll begin a braided rug.
When folks are poor, they've got to work, if they know what's good for
'em."

"They'd better work, if they know what's good for 'em, whether they're
poor or not," said grandmother.

"There's a pedler going to bring me a diamond ring when I get a dollar
to pay him for it."

This remark was elicited by a fiery spark on grandmother's finger.

"You had better save your money for something you need more," said
grandmother.

"You didn't think so when you bought yourn, did you, now?" said Rhoda.

Meantime Aunt Janet had experienced a sense of relief at Rhoda's
suggestion, by reason of finding herself really at a loss how to employ
her. So they twain proceeded at once to the garret; whence they
presently returned, Rhoda bearing her arms full of worn-out garments
which had been accumulating in view of the possible beggar whose visits
in that part of New England are inconveniently rare.

"Those braided rugs are very comfortable things under one's feet in
winter," said grandmother. "They're homely as a stump fence, but that is
no matter."

"I hardly knew what you would do with her while we were away," said Aunt
Janet. "But it would kill the child to sit steadily at that. There's one
thing, though,--strawberries will soon be ripe, and she can go and pick
them. You may tell her, Kate, that I will pay her for them by the quart,
just as any one else does. That will please and encourage her, I think."

I told her that evening.

"No, you don't," was her answer. "Nobody don't pay me twice over. I
ain't an old skinflint, if I be town-poor. But I'll keep you in
strawberries, though. Never you fear."

I quite liked that of her, and so did grandmother and Aunt Janet when I
told them.

Uncle and Aunt Bradburn were going to make their yearly visit at Exeter,
where uncle's relatives live. The very day of their departure brought a
letter announcing a visit from one of Aunt Janet's cousins, a Miss
Lucretia Stackpole. She was a lady who avowed herself fortunate in
having escaped all those trammels which hinder people from following
their own bent. One of her fancies was for a nomadic life; and in
pursuance of this, she bestowed on Aunt Janet occasional visits, varying
in duration from two or three days to as many weeks. The letter implied
that she might arrive in the evening train, and we waited tea for her.

She did not disappoint us; and during the tea-drinking she gave us
sketches, not only of all the little celebrities she had met at
Saratoga, but of all the new fashions in dresses, bonnets, and jewelry,
besides many of her own plans.

It was impossible for her to remain beyond the week, she said, because
she had promised to meet her friends General and Mrs. Perkinpine in
Burlington in time to accompany them to Montreal and Quebec, whence they
must hurry back to Saratoga for a week, and go thence to Baltimore;
then, after returning for a few days to New York, they were to go to
Europe.

"But you don't mean to go with them to Europe, Lucretia?" said
grandmother.

"O, of course, Aunt Margaret," for so she called her,--"of course I
intend to go. We mean to be gone a year, and half the time we shall
spend in Paris. We shall go to Rome, and we shall spend a few weeks in
England."

"I cannot imagine what you will do with six months in Paris,--you who
don't know five words of French."

"I studied it, however, at boarding-school," said Miss Stackpole; "I
read both Télémaque and the New Testament in French."

"Did you?" said grandmother; "well, every little helps."

"I think I should dearly love to go myself," said Louise.

"One picks up the language," said Miss Stackpole; "and certainly nothing
is more improving than travel."

"If improvement is your motive, it is certainly a very laudable one,"
said grandmother. "But I should suppose that at your age you would begin
to prefer a little quiet to all this rushing about. But every one to his
liking."

Now it is undeniable that grandmother and Miss Stackpole never did get
on very well together; so it was rather a relief to Louise and myself
when Miss Stackpole, pleading fatigue from her ride, expressed a wish to
go to bed early, and get a good long, refreshing night's sleep, the
facilities for which, she averred, were the only compensating
circumstance of country life.

Immediately afterwards, grandmother called Louise and myself into her
room, to say what a pity it was that this visit had not occurred either
a few weeks earlier or a few weeks later, when uncle and aunt would have
been at home; but that, as it was, we must make the best of it, and do
all in our power to make things go pleasantly for Miss Stackpole. It was
true, she said, that Lucretia was not so very many years younger than
herself, and, for her part, she thought pearl-powder and rouge and dyed
hair, and all such trash, made people look old and silly, instead of
young and handsome. It did sometimes try her patience a little; but she
hoped she should remember, and so must we, that it was a Christian duty
to treat people hospitably in one's own home, and that it was enjoined
upon us to live peaceably, if possible, with all men, as much as lieth
in us. Lucretia's being a goose made no difference in the principle.

So we planned that we would take her up to Haverhill, and down to
Cornish, and over to Woodstock,--all places to which she liked to go.
And Dorothy came in to ask if she had better broil or fricassee the
chickens for breakfast, and to say that there was a whole basketful of
Guinea-hens' eggs, and that she had just set some waffles and
sally-lunns a-sponging. She was determined to do her part, she said: she
should be mighty glad to help get that skinchy-scrimpy look out of Miss
Lucretia's face, just like a sour raisin.

Grandmother said every one must do the best she could.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was one topic which Miss Stackpole could never let alone, and
which always led to a little sparring between herself and grandmother.
So the next morning, directly after breakfast, she began,--"Aunt
Margaret, I never see that ring on your finger without wanting it."

"I know it," grandmother responded; "and you're likely to want it. It's
little like you'll ever get it."

"Now, Aunt Margaret! you always could say the drollest things. But, upon
my word, I should prize it above everything. What in all the world makes
you care to wear such a ring as that, at your age, is more than I can
imagine. If you gave it to me, I promise you I would never part with it
as long as I live."

"And I promise you, Lucretia, that I never will. And let me tell you,
that, old as I am, you are the only one who has ever seemed in a hurry
for me to have done with my possessions. If it will ease your mind any,
I can assure you, once for all, that this ring will never come into your
hands as long as you live. It has been in the family five generations,
and has always gone to the eldest daughter; and, depend upon it, I shall
not be the first to infringe the custom. So now I hope you will leave me
in peace."

Miss Stackpole held up her hands, and exclaimed and protested. When she
was alone with Louise and me, she said she could plainly see that
grandmother grew broken and childish.

When we saw grandmother alone, she said she was sorry she had been so
warm with Lucretia; she feared it was not quite Christian; besides,
though you brayed a fool in a mortar with a pestle, yet would not his
foolishness depart from him.

The visiting career, so desirable for various reasons, was entered upon
immediately. To Bethel, being rather too far for going and returning the
same day, only Miss Stackpole and Louise went. They rode in the
carryall, Louise driving. Though quite needlessly, Miss Stackpole was a
little afraid of trusting herself to Louise's skill, and begged Will
Bright, uncle's gardener, to leave his work, just for a day, and go with
them. But there were a dozen things, said Will, which needed immediate
doing, so that was out of the question. Then it came out that a run-away
horse was not the only danger. In the country there are so many
lurking-places, particularly in going through woods, whence a robber
might pounce upon you all of a sudden and demand your life, or your
portemonnaie, or your watch, or your rings, or something, that Miss
Stackpole thought unprotected women, out on a drive, were on the whole
forlorn creatures. But in our neighborhood a highwayman was a myth,--we
had hardly ever even heard of one; and so, after no end of misgivings
lest one or another lion in the way should after all compel the
relinquishment of the excursion, literally at the eleventh hour they
were fairly on their way.

A room with a low, pleasant window looking out on the garden was the one
assigned to Rhoda. In the garret she had discovered a little old
rocking-chair, and this, transferred to her room, and placed near the
window, was her favorite seat. Here, whenever one walked in the back
garden, which was pretty much thickets of lilacs, great white
rose-bushes, beds of pinks and southern-wood, and rows of
currant-bushes, might be heard Rhoda's voice crooning an old song. It
was rather a sweet voice, too. I wondered where she could have collected
so many old airs. She said she supposed she caught them of Miss Reeney,
out at the poor-house.

When one saw Rhoda working away with unremitting assiduity, day after
day, it was difficult to yield credence to all the stories that had been
current in regard to her violence of temper and general viciousness.
That was hard work, too, which she was doing; at least it looked hard
for such little bits of hands. First, cutting with those great heavy
shears through the thick, stiff cloth; next, the braiding; and finally,
the sewing together with the huge needle, and coarse, waxed thread.

One afternoon I had been looking at her a little while, and, as what
uncle said about her having never had fair play came into my mind, I
felt a strong compulsion to do her some kindness, however trifling; so I
gathered a few flowers, fragrant and bright, and took them to her
window.

"Rhoda," said I, "shouldn't you like these on your bureau? They will
look pretty there; and only smell how sweet they are. You may have the
vase for your own, if you like."

She took it without a word, looked at it a moment, glancing at me to
make sure she understood, and then rose and placed it on the bureau,
where it showed double, reflected from the looking-glass. She did not
again turn her face towards me till she had spent a brief space in close
communion with a minute handkerchief which she had drawn from her
pocket. Clearly, here was one not much wonted to little kindnesses, and
not insensible to them either.

       *       *       *       *       *

The visit to Bethel had resulted so well, that Woodstock and Cornish
were unhesitatingly undertaken. Nor was it misplaced confidence on Miss
Stackpole's part. With the slight drawback of having forgotten the whip
on the return from Woodstock, not the shadow of an accident occurred.
Nor was this oversight of much account, only that Tim Linkinwater, the
horse, whose self-will had increased with his years, soon made the
discovery that he for the nonce held the reins of power; and when they
reached Roaring Brook, instead of proceeding decorously across the
bridge, he persisted in descending a somewhat steep bank and fording the
stream. Half-way across, he found the coolness of the water so agreeable
that he decided to enjoy it _ad libitum_. No expostulations nor
chirrupings nor cluckings availed aught. He felt himself master of the
occasion, and would not budge an inch. He looked up stream and down
stream, and now and then sent a sly glance back at Miss Stackpole and
Louise, and now and then splashed the water with his hoofs against the
pebbles. Miss Stackpole's distress became intense. It began to be a moot
point whether they might not be forced to pass the night there, in the
middle of Roaring Brook. By great good fortune, at this juncture came
along in his sulky Dr. Butterfield of Meriden. To him Louise appealed
for aid, and he gave her his own whip, reaching it down to her from the
bridge. Tim Linkinwater, perfectly comprehending the drift of events,
did not wait for the logic of the lash, which, nevertheless, Miss
Stackpole declared that he richly deserved, and which she would fain
have seen administered, only for the probability that his homeward pace
might be thereby perilously accelerated.

That night we all went unusually early to bed and to sleep. I remember
looking from the window after the light was out, and seeing, through a
rift in the clouds, the new moon just touching the peak of the opposite
mountain. A whippoorwill sang in the great chestnut-tree at the farther
corner of the yard; tree-toads trilled, and frogs peeped, and through
all could just be heard the rapids up the river.

We were wakened at midnight by very different sounds,--a clattering,
crushing noise, like something failing down stairs, with outcries fit to
waken the seven sleepers. You would believe it impossible that they all
proceeded from one voice; but they did, and that Rhoda's. We were wide
awake and up immediately; and as the screams ceased, we distinctly heard
some one running rapidly down the walk. As soon as we could get lights,
we found ourselves congregated in the upper front hall; and Rhoda, when
she had recovered breath to speak, told her story.

She did not know what awoke her; but she heard what sounded like
carefully raising a window, and some one stepping softly around the
house. At first she supposed it might be one of the family; but, the
sounds continuing, it came into her head to get up and see what they
were. So she came, barefooted as she was, up the back way, and was just
going down the front stairs, when a gleam of light shone on the ceiling
above her. She moved to a position whence she could look over the
balusters, and saw that the light came from a shaded lantern, carried by
a man who moved so stealthily that only the creaking of the boards
betrayed his footsteps. At the foot of the stairs he paused a moment,
looking around, apparently hesitating which way to go. He decided to
ascend; and then Rhoda, bravely determined to do battle, seized a
rocking-chair which stood near, and threw it downward with all her
force, lifting up her voice at the same time to give the alarm.

Whether the man were hurt or not, it is certain that he was not so
disabled as to impede his flight, and that he had lost his lantern, for
that lay on the floor at the foot of the staircase; so did the
rocking-chair, broken all to pieces.

When we came to go over the house, it had been thoroughly ransacked.
Every bit of silver, from the old-fashioned tea-pot and coffee-pot and
the great flat porringer which Grandmother Graham's mother had brought
over from Scotland to the cup which had belonged to the baby that died
twenty years ago, and which Aunt Janet loved for his sake, the spoons,
forks, all were collected in a large basket, with a quantity of linen
and some articles of clothing.

If the thief had been content with these, he might probably have secured
them, for he had already placed them on a table just beneath an open
window; but, hoping to gain additional booty, he lost and we saved it
all,---or rather Rhoda saved it for us. We were extremely glad, for it
would have been a great mischance losing those things, apart from the
shame, as grandmother said, of keeping house so poorly while uncle and
aunt were away.

Will Bright thought, from Rhoda's account, that the man might be Luke
Potter; for Luke lived nobody knew how, and he had recently returned
from a two years' absence, strongly suspected to have been a resident in
a New York State-prison. His family occupied a little brown house, half
a mile up the road to uncle's wood-lot.

So Will went up there the next day, pretending he wanted Luke to come
and help about some mowing that was in hand. Luke's wife said that her
husband had not been out of bed for two days, with a hurt he got on the
cars the Saturday before. Then Will offered to go in and see if he could
not do something for him; but Mrs. Potter said that he was asleep, and,
having had a wakeful night, she guessed he had better not be disturbed.

Will felt sure of his man, and, knowing Potter's reckless audacity, made
extensive preparations for defence. He brought down from the garret a
rusty old gun and a powder-horn, hunted up the bullet-moulds, and run
ever so many little leaden balls before he discovered that they did not
fit the gun; but that, as he said, was of no consequence, because there
would be just as much noise, and it was not likely that any thief would
stay to be shot at twice.

So, notwithstanding our great fright, we grew to feel tolerably secure;
but we took good care to fasten the windows, and to set in a safer place
the articles which had so nearly been lost. Moreover, Will Bright was
moved into a little room at the head of the back stairs.

It was to be thought that Miss Stackpole would be completely overcome by
this midnight adventure; but she averred that, contrariwise, it had the
effect to rouse every atom of energy and spirit which she possessed. She
had waited only to slip on a double-gown, and, seizing the first article
fit for offensive service, which proved to be a feather duster, she
hurried to the scene of action. She said afterwards, that she had felt
equal to knocking down ten men, if they had come within her range. I
remember myself that she did look rather formidable. Her double-gown was
red and yellow; and her hair, wound up in little horn-shaped
_papillotes_, imparted to her face quite a bristly and fierce
expression.

Evidently, Rhoda was much exalted in Will Bright's esteem from that
eventful night.

"She's clear grit," said Will. "Who 'd have thought the little thing had
so much spunk in her? I declare I don't believe there's another one in
the house that would have done what she did."

The next forenoon, while Louise and I were sewing in grandmother's room,
Miss Stackpole came hurriedly in, looking quite excited.

"Aunt Margaret,--girls," said she, "do you know that, after all, you've
got a thief in the house? for you certainly have."

"Lucretia," said grandmother, "explain yourself; what do you mean now?"

"Why, I mean exactly what I said; there's no doubt that somebody in the
house is dishonest. I know it; I've lost a valuable pin."

"How valuable?" said grandmother, smiling,--"a diamond one?"

"You need not laugh, Aunt Margaret; it is one of these new pink coral
pins, and very expensive indeed. I shall make a stir about it, I can
tell you. A pity if I can't come here for a few days without having half
my things stolen!"

"And whom do you suspect of taking it?" said grandmother, coolly.

"How do I know? I don't think Dorothy would touch anything that was not
her own."

"You don't?" said grandmother, firing up. "I am glad you see fit to make
one exception in the charge you bring against the household."

"O, very well. I suppose you think I ought to let it all go, and never
open my lips about it. But that is not my way."

"No, it is not," said grandmother.

"If it were my own pin, I shouldn't care so much; but it is not. It
belongs to Mrs. Perkinpine."

"And you borrowed it? borrowed jewelry? Well done, Lucretia! I would not
have believed it of you. I call that folly and meanness."

"No," said Miss Stackpole, "I shall certainly replace it; I shall have
to, if I don't find it. But I will find it. I'll tell you: that girl
that dusts my room, Hepsy you call her, I'll be bound that she has it.
Not that she would know its value; but she would think it a pretty thing
to wear. Now, Aunt Margaret, don't you really think yourself it looks--"

"Lucretia Stackpole," interrupted grandmother, "if you care to know what
I really think myself, I will tell you. Since you have lost the pin, and
care so much about it, I am sorry. You can well enough afford to replace
it, though. But if you want to make everybody in the neighborhood
dislike and despise you, just accuse Hepsy of taking your trinkets. She
was born and bred here, close by us, and we think we know her. For my
part, I would trust her with gold uncounted. Everybody will think, and I
think too, that it is far more likely you have lost or mislaid it than
that any one here has stolen it."

Miss Stackpole had already opened her lips to reply; but what she would
have said will never be known, for she was interrupted again,--this time
by a terrible noise, as if half the house had fallen, and then piteous
cries. The sounds came from the wood-shed, and thither we all hastened,
fully expecting to find some one buried under a fallen wood-pile. It was
not quite that, but there lay Rhoda, with her foot bent under her,
writhing and moaning in extreme pain.

We were every one assembled there, grandmother, Miss Stackpole, Louise,
and I, and Hepsy, Dorothy, and Will Bright. Dorothy would have lifted
and carried her in, but Rhoda would not allow it. Will Bright did not
wait to be allowed, but took her up at once, more gently and carefully
than one would have thought, and deposited her in her own room. Then, at
grandmother's suggestion, he set off directly on horseback for Dr.
Butterfield, whom fortunately he encountered on the way.

The doctor soon satisfied himself that the extent of the poor girl's
injuries was a bad sprain,--enough, certainly, but less than we had
feared.

It would be weeks before she would be able to walk, and meantime perfect
quiet was strictly enforced. Hepsy volunteered her services as nurse,
and discharged faithfully her assumed duties. But Rhoda grew restless
and feverish, and finally became so much worse that we began seriously
to fear lest she had received some internal injury.

One afternoon I was sitting with her when the doctor came. He spoke
cheeringly, as usual; but when I went to the door with him, he said the
child had some mental trouble, the disposal of which would be more
effective than all his medicines, and that I must endeavor to ascertain
and remove it.

Without much difficulty I succeeded. She was haunted with the fear,
that, in her present useless condition, she would be sent away. I
convinced her that no one would do this during the absence of Uncle and
Aunt Bradburn, and that before their return she would probably be able
to resume her work.

"I know I'll sleep real good to-night," said Rhoda. "You see I'm awful
tired of going round so from one place to another. It's just been from
pillar to post ever since I can remember."

"Well," said I, "you may be sure that you will never be sent away from
this house for sickness nor for accident. So now set your poor little
heart at rest about it."

The blue eyes looked at me with an expression different from any I had
seen in them before. They were soft, pretty eyes, too, now that the hair
was suffered to lie around the face, instead of being stretched back as
tightly as possible. One good result had come from the wood-shed
catastrophe: the high comb had been shattered into irretrievable
fragments. I inly determined that none like it should ever take its
place.

       *       *       *       *       *

Since Miss Stackpole said it was impossible for her to remain till the
return of Uncle and Aunt Bradburn, I cannot say that, under the
circumstances, we particularly desired her to prolong her visit. It may
be that grandmother had too little patience with her; certainly they two
were not congenial spirits. However, by means of taking her to see every
relative we had in the vicinity, we disposed of the time very
satisfactorily. She remained a few days longer than she had intended, so
that Dorothy, who is unapproachable in ironing, might do up her muslin
dresses.

"I have changed my mind about Hepsy," said she the night before she
left. "I think now it is Rhoda."

"What is Rhoda?" asked grandmother.

"That has taken the coral pin."

Grandmother compressed her lips, but her eyes spoke volumes.

"Miss Stackpole," said I, "it is true that Rhoda has not been here long;
still, I have a perfect conviction of her honesty."

"Very amiable and generous of you to feel so, Kate," said Miss
Stackpole; "perhaps a few years ago, when I was of your age, I should
have thought just the same."

"Kate is twenty next September," said grandmother, who could refrain no
longer. "I never forget anybody's age. It is quite possible that she
will change in the course of twenty-five or thirty years."

We all knew this to be throwing down the gauntlet. Miss Stackpole did
not, however, take it up. She said she intended to lay the
circumstances, exactly as they were, before Mrs. Perkinpine; and if that
lady would allow her, she should pay for the pin. She thought, though,
it might be her duty to talk with Rhoda; perhaps, even at the eleventh
hour, the girl might be induced to give it up.

"I will take it upon me, Lucretia," said grandmother, "to object to your
talking with Rhoda. Even if we have not among us penetration enough to
see that she is honest as daylight, it does not follow that we should be
excusable in doing anything to make that forlorn orphan child less happy
than she is now. You visit about a great deal, Lucretia. I hope, for the
sake of all your friends, that you don't everywhere scatter your
suspicions broadcast as you have done here. I am older than you, as you
will admit, and I have never known any good come of unjust accusations."

After Miss Stackpole went up stairs that night, she folded the black
silk dress she had been wearing to lay it in her trunk; and in doing
that, she found the missing pin on the inside of the waist-lining, just
where she had put it herself. Then she remembered having stuck it there
one morning in a hurry, to prevent any one being tempted with seeing it
lie around.

And Rhoda never knew what an escape she had.

       *       *       *       *       *

"I do wish there was something for me to do," said Rhoda; "I never was
used to lying abed doing nothing. It most tuckers me out."

"Cannot you read, Rhoda?" I asked.

"Yes, I can read some. I can't read words, but I can tell some of the
letters."

"Have you never gone to school?"

"No; I always had to work. Poor folks have got to work, you know."

"Yes, but that need not prevent your learning to read. I can teach you
myself; I will, if you like."

"I guess your aunt won't calculate to get me to work for her, and then
have me spend my time learning to read. First you know, she'll send me
off."

"She will like it perfectly well. Grandmother is in authority here now;
I will go and ask her." This I knew would seem to her decisive.

"What did she say?" said Rhoda, rather eagerly, when I returned.

"She says yes, by all means; and that if you learn to read before aunt
comes home, you shall have a new dress, and I may choose it for you."

Now it was no sinecure, teaching Rhoda, but she won the dress,--a lilac
print, delicate and pretty enough for any one. I undertook to make the
dress, but she accomplished a good part of it herself. She said Miss
Reeny used to show her about sewing. Whatever was to be done with hands
she learned with surprising quickness. Grandmother suggested that the
reading lessons should be followed by a course in writing. Before the
lameness was well over, Rhoda could write, slowly indeed, yet legibly.

I carried her some roses one evening. While putting them in water, I
asked what flowers she liked best.

"I like sweetbriers best," said she. "I think sweetbriers are handsome
in the graveyard. I set out one over Jinny Collins's grave. For what I
know, it is growing now."

"Who was Jinny Collins, Rhoda?"

"A girl that used to live over at the poor-house when I did. She was
bound out to the Widow Whitmarsh, the spring that I went to live with
Mrs. Amos Kemp. Jinny used to have sick spells, and Mrs. Whitmarsh
wanted to send her back to the poor-house, but folks said she couldn't,
because she'd had her bound. She and Mrs. Kemp was neighbors; and after
Jinny got so as to need somebody with her nights, Mrs. Kemp used to let
me go and sleep with her, and then she could wake me up if she wanted
anything. I wanted to go, and Jinny wanted to have me come; she used to
say it did her lots of good. Sometimes we'd pretend we was rich, and was
in a great big room with curtains to the windows. We didn't have any
candle burning,--Mrs. Whitmarsh said there wa'n't no need of one, and
more there wa'n't. One night we said we'd take a ride to-morrow or next
day. We pretended we'd got a father, and he was real rich, and had got a
horse and wagon. Jinny said we'd go to the store and buy us a new white
gown,--she always wanted a white gown. By and by she said she was real
sleepy; she didn't have no bad coughing-spell that night, such as she
most always did. She asked me if I didn't smell the clover-blows, how
sweet they was; and then she talked about white lilies, and how she
liked 'em most of anything, without it was sweetbriers. Then she asked
me if I knew what palms was; and she said when she was dead she wanted
me to have her little pink chany box that Miss Maria Elliot give her
once, when she bought some blueberries of her. So then she dozed a
little while; and I don't know why, but I couldn't get asleep for a good
while, for all I'd worked real hard that day. I guess 'twas as much as
an hour she laid kind of still; she never did sleep real sound, so but
what she moaned and talked broken now and then. So by and by she give a
start, and says she, 'I'm all ready.' 'Ready for what, Jinny,' says I.
But she didn't seem to know as I was talking to her. Says she, 'I'm all
ready. I've got on a white gown and a palm in my hand.' So then I knew
she was wandering like, as I'd heard say folks did when they was very
sick; for she hadn't any gown at all on, without you might call Mrs.
Whitmarsh's old faded calico sack one, nor nothing in her hand neither.
So pretty soon she dropped to sleep again, and I did too. And I slept
later 'n common. The sun was shining right into my eyes when I opened
'em. I thought 't would trouble Jinny, and I was just going to pin her
skirt up to the window, and I see that she looked awful white. I put my
hand on her forehead, and it was just as cold as a stone. So then I knew
she was dead. I never see her look so happy like. She had the
pleasantest smile on her lips ever you see. I didn't know as Mrs. Kemp'd
like to have me stay, but I just brushed her hair,--'t was real pretty
hair, just a little mite curly,--and then I run home and told Mrs. Kemp.
She said she'd just as lives I'd stay over to Mrs. Whitmarsh's as not
that day, 'cause she was going over to Woodstock shopping. So I went
back again, and Mrs. Whitmarsh she sent me to one of the selectmen to
see if she'd got to be to the expense of the funeral, 'cause she said it
didn't seem right, seeing she never got much work out of Jinny, she was
always so weakly. And Mr. Robbins he said the town would pay for the
coffin and digging the grave. That made her real pleasant; and I don't
know what put me up to it, but I was real set on it that Jinny should
have on a white gown in the coffin. And I asked Mrs. Whitmarsh if I
mightn't go over to Miss Bradford's; and she let me, and Miss Bradford
give me an old white gown, if I'd iron it; and Polly Wheelock, she was
Miss Bradford's girl, she helped me put it on to Jinny. And then Polly
got some white lilies, and I got some sweetbrier sprigs, and laid round
her in the coffin. I've seen prettier coffins, but I never see no face
look so pretty as Jinny's. Mrs. Whitmarsh had the funeral next morning.
She said she wanted to that night, so she could put the room airing, but
she supposed folks would talk, and, besides, they didn't get the grave
dug quick enough neither. Mrs. Kemp let me go to the funeral. I thought
they was going to carry her over to the poor-house burying-ground, but
they didn't, 'cause 't would cost so much for a horse and wagon. The
right minister was gone away, and the one that was there was going off
in the cars, so he had to hurry. There wa'n't hardly anybody there, only
some men to let the coffin down, and the sexton, and Mrs. Whitmarsh and
Polly Wheelock and I. The minister prayed a little speck of a prayer and
went right away. I heard Mrs. Whitmarsh telling Mrs. Kemp she thought
she'd got out of it pretty well, seeing she didn't expect nothing but
what she'd got to buy the coffin, and get the grave dug, and be to all
the expense. She said she guessed nobody'd catch her having another girl
bound out to her. Mrs. Kemp said she always knew 't was a great risk,
and that was why she didn't have me bound.

"That summer, when berries was ripe, Mrs. Kemp let me go and pick 'em
and carry 'em round to sell; and she said I might have a cent for every
quart I sold. I got over three dollars that summer for myself."

"What did you do with it?"

"I bought some shoes, and some yarn to knit me some stockings. I can
knit real good."

"How came you to leave Mrs. Kemp."

"Partly 't was 'cause she didn't like my not buying her old green shawl
with my share of the money for the berries; and partly 'cause I got
cold, and it settled in my feet so's I couldn't hardly go round. So she
told me she'd concluded to have me go back to the poor-house. If she
kept a girl, she said, she wanted one to wait on her, and not to be
waited on. She waited two or three days to see if I didn't get better,
so as I could walk over there; but I didn't. And one day it had been
raining, but it held up awhile, and she see a neighbor riding by, and
she run out and asked him if he couldn't carry me over to the
poor-house. He said he could if she wanted him to; so I went. I had on
my cape, and it wa'n't very warm. She asked me when I come away, if I
wa'n't sorry I hadn't a shawl. I expect I did catch cold. I couldn't set
up nor do nothing for more 'n three weeks. When I got so I could knit,
my yarn was gone. I never knew what become of it; and one of the women
used to borrow my shoes for her little girl, and she wore 'em out So,
come spring, I was just where I was the year before, only lonesomer,
cause Jinny was gone."

"And did you stay there?"

"To the poor-house? No; Betty Crosfield wanted a girl to come and help
her. She took in washing for Mr. Furniss's hands. She said I wa'n't
strong enough to earn much, but she would pay me in clothes. She give me
a Shaker bonnet and an old gown that the soap had took the color out of,
and she made a tack in it, so's it did. And I had my cape. When
strawberries come, the hands was most all gone, and she let me sleep
there, and go day-times after berries, and she to have half the pay.
That's how I got my red calico and my shawl."

"Who made your dress, Rhoda?"

"Miss Reeny, I carried it over to see if she'd cut it out, and she said
she'd make it if they'd let her, and they did. And I got her some green
tea. She used to say sometimes, she'd give anything for a cup of green
tea, such as her mother used to have."

"Who is Miss Reeny?"

"A woman that lives over there. Her father used to be a doctor; but he
died, and she was sickly and didn't know as she had any relations, and
by and by she had to go there. They say over there she ain't in her
right mind, but I don't know. She was always good to me. There was an
old chair with a cushion in it, and Miss Reeny wanted it to sit in,
'cause her back was lame; but old Mrs. Fitts wanted it too, and they
used to spat it. So Miss Holbrook come there one day to see the place,
and somebody told her about the cushioned chair, and, if you'll believe
it, the very next day there was one come over as good again, with arms
to it, and a cushion, and all. Miss Holbrook sent it over to Miss Reeny.
None of 'em couldn't take it away."

"And is she there now?"

"Yes, she can't go nowhere else. One night Betty Crosfield said I
needn't come there no more; she was going to take a boarder. Berry-time
was most over, so then I got a place to Miss Stoney's, the milliner. She
agreed to give me twenty-five cents a week, and I thought to be sure I
should get back my shoes and yarn now. But one morning the teapot was
cracked, and she asked me, and I said I didn't do it,--and I didn't; but
she said she knew I did, because there wasn't nobody but her and me that
touched it, and she should keep my wages till they come to a dollar and
a half, because that was what a new one would cost. Before the teapot
was paid for I did break a glass dish. I didn't know 't would hurt it to
put it in hot water; and everything else that was broke, she thought I
broke it, and she kept it out of my wages. I told her I didn't see as
she ought to; and in the fall she said she couldn't put up with my sauce
and my breaking no longer. Mrs. Kittredge wanted a girl, and I went
there."

"And how did you find it there?"

"I think it was about the hardest place of all. I'd as lives go back to
the poor-house as to stay there. Sally Kittredge used to tell things
that wa'n't true about me. She told one day that I pushed her down. I
never touched my hand to her. But Mrs. Kittredge got a raw hide up
stairs and give it to me awful. I shouldn't wonder if it showed now;
just look."

She undid the fastening of her dress and slipped off the waist for me to
see. The little back--she was very small--was all discolored with
stripes, purple, green, and yellow. After showing me these bruises, she
quietly fastened her dress again.

Now there was that in Rhoda's manner during this narration which wrought
in my mind entire conviction of its verity. By the time of Uncle and
Aunt Bradburn's return, she was growing in favor with every one in the
house. She was gentle, patient, and grateful.

The deftness with which she used those small fingers suggested to me the
idea of teaching her some of the more delicate kinds of fancy-work. But
it seemed that she required no teaching. An opportunity given of looking
on while one was embroidering, crocheting, or making tatting, and the
process was her own. Native tact imparted to her at once the skill which
others attain only by long practice. As for her fine sewing, it was
exquisite; and in looking at it, one half regretted the advent of the
sewing-machine.

The fall days grew short; the winter came and went; and in the course of
it, besides doing everything that was required of her in the household,
keeping up the reading and writing, and satisfactory progress in
arithmetic, Rhoda had completed, at my suggestion, ten of those little
tatting collars, made of fine thread, and rivalling in delicate beauty
the loveliest fabrics of lace.

Because a project was on foot for Rhoda. A friend of mine going to
Boston took charge of the little package of collars, and the result was
that the proprietor of a fancy-store there engaged to receive all of
them that might be manufactured, at the price of three dollars each.
When my friend returned, she brought me, as the avails of her
commission, the sum of thirty dollars.

But here arose an unexpected obstacle. It was difficult to convince
Rhoda that the amount, which seemed to her immense, was of right her
own. She comprehended it, however, at last; and thenceforth her skill in
this and other departments of fancy-work obtained for her constant and
remunerative employment.

It was now a year since Rhoda came to us, and during this time her
improvement had been steady and rapid. And since she had come to dress
like other girls, no one could say that she was ill-looking; but, as I
claimed the merit of effecting this change in her exterior, it may be
that I observed it more than any one else. Still, I fancy that some
others were not blind.

"Where did you get those swamp-pinks, Rhoda?" for I detected the fine
azalia odor before I saw them.

A bright color suffused the childlike face, quite to the roots of the
hair. "Will Bright got them when he went after the cows. You may have
some if you want them."

"No, thank you; it is a pity to disturb them, they look so pretty just
as they are."

       *       *       *       *       *

Troubles come to everybody. Even Will Bright, though no one had ever
known him to be without cheerfulness enough for half a dozen, was not
wholly exempt from ills. With all his good sense, which was not a
little, Will was severely incredulous of the reputed effects of
poison-ivy; and one day, by way of maintaining his position, gathered a
spray of it and applied it to his face. He was not long in finding the
vine in question an ugly customer. His face assumed the aspect of a
horrible mask, and the dimensions of a good-sized water-pail, with
nothing left of the eyes but two short, straight marks. For once, Will
had to succumb and be well cared for.

In this state of things a letter came to him with a foreign postmark. "I
will lay it away in your desk, Will," said uncle, "till you can read it
yourself; that will be in a day or two."

"If you don't mind the trouble, sir, I should thank you to open and read
it for me. I get no letters that I am unwilling you should see."

It was to the effect that a relative in England had left him a bequest
of five hundred pounds, and that the amount would be made payable to his
order wherever he should direct.

"You will oblige me, sir, if you will say nothing about this for the
present," said Will, when uncle had congratulated him.

"I hope we shall not lose sight of you, Will," said uncle, who really
felt a strong liking for the young man, who had served him faithfully
three years.

"I hope not, sir," replied Will. "I shall be glad to consult you before
I decide what use to make of this windfall. At all events, I don't want
to change my quarters for the present."

       *       *       *       *       *

About the same time, brother Ned, in Oregon, sent me a letter which
contained this passage:--

"We are partly indebted for this splendid stroke of business to the help
of a townsman of our own; his name is Joseph Breck. He says he ran away
from Deacon Handy's, at fifteen years old, because the Deacon would not
send him to school as he had agreed. Ask uncle if he remembers Ira
Breck, who lived over at Ash Swamp, near the old Ingersol place. He was
drowned saving timber in a freshet. He left two children, and this
Joseph is the elder. The other was a girl, her name Rhoda, six or eight
years younger than Joseph; she must be now, he says, not far from
sixteen or seventeen. Joe has had a hard row to hoe, but now that he
begins to see daylight he wants to do something for his sister. He is a
thoroughly honest and competent fellow, and we are glad enough to get
hold of him. He told me the other night such a story as would make your
heart ache: at all events it would make you try to ascertain something
about his sister before you write next."

       *       *       *       *       *

I lost no time in seeking Rhoda.

"Yes," said she, in reply to my inquiries, "I did have a brother once.
He went off and was lost. I can just remember him. I don't suppose I
shall ever see him again. Folks said likely he was drowned."

"Was his name Joseph?"

"It was Joe; father used to call him Joe."

I read to her from Ned's letter what related to her brother.

"I'm most afraid it's a dream," said Rhoda after a brief silence. "Over
at the poor-house I used to have such good dreams, and then I'd wake up
out of them. After I came here I used to be afraid it was a dream; but I
didn't wake out of that. Perhaps I shall see Joe again; who knows?"

       *       *       *       *       *

From this time a change came over Rhoda. She begged as a privilege to
learn to do everything that a woman can do about a house.

"I do declare, Miss Kate," said Dorothy one day, after displaying a
grand array of freshly baked loaves, wearing the golden-brown tint that
hints at such savory sweetness, "that girl, for a white girl, is going
to make a most a splendid cook. I never touched this bread, and just you
see! ain't it perfindiculur wonderful?"

Soon after, I found Rhoda, with her dress tidily pinned out of harm's
way, standing at a barrel, and poking vigorously with a stick longer
than herself.

"What now, Rhoda! what are you doing there?"

"Come here and look at the soap, Miss Kate. I made it every bit myself;
ain't it going to be beautiful?"

"Why do you care to do such things, Rhoda?"

"I'll tell you," in a low voice; "perhaps when Joe comes home, some time
he'll buy himself a little place and let me keep house for him; then I
shall want to know how to do everything."

"Rhoda, I believe you can do everything already."

"No, I can't wring," looking piteously from one little hand to the
other. "I can iron cute, but I can't wring. Dorothy says that is one
thing I shall have to give up, unless I can make my hands grow. Do you
suppose I could?"

"No; you must make Joe buy you a wringer. Can you make butter?"

"O yes, when the churning isn't large. Likely Joe won't keep more than
one cow."

I looked at the eager little thing, wondering if her hope would ever be
realized. She divined my thought, and glanced at me wistfully. "You
think this is a dream; you think I shall wake up.

"No, no," I answered; "I wonder what Joe will think when he sees what a
mite of a sister he has. He'll make you stand round, Rhoda, you may be
sure of that."

"May be he isn't any larger himself," she responded, with a ready,
bright smile.

       *       *       *       *       *

Brother Ned's next letter brought the welcome tidings that he hoped to
come home the ensuing August, and that Joseph Breck would probably come
at the same time.

June went, and July. Rhoda grew restless; she was no longer constantly
at work; she began to listen nervously for every train of cars. I was
glad to believe that the brother for whom she held in readiness such
lavish love was deserving of it. She grew prettier every day. The
uncouth dress was gone forever, the hideous bonnet burned up, and the
gay shawl made over to Miss Reeny, who admired and coveted it. Hepsy
herself was not more faultlessly quiet and tasteful in her attire. I was
sure that Joe, if he had eyes at all, must be convinced that his sister
was worth coming all the way from Oregon to see.

At last, one pleasant afternoon, there was a step in the hall that I
recognized; it was Ned's! I reached him first, and felt his dear old
arms close fast about me; and then, for Louise's right was stronger than
mine, I gave him over to her and the rest. My happiness, though it half
blinded me, did not prevent my seeing a pallid little face looking
earnestly in from the back hall door. Then Joe had not come! I felt a
keen pang for Rhoda.

"Ned," said I, as soon as I could get a word with him, "there is Joe
Breck's sister; where is Joe?"

"Where is Joe?" said Ned; "why, there he is."

Sure enough, there above Rhoda's--a good way above--was a dark, fine,
manly face, all sun-browned and bearded.--"Rhoda!"--He had stolen a
march upon her. She turned and saw him. A swift look of glad surprise,
and the brother and sister so long separated had recognized each other.
He drew her to him and held her there tenderly as if she were a little
child.

       *       *       *       *       *

So Joe bought "a little place," and I believe he would fain have had his
sister Rhoda for its mistress. But then it came out that Will Bright,
that sly fellow had been using every bit of persuasion in his power to
make her promise that she would keep house for him. Nay, he had won
already a conditional promise, the proviso being, of course, Joe's
approval. Will's is not a little place, either. With his relative's
legacy he purchased the great Wellwood nursery; and so skilled is he in
its management that uncle says there is not a more thriving man in the
neighborhood. And Rhoda, of whom he is wonderfully proud, is as content
a little woman as any in the land. Whenever I go to Uncle
Bradburn's,--and few summers pass that I do not,--I make a point of
reserving time for a visit to Rhoda. The last time I went, I encountered
Will bringing her down stairs in his arms; and she held in her arms, as
something too precious to be yielded to another, what proved on
inspection to be a tiny, blue-eyed baby. It was comical to see her
ready, matronly ways; and it was touching, when you thought of the past,
to witness her quiet yet perfect enjoyment.

And I really know of no one in the world more heartily benevolent than
she. "You see," she says, "I knew once what it is to need kindness; and
now I should be worse than a heathen if I did not help other people when
I have a chance."

I suppose Hepsy pitied Joe for his disappointment. In any case, she has
done what she could to console him for it. On the whole, it would be
difficult to say which is the happier wife, Hepsy or Rhoda.



PASSAGES FROM HAWTHORNE'S NOTE-BOOKS.


XI.

Concord, 1843.--To sit at the gate of Heaven, and watch persons as they
apply for admittance, some gaining it, others being thrust away.

       *       *       *       *       *

To point out the moral slavery of one who deems himself a free man.

       *       *       *       *       *

A stray leaf from the Book of Fate, picked up in the street.

       *       *       *       *       *

The streak of sunshine journeying through the prisoner's cell,--it may
be considered as something sent from Heaven to keep the soul alive and
glad within him. And there is something equivalent to this sunbeam in
the darkest circumstances; as flowers, which figuratively grew in
Paradise, in the dusky room of a poor maiden in a great city; the child,
with its sunny smile, is a cherub. God does not let us live anywhere or
anyhow on earth without placing something of Heaven close at hand, by
rightly using and considering which, the earthly darkness or trouble
will vanish, and all be Heaven.

       *       *       *       *       *

When the reformation of the world is complete, a fire shall be made of
the gallows; and the hangman shall come and sit down by it in solitude
and despair. To him shall come the last thief, the last drunkard, and
other representatives of past crime and vice; and they shall hold a
dismal merrymaking, quaffing the contents of the last brandy-bottle.

       *       *       *       *       *

The human heart to be allegorized as a cavern. At the entrance there is
sunshine, and flowers growing about it. You step within but a short
distance, and begin to find yourself surrounded with a terrible gloom
and monsters of divers kinds; it seems like hell itself. You are
bewildered, and wander long without hope. At last a light strikes upon
you. You pass towards it, and find yourself in a region that seems, in
some sort, to reproduce the flowers and sunny beauty of the entrance,
but all perfect. These are the depths of the heart, or of human nature,
bright and peaceful. The gloom and terror may lie deep, but deeper still
this eternal beauty.

       *       *       *       *       *

A man in his progress through life may pick up various matters,--sin,
care, habit, riches,--until at last he staggers along under a heavy
burden.

       *       *       *       *       *

To have a lifelong desire for a certain object, which shall appear to be
the one thing essential to happiness. At last that object is attained,
but proves to be merely incidental to a more important affair, and that
affair is the greatest evil fortune that can occur. For instance, all
through the winter I had wished to sit in the dusk of evening, by the
flickering firelight, with my wife, instead of beside a dismal stove. At
last this has come to pass; but it was owing to her illness.

       *       *       *       *       *

Madame Calderon de la Barca (in "Life in Mexico") speaks of persons who
have been inoculated with the venom of rattlesnakes, by pricking them in
various places with the tooth. These persons are thus secured forever
after against the bite of any venomous reptile. They have the power of
calling snakes, and feel great pleasure in playing with and handling
them. Their own bite becomes poisonous to people not inoculated in the
same manner. Thus a part of the serpent's nature appears to be
transfused into them.

       *       *       *       *       *

An auction (perhaps in Vanity Fair) of offices, honors, and all sorts of
things considered desirable by mankind, together with things eternally
valuable, which shall be considered by most people as worthless lumber.

       *       *       *       *       *

An examination of wits and poets at a police court, and they to be
sentenced by the judge to various penalties or fines,--the house of
correction, whipping, etc.,--according to the moral offences of which
they are guilty.

       *       *       *       *       *

A volume bound in cowhide. It should treat of breeding cattle, or some
other coarse subject.

       *       *       *       *       *

A young girl inhabits a family graveyard, that being all that remains of
rich hereditary possessions.

       *       *       *       *       *

An interview between General Charles Lee, of the Revolution, and his
sister, the foundress and mother of the sect of Shakers.

       *       *       *       *       *

For a sketch for a child:--the life of a city dove, or perhaps of a
flock of doves, flying about the streets, and sometimes alighting on
church steeples, on the eaves of lofty houses, etc.

       *       *       *       *       *

The greater picturesqueness and reality of back courts, and everything
appertaining to the rear of a house, as compared with the front, which
is fitted up for the public eye. There is much to be learned always, by
getting a glimpse at rears. Where the direction of a road has been
altered, so as to pass the rear of farm-houses instead of the front, a
very noticeable aspect is presented.

       *       *       *       *       *

A sketch:--the devouring of old country residences by the overgrown
monster of a city. For instance, Mr. Beekman's ancestral residence was
originally several miles from the city of New York; but the pavements
kept creeping nearer and nearer, till now the house is removed, and a
street runs directly through what was once its hall.

       *       *       *       *       *

An essay on various kinds of death, together with the just before and
just after.

       *       *       *       *       *

The majesty of death to be exemplified in a beggar, who, after being
seen, humble and cringing, in the streets of a city for many years, at
length, by some means or other, gets admittance into a rich man's
mansion, and there dies, assuming state and striking awe into the
breasts of those who had looked down on him.

       *       *       *       *       *

To write a dream, which shall resemble the real course of a dream, with
all its inconsistency, its strange transformations, which are all taken
as a matter of course, its eccentricities and aimlessness, with
nevertheless a leading idea running through the whole. Up to this old
age of the world, no such thing ever has been written.

       *       *       *       *       *

To allegorize life with a masquerade, and represent mankind generally as
masquers. Here and there a natural face may appear.

       *       *       *       *       *

With an emblematical divining-rod, to seek for emblematic gold,--that
is, for truth,--for what of Heaven is left on earth.

       *       *       *       *       *

A task for a subjugated fiend:--to gather up all the fallen autumnal
leaves of a forest, assort them, and affix each one to the twig where it
originally grew.

       *       *       *       *       *

A vision of Grub Street, forming an allegory of the literary world.

       *       *       *       *       *

The emerging from their lurking-places of evil characters on some
occasion suited to their action, they having been quite unknown to the
world hitherto. For instance, the French Revolution brought out such
wretches.

       *       *       *       *       *

The advantage of a longer life than is now allotted to mortals,--the
many things that might then be accomplished, to which one lifetime is
inadequate, and for which the time spent seems therefore lost, a
successor being unable to take up the task where we drop it.

       *       *       *       *       *

George I. had promised the Duchess of Kendall, his mistress, that, if
possible, he would pay her a visit after death. Accordingly, a large
raven flew into the window of her villa at Isleworth. She believed it to
be his soul, and treated it ever after with all respect and tenderness,
till either she or the bird died.

       *       *       *       *       *

The history of an almshouse in a country village, from the era of its
foundation downward,--a record of the remarkable occupants of it, and
extracts from interesting portions of its annals. The rich of one
generation might, in the next, seek for a house there, either in their
own persons or in those of their representatives. Perhaps the son and
heir of the founder might have no better refuge. There should be
occasional sunshine let into the story; for instance, the good fortune
of some nameless infant, educated there, and discovered finally to be
the child of wealthy parents.

       *       *       *       *       *

Pearl, the English of Margaret,--a pretty name for a girl in a story.

       *       *       *       *       *

The conversation of the steeples of a city, when their bells are ringing
on Sunday,--Calvinist, Episcopalian, Unitarian, etc.

       *       *       *       *       *

Allston's picture of "Belshazzar's Feast,"--with reference to the
advantages or otherwise of having life assured to us till we could
finish important tasks on which we might be engaged.

       *       *       *       *       *

Visits to castles in the air,--Chateaux en Espagne, etc.,--with remarks
on that sort of architecture.

       *       *       *       *       *

To consider a piece of gold as a sort of talisman, or as containing
within itself all the forms of enjoyment that it can purchase, so that
they might appear, by some fantastical chemic process, as visions.

       *       *       *       *       *

To personify If, But, And, Though, etc.

       *       *       *       *       *

A man seeks for something excellent, but seeks it in the wrong spirit
and in a wrong way, and finds something horrible; as, for instance, he
seeks for treasure, and finds a dead body; for the gold that somebody
has hidden, and brings to light his accumulated sins.

