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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 20, No. 121, November, 1867
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 20, No. 121, November, 1867" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

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



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


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1867, by TICKNOR AND
FIELDS, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of

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




Lawyer Penhallow was seated in his study, his day's work over, his feet
in slippers, after the comfortable but inelegant fashion which Sir
Walter Scott reprobates, amusing himself with a volume of old Reports.
He was a knowing man enough, a keen country lawyer, but honest, and
therefore less ready to suspect the honesty of others. He had a great
belief in his young partner's ability, and, though he knew him to be
astute, did not think him capable of roguery.

It was at his request that Mr. Bradshaw had undertaken his journey,
which, as he believed,--and as Mr. Bradshaw had still stronger evidence
of a strictly confidential nature which led him to feel sure,--would end
in the final settlement of the great land claim in favor of their
client. The case had been dragging along from year to year, like an
English chancery suit; and while courts and lawyers and witnesses had
been sleeping, the property had been steadily growing. A railroad had
passed close to one margin of the township, some mines had been opened
in the county, in which a village calling itself a city had grown big
enough to have a newspaper and Fourth of July orations. It was plain
that the successful issue of the long process would make the heirs of
the late Malachi Withers possessors of an ample fortune, and it was also
plain that the firm of Penhallow and Bradshaw were like to receive, in
such case, the largest fee that had gladdened the professional existence
of its members.

Mr. Penhallow had his book open before him, but his thoughts were
wandering from the page. He was thinking of his absent partner, and the
probable results of his expedition. What would be the consequence if all
this property came into the possession of Silence Withers? Could she
have any liberal intentions with reference to Myrtle Hazard, the young
girl who had grown up with her, or was the common impression true, that
she was bent on endowing an institution, and thus securing for herself a
favorable consideration in the higher courts, where her beneficiaries
would be, it might be supposed, influential advocates? He could not help
thinking that Mr. Bradshaw believed that Myrtle Hazard would eventually
come to a part at least of this inheritance. For the story was, that he
was paying his court to the young lady whenever he got an opportunity,
and that he was cultivating an intimacy with Miss Cynthia Badlam.
"Bradshaw wouldn't make a move in that direction," Mr. Penhallow said to
himself, "until he felt pretty sure that it was going to be a paying
business. If he was only a young minister now, there'd be no difficulty
about it. Let any man, young or old, in a clerical white cravat, step up
to Myrtle Hazard, and ask her to be miserable in his company through
this wretched life, and Aunt Silence would very likely give them her
blessing, and add something to it that the man in the white cravat would
think worth even more than that was. But I don't know what she'll say to
Bradshaw. Perhaps he'd better have a hint to go to meeting a little more
regularly. However, I suppose he knows what he's about."

He was thinking all this over when a visitor was announced, and Mr.
Byles Gridley entered the study.

"Good evening, Mr. Penhallow," Mr. Gridley said, wiping his forehead.
"Quite warm, isn't it, this evening?"

"Warm!" said Mr. Penhallow, "I should think it would freeze pretty thick
to-night. I should have asked you to come up to the fire and warm
yourself. But take off your coat, Mr. Gridley,--very glad to see you.
You don't come to the house half as often as you come to the office. Sit
down, sit down."

Mr. Gridley took off his outside coat and sat down. "He does look warm,
doesn't he?" Mr. Penhallow thought. "Wonder what has heated up the old
gentleman so. Find out quick enough, for he always goes straight to

"Mr. Penhallow," Mr. Gridley began at once, "I have come on a very grave
matter, in which you are interested as well as myself, and I wish to
lay the whole of it before you as explicitly as I can, so that we may
settle this night before I go what is to be done. I am afraid the good
standing of your partner, Mr. William Murray Bradshaw, is concerned in
the matter. Would it be a surprise to you, if he had carried his
acuteness in some particular case like the one I am to mention beyond
the prescribed limits?"

The question was put so diplomatically that there was no chance for an
indignant denial of the possibility of Mr. Bradshaw's being involved in
any discreditable transaction.

"It is possible," he answered, "that Bradshaw's keen wits may have
betrayed him into sharper practice than I should altogether approve in
any business we carried on together. He is a very knowing young man, but
I can't think he is foolish enough, to say nothing of his honesty, to
make any false step of the kind you seem to hint. I think he might on
occasion go pretty near the line, but I don't believe he would cross

"Permit me a few questions, Mr. Penhallow. You settled the estate of the
late Malachi Withers, did you not?"

"Mr. Wibird and myself settled it together."

"Have you received any papers from any of the family since the
settlement of the estate?"

"Let me see. Yes; a roll of old plans of the Withers Place, and so
forth,--not of much use, but labelled and kept. An old trunk with
letters and account-books, some of them in Dutch,--mere curiosities. A
year ago or more, I remember that Silence sent me over some papers she
had found in an odd corner,--the old man hid things like a magpie. I
looked over most of them,--trumpery not worth keeping,--old leases and
so forth."

"Do you recollect giving some of them to Mr. Bradshaw to look over?"

"Now I come to think of it, I believe I did; but he reported to me, if I
remember right, that they amounted to nothing."

"If any of those papers were of importance, should you think your junior
partner ought to keep them from your knowledge?"

"I need not answer that question, Mr. Gridley. Will you be so good as to
come at once to the facts on which you found your suspicions, and which
lead you to put these questions to me?"

Thereupon Mr. Gridley proceeded to state succinctly the singular
behavior of Murray Bradshaw in taking one paper from a number handed to
him by Mr. Penhallow, and concealing it in a volume. He related how he
was just on the point of taking out the volume which contained the
paper, when Mr. Bradshaw entered and disconcerted him. He had, however,
noticed three spots on the paper by which he should know it anywhere. He
then repeated the substance of Kitty Fagan's story, accenting the fact
that she too noticed three remarkable spots on the paper which Mr.
Bradshaw had pointed out to Miss Badlam as the one so important to both
of them. Here he rested the case for the moment.

Mr. Penhallow looked thoughtful. There was something questionable in the
aspect of this business. It did obviously suggest the idea of an
underhand arrangement with Miss Cynthia, possibly involving some very
grave consequences. It would have been most desirable, he said, to have
ascertained what these papers, or rather this particular paper, to which
so much importance was attached, amounted to. Without that knowledge
there was nothing, after all, which it might not be possible to explain.
He might have laid aside the spotted paper to examine for some object of
mere curiosity. It was certainly odd that the one the Fagan woman had
seen should present three spots so like those on the other paper, but
people did sometimes throw _treys_ at backgammon, and that which not
rarely happened with two dice of six faces _might_ happen if they had
sixty or six hundred faces. On the whole, he did not see that there was
any ground, so far, for anything more than a vague suspicion. He
thought it not unlikely that Mr. Bradshaw was a little smitten with the
young lady up at The Poplars, and that he had made some diplomatic
overtures to the duenna, after the approved method of suitors. She was
young for Bradshaw,--very young,--but he knew his own affairs. If he
chose to make love to a child, it was natural enough that he should
begin by courting her nurse.

Master Byles Gridley lost himself for half a minute in a most
discreditable inward discussion as to whether Laura Penhallow was
probably one or two years older than Mr. Bradshaw. That was his way,--he
could not help it. He could not think of anything without these mental
parentheses. But he came back to business at the end of his half-minute.

"I can lay the package before you at this moment, Mr. Penhallow. I have
induced that woman in whose charge it was left to intrust it to my
keeping, with the express intention of showing it to you. But it is
protected by a seal, as I have told you, which I should on no account
presume to meddle with."

Mr. Gridley took out the package of papers.

"How damp it is!" Mr. Penhallow said; "must have been lying in some very
moist neighborhood."

"Very," Mr. Gridley answered, with a peculiar expression which said,
"Never mind about that."

"Did the party give you possession of these documents without making any
effort to retain them?" the lawyer asked.

"Not precisely. It cost some effort to induce Miss Badlam to let them go
out of her hands. I hope you think I was justified in making the effort
I did, not without a considerable strain upon my feelings, as well as
her own, to get hold of the papers?"

"That will depend something on what the papers prove to be, Mr. Gridley.
A man takes a certain responsibility in doing just what you have done.
If, for instance, it should prove that this envelope contained matters
relating solely to private transactions between Mr. Bradshaw and Miss
Badlam, concerning no one but themselves,--and if the words on the back
of the envelope and the seal had been put there merely as a protection
for a package containing private papers of a delicate but perfectly
legitimate character--"

The lawyer paused, as careful experts do, after bending the bow of an
hypothesis, before letting the arrow go. Mr. Gridley felt very warm
indeed, uncomfortably so, and applied his handkerchief to his face.
Couldn't be anything in such a violent supposition as that,--and yet
such a crafty fellow as that Bradshaw,--what trick was he not up to?
Absurd! Cynthia was not acting,--Rachel wouldn't be equal to such a
performance!--"why then, Mr. Gridley," the lawyer continued, "I don't
see but what my partner would have you at an advantage, and, if disposed
to make you uncomfortable, could do so pretty effectively. But this, you
understand, is only a supposed case, and not a very likely one. I don't
think it would have been prudent in you to meddle with that seal. But it
is a very different matter with regard to myself. It makes no
difference, so far as I am concerned, where this package came from, or
how it was obtained. It is just as absolutely within my control as any
piece of property I call my own. I should not hesitate, if I saw fit, to
break this seal at once, and proceed to the examination of any papers
contained within the envelope. If I found any paper of the slightest
importance relating to the estate, I should act as if it had never been
out of my possession.

"Suppose, however, I chose to know what was in the package, and, having
ascertained, act my judgment about returning it to the party from whom
you obtained it. In such case I might see fit to restore, or cause it to
be restored, to the party, without any marks of violence having been
used being apparent. If everything is not right, probably no questions
would be asked by the party having charge of the package. If there is no
underhand work going on, and the papers are what they profess to be,
nobody is compromised but yourself, so far as I can see, and you are
compromised at any rate, Mr. Gridley, at least in the good graces of the
party from whom you obtained the documents. Tell that party that I took
the package without opening it, and shall return it, very likely,
without breaking the seal. Will consider of the matter, say a couple of
days. Then you shall hear from me, and she shall hear from you. So. So.
Yes, that's it. A nice business. A thing to sleep on. You had better
leave the whole matter of dealing with the package to me. If I see fit
to send it back with the seal unbroken, that is my affair. But keep
perfectly quiet, if you please, Mr. Gridley, about the whole matter. Mr.
Bradshaw is off, as you know, and the business on which he is gone is
important,--very important. He can be depended on for that; he has acted
all along as if he had a personal interest in the success of our firm
beyond his legal relation to it."

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Penhallow's light burned very late in the office that night, and the
following one. He looked troubled and absent-minded, and, when Miss
Laura ventured to ask him how long Mr. Bradshaw was like to be gone,
answered her in such a way that the girl who waited at table concluded
that he didn't mean to have Miss Laury keep company with Mr. Bradshaw,
or he'd never have spoke so dreadful hash to her when she ahst about



A day or two after Myrtle Hazard returned to the village, Master Byles
Gridley, accompanied by Gifted Hopkins, followed her, as has been
already mentioned, to the same scene of the principal events of this
narrative. The young man had been persuaded that it would be doing
injustice to his talents to crowd their fruit prematurely upon the
market. He carried his manuscript back with him, having relinquished the
idea of publishing for the present. Master Byles Gridley, on the other
hand, had in his pocket a very flattering proposal from the same
publisher to whom he had introduced the young poet, for a new and
revised edition of his work, "Thoughts on the Universe," which was to be
remodelled in some respects, and to have a new title not quite so
formidable to the average reader.

It would be hardly fair to Susan Posey to describe with what delight and
innocent enthusiasm she welcomed back Gifted Hopkins. She had been so
lonely since he was away! She had read such of his poems as she
possessed--duplicates of his printed ones, or autographs which he had
kindly written out for her--over and over again, not without the sweet
tribute of feminine sensibility, which is the most precious of all
testimonials to a poet's power over the heart. True, her love belonged
to another,--but then she was so used to Gifted! She did so love to hear
him read his poems,--and Clement had never written that "little bit of a
poem to Susie," which she had asked him for so long ago! She received
him therefore with open arms,--not literally, of course, which would
have been a breach of duty and propriety, but in a figurative sense,
which it is hoped no reader will interpret to her discredit.

The young poet was in need of consolation. It is true that he had seen
many remarkable sights during his visit to the city; that he had got
"smarted up," as his mother called it, a good deal; that he had been to
Mrs. Clymer Ketchum's party, where he had looked upon life in all its
splendors; and that he brought back many interesting experiences, which
would serve to enliven his conversation for a long time. But he had
failed in the great enterprise he had undertaken. He was forced to
confess to his revered parent, and his esteemed friend Susan Posey, that
his genius, which was freely acknowledged, was not thought to be quite
ripe as yet. He told the young lady some particulars of his visit to the
publisher, how he had listened with great interest to one of his
poems,--"The Triumph of Song,"--how he had treated him with marked and
flattering attention; but that he advised him not to risk anything
prematurely, giving him the hope that _by and by_ he would be admitted
into that series of illustrious authors which it was the publisher's
privilege to present to the reading public. In short, he was advised not
to print. That was the net total of the matter, and it was a pang to the
susceptible heart of the poet. He had hoped to have come home enriched
by the sale of his copyright, and with the prospect of seeing his name
before long on the back of a handsome volume.

Gifted's mother did all in her power to console him in his
disappointment.--There was plenty of jealous people always that wanted
to keep young folks from rising in the world. Never mind, she didn't
believe but what Gifted could make jest as good verses as any of them
that they kept such a talk about.--She had a fear that he might pine
away in consequence of the mental excitement he had gone through, and
solicited his appetite with her choicest appliances,--of which he
partook in a measure which showed that there was no immediate cause of

But Susan Posey was more than a consoler,--she was an angel to him in
this time of his disappointment. "Read me all the poems over again," she
said,--"it is almost the only pleasure I have left, to hear you read
your beautiful verses." Clement Lindsay had not written to Susan quite
as often of late as at some former periods of the history of their love.
Perhaps it was that which had made her look paler than usual for some
little time. Something was evidently preying on her. Her only delight
seemed to be in listening to Gifted as he read, sometimes with fine
declamatory emphasis, sometimes in low, tremulous tones, the various
poems enshrined in his manuscript. At other times she was sad, and more
than once Mrs. Hopkins had seen a tear steal down her innocent cheek,
when there seemed to be no special cause for grief. She ventured to
speak of it to Master Byles Gridley.

"Our Susan's in trouble, Mr. Gridley, for some reason or other that's
unbeknown to me, and I can't help wishing you could jest have a few
words with her. You're a kind of a grandfather, you know, to all the
young folks, and they'd tell you pretty much everything about
themselves. I calc'late she isn't at ease in her mind about somethin' or
other, and I kind o' think, Mr. Gridley, you could coax it out of her."

"Was there ever anything like it?" said Master Byles Gridley to himself.
"I shall have all the young folks in Oxbow Village to take care of at
this rate! Susan Posey in trouble, too! Well, well, well, it's easier to
get a birch-bark canoe off the shallows than a big ship off the rocks.
Susan Posey's trouble will be come at easily enough; but Myrtle Hazard
floats in deeper water. We must make Susan Posey tell her own story, or
let her tell it, for it will all come out of itself."

       *       *       *       *       *

"I am going to dust the books in the open shelves this morning. I wonder
if Miss Susan Posey wouldn't like to help for half an hour or so,"
Master Gridley remarked at the breakfast-table.

The amiable girl's very pleasant countenance lighted up at the thought
of obliging the old man who had been so kind to her and so liberal to
her friend, the poet. She would be delighted to help him; she would dust
them all for him, if he wanted her to. No, Master Gridley said, he
always wanted to have a hand in it; and, besides, such a little body as
she was could not lift those great folios out of the lower shelves
without overstraining herself; she might handle the musketry and the
light artillery, but he must deal with the heavy guns himself. "As low
down as the octavos, Susan Posey, you shall govern; below that, the
Salic law."

Susan did not know much about the Salic law; but she knew he meant that
he would dust the big books and she would attend to the little ones.

A very young and a very pretty girl is sometimes quite charming in a
costume which thinks of nothing less than of being attractive. Susan
appeared after breakfast in the study, her head bound with a kerchief of
bright pattern, a little jacket she had outgrown buttoned, in spite of
opposition, close about her up to the throat, round which a white
handkerchief was loosely tied, and a pair of old gauntlets protecting
her hands, so that she suggested something between a gypsy, a jaunty
_soubrette_, and the _fille du regiment_.