       *       *       *       *       *

An auction of second-hands,--thus moralizing how the fashion of this
world passeth away.

       *       *       *       *       *

Noted people in a town,--as the town-crier, the old fruit-man, the
constable, the oyster-seller, the fish-man, the scissors-grinder, etc.

       *       *       *       *       *

The magic ray of sunshine for a child's story,--the sunshine circling
round through a prisoner's cell, from his high and narrow window. He
keeps his soul alive and cheerful by means of it, it typifying
cheerfulness; and when he is released, he takes up the ray of sunshine,
and carries it away with him, and it enables him to discover treasures
all over the world, in places where nobody else would think of looking
for them.

       *       *       *       *       *

A young man finds a portion of the skeleton of a mammoth; he begins by
degrees to become interested in completing it; searches round the world
for the means of doing so; spends youth and manhood in the pursuit; and
in old age has nothing to show for his life but this skeleton of a
mammoth.

       *       *       *       *       *

For a child's sketch:--a meeting with all the personages mentioned in
Mother Goose's Melodies, and other juvenile stories.

       *       *       *       *       *

Great expectation to be entertained in the allegorical Grub Street of
the great American writer. Or a search-warrant to be sent thither to
catch a poet. On the former supposition, he shall be discovered under
some most unlikely form, or shall be supposed to have lived and died
unrecognized.

       *       *       *       *       *

An old man to promise a youth a treasure of gold, and to keep his
promise by teaching him practically a golden rule.

       *       *       *       *       *

A valuable jewel to be buried in the grave of a beloved person, or
thrown over with a corpse at sea, or deposited under the
foundation-stone of an edifice,--and to be afterwards met with by the
former owner, in some one's possession.

       *       *       *       *       *

A noted gambler had acquired such self-command that, in the most
desperate circumstances of his game, no change of feature ever betrayed
him; only there was a slight scar upon his forehead, which at such
moments assumed a deep blood-red hue. Thus, in playing at brag, for
instance, his antagonist could judge from this index when he had a bad
hand. At last, discovering what it was that betrayed him, he covered the
scar with a green silk shade.

       *       *       *       *       *

A dream the other night, that the world had become dissatisfied with the
inaccurate manner in which facts are reported, and had employed me, with
a salary of a thousand dollars, to relate things of public importance
exactly as they happen.

       *       *       *       *       *

A person who has all the qualities of a friend, except that he
invariably fails you at the pinch.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Concord, July 27, 1844._--To sit down in a solitary place or a busy and
bustling one, if you please, and await such little events as may happen,
or observe such noticeable points as the eyes fall upon around you. For
instance, I sat down to-day, at about ten o'clock in the forenoon, in
Sleepy Hollow, a shallow space scooped out among the woods, which
surround it on all sides, it being pretty nearly circular or oval, and
perhaps four or five hundred yards in diameter. At the present season, a
thriving field of Indian corn, now in its most perfect growth and
tasselled out, occupies nearly half of the hollow; and it is like the
lap of bounteous Nature, filled with breadstuff. On one verge of this
hollow, skirting it, is a terraced pathway, broad enough for a
wheel-track, overshadowed with oaks, stretching their long, knotted,
rude, rough arms between earth and sky; the gray skeletons, as you look
upward, are strikingly prominent amid the green foliage. Likewise, there
are chestnuts, growing up in a more regular and pyramidal shape; white
pines, also; and a shrubbery composed of the shoots of all these trees,
overspreading and softening the bank on which the parent stems are
growing, these latter being intermingled with coarse grass. Observe the
pathway; it is strewn over with little bits of dry twigs and decayed
branches, and the sear and brown oak-leaves of last year, that have been
moistened by snow and rain, and whirled about by harsh and gentle winds,
since their verdure has departed. The needle-like leaves of the pine
that are never noticed in falling--that fall, yet never leave the tree
bare--are likewise on the path; and with these are pebbles, the remains
of what was once a gravelled surface, but which the soil accumulating
from the decay of leaves, and washing down from the bank, has now almost
covered. The sunshine comes down on the pathway, with the bright glow of
noon, at certain points; in other places, there is a shadow as deep as
the glow; but along the greater portion sunshine glimmers through
shadow, and shadow effaces sunshine, imaging that pleasant mood of mind
when gayety and pensiveness intermingle. A bird is chirping overhead
among the branches, but exactly whereabout you seek in vain to
determine; indeed, you hear the rustle of the leaves, as he continually
changes his position. A little sparrow, however, hops into view,
alighting on the slenderest twigs, and seemingly delighting in the
swinging and heaving motion which his slight substance communicates to
them; but he is not the loquacious bird, whose voice still comes, eager
and busy, from his hidden whereabout. Insects are fluttering around.
The cheerful, sunny hum of the flies is altogether summer-like, and so
gladsome that you pardon them their intrusiveness and impertinence,
which continually impel them to fly against your face, to alight upon
your hands, and to buzz in your very ear, as if they wished to get into
your head, among your most secret thoughts. In truth, a fly is the most
impertinent and indelicate thing in creation,--the very type and moral
of human spirits with whom one occasionally meets, and who, perhaps,
after an existence troublesome and vexatious to all with whom they come
in contact, have been doomed to reappear in this congenial shape. Here
is one intent upon alighting on my nose. In a room, now,--in a human
habitation,--I could find in my conscience to put him to death; but here
we have intruded upon his own domain, which he holds in common with all
other children of earth and air; and we have no right to slay him on his
own ground. Now we look about us more minutely, and observe that the
acorn-cups of last year are strewn plentifully on the bank and on the
path. There is always pleasure in examining an acorn-cup,--perhaps
associated with fairy banquets, where they were said to compose the
table-service. Here, too, are those balls which grow as excrescences on
the leaves of the oak, and which young kittens love so well to play
with, rolling them over the carpet. We see mosses, likewise, growing on
the banks, in as great variety as the trees of the wood. And how strange
is the gradual process with which we detect objects that are right
before the eyes! Here now are whortleberries, ripe and black, growing
actually within reach of my hand, yet unseen till this moment.
Were we to sit here all day,--a week, a month, and doubtless a
lifetime,--objects would thus still be presenting themselves as new,
though there would seem to be no reason why we should not have detected
them all at the first moment.

Now a cat-bird is mewing at no great distance. Then the shadow of a bird
flits across a sunny spot. There is a peculiar impressiveness in this
mode of being made acquainted with the flight of a bird; it impresses
the mind more than if the eye had actually seen it. As we look round to
catch a glimpse of the winged creature, we behold the living blue of the
sky, and the brilliant disk of the sun, broken and made tolerable to the
eye by the intervening foliage. Now, when you are not thinking of it,
the fragrance of the white pines is suddenly wafted to you by a slight,
almost imperceptible breeze, which has begun to stir. Now the breeze is
the softest sigh imaginable, yet with a spiritual potency, insomuch that
it seems to penetrate, with its mild, ethereal coolness, through the
outward clay, and breathe upon the spirit itself, which shivers with
gentle delight. Now the breeze strengthens so much as to shake all the
leaves, making them rustle sharply; but it has lost its most ethereal
power. And now, again, the shadows of the boughs lie as motionless as if
they were painted on the pathway. Now, in the stillness, is heard the
long, melancholy note of a bird, complaining above of some wrong or
sorrow that man, or her own kind, or the immitigable doom of mortal
affairs, has inflicted upon her, the complaining, but unresisting
sufferer. And now, all of a sudden, we hear the sharp, shrill chirrup of
a red squirrel, angry, it seems, with somebody--perhaps with
ourselves--for having intruded into what he is pleased to consider his
own domain. And hark! terrible to the ear, here is the minute but
intense hum of a mosquito. Instinct prevails over all sentiment; we
crush him at once, and there is his grim and grisly corpse, the ugliest
object in nature. This incident has disturbed our tranquillity. In
truth, the whole insect tribe, so far as we can judge, are made more for
themselves, and less for man, than any other portion of creation. With
such reflections, we look at a swarm of them, peopling, indeed, the
whole air, but only visible when they flash into the sunshine, and
annihilated out of visible existence when they dart into a region of
shadow, to be again reproduced as suddenly. Now we hear the striking of
the village clock, distant, but yet so near that each stroke is
distinctly impressed upon the air. This is a sound that does not disturb
the repose of the scene; it does not break our Sabbath,--for like a
Sabbath seems this place,--and the more so, on account of the cornfield
rustling at our feet. It tells of human labor; but being so solitary
now, it seems as if it were so on account of the sacredness of the
Sabbath. Yet it is not; for we hear at a distance mowers whetting their
scythes; but these sounds of labor, when at a proper remoteness, do but
increase the quiet of one who lies at his ease, all in a mist of his own
musings. There is the tinkling of a cowbell,--a noise how peevishly
discordant were it close at hand, but even musical now. But hark! there
is the whistle of the locomotive,--the long shriek, heard above all
other harshness; for the space of a mile cannot mollify it into harmony.
It tells a story of busy men, citizens from the hot street, who have
come to spend a day in a country village,--men of business,--in short,
of all unquietness; and no wonder that it gives such a startling scream,
since it brings the noisy world into the midst of our slumberous peace.
As our thoughts repose again after this interruption, we find ourselves
gazing up at the leaves, and comparing their different aspects,--the
beautiful diversity of green, as the sun is diffused through them as a
medium, or reflected from their glossy surface. We see, too, here and
there, dead, leafless branches, which we had no more been aware of
before than if they had assumed this old and dry decay since we sat down
upon the bank. Look at our feet; and here, likewise, are objects as good
as new. There are two little round, white fungi, which probably sprung
from the ground in the course of last night,--curious productions, of
the mushroom tribe, and which by and by will be those small things with
smoke in them which children call puff-balls. Is there nothing else?
Yes; here is a whole colony of little ant-hills,--a real village of
them. They are round hillocks, formed of minute particles of gravel,
with an entrance in the centre, and through some of them blades of grass
or small shrubs have sprouted up, producing an effect not unlike trees
that overshadow a homestead. Here is a type of domestic
industry,--perhaps, too, something of municipal institutions,--perhaps
likewise--who knows?--the very model of a community, which Fourierites
and others are stumbling in pursuit of. Possibly the student of such
philosophies should go to the ant, and find that Nature has given him
his lesson there. Meantime, like a malevolent genius, I drop a few
grains of sand into the entrance of one of these dwellings, and thus
quite obliterate it. And behold, here comes one of the inhabitants, who
has been abroad upon some public or private business, or perhaps to
enjoy a fantastic walk, and cannot any longer find his own door. What
surprise, what hurry, what confusion of mind are expressed in all his
movements! How inexplicable to him must be the agency that has effected
this mischief! The incident will probably be long remembered in the
annals of the ant-colony, and be talked of in the winter days, when they
are making merry over their hoarded provisions. But now it is time to
move. The sun has shifted his position, and has found a vacant space
through the branches, by means of which he levels his rays full upon my
head. Yet now, as I arise, a cloud has come across him, and makes
everything gently sombre in an instant. Many clouds, voluminous and
heavy, are scattered about the sky, like the shattered ruins of a
dreamer's Utopia; but I will not send my thoughts thitherward now, nor
take one of them into my present observations.

And now how narrow, scanty, and meagre is the record of observations,
compared with the immensity that was to be observed within the bounds
which I prescribed to myself! How shallow and thin a stream of thought,
too,--of distinct and expressed thought,--compared with the broad tide
of dim emotions, ideas, associations, which were flowing through the
haunted regions of imagination, intellect, and sentiment,--sometimes
excited by what was around me, sometimes with no perceptible connection
with them! When we see how little we can express, it is a wonder that
any man ever takes up a pen a second time.

       *       *       *       *       *

To find all sorts of ridiculous employments for people that have nothing
better to do;--as to comb out the cows' tails, shave goats, hoard up
seeds of weeds, etc., etc.

       *       *       *       *       *

The baby, the other day, tried to grasp a handful of sunshine. She also
grasps at the shadows of things in candle-light.

       *       *       *       *       *

To typify our mature review of our early projects and delusions, by
representing a person as wandering, in manhood, through and among the
various castles in the air that he had reared in his youth, and
describing how they look to him,--their dilapidation, etc. Possibly some
small portion of these structures may have a certain reality, and
suffice him to build a humble dwelling in which to pass his life.

       *       *       *       *       *

The search of an investigator for the unpardonable sin: he at last finds
it in his own heart and practice.

       *       *       *       *       *

The trees reflected in the river;--they are unconscious of a spiritual
world so near them. So are we.

       *       *       *       *       *

The unpardonable sin might consist in a want of love and reverence for
the human soul; in consequence of which, the investigator pried into its
dark depths,--not with a hope or purpose of making it better, but from a
cold, philosophical curiosity,--content that it should be wicked in
whatever kind and degree, and only desiring to study it out. Would not
this, in other words, be the separation of the intellect from the heart?

       *       *       *       *       *

There are some faces that have no more expression in them than any other
part of the body. The hand of one person may express more than the face
of another.

       *       *       *       *       *

An ugly person with tact may make a bad face and figure pass very
tolerably, and more than tolerably. Ugliness without tact is horrible.
It ought to be lawful to extirpate such wretches.

       *       *       *       *       *

To represent the influence which dead men have among living affairs. For
instance, a dead man controls the disposition of wealth; a dead man sits
on the judgment-seat, and the living judges do but repeat his decisions;
dead men's opinions in all things control the living truth; we believe
in dead men's religions; we laugh at dead men's jokes; we cry at dead
men's pathos; everywhere, and in all matters, dead men tyrannize
inexorably over us.

       *       *       *       *       *

When the heart is full of care, or the mind much occupied, the summer
and the sunshine and the moonlight are but a gleam and glimmer,--a vague
dream, which does not come within us, but only makes itself imperfectly
perceptible on the outside of us.

       *       *       *       *       *

Biographies of eminent American merchants,--it would be a work likely to
have a great circulation in our commercial country. If successful, there
might be a second volume of eminent foreign merchants. Perhaps it had
better be adapted to the capacity of young clerks and apprentices.

       *       *       *       *       *

For the virtuoso's collection:--Alexander's copy of the Iliad, enclosed
in the jewelled casket of Darius, still fragrant with the perfumes
Darius kept in it. Also the pen with which Faust signed away his
salvation, with the drop of blood dried in it.


_October 13, 1844._--This morning, after a heavy hoar-frost, the leaves,
at sunrise, were falling from the trees in our avenue without a breath
of wind, quietly descending by their own weight. In an hour or two
after, the ground was strewn with them; and the trees are almost bare,
with the exception of two or three poplars, which are still green. The
apple and pear trees are still green; so is the willow. The first severe
frosts came at least a fortnight ago,--more, if I mistake not.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sketch of a person, who, by strength of character or assistant
circumstances, has reduced another to absolute slavery and dependence on
him. Then show that the person who appeared to be the master must
inevitably be at least as much a slave as the other, if not more so. All
slavery is reciprocal, on the supposition most favorable to the masters.

       *       *       *       *       *

Persons who write about themselves and their feelings, as Byron did, may
be said to serve up their own hearts, duly spiced, and with brain-sauce
out of their own heads, as a repast for the public.

       *       *       *       *       *

To represent a man in the midst of all sorts of cares and annoyances,
with impossibilities to perform, and driven almost distracted by his
inadequacy. Then quietly comes Death, and releases him from all his
troubles; and he smiles, and congratulates himself on escaping so
easily.

       *       *       *       *       *

What if it should be discovered to be all a mistake, that people, who
were supposed to have died long ago, are really dead? Byron to be still
living, a man of sixty; Burns, too, in extreme old age; Bonaparte
likewise; and many other distinguished men, whose lives might have
extended to these limits. Then the private acquaintances, friends,
enemies, wives, taken to be dead, to be all really living in this world.
The machinery might be a person's being persuaded to believe that he had
been mad; or having dwelt many years on a desolate island; or having
been in the heart of Africa or China; and a friend amuses himself with
giving this account. Or some traveller from Europe shall thus correct
popular errors.

       *       *       *       *       *

The life of a woman, who, by the old Colony law, was condemned to wear
always the letter A sewed on her garment in token of her sin.

       *       *       *       *       *

To make literal pictures of figurative expressions. For instance, he
burst into tears,--a man suddenly turned into a shower of briny drops.
An explosion of laughter,--a man blowing up, and his fragments flying
about on all sides. He cast his eyes upon the ground,--a man standing
eyeless, with his eyes thrown down, and staring up at him in wonderment,
etc., etc., etc.

       *       *       *       *       *

An uneducated countryman, supposing he had a live frog in his stomach,
applied himself to the study of medicine, in order to find a cure, and
so became a profound physician. Thus some misfortune, physical or moral,
may be the means of educating and elevating us.


_Concord, March 12, 1845._--Last night was very cold, and bright
starlight; yet there was a mist or fog diffused all over the landscape,
lying close to the ground, and extending upwards, probably not much
above the tops of the trees. This fog was crystallized by the severe
frost; and its little feathery crystals covered all the branches and
smallest twigs of trees and shrubs; so that, this morning, at first
sight, it appeared as if they were covered with snow. On closer
examination, however, these most delicate feathers appeared shooting out
in all directions from the branches,--above as well as beneath,--and
looking, not as if they had been attached, but had been put forth by
the plant,--a new kind of foliage. It is impossible to describe the
exquisite beauty of the effect, when close to the eye; and even at a
distance this delicate appearance was not lost, but imparted a graceful,
evanescent aspect to great trees, perhaps a quarter of a mile off,
making them look like immense plumes, or something that would vanish at
a breath. The so-much admired sight of icy trees cannot compare with it
in point of grace, delicacy, and beauty; and, moreover, there is a life
and animation in this, not to be found in the other. It was to be seen
in its greatest perfection at sunrise, or shortly after; for the
slightest warmth impaired the minute beauty of the frost-feathers, and
the general effect. But in the first sunshine, and while there was still
a partial mist hovering around the hill and along the river, while some
of the trees were lit up with an illumination that did not
_shine_,--that is to say, glitter,--but was not less bright than if it
had glittered, while other portions of the scene were partly obscured,
but not gloomy,--on the contrary, very cheerful,--it was a picture that
never can be painted nor described, nor, I fear, remembered with any
accuracy, so magical was its light and shade, while at the same time the
earth and everything upon it were white; for the ground is entirely
covered by yesterday's snow-storm.

Already, before eleven o'clock, these feathery crystals have vanished,
partly through the warmth of the sun, and partly by gentle breaths of
wind; for so slight was their hold upon the twigs that the least motion,
or thought almost, sufficed to bring them floating down, like a little
snow-storm, to the ground. In fact, the fog, I suppose, was a cloud of
snow, and would have scattered down upon us, had it been at the usual
height above the earth.

All the above description is most unsatisfactory.



ON TRANSLATING THE DIVINA COMMEDIA.

FOURTH SONNET.


    How strange the sculptures that adorn these towers!
        This crowd of statues, in whose folded sleeves
        Birds build their nests; while canopied with leaves
        Parvis and portal bloom like trellised bowers,
    And the vast minster seems a cross of flowers!
        But fiends and dragons from the gargoyled eaves
        Watch the dead Christ between the living thieves,
        And underneath the traitor Judas lowers!
    Ah! from what agonies of heart and brain,
        What exultations trampling on despair,
        What tenderness, what tears, what hate of wrong,
    What passionate outcry of a soul in pain,
        Uprose this poem of the earth and air,
        This mediæval miracle of song!



FIVE HUNDRED YEARS AGO.


We who enjoy the fruits of civil and religious liberty as our daily
food, reaping the harvest we did not sow, seldom give a thought to those
who in the dim past prepared the ground and scattered the seed that has
yielded such plenteous return. If occasionally we peer into the gloom of
by-gone centuries, some stalwart form, like that of Luther, arrests our
backward glance, and all beyond is dark and void. But generations before
Martin Luther the work for the harvest of coming ages was begun. Humble
but earnest men, with such rude aids as they possessed, were toiling to
clear away the dense underbrush of ignorance and superstition, and let
the light of the sun in on the stagnant swamp; struggling to plough up
the stony soil that centuries of oppression had made hard and barren;
scattering seed that the sun would scorch and the birds of the air
devour; and dying without seeing a green blade to reward them with the
hope that their toils were not in vain.

But their labors were not lost. The soil thus prepared by the painful
and unrequited toil of those who had gone down to obscure graves,
sorrowing and hopeless, offered less obstruction to the strong arms and
better appliances of the reformers of a later day. Of the seed scattered
by the early sowers, a grain found here and there a sheltering crevice,
and struggled into life, bearing fruit that in the succession of years
increased and multiplied until thousands were fed and strengthened by
its harvest.

The military history of the reign of the third Edward of England is
illuminated with such a blaze of glory, that the dazzled eye can with
difficulty distinguish the dark background of its domestic life. Cressy
and Poitiers carried the military fame of England throughout the world,
and struck terror into her enemies; but at home dwelt turbulence,
corruption, rapine, and misery. The barons quarrelled and fought among
themselves. The clergy wallowed in a sty of corruption and debauchery.
The laboring classes were sunk in ignorance and hopeless misery. It was
the dark hour that precedes the first glimmer of dawn.

Poitiers was won in 1356. Four years the French king remained in
honorable captivity in England. Then came the treaty of Bretigny, which
released King John and terminated the war. The great nobles, with their
armies of lesser knights and swarms of men-at-arms, returned to England,
viewed with secret and well-founded distrust by the industrious and
laboring classes along their homeward route. The nobles established
themselves in their castles, immediately surrounded by swarms of
reckless men, habituated by years of war to deeds of lawlessness and
violence, and having subject to their summons feudatory knights, each of
whom had his own band of turbulent retainers. With such elements of
discord, it was impossible for good order long to be maintained. The
nobles quarrelled, and their retainers were not backward in taking up
the quarrel. The feudatory knights had disagreements among themselves,
and carried on petty war against each other. Confederated bands of
lawless men traversed the country, seizing property wherever it could be
found, outraging women, taking prisoners and ransoming them, and making
war against all who opposed their progress or were personally obnoxious
to them. Castles and estates were seized and held on some imaginary
claim. It was in vain to appeal to the laws. Justice was powerless to
correct abuses or aid the oppressed. Powerful barons gave countenance to
the marauders, that their services might be secured in the event of a
quarrel with their neighbors; nor did they hesitate to share in the
booty. Might everywhere triumphed over right, and the "law of the
strong arm" superseded the ordinances of the civil power.

The condition of the Church was no better than that of the State. Fraud,
corruption, and oppression sat in high places in both. The prelates had
their swarms of armed retainers, and ruled their flocks with the sword
as well as the crosier. The monasteries, with but few exceptions, were
the haunts of extravagance and sensuality, instead of the abodes of
self-denying virtue and learning. The portly abbot, his black robe edged
with costly fur and clasped with a silver girdle, his peaked shoes in
the height of the fashion, and wearing a handsomely ornamented dagger or
hunting-knife, rode out accompanied by a pack of trained hunting-dogs,
the golden bells on his bridle

    "Gingeling in the whistling wind as clear
    And eke as loud as doth the chapel bell."

The monks who were unable to indulge their taste for the chase sought
recompense in unrestrained indulgence at the table. The land was
overspread with an innumerable swarm of begging friars, who fawned on
the great, flattered the wealthy, and despoiled the poor. Another class
traversed the country, selling pardons "come from Rome all hot," and
extolling the virtues of their relics and the power of their indulgences
with the eloquence of a quack vending his nostrums. Bishops held civil
offices under the king, and priests acted as stewards in great men's
houses. Simony possessed the Church, and the ministers of religion again
sold their Master for silver.

The domestic and social life of the higher classes of society in the
last half of the fourteenth century can be delineated, with a fair
approach to exactness, from the detached hints scattered through such
old romances and poems of that period as the diligent labors of zealous
antiquaries have brought to light.

The residences of all the great and wealthy possessed one general
character. The central point and most important feature was the great
hall, adjoining which in most houses a "parlour," or talking-room, had
recently been built. A principal chamber for the ladies of the household
was generally placed on the ground-floor, with an upper chamber, or
"soler," over it. In the larger establishments additional chambers had
been clustered around the main building, increasing in number with the
wants of the household. The castles and fortified buildings varied a
little in outward construction from the ordinary manorial residences,
but the same general arrangement of the interior existed. A few of the
stronger and more important buildings were of stone; but the larger
proportion were of timber, or timber and stone combined.

The great hall was the most important part of the establishment. Here
the general business of the household was transacted, the meals served,
strangers received, audiences granted, and what may be termed the public
life of the family carried on. It was also the general rendezvous of the
servants and retainers, who lounged about it when duty or pleasure did
not call them to the other offices or to the field. In the evening they
gathered around the fire, built in an iron grate standing in the middle
of the room; for as yet chimneys were a luxury confined to the principal
chamber. The few remaining halls of this period that have not been
remodelled in succeeding ages present no trace of a fireplace or
chimney. At night the male servants and men-at-arms stretched themselves
to sleep on the benches along its sides, or on the rush-covered floor.

The floor at the upper end was raised, forming the _dais_, or place of
honor. On this, stretching nearly from side to side, was the "table
dormant," or fixed table, with a "settle," or bench with a back, between
it and the wall. On the lower floor, and extending lengthwise on each
side down the hall, stood long benches for the use of the servants and
retainers. At meal-times, in front of these were placed the temporary
tables of loose boards supported on trestles. At the upper end was the
cupboard, or "dresser," for the plate and furniture of the table. In
the halls of the greater nobles, on important occasions, tapestry or
curtains were hung on the walls, or at least on that portion of the wall
next the dais, and still more rarely a carpet was used for that part of
the floor,--rushes or bare tiles being more general. A perch for hawks,
and the grate of burning wood, sending its smoke up to the blackened
open roof, completed the picture of the hall of a large establishment in
the fourteenth century.

The "parlour," or talking-room, as its name imports, was used chiefly
for conferences, and for such business as required more privacy than was
attainable in the hall, but was unsuited to the domestic character of
the chamber.

After the hall, the most important feature of the building was the
principal chamber. Here the domestic life of the family was carried on.
Here the ladies of the household spent their time when not at meals or
engaged in out-door sports and pastimes. The furniture of this room was
more complete than that of the other parts of the building, but was
still rude and scanty when judged by modern wants. The bed was of
massive proportions and frequently of ornamental character. A
truckle-bed for the children or chamber servants was pushed under the
principal bed by day. At the foot of the latter stood the huge "hutch,"
or chest, in which were deposited for safety the family plate and
valuables. Two or three stools and large chairs, with a perch or bar on
which to hang garments, completed the usual furniture of the chamber.

In this room was one important feature not found in the others, and
which accounted for the increasing attachment manifested towards it. The
fire, instead of being placed in an iron grate or brazier in the middle
of the room, burned merrily on the hearth; and the smoke, instead of
seeking its exit by the window, was carried up a chimney of generous
proportions.

The household day commenced early. The members of the family arose from
the beds where they had slept in the garments worn by our first parents
before the fall; for the effeminacy of sleeping in night-dresses had not
yet been introduced, and it was only the excessively poor that made the
clothes worn during the day serve in lieu of blankets and coverlets.

    "'I have but one whole hater,'[1] quoth Haukyn;
    'I am the less to blame,
    Though it be soiled and seldom clean:
    I sleep therein of nights.'"

Breakfast was served about six o'clock. It is difficult to get an exact
description of the customs of the breakfast-table, or the nature of the
meal, as the contemporary writers make little allusion to it. Probably
it was but a slight repast, to allay the cravings of appetite until the
great meal of the day was served. Until within a few years of the period
of which we write, the dinner-hour was so early that but little food was
taken before that time.

Dinner was then, as now, the principal meal of the English day. In the
houses of the great it was conducted with much ceremony; and among the
richer classes certain well-established rules of courtesy in relation to
the meal were observed. The family and their guests entered the great
hall about ten o'clock. They were met by a domestic, bearing a pitcher
and basin, and his assistant, with a towel. Water was poured on the
hands of each person, and the ablutions carefully performed; scrupulous
cleanliness in this respect being required, from the fact that forks
were as yet things undreamed of. The principal guests took their seats
at the "table dormant," on the dais, the person of highest rank having
the middle seat,--which was consequently at the head of the hall,--and
the others being arranged according to their respective rank.

At the side-tables, below the dais, sat the inferior members of the
household, with the guests of lesser note,--these also arranged with
careful regard to rank and position. The beggar or poor wayfarer who
was admitted to a humble share of the feast crouched on the rushes among
the dogs who lay awaiting the bones and relics of the repast, and
thankfully fed, like Lazarus, on "the crumbs that fell from the rich
man's table."

The guests being seated, the busy servitors hastened to cover the table
with a "fair white linen cloth," of unsullied purity; and on it were
placed the salt-cellars of massive silver, the spoons and knives; next
the bread, and then the wine, poured with great ceremony into the
drinking-cups by the cupbearer. The silver vessels were brought from the
"dresser," and arranged on the table, the display being proportioned to
the wealth and condition of the host and the consideration to be paid to
the guests. The head cook and his assistants entered in procession,
bearing the dishes in regular order, and deposited them on the table
with due solemnity. The pottage was first served, and when this course
was eaten, the vessels and spoons were removed. The carver performed his
office on the meats, holding the joint, according to the traditions of
his order, carefully with the thumb and first two fingers of his left
hand, whilst he carved. The pieces were placed on "trenchers" or slices
of bread, and handed to the guests, who made no scruple of freely using
their fingers. The bones and refuse of the food were placed on the
table, or thrown to the dogs.

The people of that day were not insensible to the pleasures of the
table; and, unless urgent matters called them to the field or the
council, dinner was enjoyed with leisurely deliberation. In great houses
of hospitable reputation, the great hall at the hour of meals was open
to all comers. The traveller who found himself at its door was admitted,
and received position and food according to his condition. The minstrels
that wandered over the country in great numbers were always welcome, and
were well supplied with food and drink, and received liberal gifts for
their songs and the long romances of love and chivalry which they
recited to music. Not unfrequently satirical songs were sung, or the
minstrel narrated stories in which the humor was of a coarser nature
than would now be tolerated in the presence of ladies, but which in that
day were listened to without a blush.

Dinner ended, the vessels and unconsumed meats were removed, the
tablecloths gathered up, and the relics of the feast thrown on the floor
for the dogs to devour. The side-tables were removed from their trestles
and piled in a corner, and the hall cleared for the entertainments that
frequently followed the dinner. These consisted of feats of conjuring by
the "joculators," balancing and tumbling by the women who wandered about
seeking a livelihood by such means, or dancing by the ladies of the
household and their guests.

The feast and its succeeding amusements disposed of, the ladies either
shared in the out-door sports and games, of which there were many in
which women could take part, or they retired to the chamber, where,
seated in low chairs or in the recessed windows, they engaged in making
the needle-work pictures that adorned the tapestry, listening the while
to the love-romances narrated by the minstrel who had been invited for
the purpose, or gave willing ear to the flattery of some "virelay" or
love-song, sung by gay canon, gentle page, or courtly knight.

About six o'clock, the household once more assembled in the hall for
supper; and then the orders for the ensuing day were given to the
servants and retainers. Soon after dark the members of the family and
their guests sought their respective sleeping-places, as contrivances
for lighting were rude, and had to be economized. Such of the servants
as had special chambers or sleeping-places retired to them, whilst a
large proportion of the male servants and such of the retainers as
belonged immediately to the household stretched themselves on the
benches or floor of the hall, and were soon fast asleep. Such is a
sketch of the ordinary course of domestic life among the higher classes
of English society in the fourteenth century.

Among the greater nobles, the details of the daily life were sometimes
on a more magnificent scale; but the leading features were as we have
described them. Rude pomp and barbaric splendor marked the
establishments of some of the powerful barons and ecclesiastical
dignitaries. At tilt and tournament, the contending knights strove to
outshine each other in gorgeousness of equipment, as well as in deeds of
arms. Nor were the ladies averse to richness of attire in their own
persons. Costly robes and dainty furs were worn, and jewels and gems of
price sparkled when the dames and demoiselles appeared at great
gatherings, or on occasions of state and ceremony. The extravagance of
dress in both sexes had grown to be so great an evil, that stringent
sumptuary laws were passed, but without producing any effect.

The moral state of even the highest classes of society was not of a
flattering character. Europe was one huge camp and battle-field, in
which all the chivalry of the day had been educated,--no good school for
purity of life and delicacy of language. The literature of the time, at
least that portion of it which penetrated to ladies' chambers, was of an
amorous, and too frequently of an indelicate character. A debased and
sensual clergy swarmed over the land, finding their way into every
household, and gradually corrupting those with whom their sacred office
brought them into contact. The manners and habits of the time afforded
every facility for the gratification of debased passions and indulgence
in immoral practices.

Whilst the barons feasted and fought, the ladies intrigued, and the
clergy violated every principle of the religion they professed, the
great mass of the population lived on, with scarcely a thought bestowed
on them by their social superiors. Between the Anglo-Norman baron and
the Anglo-Saxon laborer, or "villain," there was a great gulf fixed. The
antipathy of an antagonistic and conquered race to its conquerors was
intensified by years of oppression and wrong, and the laborer cherished
a burning desire to break the bonds of thraldom in which most of the
poor were held.

By the laws of the feudal system, the tenants and laborers on the
property of a baron were his "villains," or slaves. They were divided
into two classes;--the "villains regardant," who were permitted to
occupy and cultivate small portions of land, on condition of rendering
certain stipulated services to their lord, and were therefore considered
in the light of slaves to the land; and the "villains in gross," who
were the personal slaves of the landowner, and were compelled to do the
work they were set to perform in consideration of their food and
clothing. Besides these two classes a third had recently come into
existence, and, owing to various causes, was fast increasing in extent
and importance,--that of free laborers, who worked for hire. This class
was recruited in various ways from the ranks of the "villains in gross."
Some were manumitted by their dying masters, as an act of piety in
atonement for the deeds of violence done during life; but by far the
greater number effected their freedom by escaping to distant parts of
the country, where but little search would be made for them, or by
seeking the refuge of the walled towns and cities, where a residence of
a year and a day would give them freedom by law. The citizens were
always ready to give asylum to those fugitives, for they supplied the
growing need for laborers, and enabled the cities, by the increase of
population, to maintain their independence against the pretensions of
the barons.

The condition of the "villain" was bad at the best; and numerous petty
acts of oppression in most instances increased the bitterness of his
lot. Himself the property of another, he could not legally hold
possessions of any kind. Not only the land he tilled, and the rude
implements of husbandry with which he painfully cultivated the soil, but
the cattle with which he worked, the house in which he lived, the few
chattels he gathered around him, and the scanty store of money earned by
hard labor, all belonged to his master, who could at any time dispossess
him of them. The "villain" who obtained a livelihood by working the few
acres of land which had been held from father to son, on condition of
performing personal labor or other services on the estate of the
landowner, was subject not only to the demands of his master, but to the
tithing of the Church; to the doles exacted by the swarms of begging
friars, who, like Irish beggars of the present day, invoked cheap
blessings on the cheerful giver, and launched bitter curses at the heads
of those who refused alms; to the impositions of the wandering
"pardoners," with their charms and relics; and to the tyrannical
exactions of the "summoners," who, under pretence of writs from
ecclesiastical courts, robbed all who were not in position to resist
their fraudulent demands. What these spared was frequently swept away by
the visits of the king's purveyors and the officers of others in power,
who, not content with robbing the poor husbandman of the proceeds of his
toil, treated the men with violence and the women with outrage.
Complaint was useless. The "churl" had no rights which those in office
were bound to respect.

Ignorant, superstitious, and condemned to a life of unrequited toil and
unredressed wrongs, the mental and moral condition of the agricultural
poor was wretchedly low. Huddled together in mud cottages, through the
rotten thatches of which the rain penetrated; clothed with rough
garments that were seldom changed night or day; feeding on coarse food,
and that in insufficient quantities,--their physical condition was one
of extreme misery. The usual daily allowance of food to the bond laborer
of either class, when working for the owner of the land, was two
herrings, milk for cheese, and a loaf of bread, with the addition in
harvest of a small allowance of beer. Occasionally, salted meats or
stockfish were substituted for the herrings.

The condition of the free laborer was measurably better; but even he was
condemned to a life of privation and wretchedness, relieved only by the
knowledge that his scanty earnings were his own, and that he could
change the scene of his labors if he saw fit. The ordinary agricultural
laborer, at the wages usually given, would have to work more than a week
for a bushel of wheat. At harvest-time and other periods when the demand
for labor was unusually great, as it was after the pestilences that
swept the land about the time of which we write, the free laborers
demanded higher wages; and although laws were passed to prevent their
obtaining more than the usual rates, necessity frequently compelled
their employment at the advanced prices. The receipt of higher wages
only temporarily bettered their condition. Accustomed to griping hunger
and short allowances of food, when better days came, they thought only
of enjoying the present, and took no heed of the future. After harvest,
with its high wages and cheapness of provision, the laborer frequently
became wasteful and improvident. Instead of the stinted allowance of
salted meat or fish, with the pinched loaf of bean-flour, and an
occasional draught of weak beer, his fastidious appetite demanded fresh
meat or fish, white bread, vegetables freshly gathered, and ale of the
best. As long as his store lasted, he worked as little as possible, and
grumbled at the fortune that made him a laborer. But these halcyon days
were few, and soon passed away, to be followed by decreasing allowances
of the commonest food, fierce pangs of hunger, and miserable
destitution. A bad harvest inflicted untold wretchedness on the poor.
Ill lodged, ill fed, and scantily clothed, disease cut them down like
grass before the scythe. A deadly pestilence swept over the land in
1348, carrying off about two thirds of the people; and nearly all the
victims were from among the poorest classes. In 1361, another pestilence
carried off thousands, again spreading terror and dismay through the
country. Seven years later a third visitation desolated England. Here
and there one of the better class fell a victim to the destroyer; but
the great mass were from the ranks of the half-starved and poorly lodged
laborers.

The morality of the poor was, as might be expected, at a low ebb.
Modesty, chastity, and temperance could scarcely be looked for in
wretched mud huts, where all ages and sexes herded together like swine.
Men and women alike fled from their miserable homes to the ale-house,
where they drank long draughts of cheap ale, and, in imitation of their
superiors in station, listened to a low class of "japers" who recited
"rhymes of Robin Hood," or told coarse and obscene stories for the sake
of a share of the ale, or such few small coins as could be drawn from
the ragged pouches of the bacchanals.

Between proud wealth and abject poverty there can be no friendly
feeling. Stolid, brutish ignorance can alone render the bonds of the
slave endurable. As his eyes are slowly opened by increasing knowledge,
and he can compare his condition with that of the freeman, his fetters
gall him, he becomes restive in his bonds, and at length turns in blind
fury on his oppressors, striking mad blows with his manacled hands.
Trodden into the dust by the iron heel of a tyrannical feudal power, the
peasantry of France had turned on their oppressors, and wreaked a brief
but savage vengeance for ages of wrong. The atrocious cruelties and mad
excesses of the revolted Jacquerie could only have been committed by
those who had been so long treated as brutes that they had acquired
brutish passions and instincts. The English peasantry had not yet
followed the example of their French compeers; but the gathering storm
already darkened the sky, and the mutterings of the thunder were heard.
Superstitiously religious, they hated the ministers of religion who
violated its principles. Born slaves and hopelessly debased and
ignorant, they began to ask the question,--

    "When Adam delved and Eve span,
    Who then was the gentleman?"

Occasionally a rude ballad found its way among the people fiercely
expressive of their scorn of the clergy and their hatred of the rich.
One that was very popular, and has been transmitted to our day, asked,--

    "While God was on earth
      And wandered wide,
    What was the reason
      Why he would not ride?
    Because he would have no groom
      To go by his side,
    Nor grudging of no gadeling[2]
      To scold nor to chide.

           *       *       *       *       *

    "Hearken hitherward, horsemen,
      A tiding I you tell,
    That ye shall hang
      And harbor in hell!"

But no leader had as yet arisen to give proper voice to the desire for
reformation that burned in the hearts of the common people. The writers
of that age were breathing the intoxicating air of court favor, and
heeded not the sufferings of the common rabble. Froissart, the courtly
canon and chronicler of deeds of chivalry, was writing French madrigals
and amorous ditties for the ear of Queen Philippa, and loved too well
gay society, luxurious feasts, and dainty attire, not to shrink with
disgust from thought of the dirty, uncouth, and miserable herd of
"greasy caps." Gower was inditing fashionable love-songs. Chaucer, who
years after was to direct such telling blows in his Canterbury Tales at
the vices and corruptness of the clergy, was a favorite member of the
retinue of the powerful "John of Gaunt, time-honored Lancaster," and had
as yet only written long and stately poems on the history of Troilus and
Cressida, the Parliament of Birds, and the Court of Love. Wycliffe, the
great English reformer of the Church, was quietly living at his rectory
of Fylingham, and preparing his first essays against the mendicant
orders. John Ball, the "crazy priest of Kent," as Froissart calls him,
was brooding over the miseries of his poor parishioners, and nursing in
his mind that enmity to all social distinctions with which he afterwards
inflamed the minds of the peasantry, and incited them to open rebellion.

But in the quarter least expected the oppressed people found an
advocate. An unobtrusive monk, whose name is almost a doubtful
tradition, stole out from his quiet cell in Malvern Abbey, and, whilst
his brethren feasted, climbed the gentle slope of the Worcestershire
hills, and drank in the beauties of the varied landscape at his feet.
There, on a May morning, as he rested under a bank by the side of a
brooklet, and was lulled to sleep by the murmuring of the water, he
dreamed those dreams that set waking people to thinking, and gave a
powerful impetus to the moral and social revolution that was just
commencing.

The "Vision of Piers Plowman" is every way a singular production.
Clothed in the then almost obsolete verse of a past age, it breathes
wholly the spirit of the time in which it was written. The work of a
monk, it is unsparing in its attacks on the monastic orders. Intended
for the reading or hearing of the middle and lower classes, it gives
more frequent glimpses of the social condition of all ranks of people
than any other work of that age. As a philological monument, it is of
great value; as a poem, it contains many passages of merit; and as a
storehouse of allusions to the social life of the people in the
fourteenth century, it is invaluable.

The poem consists of a series of visions or dreams, of an allegorical
character, in which the dreamer seeks to find Truth and Righteousness on
earth, meeting with but little success. The allegorical idea cannot be
followed without weariness, and, in fact, the intentions of the writer
are by no means clear, the allegory being frequently involved and
contradictory. The beauty of the poem lies in its detached passages, its
occasional poetic touches, its graphic pictures, biting satire, and
withering denunciation of fraud, corruption, and tyranny. The measure
adopted is the unrhymed alliterative, characteristic of the Anglo-Saxon
literature, and which had long been disused, but which retained its hold
on the affections of the common people, who were of Anglo-Saxon stock.
In the extracts we give from the poem, the measure is retained, but the
words modernized, so far as can be done without injuring the sense or
metre.

The opening passage of the "Vision" has been so frequently reproduced,
as a specimen of the poet's style, that it is probably familiar to many
readers, but its exquisite naturalness and simplicity tempt us to quote
it here.

    "In a summer season,
    When soft was the sun,
    I shaped me into shrouds[3]
    As I a shep[4] were;
    In habit as an hermit
    Unholy of works
    Went wide in this world
    Wonders to hear:
    And on a May morwening
    On Malvern hills
    Me befell a ferly,[5]
    Of fairy methought.
    I was weary for-wandered,
    And went me to rest
    Under a broad bank
    By a bourne's[6] side;
    And as I lay and leaned,
    And looked on the waters,
    I slumbered into a sleeping
    It swayed so merry."

The first scene in the visions that visited the sleep of the dreaming
monk gives a view of the social classes of that time, beginning with the
humblest, whose condition was uppermost in his mind. The picture is not
only painted with vigorous touches, but affords a better idea of society
in the fourteenth century than can be elsewhere obtained. There is the
toiling ploughman, who "plays full seldom," winning by hard labor what
wasteful men destroy; the mediæval dandy, whose only employment is to
exhibit his attire; the hermit, who seeks by solitude and penitential
life to win "heaven's rich bliss"; the merchant, who has wisely chosen
his trade,--

    "As it seemeth in our sight
    That such men thriveth."

There are minstrels, who earn rich rewards by their singing; jesters and
idle gossips; "sturdy beggars," wandering with full bags; pilgrims and
palmers, who

    "Went forth in their way
    With many wise tales,
    And had leave to lie
    All their lives after";

counterfeit hermits, who assumed the cloak and hooked staff in order to
live in idleness and sensuality; avaricious friars, selling their
religion for money; cheating pardoners; covetous priests; ambitious
bishops; lawyers who loved gain better than justice; "barons and
burgesses, and bondmen also," with

    "Bakers and brewers,
    And butchers many;
    Woollen websters,
    And weavers of linen;
    Tailors and tinkers,
    And toilers in markets;
    Masons and miners,
    And many other crafts.
    Of all kind living laborers
    Leaped forth some;
    As ditchers and delvers,
    That do their deeds ill,
    And driveth forth the long day
    With _Dieu save dame Emme_.
    Cooks and their knaves
    Cried, 'Hot pies, hot!
    Good geese and grys,[7]
    Go dine, go!'"

To plead the cause of the poor and weak against their powerful
oppressors, and to protest in the name of religion against the pride and
corrupt life of its ministers, was the object of the monk of Malvern
Abbey; and he did his work well. The blows he dealt were fierce and
strong, and told home. Burgher and baron, monk and cardinal, alike felt
the fury of his attacks. He was no respecter of persons. A monk himself,
he had no scruples in tearing off the priestly robe that covered lust
and rapine. Wrong in high places gained no respect from him. His
invectives against a haughty and oppressive nobility and a corrupt and
arrogant clergy are unsurpassed in power, and it is easy to understand
the hold the poem at once acquired on the attention of the lower
classes, and its influence in directing and hastening the attempt of the
oppressed people to break their galling bonds.

What we have before said in reference to the wretched condition of the
peasantry, as shown by contemporary evidence, is confirmed by the writer
of the "Vision." The peasant was a born thrall to the owner of the land,
and could

        "no charter make,
    Nor his cattle sell,
    Without leave of his lord."

Misery and he were lifelong companions, and pinching want his daily
portion. The wretched poor

        "much care suffren
    Through dearth, through drought,
    All their days here:
    Woe in winter times
    For wanting of clothing
    And in summer time seldom
    Soupen to the full."

A graphic picture of a poor ploughman and his family is given in the
"Creed" of Piers Plowman, supposed to have been written by the author of
the "Vision," but a few years later.

    "As I went by the way
    Weeping for sorrow,
    I saw a simple man me by,
    Upon the plow hanging.
    His coat was of a clout
    That cary[8] was called;
    His hood was full of holes,
    And his hair out;
    With his knopped[9] shoon
    Clouted full thick;
    His toes totedun[10] out
    As he the land treaded;
    His hosen overhung his hockshins
    On every side,
    All beslomered in fen[11]
    As he the plow followed.
    Two mittens as meter
    Made all of clouts,
    The fingers were for-werd[12]
    And full of fen hanged.
    This wight wallowed in the fen
    Almost to the ankle.
    Four rotheren[13] him before
    That feeble were worthy,
    Men might reckon each rib
    So rentful[14] they were.
    His wife walked him with,
    With a long goad,
    In a cutted coat,
    Cutted full high,
    Wrapped in a winnow sheet
    To weren her from weathers,
    Barefoot on the bare ice
    That the blood followed.
    And at the land's end layeth
    A little crumb-bowl,[15]
    And thereon lay a little child
    Lapped in clouts,
    And twins of two years old
    Upon another side.
    And all they sungen one song,
    That sorrow was to hear;
    They crieden all one cry,
    A careful note.
    The simple man sighed sore,
    And said, 'Children, be still!'"

The tenant of land, or small farmer, was in a better condition, and when
not cozened of his stores by the monks, or robbed of them by the
ruffians in office or out of office, managed to live with some kind of
rude comfort. What the ordinary condition of his larder and the extent
of his farming stock were, may be learned from a passage in the
"Vision."

    "'I have no penny,' quoth Piers,
    'Pullets to buy.
    Nor neither geese nor grys;
    But two green cheeses,
    A few curds and cream,
    And an haver cake,[16]
    And two loaves of beans and bran,
    Baked for my fauntes[17];
    And yet I say, by my soul!
    I have no salt bacon.
    Nor no cokeney,[18] by Christ!
    Collops for to maken.

    "But I have perciles and porettes,[19]
    And many cole plants,[20]
    And eke a cow and calf.
    And a cart-mare
    To draw afield my dung,
    The while the drought lasteth;
    And by this livelihood we must live
    Till Lammas time.
    And by that I hope to have
    Harvest in my croft,
    And then may I dight thy dinner
    As me dear liketh.'"

We have already described the tenure by which the tenant held his lands,
and the protection the knightly landowner was bound to give his tenant.
Thus Piers Plowman, when his honest labors are broken in upon by
ruffians,

    "Plained him to the knight
    To help him, as covenant was,
    From cursed shrews,
    Aud from these wasters, wolves-kind,
    That maketh the world dear."

At times this was but a wolf's protection, or a stronger power broke
through all guards. The "king's purveyor," or some other licensed
despoiler, came in, and the victim was left to make fruitless complaints
of his injuries. The women were subjected to gross outrages, and the
property stolen or destroyed.

    "Both my geese and my grys
    His gadelings[21] fetcheth,
    I dare not, for fear of them,
    Fight nor chide.
    He borrowed of me Bayard
    And brought him home never,
    Nor no farthing therefore
    For aught that I could plead.
    He maintaineth his men
    To murder my hewen,[22]
    Forestalleth my fairs,
    And fighteth in my chepying.[23]
    And breaketh up my barn door,
    And beareth away my wheat,
    And taketh me but a tally
    For ten quarters of oats;
    And yet he beateth me thereto."

Then, as now, there were complaints that the privations of the poor were
increased by the covetousness of the hucksters, and "regraters"
(retailers), who came between the producer and the consumer, and grew
rich on the profits made from both.

    "Brewers and bakers,
    Butchers and cooks,"

were charged with robbing

        "the poor people
    That parcel-meal[24] buy;
    For they empoison the people
    Privily and oft.
    They grow rich through regratery,
    And rents they buy
    With what the poor people
    Should put in their wamb.[25]
    For, took they but truly,
    They timbered[26] not so high,
    Nor bought no burgages,[27]
    Be ye fell certain."

Stringent laws were made against huckstering and regrating, and
officers were appointed to punish offenders in this respect, "with
pillories and pining-stools." But officers, then as now, were not proof
against temptation, and were often disposed

    "Of all such sellers
    Silver for to take;
    Or presents without pence,
    As pieces of silver,
    Rings, or other riches,
    The regraters to maintain."

Nor had the rogues of the fourteenth century much to learn in the way of
turning a dishonest penny. The merchant commended his bad wares for
good, and knew how to adulterate and how to give short measure. The
spinners of wool were paid by a heavy pound, and the article resold by a
light pound. Laws were made against such frauds, but laws were little
regarded when they conflicted with self-interest. The crime of clipping
and "sweating" coin was frequently practised. Pawn-brokers,
money-lenders, and sellers of exchange thrived and flourished.

The rich find but little consideration at the hands of the plain-spoken
dreamer. Their extravagance is commented on; their growing pride, which
prompted them to abandon the great hall and take their meals in a
private room, and their uncharitableness to the poor. They practise the
saying, that "to him that hath shall be given."

    "Right so, ye rich,
    Ye robeth them that be rich,
    And helpeth them that helpen you,
    And giveth where no need is.
    Ye robeth and feedeth
    Them that have as ye have
    Them ye make at ease."

But when, hungered, athirst, and shivering with cold, the poor man comes
to the rich man's gate, there is none to help, but he is

      "hunted as a hound,
    And bidden go thence."

Thus

        "the rich is reverenced
    By reason of his richness,
    And the poor is put behind."

Truly, says the Monk of Malvern,

    "God is much in the gorge
    Of these great masters;
    But among mean men
    His mercy and his works."

But it is on the vices and corruptions of the clergy that the monk pours
the vials of his wrath. He cloaks nothing, and spares neither rank nor
condition. The avarice of the clergy, their want of religion, and the
prostitution of their sacred office for the sake of gain, are sternly
denounced in frequently-recurring passages. The facility with which
debaucheries and crimes of all kinds could be compounded for with the
priests by presents of gold and silver, the neglect of their flocks
whilst seeking gain in the service of the rich and powerful, their
ignorance, pride, extravagance, and licentiousness, are painted in
strong colors. The immense throng of friars and monks, who "waxen out of
number," meet with small mercy from their fellow-monk. Falsehood and
fraud are described as dwelling ever with them. Their unholy life and
unseemly quarrels are held up for reprobation. Nor do the nuns escape
the imputation of unchastity. The quackery of pardoners, with their
pardons and indulgences from pope and bishop, is treated with contempt
and scorn. Bishops are criticised for their undivided attention to
worldly matters; and even the Pope himself does not escape censure.

    "What pope or prelate now
    Performeth what Christ hight[28]?"

The cardinals come in for a share of the censure, and here occurs a
passage, curiously suggestive of the celebrated line,--

    "Never yet did cardinal bring good to England."

    "The commons _clamat cotidie_
    Each man to the other,
    The country is the curseder
    That cardinals come in;
    And where they lie and lenge[29] most,
    Lechery there reigneth."

Years afterwards, Wycliffe dealt mighty blows at the corrupt and debased
clergy, and Chaucer pierced them with his sharp satire, but neither
surpassed their predecessor in the vigor and spirit of his onslaughts.
One passage, which we quote, had evidently been acted on by Chaucer's
"poor parson," and can be studied even at this late day.

    "Friars and many other masters,
    That to lewed[30] men preachen,
    Ye moven matters unmeasurable
    To tellen of the Trinity,
    That oft times the lewed people
    Of their belief doubt.
    Better it were to many doctors
    To leave such teaching,
    And tell men of the ten commandments,
    And touching the seven sins,
    And of the branches that bourgeoneth of them,
    And bringeth men to hell,
    And how that folk in follies
    Misspenden their five wits,
    As well friars as other folks,
    Foolishly spending,
    In housing, in hatering,[31]
    And in to high clergy showing
    More for pomp than for pure charity.
    The people wot the sooth
    That I lie not, lo!
    For lords ye pleasen,
    And reverence the rich
    The rather for their silver."

It would be hardly proper to leave this portion of the subject without
alluding to the remarkable passage which has been held by many as a
prophecy of the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII., nearly
two centuries later. After denouncing the corruptions of the clergy, he
says:--

    "But there shall come a king
    And confess you religiouses,
    And beat you as the Bible telleth
    For breaking of your rule;
    And amend monials,
    Monks and canons,
    And put them to their penance.

           *       *       *       *       *

    And then shall the Abbot of Abingdon,
    And all his issue forever,
    Have a knock of a king,
    And incurable the wound."

A distinctive and charming feature of the English landscape is the
hedgerow that divides the fields and marks the course of the roadways.
Nowhere but in England does the landscape present such a charming
picture of "meadows trim with daisies pied," "russet lawns and fallows
gray," spread out like a map, divided with irregular lines of green.
Nowhere else is the traveller's path guarded on either hand with a
rampart of delicate primroses, sweet-breathed violets, golden buttercups
fit for fairy revels, honeysuckles in whose bells the bee rings a
delighted peal, and luscious-fruited blackberry-bushes. Nowhere else is
such a rampart crowned with the sweet-scented hawthorn, robed in snowy
blossoms, or beaded over with scarlet berries, and with the hazel, with
its gracefully pendent catkins, or nuts dear to the school-boy. It
scarcely seems possible to imagine an English landscape without its
flower-scented hedge-rows, and yet, when the armed knights of Edward the
Third's reign rode abroad from their castles, few lofty hedges barred
their progress across the country; no hazel-crowned rampart stopped the
way of the Malvern monk as he took his way to the "bourne's side"; and
when the ploughman "whistled o'er the furrowed land," the line of
division at which he turned his back on his neighbor's acres was
generally but a narrow trench instead of a ditch and hedge. Thus the
covetous man confesses,

      "If I yede[32] to the plow,
    I pinched so narrow
    That a foot land or a furrow
    Fetchen I would
    Of my next neighbor,
    And nymen[33] of his earth.
    And if I reap, overreach."

As might have been expected, the monkish dreamer, unusually liberal as
he was in his views, had but a slighting opinion of women. Rarely does
he refer to them except to rate them for their extravagance in dress and
love of finery. The humbler class of women, he shrewdly insinuates, were
fond of drink, and the husbands of such were advised to cudgel them home
to their domestic duties. He credited the long-standing slander about
woman's inability to keep a secret:--

    "For that that women wotteth
    May not well be concealed."

His opinion of the proper sphere of women in that time, and some
knowledge of their ordinary feminine occupations, can be acquired from
the answer made to the question of a lady as to what her sex should
do:--

    "Some should sew the sack, quoth Piers,
    For shedding of the wheat;
    And ye, lovely ladies,
    With your long fingers,
    That ye have silk and sendal
    To sew, when time is,
    Chasubles for chaplains,
    Churches to honor.
      Wives and widows
    Wool and flax spinneth;
    Make cloth, I counsel you,
    And kenneth[34] so your daughters;
    The needy and the naked,
    Nymeth[35] heed how they lieth,
    And casteth them clothes,
    For so commanded Truth."

Marriage is an honorable estate, and should be entered into with proper
motives, and in a decent and regular manner. It is desirable that most
men should marry, for

    "The wife was made the way
    For to help work;
    And thus was wedlock wrought
    With a mean person,
    First by the father's will
    And the friends counsel;
    And sithens[36] by assent of themselves,
    As they two might accord."

This is the essentially worldly way of making marriage arrangements yet
practised in some aristocratic circles, but the more democratic and
natural way is to reverse the process, and commence with the agreement
between the two persons most concerned. Such unequal matches as age and
wealth on one side, and youth and desire of wealth on the other, bring
about, are sternly reprobated.

    "It is an uncomely couple,
    By Christ! as me thinketh,
    To give a young wench
    To an old feeble,
    Or wedden any widow
    For wealth of her goods,
    That never shall bairn bear
    But if it be in her arms."

Such marriages lead to jealousy, bickerings, and open rupture,
disgraceful to husband and wife, and annoying to others. Therefore Piers
counsels

          "all Christians,
    Covet not to be wedded
    For covetise of chattels.
    Not of kindred rich;
    But maidens and maidens
    Make you together;
    Widows and widowers
    Worketh the same;
    For no lands, but for love,
    Look you be wedded";--

adding the sound bit of spiritual and worldly advice,

    "And then get ye the grace of God;
    _And goods enough, to live with_."

The touch of shrewd humor in the last line finds its counterpart in many
other passages. Thus, when the dreamer sits down to rest by the wayside,
his iteration of the prescribed prayers makes him drowsy:--

    "So I babbled on my beads;
    They brought me asleep."

The Franciscan friars, his especial aversion, get a sly thrust when he
says of Charity that

        "in a friar's frock
    He was founden once;
    _But it is far ago_,
    In Saint Francis's time:
    In that sect since
    Too seldom hath he been found."

When Covetousness has confessed his numerous misdeeds, and is asked if
he ever repented and made restitution, he replies,

    "Yes, once I was harbored
    With a heap of chapmen.[37]
    I rose when they were at rest
    And rifled their males[38]";--

and on being told that this was no restitution, but another robbery, he
replies, with assumed innocence of manner,

    "I wened[39] rifling were restitution, quoth he,
    For I learned never to read on book;
    And I ken no French, in faith,
    But of the farthest end of Norfolk."

Even the Pope is not exempt from a touch of satire:--

      "He prayed the Pope
    Have pity on holy Church,
    And ere he gave any grace,
    _Govern first himself_."

The prejudice against doctors and lawyers was as strong five hundred
years ago as now, judging from Piers Plowman, who says, that

      "Murderers are many leeches,
    Lord them amend!
    They do men die through their drinks
    Ere destiny it would."

Of lawyers he says they pleaded

            "for pennies
    And pounds, the law;
    And not for the love of our Lord
    Unclose their lips once.
    Thou mightest better meet mist
    On Malvern hills
    Than get a mum of their mouth
    Till money be showed."

No class of people suffered more in the Middle Ages than the Jews. They
were abhorred by the poor, despised by the wealthy, and cruelly
oppressed by the powerful. But through all their sufferings and trials
they were true to each other; and the monk holds up their fraternal
charity as an example to shame Christians into similar virtues. He
says:--

    "A Jew would not see a Jew
    Go jangling[40] for default.
    For all the mebles[41] on this mould[42]
    And he amend it might.
      Alas! that a Christian creature
    Shall be unkind to another;
    Since Jews, that we judge
    Judas's fellows,
    Either of them helpeth other
    Of that that him needeth.
    Why not will we Christians
    Of Christ's good be as kind
    As Jews, that be our lores-men[43]?
    Shame to us all!"

With one more curious passage, giving a glimpse of the belief of that
age concerning the future state, we will close our extracts from "Piers
Plowman." Discussing the condition of the thief upon the cross who was
promised a seat in heaven, the dreamer says:--

    "Right as some man gave me meat,
    And amid the floor set me,
    And had meat more than enough,
    But not so much worship
    As those that sitten at the side-table,
    Or with the sovereigns of the hall;
    But set as a beggar boardless,
    By myself on the ground.
    So it fareth by that felon
    That on Good Friday was saved,
    He sits neither with Saint John,
    Simon, nor Jude,
    Nor with maidens nor with martyrs,
    Confessors nor widows;
    But by himself as a sullen,[44]
    And served on earth.
    For he that is once a thief
    Is evermore in danger,
    And, as law him liketh,
    To live or to die.
    And for to serven a saint
    And such a thief together,
    It were neither reason nor right
    To reward them both alike."

"Piers Plowman" is supposed to have been written in 1362. It became
instantly popular, and manuscript copies were rapidly distributed over
England. Imitations preserving the peculiar form, and aiming at the same
objects as the "Vision," though without the genius exhibited in that
work, appeared in quick succession. The hatred of the oppressed people
for their oppressors was intensified by the inflammatory harangues of
John Ball, the deposed priest. The preaching of Wycliffe probed still
deeper the festering corruption of the dominant Church. At last, in
1381, a popular rising, under Wat Tyler, attempted to right the wrongs
of generations at the sword's point. The result of that attempt is well
known,--its temporary success, sudden overthrow, and the terrible
revenge taken by the ruling power in the enactment of laws that made the
burden of the people still more intolerable.

But the seed of political and religious freedom had been sown. It had
been watered with the blood of martyrs; and, although the tender shoots
had been trodden down with an iron heel as soon as they appeared, they
gathered additional strength and vigor from the repression, and soon
sprang up with a vitality that defied all efforts to crush them.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Garment.

[2] Vagabond.

[3] Clothes.

[4] Shepherd.

[5] Vision.

[6] Brook.

[7] Pigs.

[8] A kind of very coarse cloth.

[9] Buttoned.

[10] Pushed.

[11] Mud.

[12] Worn out.

[13] Oxen.

[14] Meagre.

[15] Kneading-trough.

[16] Oat cake.

[17] Children.

[18] A lean hen.

[19] Parley and leeks.

[20] Cabbages.

[21] Vagabonds.

[22] Workingmen.

[23] Market.

[24] Piecemeal.

[25] Belly.

[26] Built.

[27] Lands or tenements in towns.

[28] Commanded.

[29] Remain.

[30] Unlearned.

[31] Dressing.

[32] Went.

[33] Rob him.

[34] Teach.

[35] Take.

[36] Afterwards.

[37] Pedlers.

[38] Boxes.

[39] Thought.

[40] Complaining.

[41] Goods.

[42] Earth.

[43] Teachers.

[44] One left alone.



KATHARINE MORNE.

PART I.


CHAPTER I.

One day, near the middle of a June about twenty years ago, my landlady
met me at the door of my boarding-house, and began with me the following
dialogue.

"Miss Morne, my dear, home a'-ready? Goin' to be in, a spell, now?"

"Yes, Mrs. Johnson, I believe so. Why?"

"Well, someb'dy's been in here to pay ye a call, afore twelve o'clock,
in a tearin' hurry. Says I, 'Ye've got afore yer story this time, I
guess,' says I. Says he, 'I guess I'll call again,' says he. He's left
ye them pinies an' snowballs in the pitcher."

"But who was it?"

"Well, no great of a stranger, it wa'n't,--Jim!"

"O, thank you."

"He kind o' seemed as if he might ha' got somethin' sort o' special on
his mind to say to ye. My! how he colored up at somethin' I said!"

I walked by, and away from her, into the house, but answered that I
should be happy to see Jim if he came back. Well I might. Through all
the months of school-keeping that followed my mother's death,--in the
little country village of Greenville, so full of homesickness for
me,--he had been my kindest friend. My old schoolmate, Emma Holly, from
whose native town he came, assured me beforehand that he would be so.
She wrote to me that he was the best, most upright, well-principled,
kind-hearted fellow in the world. He was almost like a brother to her,
(this surprised me a little, because I had never heard her speak of him
before,) and so he would be to me, if I would only let him. She had told
him all about me and our troubles and plans,--how I winced at that when
I read it!--and he was very much interested, and would shovel a path for
me when it snowed, or go to the post-office for me, or do anything in
the world for me that he could. And so he had done.

He had little chance, indeed, to devote himself to me abroad; for I
seldom went out, except now and then, when I could not refuse without
giving offence, to drink tea with the family of some pupil. But when I
did that, he always found it out through Mrs. Johnson, whose nephew he
was, and came to see me home. He usually brought some additional
wrappings or thick shoes for me; and even if they were too warm, or
otherwise in my way, I could be, and was, grateful for his kindness in
thinking of them. He was very attentive to his aunt also, and came to
read aloud to her, while she napped, almost every evening. At every meal
which he took with us, he was constantly suggesting to her little
comforts and luxuries for me, till I was afraid she would really be
annoyed. She took his hints, however, in wonderfully good part,
sometimes acted upon them, and often said to me, "How improvin' it was
for young men to have somebody to kind o' think for! It made 'em so kind
o' thoughtful!" Many a flower, fruit, and borrowed book he brought me.
He tried to make me walk with him; and, whenever he could, he made me
talk with him. But for him, I should have studied almost all the time
that I was not teaching or sleeping; for when I began to teach, I first
discovered how little I had learned. Thus nearly all the indulgences and
recreations of the rather grave, lonely, and hard-working little life I
was leading at that time were associated with him and his kind care; and
so I really think it was no great wonder if his peonies and snowballs
that day made the bare little parlor, with the row of staring, uncouth
daguerreotypes on the mantel-piece, look very pretty to me, or that to
know that he had been there, and was coming back again, made it a very
happy place.

I walked across it, took off my hot black bonnet, threw up the western
window, and sat down beside it in the rocking-chair. The cool breeze
struggled through the tree that nestled sociably up to it, and made the
little knobs of cherries nod at me, as if saying, "You would not like us
now, but you will by and by." The oriole gurgled and giggled from among
them, "_Wait!_ Come _again_! Come again! Ha, ha!" The noise of the
greedy canker-worms, mincing the poor young green leaves over my head,
seemed a soothing sound; and even the sharp headache I had brought with
me from the school-room, only a sort of _sauce piquante_ to my delicious
rest. I did not ask myself what Jim would say. I scarcely longed to hear
him come. I did not know how anything to follow could surpass that
perfect luxury of waiting peace.

He did come soon. I heard a stealthy step, not on the gravel-walk, but
on the rustling hay that lay upon the turf beside it. He looked, and
then sprang, in at the window. He was out of breath. He caught my hand,
and looked into my face, and asked me to go out and walk with him.
Before I had time to answer, he snatched up my bonnet, and almost
pressed it down upon my head. As I tied it, he hurried out and looked
back at me eagerly from the road. I followed, though more slowly than he
wished. The sun was bright and hot, and almost made me faint; but
everything was very beautiful.

He wrenched out the topmost bar of a fence, _jumped_ me over it into a
meadow, led me by a forced march into the middle of the field, seated me
on a haycock, and once more stood before me, looking me in the face with
his own all aglow.

Then he told me that he had been longing for weeks, as I must have seen,
to open his mind to me; but, till that day, he had not been at liberty.
He had regarded me, from almost the very beginning of our acquaintance,
as his best and trustiest friend,--in short, as just what dear Emma had
told him he should find me. My friendship had been a blessing to him in
every way; and now my sympathy, or participation, was all he wanted to
render his happiness complete. He had just been admitted as a partner in
_the store_ of the village, in which he had hitherto been only a
salesman; and now, therefore, he was at last free to offer himself,
before all the world, to the girl he loved best; and that was--I must
guess who. He called me "dearest Katy," and asked me if he might not
"to-day, at last."

I bowed, but did not utter my guess. He seemed to think I had done so,
notwithstanding; for he hurried on, delighted. "Of course it is, 'Katy
darling,' as we always call you! I never knew your penetration out of
the way. It _is_ Emma Holly! It couldn't be anybody but Emma Holly!"

Then he told me that she had begged hard for leave to tell me outright,
what she thought she had hinted plainly enough, about their hopes; but
her father was afraid that to have them get abroad would hurt her
prospects in other quarters, and made silence towards all others a
condition of her correspondence with Jim. Mr. Holly was "aristocratic,"
and in hopes Emma would change her mind, Jim supposed; but all danger
was over now. He could maintain her like the lady she was; and their
long year's probation was ended. Then he told me in what agonies he had
passed several evenings a fortnight before, (when I must have wondered
why he did not come and read,) from hearing of her illness. The doctors
were right for once, to be sure, as it proved, in thinking it only the
measles; but it might just as well have been spotted fever, or
small-pox, or anything fatal, for all they knew.

And then I rather think there must have been a pause, which I did not
fill properly, because my head was aching with a peculiar sensation
which I had never known before, though I have sometimes since.--It is
like the very hand of Death, laid with a strong grasp on the joint and
meeting-point of soul and body, and makes one feel, for the time being,
as Dr. Livingstone says he did when the lion shook him,--a merciful
indifference as to anything to come after.--And Jim was asking me, in a
disappointed tone, what the matter was, and if I did not feel
interested.

"Yes," I said, "Mr. Johnson--"

"Mr. Johnson!" interrupted he, "How cold! I thought it would be _Jim_ at
least, to-day, if you can't say _dear_ Jim."

"Yes, 'dear Jim,'" I repeated; and my voice sounded so strangely quiet
in my own ears, that I did not wonder that he called me cold. "Indeed, I
am interested. I don't know when I have heard anything that has
interested me so much. I pray God to bless you and Emma. But the reason
I came from school so early to-day was, that I had a headache; and now I
think perhaps the sun is not good for it, and I had better go in."

I stood up; but I suspect I must have had something like a sunstroke,
sitting there in the meadow so long with no shade, in the full blaze of
June. I was almost too dizzy to stand, and could hardly have reached the
house, if I had not accepted Jim's arm. He offered, in the joy of his
heart, to change head-dresses with me,--which luckily made me
laugh,--declaring that mine must be a perfect portable stove for the
brains. Thus we reached the door cheerfully, and there shook hands
cordially; while I bade him take my kindest love and congratulations to
Emma,--to whom he was going on a three days' visit, as fast as the cars
could carry him,--and charged him to tell her I should write as soon as
I recovered the use of my head.

He looked concerned on being reminded of it, and shouted for Mrs.
Johnson to bring me some lavender-water to bathe it with. I had told
him, on a former occasion, that the smell of lavender always made it
worse; but it was natural that, when he was so happy, he should forget.
Whistling louder than the orioles, whose songs rang wildly through and
through my brain, he hastened down the road, and was gone.


CHAPTER II.

Jim was gone; but I was left. I could have spared him better if I could
only have got rid of myself.

However, for that afternoon the blessed pain took such good care of me
that I lay upon my bed still and stunned, and could only somewhat dimly
perceive, not how unhappy I was, but how unhappy I was going to be. It
quieted Mrs. Johnson, too. She had seen me suffering from headache
before, and knew that I could never talk much while it lasted. Her
curiosity was at once satisfied and gratified by hearing what Jim had
left me at liberty to tell her,--the news of his partnership in the
firm. The engagement was not to be announced in form till the next week;
though I, as the common friend of both parties, had been made an
exceptional confidante; and Jim, afraid of betraying himself, had not
trusted himself to take leave of his aunt, but left his love for her,
and his apologies for outstaying his time so far in the meadow as to
leave himself none for the farm-house.

Thus I had a reprieve. When towards midnight my head grew easier, I was
worn out and slept; so that it was not till the birds began to rehearse
for their concert at sunrise the next morning, that I came to myself and
looked things in the face in the clear light of the awful dawn.

If you can imagine a very heavy weight let somewhat gradually, but
irresistibly, down upon young and tender shoulders, then gently lifted
again, little by little, by a sympathizing and unlooked-for helper, and
lastly tossed by him unexpectedly into the air, only to fall back with
redoubled weight, and crush the frame that was but bowed before, you can
form some idea of what had just happened to me. My mother's death, our
embarrassments, my loneliness, the hard and to me uncongenial work I had
to do, all came upon me together more heavily than at any time since the
first fortnight that I spent at Greenville.

But that was not all. Disappointment is hardly the right word to use;
for I can truly say that I never made any calculations for the future
upon Jim's attentions to me. They were offered so honestly and
respectfully that I instinctively felt I could accept them with perfect
propriety, and perhaps could scarcely with propriety refuse. I had never
once asked myself what they meant, nor whither they tended. But yet I
was used to them now, and had learned to prize them far more than I
knew; and they must be given up. My heart-strings had unconsciously
grown to him, and ought to be torn away. And I think that, beyond grief,
beyond the prospect of lonely toil and poverty henceforth, beyond all
the rest, was the horror of an idea which came upon me, that I had lost
the control of my own mind,--that my peace had passed out of my keeping
into the power of another, who, though friendly to me, neither would nor
could preserve it for me,--that I was doomed to be henceforward the prey
of feelings which I must try to conceal, and perhaps could not for any
length of time, which lowered me in my own eyes, and would do so in
those of others if they were seen by them, which were wrong, and which I
could not help.

These thoughts struck and stung me like so many hornets. Crying,
"Mother! mother!" I sprang from my bed, and fell on my knees beside it.
I did not suppose it would do much good for me to pray; but I said over
and over, if only to stop myself from thinking, "O God, help me! God
have mercy on me!" as fast as I could, till the town clock struck five,
and I knew that I must begin to dress, and compose myself, if I would
appear as usual at six o'clock at the breakfast-table.

My French grammar, was, as usual, set up beside my looking-glass. As
usual, I examined myself aloud in one of the exercises, while I went
through my toilet. If I did make some mistakes it was no matter. I made
so much haste, that I had time before breakfast to correct some of the
compositions which I had brought with me from school. The rest, as I
often did when hurried, I turned over while I tried to eat my bread and
milk. This did not encourage conversation. During the meal, I was only
asked how my head was, and answered only that it was better. I had taken
care not to shed a tear, so that my eyes were not swollen; and as I had
eaten nothing since the morning of the day before, nobody could be
surprised to see me pale.

Mrs. Johnson left her seat, too, almost as soon as I took mine. She was
in a great bustle, getting her covered wagon under way, and stocked with
eggs, butter, cheese, and green vegetables for her weekly trip to the
nearest market-town. She was, however, sufficiently mindful of her
nephew's lessons to regret that she must leave me poorly when he would
not be there to cheer me up, and to tell me to choose what I liked best
for my dinner while she was gone.

I chose a boiled chicken and rice. It was what my mother used to like
best to have me eat when I was not well. I often rebelled against it
when a child; but now I sought by means of it to soothe myself with the
fancy that I was still under her direction.

Mrs. Johnson also offered to do for me what I forgot to ask of her,--to
look in at the post-office and see if there was not a letter there for
me from my only sister. Fanny, for once, had sent me none the week
before. Mrs. Johnson went to town, and I to school.

I worked and worried through the lessons,--how, I never knew; but I dare
say the children were forbearing; children are apt to be when one is
not well. I came home and looked at the chicken and rice. But that would
not do. They _would_ have made me cry. So I hurried out again, away from
them, and away from the meadow, and walked in the woods all that
Saturday afternoon, thinking to and fro,--not so violently as in the
morning, for I was weaker, but very confusedly and in endless
perplexity. How could I stay in Greenville? I should have to be with
Jim! But how could I go? What reason had I to give? and what would
people think was my reason? But would it not be wrong to stay and see
Jim? But it would be wrong to break my engagement to the school
committee!

At length again the clock struck five, which was supper-time, and I saw
myself no nearer the end of my difficulties; and I had to say once
again, "God help me! God have mercy on me!" and so went home.

Mrs. Johnson was awaiting me, with this letter for me in her pocket. It
is not in Fanny's handwriting, however, but in that of a friend of ours
with whom she was staying, Mrs. Physick, the wife of the most eminent of
the younger physicians in Beverly, our native town. I opened it hastily
and read:--

    "Friday.

    "MY DEAR KATIE:--

     "You must not be uneasy at my writing instead of Fannie, as
     the Doctor thinks it too great an effort for her. She has
     had an attack of influenza, not very severe, but you know
     she is never very strong, and I am afraid she is too much
     afraid of calling on me for any little thing she wants done.
     So we think, the Doctor and I, it would do her good to have
     a little visit from you. She wanted us to wait for the
     summer vacation, so as not to alarm you; but you know that
     is three whole weeks off, and nobody knows how much better
     she may be within that time. The Doctor says, suggest to
     Katie that the committee might, under the circumstances,
     agree to her ending the spring term a little earlier than
     usual, and beginning a little earlier in the fall.

    "Yours as ever,

    "JULIA.

     "P. S. You must not be anxious about dear Fannie. She has
     brightened up very much already at the mere thought of
     seeing you. Her cough is not half so troublesome as it was a
     week ago, and the Doctor says her very _worst_ symptom is
     _weakness_. She says she _must_ write _one word_ herself."

O what a tremulous word!

    "DEAR KATY:--

     "_Do_ come if you can, and _don't_ be anxious. Indeed I am
     growing stronger every day, and eating _so_ much meat, and
     drinking _so_ much whiskey. It does me a great deal of good,
     and would a great deal more if I could only tell how we were
     ever to [pay for it, I knew she would have said; but Dr.
     Physick had evidently interposed; for the signature,]

    "Your mutinous and obstreperous

    "SISTER FANNY,"

was prefaced with a scratched-out involuntary "Rx," and
looked like a prescription.

I might be as sad as I would now; and who could wonder? I sat down where
I was standing on the door-step, and held the letter helplessly up to
Mrs. Johnson. It did seem to me now as if Fate was going to empty its
whole quiver of arrows at once upon me, and meant to kill me, body and
soul. But I have since thought sometimes, when I have heard people say,
Misfortunes never came single, and How mysterious it was! that God only
dealt with us, in that respect somewhat as some surgeons think it best
to do with wounded men,--perform whatever operations are necessary,
immediately after the first injury, so as to make one and the same
"shock" take the place of more. In this way of Providence, I am sure I
have repeatedly seen accumulated sorrows, which, if distributed through
longer intervals, might have darkened a lifetime, lived through, and in
a considerable degree recovered from, even in a very few years.

Mrs. Johnson's spectacles, meantime, were with eager curiosity peering
over the letter. "Dear heart!" cried she. "Do tell! My! What a
providence! There's Sister Nancy Newcome's Elviry jest got home this
arternoon from her situation to the South, scairt off with the
insurrections as unexpected as any_thing_. She's as smart a teacher as
ever was; an' the committee'd ha' gin her the school in a minute, an'
thank you, too; but she wuz alwuz a kind o' lookin' up'ards; an' I
s'pose she cal'lated it might for'ard her prospects to go down an' show
herself among the plantations. There's better opportoonities, they say,
sometimes for young ladies to git settled in life down there, owin' to
the scurcity on 'em. She'll be glad enough to fill your place, I guess,
till somethin' else turns up, for a fortni't or a month, or a term.
It'll give her a chance to see her folks, an' fix up her cloes, an' look
round her a spell. An' you can step into the cars o' Monday mornin' an'
go right off an' close that poor young creator's eyes, an' take your
time for 't. Seems as if I hearn tell your ma went off in a kind of a
gallopin' decline, didn't she?"

"No, she did not!" cried I, springing up with a renewal of energy that
must have surprised Mrs. Johnson. "Nothing of the kind! I will take my
letter again, if you please. My sister has a cold,--only a cold. But
where can I see Miss Newcome?"

"To home; but I declare, you can't feel hardly fit to start off ag'in.
Jest you step in an' sup your tea afore it's any colder, I've had mine;
an' I'll step right back over there, an' see about it for ye."

Mrs. Johnson, if coarse, was kind; and that time it would be hard to say
whether her kindness or her coarseness did me the most good; for the
latter roused me, between indignation and horror, to a strong reaction.

Mrs. Johnson, I said to myself, knew no more of the matter than I.
Nobody said a word, in the letter, of Fanny's being very ill; and there
had been, as I now considered, to the best of my recollection and
information, no consumption in our family. My father died when I was
five years old, as I had always heard of chronic bronchitis and nervous
dyspepsia, or, in other words, of over-work and under-pay. An early
marriage to a clergyman, who had no means of support but a salary of
five hundred dollars dependent on his own health and the tastes of a
parish, early widowhood, two helpless little girls to rear, years of
hard work, anxieties, and embarrassments, a typhoid fever, with no
physician during the precious first few days, during which, if she had
sent for him, Dr. Physick always believed he might have saved her, a
sudden sinking and no rallying,--it took all that to kill poor, dear,
sweet mamma! She had a magnificent constitution, and bequeathed much of
it to me.

Else I do not think I could have borne, and recovered from, those three
days even as well as I did. The cars did not run on Sunday. That was so
dreadful! But there was no other hindrance in my way. Everybody was very
kind. The school committee could not meet in form "on the Sabbath"; but
the chairman, who was Miss Elvira Newcome's brother-in-law, "sounded the
other members arter meetin', jest as he fell in with 'em, casooally as
it were," and ascertained that they would offer no objection to my
exchange. He advanced my pay himself, and brought it to me soon after
sunrise Monday morning; so that I was more than sufficiently provided
with funds for my journey.

Mrs. Johnson forced upon me a suspicious-looking corked bottle of
innocent tea,--one of the most sensible travelling companions, as I
found before the day was over, that a wayfarer can possibly have,--and a
large paper of doughnuts. Feverish as I was, I would right willingly
have given her back, not only the doughnuts, but the tea, to bribe her
not to persecute me as she did for a message for Jim. But I could leave
my thanks for all his kindness, and my regrets--sincere, though repented
of--that I could not see him again, before I went, to say good-by; and,
already in part effaced by the impression of the last blow that had
fallen upon me, that scene in the dreadful meadow seemed months and
miles away. The engine shrieked. The cars started. My hopes and spirits
rose; and I was glad, because I was going home,--that is, where, when I
had a home, it used to be.


CHAPTER III.

The rapid motion gratified my restlessness, and, together with the
noise, soothed me homoeopathically. I slept a great deal. The
midsummer day was far shorter than I feared it would be; and I found
myself rather refreshed than fatigued when the conductor roused me
finally by shouting names more and more familiar, as we stopped at
way-stations. I sat upright, and strained my _cinderful_ eyes, long
surfeited with undiluted green, for the first far blue and silver
glimpses of my precious sea. Then well-known rocks and cedars came
hurrying forward, as if to meet me half-way.

As the cars stopped for the last time with me, I caught sight of a horse
and chaise approaching at a rapid rate down the main street of the town.
The driver sprang out and threw the reins to a boy. He turned his
face--a grave face--up, and looked searchingly along the row of
car-windows. It was Dr. Physick. I darted out at the nearest door. He
saw me, smiled, and was at it in an instant, catching both my hands in
his to shake them and help me down by them at the same time.

"Little Katy!"--he always would call me so, though, as I sometimes took
the liberty to tell him, I was very sure I had long left off being
_that_, even if I was not yet quite the size of some giants I had
seen,--"Little Katy! How jolly! 'Fanny?' O, Fanny's pretty
comfortable,--looking out for you and putting her head out of the
window, I dare say, the minute my back's turned. I look to you now to
keep her in order. Baggage? Only bag? Give it to me. Foot,--now
hand,--there you are!"

And there I was,--where I was most glad to be once more,--in his gig,
and driving, in the cool, moist twilight, down the dear old street,
shaded with dear old elms, with the golden and amber sunset still
glowing between their dark boughs; where every quiet, snug, old wooden
house, with its gables and old-fashioned green or white front-door with
a brass or bronze knocker, and almost every shop and sign even, seemed
an old friend.

The lingering glow still lay full on the front of our old home, which
now had "Philemon Physick, M. D." on the corner. As we stopped before
it, I thought I spied a sweet little watching face, for one moment,
behind a pane of one of the second-story windows. But if I did, it was
gone before I was sure.

"Here she is!" called out the Doctor. "Julia!--Wait a minute, Kate, my
dear,--no hurry. Julia!" Up he ran, while "Julia" ran down, said
something, in passing, to him on the stairs, kissed me at the foot three
times over,--affectionately, but as if to gain time, I thought,--led me
into the parlor to take off my bonnet, and told me Fanny was not quite
ready to see me just then, but would be, most likely, in two or three
minutes. The Doctor had gone up to see about it, and would let me know.

"O, didn't I see her at the window?"

"Yes, dear, you did; and that was just the trouble. She saw you were
there; and she was so pleased, it made her a little faint. The Doctor
will give her something to take; and as soon as she is a little used to
your being here, of course you can be with her all the time."

The Doctor came down, speaking cheerily. "She is all right now. Run up,
as fast as you like, and kiss her, Kate, my child; but tell her I forbid
your talking till to-morrow. In five minutes, by my watch, I shall call
you down to tea; and when you are called, you come. That will give her
time to think about it and compose herself. Julia's _help_ shall stay
with her in the mean while. Afterwards, you shall share your own old
chamber with her. Julia has it, as usual, all ready for you."

Fanny had sunk back on her white pillows, upon the little couch before
the window from which she watched for me. How inspired and beautiful she
looked!--she who was never thought of as beautiful before,--the very
transfigured likeness of herself, as I hope one day to behold her in
glory,--and so like our mother, too! She lay still, as she had been
ordered, lest she should faint again; but by the cheerful lamp that
stood on the stand beside her, I saw her smile as she had never used to
smile. The eyes, that I left swollen and downcast, were raised large and
bright. But as she slowly opened her arms and clasped me to her, I felt
tears on my cheek; and her voice was broken as she said, "Katy, Katy! O,
thank God! I was afraid I never should see you again. Now I have
everything that I want in the world!"

It was hard to leave her when I was called so soon; but she knew that it
was right, and made me go; and when I was allowed to return to her, she
lay in obedient but most happy silence for all the rest of the evening,
with those new splendid eyes fixed on my face, her dim complexion
glowing, and her hands clasping mine. After I had put her to bed, and
laid myself down in my own beside her, I felt her reach out of hers and
touch me with a little pat two or three times, as a child will a new
doll, to make sure that it has not been merely dreaming of it. At first,
I asked her if she wanted anything; but she said, "Only to feel that you
are really there"; and when, after a very sound and long rest, I awoke,
there was her solemn, peaceful gaze still watching me, like that of an
unsleeping guardian angel. She had slept too, however, remarkably long
and well, whether for joy, as she thought, or from the opium which I had
been startled to see given her the night before. She said she had had
many scruples about taking it; but the Doctor insisted; and she did not
think it her duty on the whole to make him any trouble by opposing his
prescriptions, when we owed him so much. Poor Fanny! How hard it was for
her to owe any one "anything, but to love one another."

The Doctor's bulletin that morning was, "Remarkably comfortable." But in
the forenoon, while Fanny after breakfast took a nap, I snatched an
opportunity to cross-question Mrs. Physick, from whom I knew I could
sooner or later obtain all she knew,--the _sooner_ it would be, if she
had anything good to tell; as, in my inexperience, I was almost sure she
must have.

Fanny's "influenza," I now discovered, dated back to May. She kept her
room a few days, did not seem so ill as many fellow-patients who were
now quite well again, and soon resumed her usual habits, but was never
quite rid of her cough. Two or three weeks after, there was a
Sunday-school festival in the parish to which we belonged. She was
called upon to sing and assist in various ways, over-tasked her
strength, was caught in a shower, looked very sick, and being, on the
strength of Mrs. Physick's representations, formally escorted into the
office, was found to have a quick pulse and sharp pain in one side. This
led to a careful examination of the chest, and the discovery not only of
"acute pleurisy," but of "some mischief probably of longer standing in
the lungs," yet "no more," the Doctor said, "than many people carried
about with them all their lives without knowing it, nor than others, if
circumstances brought it to light, recovered from by means of good care
and good spirits, and lived to a good old age."

"How long ago was that?"

"The pleurisy? About the beginning of June. The Doctor said last week he
'could scarcely discover a vestige of it.' And now, Katy," continued
kind, cheery Mrs. Physick, "you see, your coming back has put her in the
best of spirits; and you and the Doctor and I are all going to take the
best of care of her; and so we may all hope the best."

"The best of care"? Ah, there was little doubt of that! But even "_good_
spirits"! who could hope to see Fanny enjoying them for any length of
time, till she had done with time? Good, uncomplaining, patient, I had
always seen her,--happy, how seldom!--when, indeed, till now? There was
not enough of earth about her for her to thrive and bloom.

My mother, I believe, used to attribute in part to Fanny's early
training her early joylessness. In her early days,--so at least I have
understood,--it was thought right even by some good people of our
"persuasion," to lose no opportunity of treating the little natural
waywardnesses of children with a severity which would now be called
ferocity. Mamma could never have practised this herself; but perhaps she
suffered it to be practised to a greater extent than she would have
consented to endure, had she foreseen the consequences. My poor father
must have been inexperienced, too; and I suppose his nerves, between
sickness and poverty, might at times be in such a state that he scarcely
knew what he did.

I was four years younger than Fanny, and know nothing about it, except a
very little at second-hand. But at any rate I have often heard my mother
say, with a glance at her, and a gravity as if some sad association
enforced the lesson on her mind, that it was one of the first duties of
those who undertook the charge of children to watch over their
cheerfulness, and a most important rule, never, if it was possible to
put it off, so much as to reprimand them when one's own balance was at
all disturbed. This was a rule that she never to my knowledge broke;
though she was naturally rather a high-strung person, as I think the
pleasantest and most generous people one meets with generally are.

From whatever cause or causes,--to return to Fanny,--she grew up, not
fierce, sullen, nor yet hypocritical, but timid and distrustful,
miserably sensitive and anxious, and morbidly conscientious.

There was another pleasure in store for her, however; for, the afternoon
following that of my return, Mrs. Julia, looking out as usual for her
husband,--with messages from four different alarmingly or alarmed sick
persons, requesting him to proceed without delay in four different
directions,--saw him at length driving down the road with such
unprofessional slowness that she feared some accident to himself or his
harness. When he came before the door, the cause appeared. It was a
handsome Bath chair, with a basket of strawberries on the floor and a
large nosegay on the seat, fastened to the back of his gig, and safely
towed by it.

"What is that for?" cried I from Fanny's window.

"Fanny's coach," said he, looking up. "Miss Dudley has sent it to be
taken care of for her. She does not want it herself for the present; and
you can draw your dolly out in it every fine day."

"O," cried Fanny, sitting upright on the couch by the window,--where she
spent the greater part of the day,--to see for herself, with the tears
in her eyes. "O, how lovely! That is the very kindest thing she has done
yet;--and you don't know how she keeps sending me everything, Katy!"

"Miss Dudley? Who is she?"

"O, don't you know? The great naturalist's sister. He lives in that
beautiful place, on the shore, in the large stone cottage. The ground
was broken for it before you went to Greenville. She is very sick, I am
afraid,--very kind, I am sure. I never saw her. She has heard about me.
I am afraid the Doctor told her. I hope she does not think I meant he
should."

"Of course, dear, she does not."

"Do you really think so?"

"Certainly."

"Why?"

"Why,--I know I should not like being begged of in that underhand way
myself; and if I did not like it, I might send something once, but after
that I should never keep on sending."

"I am very glad you think so; for I like her kindness, though I scarcely
like to have her show it in this way, because I am afraid I can never do
anything for her. But I hope she does like to send; for Dr. Physick says
she always asks after me, almost before he can after her, and looks very
much pleased if she hears that I have been so. I suppose the Doctor will
think it is too late to take me down to-night. Katy, don't you want to
go and see the wagon, and tell me about it, and pour the strawberries
into a great dish on the tea-table, and all of you have some, and bring
up the flowers when you come back after tea?"

When I came back with the flowers, Fanny smiled rather pensively, and
did not ask me about the chair.

"Fanny," said I, "the Doctor says you may go out to-morrow forenoon, and
stay as long as you like, if it is fair; and the sun is going down as
red as a Baldwin apple. The chair is contrived so, with springs and the
cushions, that you can lie down in it, as flat as you do on your sofa,
when you are tired of sitting up."

"O Katy," cried she, with a little quiver in her voice, for she was too
weak to bear anything, "I have been seeing how inconsiderate I was! To
think of letting you exert and strain yourself in that way!"

In came the Doctor, looking saucy. "Fanny won't go, I suppose? I thought
so. I said so to De Quincey [his horse], as I drove him down the street
at a creep, sawing his mouth to keep him from running away, till he
foamed at it epileptically, while all the sick people were sending
north, south, east, and west after all the other doctors. I hope you
won't mention it, said I to the horse; but Fanny is always getting up
some kind of a row. But there is Katy now,--Katy is a meek person, and
always does as she is bid. She has been cooped up too much, and bleached
her own roses with teaching the Greenville misses to sickly o'er with
the pale cast of thought. Katy needs gentle exercise. So does Deacon
Lardner." Deacon Lardner was the fat inhabitant of the town, and ill of
the dropsy. "I will send Katy out a-walking, with Deacon Lardner in Miss
Dudley's chair."

I laughed. Fanny smiled. The Doctor saw his advantage, and followed it
up. "Julia, my dear, get my apothecary's scales out of the office. Put
an ounce weight into one, and Fanny into the other. Then put the ounce
weight into the chair. If Katy can draw that, she can draw Fanny."

This time, it was poor Fanny who had the laugh to herself.

The next day, the Doctor carried her down stairs, as soon as she could
bear it after her breakfast, and left her on a sofa, in the little
parlor, to rest. About ten o'clock, he came back from his early rounds.
I was dressed and waiting for him, with Fanny's bonnet and shawl ready.
I put them on her, while he drew out the chair from its safe stable in
the hall. Once again he took her up; and thus by easy stages we got her
into "her coach." I pulled, and he pushed it, "to give me a start." How
easy and light and strong it was! How delighted were both she and I!

Fanny was too easily alarmed to enjoy driving much, even when she was
well; and she had not walked out for weeks. During that time, the slow,
late spring had turned into midsummer; and the mere change from a
sick-room to the fresh, outer world is always so very great! For me, it
was the first going abroad since my return to Beverly. We went in the
sun till my charge's little snowdrop hands were warm, and then drew up
under the shade of an elm, on a little airy knoll that commanded a
distant view of the sea, and was fanned by a soft air, which helped poor
Fanny's breathing. She now insisted on my resting myself; and I turned
the springs back and arranged the cushions so that she could lie down,
took a new handkerchief of my guardian's from my pocket, and hemmed it,
as I sat at her side on a stone, while she mused and dozed. When she
awoke, I gave her her luncheon from a convenient little box in the
chair, and drew her home by dinner-time.

In this way we spent much of the month of July--shall I say
it?--agreeably. Nobody will believe it, who has not felt or seen the
marvellous relief afforded by an entire change of scene and occupation
to a person tried as I had been. If I had but "one idea," that idea was
now Fanny. Instinctively in part, and partly of set purpose, I postponed
to her every other consideration and thought. It was delightful to me to
be able, in my turn, to take her to one after another of the dear old
haunts, in wood or on beach, where she had often led me, when a child,
to play. I always did love to have something to take care of; and the
care of Fanny wore upon me little. She was the most considerate of
invalids.

Besides, she was better, or at any rate I thought so, after she began to
go out in Miss Dudley's chair. Her appetite improved; her nerves grew
more firm; and her cough was sometimes so quiet at night that her
laudanum would stand on her little table in the morning, just as it was
dropped for her the evening before.

Not only were my spirits amended by the fresh air in which, by Dr.
Physick's strict orders, I lived with her through the twenty-four hours,
but my health too. He had declared her illness to be "probably owing in
great part to the foul atmosphere in which," he found, "she slept"; and
now she added that, since she had known the comfort of fresh air at
night, she should be very sorry ever to give it up. In windy weather she
had a large folding-screen, and in raw, more blankets and a little fire.

Besides the chair, another thing came in our way which gave pleasure to
both of us, though it was not very pleasantly ushered in, as its pioneer
was a long visit from Fanny's old "Sabbath school-ma'am," Miss Mehitable
Truman, who _would_ come up stairs. Towards the close of this visit her
errand came out. It was to inquire whether "Fanny wouldn't esteem it a
privilege to knit one or two of her sets of toilet napkins for Miss
Mehitable's table at the Orphans' Fair, jest by little and little, as
she could gether up her failin' strength." Fanny could not promise the
napkins, since, luckily for her, she was past speech from exhaustion, as
I was with indignation; and Miss Truman, hearing the Doctor's boots
creak below, showed the better part of valor, and departed.