Master Gridley took out a great volume from the lower shelf,--a folio in
massive oaken covers with clasps like prison hinges, bearing the stately
colophon, white on a ground of vermilion, of Nicholas Jenson and his
associates. He opened the volume,--paused over its blue and scarlet
initial letter,--he turned page after page, admiring its brilliant
characters, its broad, white marginal rivers, and the narrower white
creek that separated the black-typed twin-columns,--he turned back to
the beginning and read the commendatory paragraph, "_Nam ipsorum omnia
fulgent tum correctione dignissima, tum cura imprimendo splendida ac
miranda_," and began reading, "_Incipit proemium super apparatum
decretalium_ ..." when it suddenly occurred to him that this was not
exactly doing what he had undertaken to do, and he began whisking an
ancient bandanna about the ears of the venerable volume. All this time
Miss Susan Posey was catching the little books by the small of their
backs, pulling them out, opening them, and clapping them together,
'p-'p-'p! 'p-'p-'p! and carefully caressing all their edges with a
regular professional dusting-cloth, so persuasively that they yielded up
every particle that a year had drifted upon them, and came forth
refreshed and rejuvenated. This process went on for a while, until Susan
had worked down among the octavos, and Master Gridley had worked up
among the quartos. He had got hold of Calmet's Dictionary, and was
caught by the article Solomon, so that he forgot his occupation again.
All at once it struck him that everything was very silent,--the
'p-'p-'p! of clapping the books had ceased, and the light rustle of
Susan's dress was no longer heard. He looked up and saw her standing
perfectly still, with a book in one hand and her duster in the other.
She was lost in thought, and by the shadow on her face and the
glistening of her blue eyes he knew it was her hidden sorrow that had
just come back to her. Master Gridley shut up his book, leaving Solomon
to his fate, like the worthy Benedictine he was reading, without
discussing the question whether he was saved or not.

"Susan Posey, child, what is your trouble?"

Poor Susan was in the state of unstable equilibrium which the least
touch upsets, and fell to crying. It took her some time to get down the
waves of emotion so that speech would live upon them. At last it
ventured out,--showing at intervals, like the boat rising on the billow,
sinking into the hollow, and climbing again into notice.

"O Mr. Grid--ley--I can't--I can't--tell you or--any--body--what's the
mat--mat--matter.--My heart will br--br--break."

"No, no, no, child," said Mr. Gridley, sympathetically stirred a little
himself by the sight of Susan in tears and sobbing and catching her
breath, "that mustn't be, Susan Posey. Come off the steps, Susan Posey,
and stop dusting the books,--I can finish them,--and tell me all about
your troubles. I will try to help you out of them, and I have begun to
think I know how to help young people pretty well. I have had some
experience at it."

But Susan cried and sobbed all the more uncontrollably and convulsively.
Master Gridley thought he had better lead her at once to what he felt
pretty sure was the source of her troubles, and that, when she had had
her cry out, she would probably make the hole in the ice he had broken
big enough in a very few minutes.

"I think something has gone wrong between you and your friend, the young
gentleman with whom you are in intimate relations, my child, and I think
you had better talk freely with me, for I can perhaps give you a little
counsel that will be of service."

Susan cried herself quiet at last. "There's nobody in the world like
you, Mr. Gridley," she said, "and I've been wanting to tell you
something ever so long. My friend--Mr. Clem--Clement Lindsay doesn't
care for me as he used to,--I know he doesn't. He hasn't written to me
for--I don't know but it's a month. And O Mr. Gridley! he's such a great
man, and I am such a simple person,--I can't help thinking--he would be
happier with somebody else than poor little Susan Posey!"

This last touch of self-pity overcame her, as it is so apt to do those
who indulge in that delightful misery, and she broke up badly, as a
horse-fancier would say, so that it was some little time before she
recovered her conversational road-gait.

"O Mr. Gridley," she began again, at length, "if I only dared to tell
him what I think,--that perhaps it would be happier for us both--if we
could forget each other! Ought I not to tell him so? _Don't_ you think
he would find another to make him happy? _Wouldn't_ he forgive me for
telling him he was free? _Were_ we not too young to know each other's
hearts when we promised each other that we would love as long as we
lived? _Sha'n't_ I write him a letter this very day and tell him all?
_Do_ you think it would be wrong in me to do it? O Mr. Gridley, it makes
me almost crazy to think about it. Clement must be free! I cannot,
cannot hold him to a promise he doesn't want to keep."

There were so many questions in this eloquent rhapsody of Susan's that
they neutralized each other, as one might say, and Master Gridley had
time for reflection. His thoughts went on something in this way:--

"Pretty clear case! Guess Mr. Clement can make up his mind to it. Put it
well, didn't she? Not a word about our little Gifted! That's the
trouble. Poets! how they do bewitch these school-girls! And having a
chance every day, too, how could you expect her to stand it?" Then
aloud: "Susan Posey, you are a good, honest little girl as ever was. I
think you and Clement _were_ too hasty in coming together for life
before you knew what life meant. I think if you write Clement a letter,
telling him that you cannot help fearing that you two are not perfectly
adapted to each other, on account of certain differences for which
neither of you is responsible, and that you propose that each should
release the other from the pledge given so long ago,--in that case, I
say, I believe he will think no worse of you for so doing, and may
perhaps agree that it is best for both of you to seek your happiness
elsewhere than in each other."

The book-dusting came to as abrupt a close as the reading of Lancelot.
Susan went straight to her room, dried her tears so as to write in a
fair hand, but had to stop every few lines and take a turn at the
"dust-layers," as Mrs. Clymer Ketchum's friend used to call the
fountains of sensibility. It would seem like betraying Susan's
confidence to reveal the contents of this letter, but the reader may be
assured that it was simple and sincere and very sweetly written, without
the slightest allusion to any other young man, whether of the poetical
or cheaper human varieties.

It was not long before Susan received a reply from Clement Lindsay. It
was as kind and generous and noble as she could have asked. It was
affectionate, as a very amiable brother's letter might be, and candidly
appreciative of the reasons Susan had assigned for her proposal. He gave
her back her freedom,--not that he should cease to feel an interest in
her, always. He accepted his own release, not that he would ever think
she could be indifferent to his future fortunes. And within a very brief
period of time after sending his answer to Susan Posey, whether he
wished to see her in person, or whether he had some other motive, he had
packed his trunk, and made his excuses for an absence of uncertain
length at the studio, and was on his way to Oxbow Village.



The spring of 1861 had now arrived,--that eventful spring which was to
lift the curtain and show the first scene of the first act in the mighty
drama which fixed the eyes of mankind during four bloody years. The
little schemes of little people were going on in all our cities and
villages without thought of the fearful convulsion which was soon coming
to shatter the hopes and prospects of millions. Our little Oxbow
Village, which held itself by no means the least of human centres, was
the scene of its own commotions, as intense and exciting to those
concerned as if the destiny of the nation had been involved in them.

Mr. Clement Lindsay appeared suddenly in that important locality, and
repaired to his accustomed quarters at the house of Deacon Rumrill. That
worthy person received him with a certain gravity of manner, caused by
his recollection of the involuntary transgression into which Mr. Lindsay
had led him by his present of Ivanhoe. He was, on the whole, glad to see
him, for his finances were not yet wholly recovered from the injury
inflicted on them by the devouring element. But he could not forget
that his boarder had betrayed him into a breach of the fourth
commandment, and that the strict eyes of his clergyman had detected him
in the very commission of the offence. He had no sooner seen Mr. Clement
comfortably installed, therefore, than he presented himself at the door
of his chamber with the book, enveloped in strong paper and very
securely tied round with a stout string.

"Here is your vollum, Mr. Lindsay," the Deacon said. "I understand it is
not the work of that great and good mahn who I thought wrote it. I did
not see anything immoral in it as fur as I read, but it belongs to what
I consider a very dangerous class of publications. These novels and
romances are awfully destructive to our youth. I should recommend you,
as a young mahn of principle, to burn the vollum. At least I hope you
will not leave it about anywhere unless it is carefully tied up. I have
written upon the paper round it to warn off all the young persons of my
household from meddling with it."

True enough, Mr. Clement saw in strong black letters on the back of the
paper wrapping his unfortunate Ivanhoe,--



"I thought you said you had Scott's picture hung up in your parlor,
Deacon Rumrill," he said, a little amused with the worthy man's fear and

"It is _the great_ Scott's likeness that I have in my parlor," he said;
"I will show it to you if you will come with me."

Mr. Clement followed the Deacon into that sacred apartment.

"That is the portrait of the great Scott," he said, pointing to an
engraving of a heavy-looking person whose phrenological developments
were a somewhat striking contrast to those of the distinguished Sir

"I will take good care that none of your young people see this volume,"
Mr. Clement said; "I trust you read it yourself, however, and found
something to please you in it. I am sure you are safe from being harmed
by any such book. Didn't you have to finish it, Deacon, after you had
once begun?"

"Well,--I--I--perused a consid'able portion of the work," the Deacon
answered, in a way that led Mr. Clement to think he had not stopped much
short of _Finis_. "Anything new in the city?"

"Nothing except what you've all had,--Confederate States establishing an
army and all that,--not very new either. What has been going on here
lately, Deacon?"

"Well, Mr. Lindsay, not a great deal. My new barn is pretty nigh done.
I've got as fine a litter of pigs as ever you see. I don't know whether
you're a judge of pigs or no. The Hazard gal's come back, spilt, pooty
much, I guess. Been to one o' them fashionable schools,--I've heerd that
she's learnt to dance. I've heerd say that that Hopkins boy's round the
Posey gal,--come to think, she's the one you went with some when you was
here,--I'm gettin' kind o' forgetful. Old Doctor Hurlbut's pretty
low,--ninety-four year old,--born in '67,--folks ain't ginerally very
spry after they're ninety, but he held out wonderful."

"How's Mr. Bradshaw?"

"Well, the young squire, he's off travellin' somewhere in the West, or
to Washin'ton, or somewhere else,--I don't jestly know where. They say
that he's follerin' up the courts in the business about old Malachi's
estate. I don' know much about it."

       *       *       *       *       *

The news got round Oxbow Village very speedily that Mr. Clement Lindsay,
generally considered the accepted lover of Miss Susan Posey, had arrived
in that place. Now it had come to be the common talk of the village that
young Gifted Hopkins and Susan Posey were getting to be mighty thick
with each other, and the prevailing idea was that Clement's visit had
reference to that state of affairs. Some said that Susan had given her
young man the mitten, meaning thereby that she had signified that his
services as a suitor were dispensed with. Others thought there was only
a wavering in her affection for her lover, and that he feared for her
constancy, and had come to vindicate his rights.

Some of the young fellows, who were doubtless envious of Gifted's
popularity with the fair sex, attempted in the most unjustifiable manner
to play upon his susceptible nature. One of them informed him that he
had seen that Lindsay fellah raound taown with the darndest big stick y'
ever did see. Looked kind o' savage and wild like. Another one told him
that perhaps he'd better keep a little shady; that are chap that had got
the mittin was praowlin' abaout with a pistil,--one o' them Darringers
abaout as long as your thumb, an' 'll fire a bullet as big as a
potato-ball,--a fellah carries one in his breeches-pocket, an' shoots y'
right threugh his own pahnts, withaout ever takin' on it aout of his
pocket. The stable-keeper, who it may be remembered once exchanged a few
playful words with Mr. Gridley, got a hint from some of these unfeeling
young men, and offered the resources of his stable to the youth supposed
to be in peril.

"I've got a faäst colt, Mr. Hopkins, that'll put twenty mild between you
an' this here village, as quick as any four huffs'll dew it in this here
caounty, if you _should_ want to git away suddin. I've heern tell there
was some lookin' raound here that wouldn't be wholesome to meet,--jest
say the word, Mr. Hopkins, an' I'll have ye on that are colt's back in
less than no time, an' start ye off full jump. There's a good many
that's kind o' worried for fear something might happen to ye, Mr.
Hopkins,--y' see fellahs don't like to have other chaps cuttin' on 'em
aout with their gals."

Gifted Hopkins had become excessively nervous by this time. It is true
that everything in his intimacy with Susan Posey so far might come under
the general head of friendship; but he was conscious that something more
was in both their thoughts. Susan had given him mysterious hints that
her relations with Clement had undergone a change, but had never had
quite courage enough, perhaps had too much delicacy, to reveal the whole

Gifted was walking home, deeply immersed in thoughts excited by the
hints which had been thus wantonly thrown out to inflame his
imagination, when all at once, on lifting his eyes, he saw Clement
Lindsay coming straight towards him. Gifted was unarmed, except with a
pair of blunt scissors, which he carried habitually in his pocket. What
should he do? Should he fly? But he was never a good runner, being apt
to find himself scant o' breath, like Hamlet, after violent exercise.
His demeanor on the occasion, did credit to his sense of his own
virtuous conduct and his self-possession. He put his hand out, while yet
at a considerable distance, and marched up towards Clement, smiling with
all the native amiability which belonged to him.

To his infinite relief, Clement put out _his_ hand to grasp the one
offered him, and greeted the young poet in the most frank and cordial

"And how is Miss Susan Posey, Mr. Hopkins?" asked Clement, in the most
cheerful tone. "It is a long while since I have seen her, and you must
tell her that I hope I shall not leave the village without finding time
to call upon her. She and I are good friends always, Mr. Hopkins, though
perhaps I shall not be quite so often at your mother's as I was during
my last visit to Oxbow Village."

Gifted felt somewhat as the subject of one of those old-fashioned forms
of argument, formerly much employed to convince men of error in matters
of religion, must have felt when the official who superintended the
stretching-machine said, "Slack up!"

He told Mr. Clement all about Susan, and was on the point of saying
that if he, Mr. Clement, did not claim any engrossing interest in her,
he, Gifted, was ready to offer her the devotion of a poet's heart. Mr.
Clement, however, had so many other questions to ask him about everybody
in the village, more particularly concerning certain young persons in
whom he seemed to be specially interested, that there was no chance to
work in his own revelations of sentiment.

Clement Lindsay had come to Oxbow Village with a single purpose. He
could now venture to trust himself in the presence of Myrtle Hazard. He
was free, and he knew nothing to show that she had lost the liberty of
disposing of her heart. But after an experience such as he had gone
through, he was naturally distrustful of himself, and inclined to be
cautious and reserved in yielding to a new passion. Should he tell her
the true relations in which they stood to each other,--that she owed her
life to him, and that he had very nearly sacrificed his own in saving
hers? Why not? He had a claim on her gratitude for what he had done in
her behalf, and out of this gratitude there might naturally spring a
warmer feeling.

No, he could not try to win her affections by showing that he had paid
for them beforehand. She seemed to be utterly unconscious of the fact
that it was he who had been with her in the abyss of waters. If the
thought came to her of itself, and she ever asked him, it would be time
enough to tell her the story. If not, the moment might arrive when he
could reveal to her the truth that he was her deliverer, without
accusing himself of bribing her woman's heart to reward him for his
services. He would wait for that moment.

It was the most natural thing in the world that Mr. Lindsay, a young
gentleman from the city, should call to see Miss Hazard, a young lady
whom he had met recently at a party. To that pleasing duty he addressed
himself the evening after his arrival.

"The young gentleman's goin' a courtin', I calc'late," was the remark
of the Deacon's wife when she saw what a handsome figure Mr. Clement
was making at the tea-table.

"A very hahnsome young mahn," the Deacon replied, "and looks as if he
might know consid'able. An architect, you know,--a sort of a builder.
Wonder if he hasn't got any good plans for a hahnsome pigsty. I suppose
he'd charge somethin' for one, but it couldn't be much, an' he could
take it out in board."

"Better ask him," his wife said; "he looks mighty pleasant; there's
nothin' lost by askin', an' a good deal got sometimes, grandma used to

The Deacon followed her advice. Mr. Clement was perfectly good-natured
about it, asked the Deacon the number of snouts in his menagerie, got an
idea of the accommodations required, and sketched the plan of a neat and
appropriate edifice for the _Porcellarium_, as Master Gridley afterwards
pleasantly christened it, which was carried out by the carpenter, and
stands to this day a monument of his obliging disposition, and a proof
that there is nothing so humble that taste cannot be shown in it.

"What'll be your charge for the plan of the pigsty, Mr. Lindsay?" the
Deacon inquired with an air of interest,--he might have been involved
more deeply than he had intended. "How much should you call about right
for the picter an' figgerin'?"