The next day, it rained. We were kept in-doors; and Fanny could not be
easy till I had looked up her cotton and knitting-needles. She could not
be easy afterwards, either; for they made her side ache; and when Dr.
Physick paid his morning visit, he took them away.

I knew she would be sorry to have nothing to give to that fair. It was
one of the few rules of life which my mother had recommended us to
follow, never from false shame either to give or to withhold. "If you
are asked to give," she would say, "to any object, and are not satisfied
that it is a good one, but give to it for fear that somebody will think
you stingy, that is not being faithful stewards. But when you do meet
with a worthy object, always give, if you honestly can. Even if you have
no more than a cent to give, then give a cent; and do not care if the
Pharisees see you. That is more than the poor widow in the Gospels
gave";--how fond she always was of that story!--"and you remember who,
besides the Pharisees, saw her, and what he said? His objects would not
have to go begging so long as they do now, if every one would follow her
example." From pride often, and sometimes from indolence, I am afraid I
had broken that rule; but Fanny, I rather think, never had; and now I
would try to help her to keep it.

My mother's paint-box was on a shelf in our closet, with three sheets of
her drawing-paper still in it. Painting flowers was one of her chief
opiates to lull the cares of her careful life. I think a person can
scarcely have too many such, provided they are kept in their proper
place, I have often seen her, when sadly tired or tried, sit down, with
a moisture that was more like rain than dew in her eyes, and paint it
all away, till she seemed to be looking sunshine over her lifelike
blossoms. Then she would pin them up against the wall, for a week or
two, for us to enjoy them with her; and, afterwards, she would give them
away to any one who had done her any favor. Her spirit was in that like
Fanny's,--she shrank so painfully from the weight of any obligation! She
wished to teach me to paint, when I was a child. I wished to learn; and
many of her directions were still fresh in my memory. But the
inexperienced eye and uncertain hand of thirteen disheartened me. I
thought I had no _talent_. My mother was not accustomed to force any
task upon me in my play-hours. The undertaking was given up.

But I suppose many persons, like me not precocious in the nursery or the
school-room, but naturally fond, as I was passionately, of beautiful
forms and colors, would be surprised, if they would try their baffled
skill again in aftertimes, to find how much the years had been
unwittingly preparing for them, in the way of facility and accuracy of
outline and tint, while they supposed themselves to be exclusively
occupied with other matters. What the physiologists call "unconscious
cerebration" has been at work. Scatter the seeds of any accomplishment
in the mind of a little man or woman, and, even if you leave them quite
untended, you may in some after summer or autumn find the fruit growing
wild. Accordingly, when, within the last twelvemonth, I had been called
upon to teach the elements of drawing in my school, it astonished me to
discover the ease with which I could either sketch or copy. And now it
occurred to me that perhaps, if I would take enough time and pains, I
could paint something worthy of a place on Miss Mehitable's table.

Fanny's gladness at the plan, and interest in watching the work, in her
own enforced inaction, were at once reward and stimulus. I succeeded,
better than we either of us expected, in copying the frontispiece of a
"picture-book," as Dr. Physick called it, which he had brought up from
his office to amuse her. It was a scientific volume, sent him by the
author,--an old fellow-student,--from the other side of the world.
Lovely ferns, flowers, shells, birds, butterflies, and insects, that
surrounded him there, were treated further on separately, in rigid
sequence; but as if to make himself amends by a little play for so much
work, he had not been able to resist the temptation of grouping them all
together on one glowing and fascinating page. I framed my copy as
tastefully as I could, in a simple but harmonious _passe-partout_, and
sent it to Miss Mehitable, with Fanny's love. Fanny's gratitude was
touching; and as for me, I felt quite as if I had found a free ticket to
an indefinitely long private picture-gallery.

Fanny's satisfaction was still more complete after the fair, when Miss
Mehitable reported that the painting had brought in what we both thought
quite a handsome sum. "It was a dreadful shame," she added, "you hadn't
sent two of 'em; for at noon, while I was home, jest takin' a bite, my
niece, Letishy, from Noo York, had another grand nibble for that one
after 'twas purchased. Letishy said a kind o' poor, pale-lookin',
queer-lookin' lady, who she never saw before, in an elegint
camel's-hair,"--("Poor-lookin', in a camel's-hair shawl!" was my inward
ejaculation; "don't I wish, ma'am, I could catch you and 'Letishy' in
my composition class, once!")--"she come up to the table an' saw that,
an' seemed to feel quite taken aback to find she'd lost her chance at
it. Letishy showed her some elegint shell-vases with artificial roses;
but that wouldn't do. I told Letishy," continued Miss Mehitable, "that
she'd ought to ha' been smart an' taken down the lady's name; an' then I
could ha' got Kathryne to paint her another. But you mu't do it now,
Kathryne, an' put it up in the bookseller's winder; an' then, if she's
anybody that belongs hereabouts, she'll be likely to snap at it, an' the
money can go right into the orphans' fund all the same."

"Much obliged," thought I, "for the hint as to the bookseller's
shop-window; but I rather think that, if the money comes, the orphan's
fund that it ought to 'go right into' this time is Fanny's."

For my orphan's fund from my months of school-keeping, not ample when I
first came back, was smaller now. Fanny's illness was necessarily, in
some respects, an expensive one. I believed, indeed, and do believe,
that it was a gratification to Dr. Physick to lavish upon her, to the
utmost of his ability, everything that could do her good, as freely as
if she had been his own child or sister. But it could not be agreeable
to her, while we had a brother, to be a burden to a man unconnected with
us by blood, young in his profession, though rising, and still probably
earning not very much more than his wife's and his own daily bread from
day to day, and owing us nothing but a debt of gratitude for another's
kindnesses, which another man in his place would probably have said that
"he paid as he went."

In plain English, the tie between us arose simply from the fact that he
boarded with my mother, when he was a poor and unformed medical student.
He always said that she was the best friend he had in his solitary
youth, and that no one could tell how different all his after-life might
have been but for her. She was naturally generous; yet she was a just
woman; and I know that, while we were unprovided for, she could not have
given, as the world appraises giving, much to him. Still "she did what
she could." He paid her his board; but she gave him a home. After she
found that his lodgings were unwarmed, she invited him to share her
fireside of a winter evening; and, though she would not deprive us of
our chat with one another and with her, she taught us to speak in low
tones, and never to him, when we saw him at his studies. When they were
over, and he was tired and in want of some amusement, she afforded him
one at once cheap, innocent, and inexhaustible, and sang to him as she
still toiled on at her unresting needle, night after night, ballad after
ballad, in her wild, sweet, rich voice. He was very fond of music,
though, as he said, he "could only whistle for it." It was the custom
then among our neighbors to keep Saturday evening strictly as a part of
"the Sabbath." It was her half-holiday, however, for works of charity
and mercy; and she would often bid him bring her any failing articles of
his scanty wardrobe then, and say that she would mend them for him if he
would read to her. Her taste was naturally fine, and trained by regular
and well-chosen Sunday reading; and she had the tact to select for these
occasions books that won the mind of the intellectual though
uncultivated youth by their eloquence, until they won his heart by their
holiness. Moreover, she had been gently bred, and could give good
advice, in manners as well as morals, when it was asked for, and
withhold it when it was not.

The upshot of it all was, that he loved her like a mother; and now the
sentiment was deepened by a shade of filial remorse, which I could never
quite dispel, though, as often as he gave me any chance, I tried. The
last year of my mother's life was the first of his married life. His
father-in-law hired, at the end of the town opposite to ours, a
furnished house for him and his wife. My mother called upon her by the
Doctor's particular invitation. The visit was sweetly received, and
promptly returned by the bride; but she was pretty and popular, and had
many other visits to pay, especially when she could catch her husband at
leisure to help her. He was seldom at leisure at all, but, as he
self-reproachfully said, "too busy to think except of his patients and
his wife"; and poor mamma, with all her real dignity, had caught
something of the shy, retiring ways of a reduced gentlewoman, and was,
besides, too literally straining every nerve to pay off the mortgage on
her half-earned house, so that, if anything happened, she might "not
leave her girls without a home." Therefore he saw her seldom.

After he heard she was ill, he was with her daily, and often three or
four times a day; and his wife came too, and made the nicest broths and
gruels with her own hands, and begged Fanny not to cry, and cried
herself. He promised my mother that we should never want, if he could
help it, and that he would be a brother to us both, and my guardian. She
told him that, if she died, this promise would be the greatest earthly
comfort to her in her death; and he answered, "So it will to me!"

Then after she was gone, when the lease of his house was up, as no other
tenant offered for ours, he hired it, furniture and all, and offered
Fanny and me both a home in it for an indefinite time; but our affairs
were all unsettled. We knew the rent, as rents were then, would not pay
our expenses and leave us anything to put by for the future, which my
mother had taught us always to think of. Therefore I thought I had
better take care of myself, as I was much the strongest, and perfectly
able to do so. "And a very pretty business you made of it, didn't you,
miss?" reflected and queried I, parenthetically, as I afterwards
reviewed these circumstances in my own mind.

The best we had to hope from my older and our only brother George was,
that he should join us in paying the interest on the mortgage till real
estate should rise,--as everybody said it soon must,--and then the rise
in rents should enable us to let the house on better terms, and thus, by
degrees, clear it of all encumbrances, and have it quite for our own, to
let, sell, or live in. The worst we had to fear was, that he would
insist on forcing it at once into the market, at what would be a great
loss to us, and leave us almost destitute. He was going to be married,
and getting into business, and wanted beyond anything else a little
ready money.

He scarcely knew us even by sight. He had been a sprightly, pretty boy;
and my mother's aunt's husband, having no children of his own, offered
to adopt him. Poor mamma's heart was almost broken; but I suppose
George's noise must have been very trying to my father's nerves; and
then he had no way to provide for him. After she objected, I have always
understood that my father appeared to take a morbid aversion to the
child, and could scarcely bear him in his sight. So George seemed likely
to be still more unhappy, and ruined beside, if she kept him at home. He
was a little fellow then, not more than five years old; but he cried for
her so long that my great-uncle-in-law was very careful how he let him
have anything to do with her again, till he had forgotten her; and
little things taken so early must be expected to fall, sooner or later,
more or less under the influence of those who have them in charge.

Poor mamma died without making a regular will. It was not the custom at
that time for women to be taught so much about business even as they are
now. She thought, if she did make a will before she could pay off the
debt on the house, she should have to make another afterwards, and that
then there would be double lawyers' fees to deduct from the little she
would have to leave us. After she found out that she was dangerously
sick, she was very anxious to make her will, whenever she was in her
right mind; but that went and came so, that the Doctor, and a lawyer
whom he brought to see her, said that no disposition she might make
could stand in court, if any effort were made to break it. All that
could be done was to take down, as she was able to dictate it, an
affectionate and touching letter to George.

In this she begged him to remember how much greater his advantages, and
his opportunities of making a living, were than ours, and besought him
to do his best to keep and increase for us the pittance she had toiled
so hard to earn, and to take nothing from it unless a time should come
when he was as helpless as we.

Two copies of this letter were made, signed, sealed, and witnessed. One
I sent to George, enclosed with an earnest entreaty from Fanny and
myself, that he would come and let mamma see him once again, before she
died, if, as we feared, she must die. We had asked him to come before.
He answered our letter--not our mother's--rather kindly, but very
vaguely, putting off his visit, and saying, that he could not for a
moment suffer himself to believe that she would not do perfectly well,
if we did not alarm her about herself, nor worry her with business when
she was not in a state for it. His reply was handed me before her,
unluckily. She wished to hear it read, and seemed to lose heart and grow
worse from that time.

Thus then matters stood with us that July. The sale of our house was
pending--over our kind host's head too! It was plain to me that George
would not, and that Dr. Physick should not, bear the charge of Fanny's
maintenance. So far and so long as I could, I would.

In the mean time, no further examination was made of her lungs. The
Doctor's report was often "Remarkably comfortable," and never anything
worse than, "Well, on the whole, taking one time with another, I don't
see but she's about as comfortable as she has been." I was, of course,
inexperienced. I was afraid that, if she improved no faster, I should be
obliged to leave her, when I went away to work for her again at the end
of the summer vacation, still very feeble, a care to others, and pining
for my care. That was my nearest and clearest fear.

But what did Fanny think? I hope, the truth; and on one incident, in
chief, I ground my hope. One beautiful day--the last one in July--she
asked me if I should be willing to draw her to our mother's grave. There
could be but one answer; though I had not seen the spot since the
funeral. Fanny looked at it with more than calmness,--with the solemn
irradiation of countenance which had during her illness become her most
characteristic expression. She desired me to help her from her chair.
She lay at her length upon the turf, still and observant, as if
calculating. Then she spoke.

"Katy, dear," said she, very tenderly and softly, as if she feared to
give me pain, "I have been thinking sometimes lately, that, if anything
should ever happen to either of us, the other might be glad to know what
would be exactly the wishes of the one that was gone--about our graves.
Suppose we choose them now, while we are here together. Here, by mamma,
is where I should like to lie. See, I will lay two red clovers for the
head, and a white one for the foot. And there, on her other side, is
just such a place for you. Should you like it?--and--shall you
remember?"

I found voice to say "Yes," and said it firmly.

"And then," added she, after a short, deliberating pause, during which
she, with my assistance, raised herself to sit on the side of the chair
with her feet still resting on the turf, "while we are upon the
subject,--one thing more. If I should be the first to go,--nobody knows
whose turn may come the first,--then I should like to have you do--just
what would make you happiest; but I _don't_ like mourning. I shouldn't
_wish_ to have it worn for me. My feelings about it have all changed
since we made it for mamma. It seemed as if we were only working at a
great black wall, for our minds to have to break through, every time
they yearned to go back into the past and sit with her. It was as if the
things she chose for us, and loved to see us in, were part of her and of
her life with us,--as if she would be able still to think of us in them,
and know just how we looked. And it seemed so strange and unsympathizing
in us, that, when we loved her so, we should go about all muffled up in
darkness, because our God was clothing her in light!"

I answered,--rather slowly and tremulously this time, I fear,--that I
had felt so too.

"Then, Katy," resumed she, pleadingly, as she leaned back in her usual
attitude in the chair, and made a sign that I might draw her home, "we
will not either of us wear it for the other,--without nor within either,
will we?--any more than we can help. Don't you remember what dear mamma
said once, when you had made two mistakes in your lessons at school, and
lost a prize, and took it hard, and somebody was teasing you, with
making very light of it, and telling you to think no more about it? You
were very sorry and a little offended, and said, you always chose not to
be hoodwinked, but to look at things on all sides and in the face. Mamma
smiled, and said, 'It is good and brave to look all trials in the face;
but among the sides, never forget the bright side, little Katy.' If I
had my life to live over again, I would try to mind her more in that.
She always said, there lay my greatest fault. I hope and think God has
forgiven me, because he makes it so easy for me to be cheerful now."

"Fanny," said I, as we drew near the house, "things in this world are
strangely jumbled. Here are you, with your character, to wit, that of a
little saint, if you will have the goodness to overlook my saying so,
and somebody else's conscience. I have no doubt that, while you are
reproaching yourself first for this, then for that and the other, the
said somebody else is sinning away merrily, somewhere among the
antipodes or nearer, without so much as a single twinge."

Smiling, she shook her head at me; and that was all that passed. She was
as cheerful as I tried to be. With regard to the other world, she seemed
to have attained unto the perfect love that casteth out fear; and I
believe her only regret in leaving this lower one for it was that she
could not take me with her. In fact, throughout her illness, her freedom
from anxiety about its symptoms--not absolute, but still in strong
contrast with her previous tendencies--appeared to her physician, as he
acknowledged to me afterwards, even when he considered the frequent
flattering illusions of the disease, a most discouraging indication as
to the case. But to her it was an infinite mercy; and to me, to have
such glimpses to remember of her already in possession of so much of
that peace which remaineth unto the people of God.

As the dog-days drew on, a change came, though at first a very gentle
one to her, if not to me. She slept more, ate less, grew so thin that
she could no more bear the motion of her little wagon, and begged that
it might be returned, because it tired her so to think of it.

Then word came that our house was advertised to be sold,
unconditionally, at an early day. To move her in that state,--how
dreadful it would be! I did not mean to let her know anything about it
until I must; but Miss Mehitable, always less remarkable for tact than
for good-will, blurted it out before her.

Her brows contracted with a moment's look of pain. "O Katy," she
whispered, "I am sorry! That must make you very anxious";--and then she
went to sleep.

Evidently it did not make her very anxious, as I knew that it would have
done as lately even as two or three months before. What was the remedy?
Approaching death. Well, death was approaching me also, as steadily, if
not so nearly; and, after her example, my thoughts took such a foretaste
of that anodyne that, as I sat and gazed on her unconscious, placid
face, all terrors left me, and I was strengthened to pray, and to
determine to look to the morrow with only so much thought as should
enable me to bring up all my resources of body and mind to meet it as I
ought, and to leave the result, unquestioned, quite in God's hand.

The result was an entire relief to her last earthly care. The appointed
day came. The matter took wind. None of our townspeople appeared, to bid
against my guardian; but enough of them were on the spot "to see fair
play," or, in other words, to advance for him whatever sum he might
stand in need of; and the house was knocked down to him at a price even
below its market value. He paid the mortgagee and George their due by
the next mail, but left my title and Fanny's as it was, not to be
settled till I came of age.

These details would only have worried and wearied her; but the
auctioneer's loud voice had hardly died away, or the gathered footsteps
scattered from the door, when the Doctor came to her chamber, flushed
with triumph, to tell us that "Nobody now could turn us out; and
everything was arranged for us to stay." Fanny looked brightly up to
him, and answered: "Now I shall scarcely know what more to pray for, but
God's reward for you." And most of all I thank Him for that news,
because her last day on this earth was such a happy one.

The next morning, just at dawn, she waked me, saying, "O Katy, tell the
Doctor I can't breathe!"

I sprang up, raised her on her pillows, and called him instantly.

She stretched out her hand to him, and gasped, "O Doctor, I can't
breathe! Can't you do anything to help me?"

He felt her pulse quickly, looking at her, and said, very tenderly,
"Have some ether, Fanny. I will run and bring it." Throwing wider open
every window that he passed, he hurried down to the office and back with
the ether.

Eagerly, though with difficulty, she inhaled it; and it relieved her. I
sat and watched her, silent, with her hand in mine.

Presently the door behind me opened softly, as if somebody was looking
in. "My dear," said the Doctor, turning his head, and speaking very
earnestly, though in a low voice, "I _wouldn't_ come here. You can do no
good." But presently his wife came in, in her dressing-gown, very pale,
and sat by me and held the hand that was not holding Fanny's.

And next I knew they thought she would not wake; and then the short
breath stopped. And now it was my turn to stretch out my hands to him
for help; but, looking at me, he burst into tears, as he had not when he
looked at Fanny; and I knew there was no breath more for her, nor any
ether for me. I did not want to go to sleep, because _I_ should have to
wake again; but his wife was sobbing aloud. I knew how dreadful such
excitement was for her; and so I had to do just as they wished me to,
and let them lead me out and lock the door, and lay down on a bed and
shut my eyes.



PROTONEIRON.

DECEMBER 9, 1864.

     "And in that sleep of death what dreams may come."


    The unresting lines, where oceans end,
    Are traced by shifting surf and sand;
    As pallid, moonlit fingers blend
    The dreamlight of the ghostly land.

    No eye can tell where Love's last ray
    Fades to the sky of colder light;
    No ear, when sounds that vexed the day
    Cease mingling with the holier night.

    As bells, which long have failed to swing
    In lonely towers of crumbling stone,
    Through far eternal spaces ring,
    With semblance of their ancient tone.

    The lightning, quivering through the cloud,
    Weaves warp and woof from sky to earth,
    In mist that seems a mortal's shroud,
    In light that hails an angel's birth.

    Thought vainly strives, with life's dull load,
    To mount through ether rare and thin;
    Fond eyes pursue the spirit's road
    To heaven, and dimly gaze therein.

    In battle's travail-hour, a host
    Writhes in the throes of deadly strife.
    One flash! One groan! A startled ghost
    Is born into the eternal life.

    Dear wife and children! Now I fly
    Forth from my soldier camp to you!
    Blue ridge and river hurry by
    My weary eyes, in quick review.

    Long have I waited. How and when
    My furlough came is mystery.
    I dreamed of charging with my men,--
    A dream of glorious history!

    To you I fly on Love's strong wing;
    My courser needs no armed heel:
    And yet anew the bugles ring,
    And wake me to the crash of steel.

    In fiercer rush of hosts again
    My dripping sabre seeks the front.
    Spur your mad horses! Forward, men!
    Meet with your hearts the battle's brunt.

    Tricolor, flaunt! And trumpet-blare,
    Scream louder than the bursting shell,
    And thundering hoofs, that shake the air,
    Trembling above that surging hell!

    In carbine smoke and cannon flash,
    Like avalanches twain, we meet;
    One gasp! we spur; one stab! we crash
    And trample with the iron feet.

    I _dream_! My tiercepoint smote them through,
    My sabre buried to my hand!
    And yet unchecked those horsemen flew,
    And still I grasp my phantom brand!

    Our chargers, which like whirlwinds bore
    Us onward, lie all stiff and stark!
    Black Midnight's feet wait on the shore,
    To bear me--where? Where all is dark.

    And still I hear the faint recall!
    My senses,--have they dropped asleep?
    I see a soldier's funeral pall,
    And there _my_ wife and children weep!

    Sobs break the air, below the cloud;
    And one pure soul, of love and truth,
    Is folding in a mortal shroud
    Her quivering wings of Hope and Youth.

    Ye of the sacred red right hand,
    Who count, around our camp-fire light,
    Dear names within the shadowy land,
    Why do ye whisper _mine_ to-night?

    Where am I? _Am_ I? Trumpet notes
    Still mingle with a dreamy doubt
    Of Where? and Whither? Music floats,
    As when camp-lights are going out.

    Like saintly eyes resigned to Death,
    Like spirit whispers from afar,
    The sighing bugle yields its breath,
    As if it wooed a dying star.

    Draped in dark shadows, widowed Night
    Weeps, on new graves, with chilly tears;
    Beyond strange mountain-tops, the light
    Is breaking from the immortal years.

    A rhythm, from the unfathomed deep
    Of God's eternal stillness, sings
    My wondering, trembling soul to sleep,
    While angels lift it on their wings.



THE PROGRESS OF PRUSSIA.


The changes that have taken place in Europe in the last twenty years are
of a most comprehensive character, and as strange as comprehensive; and
their consequences are likely to be as remarkable as the changes
themselves. In 1846 Russia was the first power of Europe, and at a great
distance ahead of all other members of the Pentarchy. She retained the
hegemony which she had acquired by the events of 1812-1814, and by the
great display of military force she had made in 1815, when 160,000 of
her troops were reviewed near Paris by the sovereigns and other leaders
of the Grand Alliance there assembled after the second and final fall of
the first Napoleon. Had Alexander I. reigned long, it is probable that
his eccentricities--to call them by no harder name--would have operated
to deprive Russia of her supremacy; but Nicholas, though he might never
have raised his country so high as it was carried by his brother, was
exactly the man to keep the power he had inherited,--and to keep it in
the only way in which it was to be kept, namely, by increasing it. This
he had done, and great success had waited on most of his undertakings,
while in none had he encountered failure calculated to attract the
world's attention. England had in some sense shared men's notice with
Russia immediately after the settlement of Europe. The "crowning
carnage, Waterloo," was considered her work; and, as the most decisive
battle since Philippi, it gave to the victor in it an amount of
consideration that was equal to that which Napoleon himself had
possessed in 1812. But this consideration rapidly passed away, as
England did nothing to maintain her influence on the Continent, while
Russia was constantly busy there, and really governed it down to the
French Revolution of 1830; and her power was not much weakened even by
the fall of the elder Bourbons, with whom the Czar had entered into a
treaty that had for one of its ends the cession to France of those very
Rhenish provinces of which so much has been said in the course of the
present year. Russia was victorious in her conflicts with the Persians
and the Turks, and the battle of Navarino really had been fought in her
interest,--blindly by the English, but intelligently by the French, who
were willing that she should plant the double-headed eagle on the
Bosporus, provided the lilies should be planted on the Rhine. If the
fall of the Bourbons in France, and the fall of the Tories in England,
weakened Russia's influence in Western Europe, those events had the
effect of drawing Austria and Prussia nearer to her, and of reviving
something of the spirit of the Holy Alliance, which had lost much of its
strength from the early death of Alexander. Russia had her own way in
almost every respect; and in 1846 Nicholas was almost as powerful a
ruler as Napoleon had been a generation earlier, with the additional
advantage of being a legitimate sovereign, who could not be destroyed
through the efforts of any coalition. Three years later he saved Austria
from destruction by his invasion of Hungary,--an act of hard insolence,
which quite reconciles one to the humiliation that overtook him five
years later. He was then so powerful that the reactionists of the West
cried for Russian cannon, to be used against the Reds. There was no
nation to dispute the palm with Russia. England was supposed to be
devoted to the conversion of cotton into calico, and to be ruled in the
spirit of the Manchester school. She had retired into her shell, and
could not be got out of it. Austria was thinking chiefly of Italy, and
of becoming a naval power by incorporating that Peninsula into her
empire. Prussia was looked upon as nothing but a Russian outpost to the
west, and waiting only to be used by her master. France had not
recovered from her humiliation of 1814-15, and never would recover from
it so long as she warred only at barricades or in Barbary. Russia was
supreme, and most men thought that supreme she would remain.

Thus stood matters down to 1853. Early in that year the Czar entered on
his last quarrel with the Turks, whose cause was espoused by England,
partly for the reason that Russian aggrandizement in the East would be
dangerous to her interests, but more on the ground that she had become
weary of submission to that arrogant sovereign who was in the habit of
giving law to the Old World. Russia's ascendency, though chiefly the
work of England, was more distasteful to the English than it was to any
other European people,--more than it was to the French, at whose expense
it had been founded; and had Nicholas made overtures to the latter,
instead of making them to England, it is very probable he would have
accomplished his purpose. But he detested Napoleon III., and he was at
no pains to conceal his sentiments. This was the one great error of his
life. The French Emperor had two great ends in view: first, to get into
respectable company; and, secondly, to make himself powerful at home, by
obtaining power and influence for France abroad. Unaided, he could
accomplish neither end; and Nicholas and Victoria were the only two
sovereigns who could be of much use to him in accomplishing one or both.
Had Nicholas been gracious to him, had he, in particular, made overtures
to him, he might have had the Emperor almost on his own terms; for the
French disliked the English, and they did not dislike the Russians.
Everything pointed to renewal of that "cordial understanding" between
Russia and France which had existed twenty-five years earlier, when
Charles X. was king of France, and which, had there been no Revolution
of July, would have given to Russia possession of Constantinople, and to
the French that roc's egg of theirs, the left bank of the Rhine. But
prosperity had been fatal to the Czar. He could not see what was
palpable to everybody else. He allowed his feelings to get the better of
his judgment. He treated Napoleon III. with less consideration than he
treated the Turkish Sultan; and Napoleon actually was forced to teach
him that a French ruler was a powerful personage, and that the days of
Louis Philippe were over forever. If not good enough to help Russia
spoil Turkey, the Czar must be taught he was good enough to help England
prevent the spoliating scheme. France and England united their forces to
those of Turkey, and were joined by Sardinia. Russia was beaten in the
war, on almost all its scenes. The world ascribed the result to Napoleon
III. France carried off the honors of the war, and of spoil there was
none. The Peace of Paris, which terminated the contest, was the work of
Napoleon. He dictated its terms, forcing them less on his enemy than on
his allies.

As Russia's leadership of Europe had come from success in war, and had
been maintained by subsequent successes of the Russian armies,--in
Persia, in Turkey, in Poland, and elsewhere,--it followed that that
leadership was lost when the fortune of war changed, and those armies
were beaten on every occasion where they met the Allies. No military
country could stand up erect under such crushing blows as had been
delivered at the Alma, at Inkermann, at the Tchernaya, and at
Sebastopol, not to name lesser Allied successes, or to count the
victories of the Turks. Nicholas died in the course of the war, falling
only before the universal conqueror. His successor submitted to the
decision of the sword, and in fact performed an act of abdication
inferior only to that executed by Napoleon. France stepped into the
vacant leadership, and held it for ten years. Subsequent events
confirmed and strengthened the French hegemony. The Italian war, waged
by the Emperor in person, had lasted only about as many months as the
Russian war did years, and yet it had proved far more damaging to
Austria than the other had proved to Russia. The mere loss of territory
experienced by Austria, though not small, was the least of the adverse
results to her. Her whole Italian scheme was cut through and utterly
ruined; and it was well understood that the days of her rule over
Venetia were destined to be as few as they were evil. For what she then
did, France received Savoy and Nice, which formed by no means a great
price for her all but inestimable services,--services by no means to be
ascertained, if we would know their true value, by what was done in
1859. France created the Kingdom of Italy. After making the amplest
allowance for what was effected by Cavour, by Garibaldi, by Victor
Emanuel, and by the Italian people, it must be clear to every one that
nothing could have been effected toward the overthrow of Austrian
domination in Italy but for the action of French armies in that country.
That the Emperor meant what he wrought is very unlikely; but after the
events of 1859 it was impossible to prevent the construction of the
kingdom of Italy; and the Frenchman had to consent to the completion of
his own work, though he did so on some occasions with extreme
reluctance,--not so much from the dictation of his own feelings, as from
the aversion which the French feel for the Italian cause, and which is
so strong, and so deeply shared by the military, that it was with
difficulty the soldiers in the camp of Châlons were prevented getting up
an illumination when news reached them of the battle of Custozza, the
event of which was so disastrous to Italy, and would have been fatal to
her cause, had not that been vindicated and established by Prussian
genius and valor on the remote fields of Germany and Bohemia. The
descendants of men who fought under Arminius saved the descendants of
the countrymen of Varus. Those persons who have condemned the
Frenchman's apparently singular course toward Italy on some occasions,
have not made sufficient allowance for the dislike of almost all classes
of his subjects for the Italians. The Italian war was unpopular, and the
Russian war was not popular. While the French have been pleased by the
military occurrences that make up the histories of those wars, they were
by no means pleased by the wars themselves, and they do not approve them
even at this day; and the extraordinary events of the current year are
not at all calculated to make them popular in France: for it is not
difficult to see that there is a close connection between the
establishment of the Kingdom of Italy and the elevation of Prussia to
the first place in Europe; and Prussia is the power most abhorred by the
French. So intense is French hatred of Prussia, that it is not too much
to say that, last summer, the French would almost as lief have seen the
Russians in Paris as the Prussians in Vienna.

At the middle of last June the leadership of Europe--Frenchmen said of
the world--was in the hands of France; and that such was France's place
was the work of Napoleon III. The Emperor had been successful in all his
undertakings, with one exception. His Mexican business had proved a
total failure; but this had not injured him. Americans thought
differently, some of us going so far as to suppose the fall of
Maximilian's shaky throne would involve that of the solid throne of
Napoleon. No such thing. The great majority of Frenchmen know little and
care less about the Mexican business. Intelligent Frenchmen regret the
Emperor's having taken it up; but they do so because of the expenditure
it has involved, and because they have learnt from their country's
history that it is best for her to keep out of that colonizing pursuit
which has so many charms for the Emperor,--perhaps because of his Dutch
origin. There is something eminently ridiculous about French
colonization, which contrasts strangely with the robust action of the
English. The Emperor seems to believe in it,--an instance of weakness
that places him, on one point at least, below common men, most of whom
laugh at his doings in regard to Mexico. If report does him no
injustice, he thinks his Mexican undertaking the greatest thing of his
reign. What, then, is the smallest thing of that reign? It is somewhat
strange that this immense undertaking should not have been practicable
till some time after the United States had become involved in civil war,
that tasked all American energies, and did not permit any attention to
be paid to Napoleon's action in Mexico.

Whether wise or foolish, Napoleon's interference in Mexican affairs had
not weakened his power or lessened his influence in the estimation of
Europe. Five months ago he was at the head of the European world. His
position was quite equal to that which Nicholas held thirteen years
earlier. If any change in his condition was looked for, it was sought in
the advance of his greatness, not in the chance of his fall. The
general, the all but universal sentiment was, that during Napoleon
III.'s life France's lead must be accepted; and that, if that life
should be much extended, France's power would be greatly increased, and
that Belgium and the Rhine country might become hers at no distant day.
It is true that, long before the middle of June, the course of events
indicated the near approach of war; but it was commonly supposed that
the chief result of such war would be to add to the greatness and glory
of France. _That_ was about the only point on which men were agreed with
respect to the threatened conflict. Prussia and Italy might overthrow
the Austrian empire; but most probably Austria, aided by most of
Germany, would defeat them both, her armies rendezvousing at Berlin and
Milan; and then would Napoleon III., bearing "the sword of Brennus,"
come in, and save the Allies from destruction, who would gratefully
reward him,--the one by ceding the Rhenish provinces, and the other the
island of Sardinia, to France. Such was the programme laid out by most
persons in Europe and America, and probably not one person in a hundred
thought it possible for Prussia to succeed. Even most of those persons
who were not overcrowed by Austria's partisans and admirers did not
dream that she would be conquered in a week, but thought it would be a
more difficult matter for General Benedek to march from Prague to Berlin
than was generally supposed, and that such march would not exactly be of
the nature of a military promenade. That the French Emperor shared the
popular belief, is evident from his conduct. He never would have allowed
war to break out, if he had supposed it would lead to the elevation of
Prussia to the first place in Europe,--a position held by himself, and
which he had no desire to vacate. It was in his power to prevent the
occurrence of war down almost to the very hour when the Diet of the
Germanic Confederation afforded to Prussia so plausible a ground for
setting her armies in motion, by adopting a course that bore some
resemblance to the old process of putting a disobedient member under the
ban of the Empire. Prussia would not have gone to war with Austria, had
she not been assured of the Italian alliance,--an alliance that would
not only be useful in keeping a large portion of Austria's force in the
south, but would prevent that power from purchasing Italian aid by the
cession of Venetia; for so angry were the Austrians with Prussia, that
it was quite on the cards that they might become the friends of Italy,
if she would but help them against that nation whose exertions in 1859
had prevented Venetia from following the fate of Lombardy.

As Prussia would not have made war in 1866 without having secured the
assistance of Italy, so was it impossible for Italy to form an alliance
with Prussia without the consent of France being first had and obtained.
Napoleon III. possessed an absolute veto on the action of the Italian
government, and had he signified to that government that an alliance
with Prussia could not meet with his countenance and approval, no such
alliance ever would have been formed, or even the proposition to form it
have been taken into serious consideration by the Cabinet of Florence.
Victor Emanuel II. would have dared no more to attack Francis Joseph,
without the consent of Napoleon III., than Carthage durst have attacked
Masinissa without the consent of Rome. Prussia was not under the
supervision of France, and was and is the only great European nation
which had not then, as she has not since, been made to feel the weight
of his power; but it may be doubted, without the slightest intention to
impeach her courage, if she would have resolved upon war had she been
convinced that France was utterly opposed to such resolution, and was
prepared to show that the Empire was for peace by making war to preserve
it. The opinion was quite common, as matters became more and more
warlike with each succeeding day, that the course of Prussia had been
fixed upon and mapped out by Count Bismark and Napoleon III., and that
the former had received positive assurances that his country should not
undergo any reduction of territory should the fortune of war go against
her; in return for which he had agreed to such a "rectification of the
French frontier" as should be highly pleasing to the pride of Frenchmen,
and add greatly to the glory and the dignity of their Emperor. When news
came that Napoleon III., after peace had been resolved upon, had asked
for the cession of certain Rhenish territory,[45] the demand was
supposed to have been made in consequence of an understanding entered
into before the war by the courts of Paris and Berlin. There was nothing
unreasonable in this supposition; for Napoleon III. was so bent upon
extending the boundaries of France, and was so entirely master of the
situation, and his friendship was so necessary to Prussia, that it was
reasonable to suppose he had made a good bargain with that power.
Probably, when the secret history of the war shall be published, it will
be seen that an understanding did exist between Prussia and France, and
that Napoleon III., in August, asked for no more than it had been agreed
he should have, in June, or May, or even earlier. Why, then, did Prussia
give so firm but civil a negative in answer to his demand? and how was
it that he submitted with so much of meekness to her refusal, even
attributing his demand to the pressure of French public opinion, which
is no more strongly expressed in 1866 in favor of the acquisition of the
Rhine country, than it has been in almost any year since that country
was lost, more than half a century since? The answer is easy. Prussia,
no matter what her arrangement with France before the war, durst not
pass over to the latter a solitary league of German territory. Her
victories had so exalted German sentiment that she could not have her
own way in all things. She was, on one side, paralyzed by the unexpected
completeness of her military successes, which had brought very near all
Germany under her eagles; for all Germans saw at once that she had
obtained that commanding position from which the dictation of the unity
of their country was not only a possibility, but something that could be
accomplished without much difficulty. What Victor Emanuel II. and Count
Cavour had been to Italy, William I. and Count Bismark could be to
Austria, with this vast difference in favor of the Prussian sovereign
and statesman,--that their policy could not be dictated, nor their
action hampered, by a great foreign sovereign, who ruled a people
hostile to the unity of every European race but themselves. It was
impossible even to take into consideration any project that looked to
the dismemberment of Germany, at a time when even Southern Germans were
ready to unite with Prussia, because she was the champion of German
unity, and was in condition to make her championship effectual. Napoleon
III. saw how matters were, and, being a statesman, he did not hesitate,
at the risk of much loss of influence, to admit a fact the existence of
which could not be denied, and which operated with overwhelming force
against his interests both as an emperor and as a man. That he may have
only deferred a rupture with Prussia is probable enough, for it is not
to be assumed that he is ready to cede the first place in Europe to the
country most disliked by his subjects, and which refuses to cede
anything to him. But he must have time in which to rearm his infantry,
and to place in their hands a weapon that shall be to the needle-gun
what the needle-gun[46] is to the Austrian muzzle-loader. He has
postponed action; but that he has definitely abandoned the French claim
to the left bank of the Rhine it would be hazardous to assert. There are
reports that a conference of the chief European powers will be held
soon, and that by that body something will be done with respect to the
French claim that will prove satisfactory to all parties. It would be a
marvellous body, should it accomplish so miraculous a piece of business.
The matter is in fair way to disturb the peace of Europe before Sadowa
shall have become as old a battle as we now rate Solferino.

We do not assert that there was an understanding between France and
Prussia last spring, and that Prussia went to war because that
arrangement assured her against loss; but we think there is nothing
irrational in the popular belief in the existence of such an
understanding, and that nothing has occurred since the middle of June
that renders that belief absurd. The contrary belief makes a fool of
Napoleon III.,--a character which not even the Emperor's enemies have
attributed to him since he became a successful man.

War began on the 15th of June, the day after that on which that bungling
body, the Bund, under Austrian influence, had resort to overt measures
against Prussia, which had suffered for some time from its covert
measures. The Germanic Confederation ceased to exist on the 14th of
June, having completed its half-century, with a little time to spare.
The declarations of war that appeared on the 18th of June,--the
anniversary of Fehrbellin, Kolin, and Waterloo, all great and decisive
Prussian battles, and two of them Prussian victories, or victories which
Prussians aided in winning,--the declarations of war, we say, were mere
formalities, and as such they were regarded. Prussia's first open
operation was taken three days before, when she invaded Saxony,--a
country in which the Austrians, had they been wise, would have had at
least a hundred thousand men within twenty-four hours after the action
of the Diet. Prussia had been prepared for war for some weeks, perhaps
months, while we are assured that Austria's preparations were far from
complete; from which, supposing the statement correct, the inference is
drawn that she did not expect Prussia to push matters to extremity. It
is more likely that she fell into the usual error of all proud
egotists,--that of estimating the capacity of a foe by her own. We
cannot think so poorly of Austrian statesmen and generals as to conclude
that they did not see war was inevitable in the latter part of May,
which gave them three weeks to mass their troops so near the Saxon
frontier as would have enabled them to cross it in a few hours after the
Diet had given itself up to their direction, before the world. As the
Diet never durst have acted thus without Austria's direct sanction,
Austria must have known that war was at hand, and she should have
prepared for its coming. Probably she did make all the preparation she
thought necessary, she supposing that Prussia would be as slow as
herself, because believing that her best was the best thing in the
world. This error was the source of all her misfortunes. She applied to
the military art, in this age of railways and electric telegraphs,
principles and practices that were not even of the first merit in much
earlier and very different times. She was not aware that the world had
changed. Prussia was thoroughly aware of it, and acted accordingly. She
was all vivacity and alertness, and hence her success. In nineteen days,
counting from the morning of June 15th, she had accomplished that which
almost all men in other countries had deemed impossible. While
foreigners were speculating as to the number of days Benedek would
require to reach Berlin, and wondering whether he would proceed by the
Silesian or the Saxon route, the Prussians were routing him, taking
Prague, and marching swiftly toward Vienna. The contending armies first
"felt" one another on the 26th of June, in a small affair at Liebenau,
in which the Prussians were victorious. The next day there was another
"affair," of larger proportions, at Podal, with the same result; and two
more actions, one at Nachod and at Skalitz, in which Fortune was
consistent, adhering to the single-headed eagle, and the other at
Trautenau, which was of the nature of a drawn battle. On the 28th there
was another fight at Trautenau, the Prussians remaining masters of the
field; while the Austrians were beaten at other points, and fell back to
Gitschin, once the capital of Wallenstein's Duchy of Friedland, and
where the Friedlander was to receive ample vengeance just seven
generations after his assassination by contrivance and order of the head
of the German branch of the house of Austria, Ferdinand II. Could
Wallenstein have "revisited the glimpses of the moon" on the night of
the 28th of last June, he might have cast terror into the soul of
Francis Joseph, as the Bodach Glas did into that of Vich-Ian-Vohr, by
appearing to him, and bidding him beware of the morrow; for it was at
Gitschin, on the 29th of June, and not at Sadowa, on the 3d of July,
that the event of the war was decided. Had the battle then and there
fought been fortunate for the Austrians, the name of Sadowa would have
remained unknown to the world; for then the battle of the 3d of July
could not have been fought, or it would have had a different scene, and
most probably a different result. Austrian defeat at Gitschin made the
battle of Sadowa a necessity, and made it so under conditions highly
favorable to the Prussians. The ghost of Wallenstein might have returned
to its rest with entire complacency, and with the firm resolution to
trouble this sublunary world no more, had it witnessed the flight of the
Austrians through Gitschin. By a "curious coincidence," it happens that
a large number of the vanquished were Saxons, descendants, it may be, of
men who had acted with Gustavus Adolphus against Wallenstein in 1632.

The battle of Sadowa was fought on the 3d of July, the third anniversary
of the decisive day of our battle of Gettysburg. At a moderate estimate,
four hundred and twenty thousand men took part in it, of whom one
hundred and ninety-five thousand were Austrians and Saxons, and two
hundred and twenty-five thousand Prussians. This makes the action rank
almost with the battle of Leipzig, the greatest of all battles.[47] It
is satisfactory evidence of the real greatness of Prussian generalship,
that it had succeeded in massing much the larger force on the final
field, though at a distance from the Prussian frontier and far within
the enemy's territory; and also that while the invaders of Austria were
opposed by equal forces on the left and centre of the Austrian line,
they were in excessive strength on that line's right, the very point at
which their presence was most required. Yet further: these great masses
of men were all employed, and admirably handled, while almost a fourth
part of the Austrian army remained idle, or was not employed till the
issue of the battle had been decided. The Austrian position was strong,
or it would have been so in the hands of an able commander; but Benedek
was unequal to his work, and totally unfit to command a larger army than
even Napoleon I. ever led in any battle. There seldom has lived a
general capable of handling an army two hundred thousand strong. The
Prussians, to be sure, were stronger, and they were splendidly handled;
but it must be observed that they were divided into two armies, and that
those armies, though having a common object, operated apart. In this
respect, though in no other, Sadowa bears a resemblance to Waterloo, the
armies of the Crown Prince and of Prince Frederick Charles answering to
those of Blücher and Wellington. The Prussian force engaged far exceeded
that of all the armies that fought at Waterloo, and the Austrian army
exceeded them by some five or six thousand men. War has very rarely
been conducted on the scale that is known in 1866. Even the greatest of
the engagements in our civil contest seem to shrink to small proportions
when compared with what took place last summer in Bohemia. The armies of
Grant and Lee, in May, 1864, probably were not larger than the Prussian
army at Sadowa. At the same time, Austria had a great force in Venetia,
and large bodies of men in other parts of her empire, and some in the
territory of the Germanic Confederation; and the Prussians were carrying
on vigorous warfare in various parts of Germany.

After their grand victory, the Prussians pushed rapidly forward toward
Vienna; and names that are common in the history of Napoleon's Austrian
campaigns began to appear in the daily journals,--Olmütz, Brünn, Znaym,
Austerlitz, and others. Nothing occurred to stay their march, and they
were in the very act of winning another battle which would have cut the
Austrians off from Hungary, when an armistice was agreed upon. It was so
in 1809, when the officers had to separate the soldiers to announce the
armistice of Znaym. It came out soon after that the cessation of warlike
operations took place not a day too soon for the Austrians, whose army
was in a fearfully demoralized condition. Vienna would have been
occupied in a week by the Prussians, had they been disposed to push
matters to extremities, and that without a battle; or, if a battle had
been fought, the Austrian force must have been destroyed, or would have
been literally cut off from any safe line of retreat. Probably the house
of Austria would have been struck out of the list of ruling families,
had the Austrians not submitted to the invaders. Count Bismark is a man
who would have had no hesitation in reviving the Bohemian and Hungarian
monarchies, had further resistance been made to his will. The armistice
was quickly followed by negotiations, and those were completed on the
23d of August, exactly seventy days after the Diet, at the dictation of
Austria, had given up Prussia to punishment, to be inflicted by the
Austrian sword.

The terms of the treaty of peace are moderate; but it should be
understood that what Austria loses is very inadequately expressed by
these terms, and what Prussia gains not at all; and what Prussia gains
at the expense of Austria, important as it is, is less important than
what she has gained from France. From Austria she has taken the first
place in Germany; from France, the first place in Europe, which is the
same thing as the first place in Christendom, or the world,--meaning by
the world that portion of mankind which has power and influence and
leadership, because of its knowledge, culture, and wealth. The moral
blow falls with greater severity on France than on Austria. Austria had
no right whatever to the first place in Germany. There was something
monstrous, something highly offensive, in the Germanic primacy of an
empire made up of Magyars, Poles, Bohemians, Italians, Slavonians,
Croats, Illyrians, and other races, and not above a fourth of whose
inhabitants were Germans. Prussia had in June last twice as many Germans
as Austria, though her entire population was not much more than half as
large as that of her rival;[48] and when she turned Austria out of
Germany at the point of the needle-gun, she simply asserted her own
right to the leadership of Germany. But no one will say that there can
be anything offensive in a French primacy of Christendom. Objection may
be made to any primacy; but if primacy there must be, as mostly there
has been, France has the best claim to it of any country. England might
dispute the post with her, and England alone; for they are the two
nations of modern times to which the world is most indebted. But England
has, all but in direct terms, resigned all pretensions to it. Prussia,
therefore, by conquering for herself the first place in the estimation
of mankind, who always respect the longest and sharpest sword, unhorsed
France. Napoleon III. lost more at Sadowa than was lost by Francis
Joseph; and we cannot see how he will be able to recover his loss,
should Prussia succeed in her purpose to create a powerful Germanic
empire,--and all things point to her success. A new force would be
introduced into the European system, of which we can only say, that, if
its mere anticipation has been sufficient to curb France on the side of
the Rhine, its realization ought to be sufficient to prevent France from
extending her dominion in any direction--say over Belgium--which such
extension is inclined to take.