"O, you're quite welcome to my sketch of a plan, Deacon. I've seen much
showier buildings tenanted by animals not very different from those your
edifice is meant for."

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Clement found the three ladies sitting together in the chill, dim
parlor at The Poplars. They had one of the city papers spread out on the
table, and Myrtle was reading aloud the last news from Charleston
Harbor. She rose as Mr. Clement entered, and stepped forward to meet
him. It was a strange impression this young man produced upon her,--not
through the common channels of the intelligence,--not exactly that
"magnetic" influence of which she had had experience at a former time.
It did not overcome her as at the moment of their second meeting. But it
was something she must struggle against, and she had force and pride and
training enough now to maintain her usual tranquillity, in spite of a
certain inward commotion which seemed to reach her breathing and her
pulse by some strange, inexplicable mechanism.

Myrtle, it must be remembered, was no longer the simple country girl who
had run away at fifteen, but a young lady of seventeen, who had learned
all that more than a year's diligence at a great school could teach her,
who had been much with girls of taste and of culture, and was familiar
with the style and manners of those who came from what considered itself
the supreme order in the social hierarchy. Her natural love for
picturesque adornment was qualified by a knowledge of the prevailing
modes not usual in so small a place as Oxbow Village. All this had not
failed to produce its impression on those about her. Persons who, like
Miss Silence Withers, believe, not in education, inasmuch as there is no
healthy nature to be educated, but in transformation, worry about their
charges up to a certain period of their lives. Then, if the
transformation does not come, they seem to think their cares and duties
are at an end, and, considering their theories of human destiny, usually
accept the situation with wonderful complacency. This was the stage
which Miss Silence Withers had reached with reference to Myrtle. It made
her infinitely more agreeable, or less disagreeable, as the reader may
choose one or the other statement, than when she was always fretting
about her "responsibility." She even began to take an interest in some
of Myrtle's worldly experiences, and something like a smile would now
and then disarrange the chief-mourner stillness of her features, as
Myrtle would tell some lively story she had brought away from the gay
society she had frequented.

Cynthia Badlam kept her keen eyes on her like a hawk. Murray Bradshaw
was away, and here was this handsome and agreeable youth coming in to
poach on the preserve of which she considered herself the gamekeeper.
What did it mean? She had heard the story about Susan's being off with
her old love and on with a new one. Ah ha! this is the game, is it?

Clement Lindsay passed not so much a pleasant evening, as one of
strange, perplexed, and mingled delight and inward conflict. He had
found his marble once more turned to flesh and blood, and breathing
before him. This was the woman he was born for; her form was fit to
model his proudest ideal from,--her eyes melted him when they rested for
an instant on his face,--her voice reached those hidden sensibilities of
his inmost nature, which never betray their existence until the outward
chord to which they vibrate in response sends its message to stir them.
But was she not already pledged to that other,--that cold-blooded,
contriving, venal, cynical, selfish, polished, fascinating man of the
world, whose artful strategy would pass with nine women out of ten for
the most romantic devotion?

If he had known the impression he made, he would have felt less anxiety
with reference to this particular possibility. Miss Silence expressed
herself gratified with his appearance, and thought he looked like a good
young man,--he reminded her of a young friend of hers who--[It was the
same who had gone to one of the cannibal islands as a missionary,--and
stayed there.] Myrtle was very quiet. She had nothing to say about
Clement, except that she had met him at a party in the city, and found
him agreeable. Miss Cynthia wrote a letter to Murray Bradshaw that very
evening, telling him that he had better come back to Oxbow Village as
quickly as he could, unless he wished to find his place occupied by an

       *       *       *       *       *

In the mean time, the country was watching the garrison in Charleston
Harbor. All at once the first gun of the four years' cannonade hurled
its ball against the walls of Fort Sumter. There was no hamlet in the
land which the reverberations of that cannon-roar did not reach. There
was no valley so darkened by overshadowing hills that it did not see the
American flag hauled down on the 13th of April. There was no loyal heart
in the North that did not answer to the call of the country to its
defenders which went forth two days later. The great tide of feeling
reached the locality where the lesser events of our narrative were
occurring. A meeting of the citizens was instantly called. The venerable
Father Pemberton opened it with a prayer that filled every soul with
courage and high resolve. The young farmers and mechanics of that whole
region joined the companies to which they belonged, or organized in
squads and marched at once, or got ready to march, to the scene of

The contagion of warlike patriotism reached the most peacefully inclined
young persons.

"My country calls me," Gifted Hopkins said to Susan Posey, "and I am
preparing to obey her summons. If I can pass the medical examination,
which it is possible I may, though I fear my constitution _may_ be
thought too weak, and if no obstacle impedes me, I think of marching in
the ranks of the Oxbow Invincibles. If I go, Susan, and if I fall, will
you not remember me ... as one who ... cherished the tenderest ...
sentiments ... towards you ... and who had looked forward to the time
when ... when...."

His eyes told the rest. He loved!

Susan forgot all the rules of reserve to which she had been trained.
What were cold conventionalities at such a moment? "Never! never!" she
said, throwing her arms about his neck and mingling her tears with his,
which were flowing freely. "Your country does not need your sword,...
but it does need ... your pen. Your poems will inspire ... our
soldiers.... The Oxbow Invincibles will march to victory, singing your
songs.... If you go ... and if you ... fall.... O Gifted!... I ... I ...
yes I ... shall die too!"

His love was returned. He was blest!

"Susan," he said, "my own Susan, I yield to your wishes, at every
sacrifice. Henceforth they will be my law. Yes, I will stay and
encourage my brave countrymen to go forward to the bloody field. My
voice shall urge them on to the battle-ground. I will give my dearest
breath to stimulate their ardor.... O Susan! My own, own Susan!"

       *       *       *       *       *

While these interesting events had been going on beneath the modest roof
of the Widow Hopkins, affairs had been rapidly hastening to a similar
conclusion under the statelier shadow of The Poplars. Clement Lindsay
was so well received at his first visit that he ventured to repeat it
several times, with so short intervals that it implied something more
than a common interest in one of the members of the household. There was
no room for doubt who this could be, and Myrtle Hazard could not help
seeing that she was the object of his undisguised admiration. The belief
was now general in the village that Gifted Hopkins and Susan Posey were
either engaged, or on the point of being so; and it was equally
understood that, whatever might be the explanation, she and her former
lover had parted company in an amicable manner.

Love works very strange transformations in young women. Sometimes it
leads them to try every mode of adding to their attractions,--their
whole thought is how to be most lovely in the eyes they would fill so as
to keep out all other images. Poor darlings! We smile at their little
vanities, as if they were very trivial things compared with the last
Congressman's speech or the great election sermon; but Nature knows well
what she is about. The maiden's ribbon or ruffle means a great deal more
for her than the judge's wig or the priest's surplice.

It was not in this way that the gentle emotion awaking in the breast of
Myrtle Hazard betrayed itself. As the thought dawned in her
consciousness that she was loved, a change came over her such as the
spirit that protected her, according to the harmless fancy she had
inherited, might have wept for joy to behold, if tears could flow from
angelic eyes. She forgot herself and her ambitions,--the thought of
shining in the great world died out in the presence of new visions of a
future in which she was not to be her own,--of feelings in the depth of
which the shallow vanities which had drawn her young eyes to them for a
while seemed less than nothing. Myrtle had not hitherto said to herself
that Clement was her lover, yet her whole nature was expanding and
deepening in the light of that friendship which any other eye could have
known at a glance for the great passion.

Cynthia Badlam wrote a pressing letter to Murray Bradshaw. "There is no
time to be lost; she is bewitched, and will be gone beyond hope if this
business is not put a stop to."

Love moves in an accelerating ratio; and there comes a time when the
progress of the passion escapes from all human formulæ, and brings two
young hearts, which had been gradually drawing nearer and nearer
together, into complete union, with a suddenness that puts an infinity
between the moment when all is told and that which went just before.

They were sitting together by themselves in the dimly lighted parlor.
They had told each other many experiences of their past lives, very
freely, as two intimate friends of different sex might do. Clement had
happened to allude to Susan, speaking very kindly and tenderly of her.
He hoped this youth to whom she was attached would make her life happy.
"You know how simple-hearted and good she is; her image will always be a
pleasant one in my memory,--second to but one other."

Myrtie ought, according to the common rules of conversation, to have
asked, _What other?_ but she did not. She may have looked as if she
wanted to ask,--she may have blushed or turned pale,--perhaps she could
not trust her voice; but whatever the reason was, she sat still, with
downcast eyes. Clement waited a reasonable time, but, finding it was of
no use, began again.

"_Your_ image is the one other,--the only one, let me say, for all else
fades in its presence,--your image fills all my thought. Will you trust
your life and happiness with one who can offer you so little beside his
love? You know my whole heart is yours."

Whether Myrtle said anything in reply or not,--whether she acted like
Coleridge's Genevieve,--that is, "fled to him and wept," or suffered her
feelings to betray themselves in some less startling confession, we will
leave untold. Her answer, spoken or silent, could not have been a cruel
one, for in another moment Clement was pressing his lips to hers; after
the manner of accepted lovers.

"Our lips have met to-day for the second time," he said, presently.

She looked at him in wonder. What did he mean? The second time! How
assuredly he spoke! She looked him calmly in the face, and awaited his

"I have a singular story to tell you. On the morning of the 16th of
June, now nearly two years ago, I was sitting in my room at Alderbank,
some twenty miles down the river, when I heard a cry for help coming
from the river. I ran down to the bank, and there I saw a boy in an old

When it came to the "boy" in the old boat, Myrtle's cheeks flamed so
that she could not bear it, and she covered her face with both her
hands. But Clement told his story calmly through to the end, sliding
gently over its later incidents, for Myrtle's heart was throbbing
violently, and her breath a little catching and sighing, as when she had
first lived with the new life his breath had given her.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Why did you ask me for myself, when you could have claimed me?" she

"I wanted a free gift, Myrtle," Clement answered, "and I have it."

They sat in silence, lost in the sense of that new life which had
suddenly risen on their souls.

The door-bell rang sharply. Kitty Fagan answered its summons, and
presently entered the parlor and announced that Mr. Bradshaw was in the
library, and wished to see the ladies.


During the summer of 1833, several professional gentlemen, clergymen,
lawyers, and educators were spending their vacation at Saratoga Springs.
Among them was Dr. Nott. He was then regarded as a veteran teacher,
whose long experience and acknowledged wisdom gave a peculiar value to
his matured opinions. The younger members of this little circle of
scholars, taking their ease at their inn, purposely sought to "draw out"
the Doctor upon those topics in which they felt an especial interest.
They were, therefore, in their leisure moments, constantly hearing and
asking him questions. One of them, then a tutor in Dartmouth College,
took notes of the conversations, and the following dialogue is copied
from his manuscript:--

_Mr. C._ "Doctor, how long have you been at the head of Union College?"

_Dr. N._ "Thirty years. I am the oldest _president_ in the United
States, though not the oldest man in office. I cannot drop down anywhere
in the Union without meeting some one of my _children_."

_Mr. C._ "And that, too, though so many of them are dead! I believe that
nearly half of my class are dead!"

_Dr. N._ "Indeed! That is a large proportion to die so soon. I think it
remarkable that so few deaths have occurred among the members of the
college since I have been connected with it. I can distinctly recollect
all the individuals who have died at college, and during thirty years
there have been but _seven_. The proportion has been less than one third
of one per cent. Very many have died, however, very soon after leaving
college. Two or three in almost every class have died within a year
after they have graduated. I have been at a loss as to the cause of this
marked difference. I can assign no other than the sudden change which
then takes place in the student's whole manner and habits of living,
diet, &c."

_Mr. C._ "How do the students generally answer the expectations they
have raised during their college course?"

_Dr. N._ "I have been rarely disappointed. I have found my little
anticipatory notes generally fulfilled. I recollect, however, one class,
which graduated four or five years ago, in regard to which I have been
very happily disappointed. It had given us more trouble, and there were
more sceptics in it than in any other class we ever had. But now every
one of those infidels except _one_ is studying for the ministry."

_Mr. C._ "What course do you take with a sceptical student?"

_Dr. N._ "I remember a very interesting case I had several years ago.
There was a young man in college of fine talents, an excellent and
exemplary student, but an atheist. He roomed near me. I was interested
in him; but I feared his influence. It was very injurious in college,
and yet he did nothing worthy of censure. I called him one day to my
study. I questioned him familiarly and kindly in relation to his
speculative views. He said he was not an atheist, but had very serious
doubts and difficulties on the subject, and frankly stated them to me. I
did not talk with him _religiously_, but as a philosopher. I did not
think he would bear it. I told him that I felt a peculiar sympathy with
young men in his state of mind; for once, during the French Revolution,
I had been troubled with the same difficulties myself. I had been over
that whole ground; and would gladly assist his inquiries, and direct him
to such authors as I thought would aid him in his investigations after
truth. As he left my study, I said, 'Now, I expect yet to see you a
minister of the Gospel!' He returned to his room; he paced it with
emotion; said he to his room-mate (these facts his room-mate
communicated to me within a year), 'What do you think the President
says?' 'I don't know.' 'He says he expects yet to see me a minister. I a
minister! I a minister!'--and he continued to walk the room, and
reiterate the words. No immediate effect on his character was produced.
But the _prophetic_ words (for so he seemed to regard them) clung to him
as a magic talisman, and would never leave his mind; and he is now a
pious man, and a student in divinity."

_Mr. C._ "Doctor, we have been seeking amusement and profit by some
exercises in elocution. Mr. G---- and myself have been trying to read
Shakespeare a little; but some gentlemen here have had some qualms of
conscience as to the propriety of it, and have condemned the reading of
Shakespeare as demoralizing. What is your opinion, sir?"

_Dr. N._ "Why, as to that matter, sir, I always say to my young men,
'Gentlemen, if you wish to get a knowledge of the world and of human
nature, read the Bible. The Bible is the first and best book that can be
studied for the exhibition of human character; and the man who goes out
into the world expecting to find men just such as Moses and Paul have
represented them will never be disappointed. If you are contented to
read nothing but your Bibles, _well, you have it all there_. But if you
will read any other books, read Homer and Shakespeare. They come nearer,
in my estimation, to Moses and Paul, in their delineations of human
character, than any other authors I am acquainted with. I would have
every young man read Shakespeare. I have always taught my children to
read it.' Ministers, as a class, know less practically of human nature
than any other _class_ of men. As I belong to the fraternity, I can say
this without prejudice. Men are reserved in the presence of a
respectable clergyman. I might live in Schenectady, and discharge all my
appropriate duties from year to year, and never hear an oath, nor see a
man drunk; and if some one should ask me, 'What sort of a population
have you in Schenectady? Are they a moral people? Do they swear? Do they
get drunk?' for aught that I had seen or heard, I might answer, 'This
is, after all, a very decent world. There is very little vice in it.
People have entirely left off the sin of profaneness; and, as to
intemperance, there is very little of that.' But I can put on my old
great-coat, and an old slouching hat, and in five minutes place myself
amid the scenes of blasphemy and vice and misery, which I never could
have believed to exist if I had not seen them. So a man may walk along
Broadway, and think to himself, 'What a fine place this is! How civil
the people are! What a decent and orderly and virtuous city New York
is!'--while, at the same time, within thirty rods of him are scenes of
pollution and crime such as none but an eyewitness can adequately
imagine. I would have a minister _see_ the world for himself. _It is
rotten to the core._ Ministers ordinarily see only the brighter side of
the world. Almost everybody treats them with civility; the religious,
with peculiar kindness and attention. Hence they are apt to think too
well of the world. Lawyers, on the other hand, think too ill of it. They
see only, or for the most part, its worst side. They are brought in
contact with dishonesty and villany in their worst developments. I have
observed, in doing business with lawyers, that they are exceedingly
hawk-eyed, and jealous of everybody. The omission of a word or letter in
a will, they will scan with the closest scrutiny; and while I could see
no use for any but the most concise and simple terms to express the
wishes of the testator, a lawyer would be satisfied with nothing but the
most precise and formal instrument, stuffed full of legal _caveats_ and

_Mr. C._ "Which do you think excels in eloquence, the bar or the

_Dr. N._ "The bar."

_Mr. C._ "To what causes do you ascribe the superiority?"