Thus has a great revolution been effected, and effected, too with
something of the speed of light. On the 14th of June, France, in the
estimation of the civilized world, was the first of nations, the head of
the Pentarchy. On the 4th of July, she had already been deposed, though
the change was not immediately recognizable. On the 14th of June,
Prussia's place, though respectable, was not to be named with that of
France; it was at the tail of the Pentarchy. On the 4th of July she had
conquered for herself the headship of that powerful brotherhood. It was
the prize of her sword, and it is on the sword that the French Emperor's
power mainly rests. He obtained his place by a free use of the military
arm, in December, 1851; he confirmed it by the use of the sword in the
Russian and Italian wars; and he purposed making a yet further use of
the weapon, had circumstances favored his plans, at the time he allowed
the Germano-Italian war to begin. Is he who took the sword to perish by
it? Is the Prussian sovereign that stronger man of whose coming
Croesus, that type of all prosperous sovereigns, was warned? Who shall
say? But as Napoleon's ascendency rested, the sword apart, upon opinion,
and not upon prescription, it is difficult to see how he can submit to a
surrender of that ascendency, and make way for one who but yesterday was
his inferior, and who, in all probability, was then ready to buy his aid
at a high price. The Emperor is old and sickly. His life seems to have
been in danger at the very time he was making his demand for an increase
of imperial territory. Years and infirmities may indispose him to enter
on a mighty war; but he thinks more of his dynasty than of himself, his
ambition being to found a reigning house. This must lead him to respect
French opinion, on his son's account; and opinion in France is anything
but friendly to Prussia. Almost all Frenchmen, from _Reds_ to
_Whites_,--Republicans, Imperialists, Orleanists, and Legitimists,--seem
to be of one mind on this point. They all agree that Prussian supremacy
is unendurable. They could have seen their country make way for England,
or Russia, or even Austria, without losing their temper altogether; but
for France to be displaced by Prussia is something that it is beyond
their philosophy to contemplate with patience. The very successes of the
Emperor tell against him under existing circumstances. He has raised
France so high, from a low condition, that a fall is unbearable to his
subjects. He has triumphed, in various ways, over nations that appeared
to be so much greater than Prussia, that to surrender the golden palm to
her is the very nadir of degradation. His loss of moral power is as
great at home as his loss of material power abroad. He has become
ridiculous, as having been outwitted by Germans, whom the French have
ever been disposed to look upon as the dullest of mankind. Ridicule may
not be so powerful an agency in France to-day as it was in former times,
but still it has there a sharp sting. The Emperor may be led into war by
the force of French opinion; and he would have all Germany to contend
against, with the exception of that portion of it which belongs to the
house of Austria. The Austrians would gladly renew the war, with France
for their ally. They would forgive Solferino, to obtain vengeance for
Sadowa. What occurred among the Austrians when they heard of the French
demand for a rectification of their frontier shows how readily they
would come into any project for the humiliation of Prussia that France
might form. They supposed the French demand would be pushed, and they
evinced the utmost willingness to support it,--a fact that proves how
little they care for Germany, and also how deeply they feel their own
fall. They would have renewed the war immediately, had France given the
word. But the Emperor did not give the word. He may have hesitated
because he preferred to have Italy as an ally, or to see her occupy the
position of a neutral; whereas, had he attacked Prussia before the
conclusion of the late war, she must have adhered to the Prussian
alliance, which would have led to the deduction of a large force from
the armies of Austria and France that he would desire to have
concentrated in Germany. Or he may have been fearful of even one of the
consequences of victory; for would it not be a source of danger to him
and his family were one of his marshals so to distinguish himself in a
great war as to become the first man in France? The general of a
legitimate sovereign can never aspire to his master's throne; but the
French throne is fair prize for any man who should be able to conquer
the conquerors of Sadowa. The Emperor's health would not permit him to
lead his army in person, as he did in the Italian campaign; and that one
of his lieutenants who should, by a repetition of the Jena business,
avenge Waterloo, and regain for France, with additions, the rank she
held five months ago, would probably prove a greater enemy to the house
of Bonaparte than he had been to the house of Hohenzollern. The part of
Hazael is always abhorred in advance as much as Hazael himself abhorred
it; but Benhadad is sure to perish, and Hazael reigns in his stead.

The nation by which this great change has been wrought in Europe--a
change as extraordinary in itself as it is wonderful in its modes, and
likely to lead to something far more important--is one of the most
respectable members of the European commonwealth, though standing
somewhat below the first rank, even while acting on terms of apparent
equality with the other great powers. The kingdom of Prussia is of
origin so comparatively recent, that there are those now living who can
remember others who were old enough to note its creation, in 1700. The
arrangements for the conversion of the electorate of Brandenburg into
the kingdom of Prussia were completed on the 16th of November, 1700, and
the coronation of Frederick I. took place on the 18th of January, 1701,
two hundred and eighty-four years less three months after his family's
connection with the country began; for it was on the 18th of April,
1417, that the Emperor Sigismund, last member of the Luxemburg family,
made Frederick, Burgrave of Nürnberg, Elector of Brandenburg,--the
investiture taking place in the marketplace of Constance. The
transaction was in the nature of a job, as Frederick was a relative of
the Emperor, to whom he had advanced money, besides rendering him
assistance in other ways. Frederick was of a very old family, and in
this respect, as in some others, the house destined to become so great
in the North bore a close resemblance to that other house destined to
reign in the South, that of Savoy, which became regal not long after the
elevation of descendants of the Burgrave of Nürnberg to royal rank. He
was a man adapted to the place he received; and the family has seldom
failed to produce able men and women in every generation, some of them
being of the highest intellectual force, while others have been
remarkable for eccentricities that at times bore considerable
resemblance to insanity. Yet there was not much in the history of the
new electoral house that promised its future greatness, for more than
two centuries.

It is surprising to look back over the history of Germany, and note how
differently matters have turned out, in respect to families and
countries, from what observers of old times would have predicted. When
Charles V. fled before Maurice of Saxony, he may have thought,
considering the great part Saxony had had in the Reformation, that from
that country danger might come to the house of Austria in yet greater
measure; but he would have smiled at the prophet who should have told
him not only that no such danger would come, but that Saxony would be
ruined because of its adherence to the house of Austria, when assailed
by a descendant of the then insignificant Elector of Brandenburg. Yet
the prophet would have been right, for Saxony suffered so much from her
connection with the Austrians in Frederick the Great's time that she
never recovered therefrom; and in the late contest she was lost before a
shot was fired, and her troops, after fighting valiantly in Bohemia,
shared the disasters of the power upon which she had relied for
protection. Bavaria was another German country that seemed more likely
to rise to greatness than Brandenburg; but, though her progress has been
respectable, it must be pronounced insignificant if compared with that
of Prussia. The house of Wittelsbach was great before that of
Hohenzollern had risen to general fame; but the latter has passed it, as
if Fortune had taken the Hohenzollerns under its special protection, and
we should not be in the least surprised were they to take all its
territory ere the twentieth century shall have fairly dawned upon the
world.

The first of the great Prussian rulers was the Elector Frederick
William, who reigned from 1640 to 1688, and who is known as the Great
Elector,--a title of which he was every way worthy, and not the less
that there was just a suspicion of the tyrant in his composition. He had
not a little of that "justness of insight, toughness of character, and
general strength of bridle-hand," which Mr. Carlyle attributes to
Rudolph of Hapsburg. He was a man of the times, and a man for the times.
He came to the throne just as the Thirty Years' War was well advanced in
its last decade, and he had a ruined country for his inheritance; but he
raised that country to a high place in Europe, and was connected with
many of the principal events of the age of Louis XIV. He freed Prussia
from her connection with Poland. He created that Prussian army which has
done such wonderful things in the greatest of wars in the last two
centuries. He it was who won the battle of Fehrbellin, June 18, 1675, at
the expense of the Swedes, who were still living on the mighty
reputation won under Gustavus Adolphus, almost half a century earlier,
and maintained by the splendid soldiers trained in his school. The calm
and philosophic Rankè warms into something like eloquence when summing
up the work of the Great Elector. "Frederick William," he says, "cannot
be placed in the same category with those few great men who have
discovered new conditions for the development of the human race; but he
may unhesitatingly be ranked with those famous princes who have saved
their countries in the hour of danger, and have succeeded in
re-establishing order,--with an Alfred, a Charles VII., a Gustavus Vasa.
He followed the path trodden by the German territorial princes of old;
but among them all there was not one who, finding his state reduced to
such a miserable condition, so successfully raised it to independence
and power. He instilled into his subjects a spirit of enterprise,--the
mainspring of a state. He took measures which secured to his country an
increase of power and prosperity. What the world most admired, and
indeed what he himself most valued, was the condition of his army. It
contained at the time of his death one hundred and seventy-five
companies of foot, and seventy-six of cavalry; the artillery had
recently been increased in proportion, and the Elector's attention had
been constantly directed to its improvement. The whole strength of the
army was about twenty-eight thousand men. There was nothing that he
recommended so earnestly to his successor as the preservation of this
instrument of power. By this it was that he had made room for himself
among his neighbors, and had won for the Protestant cause of North
Germany the respect that was its due."[49]

Nor did he neglect that naval arm which has been of so great service to
many countries. Prussia's desire to have a navy has raised many smiles,
and caused much laughter, in this century, as if it were something new;
whereas it is an ancient aspiration, and one which all Prussian
sovereigns and statesmen have experienced for two hundred years, though
not strongly. The Great Czar, who came upon the stage just after the
Great Elector left it, did not long more for a good sea-coast than that
Elector had longed for it. Frederick William could not effect so much as
Peter effected, but he did something toward the creation of a navy for
Prussia. His reluctance in parting with a portion of Pomerania was owing
to his commercial and maritime aspirations. "Of all the princes of the
house of Brandenburg," says Rankè, "he is the only one who ever showed a
strong predilection for maritime life and maritime power. It was the
dream of his youth that he would one day sail along shores obedient to
his will, all the way from Custrin, out by the mouths of the Oder,
across to the coast of Prussia. His sojourn in the Netherlands had
strengthened, though it had not inspired, his love of the sea. The best
proof how painful this cession was to the Elector is the fact that he
shortly afterward offered to the crown of Sweden, not alone the three
sees of Halberstadt, Minden, and Magdeburg, but a sum of two millions of
thalers in addition, for the possession of Pomerania." The same writer
says of the Great Elector elsewhere, that "his mind had a wide grasp; to
us it may seem almost too wide, when we call to mind that he brought the
coast of Guinea into direct communication with Brandenburg, and ventured
to compete with Spain on the ocean." When he died, the population of his
dominions amounted to one million five hundred thousand.

His successor was his son Frederick, who added to the territory of
Prussia, and who, as before stated, became king in November, 1700, a few
days after the extinction, in the person of Charles II., of the Spanish
branch of the house of Austria. One royal house had gone out, and
another came in. Prince Eugene of Savoy, the ablest man that ever served
the house of Austria, plainly told the German Emperor that his ministers
deserved the gallows for advising him to consent to the creation of the
new kingdom, and all subsequent German history seems to show that he was
right. But that house needed all the aid it could beg, buy, or borrow,
to press its claim to the Spanish crowns; and, thanks to the exertions
of the Great Elector, Brandenburg had an army, the aid of which was well
worth purchasing at what Leopold may have thought to be a nominal price,
after all. So well balanced were the parties to the war of the Spanish
Succession, at least in its earlier years, that the mere absence of the
Prussian contingent from the armies of the Grand Alliance might have
thrown victory into the French scale. What would have been the effect
had the army and the influence of Brandenburg been placed at the
disposal of Louis XIV.? What would have been the fate of the house of
Austria, had the Elector been actively employed on the French side,
like the Elector of Bavaria, in the campaign of Blenheim, instead of
being one of the stoutest supporters of the Austrians? Even Eugene
himself might never have won most of those victories which have made his
name immortal, had his policy prevailed at Vienna in 1700, and the
Emperor refused to convert the Elector of Brandenburg into King of
Prussia. At Blenheim, the Prussians behaved in the noblest manner, and
won the highest praise from Eugene, who commanded in that part of the
field where they were stationed; and he spoke particularly of their
"undaunted resolution" in withstanding the enemy's attacks, and of their
activity at a later period of the battle. It is curious to observe that
he notes the steadiness and strength of their fire,--a peculiarity that
has distinguished the Prussian infantry from the beginning of its
existence, and which, from the introduction of the iron ramrod into the
service, had much to do with the successes of Frederick the Great, and,
from the use of the needle-gun, quite as much with the successes of
Prince Frederick Charles and the Crown Prince. In the time of Frederick
I., the Prussian troops were employed in Germany and Italy, in France
and Flanders. They also served against the Turks. It may be said, that,
if the Great Elector created the Prussian army, it received the baptism
of fire in full from his son, Frederick I., the first Prussian king.

Frederick I. died in 1713. If it be true--as we think it is--that the
great enterprise of William of Orange for the deliverance of England
could not have been undertaken but for the aid he gave that prince,
Englishmen and Americans ought to hold his name in especial remembrance.
He was succeeded by his son Frederick William I., who is counted a brute
by most persons, but whom Mr. Carlyle would have us believe to have been
a man of remarkable worth. He had talents, and he increased the
territory of his kingdom. When he died, in 1740, he left to his son a
kingdom containing 2,500,000 souls, a treasury containing $6,000,000,
and an army more than thirty thousand strong, and which was the first
force in Europe because of its high state of discipline and of the
superiority of its infantry weapon. The introduction of the iron ramrod
was a greater improvement, relatively, in 1740, than was the
introduction of the needle-gun in the present generation. Nothing but
the use of that ramrod saved the Prussians from destruction in the first
of Frederick II.'s wars. That gave them superiority, which they well
knew how to keep. "The main thing," as Rankè observes, "was a regular
step and rapid firing; or, as the king once expressed it, 'Load quickly,
advance in close column, present well, take aim well,--all in profound
silence.'" The whole business of infantry in the field is summed up in
the royal sentence, though some may think that line would be a better
word than column; and the Prussian system did favor the linear rather
than the columnar arrangement of troops, as it "presented a wide front,
less exposed to the fire of the artillery, and more efficient from the
force of its musketry."

Frederick William I. died in 1740. His successor was Frederick II.,
commonly called the Great. His history has been so much discussed of
late years that it would be useless to mention its details. He raised
Prussia to the first rank in Europe. Russia was coming in as a European
power, and Spain was then as great as France or England, partly because
of her former greatness, but as much from the sagacity of her sovereign
and the talents of her statesmen. Louis XV. had lessened the weight of
France, and George III. had degraded England. The Austrian house had
suffered from its failure before Frederick. All things combined to make
of Prussia the most formidable of European nations during the last half
of Frederick's reign. When he died, in 1786, the Prussian population
amounted to six millions,--the increase being chiefly due to the
acquisition of Silesia, which was taken from Austria, and to
Frederick's share in the first partition of Poland. He left $50,000,000,
and his army contained 220,000 men.

Frederick William II., a weak sovereign, reigned till 1797. He took part
in the first coalition against revolutionary France, and in the second
and third partitions of Poland. Frederick William III. reigned from 1797
to 1840, during which time Prussia experienced every vicissitude of
fortune. The first war with imperial France, in 1806-7, led to the
reduction of her territory and population one half; and what was left of
country and people was most mercilessly treated by Napoleon I., who
should either have restored her altogether, or have annihilated her. But
the great Emperor was partial to half-measures,--a folly that had much
to do with his fall. The misery that Prussia then experienced was the
cause of her subsequent greatness; and if she has wrested European
supremacy from Napoleon III., she should thank Napoleon I. for enabling
her to accomplish so great a feat of arms. The Prussian government had
to undertake the task of reform, to save itself and the country from
perishing. The chief man in this great work was the celebrated Baron von
Stein, whose name is of infrequent mention in popular histories of the
Napoleonic age, but who had more to do with the overthrow of the Man of
Destiny than any other person. It is one of those strange facts which
are so constantly meeting us in history, that it was by Napoleon's
advice that Stein was employed by the Prussian king. "Take the Baron von
Stein," said the Emperor, when the king at Tilsit spoke of the misery of
his situation; "he is a man of sense." Eighteen months later, Napoleon
actually outlawed Stein, the decree of outlawry dating from Madrid. The
language of the decree was of the most insulting character. "One Stein"
(_le nommé Stein_), it was said, was endeavoring to create troubles in
Germany, and therefore he was denounced as an enemy of France and of the
Rhenish Confederacy. The property he held in French or confederate
territory was confiscated, and the troops of France and her allies were
ordered to arrest him, wherever he could be found. Had he been taken,
quite likely he would have been as summarily dealt with as Palm had
been.

Stein fled into Bohemia, where he resided three years, when Alexander I.
invited him to Russia, and employed him in the most important affairs.
He kept up Alexander's courage during the darkest days of 1812, and
advised, with success, against yielding to the French, though it is
probable the Czar might have had his own terms from Napoleon, after the
latter had reached Moscow. It is said that the American Minister in
Russia, the late Mr. J. Q. Adams, was not less energetic than Stein on
the same side. It may well be doubted if their advice was such as a
Russian sovereign should have followed, though it was excellent for
Germany and for all nations that feared Napoleon. If the American
Minister did what was attributed to him, he actually acted in behalf of
the very nation against which his own country had just declared war! The
war between the United States and England began at the same time that
active operations against Russia were entered upon by the French; and
England was the only powerful nation upon which Russia could rely for
assistance.

Stein had done his work before he was made to leave Prussia. He was the
creator of the Prussian people. His reforms would be pronounced agrarian
measures in England or America. An imitation of them in England might
not be amiss; but in America, where land is a drug, and where possession
of it does not give half the consideration that proceeds from the
ownership of "stocks" or funds, it would be as much out of place as a
mixture for blackening negroes, or a machine for converting New England
soil into rocks. "Stein's main idea," says Vehse, "was, 'the burgher
must become noble.' With this view, he tried to call forth a strong
feeling of nationality and a new spirit in the people. His first step in
introducing his new system of administration was the abolition of
vassalage, and the change of the titles of seignorial property. This was
done by the edict dated Memel, October 9, 1807, which did away with the
monopoly until then claimed by the nobles holding such estates, which
were now allowed to be acquired also by burghers and peasants. It
moreover abolished all the feudal burdens of tenure. In this great law,
Frederick William III. laid down the principle: 'After St. Martin's day,
1810, there will be throughout my dominions none but free people.' This
edict first created in Prussia a _free_ peasantry. Free burghers, on the
other hand, were created by the municipal law from Königsberg, November
19, 1808, which restored to the burgesses their ancient municipal rights
of freely electing their magistrates and deputies, and of
self-government within their own civic sphere.... Stein tried in every
way to secure to the burgher his independence, and to protect him
against the despotism of the men in office. With equal energy he tried
to develop the spirit of the people."[50] For five years most of the
Prussian ministers labored in the same spirit. A military force was
created, chiefly by the labors of Scharnhorst, and the limitation of the
Prussian army by Napoleon was in great part evaded. Everything was done
to create a people, and to have ready the moral and material means from
which to create an army, should circumstances arise under which Prussia
might think it safe for her to act. Hardenberg did not go so far as
Stein would have gone, but it is probable that he acted wisely; for very
strong measures might have brought Napoleon's hand upon him. As it was,
the Emperor could not complain of measures that breathed the very spirit
of the French Revolution, of which he was the impersonation and the
champion,--or claimed to be.

But all the labors of Stein, and those other Prussian patriots who acted
with him or followed in his footsteps, would have been of no avail, had
not Napoleon afforded them an opportunity to turn their labors to
account. They might have elevated the people, have accumulated money,
have massed munitions, and have drilled the entire male population to
the business and work of war, till they should have surpassed all that
is told of Roman discipline and efficiency; but all such exertions would
have been utterly thrown away had the French Emperor behaved like a
rational being, and not sought to illustrate his famous dogma, that the
impossible has no existence, by seeking to achieve impossibilities. At
the beginning of 1812, Napoleon was literally invincible. He was master
of all Continental Europe, from the Atlantic to the Niemen, and from
Cape North to Reggio. There was not a sovereign in that part of the
world, from the kings of Sweden and Denmark to the Emperor of Austria
and the Turkish Sultan, who did not wear crowns and wield sceptres only
because the sometime General Bonaparte was willing they should wear and
wield the emblems of imperial or royal power. He was at war only with
Great Britain, and Spain, Portugal, and Sicily; and Great Britain was
the sole enemy he was bound to respect. All the more enlightened
Spaniards were all but ready to acknowledge the rule of his brother
Joseph, and would have done so but for French failure in the Russian
war. England's army could have been driven from the Peninsula with ease,
had a third of the men who were worse than wasted in Russia been
directed thither in the early spring of 1812. The Bourbons of Sicily
hated their English protectors so bitterly, that they were ready to
unite with the French to get up a modern imitation of the Sicilian
Vespers at their expense. The war might soon have been confined to the
ocean, and there it would have been fought for France principally by
Americans, as the United States were soon to declare war against
England. Never before was man so strong as Napoleon on New-Year's day,
1812; and in less than four years he was living in lodgings, and bad
lodgings too, in St. Helena! What hope could the Prussians have, a month
before the march to Moscow was resolved upon? None that could encourage
them. Some of the more sanguine spirits, supported by general sentiment,
were still of opinion that something could be effected; but the larger
number of intelligent men were very despondent, and not a few of them
began to think of the world beyond the Atlantic, as English patriots had
thought almost two centuries earlier, when, that "blood and iron man,"
Wentworth (Strafford), was developing his system of _Thorough_ with a
precision and an energy that even Count Bismark has never surpassed. The
bolder Prussians, when their country had to choose between resistance to
Napoleon and an alliance with him against Russia, were for resistance,
and would have placed their country right across the Emperor's path, and
fought out the battle with him, and abided the consequences, which would
have been the annihilation of Prussia in a sixth part of the time that
Mr. Seward allotted for the duration of the Secession war. The Prussian
war party would have had the Russians advance into their country, and
thus have staked the issue on just such a contest as occurred in 1806-7.
Napoleon, it is at least believed, was desirous that Prussia should join
Russia, as that would have enabled him to defeat his enemies without
crossing the Russian frontier, and have afforded him an excuse for
destroying Prussia. To prevent so untimely a display of resistance to
French ascendency was the aim of a few Prussians, headed by the king
himself, who became very unpopular in consequence. Fortunately for
Prussia, they were successful, and the means employed deceived not only
the patriotic party, but even Napoleon, who was completely imposed upon
by the report of the Baron von dem Knesebeck against a war between
Russia and France. The story belongs to the romance of history; but it
is too long, because involving many facts, to be told here.

Prussia was prevented from "throwing herself into the arms of Russia,"
much to the disgust of Scharnhorst and his friends. She even assisted
Napoleon in his war against Alexander, and sent a contingent to the
Grand Army, which formed the tenth corps of that memorable force, and
was commanded by Marshal Macdonald. It consisted of twenty-six thousand
men, including one French infantry division,--the Prussians being
generally estimated at twenty thousand men. This corps did very little
during the campaign, and soon after the failure of the French it went
over to the Russians, taking the first step in that course which made
Prussia so formidable a member of the Grand Alliance of 1813-15. But
even so late as the close of May, 1813, Prussia was in danger of
annihilation, and would have been annihilated had not Napoleon proffered
an armistice, which was accepted,--the greatest blunder of his career,
according to some eminent critics, as well political as military.

The leading part which Prussia had in the Liberation War and in the
first overthrow of Napoleon caused her to be reconstructed by the
Congress of Vienna; and her part in the war of 1815 confirmed the
impression she had made on the world. Waterloo was as much a Prussian as
an English victory,--the loss of the Prussians in that action being
about as great as the purely English loss.[51] She became one of the
Five Powers which by common consent were rulers of Europe. Down to 1830
she had more influence than France, and from 1830 to the
re-establishment of the Napoleonic dynasty, she was France's equal; and
even after Napoleon III. had replaced France at the head of Europe,
Prussia was the only member of the Pentarchy which had not been
humiliated by his blows, or yet more by his assistance. England has
suffered from her connection with him,--a connection difficult on many
occasions to distinguish from inferiority and subserviency; and in war
the old superiority of the French armies to those of Russia and Austria
has been asserted in the Crimea and in Italy. Prussia alone has not
stooped before the avenger of the man whom she had so vindictive a part
in overthrowing, and whom her military chief purposed having slain on
the very spot where the Duc d'Enghien had been put to death by his
(Napoleon's) orders. Of all the enemies of Napoleon and France in 1815,
Prussia was the most malignant, or rather she was the only member of the
Alliance which exhibited malignity.[52] She would have had France
partitioned; and failed in her design only because openly opposed by
Russia and England, while Austria, fearing to offend German opinion,
secretly supported the Czar and Wellington. Blücher, an earnest man, was
never more in earnest than when he purposed to shoot Napoleon in the
ditch of Vincennes; and it required all Wellington's influence to
dissuade him from so barbarous a proceeding. Yet Napoleon III. has never
been able to avenge these injuries and insults,--to say nothing of
Waterloo, and of the massacre of the flying French in the night after
the battle, or of the shocking conduct of the Prussians in France in
1815; and the events of the current year would seem to favor, and that
strongly, the opinion of those persons who say that France never will be
able to obtain her long-thought-of revenge. Certainly, if _Prussia_ was
safe, Prussia with most of Germany to back her cannot be in any serious
danger of being forced to drink of that cup of humiliation which
Napoleon III. has commended to so many countries.

After the settlement of Europe, in 1815, Prussia did not show much of
that encroaching character which is attributed to her, but was one of
the most quiet of nations. This was in great measure due to the
character of the king. He was of the class of heavy men, and the first
part of his reign had been marked by the occurrence of troubles so
numerous and so great that his original dislike of change increased to
fanaticism. He was one of the framers of the Holy Alliance, which grew
out of the thorough fright which he and his friend the Czar felt during
the saddest days of 1813. Alexander told a Prussian clergyman, named
Egbert, in 1818, that, during one of their flights before
Napoleon,--probably on that doleful day when they had to retreat from
Dresden, amid wind and rain, and before the French reverse at Kulm had
put a good face on the affairs of the Alliance,--Frederick William III.
said to him: "Things cannot go on so! we are in the direction of the
east, and it is toward the west that we ought to march, that we must
march. We shall, God willing, arrive there. And if, as I trust, he
should bless our united efforts, we will proclaim in the face of Heaven
our conviction that to Him alone belongs the honor." Thereupon,
continued the Czar, "We promised, and exchanged a pressure of hands upon
it with sincerity." Both monarchs evidently thought they had succeeded
in bribing Heaven; for Alexander told his reverend hearer that great
victories soon came; "and," said he, "when we had arrived in Paris, we
had reached the end of our painful course. The king of Prussia reminded
me of the holy resolution of which he had entertained the first idea;
and Francis II., who had shared our views, our opinions, and our
tendencies, entered willingly into the association." Such was
Alexander's account of the origin of that famous league which so
perplexed and alarmed our fathers. It differs from the commonly received
belief as to its origin, which is, that it was the work of Alexander
himself, who was inspired by Madame de Krudener, who, having "played the
devil and written a novel,"--she was unfaithful to her marriage vow, and
wrote "Valerio,"--naturally became devout as old age approached. It
makes somewhat against the Czar's story, that the Holy Alliance was not
formed till the autumn of 1815, and that he and Frederick William
arrived at Paris in the spring of 1814; and that in the interval he and
Francis II. came very near going to war on the Polish question.
Alexander was crack-brained, and a mystic, and it is far more likely
that he should have originated the Holy Alliance than that the idea
should have proceeded from so wooden-headed a personage as the Prussian
king, who had about as much sentiment as a Memel log. Alexander was
always haunted by the thought that he had consented to the death of his
father,--that, as a Greek would have said, he was pursued by the Furies;
and he was constantly thinking of expiation, and seeking to propitiate
the Deity, and that by means not much different in spirit from those to
which savages have resort. There was much of that Tartar in him which,
according to Napoleon, you will always find when you scratch a Russian.

Whether Frederick William III. suggested the Holy Alliance may be
doubted; but there can be no doubt that he lived thoroughly up to its
spirit, which was the spirit of intense absolutism. He broke every
promise he had made to his people when he needed their aid to keep his
kingdom out of the grasp of Napoleon. He became the vindictive
persecutor of the men who had led his subjects in the war to rush to
arms, without counting the odds they had to encounter at first. He was a
despot of the old pattern, as far as a sovereign of the nineteenth
century could be one. It does not appear that he acted thus from love of
power for its own sake, to which so much of tyrannical action is due. In
most respects he was rather a favorable specimen of the despot. His
action was the consequence of circumstances, the effect of experience.
He had had two or three thorough frights, and twice he had been in
danger of losing his crown, and of seeing the extinction of that nation
which his ancestors had been at such pains to create. If exertions of
his could prevent the recurrence of such evils, they should not be
wanting. As Charles II., after the Restoration of 1660, had firmly
resolved on one thing, namely, that, come what would, he would not again
go upon his travels, so had Frederick William III., after the
restoration of his kingdom, firmly resolved that, happen what might, he
would have no more wars, and that, if he could, he would keep out of
politics. So he maintained peace, and kept down the politicians. Prussia
flourished marvellously during the last twenty-five years of his reign;
and, judging from results, his government could not have been a bad one.
Under it was created that people whose recent action has astonished the
world, and produced for it a new sensation. A comprehensive system of
education opened the paths to knowledge to every one; and a not less
comprehensive military system made every healthy man's services
available to the state. There never before took the field so highly
educated a force as that which has just reduced Count Bismark's policy
to practice,--not even in America. There may have been as intelligent
armies in the Union's service during our civil conflict as those which
obeyed Prince Frederick Charles and the Crown Prince of Prussia, but as
highly educated most certainly they were not.

When Friedrich von Raumer was in England, in 1835, he, at an English
dinner, gave this toast: "The King of Prussia, the greatest and best
reformer in Europe." That he was the "best reformer in Europe," we will
not insist upon,--but that he was the greatest reformer there, we have
no doubt whatever. That he was a reformer at heart, originally, no one
would pretend who knows his history. He was made one by stress of
circumstances. But having become a reformer, he did a great work, as
contemporary history shows. He would have been content to live, and
reign, and die, sovereign of just such a Prussia as he found in 1797;
but, in spite of himself, he was made to effect a mightier revolution
than even a French revolutionist of 1793 would have deemed it possible
to accomplish. His career is the liveliest illustration that we know of
the doctrine that men are the sport of circumstances.

Frederick William III. died in 1840. His son and successor, Frederick
William IV., was a man of considerable ability and a rare scholar; but
he was not up to his work, the more so that the age of revolutions
appeared again early in his reign. He might have made himself master of
all Germany in 1848, but had not the courage to act as a Prussian
sovereign should have acted. He was elected Emperor by the revolutionary
Diet at Frankfort, but refused the crown. A little later, under the
inspiration of General Radowitz, he took up such a position as we have
seen his successor fill so effectively. War with Austria seemed close at
hand, and the unity of Germany might have been brought about sixteen
years since had the Prussian monarch been equal to the crisis. As it
was, he "backed down," and Radowitz, who was a too-early Bismark, left
his place, and died at the close of 1853. The king lost his mind in
1857; and his brother William became Regent, and succeeded to the throne
in 1861, on the death of Frederick William IV.

The reign of William I. will be regarded as one of the most remarkable
in Prussian history. Though an old man when he took the crown, William
I. has advanced the greatness of Prussia even more than it was advanced
by Frederick II. His course with regard to the Danish Duchies has called
forth many indignant remarks; but it is no worse than that of most other
sovereigns, and stones cannot fairly be cast at him by many ruling
hands. Count Bismark has been the chief minister of Prussia under
William I., and to him must be attributed that policy which has carried
his country, _per saltum_, to the highest place among the nations. He
long since came to the conclusion that nothing could be done for
Germany, by Germany and in Germany, till Austria should be thrust out of
Germany. He was right; and he has labored to accomplish the dismissal of
Austria, with a perseverance and a persistency that it would be
difficult to parallel. He alone has done the deed. Had he died last May,
there would have been no war in Europe this year; for nothing less than
his redoubtable courage and iron will could have overcome the obstacles
that existed to the commencement of the conflict.

FOOTNOTES:

[45] Exactly what it was Napoleon III. asked of Prussia we never have
seen stated by any authority that we can quite trust. The London Times,
which is likely to be well informed on the subject, assumes, in its
issue of August 11th, that the Emperor asked of Prussia the restoration
of the French frontier of 1814,--meaning the French frontier as it was
fixed by the Treaty of Paris, on the 30th of May, immediately after the
fall of Napoleon I. If this is the correct interpretation of Napoleon's
demand, he asked for very little. The Treaty of Paris took from France
nearly all the conquests made by the Republic and the Empire, leaving
her only a few places on the side of Germany, a little territory near
Geneva, portions of Savoy, and the Venaissin. After the second conquest
of France, most of these remnants of her conquests were taken from her.
Napoleon III. has regained what was then lost of Savoy, and he seems to
have sought from Prussia the restoration of that which was lost on the
side of Germany, most of which was given to Bavaria and Belgium, and the
remainder to Prussia herself. What Prussia holds, he supposed she could
cede to France; and as to Bavaria, he may have argued that Prussia was
in such position with regard to that kingdom as to make her will law to
its government. But how could she get possession of what Belgium holds?
Since the failure of his attempt, the French Emperor has been at
peculiar pains to assure the King of the Belgians that he has no designs
on his territory; and therefore we must suppose he had none when he
propounded his demand to Prussia. It may be added, that the cession of
the Prussian portion of the spoil of 1815 had been a subject of
speculation, and of something like negotiation, long before war between
Prussia and Austria was supposed to be possible.

[46] There has been as much noise made over the needle-gun as by that
famous and fascinating slaughter weapon; yet it is by no means an arm of
tender years. It had been known thirty years when the recent war began,
and it had been amply tested in action seventeen years before it was
first directed against the Austrians, not to mention the free use that
had been made of it in the Danish war. Much that has been said of its
character and capabilities since last June was said in 1849, and can be
found in publications of that year. The world had forgotten it, and also
that Prussia could fight. Nicholas von Dreyse, inventor of the
needle-gun, is now living, at the age of seventy-eight. The thought of
the invention occurred to him the day after the battle of Jena, in 1806.
Some six or seven years since, we read, in an English work, an elaborate
argument to show that, in a great war, Prussia must be beaten, because
she had no experienced commanders!--like Benedek and Clam-Gallas, for
example.

[47] The entire force of the Allies at Leipzig is generally stated to
have been 290,000 men; that of the French at 175,000,--making a total of
465,000, or about 45,000 more than were present at Sadowa. So the excess
at Leipzig was not so very great. At Leipzig the Allies alone had more
guns than both armies had at Sadowa,--but what were the cannon of those
days compared to those of these times? The great force assembled in and
around Leipzig was taken from almost all Europe, as there were
Frenchmen, Germans, Russians, Hungarians, Bohemians, Italians, Poles,
Swedes, Dutchmen, and even Englishmen, present in the two armies;
whereas at Sadowa the armies were drawn only from Austria, Prussia, and
Saxony. The battle of Sadowa lasted only one day; that of Leipzig four
days, a large part of the Allied armies taking part only in the fighting
of the third and fourth days. The French lost 68,000 men at Leipzig, the
Allies, 42,640,--total, 110,640. But 30,000 of the French were
prisoners, reducing the number of killed and wounded to 80,640,--which
was even a good four days' work. Probably a third of these were killed
or mortally wounded, as artillery was freely used in the battle. War is
a great manufacturer of _pabulum Acheruntis_,--grave-meat, that is to
say.

[48] It is impossible to speak with precision of the number of the
population of Prussia. The highest number mentioned by a respectable
authority is 19,000,000; but that is given in "round numbers," and is
not meant to be taken literally. But if it be 19,000,000, but little
more than half as large as that of Austria as it was when the war began,
not much above a fourth as large as that of Russia, many millions below
that of the British Islands, a few million less than that of Italy as it
stood before the cession of Venetia by Austria, and a few millions more
than that of Spain. The populations of Prussia and Italy when the war
began were a little above 40,000,000. The populations of Austria and the
German states that sided with her may have been about 50,000,000; and
Austria had as much assistance from her German allies as Prussia had
from the Italians,--the Saxons helping her much, showing the highest
military qualities in the brief but bloody war. Had all the lesser
German states preserved a strict neutrality, so that the entire Prussian
force could have been directed against Austria, the Prussians would have
been before Vienna, and probably in that city, in ten days from the date
of Sadowa. Prussia brought out 730,000 men, or about one twenty-sixth
part of her entire population.

[49] Memoirs of the House of Brandenburg, and History of Prussia during
the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, Vol. I. pp. 91, 92.

[50] Stein was one of those eminent men who have acted as if they
thought coarseness bordering upon brutality an evidence of independence
of spirit and greatness of soul. He was uncivil to those beneath him,
not civil to those above him, and insulting to his equals. He addressed
the King of Prussia in language that no gentleman ever employs, and he
berated his underlings in a style that even President Johnson might
despair of equalling. He hated the Duke of Dalberg, on both public and
private accounts; and when the Duke was one of the French Ambassadors at
Vienna, in time of the Congress, he offered to call on the Baron. "Tell
him," said Stein, "that, if he visits me as French Ambassador, he shall
be well received; but if he comes as a private person, he shall be
kicked down stairs." Niebuhr, the historian, once told him that he
(Stein) hated a certain personage. "Hate him? No," said Stein; "but I
would spit in his face were I to meet him on the street." This readiness
to convert the human face into a spittoon shows that he was qualified to
represent a Southern district in our Congress; for what Stein said he
would do was done by Mr. Plummer of Mississippi, who spat in the face of
Mr. Slade of Vermont,--the American democrat, who probably never had
heard of his grandfather, getting a little beyond the German aristocrat,
who could trace his ancestors back through six or seven centuries. Thus
do extremes meet. In talents, in energy, in audacity, in arrogance, in
firmness of will, and in unbending devotion to one great and leading
purpose, Count von Bismark bears a strong resemblance to Baron von
Stein, upon whom he seems to have modelled himself,--while Austrian
ascendency in Germany was to him what French ascendency in that country
was to his prototype, only not so productive of furious hatred, because
the supremacy of Austria was offensive politically, and not personally
annoying, like that of France; but Bismark, though sufficiently
demonstrative in the expression of his sentiments, has never outraged
propriety to the extent that it was outraged by Stein. Stein died in
1831, having lived long enough to see the in French Revolution of 1830
that a portion of his work had been done in vain. His Prussian work will
endure forever, and be felt throughout the world.

[51] The Prussian loss in the battle of Waterloo was 6,998; the
_British_ loss, 6,935;--but this does not include the Germans, Dutch,
and Belgians who fell on the field or were put down among the missing.
Wellington's total loss was about 16,000. The number of Prussians
present in the battle was much more than twice the number of Britons.
The number of the latter was 23,991, with 78 guns; of the former,
51,944, with 104 guns. Almost 16,000 of the Prussians were engaged some
hours before the event of the battle was decided; almost 30,000 two
hours before that decision; and the remainder an hour before the Allied
victory was secured. It shows how seriously the French were damaged by
Prussian intervention, that Napoleon had to detach, from the army that
he had intended to employ against Wellington only, 27 battalions of
infantry (including 11 battalions of the Guard), 18 squadrons of
cavalry, and 66 guns, making a total of about 18,000 men, or about a
fourth part of his force and almost a third of his artillery. This
subtraction from the army that ought to have been used in fighting
Wellington would alone have suffered gravely to compromise the French;
and it is well known that Napoleon felt the want of men to send against
the English long before the conflict was over; and this want was the
consequence of the pressure of the Prussians on his right flank,
threatening to establish themselves in his rear. But this was not all
the aid derived by Wellington from the Prussian advance. It was the
arrival of a portion of Zieten's corps on the field of Waterloo that
enabled the British commander to withdraw from his left the
comparatively untouched cavalry brigades of Vivian and Vandeleur, and to
station them in or near the centre of his line, where they were of the
greatest use at the very "crisis" of the battle,--Vivian, in particular,
doing as much as was done by any one of Wellington's officers to secure
victory for his commander. The Prussians followed the flying French for
hours, and had the satisfaction of giving the final blow to Napoleonism
for that time. It has risen again.

[52] No one who is not familiar with the correspondence of the Allied
commanders in 1815 can form an adequate idea of the ferocity which then
characterized the Prussian officers. On the 27th of June General von
Gneisenau, writing for Blücher, declared that Napoleon must be delivered
over to the Prussians, "with a view to his execution." That, he argued,
was what eternal justice demanded, and what the Declaration of March
13th decided,--alluding to the Declaration against Napoleon published by
the Congress of Vienna, which, he said, and fairly enough too, put him
under outlawry by the Allied powers. Doing the Duke of Wellington the
justice to suppose he would be averse to hangman's work, Gneisenau, who
stood next to Blücher in the Prussian service as well as in Prussian
estimation, expressed his leader's readiness to free him from all
responsibility in the matter by taking possession of Napoleon's person
himself, and detailing the intended assassins from his own army.
Wellington was astonished at such language from gentlemen, and so
exerted himself that Blücher changed his mind; whereupon Gneisenau wrote
that it had been Blücher's "intention to execute [murder?] Bonaparte on
the spot where the Duc d'Enghien was shot; that out of deference,
however, to the Duke's wishes, he will abstain from this measure; but
that the Duke must take on himself the responsibility of its
non-enforcement." In another letter he wrote: "When the Duke of
Wellington declares himself against the execution of Bonaparte, he
thinks and acts in the matter as a Briton. Great Britain is under
weightier obligations to no mortal man than to this very villain; for,
by the occurrences whereof he is the author, her greatness, prosperity,
and wealth have attained their present elevation. The English are the
masters of the seas, and have no longer to fear any rivalry, either in
this dominion or the commerce of the world. It is quite otherwise with
us Prussians. We have been impoverished by him. Our nobility will never
be able to right itself again." There is much of the _perfide Albion_
nonsense in this. In a letter which Gneisenau, in 1817, wrote to Sir
Hudson Lowe, then Governor of St. Helena, he said: "Mille et mille fois
j'ai porté mes souvenirs dans cette vaste solitude de l'océan, et sur ce
rocher interessant sur lequel vous êtes le gardien du repos public de
l'Europe. De votre vigilance et de votre force de caractère dépend notre
salut; dès que vous vous relâchez de vos mesures de rigueur contre _le
plus rusé scélérat du monde_, dès que vous permettriez à vos subalternes
de lui accorder par une pitié mal entendue des faveurs, notre repos
serait compromis, et les honnêtes gens en Europe s'abandonneraient à
leurs anciennes inquiétudes." An amusing instance of his prejudice
occurs in another part of the same letter, where he says: "Le fameux
manuscrit de Ste. Hélène a fait une sensation scandaleuse et dangereuse
en Europe, surtout en France, où, quóiqu'il ait été supprimé, il a été
lu dans toutes les coteries de Paris, et où même les femmes, au lieu
nuits à le copier." Gneisenau was in this country in his youth,--one of
those Hessians who were bought by George III. to murder Americans who
would not submit to his crazy tyranny. That was an excellent school in
which to learn the creed of assassins; for there was not a Hessian in
the British service who was not as much a bravo as any ruffian in Italy
who ever sold his stiletto's service to some cowardly vengeance-seeker.
It ought, in justice, to be added, that Sir Walter Scott states that in
1816 "there existed a considerable party in Britain who were of opinion
that the British government would best have discharged their duty to
France and Europe by delivering up Napoleon to Louis XVIII.'s
government, to be treated as he himself had treated the Duc d'Enghien."
So that the Continent did not monopolize the assassins of that time.



THE SONG SPARROW.


    Can you hear the sparrow in the lane
      Singing above the graves? she said.
    He knows my gladness, he knows my pain,
      Though spring be over and summer be dead.

    His note hath a chime all cannot hear,
      And none can love him better than I;
    For he sings to me when the land is drear,
      And makes it cheerful even to die.

    'T is beautiful on this odorous morn,
      When grasses are waving in every wind,
    To know my bird is not forlorn,
      That summer to him is also kind;--

    But sweeter, when grasses no longer stir,
      And every lilac-leaf is shed,
    To know that my voiceful worshipper
      Is singing above my voiceless dead.



INVALIDISM.


One of the first tendencies of sickness is to centralization. Every
invalid at least begins by being pivotal in the household. But with the
earliest hint that the case is chronic, things recoil to their own
centres again; people begin to come and go in the gayest way; they laugh
and eat immensely, and fly through the halls asking if one couldn't take
a bit of stuffed veal. And while one still sinks lower, failing down to
the verge of the grave, it is only to hear of the most cherished friends
in another town leading the whirl with tableaux and private theatricals.
Finally is realized the dire _denouément_, that, though one lay with
breath flickering away, the daily grocer would come driving up without
any velvet on his wheels or any softness in his voice, and that the
whole routine of affairs is to proceed, whoever goes or stays. This
cold-heartedness it seems will kill one at any rate. Rather the universe
should sigh and be darkened. To pass unheeded is worse than to die. Just
now it is impossible to compass even the satirical mood of Pope, who
declared himself not at all uneasy that many men for whom he never had
any esteem were likely to enjoy the world after him. But before one has
time to die, the absent friends write such a kind, sorry letter, in
which they do not say anything about private theatricals, and, as Thad
Stevens said of that speech, one knows of course that it was all a hoax!
Then the people who eat stuffed veal repent themselves, and send in a
delicate broth or a bit of tenderloin, hovering softly in a sudden
regard, and at length a healthier thought is born. It is to arise with
desperate will, put a fresh rose in the bonnet and a delusive veil over
the face, creeping down to the street with what steadiness can be
summoned. There one meets friends, and is pretty well, with thanks, and
is congratulated. Affairs grow brilliant, but the veil never comes up;
underneath there is some one forty years old and an invalid. Having thus
moved against the enemy's works, it is best to retire upon what spirit
there is left. It is after this sally that, when the landlady hears a
hammering of a Sunday, she comes directly to the room of this robust
person, who is obliged to confess that, even if so inclined, she has not
strength enough to break the Sabbath.

But the anxiety of every one to show some friendliness to a sufferer is
only equalled by the usual inability. We all read of that Union soldier
in the hospital visited by an elderly woman bound to do something when
there was nothing to be done, and who finally succeeded in bathing the
patient's face, while he, poor fellow, still struggling in the folds of
the towel, was heard to exclaim, "That's the fourteenth time I've had my
face washed to-day!"

Far more unobtrusive is the benevolence which goes into one's kitchen,
sending thence to the sick-room those dainties which, after all, are so
much too good to be eaten. It seems to be taken for granted that sick
persons eat a great deal, and that most of them might share the
experiment of Matthews, who began the diary of an invalid and ended with
that of a gourmand. I fear that these kindly geniuses would sometimes
feel a twinge of chagrin at seeing their elaborate delicacies in process
of being devoured by the most rubicund people in the house. But it
matters not; it is the sending and getting that are the dainties. Amid
all these niceties, however, the office of nurse might certainly be made
a sinecure; and just at this point her labors are really quite arduous;
for any invalid blessed with many favoring friends soon would sink under
the care of crockery and baskets to be properly delivered, while to
attend to the accompanying napkins is little less than to preside over a
small laundry. And then, as every one tastefully sends her choicest
wares to enhance their contents, the invalid also finds that she is the
keeper of all the best dishes of the best families.

There is nothing like a well-fought resistance in the early stages of
invalidism. Keep up the will, and if need be the temper. There are times
when to grow heavenly is fatal,--when one is to let the soul run loose,
and to gather up the gritty determination of Sarah, Duchess of
Marlborough, who, when told that she must be blistered or die,
exclaimed, "I won't be blistered, and I won't die!" Indeed, it is often
necessary to reverse the decision of the doctor who gives one up, and
simply end by giving him up. The numbers are untold who have died solely
from being given up,--I do not mean of the doctors. Poor, timid mortals!
they only heard the words, and meekly folded their hands and went. On
the other side, there is no end to the people who have been given up all
through their lives, and who have utterly refused to depart. They have a
kind of useless toughness which prevents them from dying, without
endowing them to live. These animated relics often show no special
fitness for either world, and they are not even ornamental.

I have somewhere seen the invalid enjoined to talk as if well, but treat
himself as if ill. And to certain temperaments a little of this
diplomacy, or secretiveness, is often very important. Once an admitted
invalid, and the dikes are down. Then begin to pour in all sorts of
worthy, but alarming and indiscreet persons,--they who accost one in the
street declaring one is so changed, and doesn't look fit to be
out,--they who invidiously inquire if you take any solid food, as if one
walked the world on water-gruel,--they who come to try to make you
comfortable while you _do_ live. All these are very kind, but to a
sanguine person they are crushing.