_Dr. N._ "The superior influence of things of sight over those of faith.
The nearness of objects enhances their importance. The subjects on which
the lawyer speaks come home to men's business and bosoms. Some present,
immediate object is to be gained. The lawyer _feels_, and he aims to
accomplish something. But ministers have plunged into the metaphysics of
religion, and gone about to inculcate the peculiarities of a system, and
have neither felt themselves, nor been able to make others feel. It has
long been a most interesting question to me, Why is the ministry so
inefficient? It has seemed to me, that, with the thousands of pulpits in
this country for a theatre to act on, and the eye and ear of the whole
community thus opened to us, we might _overturn the world_. Some ascribe
this want of efficiency to human depravity. That is not the sole cause
of it. The clergy want knowledge of human nature. They want directness
of appeal. They want the same go-ahead common-sense way of interesting
men which lawyers have."

_Mr. C._ "Ought they not to cultivate elocution?"

_Dr. N._ "It seems to me that at those institutions where they pay the
most attention to elocution they speak the worst. I have no faith in
artificial eloquence. Teach men to think and feel, and, when they have
anything to the purpose to say, they can say it. I should about as soon
think of teaching a man to weep, or to laugh, or to swallow, as to speak
when he has anything to say."

_Mr. C._ "How, then, do you account for the astonishing power of some

_Dr. N._ "Ah! the speaking in the theatre is all overacted. There is no
nature in it. Those actors, placed in a public assembly, and called upon
to address men on some real and momentous occasion, would utterly fail
to touch men's hearts, while some plain country-man, who had never
learned a rule of art, would find his way at once to the fountains of
feeling and action within them. The secret of the influence which is
felt in the acting of the teatre is _not_ that it is natural. Let a
_real tragedy_ be acted, and let men _believe_ that a _real_ scene is
before them, and the theatre would be deserted. No audience in this
country could bear the presentation of a natural and real tragedy. Men
go to the theatre to be amused. The scenery, the music, the attitudes,
the gesticulations, all unite to fix attention and amuse; but the
eloquence, so called, of the theatre, is all factitious, and is no more
adapted to the real occasions of life than would be the recitative in
singing, and it pleases on the same principle that _this does_."

_Mr. C._ "But, Doctor, why was it that, when Cooke or Kean appeared on
the stage, he engrossed all eyes and ears, and nothing was heard or seen
or thought of but himself? The acting of Kean was just as irresistible
as the whirlwind. He would take up an audience of three thousand in his
fist, as it were, and carry them just where he pleased, through every
extreme of passion."

_Dr. N._ "because these actors were great men. Cooke, as far as I have
been able to learn, (I never saw him,--I had once an engagement to meet
him in Philadelphia, but he was drunk at the time, and disappointed me,)
was perfectly _natural_. So I suppose Kean to have been. So Garrick was,
and Talma. And the secret of the influence of these men was, that they
burst the bonds of art and histrionic trick, and stood before their
audience in their untrammelled natural strength. Garrick, at his first
appearance, could not command an audience. It was first necessary for
him entirely to revolutionize the English stage.

"Ministers have, very often, a sanctimonious tone, which by many is
deemed a symbol of goodness. I would not say it is a symbol of
hypocrisy, as many very pious men have it. One man acquires a tone, and
those who study with him learn to associate it with his piety, and come
to esteem it an essential part of ministerial qualification. But,
instead of its being to me evidence of feeling, it evinces, in every
degree of it, want of feeling; and whenever a man rises in his religious
feelings sufficiently high, he will break away from the shackles of his
perverse habit, and speak in the tone of nature.

"The most eloquent preacher I have ever heard was Dr. L----. General
Hamilton at the bar was unrivalled. I heard his great effort in the case
of People _versus_ Croswell, for a libel upon Jefferson. There was a
curious changing of sides in the position of the advocates. Spencer, the
Attorney-General, who had long been climbing the ladder of democracy,
managed the cause for the people; and Hamilton, esteemed an old-school
Federalist, appeared as the champion of a free press. Of course, it
afforded the better opportunity of witnessing the professional skill and
rhetorical power of the respective advocates.

"Spencer, in the course of his plea, had occasion to refer to certain
decisions of Lord Mansfield, and embraced the opportunity of introducing
a splendid _ad captandum_ eulogium on his Lordship,--'A name born for
immortality; whose sun of fame would never set, but still hold its
course in the heavens, when the humble names of his antagonist and
himself should have sunk beneath the waves of oblivion.'

"Hamilton was evidently nettled at this invidious and unnecessary
comparison, and cast about in his mind how he might retort upon Spencer.
I do not know that my conjecture is right; but it has always seemed to
me that his reason for introducing his repartee to Spencer in the odd
place where he did, just after a most eloquent and pathetic peroration,
was something as follows--'I have now constructed and arranged my
argument, and the thread of it must not be broken by the intervention of
any such extraneous matter. Neither will it do to separate my peroration
from the main body of my argument. I must, then, give up the opportunity
of retorting at all, or tack it on after the whole, and take the risk of
destroying the effect of my argument.'

"He rose, and went through his argument, which was a tissue of the
clearest, most powerful, and triumphant reasoning. He turned every
position of his opponent, and took and dismantled every fortification.
But his peroration was inimitably fine. As he went on to depict the
horrors consequent upon a muzzled press, there was not a dry eye in the
court-house. It was the most perfect triumph of eloquence over the
passions of men I ever witnessed.

"When he had thus brought his speech to its proper, and what would have
been a perfect close, he suddenly changed his tone, and, in a strain of
consummate and powerful irony, began to rally his antagonist. He
assented to the gentleman's eulogium upon Lord Mansfield. It was
deserved. He acknowledged the justice of his remarks in relation to
himself (Hamilton) and his ephemeral fame; but he did not see why the
gentleman should have included himself in the same oblivious sentence.
His course hitherto in the race of fame had been as successful, for
aught he knew, as was ever his Lordship's. His strides had been as long
and as rapid. His disposition, too, to run the race was as eager, and he
knew no reason why he might not yet soar on stronger pinions, and reach
a loftier height, than his Lordship had done.

"During the whole reply, the audience were in a titter; and he sat down
amidst a burst of incontrollable laughter. Said Spencer to him
frowningly, (I sat by the side of the judges on the bench, and both
Hamilton and Spencer were within arm's length of me,) 'What do you mean,
sir?' Said Hamilton, with an arch smile, 'Nothing but a mere
compliment.' 'Very well, sir, I desire no more such compliments.'"

_Mr. C._ "What was the difference between the oratory of Hamilton and
that of Burr?"

_Dr. N._ "Burr, above all men whom I ever knew, possessed the most
consummate tact in evading and covering up the arguments of his
opponent. His great art was to throw dust in the eyes of the jury, and
make them believe that there was neither force nor sense nor anything
else in the arguments of the opposite counsel. He never met a position,
nor answered an argument, but threw around them the mist of sophistry,
and thus weakened their force. He was the _prince of plausibilities_. He
was always on the right side (in his own opinion), and always perfectly

"Hamilton, on the other hand, allowed to the arguments of his opponent
all the weight that could ever be fairly claimed for them, and attacked
and demolished them with the club of Hercules. He would never engage in
a cause unless he believed he was on the side of justice; and he often
threw into the scale of his client the whole weight of his personal
character and opinion. His opponents frequently complained of the undue
influence he thus exerted upon the court."

_Mr. C._ "You have heard Webster, I suppose."

_Dr. N._ "I have never heard him speak. I have the pleasure of a slight
personal acquaintance with him, and, from what I know of him, should
think he would have less power over the passions of men than Hamilton.
He is a giant, and deals with _great principles_ rather than passions.

"Bishop McIlvaine will always be heard. He has an elegant form, a fine
voice, and a brilliant imagination, and he can carry an audience just
where he pleases."

_Mr. C._ "You, of course, have heard Dr. Cox."

_Dr. N._ "Yes, often. He is an original, powerful man, unequal in his
performances: sometimes he hits, sometimes he misses; sometimes he rises
to the sublimity of powerful speaking, and at others sinks below the
common level."

_Mr. C._ "Have you read his book on Quakerism?"

_Dr. N._ "As much of it as I can. Some Presbyterians like it. For my
part, I confess I do not. He carries his anti-Quaker antipathies too
far. It is perfectly natural he should do so. Men who go over from one
denomination to another always stand up more than straight, and for two
reasons;--first, to satisfy their new friends that they have heartily
renounced their former error; secondly, to convince their former friends
that they had good reasons for desertion. Baptists who have become such
from Presbyterians are uniformly the most bigoted, and _vice versa_.

"I am disgusted and grieved with the religious controversies of the
present age. The divisions of schools, old school and new school, and
the polemical zeal and fury with which the contest is waged, are
entirely foreign from the true spirit of Christianity. The Christianity
of the age is, in my view, most unamiable. It has none of those lovely,
mellow features which distinguished primitive Christianity. If
Christianity as it now exists should be propagated over the world, and
thus the millennium be introduced, we should need two or three more
millenniums before the world would be fit to live in."

_Mr. C._ "Why do you judge so, Doctor?"

_Dr. N._ "By the style of our religious periodicals. If I had suddenly
dropped down here, and wished to ascertain at a bird's-eye view the
religious and moral state of the community, I would call for the papers
and magazines, and when I had glanced at them I should pronounce that
community to be in a low moral and religious state which could tolerate
such periodicals. A bad paper cannot live in a good community.

"I have been especially grieved and offended with the recent Catholic
controversy. I abhor much in the Catholic religion; but, nevertheless, I
believe there is a great deal of religion in that Church. I do not like
the condemnation of men in classes. I would not, in controversy with the
Catholics, render railing for railing. They cannot be put down so. They
must be charmed down by kindness and love."

_Mr. C._ "I have been much amused by reading that controversy."

_Dr. N._ "My dear sir, I am sorry to hear you say so. You cannot have
read that controversy with pleasure, without having been made a worse
man by it."

_Mr. C._ "Why, I was amused by it, I suppose, just as I should be amused
by seeing a gladiator's show."

_Dr. N._ "Just so; a very good comparison,--a very accurate comparison!
It is a mere gladiatorial contest; and the object of it, I fear, is not
so much truth as victory."

_Mr. C._ "But Luther fought so, Doctor."

_Dr. N._ "I know it; and I have no sympathy with that trait in the
character of Luther. The world owes more, perhaps, to Martin Luther
than to any other man who has ever lived; and as God makes the wrath of
man to praise him, and restrains the remainder, so he raised up Luther
as an instrument adapted to his age and the circumstances of the times.
But Luther's character in some of its features was harsh, rugged, and
unlovely; and in these it was not founded upon the Gospel.

"Compare him with St. Paul. Once they were placed in circumstances
almost identically the same. Luther's friends were endeavoring to
dissuade him from going to Worms, on account of apprehended danger. Said
Luther, 'If there were as many devils at Worms as there are tiles on the
roofs of the houses, I would go.'

"When Paul's friends at Cæsarea wept, and besought him not to go up to
Jerusalem, knowing the things which would befall him there, 'What mean
ye,' said he, 'to weep, and break my heart? For I am ready, not to be
bound only, but to die also at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord

"Many a bold, reckless man of the world could have said what Luther
said. None but a Christian could have uttered the words of Paul."

_Mr. C._ "Was it not in part a constitutional difference? Peter and Paul
were very different men; so, if Luther had not been a Christian, he
would have exhibited the same rugged features of character."

_Dr. N._ "That is just the point, sir. These traits in his character
were no part of his Christianity. They existed, not in consequence, but
in spite, of his religion. I want to see, in Christian character, the
rich, deep, mellow tint of the Scriptures."




It was by a happy chance that my first acquaintance with Crete and the
Cretans was made just previous to the outbreak of the insurrection which
has just now brought the island so strongly to the attention of the
world, and which will prevent any future traveller of this generation
from seeing it, as I saw it, at the highest point of that comparative
material prosperity which thirty-five years of such peace as Christian
lands enjoy under Turkish rule had created, and before the beginning of
that course of destruction which has now made the island one expanse of
poverty and ruin. It was in the beginning of the last year of the
administration of Ismael Pacha, in August, 1865, that, blockaded a month
in Syra by cholera, I finally got passage on a twenty-ton yacht
belonging to an English resident of that place, and made a loitering
three days' run to Canea.

Crete, though _never_ visited by cholera, was in quarantine at all Greek
ports, and intercourse with the great world was limited to occasional
voyages of the little caïques of the island to Syra, where they endured
two weeks' quarantine, and whence they brought back the mails and a
cargo of supplies, so that any arrival was an event to the Cydonians,
and that of a yacht flying the English and American flags at once was
enough to turn out the entire population. The fitful northerly breeze
had kept us the whole afternoon in sight of the port; and it was only as
sunset closed the doors of the health-office that we dropped anchor in
the middle of the little harbor,--the wondering centre of attraction to
a wondering town, whose folk came to assist at the sunsetting and our
arrival. Lazy soldiers, lying at full length on the old bronze cannon of
the batteries, looked out at us, only raising their heads from their
crossed arms; grave Turks, smoking their nargiles in front of the cafés
that open on the Marina, turned their chairs round to look at us without
stopping their hubble-bubbling; and all about us, where nothing else
was, a line of motley humanity--Greek, Turk, Egyptian, Nubian,
Abyssinian, under hats, caps, tarbouches, turbans, hats Persian and
ecclesiastical, and no hats at all--half circled us with mute and mostly
stupid admiration.

It was my first experience of a Turkish town, and perhaps I was more
struck with the dilapidation and evident decay than I ought to have
been. The sea-wall of the massive Venetian fortification seemed
crumbling and carious; the earth-work above it was half washed away; the
semicircle of houses on the Marina looked seedy and tottering; the
Marina itself was in places under-cut and falling into the water; and
above us, overtopping the whole city, the Pacha's palace, built on the
still substantial, though time-worn and neglected walls of the old
Venetian citadel, reared a lath-and-plaster shabbiness against the glow
of the western sky, reminding one of an American seaside hotel in the
last stages of popularity and profitable tenancy,--great gaps in the
plaster showing the flimsiness of the construction, while a coating of
unmitigated whitewash almost defied the sunset glow to modify it. On the
western point of the crescent of the Marina, under the height on which
stands the palace, is a domed mosque,--one large central dome surrounded
by little ones,--with a not ugly minaret, slightly cracked by
earthquakes, standing at one side in a little cemetery, among whose
turbaned tombstones grow a palm and an olive tree, and beyond which the
khan (also serving as custom-house), a two-story house of the Venetian
days, relieves the dreary white with a wash of ochre, stained and
streaked to any tint almost. A little nearer the bottom of the port is
an old Venetian gate, which once shut the Marina in at night while the
custom-house guard slept, and over the keystone of which the Lion of St.
Mark's still turns his mutilated head to the sea.

On the whole, the look of the thing was not unpicturesque, except for
the hopeless whiteness and shabbiness of the principal architectural
features, and especially the "Konak" (palace), which was, beyond all
disguise of light or circumstance, an eyesore and a nuisance, the more
so that its foundations were fine old brown stone masonry, delicious in
color, solid, and showing at one end a pointed arched vault, with its
portward end fallen down to show the interior, and crowned with an
enormous mass of cactus. On the south side, invisible from the port, are
three fine Gothic windows, now filled up, but preserving the traceries.
The palace could scarcely have had a nobler site, or the site a more
ignoble occupancy.

Too late for pratique, we had nothing to do but turn in early, and get
ready to go ashore at sunrise.

Once landed, I began to wish that the comparison I had drawn for the
Konak was a more just one, and that inside its card-board classicalism
could be found the slightest approach to American hospitality. Not an
inn of any kind exists in Canea: a dirty, dingy restaurant, which called
itself "The Guest-House of the Spheres," offered one small bedroom,
which the filth of the place, with its suggestions of bugs and fleas,
forbade the title of a sleeping-room. While the yacht stayed I had a
bed; but after that it was a dreary prospect for a man who had intended
living at his ease in his inn the rest of the summer. And here let me,
once for all, give due credit to Crete, and say that, though there is
not from one end of the island to the other an inn, the stranger will
never wait long, even in the smallest village, to know where he may
sleep, and will rarely find a greater difficulty than to reconcile the
rival claims to the honor of his presence. In my case, I had no greatly
prolonged anxiety, and accepted the proffered hospitality of Mr. Alexis,
then Vice-Consul of the United States of America, and now Dutch Consul,
to whom most of the few travellers in Crete are more or less under

I thoroughly enjoyed some days of careless loafing about Canea. I have
intimated my slight experience of Turkish towns; and if the critic
should think it worth while to remark that I should have seen
Constantinople and Cairo, Smyrna and Salonica, before attempting to
describe one, I admit the justice of the criticism, and pass over
readily all that is Turkish in Canea, the more that it is mainly of
negative or destructive character. What remains of interest in Canea is
Venetian, though of that there is almost nothing which represents the
great period of the sea-republic, except the fine, and in most parts
well-conditioned walls. Here and there a double-arched window, with a
bit of fine carving in the capitals, peeps out from the jutting
uglinesses of seraglio windows, close latticed and mysterious; one or
two fine doorways, neglected and battered as to their ornamentation,
some coats of arms, three or four arched gateways, and as many
fountains, are all that will catch the eye of the artist inside the
walls, unless it be the port, with its quaint and picturesque boats of
antique pattern.

Canea had its west-end in what is now known as the Castelli,--the slight
elevation on which, most probably, the ancient city was built, and on
which stood the Venetian citadel, and the aristocratic quarter, enclosed
and gated with an interior wall, whose circuit may still be traced in
occasional glimpses of the brown stone above and between the Turkish
houses. The Castelli of to-day is the principal street of this quarter,
running through its centre, and guarded by the gates whose arches
remain, valueless and without portcullis, but showing in their present
state how strong a defence was needed to assure the patricians in their
slumbers against any importunate attempts of their malcontent subjects
and fellow-townsmen to clear off the score which the infamous government
of the Republic accumulated. One doorway in this street struck me
particularly, from the exquisite ornamentation of its stone doorway; but
the palace to which it opened is abandoned, and in ruins. Most of the
better class of these houses are in the same state, modern repair being
only a shabby patching up and whitewashing. The quarter is inhabited
almost entirely by Mussulmans; and, though habitable houses are greatly
in demand in the business parts of Canea, and many of these old palaces
could be made available at a small cost, their owners have so little
energy, or so great an aversion to new-comers and Christians, that none
of them are put under repairs.

On the walls of the city are many old bronze guns of both Venetian and
Turkish manufacture. The former still bear the Lion of St. Mark's, and
one long nine-pounder is exquisitely ornamented with a reticulation of
vines cast in relief over the whole length of it. It bears the name of
Albergetti, its founder. The only modern guns I saw were half a dozen
heavy cast-iron thirty-two-pounders of Liege, and a few light bronze
guns on the battery commanding the entrance of the harbor. The whole
circuit of the walls is still furnished with the ancient bronze guns, of
which several are of about twelve-inch calibre, with their stone balls
still lying by them.

The harbor of Canea approximates in form to a clumsy L, the bottom of
the letter forming the basin in the centre of which our yacht was
moored, with a longer recess running eastward from the entrance, and
divided from the open sea only by a reef on which the mole is built,
following the direction of the coast at this part of the island. The
narrow entrance is at the exterior angle of the L, between the
water-battery and the lighthouse; and in the interior angle are the
Castelli, Konak, &c. Along the inner side of the eastern recess, and
across its extremity, is a line of galley-houses,--the penitential
offering, it is said, of a patrician exiled here, to purchase his
repatriation. Earthquakes have rent their walls, decay has followed
disuse, for the harbor has now become so filled up that only a small
boat can get into the furthermost of the arches, and the greater part of
the galley-houses have dry land out to their entrances, and the
ship-yard of to-day is in the vacant space left by the fall of two or
three of them.

As might be expected, Canea is a very dull city. Out of the highway of
Eastern trade or travel, whoever visits it must do so for itself alone,
for the arts of amusing idlers and luring travellers are unknown to it.
The only amusements for summer are a nargile on the Marina, studying
primitive civilization the while, during the twilight hours, and the
afternoon circuit of the ramparts, where every day at five o'clock an
execrable band tortures the most familiar arias with clangor of
discordant brass. From the ramparts we overlooked the plain, bounded by
Mount Malaxa, above which loomed the Aspravouna, showing late in summer
strips of snow in the ravines that furrowed the bare crystalline peaks,
brown and gray and parched with the drought of three months. The Cretan
summer runs rainless from June to October; and the only relief to the
aridity of the landscape is formed by the olive-orchards, covering
nearly the whole expanse between the sea sands and the treeless ridge of
Malaxa with so luxuriant a green, that, accustomed to the olive of
Italy, I could scarcely believe these to be the same trees. This I at
first supposed to be owing to some peculiarity of the plain, but
subsequently found it to be characteristic of the Cretan olive; and I
remember hearing Captain Brine of the Racer express the same surprise I
myself felt on first seeing the olive here. The trees are like
river-side willows in early summer.

To get a clear comprehension of the position of Canea and the ancient
advantages of Cydonia, its local predecessor, and at the same time of
the whole northwestern district of Crete, one must ascend the hills of
the Akroteri,--at least the first ridge, from which the view is superb.
The Aspravouna towers higher: we look into the gorges of the Malaxa
ridge, and up the ravine of Theriso, to the mountains about Laki,--an
immemorial strong-hold of the Cretans, behind which, a sure and
impregnable refuge to brave men, is the great plain of Omalos. Farther
on are the hills of Selinos and Kisamos, sending off northward two long
parallel ridges of considerable altitude, the peninsula of Grabusa, the
ancient Corycus, the western land of Crete, and, from where we look,
visible in portions above the nearer ridge of Cape Spada, the Dictynnian
peninsula, which divides the plain of Cydonia from that of Kisamon and
Polyrrhenia, and, but for the glimpses of Corycus above it, shutting in
our view, as it bounds the territory dependent on the ancient city.

No site in Crete is more distinctly recognizable from the indications of
the ancient geographers than Cydonia. It had "a port with shoals
outside," and from this elevation one looks directly down the longer
fork of the harbor, and can see how the mole is built on a black reef,
whose detached masses extend from the lighthouse eastward to the corner
of the city wall, which is built out to meet it, and then descends to
the mole, with which it is continuous. Beyond the entrance of the
harbor, the reef again appears, gradually nearing the shore; and beyond
this, as far as the eye can reach, are no rocks,--no Other nook where a
galley could have taken refuge.

How the hearts of the Pelasgian wanderers must have bounded when their
exploring prows pushed into this nook, which offered them shelter from
all winds that blow! It was a site to gladden the eyes of those builders
of cities. Up above them, the bluff rock waiting for the layers of huge
stones,--the eastern nook of the port more perfectly protected than the
southern, which receives more or less the swell from the northerly
winds, and whose inner shore of hard sand tempted the weary
keels,--while all around stretched a wide, fertile, and then probably
forest-clad plain, doubtless abounding in the stags for which the
district was long famous. Here the restless race "located," and seem to
have prospered in the days of those brave men who lived before
Agamemnon, to whom and to whose allies in the Trojan war they seem to
have given much the same trouble that their reputed descendants, the
Sphakiotes, did to the Cretan Assembly of 1866, not being either then or
now over-devoted to Panhellenism, though never averse to a comfortable

Pashley quotes a Latin author to show that Cydonia was one of the most
ancient, if not the most ancient, of Cretan cities,--"Cnossus and
Erythræa, and, as the Greeks say, Cydonia, mother of cities." The
alleged foundation of the city by Agamemnon was clearly, if anything,
only a revival of the more ancient city; and after him successive
colonizations rolled their waves in on this beautiful shore, obedient to
its irresistible attraction. Dorian, Samiote, Roman, followed, adding
new blood, and perhaps new wealth; and when finally, in the degradation
of the Byzantine empire, Venice took possession of Crete, Cydonia had so
far passed into insignificance, that, "seeking a place to build a
fortress to quell the turbulent Greeks," she refounded Cydonia, and
called it Canea,--an evident corruption of the old name. With all this
building and rebuilding, nothing remains, of the ancient city. A mass of
masonry near the Mussulman cemetery, which Chevalier in 1699 saw covered
with a mosaic pavement, is still visible, but is Roman work, rubble and
mortar. As Pashley says, the modern walls of Canea would have been
sufficient to consume all vestiges of the ancient building. The
citations he gives ought to put at rest all question, of the identity of
Canea with Cydonia, and we shall presently see the only serious
objection which has been raised against it disappear under an
examination of the geological character of the plain.[A]

Looking from our hill-top southwestwardly across the plain, the eye is
carried between two low ranges of hills into a valley which seems a
continuation of this plain. Here runs the Iardanos, along which,
according to Homer, the Cydonians dwelt. But it is now in no point of
its course nearer than ten miles to Canea. This discrepancy troubled the
early travellers, who were finally inclined to solve the riddle by
supposing Cydonia to have been a district, and not a city merely. But
study the plain a little, or Spratt's chart of it, and we shall see that
from that far-off river-bed an almost unbroken and very gentle
inclination leads through the plain, by the rear of the city, to the bay
of Suda, a considerable ridge rising between it and the sea.

Suppose the mountains reclothed with forests, the hillsides pierced with
perennial springs, and the flowing of the waters, not, as now, fitful
and impetuous, but copious and constant. Then dam up the narrow opening
the river has cut through the coast line of hills, in its direct course
from the mountains to the sea, with a smaller and similar one cut by a
stream coming down from Theriso, and you have the whole water sheet of
the north side of the Aspravouna emptying into the bay of Suda. In this
supposed route of the Iardanos (now the Platanos), just where it
commences its cutting through the hills, is a large marsh, the remnant
of what was once a lake of a mile or more in width, when the Iardanos,
then a gentle, bounteous river, turned from its present course to run
eastward, and deposit its washings where they made the marshes of
Tuzla, and the shallows at the head of Suda Bay. Civilization,
ship-building, commerce, carried away the forests; and, thus changed[B]
into a furious mountain torrent,--three months a roaring flood which no
bridge can stride, and the rest of the year almost a dry pebbled
bed,--the Iardanos made a straight cut for the sea, drained its lake,
forgot its old courses, and changed, in time, its name; and _so_ it
happens that the Cydonians no longer dwell along the Iardanos.

While we are on our look-out, let us try to study out another puzzle,
which even Spratt left in doubt, i. e. the site of Pergamos. We know
that it was near both Cydonia and Achaia, and Spratt pretty conclusively
fixes the latter on the Dictynnian peninsula; so that it must have been
in our present field of view. Looking this over, we can see but one
point of land which offers the indispensable requisites for a city of
the heroic ages, and that is the site of the modern Platania, midway
between Canea and the peninsula,--a bold hill with a nearly
perpendicular face to the north and east, and so abrupt on the west as
to be easily fortified, and connected with the hills on the south by a
narrow neck of hill,--such a site, in fact, as any one familiar with
Pelasgic remains would seek at once in a country where any such remains
existed. The fact that no remains exist to show that an ancient city
stood here proves no more than at Canea; while the fact that none of the
possible sites in the neighborhood show any such remains is conclusive
against them, as no modern cities are there to consume the ancient
masonry. In our researches in the island, we shall almost invariably
find that, where there are remains of ancient cities, there is no modern
town, and that, where a modern town stands on an ancient site
determined, there are few, if any, antique vestiges. The reason is
evident,--the ruins serve as quarry. The change of name even proves more
for our hypothesis than against it. The plane-tree was not in ancient
times so rare in the island as now, and would hardly have then given a
name to a city, while now it not only names Platania, but the river
even,--a grove of plane-trees occupying the valley between the city and
the mouth of the river. The probability is, then, that the names of both
are synchronous; and it would be useless to look for any Platania in
ancient times, or any vestige of the name "Pergamos" in modern times,
while, if the ancient city stood on a site now abandoned, we should in
all probability find both ruins and name to indicate the locality.

The conjecture of Spratt, that Pergamos was near Pyrgos Pori is only a
conjecture, Pyrgos being too common a name for any strongly situated
village or ruin to have any significance. A city at that locality would,
moreover, have been cut off from all sea approach by the Iardanos in its
ancient course; and as Pergamos was one of those cities founded by the
wanderers from Troy,--either, they say, by Agamemnon or Æneas,--it would
probably not have been founded on an inland site, or even on a river
navigable, as the Iardanos must have been, for small craft, the access
to which would be commanded by Aptera, Minoa, and Cydonia. So far as
conjecture goes, it seems to me much more likely that Hagia Irene--which
Spratt supposes the ancient city--was Achaia, the location of which he
avoids by supposing it a district, rather than a city, forgetting that
in those days no one dwelt outside of city walls. My hypothesis, coupled
with that of the identity of Platania with Pergamos, would satisfy all
the exigencies of the case, which that of neither Spratt nor Pashley
does. For the rest, Pergamos is mainly interesting as the burial-place
of Lycurgus.

From our point of view on the Akroteri, we see the whole domain of
Cydonia,--as at our left Suda Bay terminates the view, (on the first
plateau eastward of the bay Aptera presided,) while the Dictynnian hills
divide it from the plain of Kisamos to the west, and the mountains rise
abruptly to the south;--a little kingdom well defined, one of the most
perfectly beautiful territories the tourist can find, and still
fertile,--though the hills have forgotten their fruit and the plain its
river,--and capable of sustaining a much larger population than it now
supports, if the Mohammedan blight were off it.

Almost at the foot of the ridge where we stand is a beautiful example of
a Venetian fortified country-house,--a little castle, turreted and
loop-holed, with a drawbridge thrown from a tower rising opposite the
doorway, and still in excellent preservation. Other similar houses may
be seen, but I have nowhere in the island found one so fine as this. At
the farther edge of the plain, lying along under the hills, is a
succession of white villages,--Zukalaria, Nerokouro (running water),
Murnies, celebrated for its oranges and the brutal and gratuitous
massacre by Mustapha Pacha (late Imperial Commissioner), in 1833,
Boutzounaria (dripping water), first place of assembling of the Cretan
malcontents in 1866, Perivolia, Galatas, Hagia Marina, and Platania, by
the sea.

Off Platania is the island of St. Theodore, whose fortress, defended by
the Venetian mercenaries against the Turks, showed one of those examples
of heroic constancy we so generally and erroneously attribute to
patriotic courage; for, defying the enemy to the last, the garrison
defended the castle until the Turks had stormed and filled it with their
numbers, and then blew it up, destroying every one within the walls. The
foundations still remain, but level with the cemented floor; everything
is razed cleanly, while the fragments lie along the slopes like the
ejections of a volcano.

Midway between the Akroteri and Canea lies Kalepa, a suburb where most
of the foreign consuls reside in summer, with many of the wealthier
Khaniotes, and the only place in the vicinity where the summer can be
passed in comfort. A few houses are fitted with European improvements,
but the greater part are the simple and cheerless residences of the
Cretan peasant, furnished with the merest necessities of existence. Even
here, in the most prosperous of the villages I have been in, life is,
for most of the people, only a struggle against poverty, thrift being
impossible where every surplus meets a new impost. Many houses are still
in ruins from the devastations of 1821-1830, showing how incompletely
the island had recovered from that war before being plunged into another
more destructive still. From the ravages of this, however, Kalepa is
saved so far,--thanks to a few consular residents,--but saved alone of
all the villages of the plain country.

If it be true that civilization is determined by natural advantages, it
must be that Cydonia was the "mother of cities," at least of all the
Hellenic realm, for no more enchanting or tempting site have I ever
known through travel or description. With its climate of paradisiacal
softness and healthfulness, and the beauty of its framing hills,--fanned
in summer by the north winds from the Ægean and by south winds tempered
by the snows of the Aspravouna,--with a winter in which vegetation never
ceases and frost never comes,--with its garden-like plain and its
old-time river, and its port unexceptionable in ancient times,--nothing
was wanting to render prosperity and security complete in former days,
as nothing but freedom is wanting now to restore both, and make the city
the most attractive place in the classical world. Hitherto, its charms
have but tempted invasion, and its fertility has only grown harvests for
the sword. Here began the Cretan conquest by Metellus; here began the
movements which, one after the other, have shaken the Ottoman chain only
to make it heavier; and here began the latest struggle, which, so long
and gallantly upheld, may finally bring back to Crete the civilization
born on her shores, but for so many centuries an exile.



Not to make one's first excursion from Canea to the Akroteri, with its
convent of the Hagia Triada (Holy Trinity), and its sacred Grotto of St.
John, would be _lesa maestà_ to the Khaniotes, who regard a pilgrimage
to the latter as entitling one to a Hadjiship.