We are all aware that there is no surer way to produce a given state of
mind or body, than to constantly address the victim as if he were in
that state. It is a familiar fact that a stout yeoman once went home
pale and discomfited from a little conspiracy of several wags remarking
how very ill he looked; and that another, who was blindfolded, having
water poured over his arm as if being bled, finally died from loss of
blood without losing a drop; and Sir Humphrey Davy mentions one wishing
to take nitrous oxide gas, to whom common atmospheric air was given,
with the result of syncope. And if the well can be thus wrought on, what
can be expected of the weak? This habit of depressing remark comes
possibly from the feeling that invalids like to magnify their woes,
ailments being regarded as their "sensation," or stock in trade. True,
there is now and then one made happier by hearing that he seems
exceedingly miserable; but it is more natural to brighten with pleasant
words, and a morning compliment of good looks will often set one up for
the day. Indeed, we fancy that most persons, knowing their disease, in
their own minds, prefer that it should chiefly rest there. To discuss
seems only to define it more sharply, and to be greatly condoled is only
debilitating. Montaigne, to avoid death-bed sympathies, desired to die
on horseback; while against the eternal repeating of these ills for
pity, he says that "the man who makes himself dead when living is likely
to be held as though alive when he is dying."

Likewise the friendliness which keeps reminding one of the fatal end
serves none. It is both impolitic and impolite; as if there were an
unsightly mole upon the face, and every visitor remarked, as he entered,
"Ah, I see you still have that ugly mole!" With all these comforters it
is finally better to do without their devotions than to be subjected to
their discouragements. How much Pope resented this rude style of
criticism may be seen from his tart exclamation, "They all say 't is
pity I am so sickly, and I think 't is pity they are so healthy."

Yet that incurable sufferer, Harriet Martineau, testifies that when a
friend said to her, with the face of an angel, "Why should we be bent
upon your being better, and make up a bright prospect for you? I see no
brightness in it; and the time seems past for expecting you ever to be
well,"--her spirits rose at once with the sturdy recognition of the
truth. And Dr. Henry, with the same directness, wrote to his friend,
"Come out to me next week; I have got something important to do,--I have
got to die."

This must surely be called the heroic treatment; but for those who are
not equal to such, it is good to have a physician of tact, who shall not
doom them regularly every day. Plato said that physicians were the only
men who might lie at pleasure, since our health depends upon the vanity
and falsity of their promises. And yet one is not usually deceived by
this flattery; but it is vastly more comfortable to hear pleasant things
instead of gloomy, and the sick would rather prefer a dance to a dirge.
Of this amiable sort must have been the attendant who caused Pope to
say, "Ah, my dear friend, I am dying every day of a hundred good
symptoms"; and still more charming the adviser chosen by Molière, who,
when asked by Louis XIV., himself a slave to medicine, what he did about
a doctor, said, "O sire, when I am ill, I send for him. He comes; we
have a chat and enjoy ourselves. He prescribes; I don't take it,--I am
cured."

Perhaps few are aware of the various heroisms of the chronic patient. It
must have been prophetic that the Mexicans of olden time thus saluted
their new-born babes: "Child, thou art come into the world to endure,
suffer, and say nothing." It is grand to be upborne by a spirit
unperturbed, although flesh and nerve may strike through the best soul
for a moment; even as the great and equable Longinus, on his way to
execution, is said to have turned pale and halted for an instant; while
we all know, that, after the Stuart rebellion, the rough old Duke
Balmoral, a lesser man, never faltered, but, with boisterous courage,
cried out for the fatal axe to be carried by his side.

We had been used to think Andrew Jackson an iron-built conqueror, who
never knew a pain, until Parton told of the violent cramp which would
seize him while marching at the head of his army, when he simply threw
himself over a bent sapling in the forest till the spasm subsided, and
marched on. The same endurance nerved him to the end. For many of his
last years not free for one hour from pain, he still sat at the White
House, never intermitting any duty, although the mere signing of his
name drew its witness of suffering from every pore. It is with sorrow,
too, that we have lately read that the beloved Florence Nightingale has
been held by disease, not only to her room, but to a single position in
it, for a whole year. And one of our own poets, even dearer to his
friends for the sainthood of suffering, still ever is pressing on with
tuneful courage. Hear him singing,

    "Who hath not learned in hours of faith
    The truth, to flesh and sense unknown,
    That Life is ever lord of Death,
    And Love can never lose its own?"

Named among the valiant, yet more sad than heroic, was poor Heine on his
"mattress-grave." Most pathetically did he lay himself down, this
"soldier in the war for the liberation of humanity." Of the last time
that Heine left the house before yielding to disease, he says: "With
difficulty I dragged myself to the Louvre, and almost sank down as I
entered the magnificent hall where the ever-blessed goddess of beauty,
our beloved Lady of Milo, stands on her pedestal. At her feet I lay
long, and wept so bitterly that a stone must have pitied me. The goddess
looked compassionately on me, but at the same time disconsolately, as if
she would say, 'Dost thou not see that I have no arms, and thus cannot
help thee?'"

Not less touching was the pathos of Tom Hood, in his long years of
consumption; but the tone was gayer than the gayest. See him write to a
friend: "My dear Johnny, aren't you glad to hear now that I've only been
ill and spitting blood three times since I left you, instead of being
very dead indeed?" To this he adds: "But wasn't I in luck, after
spitting blood and being bled, to catch the rheumatism in going down
stairs!"

One long struggle was his against prostration and over-work; but always
the same buoyant wit,--writing the cheeriest things with an ebbing life;
the hero fighting against fatal odds, but always under a light
mask,--and ridiculing himself most of all;--

    "I'm sick of gruel and the dietetics;
    I'm sick of pills and sicker of emetics;
    I'm sick of pulse's tardiness or quickness;
    I'm sick of blood, its thinness or its thickness;
    In short, within a word, I'm sick of sickness."

And others there be, not heroes, who yet have simulated heroism in their
blithe indifference to fate;--Lord Buckhurst, who is said to have
"stuttered more wit in dying than most people have in their best
health"; Wycherley, who took a young bride just before death, and was
"neither afraid of dying nor ashamed of marrying"; Chesterfield, who in
his last days, when going out for a London drive, used smilingly to say,
"I must go and rehearse my funeral"; Pope, who was the victim of
incessant disease, which yet never subdued his rhetoric; Scarron, a
paralytic and a monstrosity, the merriest man in France, for whom the
nation never gave any tears but those of laughter;--all these, down to
the easy-minded old Dr. Garth, who died simply because he was tired of
life,--"tired of having his shoes pulled on and off."

Strong persons go swinging securely up and down; they are the people of
affairs, their nerves are not shaken by anything less than cholera
reports; saving these, they should belong to the Great Unterrified of
the earth. To them it is hardly given to understand those minute
annoyances that beset nerves which are in an abnormal state, especially
when one is the prisoner of a single room. Then one is eternally busy
with the dust and small disorders around,--the film on the mirror, the
lint-drifts under the stove, the huge cobwebs flying from the corners,
the knickknacks awry on the mantel-piece; then one finds the wall-paper
is not hung true, and gazes at flaws in the ceiling till they grow into
dancing-jacks, and hears the doors that slam, like the shock of a
cannon. These are torments so minute that there seems no virtue even in
bearing them. Ah! to mount to execution for an idea,--that were glorious
and sustaining; but to endure the daily burden of these petty
tortures,--one never hears the music play then.

Among the articles to be desired of science is a false hand, or a
spectral arm, that shall reach miraculously about,--not a fruit-picker
or a carpet-sweeper, but something working with the fineness of an
elephant's trunk,--thus to end the discomfort of those orange-seeds
spilled on the far side of the room, while, lying inactive, one reaches,
reaches, with a patient power which, if transformed into the practical,
would push an army through Austria.

Another thing that the invalid has to endure is from the thoughtlessness
of visitors. How often, when summoned from the sick-room for any
purpose, do they briskly remark, in Tom Thumb style, "I'll be back in a
very few minutes!" Hence one lies awake by force, keeping several
errands to be despatched on the return, changing variously all the
little plans for the next hour or two, and waits. My experience
generally is that they have not come back yet.

But the commonest experience is when life itself seems to hang on the
arrival of the doctor. Indeed, it is safe to say that never have lovers
been so waited for as the doctor. Wasn't that his carriage at the door?
Medicine is out! new symptoms appear! it is only an hour to bedtime!
and, oh! will the doctor come, do you think? One listens more intently;
but now there are no carriages. There are express-wagons, late
ice-carts, out-of-town stages, or here and there a light rolling buggy,
that seems running on to the end of the world. There are but few
foot-passengers either, and they all go by without halting, and there is
no indication in the steps of any man of them that he would be the
doctor if he could. Thus one wears through the night uncomforted, yet
one does not usually die. I have also seen the doctors sitting in their
offices expectant, and probably quite as much distressed that everyone
went by without stopping. So the balances are kept.

The foregoing grievances are often put among the foolish humors of
invalids, but they are quite reasonable compared with many of the droll
fancies on record. Take the instance of the elderly man who had been
dying suddenly for twenty years; whose last moments would probably
amount to a calendar month, and his farewell words to an octavo volume.
His physician he pronounced a clever man, but added, pitifully, "I only
wish he would agree to my going suddenly; I should not die a bit sooner
for his giving me over." It is evident the physician had not the
shrewdest insight, or he would have granted this heady maniac his way.
"Ah!" would exclaim the constantly departing patient, "all one's
nourishment goes for nothing if once sudden death has got insidiously
into the system!" More famous were Johnson with his inevitable dried
orange-peel, and Byron with his salts. Goethe, too, after renouncing his
Lotte, coquetted with the idea of death, every night placing a very
handsome dagger by his bed and making sundry attempts to push the point
a couple of inches into his breast. Not being able to do this
comfortably, he concluded to live. Years after, when he sat assured on
his grand poet throne, he must have smiled at it, as with Karl August he
"talked of lovely things that conquer death." And still more refined and
genuine was the vapor of the imaginative young girl who died of love for
the Apollo Belvedere.

Yet it is but fair to mention that the laugh is not all on this side. It
is an historical fact that the public has its medical freaks, without
being called an invalid, and that whole nations "go daft" on the
shallowest impositions. At one time the English were made to believe
that all diseases were caused by the contraction of one small muscle of
the body; at another, Parliament itself helped make up the five thousand
pounds given by the aristocracy to one Joanna Stephens for an omnipotent
powder, decoction, and pills, composed chiefly of egg-shells and
snail-shells; at another time every one drank snail-water for
everything, or to prevent it, and then tar-water became the rage. In
Paris the Royal Academy once procured the prohibition of the sale of
antimony, on penalty of death, and in a year or two prescribed it as the
great panacea. Pliny reports that the Arcadians cured all manner of ills
with the milk of a cow (one would like to see them manage the bilious
colic).

Mesmer, who was luminous for a while, did not fail to dupe the people.
When asked why he ordered bathing in river instead of spring water, he
said, "Because it is warmed by the sun."

"True, yet not so much but it has to be warmed still more."

Not posed in the least, Mesmer replied, "The reason why the water which
is exposed to the rays of the sun is superior to all other water is
because it is magnetized. I myself magnetized the sun some twenty years
ago!"

Yet the name of Mesmer has founded a system, while that of Dumoulin,
who, with simple wisdom, observed, on dying, that he left behind him two
great physicians, Regimen and River-water, has gained but a scanty fame.

Says Boswell, "At least be well if you are not ill"; but the dear public
is always ill. In our own country, with an apparently healthy pulse, it
has drank the worth of a marble palace in sarsaparilla, and has built a
hotel out of Brandreth's pills. It has fairly reeled on Schiedam
Schnapps; and even the infant has his little popularities, having passed
from catnip and caraway to Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup. There is never
a time when the public will not declare upon any well-advertised remedy
its belief in the motto of the German doctors, "We do cure everything
but death."

It is often interesting to note the various phases which invalidism
takes on. Sometimes one seems folded in a dense dream,--has gone away
almost beyond one's own pity, and has not been heard from for months. It
is to be hoped that friends who hunt "the greyhound and turtle-dove"
will meet the missing, and duly report. Meantime one resides in a
mummified state,--a dim thinkingness that may be discovered when another
coming in says with vigor the thing one had long thought without quite
knowing it; in this demi-semi-consciousness it had never pecked through
the shell. This looks very imbecile, and is charitably treated to be
only called invalid.

Is it mere helplessness that one lies so remote from all but surface
sensation, day after day gazing at the address of letters that come,
with a passive wonder of how soon she is to vacate her name? Also a
friend calls to say that to-morrow he travels afar. It seems then that
he will be too much missed, and the parting has its share of unutterable
longing. But by the morrow it is not the one left who is sorry. The new
sun shines on an earth miles off from yesterday. The night has given
many windings more in the folds of this resigned mummy, that now lies
securely as an insect in a leaf. Given the beloved hand, and all things
may go as they will.

    "Our hands in one, we will not shrink
      From life's severest due;
    Our hands in one, we will not blink
      The terrible and true."

And sometimes one bounds to the other side of sensation,--has a terrible
rubbed-the-wrong-wayedness, and is as much alive as Mimosa herself. This
is often on those easterly days which all well-regulated invalids
shudder at, when the very marrow congeals and the nerves are
sharp-whetted. Then, Prometheus-like, one "gnaws the heart with
meditation"; then, too, always fall out various domestic disasters, and
it is not easy to see why the curtain-string should be tied in a hard
knot that must be cut at night, or why the servants can't be thorough,
deft-handed, and immaculate. One has indigestion, scowls fiercely, tries
to swallow large lumps of inamiability, and fears she is not sublime.

It is a saying of Jean Paul, that "the most painful part of corporeal
pain is the uncorporeal, namely, our impatience and disappointment that
it continues." Whether this be true or not, what with the worry and
constant pressure, these physical disabilities often appear to sink into
the deepest centre of the being. Hence, if one have had a cough for a
very long time, it would seem that the soul must keep on coughing in the
next world. If so, this gives a subtile sense to the despatches of
departed spiritualists, who telegraph back in a few weeks that their
pain is _nearly_ gone,--as if the soul were not immediately rid of the
bad habits of the body.

But most demoralized in æsthetic sense must be that invalid who does not
constantly look to the splendid robustness of health. Sickness has been
termed an early old age; far worse, it is often a tossing nightmare in
which the noble ideal of fairer days is only recalled with reproachful
pain. Towards this vision of vigor the victim seems to move and move,
but never draw near. Well might Heine weep, even before the stricken
Lady of Milo. An old proverb says, that "the gods have health in
essence, sickness only in intelligence." Blessed are the gods! One can
quite understand the reckless exulting of some wild character, who,
baffled with this miserable mendicancy everywhere, at length discovered
the idea that God was not an invalid. He was probably too much excited
to perfect his rhyme, and so tore out these ragged lines:--

      "Iterate, iterate,
    Snatch it from the hells,
    Circulate and meditate
      That God is well.

      "Get the singers to sing it,
    Put it in the mouths of bells,
    Pay the ringers to ring it,
      That God is well."

Therefore make a valiant stand against that ugly thing, disease. By all
Nature's remedies, hasten to be out of it. Fight it off as long as
possible, defy it when you can, and refuse "to hang up your hat on the
everlasting peg." Be reinforced in all honorable ways. If not too ill,
read the dailies; know the last measure of Congress, the price of gold,
and the news by the foreign steamer. Disabuse the world for once of its
traditional invalid, who sits mewed up in blankets, and never goes where
other people go, because it might hurt him. Be out among the activities;
don't let the world get ahead, but keep along with the life of things.
Then, if invalidism is to be accepted, meet it bravely and serenely as
may be; and if death, then approach it loftily, for no one dies with his
work undone, and no just-minded person can wish to survive his service.
None should aspire to say, with the antiquated Chesterfield, "Tyrawley
and I have been dead these two years, but we don't choose to have it
known."

But happy they on whom the deep blight has not fallen, and who day by
day restore themselves to the grand perfection of manly and womanly
estate; happy again to "feel one's self alive" and

    "Lord of the senses five";

happy again to "excel in animation and relish of existence"; happy to
have gathered so much strength and hope, that, when begins the melody of
the morning birds, again shall the joy of the new dawn, with all the
possible adventure and enterprise of the coming day, thrill through the
heart.



GRIFFITH GAUNT; OR, JEALOUSY.


CHAPTER XLII.

"Be seated, mistress, if you please," said Mrs. Gaunt, with icy
civility, "and let me know to what I owe this extraordinary visit."

"I thank you, dame," said Mercy, "for indeed I am sore fatigued." She
sat quietly down. "Why I have come to you? It was to serve you, and to
keep my word with George Neville."

"Will you be kind enough to explain?" said Mrs. Gaunt, in a freezing
tone, and with a look of her calm gray eye to match.

Mercy felt chilled, and was too frank to disguise it. "Alas!" said she,
softly, "'t is hard to be received so, and me come all the way from
Lancashire, with a heart like lead, to do my duty, God willing."

The tears stood in her eyes, and her mellow voice was sweet and patient.

The gentle remonstrance was not quite without effect. Mrs. Gaunt colored
a little; she said, stiffly: "Excuse me if I seem discourteous, but you
and I ought not to be in one room a moment. You do not see this,
apparently. But at least I have a right to insist that such an interview
shall be very brief, and to the purpose. Oblige me, then, by telling me
in plain terms why you have come hither."

"Madam, to be your witness at the trial."

"_You_ to be _my_ witness?"

"Why not? If I can clear you? What, would you rather be condemned for
murder, than let me show them you are innocent? Alas! how you hate me!"

"Hate you, child? of course I hate you. We are both of us flesh and
blood, and hate one another. And one of us is honest enough, and uncivil
enough, to say so."

"Speak for yourself, dame," replied Mercy, quietly, "for I hate you not;
and I thank God for it. To hate is to be miserable. I'd liever be hated
than to hate."

Mrs. Gaunt looked at her. "Your words are goodly and wise," said she;
"your face is honest, and your eyes are like a very dove's. But, for all
that, you hate me quietly, with all your heart. Human nature is human
nature."

"'T is so. But grace is grace." She was silent a moment, then resumed:
"I'll not deny I did hate you for a time, when first I learned the man I
had married had a wife, and you were she. We that be women are too
unjust to each other, and too indulgent to a man. But I have worn out my
hate. I wrestled in prayer, and the God of Love, he did quench my most
unreasonable hate. For 'twas the man betrayed me; _you_ never wronged
me, nor I you. But you are right, madam; 't is true that nature without
grace is black as pitch. The Devil, he was busy at my ear, and whispered
me, 'If the fools in Cumberland hang her, what fault o' thine? Thou wilt
be his lawful wife, and thy poor, innocent child will be a child of
shame no more.' But, by God's grace, I did defy him. And I do defy him."
She rose swiftly from her chair, and her dove's eyes gleamed with
celestial light. "Get thee behind me, Satan. I tell thee the hangman
shall never have her innocent body, nor thou my soul."

The movement was so unexpected, the words and the look so simply noble,
that Mrs. Gaunt rose too, and gazed upon her visitor with astonishment
and respect; yet still with a dash of doubt.

She thought to herself, "If this creature is not sincere, what a
mistress of deceit she must be."

But Mercy Vint soon returned to her quiet self. She sat down, and said,
gravely, and for the first time a little coldly, as one who had deserved
well, and been received ill: "Mistress Gaunt, you are accused of
murdering your husband. 'T is false; for two days ago I saw him alive."

"What do you say?" cried Mrs. Gaunt, trembling all over.

"Be brave, madam. You have borne great trouble: do not give way under
joy. He who has wronged us both--he who wedded you under his own name of
Griffith Gaunt, and me under the false name of Thomas Leicester--is no
more dead than we are; I saw him two days ago, and spoke to him, and
persuaded him to come to Carlisle town, and do you justice."

Mrs. Gaunt fell on her knees. "He is alive; he is alive. Thank God! O,
thank God! He is alive; and God bless the tongue that tells me so. God
bless you eternally, Mercy Vint."

The tears of joy streamed down her face, and then Mercy's flowed too.
She uttered a little pathetic cry of joy. "Ah," she sobbed, "the bit of
comfort I needed so has come to my heavy heart. _She_ has blessed me."

But she said this very softly, and Mrs. Gaunt was in a rapture, and did
not hear her.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Is it a dream? My husband alive? and you the one to come and tell me
so? How unjust I have been to you. Forgive me. Why does he not come
himself?"

Mercy colored at this question, and hesitated.

"Well, dame," said she, "for one thing, he has been on the fuddle for
the last two months."

"On the fuddle?"

"Ay; he owns he has never been sober a whole day. And that takes the
heart out of a man, as well as the brains. And then he has got it into
his head that you will never forgive him, and that he shall be cast in
prison if he shows his face in Cumberland."

"Why in Cumberland more than in Lancashire?" asked Mrs. Gaunt, biting
her lip.

Mercy blushed faintly. She replied with some delicacy, but did not
altogether mince the matter.

"He knows I shall never punish him for what he has done to me."

"Why not? I begin to think he has wronged you almost as much as he has
me."

"Worse, madam; worse. He has robbed me of my good name. You are still
his lawful wife, and none can point the finger at you. But look at me. I
was an honest girl, respected by all the parish. What has he made of me?
The man that lay a dying in my house, and I saved his life, and so my
heart did warm to him,--he blasphemed God's altar, to deceive and betray
me; and here I am, a poor forlorn creature, neither maid, wife, nor
widow; with a child on my arms that I do nothing but cry over. Ay, my
poor innocent, I left thee down below, because I was ashamed she should
see thee; ah me! ah me!" She lifted up her voice, and wept.

Mrs. Gaunt looked at her wistfully, and, like Mercy before her, had a
bitter struggle with human nature,--a struggle so sharp that, in the
midst of it, she burst out crying with great violence; but, with that
burst, her great soul conquered.

She darted out of the room, leaving Mercy astonished at her abrupt
departure.

Mercy was patiently drying her eyes, when the door opened, and judge her
surprise when she saw Mrs. Gaunt glide into the room with her little boy
asleep in her arms, and an expression upon her face more sublime than
anything Mercy Vint had ever yet seen on earth. She kissed the babe
softly, and, becoming infantine as well as angelic by this contact, sat
herself down in a moment on the floor with him, and held out her hand to
Mercy. "There," said she, "come, sit beside us, and see how I hate
him,--no more than you do; sweet innocent."

They looked him all over, discussed his every feature learnedly, kissed
his limbs and extremities after the manner of their sex, and,
comprehending at last that to have been both of them wronged by one man
was a bond of sympathy, not hate, the two wives of Griffith Gaunt laid
his child across their two laps, and wept over him together.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mercy Vint took herself to task. "I am but a selfish woman," said she,
"to talk or think of anything but that I came here for." She then
proceeded to show Mrs. Gaunt by what means she proposed to secure her
acquittal, without getting Griffith Gaunt into trouble.

Mrs. Gaunt listened with keen and grateful attention, until she came to
that part; then she interrupted her eagerly. "Don't spare him for me. In
your place I'd trounce the villain finely."

"Ay," said Mercy, "and then forgive him; but I am different. I shall
never forgive him; but I am a poor hand at punishing and revenging. I
always was. My name is Mercy, you know. To tell the truth, I was to have
been called Prudence, after my good aunt; but she said, nay; she had
lived to hear Greed, and Selfishness, and a heap of faults, named
Prudence. 'Call the child something that means what it does mean, and
not after me,' quoth she. So with me hearing 'Mercy, Mercy,' called out
after me so many years, I do think the quality hath somehow got under my
skin; for I cannot abide to see folk smart, let alone to strike the
blow. What, shall I take the place of God, and punish the evil-doers,
because 't is me they wrong? Nay, dame, I will never punish him, though
he hath wronged me cruelly. All I shall do is to think very ill of him,
and shun him, and tear his memory out of my heart. You look at me: do
you think I cannot? You don't know me; I am very resolute when I see
clear. Of course I loved him,--loved him dearly. He was like a husband
to me, and a kind one. But the moment I knew how basely he had deceived
us both, my heart began to turn against the man, and now 't is ice to
him. Heaven knows what I am made of; for, believe me, I'd liever ten
times be beside you than beside him. My heart it lay like a lump of lead
till I heard your story, and found I could do you a good turn,--you that
he had wronged, as well as me. I read your beautiful eyes; but nay, fear
me not; I'm not the woman to pine for the fruit that is my neighbor's.
All I ask for on earth is a few kind words and looks from you. You are
gentle, and I am simple; but we are both one flesh and blood, and your
lovely wet eyes do prove it this moment. Dame Gaunt--Kate--I ne'er was
ten miles from home afore, and I am come all this weary way to serve
thee. O, give me the one thing that can do me good in this world,--the
one thing I pine for,--a little of _your_ love."

The words were scarce out of her lips, when Mrs. Gaunt caught her
impetuously round the neck with both hands, and laid her on that erring
but noble heart of hers, and kissed her eagerly.

They kissed one another again and again, and wept over one another.

And now Mrs. Gaunt, who did nothing by halves, could not make enough of
Mercy Vint. She ordered supper, and ate with her, to make her eat. Mrs.
Menteith offered Mercy a bed; but Mrs. Gaunt said she must lie with her,
she and her child.

"What," said she, "think you I'll let you out of my sight? Alas! who
knows when you and I shall ever be together again?"

"I know," said Mercy, thoughtfully. "In this world, never."

They slept in one bed, and held each other by the hand all night, and
talked to one another, and in the morning knew each the other's story,
and each the other's mind and character, better than their oldest
acquaintances knew either the one or the other.


CHAPTER XLIII.

The trial began again; and the court was crowded to suffocation. All
eyes were bent on the prisoner. She rose, calm and quiet, and begged
leave to say a few words to the court.

Mr. Whitworth objected to that. She had concluded her address yesterday,
and called a witness.

_Prisoner._ But I have not examined a witness yet.

_Judge._ You come somewhat out of time, madam; but, if you will be
brief, we will hear you.

_Prisoner._ I thank you, my lord. It was only to withdraw an error. The
cry for help that was heard by the side of Hernshaw Mere, I said,
yesterday, that cry was uttered by Thomas Leicester. Well, I find I was
mistaken: the cry for help was uttered by my husband,--by that Griffith
Gaunt I am accused of assassinating.

This extraordinary admission caused a great sensation in court. The
judge looked very grave and sad; and Sergeant Wiltshire, who came into
court just then, whispered his junior, "She has put the rope round her
own neck. The jury would never have believed our witness."

_Prisoner._ I will only add, that a person came into the town last
night, who knows a great deal more about this mysterious business than I
do. I purpose, therefore, to alter the plan of my defence; and to save
your time, my lord, who have dealt so courteously with me, I shall call
but a single witness.

Ere the astonishment caused by this sudden collapse of the defence was
in any degree abated, she called "Mercy Vint."

There was the usual stir and struggle; and then the calm, self-possessed
face and figure of a comely young woman confronted the court. She was
sworn; and examined by the prisoner after this fashion.

"Where do you live?"

"At the 'Packhorse,' near Allerton, in Lancashire."

_Prisoner._ Do you know Mr. Griffith Gaunt?

_Mercy._ Madam, I do.

_Prisoner._ Was he at your place in October last?

_Mercy._ Yes, madam, on the thirteenth of October. On that day he left
for Cumberland.

_Prisoner._ On foot, or on horseback?

_Mercy._ On horseback.

_Prisoner._ With boots on, or shoes?

_Mercy._ He had a pair of new boots on.

_Prisoner._ Do you know Thomas Leicester?

_Mercy._ A pedler called at our house on the eleventh of October, and he
said his name was Thomas Leicester.

_Prisoner._ How was he shod?

_Mercy._ In hobnailed shoes.

_Prisoner._ Which way went he on leaving you?

_Mercy._ Madam, he went northwards; I know no more for certain.

_Prisoner._ When did you see Mr. Gaunt last?

_Mercy._ Four days ago.

_Judge._ What is that? You saw him alive four days ago?

_Mercy._ Ay, my lord; the last Wednesday that ever was.

At this the people burst out into a loud, agitated murmur, and their
heads went to and fro all the time. In vain the crier cried and
threatened. The noise rose and surged, and took its course. It went down
gradually, as amazement gave way to curiosity; and then there was a
remarkable silence; and then the silvery voice of the prisoner, and the
mellow tones of the witness, appeared to penetrate the very walls of the
building, each syllable of those two beautiful speakers was heard so
distinctly.

_Prisoner._ Be so good as to tell the court what passed on Wednesday
last between Griffith Gaunt and you, relative to this charge of murder.

_Mercy._ I let him know one George Neville had come from Cumberland in
search of him, and had told me you lay in Carlisle jail charged with his
murder. I did urge him to ride at once to Carlisle, and show himself;
but he refused. He made light of the matter. Then I told him not so; the
circumstances looked ugly, and your life was in peril. Then he said,
nay, 'twas in no peril; for if you were to be found guilty, then he
would show himself on the instant. Then I told him he was not worthy the
name of a man, and if he would not go, I would. "Go you, by all means,"
said he, "and I'll give you a writing that will clear her. Jack
Houseman will be there, that knows my hand; and so does the sheriff, and
half the grand jury at the least."

_Prisoner._ Have you that writing?

_Mercy._ To be sure I have. Here 't is.

_Prisoner._ Be pleased to read it.

_Judge._ Stay a minute. Shall you prove it to be his handwriting?

_Prisoner._ Ay, my lord, by as many as you please.

_Judge._ Then let that stand over for the present. Let me see it.

It was handed up to him; and he showed it to the sheriff, who said he
thought it was Griffith Gaunt's writing.

The paper was then read out to the jury. It ran as follows:--

     "Know all men, that I, Griffith Gaunt, Esq., of Bolton Hall
     and Hernshaw Castle, in the county of Cumberland, am alive
     and well; and the matter which has so puzzled the good folk
     in Cumberland befell as follows:--I left Hernshaw Castle in
     the dead of night upon the fifteenth of October. Why, is no
     man's business but mine. I found the stable locked; so I
     left my horse, and went on foot. I crossed Hernshaw Mere by
     the bridge, and had got about a hundred yards, as I suppose,
     on the way, when I heard some one fall with a great splash
     into the mere, and soon after cry dolefully for help. I,
     that am no swimmer, ran instantly to the north side to a
     clump of trees, where a boat used always to be kept. But the
     boat was not there. Then I cried lustily for help, and, as
     no one came, I fired my pistol and cried murder! For I had
     heard men will come sooner to that cry than to any other.
     But in truth I was almost out of my wits, that a
     fellow-creature should perish miserably so near me. Whilst I
     ran wildly to and fro, some came out of the Castle bearing
     torches. By this time I was at the bridge, but saw no signs
     of the drowning man; yet the night was clear. Then I knew
     that his fate was sealed; and, for reasons of my own, not
     choosing to be seen by those who were coming to his aid, I
     hastened from the place. My happiness being gone, and my
     conscience smiting me sore, and not knowing whither to turn,
     I took to drink, and fell into bad ways, and lived like a
     brute, and not a man, for six weeks or more; so that I never
     knew of the good fortune that had fallen on me when least I
     deserved it: I mean by old Mr. Gaunt of Coggleswade making
     of me his heir. But one day at Kendal I saw Mercy Vint's
     advertisement; and I went to her, and learned that my wife
     lay in Carlisle jail for my supposed murder. But I say that
     she is innocent, and nowise to blame in this matter: for I
     deserved every hard word she ever gave me; and as for
     killing, she is a spirited woman with her tongue, but hath
     not the heart to kill a fly. She is what she always
     was,--the pearl of womankind; a virtuous, innocent, and
     noble lady. I have lost the treasure of her love by my
     fault, not hers; but at least I have a right to defend her
     life and honor. Whoever molests her after this, out of
     pretended regard for me, is a liar, and a fool, and no
     friend of mine, but my enemy, and I his--to the death.

    "GRIFFITH GAUNT."

It was a day of surprises. This tribute from the murdered man to his
assassin was one of them. People looked in one another's faces
open-eyed.

The prisoner looked in the judge's, and acted on what she saw there.
"That is my defence," said she, quietly, and sat down.

If a show of hands had been called at that moment, she would have been
acquitted by acclamation.

But Mr. Whitworth was a zealous young barrister, burning for
distinction. He stuck to his case, and cross-examined Mercy Vint with
severity; indeed, with asperity.

_Whitworth._ What are you to receive for this evidence?

_Mercy._ Anan.

_Whitworth._ O, you know what I mean. Are you not to be paid for
telling us this romance?

_Mercy._ Nay, sir, I ask naught for telling the truth.

_Whitworth._ You were in the prisoner's company yesterday?

_Mercy._ Yes, sir, I visited her in the jail last night.

_Whitworth._ And there concerted this ingenious defence?

_Mercy._ Well, sir, for that matter, I told her that her man was alive,
and I did offer to be her witness.

_Whitworth._ For naught?

_Mercy._ For no money or reward, if 't is that you mean. Why, 't is a
joy beyond money to clear an innocent body, and save her life; and that
satisfaction is mine this day.

_Whitworth_ (sarcastically). These are very fine sentiments for a person
in your condition. Confess that Mrs. Gaunt primed you with all that.

_Mercy._ Nay, sir, I left home in that mind; else I had not come at all.
Bethink you; 't is a long journey for one in my way of life; and this
dear child on my arm all the way.

Mrs. Gaunt sat boiling with indignation. But Mercy's good temper and
meekness parried the attack that time. Mr. Whitworth changed his line.

_Whitworth._ You ask the jury to believe that Griffith Gaunt, Esquire, a
gentleman, and a man of spirit and honor, is alive, yet skulks and sends
you hither, when by showing his face in this court he could clear his
wife without a single word spoken?

_Mercy._ Yes, sir; I do hope to be believed, for I speak the naked
truth. But, with due respect to you, Mr. Gaunt did not send me hither
against my will. I could not bide in Lancashire, and let an innocent
woman be murdered in Cumberland.

_Whitworth._ Murdered, quotha. That is a good jest. I'd have you to know
we punish murders here, not do them.

_Mercy._ I am glad to hear that, sir, on the lady's account.

_Whitworth._ Come, come. You pretend you discovered this Griffith Gaunt
alive, by means of an advertisement. If so, produce the advertisement.

Mercy Vint colored, and cast a swift, uneasy glance at Mrs. Gaunt.

Rapid as it was, the keen eye of the counsel caught it.

"Nay, do not look to the culprit for orders," said he. "Produce it, or
confess the truth. Come, you never advertised for him."

"Sir, I did advertise for him."

"Then produce the advertisement."

"Sir, I will not," said Mercy, calmly.

"Then I shall move the court to commit you."

"For what offence, if you please?"

"For perjury and contempt of court."

"I am guiltless of either, God knows. But I will not show the
advertisement."

_Judge._ This is very extraordinary. Perhaps you have it not about you.

_Mercy._ My lord, the truth is I have it in my bosom. But, if I show it,
it will not make this matter one whit clearer, and 't will open the
wounds of two poor women. 'T is not for myself. But, O my lord, look at
her. Hath she not gone through grief enow?

The appeal was made with a quiet, touching earnestness, that affected
every hearer. But the judge had a duty to perform. "Witness," said he,
"you mean well; but indeed you do the prisoner an injury by withholding
this paper. Be good enough to produce it at once."

_Prisoner_ (with a deep sigh). Obey my lord.

_Mercy_ (with a patient sigh). There, sir, may the Lord forgive you the
useless mischief you are doing.

_Whitworth._ I am doing my duty, young woman. And yours is to tell the
whole truth, and not a part only.

_Mercy_ (acquiescing). That is true, sir.

_Whitworth._ Why, what is this? 'T is not Mr. Gaunt you advertise for in
these papers. 'T is Thomas Leicester.

_Judge._ What is that? I don't understand.

_Whitworth._ Nor I neither.

_Judge._ Let me see the papers. 'T is Thomas Leicester sure enough.

_Whitworth._ And you mean to swear that Griffith Gaunt answered an
advertisement inviting Thomas Leicester?

_Mercy._ I do. Thomas Leicester was the name he went by in our part.

_Whitworth._ What? what? You are jesting.

_Mercy._ Is this a place or a time for jesting? I say he called himself
Thomas Leicester.

Here the business was interrupted again by a multitudinous murmur of
excited voices. Everybody was whispering astonishment to his neighbor.
And the whisper of a great crowd has the effect of a loud murmur.

_Whitworth._ O, he called himself Thomas Leicester, did he? Then what
makes you think he is Griffith Gaunt?

_Mercy._ Well, sir, the pedler, whose real name was Thomas Leicester,
came to our house one day, and saw his picture, and knew it; and said
something to a neighbor that raised my suspicions. When _he_ came home,
I took this shirt out of a drawer; 't was the shirt he wore when he
first came to us. 'T is marked "G. G." (The shirt was examined.) Said I,
"For God's sake speak the truth: what does G. G. stand for?" Then he
told me his real name was Griffith Gaunt, and he had a wife in
Cumberland. "Go back to her," said I, "and ask her to forgive you." Then
he rode north, and I never saw him again till last Wednesday.

_Whitworth_ (satirically). You seem to have been mighty intimate with
this Thomas Leicester, whom you now call Griffith Gaunt. May I ask what
was, or is, the nature of your connection with him?

Mercy was silent.

_Whitworth._ I must press for a reply, that we may know what value to
attach to your most extraordinary evidence. Were you his wife,--or his
mistress?

_Mercy._ Indeed, I hardly know; but not his mistress, or I should not be
here.

_Whitworth._ You don't know whether you were married to the man or not?

_Mercy._ I do not say so. But--

She hesitated, and cast a piteous look at Mrs. Gaunt, who sat boiling
with indignation.

At this look, the prisoner, who had long contained herself with
difficulty, rose, with scarlet cheeks and flashing eyes, in defence of
her witness, and flung her prudence to the wind.

"Fie, sir," she cried. "The woman you insult is as pure as your own
mother, or mine. She deserves the pity, the respect, the veneration of
all good men. Know, my lord, that my miserable husband deceived and
married her under the false name he had taken. She has the
marriage-certificate in her bosom. Pray make her show it, whether she
will or not. My lord, this Mercy Vint is more an angel than a woman. I
am her rival, after a manner. Yet, out of the goodness and greatness of
her noble heart, she came all that way to save me from an unjust death.
And is such a woman to be insulted? I blush for the hired advocate who
cannot see his superior in an incorruptible witness, a creature all
truth, piety, purity, unselfishness, and goodness. Yes, sir, you began
by insinuating that she was as venal as yourself; for you are one that
can be bought by the first-comer; and now you would cast a slur on her
chastity. For shame! for shame! This is one of those rare women that
adorn our whole sex, and embellish human nature; and, so long as you
have the privilege of exchanging words with her, I shall stand here on
the watch, to see that you treat her with due respect: ay, sir, with
reverence; for I have measured you both, and she is as much your
superior as she is mine."

This amazing burst was delivered with such prodigious fire and rapidity
that nobody was self-possessed enough to stop it in time. It was like a
furious gust of words sweeping over the court.

Mr. Whitworth, pale with anger, merely said: "Madam, the good taste of
these remarks I leave the court to decide upon. But you cannot be
allowed to give evidence in your own defence."

"No, but in hers I will," said Mrs. Gaunt. "No power shall hinder me."

_Judge_ (coldly). Had you not better go on cross-examining the witness?

_Whitworth._ Let me see your marriage-certificate, if you have one?

It was handed to him.

Well, now how do you know that this Thomas Leicester was Griffith Gaunt?

_Judge._ Why, she has told you he confessed it to her.

_Mercy._ Yes, my lord; and, besides, he wrote me two letters signed
Thomas Leicester. Here they are, and I desire they may be compared with
the paper he wrote last Wednesday, and signed Griffith Gaunt. And more
than that, whilst we lived together as man and wife, one Hamilton, a
travelling painter, took our portraits, his and mine. I have brought his
with me. Let his friends and neighbors look on this portrait, and say
whose likeness it is. What I say and swear is, that on Wednesday last I
saw and spoke with that Thomas Leicester, or Griffith Gaunt, whose
likeness I now show you.

With that she lifted the portrait up, and showed it all the court.

Instantly there was a roar of recognition.

It was one of those hard daubs that are nevertheless so monstrously like
the originals.

_Judge_ (to Mr. Whitworth). Young gentleman, we are all greatly obliged
to you. You have made the prisoner's case. There was but one weak point
in it; I mean the prolonged absence of Griffith Gaunt. You have now
accounted for that. You have forced a very truthful witness to depose
that this Gaunt is himself a criminal, and is hiding from fear of the
law. The case for the crown is a mere tissue of conjectures, on which no
jury could safely convict, even if there was no defence at all. Under
other circumstances I might decline to receive evidence at second-hand
that Griffith Gaunt is alive. But here such evidence is sufficient, for
it lies on the crown to prove the man dead; but you have only proved
that he was alive on the fifteenth of October, and that since then
somebody is dead with shoes on. This somebody appears on the balance of
proof to be Thomas Leicester, the pedler; and he has never been heard of
since, and Griffith Gaunt has. Then I say you cannot carry the case
further. You have not a leg to stand on. What say you, Brother
Wiltshire?

_Wiltshire._ My lord, I think there is no case against the prisoner, and
am thankful to your lordship for relieving me of a very unpleasant task.

The question of guilty or not guilty was then put to the jury, who
instantly brought the prisoner in not guilty.

_Judge._ Catharine Gaunt, you leave this court without a stain, and with
our sincere respect and sympathy. I much regret the fear and pain you
have been put to: you have been terribly punished for a hasty word.
Profit now by this bitter lesson; and may Heaven enable you to add a
well-governed spirit to your many virtues and graces.

He half rose from his seat, and bowed courteously to her. She courtesied
reverently, and retired.

He then said a few words to Mercy Vint.

"Young woman, I have no words to praise you as you deserve. You have
shown us the beauty of the female character, and, let me add, the beauty
of the Christian religion. You have come a long way to clear the
innocent. I hope you will not stop there; but also punish the guilty
person, on whom we have wasted so much pity."

"Me, my lord?" said Mercy. "I would not harm a hair of his head for as
many guineas as there be hairs in mine."

"Child," said my lord, "thou art too good for this world; but go thy
ways, and God bless thee."

Thus abruptly ended a trial that, at first, had looked so formidable for
the accused.

The judge now retired for some refreshment, and while he was gone Sir
George Neville dashed up to the Town Hall, four in hand, and rushed in
by the magistrate's door, with a pedler's pack, which he had discovered
in the mere, a few yards from the spot where the mutilated body was
found.

He learned the prisoner was already acquitted. He left the pack with the
sheriff, and begged him to show it to the judge; and went in search of
Mrs. Gaunt.

He found her in the jailer's house. She and Mercy Vint were seated hand
in hand.

He started at first sight of the latter. Then there was a universal
shaking of hands, and glistening of eyes. And, when this was over, Mrs.
Gaunt turned to him, and said, piteously: "She will go back to
Lancashire to-morrow; nothing I can say will turn her."

"No, dame," said Mercy, quietly; "Cumberland is no place for me. My work
is done here. Our paths in this world do lie apart. George Neville,
persuade her to go home at once, and not trouble about me."

"Indeed, madam," said Sir George, "she speaks wisely: she always does.
My carriage is at the door, and the people waiting by thousands in the
street to welcome your deliverance."

Mrs. Gaunt drew herself up with fiery and bitter disdain.

"Are they so?" said she, grimly. "Then I'll balk them. I'll steal away
in the dead of night. No, miserable populace, that howls and hisses with
the strong against the weak, you shall have no part in my triumph; 't is
sacred to my friends. You honored me with your hootings, you shall not
disgrace me with your acclamations. Here I stay till Mercy Vint, my
guardian angel, leaves me forever."

She then requested Sir George to order his horses back to the inn, and
the coachman was to hold himself in readiness to start when the whole
town should be asleep.

Meantime, a courier was despatched to Hernshaw Castle, to prepare for
Mrs. Gaunt's reception.

Mrs. Menteith made a bed up for Mercy Vint, and at midnight, when the
coast was clear, came the parting.

It was a sad one.

Even Mercy, who had great self-command, could not then restrain her
tears.

To apply the sweet and touching words of Scripture, "They sorrowed most
of all for this, that they should see each other's face no more."

Sir George accompanied Mrs. Gaunt to Hernshaw.

She drew back into her corner of the carriage, and was very silent and
_distraite_.

After one or two attempts at conversation, he judged it wisest, and even
most polite, to respect her mood.

At last she burst out, "I cannot bear it, I cannot bear it."

"Why, what is amiss?" inquired Sir George.

"What is amiss? Why, 't is all amiss. 'T is so heartless, so ungrateful,
to let that poor angel go home to Lancashire all alone, now she has
served my turn. Sir George, do not think I undervalue your company: but
if you would but take her home, instead of taking me! Poor thing, she is
brave; but when the excitement of her good action is over, and she goes
back the weary road all alone, what desolation it will be! My heart
bleeds for her. I know I am an unconscionable woman, to ask such a
thing; but then you are a true chevalier; you always were, and you saw
her merit directly. O, do pray leave me to slip unnoticed into Hernshaw
Castle, and do you accompany my benefactress to her humble home. Will
you, dear Sir George? 'T would be such a load off my heart."

To this appeal, uttered with trembling lip and moist eyes, Sir George
replied in character. He declined to desert Mrs. Gaunt, until he had
seen her safe home; but, that done, he would ride back to Carlisle and
escort Mercy home.

Mrs. Gaunt sighed, and said she was abusing his friendship, and should
kill him with fatigue, and he was a good creature. "If anything could
make me easy, this would," said she. "You know how to talk to a woman,
and comfort her. I wish I was a man: I'd cure her of Griffith before we
reached the 'Packhorse.' And, now I think of it, you are a very happy
man to travel eighty miles with an angel, a dove-eyed angel."

"I am a happy man to have an opportunity of complying with your desires,
madam," was the demure reply. "'T is not often you do me the honor to
lay your orders on me."

After this, nothing of any moment passed until they reached Hernshaw
Castle; and then, as they drove up to the door, and saw the hall blazing
with lights, Mrs. Gaunt laid her hand softly on Sir George, and
whispered, "You were right. I thank you for not leaving me."

The servants were all in the hall, to receive their mistress; and
amongst them were those who had given honest but unfavorable testimony
at the trial, being called by the crown. These had consulted together,
and, after many pros and cons, had decided that they had better not
follow their natural impulse, and hide from her face, since that might
be a fresh offence. Accordingly, these witnesses, dressed in their best,
stood with the others in the hall, and made their obeisances, quaking
inwardly.

Mrs. Gaunt entered the hall leaning on Sir George's arm. She scarcely
bestowed a look upon any of her servants, but made them one sweeping
courtesy in return, and passed on; only Sir George felt her taper
fingers just nip his arm.

She made him partake of some supper, and then this chevalier des dames
rode home, snatched a few hours' sleep, put on the yeoman's suit in
which he had first visited the "Packhorse," and, arriving at Carlisle,
engaged the whole inside of the coach; for his orders were to console,
and he did not see his way clear to do that with two or three strangers
listening to every word.


CHAPTER XLIV.

A great change was observable in Mrs. Gaunt after this fiery and
chastening ordeal. In a short time she had been taught many lessons. She
had learned that the law will not allow even a woman to say anything and
everything with impunity. She had been in a court of justice, and seen
how gravely, soberly, and fairly an accusation is sifted there; and, if
false, annihilated; which, elsewhere, it never is. Member of a sex that
could never have invented a court of justice, she had found something to
revere and bless in that other sex to which her erring husband belonged.
Finally, she had encountered in Mercy Vint a woman whom she recognized
at once as her moral superior. The contact of that pure and
well-governed spirit told wonderfully upon her. She began to watch her
tongue and to bridle her high spirit. She became slower to give offence,
and slower to take it. She took herself to task, and made some little
excuses even for Griffith. She was resolved to retire from the world
altogether; but, meantime, she bowed her head to the lessons of
adversity. Her features, always lovely, but somewhat too haughty, were
now softened and embellished beyond description by a mingled expression
of grief, humility, and resignation.

She never mentioned her husband; but it is not to be supposed she never
thought of him. She waited the course of events in dignified and patient
silence.

As for Griffith Gaunt, he was in the hands of two lawyers, Atkins and
Houseman. He waited on the first, and made a friend of him. "I am at
your service," said he; "but not if I am to be indicted for bigamy, and
burned in the hand."

"These fears are idle," said Atkins. "Mercy Vint declared in open court
she will not proceed against you."

"Ay, but there's my wife."

"She will keep quiet; I have Houseman's word for it."

"Ay, but there's the Attorney-General."

"O, he will not move, unless he is driven. We must use a little
influence. Mr. Houseman is of my mind, and he has the ear of the
county."

To be brief, it was represented in high quarters that to indict Mr.
Gaunt would only open Mrs. Gaunt's wounds afresh, and do no good; and so
Houseman found means to muzzle the Attorney-General.

Just three weeks after the trial, Griffith Gaunt, Esq. reappeared
publicly. The place of his reappearance was Coggleswade. He came and set
about finishing his new mansion with feverish rapidity. He engaged an
army of carpenters and painters, and spent thousands of pounds on the
decorating and furnishing of the mansion, and laying out the grounds.

This was duly reported to Mrs. Gaunt, who said--not a word.