The ride (or walk, which I recommend, in preference, to good
pedestrians) is a delightful one in early summer; and, even after the
heats of August have browned the plain of the Akroteri, an early start
from Canea will leave a memory of breezy upland with wide expanse of
mountain and sea,--including some of the most picturesque views to be
found in Crete,--and of the rich odors of many aromatic herbs and
flowers, through whose rifled sweets the Akroteri is famous for its
honey. A three hours' ride--first up the zigzag road that climbs the
ridge above Kalepa, and then over an undulating plain sparsely dotted
with hamlets and clouded here and there with olive-orchards--brings one,
with a sufficient appreciation of good cheer, and clean, cool rooms,
shade, and quiet, into the cloistered court of Hagia Triada, a
semi-military building of the Venetian days. Still unfinished, the
Turkish conquest having interrupted its progress, with all other in the
seventeenth century. In the centre of the quadrangle, round which are
the rooms of the monks and the guest-rooms, stands the church, an
edifice nondescript as to style, with a façade of a species of Venetian
Doric, fronting a building whose plan is a Latin cross, and whose roof
observes Byzantine tradition. On the entablature over the doorway are
the dedicatory Greek capitals, [Greek: BGYTHTP],--the meaning of which
none of the priests could tell me, though a duplicate inscription in
Latin and Greek beside the door told by whom the convent was built; and
the Hegoumenos added the tradition, that the two founders, being
converted by an extraordinary illumination from the Latin to the Greek
Church, gave an edifying proof of their devotion to their new creed by
erecting this convent.

The Hegoumenos was a Sphakiote, a very shrewd, clear-headed and
energetic man, and, though betraying no great familiarity with books or
dogmas, showed that he was a better fisher in those waters where men are
to be caught than most of his _confrères_ of any creed. He had that
manner of innate authority which never fails to impose itself on the
indecisions and self-distrusts of the mass of men, and which in a wider
circle of ambition would certainly have won him a larger place. Like the
Hegoumenos of every other Greek convent, he was elected by the monks,
and, though completely in the hands of his brethren, and at any time
liable to be removed by another election, the subordination to him was
perfect as could have been imagined. It was a curious exemplification of
the force of democracy. Yet not only in Hagia Triada, but in other
Cretan convents, I have seen how the mass of men find their governors as
surely and wisely, and often more fitly, than if they had had men born
to the place, or appointed by some superior hierarchy.

In Italy I had always been accustomed to find the convents posted on the
hill-tops, and almost inaccessible; but in Crete the loveliest valleys
are almost certain to have been chosen as their locations. The convent
of the Hagia Triada is indeed on a plain, but at the foot of the range
of hills which skirts the Akroteri to the north, and is thus almost shut
in from two sides, while to the south the plain extends to Suda Bay,
which is hidden in the chasm between the Akroteri and Mount Malaxa, and
beyond which the mountains of Sphakia rise in picturesque and alluring
redundance of ravine and massive rock. All the nearer plain is green
with the olive-orchards, and the road which approaches the front
entrance is flanked with two lines of cypresses, and carob-trees grow up
the rocky heights overlooking the convent, where no other tree will
grow. The hum of bees filled the air, and mingled with the notes of
nightingales (poetically fabled to sing _only_ by night), the chirping
of multitudinous sparrows, wrens, and linnets, and the twittering of
swallows. At the outer gate sat two or three aged monks, picturesque and
sculpturesque at once, like enchanted porters at the doors of some
spellbound palace, their long, gray beards and sunken, listless eyes
according with their own and the convent's external dilapidation.

The beauty and quiet of the place were almost enchantment enough to
account for the gray-headed porters, their immobility and longevity, and
I longed to draw the charm over me. But I was one of a party which had
come under the inspiration of the most inane motive of travel,--the
desire to see all there was to be seen; and so, after a half-hour's
repose, and the usual refreshments,--preserved fruits and a glass of
water, followed by coffee,--we enlisted the Hegoumenos in our party, and
set out for the grotto, taking in the way Hagios Joannes, a still more
incomplete and still more secluded convent than Hagia Triada, among the
hills between the latter and the sea. The road which we followed would
be called by no means a bad road for Crete, but anywhere else would be
execrable,--a mere bridle-path through a gorge in a range of hills from
which all the soil seems to have been washed with most of the small
stones, and where, with much precaution, your beast goes picking his way
as if in a laborious, slow-paced minuet. The convent stands in an
opening of the hills, on a little bit of comparatively plain land,-a
half-finished battlemented square pile, offering defence against a
slight attack; but the monks said that the Turks always found the road
so bad that they never came to attack them during any of the island
wars, though Hagia Triada was twice pillaged. The comparative poverty
of Hagios Joannes may have had something to do with its exemption, but
the road would defend it from my encroachments forever; and, in fact,
visitors only pass it on the way to the grottoes and convent of
Katholikon, which lie near the opening of the gorge, where it becomes a
wild glen, and approaches the sea. The path, descending, led us to the
Cave of the Bear, where we had arranged to lunch, and the bounties of
Canea, spread on the ground in the mouth of the cave, went to repair the
wear and tear of body and temper caused by the badness of the road. The
cave derives its name from a mass of stalactite which has a traceable
resemblance to a bear, but it had no further interest than being our
lunching-place. Here the road became so bad that even a donkey could not
follow it, and we clambered down on foot by zigzag and rock stair to the
mouth of the Cave of St. John. Caves _per se_ have no kind of attraction
to me. Stalactite and stalagmite are pretty much the same: so, half the
way in, I made excuse of the fatigue of some of the ladies, and,
determining to go no farther, proved my gallantry by stopping to keep
them company, thus abandoning my Hadjiship, which can only be claimed
when the inner chamber is attained. If, then, the reader would know
more, he must consult the guide-book, when there is one; and meanwhile
let me assure him, on the authority of Pashley, that the cave is four
hundred and seventy feet deep, and, on that of my more persevering
fellow-visitors, that at the bottom is a chamber, very fine and imposing
by torchlight, where is a couch of natural formation on which died the
saint, leaving his name with his bones and the odor of his sanctity. The
story is that this St. John--neither the Baptist nor the Evangelist, but
a hermit of Crete--centuries ago made his abode here, and lived many
years without seeing the face of another man. Lest he should in daylight
chance upon his abhorred and outcast brethren, or any of them, he only
ventured out at night, and lived on what he could find in other people's
gardens or orchards. Happening one night to be discovered in the act of
laying in a provision of corn, he was mistaken for a thief, and received
an arrow from the owner of the provision. He crawled back, mortally
wounded, to his grotto, and never came out again except in the shape of

The convent of Katholikon, long abandoned, did not invite entrance: a
Venetian bridge spans the ravine, and gave access to the chapel for the
hermits whose little dens still remain on the other side, the denizens
having long since deserted them. Down by the sea are some Venetian
ruins, a boat-house, and some masonry of a landing. I advise travellers
who will visit Katholikon, its cave and hermitages, to order a boat
round from Canea to meet them at this place, and then go home in
comfort,--the only point to be gained from going back by land being a
more thorough experience of Cretan roads. To those who intend seeing the
rest of the island, opportunities will not lack for this; to others, the
knowledge is superfluous. A careful horse will make his way down, but he
ought to be strong to get up. Mine was not; and, in climbing, his force
or his footing failed him, and over he went backwards, and I narrowly
escaped being crushed under him. Stunned and half bewildered by the
fall,--for I had struck on my back amongst sharp stones, with one of
which my head had made intimate acquaintance,--I managed, I know not
how, to extricate myself from the flourish of legs; the horse lying more
helpless than myself in the narrow path between two slopes of stone, and
vainly plunging to get over on his side. He finally completed his
somerset, to the confusion of the line of equestrians behind, the
nearest of whom were speedily dismounted; and the chances of a kicking
match among the quadrupeds were good for a moment, until two prompt
Arabs, in attendance on Miss T----, restored the disorderly elements to
peace. Sore, bleeding, and faint, I lay awhile on a bed of wild thyme,
until I began to feel the good effects of a cordial administered by the
_patéras_, and we resumed our file, most of the party returning directly
to Canea,--myself, with a companion who served as guide and interpreter,
passing the night at the convent, the good Hegoumenos being urgent in
his entreaties that the whole company would likewise honor his roof.
None of the ladies felt inclined to do so, and perhaps it was just as
well for their repose that they did not; for, clean as the rooms of the
convent were, and white as was the linen, there were discomforts which,
though infinitely small, were infinitely numerous, and, by the law of
majorities, our tormentors turned us out of bed to pass the night in the
open air,--a change always safe, and even delightful at this season, in

The Greek convent is a true hostel; no one is refused admission and
hospitality,--no restrictions on the gentler sex make it impossible for
real parties of pleasure to visit its beautiful valley,--no Pharisaic
rigidity of self-denial makes it imperative to refuse visitors good
cheer, though the community observe their long and trying fasts with a
severity which puts to shame abstinence in Catholic countries. (The
Greek fasts two hundred and forty-six days out of three hundred and
sixty-five, and most of this time not even fish is allowed, while part
of the time oil, milk, and shell-fish are also forbidden.) And the
welcome is no mere show of kindliness; the longer you stay at the
convent, the better the monks are pleased, and staying longer than you
intended is the highest compliment you can pay them. What change a
larger acquaintance with the world will produce, of course I cannot say,
or how much the spirit of hospitality will diminish by an increase of
the calls on it; but now no English country-house makes you more at home
than a Cretan convent.

In the morning, the _patéras_ guided us to a peak, near the northeastern
point of the Akroteri, whence we could overlook, not only the peninsula
and Suda Bay, but the Apokorona, the coast from Cape Spada to Cape
Stavros, the Rhiza as far as the mountains of Kisamos, Mount Ida, and
the mountains of Sphakia, Lampe, and even, in the dim distance,
Lassithe. Included in the field of view were the sites of seven of the
Cretan cities of _early_ days, not counting Minoa and Canea, hidden from
view. On the north, we had the Greek islands Cerigotto, Cerigo, Milo,
Santorini, and others less prominent. It was my intention to return by
the shore of Suda Bay, in order to visit Minoa, but the badness of the
roads, and the utter want of interest in the intermediate distance,
determined me to visit that part of the Akroteri by boat at a later

Returning to the convent, we had not long to wait for a capital
dinner,--soup, a boiled chicken, mutton stewed with artichokes and
beans, new honey, and rice prepared with milk, sugar, and spices, with a
dessert of figs and grapes. The wine of the convent had a bitter taste,
from an herb steeped in it, which was preferable to the pitch of Greek
wines, but still not a desirable addition. One of the monks, who had a
small property close by the convent, brought us a bottle of wine of his
own production, which was one of the best I have ever tasted in the
East, and to my mind better than that of Cyprus. With coffee and
cigarettes we stretched ourselves on the sofas before the windows,
through which the east wind blew the odors extorted from the fragrant
herbs and flowers by the overpowering sun. No other sound than the hum
of the bees darting past with unwearying haste, and the chirping of a
few birds amongst the olives, disturbed the air, and the monks left us
to dream or doze as we pleased. The charm of the place was complete, and
it would not have been a penance to make the convent a summer's abode.
The fleas were a drawback, surely; but nowhere in Crete can one get away
from that plague, and at Hagia Triada they were less offensive, as I
learned by later experience, than in many other convents, and even in
most private houses.

When, the sun cooling his fires, we ordered our steeds out, and prepared
to return, the whole _personnel_ of the convent came to assist, with the
inhabitants of a little village adjoining, which finds protection and
Christian charity from the convent. The monks, excepting two or three,
seemed of an ignorant and boorish quality, but hard-working and
kind-hearted. Here, evidently, a certain kind of bliss was in ignorance,
and the most learned were not wise enough to be accused of much folly.
The Hegoumenos, in bidding us good by, begged us warmly to come again
and stay long,--a month at least. All joined in the kindly wish; and we
rode back through the lengthening olive shadows, which never had fitter
accompaniment than in the peace and content which the convent promised
us, and I am sure not vainly. Not that I am a believer in the peace that
does not come of fighting,--the retreat before battle,--or think that
quiet and laziness are one. Content is a piggish virtue and one which no
earnest soul can abide in, and unsleeping ambition is the only Jacob's
ladder; but when my reader is tired of struggling, and must repose, I am
sure that he (or she, even) would find in Hagia Triada such peace and
content as may be healthfully known, and no begrudging of the solace and
satisfaction to heretics. It seems to me that only those who have no
right to a quiet life envy it in others, and, as our monks earn their
right to be charitable, they are not envious, even with sinners.


[A] As I shall have constant occasion to draw from Pashley information
and quotations which my own classical reading, time, and library
facilities do not permit me even to verify, I shall, once for all,
confess indebtedness for almost all the classical knowledge I possess of
the island, as well as for almost all the topographical information and
direction in my visits to antique sites, to either him or Spratt,
without whose invaluable researches the half of Crete would still be in
a measure _terra incognita_. What I hope to add to the knowledge of
Crete will be in a different vein from theirs.

[B] Consult Marsh's "Man and Nature."



([Greek: Phi. Beta. Kappa.]--CAMBRIDGE, 1867.)

    You bid me sing,--can I forget
      The classic ode of days gone by,--
    How belle Fifine and jeune Lisette
      Exclaimed, "Anacreon, geron ei"?
    "Regardez donc," those ladies said,--
      "You're getting bald and wrinkled too:
    When summer's roses all are shed,
      Love's nullum ite, voyez-vous!"

    In vain ce brave Anacreon's cry,
      "Of Love alone my banjo sings"
    (Erota mounon). "Etiam si,--
      Eh b'en?" replied the saucy things,--
    "Go find a maid whose hair is gray,
      And strike your lyre,--we sha'n't complain;
    But parce nobis, s'il vous plait,--
      Voilà Adolphe! Voilà Eugène!"

    Ah, jeune Lisette! Ah, belle Fifine!
      Anacreon's lesson all must learn;
    'O kairos oxus; Spring is green;
      But Acer Hyems waits his turn!
    I hear you whispering from the dust,
      "Tiens, mon cher, c'est toujours so,--
    The brightest blade grows dim with rust,
      The fairest meadow white with snow!"

    You do not mean it! _Not_ encore?
      _Another_ string of playday rhymes?
    You've heard me--nonne est?--before,
      Multoties,--more than twenty times;
    Non possum,--vraiment,--pas du tout,
      I cannot! I am loath to shirk;
    But who will listen if I do,
      My memory makes such shocking work?

    Ginosko, Scio. Yes, I'm told
      Some ancients like my rusty lay,
    As Grandpa Noah loved the old
      Red-sandstone march of Jubal's day
    I used to carol like the birds,
      But time my wits has quite unfixed,
    Et quoad verba,--for my words,--
      Ciel! Eheu! Whe-ew!--how they're mixed!

    Mehercle! Zeu! Diable! how
      My thoughts were dressed when I was young
    But tempus fugit! see them now
      Half clad in rags of every tongue!
    O philoi, fratres, chers amis!
      I dare not court the youthful Muse,
    For fear her sharp response should be,
      "Papa Anacreon, please excuse!"

    Adieu! I've trod my annual track
      How long!--let others count the miles,--
    And peddled out my rhyming pack
      To friends who always paid in smiles.
    So, laissez-moi! some youthful wit
      No doubt has wares he wants to show;
    And I am asking, "Let me sit,"
      Dum ille clamat, "Dos pou sto!"



"It was a Sunday evening that was coming on, you see, and there was a
full moon, and all the willagers would be out to church, because there
was a rewival a-going on, and, thinks says I, he'll walk into his sleep,
like as not, and he'll be wisible to one and he'll be wisible to all,
and I must adopt the adwice that's been adwised me, whether it's quite
adwisable or not; so I gets the clothes-line, and I cuts off about five
yards, and I slips it under my piller before I goes to--before I retires
to rest. The clothes-line was a new hempen one, and strong as could be.
Well, he was no sooner asleep than up I riz, and slips the line from
under my piller, and I ties my arm to his'n with a knot that couldn't be
ontied easy. And now, thinks says I to myself, you get away and walk
into your sleep if you can! But you'll see directly that I was adwised

"Just as the meetin' folks was a-goin' home, I, bein' about half asleep,
feels somethin' pullin' and pullin' onto my arm, and says I, 'Let go!'
and nothin' answered, and then says I, 'Let go, I tell you!' and, bless
you! I had no more than got the words out of my mouth when down I comes
onto the floor, piller and all! I knowed then, right away, what was the
matter,--he was a-walkin' into his sleep. 'O, stop,' says I, 'just for a
minute, till I ontie myself!'

"'Divel a bit!' says he, and with that he strode off, and me headlong at
his heels!"

"My little wentersome one!" says John; and finding that that but very
inadequately expressed what he felt, he repeated it, with slight
alteration, "My wentersome little one!" at the same time lifting his
eyes to heaven and shaking his finger in a menacing way at the air.

"Me--your own--headlong at his heels," whispered the widow, softly. And
then she boxed his ear with the tips of her fingers, and then he said he
would love to have her a-boxin' on 'em forever, and then she laughed
incredulously, and then she went on:--

'Stop, you willain, till I ontie myself,' says I.

"'Ontie me, you wixen!' says he, 'who cares whether you are ontied or
not?' and he histed the winder,--a two-story winder it was,--and out he

"My brain is a-reelin'!" cries John. "You poor dewoted dove!"

"Dewoted, sure enough," says the widow, "and dewoted you'd 'a' thought
if you'd 'a' seen me; for up he hists the winder, and out he goes. Now
there was the framework of a new house--a great skeleton like--standin'
alongside of us, and into that he waults, and I waults after him,--for
what could I do but wault?--and away he goes from beam to beam, and from
jice to jice, and from scantlin' to scantlin', waultin' up and up, and
me waultin' after,--for what could I do but wault?--and cryin' with all
my might, 'You willain!' and he a-cryin' back, 'You wixen!' and the moon
a-shinin' like a blaze, and the meetin' folks goin' by, and my
night-gownd a-floppin', and both of us plain wisible!

"'Help! murder!' I cries, for my salwation depended on it, and, seein'
the meetin' folks adwance, he just waulted from the timber onto which we
stood right into the thin and insupportable air--"

"And dragged you after him? Lord 'a' mercy!" cried John.

"No," says the widow, speaking with great calmness; "my presence of mind
never forsook me,--I was an undertaker's daughter, and adwantage of
birth prewailed over the disadwantage of position,--I waulted down the
tother side; and there we hung balanced into the air, and there we would
have hung all night but for the accident of the rewival.

"When they cut us down,--which one of the rewival folks did with his
jack-knife,--I woluntarily fainted away, and was carried in for dead,
and didn't rewive, and wouldn't rewive, for hours and hours. La me! I
was so ashamed!"

"I wish it had been my forten to carry you into the house," says John.

"So do I," says the widow; "but let us be thankful that the wicissitudes
of life have driv us together at last."

"At last, sure enough," says John; "you speak wisdom when you don't know
on 't, you dove of doves!"

She bent her eyes upon him in tender inquiry, in answer to which he
said, "At last it is, sweetheart, for you don't know that I loved you
when I was a youngster not more 'n a dozen year old!"

"Loved _me_, captain! It isn't creditable! Tell me all about it. Are you

"Just as sure on 't as I be of anything; just as sure as I be that I
love you now."

"Tell me all about it, I'm dying to know; it seems like some wild
novelty, to be sure."

"Yes, you're right, it is like a novelty if it was only writ out, and it
don't seem creditable, but it's true; I'm just as sure on 't as I be of
anything,--just as sure as I be that I love you now!"

"O captain!"

"Yes, my own Rose, I loved you when I was a little lad,--loved you just
as I did the mornin' star,--loved you and worshipped you from far away.
What a spry little thing you was, a-hoppin' about among the mahogany and
walnut stuff like a young sparrer! O, how I've watched and follered you
with my eyes when you didn't dream on 't!"

"But, John, my nerves are a woman's, remember, and you mustn't keep them
a-strain so long; they're wery much weakened by all this."

"Ay, to be sure," says John; "your nerves be a woman's, to say nothin'
of your curosity bein' a woman's!"

And he laughed with as much heartiness at her expense as though she had
been his wife already.

"John!" This with tender reproach, and he resumed, in a tone of
respectful and lover-like humility.

"Wa'n't your name Rose Rollins afore you was jined to the
vagabond,--wagabond, that is to say,--afore you was dethroned; and
didn't you live in Fust Street, opposite them old tenement housen knowed
as Baker's Row?"

"Of course I did, John, in the yaller brick with the shop in the corner,
and the entrance embellished with a beautiful sign,--three coffins, with
their leds turned back so as to reweal the satin linin's, and my
father's name in letters that represented silver screws! A stroke of
genius that design was!--the sign of the three coffins, two of them
sideways and one end; my father's name--Farewell Rollins, wery
appropriate to his business as it turned out--in letters that they was
modelled after silver screws."

"Three on 'em, two sideways and one end?" says John; "and the name,
Farewell Rollins, shaped arter silver screws! Why, as you be a livin'
cretur, you're the very--wery--little gal I was in love with; and many a
day, dark enough otherwise with poverty and sorrer, you've lighted up
with your purty golden head!" And then he tells her, by way of
illustrating the depth and sincerity of his early attachment, that it
once happened to him to have an orange given him at Christmas time; and
that, although he had never tasted an orange in all his born days,
except through a confectioner's window-glass, he without hesitation
tossed it over the wall into her father's yard, hoping that she, who ate
oranges every day, might possibly have his added to the rest. And he
concluded with, "Such was the nater of my feelin's for you even then."

"And the nater of your feelin's, John, was not only wergin' close upon
the feelin's of love," says the milliner, deeply touched, "but they was
love,--love of the wiolentest kind!"

And then she says that, if she can only find in the town an orange as
big as the full moon, she'll buy it, let it cost what it will, and give
it to him.

And then she says, playfully tapping his chin, "I only wish them
feelin's had hild."

"You wish them feelin's had hild!" says John, leaning his face still
lower to the touches of her pretty hands; and then in his reverence he
addressed her in the third person, saying, "How sweetly prowokin' she

Then, very earnestly, "They hev hild all these years, them feelin's hev,
and they hev been rewived this day in all their wiolence; and the
beautiful curls that used to shine down all the daffodils are just as
soft and as golden as ever!" Here he ventured to touch the ends of the
long-admired tresses; but he did not see that they were both thin and
faded, and that the parting was very, very wide. "Ay, it's the same
bright head," he went on, "that's been a-shinin' all these years so far
away that I never expected to put my rough hand on 't,--not, anyhow,
afore I'd crossed the dark ferry, and got refined into a spirit. And
now, just think! here you be, a-sailin' in my little wessel, that I'd
christened 'The Rose Rollins' for your memory's sake,--a-sailin' by my
side in all the freshness and bloom of your perfect beauty!"

The milliner laughed, well pleased with the compliment, and said that,
when one charm wanished, another took its place sometimes; so that, if
we only kept up our witality, we didn't look much the worse for all our
years. "Now you, for instance, could never have been handsomer than you
are to-day!" she concluded, pointing her theory with that kindly method
so characteristic of women.

His face had been drawing nearer to hers all the while she spoke, so
that his eyes were quite looking into hers now. "I'm broke a leetle,"
says he, "I know it; but when I see myself in these lovely
lookin'-glasses I do look right nice, for all." And then he went on with
his story.

"I was a'most forgettin' on 't," he said; "but what wonder!

"My father was a sailor; and the last time he ever went out was as one
of the crew of the Dauphin, of Nantucket, Captain Griscom,--how well I
remember it! though I was a little chap then,--about seven year old, I
guess. The Dauphin was a whaler, you must know, and Captain Griscom as
rough and hard as the sea-rocks themselves. I seen him once; and I've
got a picter in my mind of his furrered, weather-beat face, and eyes
that was more like the bulb of some pison plant than anything else,--so
blue, and dull, and lackin' all human expression. His ear was like a dry
knot,--seemed as if 't would break off if you touched it, and his nose
wa' n't much better. He wa' n't a man that any child would ever go
nigh,--anyhow I couldn't. My father was high-sperited,--too
high-sperited for his sitooation, as'll be showed by an' by.

"My mother was a little, pale woman, with blue eyes, and hair as soft as
flax. You've seen her, I dare say, for she took in washin', and used to
hang the things on the ruf, and I would go up with her under pertence of
helpin', but more, I'm afeard, because I could the better see into your
door-yard, and maybe get a glimpse o' you. Well, my father used to tell
her, 'Katura,' he would say, 'arter one more voyage I'll leave the sea,
for then I shall be rich enough to buy an acre o' ground somewheres
where I can hear the waters a-lappin' on the sand; and we'll build a
snug little house, and send our boy to school, and you sha' n't wash no
more, for you ain't strong, Katura,--not nigh so strong as you used to
be,--I can see that plain enough.' Then the tears would come to my
mother's eyes; for a tender word was always touchin' to her, and seein'
on 'em my father would make haste to say, pattin' of her cheek, that,
although some o' the airly roses was gone, she wa' n't a mite less
purty than she used to be! and then she'd wipe her eyes and smile agin,
and arter a little smoothin' up of her hair, or carefuller pinnin' of
her handkerchief, light his pipe for him, and fetch the big chair out of
the corner; and then she'd set herself to darnin' of his socks, or
patchin' of his jackets, and so they'd pass an evenin' happy as could
be,--my father singin' a sea-song, or a love-song, maybe, first or last.

"We lived in the last house o' the Row,--the housen was all poor enough,
you mind, but ourn was the very poorest on 'em, and then we had the top
floor,--one room and a pantry bein' all, exceptin' the ruf, which was
flat, and which we had the privilege on for a yard, in consideration of
a dollar extra a month. 'Have the ruf, be sure, Katura!' my father would
say. 'What's a dollar?' and he'd slap his hand down as though 't was
full o' dollars, but 't wa' n't, and mother always paid the extra dollar
out of her own airnin's, but feelin' all the time a'most as if he'd paid
it, just because of the generous way he had o' speekin'. I remember the
last time father sailed with the Dauphin, as I was sayin'
afore,--remember it just as though it was yesterday. It was a mornin' in
winter,--the twenty-third o' December, and snow a-lyin' on the ground. I
could see his tracks along the walk for a week arter he was gone, and
then the snow begun to melt; thawin' and freezin' together at first, and
then a clean thaw, so the tracks filled up with water, and arter another
week I couldn't find no trace on 'em.

"'Take good care o' your mother, my lad!' he said, 'take the best o'
care on her! I'll be home afore long, for good and all, to take care on
her myself; it won't be but two or three year at the outside,'--and he
give my shoulder a little shake, and then he slipped a quarter-dollar
into my hand. And then he turned to her. 'Three year ain't long,
Katura,' he says; 'why, they'll fly round just like so many hours,
a'most, and fust thing you know you'll hear my step a-comin' up the
stair! Have everything you want, good wife, and don't work hard; you
know its agin my will that you should,--these pale cheeks make me a
little afeard; but, arter all, you'll come round with the daisies, I
guess.' And with that he turned from her, and writ a little with his
finger on the table, and then he chirked up like, and buttoned his
jacket quick, and went out the door just as though he wa' n't a-goin' no
furder than across the street.

"The minute follerin', mother went up to the house-ruf. She wanted to
see arter the washed things, she said, how they was a-dryin' and all;
but I knowd well enough she wanted to see arter him, and didn't pull at
her skirt and foller, as I generally did. I stayed down stairs, and, to
kind o' break up my sorrer, I chucked my head aginst the knob that was
atop o' the andiron! A curus way to git relief; but my diversions, them
times, was somewhat limited.

"When my mother came down agin, there wa' n't no tears in her eyes, but
they had a kind of a fur-reachin' look, as if they was a-gazin' clear
across the salt seas; and they never lost that look arterwards. It was
wofuller than tears, that look was,--'cause it seemed as if it was arter
somethin' that wa'n't to be found on this airth.

"I hung round her, and when she did n't say nothin' I told her I was
goin' to be the best boy that ever was, and build all the fires, and
help her to keep things snug; and that I could make my old shoes last
three year, till father would come home. I was sure on 't, with one new
pair o' half-soles, and one new pair o' toe-caps, anyhow.

"Then she took me on her knee, and leaned her face agin mine, and said I
was the best child in all the world, and she hoped yet to see the time
that I'd hev as nice shoes and other things as I deserved. I slipped the
ring up and down her finger, as she held me so, a-talkin' to me, and at
last I said, 'This ring is too big, mother; what made you get such a
big one?' And then she said, 'Your father give it to me long ago, my
child, and it wa'n't none too big at fust; it's the fault of the
finger,--that is getting too thin'; and then she took the ring off,--it
was a leetle slim thing,--and put it in an old teapot that was kept on
the top shelf of the cupboard. She was afeared she'd either lose it off
her hand, she said, or break it on the washboard. She didn't say nothin'
furder, but I see she thought that the losin' on 't would be the
dreadfullest misfortin that could happen to her.

"It would take too long, and wear out your patience, I calculate, if I
was to tell you of all the troubles we hed arter the sailin' of the
Dauphin, and troubles ain't interestin' to hear on, nohow; so I'll pass
'em by, trustin' your lively imagination to picter on 'em out.

"Well, when the three year was purty near up, she used to say to me
every day, 'Where do you 'spose poor father is? And what will he think
of his little boy when he sees him?' And then she would answer her own
question, and say, 'He'll think he's a little man,--that 's what he'll
think.' And with such like talk she seemed to get a sort of comfort,
somehow. From her, more than from anything I knowed myself, I got a fine
notion o' my father; among other things, I thought he was the biggest
man in the world, and I used to spekilate as to whether Mr. Farewell
Rollins had a coffin in his shop that would be long enough for him, if
he should happen to die at home. I didn't s'pose he had, and the thought
of what it would cost to get one big enough caused me a good deal of
sorrer. More 'n this, I thought he must have wonderful powers, and that
he could make me a kite that would fly to the moon, or, if he chose, dip
all the water out o' the sea with mother's long-handled gourd.

"These thoughts give me a good deal o' satisfaction, but there was times
that nothin' I could git out o' myself could chirk me up; and them
times I always betook myself to the andirons, and bobbed my head agin
the top on 'em, and that was sure to fetch me round.

"I longed for my father to come back, as much, maybe, that Rose Rollins
might see what a big man he was, as for anything else. I guessed she'd
begin to notice of us some when the Dauphin come in! Hows'ever, the
three year went by, and no Dauphin come in; and then the eyes o' my
mother began to look, not only as if they was a-gazin' away across the
salt sea, but clean into eternity. Her cheeks fell in like a pie that
has been sot in a cellar for a week arter the bakin' on't, and her arm
showed in her sleeve no bigger than a broomstick. I was a'most afeared
on her sometimes, her forehead come to look so like yaller glass, and as
if I could see right into it, if I only tried; and them times I thumped
my head uncommon hard on the knobs of the andirons,--they was a
blessin', Rose,--and I used to spekilate as to what folks did that wa'
n't rich enough to hev 'em. My mother got so weak, arter a while, that
she would sometimes sit by the side o' the tub and wash; and it was
astonishin' to me to see what great sheets and bed-quilts she could
wring dry them times; and it was astonishin', too, that she could keep
her hands in freezin' water, day arter day, and be none the wuss for it;
but she always said she wa' n't,--in, fact, she used to tell me she
thought it done her good; and, happy enough for me! I never thought o'
doubtin' of her for many a long day arterwards.

"Many a time she give me the last bit o' bread, and said she wa' n't
hungry, and once when I broke my slice in two, and offered her part
back, she said, 'No, Johnny, I don't think I feel so well for eatin'.
Rich food,' she said, 'didn't suit her constitution. And so, if we
happened to hev meat or butter, she put it all on my plate. When it come
to be my share to work without eatin', then I understood.

"Many a time o' nights I heard her a-turnin' and moanin' in her sleep,
as if soul and body was clean wore out; and at last I went to the lady
that lived in the house with the painted door, and fitted young ladies
with corsets, and sold them pomatum that made the hair grow to their
heels,--so she said,--and told how my mother moaned in the night as if
she was a-bein' drownded in the sea; and she told me it was a nasty
habit some folks had,--mostly because they slept too sound,--and that,
if I would give her a rough shake, she guessed she would come out all
right. I tried to believe her on account o' the pomatum and the painted
door, partly; but it wa'n't in the heart o' me to give the rough shake,
and I never done it, thank the Lord!

"Sometimes the fine lady would come in with her sewin'-work to bring us
a little sunshine, she used to say, and I'm sure she never brought
nothin' else, nor that neither, that anybody could see; and I always
noticed that my mother felt a good deal less cheerful arter one o' these

"'Why don't you ride out, Mrs. Chidlaw?' she would say, 'and why don't
you call the doctor? and why don't you wear warm flannels?' and then why
didn't she do a thousand things that wa'n't to be thought on, 'cause
they wa'n't in the nater o' the case; and then she would go away, sayin'
she would run in another time and bring more sunshine!