But at last one day came a letter to Mrs. Gaunt, in Griffith's
well-known handwriting.

With all her acquired self-possession, her hand trembled as she broke
open the seal.

It contained but these words:--

     "MADAM,--I do not ask you to forgive me. For, if you had
     done what I have, I could never forgive you. But for the
     sake of Rose, and to stop their tongues, I do hope you will
     do me the honor to live under this my roof. I dare not face
     Hernshaw Castle. Your own apartments here are now ready for
     you. The place is large. Upon my honor I will not trouble
     you; but show myself always, as now,

    "Your penitent and very humble
    servant,

    "GRIFFITH GAUNT."

The messenger was to wait for her reply.

This letter disturbed Mrs. Gaunt's sorrowful tranquillity at once. She
was much agitated, and so undecided that she sent the messenger away,
and told him to call next day.

Then she sent off to Father Francis to beg his advice.

But her courier returned, late at night, to say Father Francis was away
from home.

Then she took Rose, and said to her, "My darling, papa wants us to go to
his new house, and leave dear old Hernshaw; I know not what to say about
that. What do _you_ say?"

"Tell him to come to us," said Rose, dictatorially. "Only," (lowering
her little voice very suddenly,) "if he is naughty and won't, why then
we had better go to him; for he amuses me."

"As you please," said Mrs. Gaunt; and sent her husband this reply:--

     "SIR,--Rose and I are agreed to defer to your judgment and
     obey your wishes. Be pleased to let me know what day you
     will require us; and I must trouble you to send a carriage.

    "I am, sir,

    "Your faithful wife and humble servant,

    "CATHARINE GAUNT."

At the appointed day, a carriage and four came wheeling up to the door.
The vehicle was gorgeously emblazoned, and the servants in rich
liveries; all which finery glittering in the sun, and the glossy coats
of the horses, did mightily please Mistress Rose. She stood on the stone
steps, and clapped her hands with delight. Her mother just sighed, and
said, "Ay, 'tis in pomp and show we must seek our happiness now."

She leaned back in the carriage, and closed her eyes, yet not so close
but now and then a tear would steal out, as she thought of the past.

They drove up under an avenue to a noble mansion, and landed at the foot
of some marble steps, low and narrow, but of vast breadth.

As they mounted these, a hall door, through which the carriage could
have passed, was flung open, and discovered the servants all drawn up to
do honor to their mistress.

She entered the hall, leading Rose by the hand; the servants bowed and
courtesied down to the ground.

She received this homage with dignified courtesy, and her eye stole
round to see if the master of the house was coming to receive her.

The library door was opened hastily, and out came to meet her--Father
Francis.

"Welcome, madam, a thousand times welcome to your new home," said he, in
a stentorian voice, with a double infusion of geniality. "I claim the
honor of showing you your part of the house, though 'tis all yours for
that matter." And he led the way.

Now this cheerful stentorian voice was just a little shaky for once, and
his eyes were moist.

Mrs. Gaunt noticed, but said nothing before the people. She smiled
graciously, and accompanied him.

He took her to her apartments. They consisted of a salle-à-manger, three
delightful bedrooms, a boudoir, and a magnificent drawing-room, fifty
feet long, with two fireplaces, and a bay-window thirty feet wide,
filled with the choicest flowers.

An exclamation of delight escaped Mrs. Gaunt. Then she said, "One would
think I was a queen." Then she sighed, "Ah," said she, "'tis a fine
thing to be rich." Then, despondently, "Tell him I think it very
beautiful."

"Nay, madam, I hope you will tell him so yourself."

Mrs. Gaunt made no reply to that. She added: "And it was kind of him to
have you here the first day: I do not feel so lonely as I should without
you."

She took Griffith at his word, and lived with Rose in her own
apartments.

For some time Griffith used to slip away whenever he saw her coming.

One day she caught him at it, and beckoned him.

He came to her.

"You need not run away from me," said she: "I did not come into your
house to quarrel with you. Let us be _friends_,"--and she gave him her
hand sweetly enough, but O so coldly!

"I hope for nothing more," said Griffith. "If you ever have a wish, give
me the pleasure of gratifying it,--that is all."

"I wish to retire to a convent," said she, quietly.

"And desert your daughter?"

"I would leave her behind, to remind you of days gone by."

By degrees they saw a little more of one another; they even dined
together now and then. But it brought them no nearer. There was no
anger, with its loving reaction. They were friendly enough, but an icy
barrier stood between them.

One person set himself quietly to sap this barrier. Father Francis was
often at the Castle, and played the peacemaker very adroitly.

The line he took might be called the innocent Jesuitical. He saw that it
would be useless to exhort these two persons to ignore the terrible
things that had happened, and to make it up as if it was only a
squabble. What he did was to repeat to the husband every gracious word
the wife let fall, and _vice versâ_, and to suppress all either said
that might tend to estrange them.

In short, he acted the part of Mr. Harmony in the play, and acted it to
perfection.

_Gutta cavat lapidem._

Though no perceptible effect followed his efforts, yet there is no doubt
that he got rid of some of the bitterness. But the coldness remained.

One day he was sent for all in a hurry by Griffith.

He found him looking gloomy and agitated.

The cause came out directly. Griffith had observed, at last, what all
the females in the house had seen two months ago, that Mrs. Gaunt was in
the family way.

He now communicated this to Father Francis, with a voice of agony, and
looks to match.

"All the better, my son," said the genial priest: "'twill be another tie
between you. I hope it will be a fine boy to inherit your estates."
Then, observing a certain hideous expression distorting Griffith's face,
he fixed his eyes full on him, and said, sternly, "Are you not cured yet
of that madness of yours?"

"No, no, no," said Griffith, deprecatingly; "but why did she not tell
me?"

"You had better ask her."

"Not I. She will remind me I am nothing to her now. And, though 'tis so,
yet I would not hear it from her lips."

In spite of this wise resolution, the torture he was in drove him to
remonstrate with her on her silence.

She blushed high, and excused herself as follows:--

"I should have told you as soon as I knew it myself. But you were not
with me. I was all by myself--in Carlisle jail."

This reply, uttered with hypocritical meekness, went through Griffith
like a knife. He turned white, and gasped for breath, but said nothing.
He left her, with a deep groan, and never ventured to mention the matter
again.

All he did in that direction was to redouble his attentions and
solicitude for her health.

The relation between these two was now more anomalous than ever.

Even Father Francis, who had seen strange things in families, used to
watch Mrs. Gaunt rise from the table and walk heavily to the door, and
her husband dart to it and open it obsequiously, and receive only a very
formal reverence in return,--and wonder how all this was to end.

However, under this icy surface, a change was gradually going on; and
one afternoon, to his great surprise, Mrs. Gaunt's maid came to ask
Griffith if he would come to Mrs. Gaunt's apartment.

He found her seated in her bay-window, among her flowers. She seemed
another woman all of a sudden, and smiled on him her exquisite smile of
days gone by.

"Come, sit beside me," said she, "in this beautiful window that you have
given me."

"Sit beside you, Kate?" said Griffith. "Nay, let me kneel at your knees:
that is my place."

"As you will," said she, softly; and continued, in the same tone: "Now
listen to me. You and I are two fools. We have been very happy together
in days gone by; and we should both of us like to try again; but we
neither of us know how to begin. You are afraid to tell me you love me,
and I am ashamed to own to you or anybody else that I love you, in spite
of it all;--I do, though."

"You love me! a wretch like me, Kate? 'T is impossible. I cannot be so
happy."

"Child," said Mrs. Gaunt, "love is not reason; love is not common sense.
'T is a passion; like your jealousy, poor fool. I love you, as a mother
loves her child, all the more for all you have made me suffer. I might
not say as much, if I thought we should be long together. But something
tells me I shall die this time: I never felt so before. Bury me at
Hernshaw. After all, I spent more happy years there than most wives ever
know. I see you are very sorry for what you have done. How could I die
and leave thee in doubt of my forgiveness, and my love? Kiss me, poor
jealous fool; for I do forgive thee, and love thee with all my sorrowful
heart." And even with the words she bowed herself and sank quietly into
his arms, and he kissed her and cried bitterly over her: bitterly. But
she was comparatively calm. For she said to herself, "The end is at
hand."

       *       *       *       *       *

Griffith, instead of pooh-poohing his wife's forebodings, set himself to
baffle them.

He used his wealth freely, and, besides the county doctor, had two very
eminent practitioners from London, one of whom was a gray-headed man,
the other singularly young for the fame he had obtained. But then he was
a genuine enthusiast in his art.


CHAPTER XLV.

Griffith, white as a ghost, and unable to shake off the forebodings
Catharine had communicated to him, walked incessantly up and down the
room; and, at his earnest request, one or other of the four doctors in
attendance was constantly coming to him with information.

The case proceeded favorably, and, to Griffith's surprise and joy, a
healthy boy was born about two o'clock in the morning. The mother was
reported rather feverish, but nothing to cause alarm.

Griffith threw himself on two chairs and fell fast asleep.

Towards morning he found himself shaken, and there was Ashley, the young
doctor, standing beside him with a very grave face. Griffith started up,
and cried, "What is wrong, in God's name?"

"I am sorry to say there has been a sudden hemorrhage, and the patient
is much exhausted."

"She is dying, she is dying!" cried Griffith, in anguish.

"Not dying. But she will infallibly sink, unless some unusual
circumstance occur to sustain vitality."

Griffith laid hold of him. "O sir, take my whole fortune, but save her!
save her! save her!"

"Mr. Gaunt," said the young doctor, "be calm, or you will make matters
worse. There is one chance to save her; but my professional brethren are
prejudiced against it. However, they have consented, at my earnest
request, to refer my proposal to you. She is sinking for want of blood;
if you consent to my opening a vein and transfusing healthy blood from a
living subject into hers, I will undertake the operation. You had better
come and see her; you will be more able to judge."

"Let me lean on you," said Griffith. And the strong wrestler went
tottering up the stairs. There they showed him poor Kate, white as the
bed-clothes, breathing hard, and with a pulse that hardly moved.

Griffith looked at her horror-struck.

"Death has got hold of my darling," he screamed. "Snatch her away! for
God's sake, snatch her from him!"

The young doctor whipped off his coat, and bared his arm.

"There," he cried, "Mr. Gaunt consents. Now, Corrie, be quick with the
lancet, and hold this tube as I tell you; warm it first in that water."

Here came an interruption. Griffith Gaunt griped the young doctor's arm,
and, with an agonized and ugly expression of countenance, cried out,
"What, _your_ blood! What right have you to lose blood for her?"

"The right of a man who loves his art better than his blood," cried
Ashley, with enthusiasm.

Griffith tore off his coat and waistcoat, and bared his arm to the
elbow. "Take every drop I have. No man's blood shall enter her veins but
mine." And the creature seemed to swell to double his size, as, with
flushed cheek and sparkling eyes, he held out a bare arm corded like a
blacksmith's, and white as a duchess's.

The young doctor eyed the magnificent limb a moment with rapture; then
fixed his apparatus and performed an operation which then, as now, was
impossible in theory; only he did it. He sent some of Griffith Gaunt's
bright red blood smoking hot into Kate Gaunt's veins.

This done, he watched his patient closely, and administered stimulants
from time to time.

She hung between life and death for hours. But at noon next day she
spoke, and, seeing Griffith sitting beside her, pale with anxiety and
loss of blood, she said: "My dear, do not thou fret. I died last night.
I knew I should. But they gave me another life; and now I shall live to
a hundred."

They showed her the little boy; and, at sight of him, the whole woman
made up her mind to live.

And live she did. And, what is very remarkable, her convalescence was
more rapid than on any former occasion.

It was from a talkative nurse she first learned that Griffith had given
his blood for her. She said nothing at the time, but lay, with an
angelic, happy smile, thinking of it.

The first time she saw him after that, she laid her hand on his arm,
and, looking Heaven itself into his eyes, she said, "My life is very
dear to me now. 'T is a present from thee."

She only wanted a good excuse for loving him as frankly as before, and
now he had given her one. She used to throw it in his teeth in the
prettiest way. Whenever she confessed a fault, she was sure to turn
slyly round and say, "But what could one expect of me? I have his blood
in my veins."

But once she told Father Francis, quite seriously, that she had never
been quite the same woman since she lived by Griffith's blood; she was
turned jealous; and moreover it had given him a fascinating power over
her, and she could tell blindfold when he was in the room. Which last
fact, indeed, she once proved by actual experiment. But all this I leave
to such as study the occult sciences in this profound age of ours.

Starting with this advantage, Time, the great curer, gradually healed a
wound that looked incurable.

Mrs. Gaunt became a better wife than she had ever been before. She
studied her husband, and found he was not hard to please. She made his
home bright and genial; and so he never went abroad for the sunshine he
could have at home.

And he studied her. He added a chapel to the house, and easily persuaded
Francis to become the chaplain. Thus they had a peacemaker, and a
friend, in the house, and a man severe in morals, but candid in
religion, and an inexhaustible companion to them and their children.

And so, after that terrible storm, this pair pursued the even tenor of a
peaceful united life, till the olive-branches rising around them, and
the happy years gliding on, almost obliterated that one dark passage,
and made it seem a mere fantastical, incredible dream.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mercy Vint and her child went home in the coach. It was empty at
starting, and, as Mrs. Gaunt had foretold, a great sense of desolation
fell upon her.

She leaned back, and the patient tears coursed steadily down her comely
cheeks.

At the first stage a passenger got down from the outside, and entered
the coach.

"What, George Neville!" said Mercy.

"The same," said he.

She expressed her surprise that he should be going her way.

"'T is strange," said he, "but to me most agreeable."

"And to me too, for that matter," said she.

Sir George observed her eyes were red, and, to divert her mind and keep
up her spirits, launched into a flow of small talk.

In the midst of it, Mercy leaned back in the coach, and began to cry
bitterly. So much for that mode of consolation.

Upon this he faced the situation, and begged her not to grieve. He
praised the good action she had done, and told her how everybody admired
her for it, especially himself.

At that she gave him her hand in silence, and turned away her pretty
head. He carried her hand respectfully to his lips; and his manly heart
began to yearn over this suffering virtue,--so grave, so dignified, so
meek. He was no longer a young man; he began to talk to her like a
friend. This tone, and the soft, sympathetic voice in which a gentleman
speaks to a woman in trouble, unlocked her heart; and for the first
time in her life she was led to talk about herself.

She opened her heart to him. She told him she was not the woman to pine
for any man. Her youth, her health, and love of occupation, would carry
her through. What she mourned was the loss of esteem, and the blot upon
her child. At that she drew the baby with inexpressible tenderness, and
yet with a half-defiant air, closer to her bosom.

Sir George assured her she would lose the esteem of none but fools. "As
for me," said he, "I always respected you, but now I revere you. You are
a martyr and an angel."

"George," said Mercy, gravely, "be you my friend, not my enemy."

"Why, madam," said he, "sure you can't think me such a wretch."

"I mean, our flatterers are our enemies."

Sir George took the hint, given, as it was, very gravely and decidedly;
and henceforth showed her his respect by his acts; he paid her as much
attention as if she had been a princess. He handed her out, and handed
her in; and coaxed her to eat here, and to drink there; and at the inn
where the passengers slept for the night, he showed his long purse, and
secured her superior comforts. Console her he could not; but he broke
the sense of utter desolation and loneliness with which she started from
Carlisle. She told him so in the inn, and descanted on the goodness of
God, who had sent her a friend in that bitter hour.

"You have been very kind to me, George," said she. "Now Heaven bless you
for it, and give you many happy days, and well spent."

This, from one who never said a word she did not mean, sank deep into
Sir George's heart, and he went to sleep thinking of her, and asking
himself was there nothing he could do for her.

Next morning Sir George handed Mercy and her babe into the coach; and
the villain tried an experiment to see what value she set on him. He did
not get in, so Mercy thought she had seen the last of him.

"Farewell, good, kind George," said she. "Alas! there's naught but
meeting and parting in this weary world."

The tears stood in her sweet eyes, and she thanked him, not with words
only, but with the soft pressure of her womanly hand.

He slipped up behind the coach, and was ashamed of himself, and his
heart warmed to her more and more.

As soon as the coach stopped, my lord opened the door for Mercy to
alight. Her eyes were very red; he saw that. She started, and beamed
with surprise and pleasure.

"Why, I thought I had lost you for good," said she. "Whither are you
going? to Lancaster?"

"Not quite so far. I am going to the 'Packhorse.'"

Mercy opened her eyes, and blushed high. Sir George saw, and, to divert
her suspicions, told her merrily to beware of making objections. "I am
only a sort of servant in the matter. 'T was Mrs. Gaunt ordered me."

"I might have guessed it," said Mercy. "Bless her; she knew I should be
lonely."

"She was not easy till she had got rid of me, I assure you," said Sir
George. "So let us make the best on 't, for she is a lady that likes to
have her own way."

"She is a noble creature. George, I shall never regret anything I have
done for _her_. And she will not be ungrateful. O, the sting of
ingratitude! I have felt that. Have you?"

"No," said Sir George; "I have escaped that, by never doing any good
actions."

"I doubt you are telling me a lie," said Mercy Vint.

She now looked upon Sir George as Mrs. Gaunt's representative, and
prattled freely to him. Only now and then her trouble came over her, and
then she took a quiet cry without ceremony.

As for Sir George, he sat and studied, and wondered at her.

Never in his life had he met such a woman as this, who was as candid
with him as if he had been a woman. She seemed to have a window in her
bosom, through which he looked, and saw the pure and lovely soul within.

In the afternoon they reached a little town, whence a cart conveyed them
to the "Packhorse."

Here Mercy Vint disappeared, and busied herself with Sir George's
comforts.

He sat by himself in the parlor, and missed his gentle companion.

In the morning Mercy thought of course he would go.

But instead of that, he stayed, and followed her about, and began to
court her downright.

But the warmer he got, the cooler she. And at last she said, mighty
dryly, "This is a very dull place for the likes of you."

"'T is the sweetest place in England," said he; "at least to me; for it
contains--the woman I love."

Mercy drew back, and colored rosy red. "I hope not," said she.

"I loved you the first day I saw you, and heard your voice. And now I
love you ten times more. Let me dry thy tears forever, sweet Mercy. Be
my wife."

"You are mad," said Mercy. "What, would you wed a woman in my condition?
I am more your friend than to take you at your word. And what must you
think I am made of, to go from one man to another, like that?"

"Take your time, sweetheart; only give me your hand."

"George," said Mercy, very gravely, "I am beholden to you; but my duty
it lies another way. There is a young man in these parts" (Sir George
groaned) "that was my follower for two years and better. I wronged him
for one I never name now. I must marry that poor lad, and make him
happy, or else live and die as I am."

Sir George turned pale. "One word: do you love him?"

"I have a regard for him."

"Do you love him?"

"Hardly. But I wronged him, and I owe him amends. I shall pay my debts."

Sir George bowed, and retired sick at heart, and deeply mortified. Mercy
looked after him and sighed.

Next day, as he walked disconsolate up and down, she came to him and
gave him her hand. "You were a good friend to me that bitter day," said
she. "Now let me be yours. Do not bide here: 'twill but vex you."

"I am going, madam," said Sir George, stiffly. "I but wait to see the
man you prefer to me. If he is not too unworthy of you, I'll go, and
trouble you no more. I have learned his name."

Mercy blushed; for she knew Paul Carrick would bear no comparison with
George Neville.

The next day Sir George took leave to observe that this Paul Carrick did
not seem to appreciate her preference so highly as he ought. "I
understand he has never been here."

Mercy colored, but made no reply; and Sir George was sorry he had
taunted her. He followed her about, and showed her great attention, but
not a word of love.

There were fine trout streams in the neighborhood, and he busied himself
fishing, and in the evening read aloud to Mercy, and waited to see Paul
Carrick.

Paul never came; and from a word Mercy let drop, he saw that she was
mortified. Then, being no tyro in love, he told her he had business in
Lancaster, and must leave her for a few days. But he would return, and
by that time perhaps Paul Carrick would be visible.

Now his main object was to try the effect of correspondence.

Every day he sent her a long love-letter from Lancaster.

Paul Carrick, who, in absenting himself for a time, had acted upon his
sister's advice, rather than his own natural impulse, learned that Mercy
received a letter every day. This was a thing unheard of in that
parish.

So then Paul defied his sister's advice, and presented himself to Mercy;
when the following dialogue took place.

"Welcome home, Mercy."

"Thank you, Paul."

"Well, I'm single still, lass."

"So I hear."

"I'm come to say let bygones be bygones."

"So be it," said Mercy, dryly.

"You have tried a gentleman; now try a farrier."

"I have; and he did not stand the test."

"Anan."

"Why did you not come near me for ten days?"

Paul blushed up to the eyes. "Well," said he, "I'll tell you the truth.
'T was our Jess advised me to leave you quiet just at first."

"Ay, ay. I was to be humbled, and made to smart for my fault; and then I
should be thankful to take you. My lad, if ever you should be really in
love, take a friend's advice; listen to your own heart, and not to
shallow advisers. You have mortified a poor sorrowful creature, who was
going to make a sacrifice for you; and you have lost her forever."

"What d'ye mean?"

"I mean that you are to think no more of Mercy Vint."

"Then it is true, ye jade; ye've gotten a fresh lover already."

"Say no more than you know. If you were the only man on earth, I would
not wed you, Paul Carrick."

Paul Carrick retired home, and blew up his sister, and told her that she
had "gotten him the sack again."

The next day Sir George came back from Lancaster, and Mercy lowered her
lashes for once at sight of him.

"Well," said he, "has this Carrick shown a sense of your goodness?"

"He has come,--and gone."

She then, with her usual frankness, told him what had passed. "And,"
said she, with a smile, "you are partly to blame; for how could I help
comparing your behavior to me with his? _You_ came to my side when I was
in trouble, and showed me respect when I expected scorn from all the
world. A friend in need is a friend indeed."

"Reward me, reward me," said Sir George, gayly; "you know the way."

"Nay, but I am too much _your_ friend," said Mercy.

"Be less my friend then, and more my darling."

He pressed her, he urged her, he stuck to her, he pestered her.

She snubbed, and evaded, and parried, and liked him all the better for
his pestering her.

At last, one day, she said: "If Mrs. Gaunt thinks it will be for your
happiness, I _will_--in six months' time; but you shall not marry in
haste to repent at leisure. And I must have time to learn two
things,--whether you can be constant to a simple woman like me, and
whether I can love again, as tenderly as you deserve to be loved."

All his endeavors to shake this determination were vain. Mercy Vint had
a terrible deal of quiet resolution.

He retired to Cumberland, and, in a long letter, asked Mrs. Gaunt's
advice.

She replied characteristically. She began very soberly to say that she
should be the last to advise a marriage between persons of different
conditions in life. "But then," said she, "this Mercy is altogether an
exception. If a flower grows on a dunghill, 't is still a flower, and
not a part of the dunghill. She has the essence of gentility, and indeed
her _manners_ are better bred than most of our ladies. There is too much
affectation abroad, and that is your true vulgarity. Tack 'my lady' on
to 'Mercy Vint,' and that dignified and quiet simplicity of hers will
carry her with credit through every court in Europe. Then think of her
virtues,"--(here the writer began to lose her temper,)--"where can you
hope to find such another? She is a moral genius, and acts well, no
matter under what temptation, as surely as Claude and Raphael paint
well. Why, sir, what do you seek in a wife? Wealth? title? family? But
you possess them already; you want something in addition that will make
you happy. Well, take that angelic goodness into your house, and you
will find, by your own absolute happiness, how ill your neighbors have
wived. For my part, I see but one objection: the child. Well, if you are
man enough to take the mother, I am woman enough to take the babe. In
one word, he who has the sense to fall in love with such an angel, and
has not the sense to marry it, if he can, is a fool.

"Postscript.--My poor friend, to what end think you I sent you down in
the coach with her?"

       *       *       *       *       *

Sir George, thus advised, acted as he would have done had the advice
been just the opposite.

He sent Mercy a love-letter by every post, and he often received one in
return; only his were passionate, and hers gentle and affectionate.

But one day came a letter that was a mere cry of distress.

     "George, my child is dying. What shall I do?"

He mounted his horse, and rode to her.

He came too late. The little boy had died suddenly of croup, and was to
be buried next morning.

The poor mother received him up stairs, and her grief was terrible. She
clung sobbing to him, and could not be comforted. Yet she felt his
coming. But a mother's anguish overpowered all.

Crushed by this fearful blow, her strength gave way for a time, and she
clung to George Neville, and told him she had nothing left but him, and
one day implored him not to die and leave her.

Sir George said all he could think of to comfort her; and at the end of
a fortnight persuaded her to leave the "Packhorse," and England, as his
wife.

She had little power to resist now, and indeed little inclination.

They were married by special license, and spent a twelvemonth abroad.

At the end of that time they returned to Neville's Court, and Mercy took
her place there with the same dignified simplicity that had adorned her
in a humbler station.

Sir George had given her no lessons; but she had observed closely, for
his sake; and being already well educated, and very quick and docile,
she seldom made him blush except with pride.

They were the happiest pair in Cumberland. Her merciful nature now found
a larger field for its exercise, and, backed by her husband's purse, she
became the Lady Bountiful of the parish and the county.

The day after she reached Neville's Court came an exquisite letter to
her from Mrs. Gaunt. She sent an affectionate reply.

But the Gaunts and the Nevilles did not meet in society.

Sir George Neville and Mrs. Gaunt, being both singularly brave and
haughty people, rather despised this arrangement.

But it seems that, one day, when, they were all four in the Town Hall,
folk whispered and looked; and both Griffith Gaunt and Lady Neville
surprised these glances, and determined, by one impulse, it should never
happen again. Hence it was quite understood that the Nevilles and the
Gaunts were not to be asked to the same party or ball.

The wives, however, corresponded, and Lady Neville easily induced Mrs.
Gaunt to co-operate with her in her benevolent acts, especially in
saving young women, who had been betrayed, from sinking deeper.

Living a good many miles apart, Lady Neville could send her stray sheep
to service near Mrs. Gaunt; and _vice versâ_; and so, merciful, but
discriminating, they saved many a poor girl who had been weak, not
wicked.

So then, though they could not eat nor dance together in earthly
mansions, they could do good together; and methinks, in the eternal
world, where years of social intercourse will prove less than cobwebs,
these their joint acts of mercy will be links of a bright, strong chain,
to bind their souls in everlasting amity.

It was a remarkable circumstance, that the one child of Lady Neville's
unhappy marriage died, but her nine children by Sir George all grew to
goodly men and women. That branch of the Nevilles became remarkable for
high principle and good sense; and this they owe to Mercy Vint, and to
Sir George's courage in marrying her. This Mercy was granddaughter to
one of Cromwell's ironsides, and brought her rare personal merit into
their house, and also the best blood of the old Puritans, than which
there is no blood in Europe more rich in male courage, female chastity,
and all the virtues.



GUROWSKI.


The late Count Gurowski came to this country from France in November,
1849, and resided at first in New York. He made his appearance at
Boston, I think, in the latter part of 1850, and, being well introduced
by letters from men of note in Paris, was received with attention in the
highest circles of society. Among his friends at this period were
Prescott, Ticknor, Longfellow, Lowell, Parker, Sumner, Felton, and
Everett,--the last named of whom was then President of Harvard
University. The eccentric appearance and character of the Count, of
course, excited curiosity and gave rise to many idle rumors, the most
popular of which declared him to be a Russian spy, though what there was
to spy in this country, where everything is published in the newspapers,
or what the Czar expected to learn from such an agent, nobody undertook
to explain. The phrase was a convenient one, and, like many others
equally senseless, was currently adopted because it seemed to explain
the incomprehensible; and certainly, to the multitude, no man was ever
less intelligible than Gurowski.

To those, however, who cared for precise information, the French and
German periodicals of the day, in which his name frequently figured,
furnished sufficient to determine his social and historical status. From
authentic sources it was soon learned that he was the head of a
distinguished noble family of Poland; that he was born in 1805, and had
taken part in the great insurrection of 1831 against the Russians, for
which he had been condemned to death, while his estates were confiscated
and assigned to a younger brother, who had remained loyal to the Czar.
It was known also that at Paris, where he had found refuge, he had been
a special favorite of Lafayette and of the leading republicans, and an
active member of the Polish Revolutionary Committee, till, in 1835, he
published _La Vérité sur la Russie_, in which work he maintained that
the interests of Poland and of all the other Slavic countries would be
promoted by absorption into the Russian Empire and union under the
Russian Czar. This book drew upon him the indignant denunciation of his
countrymen, who regarded it as a betrayal of their cause, and led to the
revocation of his sentence of death, and to an invitation to enter the
service of Nicholas. He accordingly went to St. Petersburg in 1836,
where his sister had long resided, personally attached to the Empress
and in high favor at the imperial court. He was employed at first in the
private chancery of the Emperor, and afterwards in the Department of
Public Instruction, in which he suggested and introduced various
measures tending to Russianize Poland by means of schools and other
public institutions. He seems for some years to have been in favor, and
on the high road to power and distinction. In 1844, however, he fled
from St. Petersburg secretly, and took refuge at the court of Berlin. He
was pursued, and his extradition demanded of the Prussian government.
What his offence was I have never learned, but can readily suppose that
it was only a too free use of his tongue, which was at all times
uncontrollable, and was always involving him in difficulties wherever he
resided. He was quite as likely to contradict and snub the Czar as
readily as he would the meanest peasant, and, for that matter, even more
readily. His flight from Russia caused a good deal of discussion in the
Continental newspapers, and it is certain that for some reason or other
strong and pertinacious efforts were made by the Russian government to
have him delivered up. The Czar had at that time great influence over
the court of Berlin; and Gurowski was at length privately requested by
the Prussian government, in a friendly way, to relieve them of
embarrassment by withdrawing from the kingdom. He accordingly went to
Heidelberg and afterwards to Munich, and for two years subsequently was
a Lecturer on Political Economy at the University of Berne, in
Switzerland. At a later period he visited Italy, and for a year previous
to his arrival in this country had resided in Paris. Besides his first
work on Panslavism, already mentioned, he had published several others
in French and German, which had attracted considerable attention by the
force and boldness of their ideas, and the wide range of erudition
displayed in them. Finally, it became known to those who cared to
inquire, that one of his brothers, Ignatius Gurowski, was married to an
infanta of Spain, whom I believe he had persuaded to elope with him;
that Gurowski himself was a widower, with a son in the Russian navy and
a daughter married in Switzerland; and that some compromise had been
made about his confiscated estates by which his "loyal" brother had
agreed to pay him a slender annual allowance, which was not always
punctually remitted.

Such was the substance of what was known, or at least of what I knew and
can now recall, of Gurowski, soon after his arrival in Boston, sixteen
years ago. He came to Massachusetts, I think, with some expectation of
becoming connected with Harvard University as a lecturer or professor,
and took up his residence in Cambridge in lodgings in a house on Main
Street, nearly opposite the College Library. In January, 1851, he gave,
at President Everett's house, a course of lectures upon Roman
jurisprudence, of which I have preserved the following syllabus, printed
by him in explanation of his purpose.

       *       *       *       *       *

"COUNT DE GUROWSKI proposes to give Six Lectures upon the Roman
Jurisprudence, or the Civil Law according to the following syllabus:--

     "As the history of the Roman Law is likewise the history of
     the principle of the _Right_ (_das Recht_) as it exists in
     the consciousness of men, and of its outward manifestation
     as a law in an organized society; a philosophical outline of
     this principle and of its manifestations will precede.

     "The philosophical and historical progress of the notion or
     conception of the _Right_, through the various moments or
     data of jurisprudential formation by the Romans. Explanation
     of the principal elements and facts, out of which was framed
     successively the Roman law.

     "Such are, for instance, the Ramnian, the Sabinian, or
     Quiritian; their influence on the character of the
     legislation and jurisprudence.

     "The peculiarity and the legal meaning of the _jus
     quiritium_. Explanation of some of its legal rites, as those
     concerning matrimony, _jus mancipi, in jure cessio_, etc.

     "The primitive _jus civile_ derived from _the jus
     quiritium_. Point out the principal social element on which,
     and through which, the _jus privatum_, connected with the
     _jus civile_, was developed.

     "The primitive difference between both these two kinds of
     _jus_.

     "Other elements of the Roman Civil Law. The _jus gentium_,
     its nature and origin. How it was conceived by the Romans,
     and how it acted on the Roman community. Its agency,
     enlightening and softening influence on the Roman character,
     and on the severity of the primitive _jus civile_.

     "The nature, the agency of the prætorian or _edictorial_
     right and jurisprudence.

     "A condensed sketch of the Roman civil process. The
     principal formalities and rules according to the _jus
     quiritium, jus civile_, and the _edicta prætorum_.
     Difference between the magistrate and the judge.

     "The scientific development of the above-mentioned data in
     the formation of the Roman Law, or the period between
     Augustus and Alex. Severus. Epoch of the imperial
     jurisconsults; its character.

     "Decline. The codification of the Roman Law, or the
     formation of the Justinian Code. Sketch of it during the
     mediæval and modern periods.

     "Count Gurowski is authorized to refer to Hon. Edward
     Everett, Prof. Parsons, Prof. Parker, Wm. H. Prescott, Esq.,
     Hon. T. G. Gary, Charles Sumner, Esq., Hon. G. S. Hillard,
     Prof. Felton.

     "CAMBRIDGE, January 24, 1851."

The lectures were not successful, being attended by only twenty or
thirty persons, who did not find them very interesting. The truth is,
that few Americans care anything for the Roman law, or for the history
of the principle of the _Right_ (_das Recht_); nor for the Ramnian,
Sabinian, or Quiritian jurisprudence; nor whether the _jus civile_ was
derived from the _jus quiritium_, or the _jus quiritium_ from the _jus
civile_,--nor do I see why they should care. But even if the subject had
been interesting in itself, Gurowski's imperfect pronunciation of our
language at that time would have insured his failure as a lecturer. He
had a copious stock of English words at command; but as he had learned
the language almost wholly from books, his accent was so strongly
foreign that few persons could understand him at first, except those of
quick apprehension and some knowledge of the French and German idioms
which he habitually used.

The favor with which Gurowski had been received in the high circles of
Boston society soon evaporated, as his faults of temper and of manner,
and his rough criticisms on men and affairs, began to be felt.
Massachusetts was then in the midst of the great conservative and
proslavery reaction of 1850, and Gurowski's dogmatic radicalism was not
calculated to recommend him to the ruling influences in politics,
literature, or society. He denounced with vehemence, and without stint
or qualification, slavery and its Northern supporters. Nothing could
silence him, nobody could put him down. It was in vain to appeal to Mr.
Webster, then at the height of his reputation as a Union-saver and great
constitutional expounder. "What do I care for Mr. Webster," he said on
some occasion when the Fugitive Slave Law was under discussion in the
high circles of Beacon Street, and the dictum of the great expounder had
been triumphantly appealed to. "I can read the Constitution as well as
Mr. Webster." "But surely, Count, you would not presume to dispute Mr.
Webster's opinion on a question of constitutional law?" "And why not?"
replied Gurowski, in high wrath, and in his loudest tones. "I tell you I
can read the Constitution as well as Mr. Webster, and I say that the
Fugitive Slave Law is unconstitutional,--is an outrage and an imposition
of which you will all soon be ashamed. It is a disgrace to humanity and
to your republicanism, and Mr. Webster should be hung for advocating it.
He is a humbug or an ass," continued the Count, his wrath growing
fiercer as he poured it out,--"an ass if he believes such an infamous
law to be constitutional; and if he does not believe it, he is a humbug
and a scoundrel for advocating it." Beacon Street, of course, was aghast
at this outburst of blasphemy; and the high circles thereof were
speedily closed against the plain-spoken radical who dared to question
Mr. Webster's infallibility, and who made, indeed, but small account of
the other idols worshipped in that locality.

It was at this time, in the spring of 1851, that I became acquainted
with Gurowski. I was standing one day at the door of the reading-room in
Lyceum Hall in Cambridge, of which city I was then a resident, when I
saw approaching through Harvard Square a strange figure which I knew
must be the Count, who had often been described to me, but whom till
then I had never chanced to see. He was at the time about forty-five
years of age, of middle size, with a large head and big belly, and was
partly wrapped in a huge and queerly-cut cloak of German material and
make. On his head he wore a high, bell-shaped, broad-brimmed hat, from
which depended a long, sky-blue veil, which he used to protect his eyes
from the sunshine. His waistcoat was of bright red flannel, and as it
reached to his hips and covered nearly the whole of his capacious front,
it formed a startlingly conspicuous portion of his attire. In addition
to the veil, his eyes were protected by enormous blue goggles, with
glasses on the sides as well as in front. These extraordinary
precautions for the defence of his sight were made necessary by the fact
that he had lost an eye, not in a duel, as has been commonly reported,
but by falling on an open penknife when he was a boy of ten years old.
The wounded eye was totally ruined and wasted away, and had been the
seat of long and intense pain, in which, as is usual in such cases, the
other eye had participated. During the first year or two of his
residence in this country he was much troubled by the intense sunshine;
but afterwards becoming used to it, he left off his veil, and in other
respects conformed his costume to that of the people.

There were several gentlemen in the reading-room whom we both knew, one
of whom introduced me to Gurowski, who received me very cordially, and
immediately began to talk with much animation about Kossuth and Hungary,
concerning which I had recently published something. He was exceedingly
voluble, and seemed to have, even then, a remarkably copious stock of
English words at command; but his pronunciation, as before remarked, was
very imperfect, and until I grew accustomed to his accent I found it
difficult to comprehend him. This, however, made little difference to
Gurowski. He would talk to any one who would listen, without caring much
whether he was understood or not. On this occasion he soon became
engaged in a discussion with one of the gentlemen present, a Professor
in the University, who demurred to some of his statements about Hungary;
and in a short time Gurowski was foaming with rage, and formally
challenged the Professor to settle the dispute with swords or pistols.
This ingenious mode of deciding an historical controversy being blandly
declined, Gurowski, apparently dumfounded at the idea of any gentleman's
refusing so reasonable a proposition, abruptly retreated, asking me to
go with him, as he said he wished to consult me; to which request I
assented very willingly, for my curiosity was a good deal excited by his
strange appearance and evidently peculiar character.

He walked along in silence, and we soon reached his lodgings, which were
convenient and comfortable enough. He had a parlor and bedroom on the
second floor, well furnished, though in dire confusion, littered with
books, papers, clothing, and other articles, tossed about at random. He
gave me a cigar, and, sitting down, began to talk quite calmly and
rationally about the affair at the reading-room. His excitement had
entirely subsided, and he seemed to be sorry for his rudeness to the
Professor, for whom he had a high regard, and who had been invariably
kind to him. I spoke to him pretty roundly on the impropriety of his
conduct, and the folly of which he had been guilty in offering a
challenge,--a proceeding peculiarly repugnant to American, or at least
to New England notions, and which only made him ridiculous. There was
something so frank and childlike in his character, that, though I had
known him but an hour, we seemed already intimate, and from that time to
the day of his death I never had any hesitation in speaking to him about
anything as freely as if he were my brother.

He took my scolding in good part, and was evidently ashamed of his
conduct, though too proud to say so. He wanted to know, however, what he
had best do about the matter. I advised him to do nothing, but to let
the affair drop, and never make any allusion to it; and I believe he
followed my advice. At all events, he was soon again on good terms with
the gentleman he had challenged.

I spent several hours with Gurowski on this occasion, and, as we both at
that time had ample leisure, we soon grew intimate, and fell into the
habit of passing a large part of the day together. For a long period I
was accustomed to visit him every day at his lodgings, generally in the
morning, while he came almost every afternoon to my house. He had a good
deal of wit, but little humor, and did not relish badinage. His chief
delight was in serious discussions on questions of politics, history, or
theology, on which he would talk all day with immense erudition and a
wonderful flow of "the best broken English that ever was spoken." He was
well read in Egyptology and in mediæval history, and had a wide general
knowledge of the sciences, without special familiarity with any except
jurisprudence. He disdained the details of the natural sciences, and
despised their professors, whose pursuits seemed to him frivolous. He
was jealous of Agassiz, and of the fame and influence he had attained in
this country, and was in the habit of spitefully asserting that the
Professor spoke bad French, and was a mere icthyologist, who would not
dare in Europe to set up as an authority in so many sciences as he did
here. Even the amiable Professor Guyot, the most unassuming man in the
world, who then lived in Cambridge, was also an object of this paltry
jealousy. "How finely Guyot humbugs you Americans with his slops,"
Gurowski said to me one day. I replied that "slops" was a very unworthy
and offensive word to apply to the productions of a man like Guyot, who
certainly was of very respectable standing in his department of physical
geography. "O bah! bah! you do not understand," exclaimed Gurowski. "I
do not mean the slops of the kitchen, but the slops of the
continent,--the slops and indentations which he talks so much about."
_Slopes_ was, of course, the word he meant to use; and the incident may
serve as a good illustration of the curious infelicities of English with
which his conversation teemed.

But the truth is that Gurowski spared nobody, or scarcely anybody, in
his personal criticisms. Of all his vast range of acquaintance in New
England, Felton, Longfellow, and Lowell were the only persons of note of
whom he spoke with uniform respect. It was really painful to see how
utterly his vast knowledge and his great powers of mind were rendered
worthless by a childishness of temper and a habit of contradiction which
made it almost impossible for him to speak of anybody with moderation
and justice. He had also a sort of infernal delight in detecting the
weak points of his acquaintances, which he did with fearful quickness
and penetration. The slightest hint was sufficient. He saw at a glance
the frail spot, and directed his spear against it. Failings the most
secret, peculiarities the most subtle, which had, perhaps, been hidden
from the acquaintances of years, seemed to reveal themselves at the
first glance of his single eye.

He was very fond of controversy, and would prolong a discussion from day
to day with apparently unabated interest. I remember once we had a
discussion about some point of mediæval history of which I knew little,
but about which I feigned to be very positive, in order to draw out the
stores of his knowledge, which was really immense in that direction.
After a hot dispute of several hours we parted, leaving the question as
unsettled as ever. The next day I called at his lodgings early in the
afternoon. I knocked at the door of his room. He shouted, "Come in"; but
as I opened the door I heard him retreating into his adjacent bedroom.
He thrust his head out, and, seeing who it was, came back into the
parlor, absolutely in a state of nature. He had not even his spectacles
on. In his hand he held a pair of drawers, which he had apparently been
about to assume when I arrived. Shaking this garment vehemently with one
hand, while with the other he gave me a cigar, he broke out at once in a
torrent of argument on the topic of the preceding day. I made no reply;
but at the first pause suggested that he had better dress himself. To
this he paid no attention, but stamped round the room, continuing his
argument with his usual vehemence and volubility. Half an hour had
elapsed, when some one knocked. Gurowski roared, "Come in!" A
maid-servant opened the door, and of course instantly retreated. I
turned the key, and again entreated the Count to put on his clothes. He
did not comply, but kept on with his argument. Presently some one else
rapped. "It is Desor," said the Count; "I know his knock; let him in."
Desor was a Swiss, a scientific man, who lodged in the adjacent house.
Gurowski apparently was involved in a dispute with him also, which he
immediately took up, on some question of natural history. The Swiss,
however, did not seem to care to contest the point, whatever it was, and
soon went away. On his departure Gurowski again began his mediæval
argument; but I positively refused to stay unless he put on his clothes.
He reluctantly complied, and went into his bedroom, while I took up a
book. Every now and then, however, he would sally out to argue some
fresh point which had suggested itself to him; and his toilet was not
fairly completed till, at the end of the third hour, the announcement of
dinner put an end to the discussion.

Disappointed in his hopes of getting employment as a lecturer or
teacher, on which he had relied for subsistence, Gurowski felt himself
growing poorer and poorer as the little stock of money he had brought
from Europe wasted away. The discomforts of poverty did not tend to
sweeten his temper nor to abate his savage independence. He grew prouder
and fiercer as he grew poorer. He was very economical, and indulged in
no luxuries except cigars, of which, however, he was not a great
consumer, seldom smoking more than three or four a day. But with all his
care, his money was at length exhausted, his last dollar gone. He had
expected remittances from Poland, which did not come; and he now learned
that, from some cause which I have forgotten, nothing would be sent him
for that year at least. He used to tell me from day to day of the
progress of his "decline and fall," as he called it, remarking
occasionally that, when the worst came to the worst, he could turn
himself into an Irishman and work for his living. I paid little
attention to this talk, for really the idea of Gurowski and manual labor
was so ridiculously incongruous that I could not form any definite
conception of it. But he was more in earnest than I supposed.

Going one day at my usual hour to his lodgings, I found him absent. I
called again in the course of the day, but he was still not at home, and
the people of the house informed me that he had been absent since early
morning. The next day it was the same. On the third day I lay in wait
for him at evening at his lodgings, to which he came about dark, in a
most forlorn condition, with his hands blistered, his clothes dusty, and
exhibiting himself every mark of extreme fatigue. He was cheerful,
however, and very cordial, and gave me an animated account of his
adventures in his "Irish life," as he called it. It seems he had formed
an acquaintance with Mr. Hovey, the proprietor of the large nurseries
between Boston and the Colleges, and on the morning of the day on which
I found him absent from his lodgings he had gone to Hovey and offered
himself as a laborer in his garden. Hovey was astounded at the
proposition, but the Count insisted, and finally a spade was given to
him, and he set to work "like an Irishman," as he delighted to express
it. It was dreadfully wearisome to his unaccustomed muscles, but
anything, he said, was better than getting in debt. He could earn a
dollar a day, and that would pay for his board and his cigars. He had
clothes enough, he thought, to last him the rest of his
life,--especially, he added somewhat dolefully, as he was not likely to
live long under the Irish regimen.

I thought the joke had been carried far enough, and that it was time to
interfere. I accordingly went next day to Boston, and, calling on the
publisher of a then somewhat flourishing weekly newspaper, now extinct,
called "The Boston Museum," I described to him the situation and the
capacities of Gurowski, and proposed that he should employ the Count to
write an article of reasonable length each week about European life, for
which he was to be paid twelve dollars. I undertook to revise Gurowski's
English sufficiently to make it intelligible. The publisher readily
acceded to this proposition; and the Count, when I communicated it to
him, was as delighted as if he had found a gold mine, or, in the
language of to-day, "had struck ile." He was already, in spite of his
philosophic cheerfulness, heartily sick of his labor with the spade, for
which he was totally unfitted. He resumed his pen with alacrity, and
wrote an article on the private life of the Russian court, which I
copied, with the necessary revision, and carried to the publisher of the
Museum, who was greatly pleased with it, and readily paid the stipulated
price.

For several months Gurowski continued to write an article every week,
which he did very easily, and the pay for them soon re-established his
finances on what, with his simple habits, he considered a sound basis.
In fact, he soon grew rich enough, in his own estimation, to spend the
summer at Newport, which he said he wanted to do, because the Americans
of the highest social class evidently regarded a summer visit to that
place as the chief enjoyment of their life and the crowning glory of
their civilization. He went thither in June, 1851, and after that I only
saw him at long intervals, and for very brief periods.

His stay at Newport was short, and he went from there to New York, where
he soon became an editorial writer for the Tribune. To a Cambridge
friend of mine, who met him in Broadway, he expressed great satisfaction
with his new avocation. "It is the most delightful position," he said,
"that you can possibly conceive of. I can abuse everybody in the world
except Greeley, Ripley, and Dana." He inquired after me, and, as my
friend was leaving him, sent me a characteristic message,--"Tell C----
that he is an ass." My friend inquired the reason for this flattering
communication; and Gurowski replied, "Because he does not write to me."
Busy with many things which had fallen to me to do after his departure,
I had neglected to keep up our correspondence, at which he was sometimes
very wrathful, and wrote me savagely affectionate notes of remonstrance.

Besides writing for the Tribune, Gurowski was employed by Ripley and
Dana on the first four volumes of the New American Cyclopædia, for
which he wrote the articles on Alexander the Great, the Alexanders of
Russia, Aristocracy, Attila, the Borgias, Bunsen, and a few others. It
was at this time also that he wrote his books, "Russia as it is," and
"America and Europe." In preparing for publication his articles and his
books, he had the invaluable assistance of Mr. Ripley, who gratuitously
bestowed upon them an immense amount of labor, for which he was very ill
requited by the Count, who quarrelled both with him and Dana, and for a
time wantonly and most unjustly abused them both in his peculiar lavish
way.

For two or three years longer I lost sight of him, during which period
he led a somewhat wandering life, visiting the South, and residing
alternately in Washington, Newport, Geneseo, and Brattleborough. The
last time I saw him in New York was at the Athenæum Club one evening in
December, 1860, just after South Carolina had seceded. A dispute was
raging in the smoking-room, between Unionists on one side and
Copperheads on the other, as to the comparative character of the North
and South. Gurowski, who was reading in an adjoining room, was attracted
by the noise, and came in, but at first said nothing, standing in
silence on the outside of the circle. At last a South-Carolinian who was
present appealed to him, saying, "Count, you have been in the South, let
us have your opinion; you at least ought to be impartial." Gurowski
thrust his head forward, as he was accustomed to do when about to say
anything emphatic, and replied in his most energetic manner: "I have
been a great deal in the South as well as in the North, and know both
sections equally well, and I tell you, gentlemen, that there is more
intelligence, more refinement, more cultivation, more virtue, and more
good manners in one New England village than in all the South together."
This decision put an end to the discussion. The South-Carolinian
retreated in dudgeon, and Gurowski, chuckling, returned to his book or
his paper.

Shortly after this he took up his abode in Washington, where he soon
became one of the notables of the city, frequenting some of the best
houses, and almost certain to be seen of an evening at Willard's, the
political exchange of the capital, where his singular appearance and
emphatic conversation seldom failed to attract a large share of
attention. The proceeds of the books he had published, never very large,
had by this time been used up; and he was consequently very poor, for
which, however, he cared little. But some of the Senators, who liked and
pitied the rough-spoken, but warm-hearted and honest old man, persuaded
Mr. Seward to appoint him to some post in the State Department created
for the occasion. His nominal duty was to explore the Continental
newspapers for matter interesting to the American government, and to
furnish the Secretary of State, when called upon, with opinions upon
diplomatic questions. As he once stated it to me in his terse way, it
was "to read the German newspapers, and keep Seward from making a fool
of himself." The first part of this duty, he said, was easy enough, but
the latter part rather difficult. He kept the office longer than I
expected, knowing his temper and habit of grumbling; but even Mr.
Seward's patience was at length exhausted, and he was dismissed for
long-continued disrespectful remarks concerning his official superior.

Some time in 1862 I met Gurowski in Washington, at the rooms of Senator
Sumner, which he was in the habit of visiting almost every evening. I
had not seen him for a long time, and he greeted me very cordially; but
I soon perceived that his habit of dogmatism had increased terribly, and
that he was more impatient than ever of contradiction. He began to talk
in a high tone about McClellan, the Army of the Potomac, and the
probable duration of the Rebellion. His views for the most part seemed
sound enough, but were so offensively expressed that, partly in
impatience and partly for amusement, I soon began to contradict him
roundly on every point. He became furious, and for nearly an hour
stormed and stamped about the room, in the centre of which sat Mr.
Sumner in his great chair, taking no part in the discussion, but making
occasional ineffectual attempts to pacify Gurowski, who at length rushed
out of the room in a rage too deep for even his torrent of words to
express. After his departure, Mr. Sumner remarked that he reminded him
of the whale in Barnum's Museum, which kept going round and round in its
narrow tank, blowing with all its might whenever it came to the surface,
which struck me at the time as a singularly apt comparison.

I met Gurowski the next evening at the Tribune rooms, near Willard's,
and found him still irritated and disposed to "blow." I checked him,
however, told him I had had enough of nonsense, and wanted him to talk
soberly; and, taking his arm, walked with him to his lodgings, where,
while he dressed for a party, which he always did with great care, I
made him tell me his opinion about men and affairs. He was unusually
moderate and rational, and described the "situation," as the newspapers
call it, with force and penetration. The army, he thought, was
everything that could be desired, if it only had an efficient commander
and a competent staff. I asked what he thought of Lincoln. "He is a
beast." This was all he would say of him. I knew, of course, that he
meant _bête_ in the French sense, and not in the offensive English sense
of the word. The truth was, that Gurowski had little relish for humor,
and the drollery which formed so prominent a part of Lincoln's external
character was unintelligible and offensive to him. At a later period, as
I judge from his Diary, he understood the President better, and did full
justice to his noble qualities.

I was particularly curious to know what he thought of Seward, whom he
had good opportunities of seeing at that time, as he was still in the
service of the State Department. He pronounced him shallow and
insincere, and ludicrously ignorant of European affairs. The
diplomatists of Europe, he said, were all making fun of his despatches,
and looked upon him as only a clever charlatan.

This proved to be my last conversation with Gurowski. I met him once
again, however, at Washington, in the spring of 1863. I was passing up
Fifteenth Street, by the Treasury Department, and reached one of the
cross-streets just as a large troop of cavalry came along. The street
was ankle-deep with mud, only the narrow crossing being passable, and I
hurried to get over before the cavalry came up. Midway on the crossing I
encountered Gurowski, wrapped in a long black cloak and a huge felt hat,
rather the worse for wear. He threw open his arms to stop me, and,
without any preliminary phrase, launched into an invective on Horace
Greeley. In an instant the troop was upon us, and we were surrounded by
trampling and rearing horses, and soldiers shouting to us to get out of
the way. Gurowski, utterly heedless of all around him, raised his voice
above the tumult, and roared that Horace Greeley was "an ass, a traitor,
and a coward." It was no time to hold a parley on that question, and,
breaking from him, I made for the opposite sidewalk, then, turning, saw
Gurowski for the last time, enveloped in a cloud of horsemen, through
which he was composedly making his way at his usual meditative pace.



THE PRESIDENT AND HIS ACCOMPLICES.


Andrew Johnson has dealt the most cruel of all blows to the
respectability of the faction which rejoices in his name. Hardly had the
political Pecksniffs and Turveydrops contrived so to manage the Johnson
Convention at Philadelphia that it violated few of the proprieties of
intrigue and none of the decencies of dishonesty, than the
commander-in-chief of the combination took the field in person, with the
intention of carrying the country by assault. His objective point was
the grave of Douglas, which became by the time he arrived the grave also
of his own reputation and the hopes of his partisans. His speeches on
the route were a volcanic outbreak of vulgarity, conceit, bombast,
scurrility, ignorance, insolence, brutality, and balderdash. Screams of
laughter, cries of disgust, flushings of shame, were the various
responses of the nation he disgraced to the harangues of this leader of
American "conservatism." Never before did the first office in the gift
of the people appear so poor an object of human ambition, as when Andrew
Johnson made it an eminence on which to exhibit inability to behave and
incapacity to reason. His low cunning conspired with his devouring
egotism to make him throw off all the restraints of official decorum, in
the expectation that he would find duplicates of himself in the crowds
he addressed, and that mob diffused would heartily sympathize with Mob
impersonated. Never was blustering demagogue led by a distempered sense
of self-importance into a more fatal error. Not only was the great body
of the people mortified or indignant, but even his "satraps and
dependents," even the shrewd politicians--accidents of an Accident and
shadows of a shade--who had labored so hard at Philadelphia to weave a
cloak of plausibilities to cover his usurpations, shivered with
apprehension or tingled with shame as they read the reports of their
master's impolitic and ignominious abandonment of dignity and decency in
his addresses to the people he attempted alternately to bully and
cajole. That a man thus self-exposed as unworthy of high trust should
have had the face to expect that intelligent constituencies would send
to Congress men pledged to support _his_ policy and _his_ measures,
appeared for the time to be as pitiable a spectacle of human delusion as
it was an exasperating example of human impudence.

Not the least extraordinary peculiarity of these addresses from the
stump was the immense protuberance they exhibited of the personal
pronoun. In Mr. Johnson's speech, his "I" resembles the geometer's
description of infinity, having "its centre everywhere and its
circumference nowhere." Among the many kinds of egotism in which his
eloquence is prolific, it may be difficult to fasten on the particular
one which is most detestable or most laughable; but it seems to us that
when his arrogance apes humility it is deserving perhaps of an intenser
degree of scorn or derision than when it riots in bravado. The most
offensive part which he plays in public is that of "the humble
individual," bragging of the lowliness of his origin, hinting of the
great merits which could alone have lifted him to his present exalted
station, and representing himself as so satiated with the sweets of
unsought power as to be indifferent to its honors. Ambition is not for
him, for ambition aspires; and what object has he to aspire to? From his
contented mediocrity as alderman of a village, the people have insisted
on elevating him from one pinnacle of greatness to another, until they
have at last made him President of the United States. He might have been
Dictator had he pleased; but what, to a man wearied with authority and
dignity, would dictatorship be worth? If he is proud of anything, it is
of the tailor's bench from which he started. He would have everybody to
understand that he is humble,--thoroughly humble. Is this caricature?
No. It is impossible to caricature Andrew Johnson when he mounts his
high horse of humility and becomes a sort of cross between Uriah Heep
and Josiah Bounderby of Coketown. Indeed, it is only by quoting
Dickens's description of the latter personage that we have anything
which fairly matches the traits suggested by some statements in the
President's speeches. "A big, loud man," says the humorist, "with a
stare and a metallic laugh. A man made out of coarse material, which
seemed to have been stretched to make so much of him. A man with a great
puffed head and forehead, swelled veins in his temples, and such a
strained skin to his face, that it seemed to hold his eyes open and lift
his eyebrows up. A man with a pervading appearance on him of being
inflated like a balloon, and ready to start. A man who could never
sufficiently vaunt himself a self-made man. A man who was continually
proclaiming, through that brassy speaking-trumpet of a voice of his, his
old ignorance and his old poverty. A man who was the Bully of humility."

If we turn from the moral and personal to the menial characteristics of
Mr. Johnson's speeches, we find that his brain is to be classed with
notable cases of arrested development. He has strong forces in his
nature, but in their outlet through his mind they are dissipated into a
confusing clutter of unrelated thoughts and inapplicable phrases. He
seems to possess neither the power nor the perception of coherent
thinking and logical arrangement. He does not appear to be aware that
prepossessions are not proofs, that assertions are not arguments, that
the proper method to answer an objection is not to repeat the
proposition against which the objection was directed, that the proper
method of unfolding a subject is not to make the successive statements a
series of contradictions. Indeed, he seems to have a thoroughly
animalized intellect, destitute of the notion of relations, with ideas
which are but the form of determinations, and which derive their force,
not from reason, but from will. With an individuality thus strong even
to fierceness, but which has not been developed in the mental region,
and which the least gust of passion intellectually upsets, he is
incapable of looking at anything out of relations to himself,--of
regarding it from that neutral ground which is the condition of
intelligent discussion between opposing minds. In truth, he makes a
virtue of being insensible to the evidence of facts and the deductions
of reason, proclaiming to all the world that he has taken his position,
that he will never swerve from it, and that all statements and arguments
intended to shake his resolves are impertinences, indicating that their
authors are radicals and enemies of the country. He is never weary of
vaunting his firmness, and firmness he doubtless has, the firmness of at
least a score of mules; but events have shown that it is a different
kind of firmness from that which keeps a statesman firm to his
principles, a political leader to his pledges, a gentleman to his word.
Amid all changes of opinion, he has been conscious of unchanged will,
and the intellectual element forms so small a portion of his being,
that, when he challenged "the man, woman, or child to come forward" and
convict him of inconstancy to his professions, he knew that, however it
might be with the rest of mankind, he would himself be unconvinced by
any evidence which the said man, woman, or child might adduce. Again,
when he was asked by one of his audiences why he did not hang Jeff
Davis, he retorted by exclaiming, "Why don't you ask me why I have not
hanged Thad Stevens and Wendell Phillips? They are as much traitors as
Davis." And we are almost charitable enough to suppose that he saw no
difference between the moral or legal treason of the man who for four
years had waged open war against the government of the United States,
and the men who for one year had sharply criticised the acts and
utterances of Andrew Johnson. It is not to be expected that nice
distinctions will be made by a magistrate who is in the habit of denying
indisputable facts with the fury of a pugilist who has received a
personal affront, and of announcing demonstrated fallacies with the
imperturbable serenity of a philosopher proclaiming the fundamental laws
of human belief. His brain is entirely ridden by his will, and of all
the public men in the country its official head is the one whose opinion
carries with it the least intellectual weight. It is to the credit of
our institutions and our statesmen that the man least qualified by
largeness of mind and moderation of temper to exercise uncontrolled
power should be the man who aspired to usurp it. The constitutional
instinct in the blood, and the constitutional principle in the brain, of
our real statesmen, preserve them from the folly and guilt of setting
themselves up as imitative Caesars and Napoleons, the moment they are
trusted with a little delegated power.

Still we are told, that, with all his defects, Andrew Johnson is to be
honored and supported as a "conservative" President engaged in a contest
with a "radical" Congress! It happens, however, that the two persons who
specially represent Congress in this struggle are Senators Trumbull and
Fessenden. Senator Trumbull is the author of the two important measures
which the President vetoed; Senator Fessenden is the chairman and organ
of the Committee of Fifteen which the President anathematizes. Now we
desire to do justice to the gravity of face which the partisans of Mr.
Johnson preserve in announcing their most absurd propositions, and
especially do we commend their command of countenance while it is their
privilege to contrast the wild notions and violent speech of such
lawless radicals as the Senator from Illinois and the Senator from
Maine, with the balanced judgment and moderate temper of such a pattern
conservative as the President of the United States. The contrast prompts
ideas so irresistibly ludicrous, that to keep one's risibilities under
austere control while instituting it argues a self-command almost
miraculous.

Andrew Johnson, however, such as he is in heart, intellect, will, and
speech, is the recognized leader of his party, and demands that the
great mass of his partisans shall serve him, not merely by prostration
of body, but by prostration of mind. It is the hard duty of his more
intimate associates to translate his broken utterances from
_Andy-Johnsonese_ into constitutional phrase, to give these versions
some show of logical arrangement, and to carry out, as best they may,
their own objects, while professing boundless devotion to his. By a
sophistical process of developing his rude notions, they often lead him
to conclusions which he had not foreseen, but which they induce him to
make his own, not by a fruitless effort to quicken his mind into
following the steps of their reasoning, but by stimulating his passions
to the point of adopting its results. They thus become parasites in
order that they may become powers, and their interests make them
particularly ruthless in their dealings with their master's consistency.
Their relation to him, if they would bluntly express it, might be
indicated in this brief formula: "We will adore you in order that you
may obey us."

The trouble with these politicians is, that they cannot tie the
President's tongue as they tied the tongues of the eminent personages
they invited from all portions of the country to keep silent at their
great Convention at Philadelphia. That Convention was a masterpiece of
cunning political management; but its Address and Resolutions were
hardly laid at Mr. Johnson's feet, when, in his exultation, he blurted
out that unfortunate remark about "a body called, or which assumed to
be, the Congress of the United States," which, it appears, "we have seen
hanging on the verge of the government." Now all this was in the
Address of the Convention, but it was not so brutally worded, nor so
calculated to appall those timid supporters of the Johnson party who
thought, in their innocence, that the object of the Philadelphia meeting
was to heal the wounds of civil war, and not to lay down a programme by
which it might be reopened. Turning, then, from Mr. Johnson to the
manifesto of his political supporters, let us see what additions it
makes to political wisdom, and what guaranties it affords for future
peace. We shall not discriminate between insurgent States and individual
insurgents, because, when individual insurgents are so overwhelmingly
strong that they carry their States with them, or when States are so
overwhelmingly strong that they force individuals to be insurgents, it
appears to be needless. The terms are often used interchangeably in the
Address, for the Convention was so largely composed of individual
insurgents that it was important to vary a little the charge that they
usurped State powers with the qualification that they obeyed the powers
they usurped. At the South, individual insurgents constitute the State
when they determine to rebel, and obey it when they desire to be
pardoned. An identical thing cannot be altered by giving it two names.

The principle which runs through the Philadelphia Address is, that
insurgent States recover their former rights under the Constitution by
the mere fact of submission. This is equivalent to saying that insurgent
States incurred no guilt in rebellion. But States cannot become
insurgent, unless the authorities of such States commit perjury and
treason, and their people become rebels and public enemies; perjury,
treason, and rebellion are commonly held to be crimes; and who ever
heard, before, that criminals were restored to all the rights of honest
citizens by the mere fact of their arrest?

The doctrine, moreover, is a worse heresy than that of Secession; for
Secession implies that seceded States, being out of the Union, can
plainly only be brought back by conquest, and on such terms as the
victors may choose to impose. No candid Southern Rebel, who believes
that his State seceded, and that he acted under competent authority when
he took up arms against the United States, can have the effrontery to
affirm that he had inherent rights of citizenship in "the foreign
country" against which he plotted and fought for four years. The
so-called "right" of secession was claimed by the South as a
constitutional right, to be peaceably exercised, but it passed into the
broader and more generally intelligible "right" of revolution when it
had to be sustained by war; and the condition of a defeated
revolutionist is certainly not that of a qualified voter in the nation
against which he revolted. But if insurgent States recover their former
rights and privileges when they submit to superior force, there is no
reason why armed rebellion should not be as common as local discontent.
We have, on this principle, sacrificed thirty-five hundred millions of
dollars and three hundred thousand lives, only to bring the insurgent
States into just those "practical relations to the Union" which will
enable us to sacrifice thirty-five hundred millions of dollars more, and
three hundred thousand more lives, when it suits the passions and
caprices of these States to rebel again. Whatever they may do in the way
of disturbing the peace of the country, they can never, it seems,
forfeit their rights and privileges under the Constitution. Even if
everybody was positively certain that there would be a new rebellion in
ten years, unless conditions of representation were exacted of the
South, we still, according to the doctrine of the Johnsonian jurists,
would be constitutionally impotent to exact them, because insurgent
States recover unconditioned rights to representation by the mere fact
of their submitting to the power they can no longer resist. The
acceptance of this principle would make insurrection the chronic disease
of our political system. War would follow war, until nearly all the
wealth of the country was squandered, and nearly all the inhabitants
exterminated. Mr. Johnson's prophetic vision of that Paradise of
constitutionalism, shadowed forth in his exclamation that he would stand
by the Constitution though all around him should perish, would be
measurably realized; and among the ruins of the nation a few haggard and
ragged pedants would be left to drone out eulogies on "the glorious
Constitution" which had survived unharmed the anarchy, poverty, and
depopulation it had produced. An interpretation of the Constitution
which thus makes it the shield of treason and the destroyer of
civilization must be false both to fact and sense. The framers of that
instrument were not idiots; yet idiots they would certainly have been,
if they had put into it a clause declaring "that no State, or
combination of States, which may at any time choose to get up an armed
attempt to overthrow the government established by this Constitution,
and be defeated in the attempt, shall forfeit any of the privileges
granted by this instrument to loyal States." But an interpretation of
the Constitution which can be conceived of as forming a possible part of
it only by impeaching the sanity of its framers, cannot be an
interpretation which the American people are morally bound to risk ruin
to support.

But even if we should be wild enough to admit the Johnsonian principle
respecting insurgent States, the question comes up as to the identity of
the States now demanding representation with the States whose rights of
representation are affirmed to have been only suspended during their
rebellion. The fact would seem to be, that these reconstructed States
are merely the creations of the executive branch of the government, with
every organic bond hopelessly cut which connected them with the old
State governments and constitutions. They have only the names of the
States they pretend to _be_. Before the Rebellion, they had a legal
people; when Mr. Johnson took hold of them, they had nothing but a
disorganized population. Out of this population he by his own will
created a people, on the principle, we must suppose, of natural
selection. Now, to decide who are the people of a State is to create its
very foundations,--to begin anew in the most comprehensive sense of the
word; for the being of a State is more in its people, that is, in the
persons selected from its inhabitants to be the depositaries of its
political power, than it is in its geographical boundaries and area.
Over this people thus constituted by himself, Mr. Johnson set
Provisional Governors nominated by himself. These Governors called
popular conventions, whose members were elected by the votes of those to
whom Mr. Johnson had given the right of suffrage; and these conventions
proceeded to do what Mr. Johnson dictated. Everywhere Mr. Johnson;
nowhere the assumed rights of the States! North Carolina was one of
these creations; and North Carolina, through the lips of its Chief
Justice, has already decided that Mr. Johnson was an unauthorized
intruder, and his work a nullity, and even Mr. Johnson's "people" of
North Carolina have rejected the constitution framed by Mr. Johnson's
Convention. Other Rebel communities will doubtless repudiate his work,
as soon as they can dispense with his assistance. But whatever may be
the condition of these new Johnsonian States, they are certainly not
States which can "recover" rights which existed previous to their
creation. The date of their birth is to be reckoned, not from any year
previous to the Rebellion, but from the year which followed its
suppression. It may, in old times, have been a politic trick of shrewd
politicians, to involve the foundations of States in the mists of a
mythical antiquity; but we happily live in an historical period, and
there is something peculiarly stupid or peculiarly impudent in the
attempt of the publicists of the Philadelphia Convention to ignore the
origins of political societies for which, after they have obtained a
certain degree of organization, they claim such eminent traditional
rights and privileges. Respectable as these States may be as infant
phenomena, it will not do to _Methuselahize_ them too recklessly, or
assert their equality in muscle and brawn with giants full grown.

It is evident, from the nature of the case, that Mr. Johnson's labors
were purely experimental and provisional, and needed the indorsement of
Congress to be of any force. The only department of the government
constitutionally capable to admit new States or rehabilitate insurgent
ones is the legislative. When the Executive not only took the initiative
in reconstruction, but assumed to have completed it; when he presented
_his_ States to Congress as the equals of the States represented in that
body; when he asserted that the delegates from his States should have
the right of sitting and voting in the legislature whose business it was
to decide on their right to admission; when, in short, he demanded that
criminals at the bar should have a seat on the bench, and an equal voice
with the judges, in deciding on their own case, the effrontery of
Executive pretension went beyond all bounds of Congressional endurance.

The real difference at first was not on the question of imposing
conditions,--for the President had notoriously imposed them
himself,--but on the question whether or not additional conditions were
necessary to secure the public safety. The President, with that facility
"in turning his back on himself" which all other logical gymnasts had
pronounced an impossible feat, then boldly look the ground, that, being
satisfied with the conditions he had himself exacted, the exaction of
conditions was unconstitutional. To sustain this curious proposition he
adduced no constitutional arguments, but he left various copies of the
Constitution in each of the crowds he recently addressed, with the
trust, we suppose, that somebody might be fortunate enough to find in
that instrument the clause which supported his theory. Mr. Johnson,
however, though the most consequential of individuals, is the most
inconsequential of reasoners; every proposition which is evident to
himself he considers to fulfil the definition of a self-evident
proposition; but his supporters at Philadelphia must have known, that,
in affirming that insurgent States recover their former rights by the
fact of submission, they were arraigning the conduct of their leader,
who had notoriously violated those "rights." They took up his work at a
certain stage, and then, with that as a basis, they affirmed a general
proposition about insurgent States, which, had it been complied with by
the President, would have left them no foundation at all; for the States
about which they so glibly generalized would have had no show of
organized governments. The premises of their argument were obtained by
the violation of its conclusion; they inferred from what was a negation
of their inference, and deduced from what was a death-blow to their
deduction.

It is easy enough to understand why the Johnson Convention asserted the
equality of the Johnson reconstructions of States with the States now
represented in Congress. The object was to give some appearance of
legality to a contemplated act of arbitrary power, and the principle
that insurgent States recover all their old rights by the fact of
submission was invented in order to cover the case. Mr. Johnson now
intends, by the admission of his partisans, to attempt a _coup d'état_
on the assembling of the Fortieth Congress, in case seventy-one members
of the House of Representatives, favorable to his policy, are chosen, in
the elections of this autumn, from the twenty-six loyal States. These,
with the fifty Southern delegates, would constitute a quorum of the
House; and the remaining hundred and nineteen members are, in the
President's favorite phrase, "to be kicked out" from that "verge" of the
government on which they now are said to be "hanging." The question,
therefore, whether Congress, as it is at present constituted, is a body
constitutionally competent to legislate for the whole country, is the
most important of all practical questions. Let us see how the case
stands.

The Constitution, ratified by the people of all the States, establishes
a government of sovereign powers, supreme over the whole land, and the
people of no State can rightly pass from under its authority except by
the consent of the people of all the States, with whom it is bound by
the most solemn and binding of contracts. The Rebel States broke, _in
fact_, the contract they could not break _in right_. Assembled in
conventions of their people, they passed ordinances of secession,
withdrew their Senators and Representatives from Congress, and began the
war by assailing a fort of the United States. The Secessionists had
trusted to the silence of the Constitution in relation to the act they
performed. A State in the American Union, as distinguished from a
Territory, is constitutionally a part of the government to which it owes
allegiance, and the seceded States had refused to be parts of the
government, and had forsworn their allegiance. By the Constitution, the
United States, in cases of "domestic violence" in a State, is to
interfere, "on application of the Legislature, or of the Executive when
the Legislature cannot be convened." But in this case legislatures,
executives, conventions of the people, were all violators of the
domestic peace, and of course made no application for interference. By
the Constitution, Congress is empowered to suppress insurrections; but
this might be supposed to mean insurrections like Shays's Rebellion in
Massachusetts and the Whiskey Insurrection in Pennsylvania, and not to
cover the action of States seceding from the Congress which is thus
empowered. The seceders, therefore, felt somewhat as did the absconding
James II. when he flung the Great Seal into the Thames, and thought he
had stopped the machinery of the English government.

Mr. Buchanan, then President of the United States, admitted at once that
the Secessionists had done their work in such a way that, though they
had done wrong, the government was powerless to compel them to do right.
And here the matter should have rested, if the government established by
the Constitution was such a government as Mr. Johnson's supporters now
declare it to be. If it is impotent to prescribe terms of peace in
relation to insurgent States, it is certainly impotent to make war on
insurgent States. If insurgent States recover their former
constitutional rights in laying down their arms, then there was no
criminality in their taking them up; and if there was no criminality in
their taking them up, then the United States was criminal in the war by
which they were forced to lay them down. On this theory we have a
government incompetent to legislate for insurgent States, because
lacking their representatives, waging against them a cruel and unjust
war. And this is the real theory of the defeated Rebels and Copperheads
who formed the great mass of the delegates to the Johnson Convention.
Should they get into power, they would feel themselves logically
justified in annulling, not only all the acts of the "Rump Congress"
since they submitted, but all the acts of the Rump Congresses during the
time they had a Confederate Congress of their own. They may deny that
this is their intention; but what intention to forego the exercise of an
assumed right, held by those who are out of power, can be supposed
capable of limiting their action when they are in?

But if the United States is a government having legitimate rights of
sovereignty conferred upon it by the people of all the States, and if,
consequently, the attempted secession of the people of one or more
States only makes them criminals, without impairing the sovereignty of
the United States, then the government, with all its powers, remains
with the representatives of the loyal people. By the very nature of
government as government, the rights and privileges guaranteed to
citizens are guaranteed to loyal citizens; the rights and privileges
guaranteed to States are guaranteed to loyal States; and loyal citizens
and loyal States are not such as profess a willingness to be loyal after
having been utterly worsted in an enterprise of gigantic disloyalty. The
organic unity and continuity of the government would be broken by the
return of disloyal citizens and Rebel States without their going through
the process of being restored by the action of the government they had
attempted to subvert; and the power to restore carries with it the power
to decide on the terms of restoration. And when we speak of the
government, we are not courtly enough to mean by the expression simply
its executive branch. The question of admitting and implicitly of
restoring States, and of deciding whether or not States have a
republican form of government, are matters left by the Constitution to
the discretion of Congress. As to the Rebel States now claiming
representation, they have succumbed, thoroughly exhausted, in one of the
costliest and bloodiest wars in the history of the world,--a war which
tasked the resources of the United States more than they would have been
tasked by a war with all the great powers of Europe combined,--a war
which, in 1862, had assumed such proportions, that the Supreme Court
decided that it gave the United States the same rights and privileges
which the government might exercise in the case of a national and
foreign war. The inhabitants of the insurgent States being thus
judicially declared public enemies as well as Rebels, there would seem
to be no doubt at all that the victorious close of actual hostilities
could not deprive the government of the power of deciding on the terms
of peace with public enemies. The government of the United States found
the insurgent States thoroughly revolutionized and disorganized, with no
State governments which could be recognized without recognizing the
validity of treason, and without the power or right to take even the
initial steps for State reorganization. They were practically out of the
Union as States; their State governments had lapsed; their population
was composed of Rebels and public enemies, by the decision of the
Supreme Court. Under such circumstances, how the Commander-in-Chief,
under Congress, of the forces of the United States could re-create these
defunct States, and make it mandatory on Congress to receive their
delegates, has always appeared to us one of those mysteries of unreason
which require faculties either above or below humanity to accept. In
addition to this fundamental objection, there was the further one, that
almost all of the delegates were Rebels presidentially pardoned into
"loyal men," were elected with the idea of forcing Congress to repeal
the test oath, and were incapacitated to be legislators even if they had
been sent from loyal States. The few who were loyal men in the sense
that they had not served the Rebel government, were still palpably
elected by constituents who had; and the character of the constituency
is as legitimate a subject of Congressional inquiry as the character of
the representative.

It not being true, then, that the twenty-two hundred thousand loyal
voters who placed Mr. Johnson in office, and whom he betrayed, have no
means by their representatives in Congress to exert a controlling power
in the reconstruction of the Rebel communities, the question comes up as
to the conditions which Congress has imposed. It always appeared to us
that the true measure of conciliation, of security, of mercy, of
justice, was one which would combine the principle of universal amnesty,
or an amnesty nearly universal, with that of universal, or at least of
impartial suffrage. In regard to amnesty, the amendment to the
Constitution which Congress has passed disqualifies no Rebels from
voting, and only disqualifies them from holding office when they have
happened to add perjury to treason. In regard to suffrage, it makes it
for the political interest of the South to be just to its colored
citizens, by basing representation on voters, and not on population, and
thus places the indulgence of class prejudices and hatreds under the
penalty of a corresponding loss of political power in the Electoral
College and the National House of Representatives. If the Rebel States
should be restored without this amendment becoming a part of the
Constitution, then the recent Slave States will have thirty Presidential
Electors and thirty members of the House of Representatives in virtue of
a population they disfranchise, and the vote of a Rebel white in South
Carolina will carry with it more than double the power of a loyal white
in Massachusetts or Ohio. The only ground on which this disparity can be
defended is, that as "one Southerner is more than a match for two
Yankees," he has an inherent, continuous, unconditioned right to have
this superiority recognized at the ballot-box. Indeed, the injustice of
this is so monstrous, that the Johnson orators find it more convenient
to decry all conditions of representation than to meet the
incontrovertible reasons for exacting the condition which bases
representation on voters. Not to make it a part of the Constitution
would be, in Mr. Shellabarger's vivid illustration, to allow "that Lee's
vote should have double the elective power of Grant's; Semmes's double
that of Farragut's; _Booth's--did he live--double that of Lincoln's, his
victim!_"

It is also to be considered that these thirty votes would, in almost all
future sessions of Congress, decide the fate of the most important
measures. In 1862 the Republicans, as Congress is now constituted, only
had a majority of twenty votes. In alliance with the Northern Democratic
party, the South with these thirty votes might repeal the Civil Rights
Bill, the principle of which is embodied in the proposed amendment. It
might assume the Rebel debt, which is repudiated in that amendment. It
might even repudiate the Federal debt, which is affirmed in that
amendment. We are so accustomed to look at the Rebel debt as dead beyond
all power of resurrection, as to forget that it amounts, with the
valuation of the emancipated slaves, to some four thousand millions of
dollars. If the South and its Northern Democratic allies should come
into power, there is a strong probability that a measure would be
brought in to assume at least a portion of this debt,--say two thousand
millions. The Southern members would be nearly a unit for assumption,
and the Northern Democratic members would certainly be exposed to the
most frightful temptation that legislators ever had to resist. Suppose
it were necessary to buy fifty members at a million of dollars apiece,
that sum would only be two and a half per cent of the whole. Suppose it
were necessary to give them ten millions apiece, even that would only be
a deduction of twenty-five per cent from a claim worthless without their
votes. The bribery might be conducted in such a way as to elude
discovery, if not suspicion, and the measure would certainly be
trumpeted all over the North as the grandest of all acts of
statesmanlike "conciliation," binding the South to the Union in
indissoluble bonds of interest. The amendment renders the conversion of
the Rebel debt into the most enormous of all corruption funds an
impossibility.

But the character and necessity of the amendment are too well understood
to need explanation, enforcement, or defence. If it, or some more
stringent one, be not adopted, the loyal people will be tricked out of
the fruits of the war they have waged at the expense of such unexampled
sacrifices of treasure and blood. It never will be adopted unless it be
practically made a condition of the restoration of the Rebel States; and
for the unconditioned restoration of those States the President, through
his most trusted supporters, has indicated his intention to venture a
_coup d'état_. This threat has failed doubly of its purpose. The timid,
whom it was expected to frighten, it has simply scared into the
reception of the idea that the only way to escape civil war is by the
election of over a hundred and twenty Republican Representatives to the
Fortieth Congress. The courageous, whom it was intended to defy, it has
only exasperated into more strenuous efforts against the insolent
renegade who had the audacity to make it.

Everywhere in the loyal States there is an uprising of the people only
paralleled by the grand uprising of 1861. The President's plan of
reconstruction having passed from a policy into a conspiracy, his chief
supporters are now not so much his partisans as his accomplices; and
against him and his accomplices the people will this autumn indignantly
record the most overwhelming of verdicts.



ART.

MARSHALL'S PORTRAIT OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN.


When we consider the conditions under which the art of successful
line-engraving is attained, the amount and quality of artistic knowledge
implied, the years of patient, unwearied application imperiously
demanded, the numerous manual difficulties to be overcome, and the
technical skill to be acquired, it is not surprising that the names of
so few engravers should be pre-eminent and familiar.

In our own country, at least, the instinct and habit of the people do
not favor the growth and perfection of an art only possible under such
conditions.

So fully and satisfactorily, however, have these demands been met in
Marshall's line-engraving of the head of Abraham Lincoln, executed after
Mr. Marshall's own painting, that we are induced to these preliminary
thoughts as much by a sense of national pride as of delight and
surprise.

Our admiration of the engraving is first due to its value as a likeness;
for it is only when the heart rests from a full and satisfied
contemplation of the face endeared to us all, that we can regard it for
its artistic worth.

Mr. Marshall did not need this last work, to rank him at the head of
American engravers; for his portraits of Washington and Fenimore Cooper
had done that already; but it has lifted him to a place with the
foremost engravers of the world.

The greatness and glory of his success, in this instance, are to be
measured by the inherent difficulties in the subject itself.

The intellectual and physical traits of Abraham Lincoln were such as the
world had never seen before. Original, peculiar, and anomalous, they
seemed incapable of analysis and classification.

While the keen, comprehensive intellect within that broad, grand
forehead was struggling with the great problems of national fate, other
faculties of the same organization, strongly marked in the lower
features of his face, seemed to be making light of the whole matter.

His character and the physical expression of it were unique, and yet
made up of the most complex elements;--simple, yet incomprehensible;
strong, yet gentle; inflexible, yet conciliating; human, yet most rare;
the strangest, and yet for all in all the most lovable, character in
history.

To represent this man, to embody these characteristics, was the work
prescribed the artist. Instead of being fetters, these contradictions
seem to have been incentives to the artist. Justice to himself, as to an
American who loved Lincoln, and justice to the great man, the truest
American of his time, appear also to have been his inspiration.

Neglected now, this golden opportunity might be lost forever, and the
future be haunted by an ideal only, and never be familiarized with the
plain, good face we knew. For what could the future make of all these
caricatures and uncouth efforts at portraiture, rendered only more
grotesque when stretched upon the rack of a thousand canvases? No less a
benefactor to art than to humanity is he who shall deliver the world of
these.

The artist has chosen, with admirable judgment, a quiet, restful,
familiar phase of Mr. Lincoln's life, with the social and genial
sentiments of his nature at play, rather than some more impressive and
startling hour of his public life, when a victory was gained, or an
immortal sentence uttered at Gettysburg or the Capitol, or when, as the
great Emancipator, he walked with his liberated children through the
applauding streets of Richmond. It was tempting to paint him as
President, but triumphant to represent him as a man.

Though the face is wanting in the crowning glory of the dramatic, the
romantic, the picturesque,--elements so fascinating to an artist,--we
still feel no loss in the absence of these; for Mr. Marshall has found
abundant material in the rich and varied qualities that Mr. Lincoln did
possess, and has treated them with the loftier sense of justice and
truth, he has employed no adventitious agencies to give brilliancy or
emphasis to any salient point in the character of the man he portrays;
he has treated Mr. Lincoln as he found him; he has interpreted him as he
would have interpreted himself; in inspiration, in execution, and in
result, he thought of none other, he labored for none other, he has
given us none other, than simple, honest Abraham Lincoln.

Were all the biographies and estimates of the President's character to
be lost, it would seem as if, from this picture alone, the
distinguishing qualities of his head and heart might be saved to the
knowledge of the future; for a rarer exhibition seems impossible of the
power of imparting inner spiritual states to outward physical
expression.

As a work of art, we repeat, this is beyond question the finest instance
of line-engraving yet executed on this continent. Free from carelessness
or coarseness, it is yet strong and emphatic; exquisitely finished, yet
without painful over-elaboration; with no weary monotony of parallel
lines to fill a given space, and no unrelieved masses of shade merely
because here must the shadow fall.

As a likeness, it is complete and final. Coming generations will know
Abraham Lincoln by this picture, and will tenderly and lovingly regard
it; for all that art could do to save and perpetuate this lamented man
has here been done. What it lacks, art is incapable to express; what it
has lost, memory is powerless to restore.

There is, at least, some temporary solace to a bereaved country in
this,--that so much has been saved from the remorseless demands of
Death; though the old grief will ever come back to its still uncomforted
heart, when it turns to that tomb by the Western prairie, within whose
sacred silence so much sweetness and kindly sympathy and unaffected love
have passed away, and the strange pathos, that we could not understand,
and least of all remove, has faded forever from those sorrowful eyes.



REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.


     _Six Months at the White House with Abraham Lincoln. The
     Story of a Picture._ By F. B. CARPENTER. New York: Hurd and
     Houghton.

The grandeur which can survive proximity was peculiarly Abraham
Lincoln's. Had that great and simple hero had a valet,--it is hard to
conceive of him as so attended,--he must still have been a hero even to
the eye grown severe in dusting clothes and brushing shoes. Indeed,
first and last, he was subjected to very critical examination by the
valet-spirit throughout the world; and he seems to have passed it
triumphantly, for all our native valets, North and South, as well as
those of the English press, have long since united in honoring him.

We see him in this book of Mr. Carpenter's to that advantage which
perfect unaffectedness and sincerity can never lose. It is certainly a
very pathetic figure, however, that the painter presents us, and not to
be contemplated without sadness and that keen sense of personal loss
which we all felt in the death of Abraham Lincoln. During the time that
Mr. Carpenter was making studies for his picture of the President
signing the Emancipation Proclamation, he was in daily contact with
him,--saw him in consultation with his Cabinet, at play with his
children, receiving office-seekers of all kinds, granting many favors to
poor and friendless people, snubbing Secession insolence, and bearing
patiently much impertinence from every source,--jesting, laughing,
lamenting. It is singular that, in all these aspects of his character,
there is no want of true dignity, though there is an utter absence of
state,--and that we behold nothing of the man Lincoln was once doubted
to be, but only a person of noble simplicity, cautious but steadfast,
shrinking from none of the burdens that almost crushed him, profoundly
true to his faith in the people, while surveying the awful calamity of
the war with

         "Anxious, pitying eyes,
    As if he always listened to the sighs
    Of the goaded world."

We have read Mr. Carpenter's book through with an interest chiefly due,
we believe, to the subject; for though the author had the faculty to
observe and to note characteristic and striking things, he has not the
literary art to present them adequately. His style is compact of the
manner of the local reporters and the Sunday-school books. If he depicts
a pathetic scene, he presently farces it by adding that "there was not a
dry eye among those that witnessed it," and goody-goody dwells in the
spirit and letter of all his attempts to portray the religious character
of the President. It is greatly to his credit, however, that his
observation is employed with discretion and delicacy; and as he rarely
lapses from good taste concerning things to be mentioned, we readily
forgive him his want of grace in recounting the incidents which go to
form his entertaining and valuable book.


     _Inside: a Chronicle of Secession._ By GEORGE F. HARRINGTON.
     New York: Harper and Brothers.

The author of this novel tells us that it was written in the heart of
the rebellious territory during the late war, and that his wife
habitually carried the manuscript to church with her in her pocket,
while on one occasion he was obliged to bury it in the ground to
preserve it from the insidious foe. These facts, in themselves
startling, appear yet more extraordinary on perusal of the volume, in
which there seems to be nothing of perilous value. Nevertheless, to the
ill-regulated imagination of the Rebels, this novel might have appeared
a very dangerous thing, to be kept from ever seeing the light in the
North by all the means in their power; and we are not ready to say that
Mr. Harrington's precautions, though unusual, were excessive. It is true
that we see no reason why he should not have kept the material in his
mind, and tranquilly written it out after the war was over.

Let us not, however, give too slight an idea of the book's value because
the Preface is silly. The story is sluggish, it must be confessed, and
does not in the least move us. But the author has made a very careful
study of his subject, and shows so genuine a feeling for character and
manner that we accept his work as a faithful picture of the life he
attempts to portray. Should he write another fiction, he will probably
form his style less visibly upon that of Thackeray, though it is
something in his favor that he betrays admiration for so great a master
even by palpable imitation; and we hope he will remember that a story,
however slender, must be coherent. In the present novel, we think the
characters of Colonel Juggins and his wife done with masterly touches;
and General Lamum, politician pure and simple, is also excellent.
Brother Barker, of the hard-shell type, is less original, though good;
while Captain Simmons, Colonel Ret Roberts, and other village idlers and
great men, seem admirably true to nature. Except for some absurd
melodrama, the tone of the book is quiet and pleasant, and there is here
and there in it a vein of real pathos and humor.


     _Royal Truths._ By HENRY WARD BEECHER. Boston: Ticknor and
     Fields.

We imagine that most readers, in turning over the pages of this volume,
will not be greatly struck by the novelty of the truths urged. Indeed,
they are very old truths, and they contain the precepts which we all
know and neglect. Except that the present preacher was qualified to
illustrate them with original force and clearness, he might well have
left them untouched. As it is, however, we think that every one who
reads a page in the book will learn to honor the faculty that presents
them. It is not because Mr. Beecher reproves hatred, false-witness,
lust, envy, and covetousness, that he is so successful in his office. We
all do this, and dislike sin in our neighbors; but it is his power of
directly reproving these evils in each one of us that gives his words so
great weight. He of course does this by varying means and with varying
effect. Here we have detached passages from many different
discourses,--not invariably selected with perfect judgment, but
affording for this reason a better idea of his range and capacity. That
given is not always of his best; but, for all this, it may have been the
best for some of those who heard it. In the changing topics and style of
the innumerable extracts in this volume, we find passages of pure
sublimity, of solemn and pathetic eloquence, of flower-like grace and
sweetness, followed by exhortations apparently modelled upon those of
Mr. Chadband, but doubtless comforting and edifying to Mrs. Snagsby in
the congregation, and not, we suppose, without use to Mrs. Snagsby in
the parlor where she sits down to peruse the volume on Sunday afternoon.
For according to the story which Mr. Beecher tells his publishers in a
very pleasant prefatory letter, this compilation was made in England,
where it attained great popularity among those who never heard the
preacher, and who found satisfaction in the first-rate or the
second-rate, without being moved by the arts of oratory. Indeed, the
book is one that must everywhere be welcome, both for its manner and for
its matter. The application of the "Truths" is generally enforced by a
felicitous apologue or figure; in some cases the lesson is conveyed in a
beautiful metaphor standing alone. The extracts are brief, and the
point, never wanting, is moral, not doctrinal.


     _The Language of Flowers._ Edited by MISS ILDREWE. Boston:
     De Vries, Ibarra, & Co.

Margaret Fuller said that everybody liked gossip, and the only
difference was in the choice of a subject. A bookful of gossip about
flowers--their loves and hates, thoughts and feelings, genealogy and
cousinships--is certainly always attractive. Who does not like to hear
that Samphire comes from Saint-Pierre, and Tansy from Athanasie, and
that Jerusalem Artichokes are a kind of sunflower, whose baptismal name
is a corruption of _girasole_, and simply describes the flower's love
for the sun? Does this explain all the Jerusalems which are scattered
through our popular flora,--as Jerusalem Beans and Jerusalem Cherries?
The common theory has been that the sons of the Puritans, by a slight
theological reaction, called everything which was not quite genuine on
week-days by that name which sometimes wearied them on Sundays.

It is pleasant also to be reminded that our common Yarrow (_Achillea
millefolium_) dates back to Achilles, who used it to cure his wounded
friend, and that Mint is simply Menthe, transformed to a plant by the
jealous Proserpine. It is refreshing to know that Solomon's Seal was so
named by reason of the marks on its root; and that this root, according
to the old herbalists, "stamped while it is fresh and greene, and
applied, taketh away in one night, or two at the most, any bruse, black
or blew spots gotten by falls, or woman's wilfulness in stumbling upon
their hasty husband's fists, or such like." It was surely a generous
thing in Solomon, who set his seal of approbation upon the rod, to
furnish in that same signet a balm for injuries like these.

This pretty gift-book is the first really American contribution to the
language of flowers. It has many graceful and some showy illustrations;
its floral emblems are not all exotic; and though the editor's
appellation may at first seem so, a simple application of the laws of
anagram will reveal a name quite familiar, in America, to all lovers of
things horticultural.


     _The American Annual Cyclopædia and Register of Important
     Events of the Year 1865._ New York: D. Appleton & Co.

Several articles in this volume give it an unusual interest and value.
The paper on Cholera is not the kind of reading to which one could have
turned with cheerfulness last July, from a repast of summer vegetables
and hurried fruits; nor can that on Trichinosis be pleasant to the
friend of pork; but they are both clearly and succinctly written, and
will contribute to the popular understanding of the dangers which they
discuss.

The Cyclopædia, however, has its chief merit in those articles which
present _resumés_ of the past year's events in politics, literature,
science, and art. The one on the last-named subject is less complete
than could be wished, and is written in rather slovenly English; but the
article on literature is very full and satisfactory. A great mass of
biographical matter is presented under the title of "Obituaries," but
more extended notices of more distinguished persons are given under the
proper names. Among the latter are accounts of the lives and public
services of Lincoln, Everett, Palmerston, Cobden, and Corwin; and of the
lives and literary works of Miss Bremer, Mrs. Gaskell, Hildreth,
Proudhon, etc. The article on Corwin is too slight for the subject, and
the notice of Hildreth, who enjoyed a great repute both in this country
and in Europe, is scant and inadequate. Under the title of "Army
Operations," a fair synopsis of the history of the last months of the
war is given; and, as a whole, the Cyclopædia is a valuable, if not
altogether complete, review of the events of 1865.


     _History of the Atlantic Telegraph._ By HENRY M. FIELD, D.
     D. New York: Charles Scribner & Co.

Why Columbus should have been at the trouble to sail from the Old World
in order to find a nearer path to it, as our author states in his
opening chapter, he will probably explain in the future edition in which
he will chastise the occasionally ambitious writing of this. His book is
a most interesting narrative of all the events in the history of
telegraphic communication between Europe and America, and has the double
claim upon the reader of an important theme and an attractive treatment
of it. Now that the great nervous cord running from one centre of the
world's life to the other is quick with constant sensation, the wonder
of its existence may fade from our minds; and it is well for us to
remember how many failures--involving all the virtue of triumph--went
before the final success. And it cannot but be forever gratifying to our
national pride, that, although the idea of the Atlantic telegraph
originated in Newfoundland, and was mainly realized through the patience
of British enterprise, yet the first substantial encouragement which it
received was from Americans, and that it was an American whose heroic
perseverance so united his name with this idea that Cyrus W. Field and
the Atlantic cable are not to be dissociated in men's minds in this or
any time.

Our author has not only very interestingly reminded us of all this, but
he has done it with a good judgment which we must applaud. His brother
was the master-spirit of the whole enterprise; but, while he has
contrived to do him perfect justice, he has accomplished the end with an
unfailing sense of the worth of the constant support and encouragement
given by others.

The story is one gratifying to our national love of adventurous material
and scientific enterprise, as well as to our national pride. We hardly
know, however, if it should be a matter of regret that neither on the
one account nor on the other are we able to receive the facts of the
cable's success and existence with the effusion with which we hailed
them in 1858. Blighting De Sauty, suspense, and scepticism succeeded the
rapture and pyrotechnics of those joyful days; and in the mean time we
have grown so much that to be electrically united with England does not
impart to us the fine thrill that the hope of it once did. Indeed, the
jubilation over the cable's success seems at last to have been chiefly
on the side of the Englishmen, who found our earlier enthusiasm rather
absurd, but who have since learned to value us, and just now can
scarcely make us compliments enough.



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software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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