"My mother generally cried for a spell arter one o' these bright
mornin's; and I didn't wonder, for it seemed to me as if the scent o'
the pomatum was pison, and all the air was heavy like, arter one o' the

"She used to set up o'nights, a-workin', my mother did, long beyond
midnight sometimes. 'What makes you, mother?' I would say. 'O, 'cause I
like it, John!' she 'd answer, so lively like; and then she 'd begin to
hum a tune, maybe, as if she was overflowin' with sperits.

"She didn't seem to need sleep no more, she said, and, besides, she
wanted to be wide awake when father come. So night arter night she would
set by our one taller candle, a-mendin' of my jackets, and a-darnin' of
my stockin's, and a-straightenin' and a stiffenin' up of the run-down
heels of my old shoes.

"'I don't care nothin' about 'em, mother,' I would say. 'I 'd just as
lives be a wearin' on 'em ragged as not, and you 've chores enough
without a-mindin' of me so much.' But she always said that, whether or
not I cared for myself, she cared for me, and that she wanted I should
look as smart as anybody's boy, so that father would be proud on me when
he come home; concludin' with 'He must sartainly come now afore long.'

"Many a time I've waked up of a winter night and found her woollen
petticoat spread onto my bed, and she ashiverin' by the dyin' fire. One
mornin' she surprised me uncommon by holdin' of a cap afore my eyes. 'A
new one made of the old one,' says she, 'but you 'd never dream on 't,
would you, Johnny?'

"I hung it on the chair-post, and then I stood off, fairly dazzled, so
gret was my admiration on 't. It was my old cap, be sure; but then it
was all brushed up and pressed into shape, and lined anew with one o'
the sleeves of my mother's silk weddin'-gown.. It wa' n't to be wore no
longer every day, so she said, but must be put on the upper shelf o' the
cupboard with her ring and her Sunday shawl, and kep' nice agin the time
father should come home. I suffered, on givin' on 't up, the most
tormentin' pangs, and had to bob my head agin the andirons considerable
longer than common afore I come round. I was bent on wearin' on't in the
sight of Rose Rollins,--that's you,--and forcin' on her to see the silk
linin' some ways, and I planned out warious stratagems to that end. But
mother said, 'No, Johnny, keep it nice just a leetle bit, till poor
father comes.' And arter that she pacified me by takin' on 't down from
time to time and allowin' of me to wear it as much as two or three
minutes sometimes. The linin' was pea-green; and I've often thought
since it was a leetle too fine for the tother part, which was
seal-skin, and wore tolerable bare,--I havin' wore it, not off and on,
but steady on, from the time I left off my bunnet that was made of the
end of my cradle-quilt; but I didn't calculate it was too fine then, and
I made a pint o' standin' on a chair afore the lookin'-glass, or else
afore the winder towards your 'us, all the whilst I was a-wearin' on 't.
It worried me a good deal, them times, to decide which I 'd rather
do,--look at myself, or hev you look at me!

"I used to tease mother to put the white shawl round her shoulders.
'Just for a minute,' I would say; but she always answered, 'One of these
days, Johnny; it 's all wrapt up with camp-phire, and I don't want to be
gettin' on 't down!' I understood well enough that it was to be got out
when the great day come.

"'Suppose, Johnny,' says she, one day, 'we cut off some of our luxuries,
and save up to buy somethin' nice for poor father agin he comes home!' I
was struck favorable with the idee of the present, but what luxuries was
to be cut off I didn't see clear.

"There's the candle, for one thing!' says mother. 'Taller's taller, at
the best o' times; and the few chores I do at night I can do just as
well by the light of a pine-knot.'

"Butter, she said, wa' n't healthy for her, nor milk, nor meat, nor
sugar, nor no such things, so it would all be easy enough for her. She
only hesitated on my account. But I spoke up ever so brave. 'I don't
mind,' says I; 'it'll be good fun, in fact, just to see how leetle we
can live on!' And I think yet my mind was some expanded by that
experience,--it driv me to such curus devices. At fust I took leetle
bites off my cake, and leetle sips of my porridge; but I found a more
effective plan afore long, for looks goes a good ways, and even when we
deceive ourselves it kind o' helps us. Well, I took to hevin' my
porridge in a shaller plate, so that there seemed twice as much on 't as
there really was, and to hollerin' my cake out from the under side, so
that, when it was reduced to a mere shell, it still represented what it
wa' n't; a trick that I found to work very slick, especially when I
imagined Rose a-lookin' at my shaller plate, and not knowin' how deep it

"'Won't we hev a beautiful surprise, though, for poor father!' my mother
would say, when my spoon touched bottom, and it always touched bottom
premature; and then we would talk of what we should buy, and I would be
carried away like, and forget myself.

"A fur hat was talked on in our fust wild enthusiasm, but that idee was
gin up arter we'd gone about among the stores; and we settled final on
't a pair o' square-toed brogans, with nails in the heels on 'em.

"'Let 'em be good sewed shoes, and not peg,' says my mother, when she
give the shoemaker his order, 'and make 'em up just as soon as possible.
You see my husband may be here any day now; and we mean to hev a great
surprise for him,--Johnny and me.'

"The shoemaker, to my surprise,--for I expected him to enter into it
with as much enthusiasm as we,--hesitated, said he was pressed heavy
with work just then, and that he thought she had best go to some other
shop! I didn't understand the meanin' on 't at all; but my mother did,
and told him she could pay him aforehand, if he wanted it; at which he
brightened up, and said, come to think on 't, he could make the brogans
right away.

"Sure enough, they was finished at the appinted time, and I carried 'em
home, with the money that come back in change inside o' one on 'em.

"'Why, Johnny,' says mother, when she counted it, her face all
a-glowin', 'here's enough left to buy a handkerchief for your father!'

"Then she counted it agin, and said there was enough, she was a'most
sure on 't. It mightn't get a silk one, not pure silk, but if she could
only find somethin' with a leetle mixter o' cotton in 't, why it would
look nearly as well,--the difference would never be knowed across the

"She wanted a new gingham apron for herself; but that wa' n't bought,
and all the money, as I have guessed sence, went into the handkerchief.
And a purty one it was, too,--yaller-colored, with a red border, and an
anchor worked in one corner on 't with blue-silk yarn.

"So the fine presents was put away on the top shelf o' the cupboard,
with the cap and the ring and the shawl, and there they stayed, week in
and week out, and still the Dauphin didn't come in. I could see that my
mother was a-growin' uneasy, more and more, though she never said
nothin' to me that was discouragin'. She'd set sometimes for an hour
a-lookin' straight into the air, and then she went up to the ruf more 'n
common to look arter the things a-dryin' there.

"One day there come on snow and sleet, but for all that she stayed
aloft, just as though the sun had been a-shinin'; and at last, when the
dusk had gathered so that she couldn't see no longer, she come down with
a gret heap o' wet things, in her arms, and all of a shiver.

"Her hand shook as she sot down to bind shoes,--she had took to bindin'
of shoes some them times, not bein' so strong as she used to be for the
washin'; but arter a while she fell of a tremble all over. 'It's no
use,' says she, 'I ain't good for nothin' no more,' and she put away the
bindin' and cowered close over the ashes.

"I wanted to lay on a big stick, but she said no, she'd go to bed, and
get warm there; but she didn't get warm, not even when I had piled all
the things I could rake and scrape over the bed-quilt, for I could see
them tremblin' together like a heap o' dry leaves.

"I went to the lady with the painted door, and she promised to come in
and see my mother early in the mornin'; but in the mornin', when I went
agin, she said she had so many corsets to fit that it wa' n't
possible,--that I must tell my mother she sent a great deal o' love, and
hoped she'd be better very soon.

"I didn't go arter her no more, and all that day and the next my poor
mother lay, now a-burnin' and now a-freezin', but by and by she got
better, and sot up in bed some, havin' my little chair agin her back;
and so she finished bindin' o' the shoes, and I carried on 'em home, she
a-chargin' me twenty times afore I sot out to take care and not lose the
money I got for bindin' on 'em. 'And don't forget to stop at the store,'
she said, 'and buy me a quarter o' tea, as you come back, Johnny.'

"But, after all, I went home without the tea, or the money either.

"In the fust place, the shoemaker said my mother had disappinted him in
not sendin' the work home when she promised; and when I said she was
sick, he answered that that wa 'n't his look-out; and then he eyed the
work sharply, sayin', at last, that he couldn't pay for them sort o'
stitches, and he wouldn't give out no more bindin' neither, and that I
might go with a hop, skip, and jump, and tell my mother so; and he waved
his hand, with a big boot-last in it, as though, if I didn't hop quick,
he'd be glad to help me for'a'd himself.

"'Never mind, Johnny,' says mother, as I leaned my head on her piller,
a-cryin', and told her what the shoemaker had said, 'it'll all be right
when father comes back.'

"She didn't mind about the tea, she said, water would serve just as
well; and then, arter pickin' at the bed-clothes a leetle, she said she
felt sleepy, and turned her face to the wall.

"All winter long she was sick, and there was heart-breakin' things all
the while comin' to pass; but I'd rather not tell on 'em.

"Spring come round at last,--as come it will, whether them that watch
for its comin' are cryin' or laughin',--and the sun shined in at the
south winder and made a patch o' gold on the floor,--all we had, to be
sure,--when one day comes the news we had been a-lookin' for so
long,--the Dauphin was a-comin' in!

"'And me here in bed!' says my mother; 'that'll never do. How
good-for-nothin' I be!'

"Then she told me to run and fetch her best gown out of the chest, and
she was out o' bed the next minute; and though she looked as pale as the
sheet she managed somehow to dress herself. Then she told me to fetch
her the lookin'-glass where she sot by the bedside; and when she seen
her face the tears came to her eyes, and one little low moan, that
seemed away down in her heart, made me shudder. 'I don't care for my own
sake,' she said, puttin' her arm across my neck; 'but what will your
father think o' me?'

"Then she sot the glass up afore her, and combed her hair half a dozen
different ways, but none on 'em suited. She didn't look like herself,
she said, nohow; and then she told me to climb to the upper shelf and
git down the fine shawl, and see if that would mend matters any.

"I fetched the ring too; but it wouldn't stay on a single finger; and so
she give it to me, smilin', and sayin' I might wear it till she got

"I sot the house in order myself, with her a-tellin' on me some about
things. The two silver teaspoons was burnished up, and stuck for show
into the edge of the dresser; the three glass tumblers was sot forth in
full view; and the tin coffee-pot, so high and so narrer at the top, was
turned sideways on the shelf, so as to make the most on 't; and the
little brown earthen-ware teapot was histed atop o' that. We had a dozen
eggs we had been a-savin', for we kep' a hen on the ruf, and them I took
and sot endwise in the sand-bowl, so that, to all appearance, the whole
bowl was full of eggs; and I raly thought the appintments, one and all,
made us look considerable like rich folks.

"'Do go up to the ruf, Johnny, my child,' says my mother, at last, 'and
see what you will see.'

"She had sot two hours, with her shawl held just so across her bosom,
and was a-growin' impatient and faint like.

"She looked at me so eager, when I come down, I could hardly bear to
tell her that I could only just see the Dauphin a-lyin' out, and that
she looked black and ugly, and that I couldn't see nothin' furder. But I
did tell it, and then come another o' them little low moans away down in
her heart. Directly, though, she smiled agin, and told me to go to the
chest and open the till, and get the table-cloth and the pewter platter
that I would find there. 'We must have our supper-table shine its best
to-night,' she said.

"Agin and agin I went up to the ruf, but I didn't see nothin' no time
except the whaler a-lyin' a little out, and lookin' black and ugly, as
if there wa'n't no good a-comin' with her.

"At last evenin' fell, and then my mother crept to the winder, and got
her face agin the pane, and such a look of wistfulness come to her eyes
as I had never seen in 'em afore.

"She didn't say nothin' no more, and I didn't say nothin'; it was an
awful silence, but somethin' appeared to keep us from breakin' on 't.

"The shadders had gathered so that the street was all dusky; for there
wa'n't no lamps at our end o' the street,--when all at once mother was
a-standin' up, and holdin' out her arms. The next minute she says, 'Run
to the door, Johnny; I ain't quite sure whether or not it's him!' And
she sunk down, tremblin', and all of a heap.

"I could hear the stairs a creakin' under the tread of heavy steps, and
when I got to the door there was two men a comin' up instead o' one.
'It's him! mother! it's him!' I shouted with all my might, for I see a
sailor's cap and jacket, and took the rest for granted. I swung the door
wide, and stood a-dancin' in it, and yet I didn't like the looks o'
neither on 'em; only I thought I ought to be glad, and so I danced for
pertended joy. 'Get out o' the way! you sassy lad!' says one o' the men,
and he led the tother right past me into the house, I follerin' along
behind, but neither on 'em noticin' of me in the least; and there sot my
mother, dead still on her chair, just as if she was froze into stone.
'Here he is,' says the man that was leadin' of him,--'here's John
Chidlaw, what there is left on him!' Then he give me a push toward him,
and nodded to my mother like, a-drawin' his mouth into such queer shapes
that I couldn't tell whether he was a-laughin' or cryin', and I didn't
know which I ought to do neither.

"By this time the man that I partly took to be my father was a-backin'
furder and furder from us, and at last he got clean agin the jamb o' the
chimney, and then he looked up wild, as if he was a looking at the sky,
and directly he spoke. 'This'll be a stiff blow,' says he. 'We're struck
aft, and we'll be in the trough of the sea in a minute! God help us
all!' And with that he began to climb up the shelves o' the cupboard, as
though he was a climbin' into a ship's riggin'.

"Next thing I seen, mother had got to him, somehow, and was a-holdin'
round his neck, and talkin' to him in tones as sweet and coaxin' as
though he had been a sick baby. 'Don't you know me, John?' she
says,--'your own Katura, that you left so long ago!' He didn't answer
her at all; he didn't seem to see her, but kep' right on, a-talkin'
about the ship not bein' able to lift herself, and about the rudder
bein' tore away, and a leak som'er's, and settin' of a gang o' hands at
the pumps, and gettin' of the cargo up, and the dear knows what all! I
didn't understand a word on 't, and, besides that, I was afeard on him.

"'Tell 'em about the last whale we ketched, Jack,--that big bull that so
nigh upsot us all. Come, that's a story worth while!' It was the man
that had led him in who said this; and he laughed loud, and slapped him
on the shoulder as he said it; and then he looked at my mother and
winked, and drawed his mouth queer agin.

"My father kind o' come to himself like now, and seatin' himself astride
a chair, and with his face to the back on 't, he began:--

"We was a cruisin' about in the South Pacific, when, between three and
four in the afternoon of an August day, we bein' in latitude forty at
the time, the man on the look-out at the fore-topmast-head cried out
that a whale had broke water in plain view of our ship, and on her
weather bow.

"'Where away, sir? and what do you call her?' shouts the captain,
hailin' the mast-head.

"'Sperm whale, sir, three pints on the weather-bow, and about two miles

"'Keep a sharp eye, and sing out when the ship heads for her!'

"'Ay, ay, sir.'

"The captain went aloft with his spy-glass. 'Keep her away!' was his
next order to the man at the helm.

"'Steady!' sung out the mast-head.

"'Steady it is!' answered the wheel.

"'Square in the after-yards, and call all hands!'

"'Ay, ay, sir.'

"'Forward there! Haul the mainsail up, and square the yards!'

"'Steady, steady!' sings out the mast-head.

"'Steady it is!' answers the wheel.

"'Call all hands!' shouts the captain, in a voice like a tempest.

"The main hatches was off, and the men mostly in the blubber-room,
engaged, some on 'em, in mincin' and pikin' pieces of blanket and horse
from one tub to another, and some was a-tendin' fires, and some
a-fillin' casks with hot ile from the cooler; but quick as lightnin' all
the deck is thronged, like the street of a city when there is a cry of

"'There she blows! O, she's a beauty, a regular old sog!' sings the

"'Slack down the fires! Quick, by G--!' shouts the captain in a voice
like thunder.

"'She peaks her flukes, and goes down!' cries the mast-head.

"'A sharp eye, sir! Mind where she comes up!'

"'Ay, ay, sir!'

"'Get your boats ready, lads, and stand by to lower away!'

"The men work as for life,--the boat-bottoms are tallered, the
boat-tackle-falls laid down, so as to run clear, the tub o' line and
the harpoons got in, the gripes cast clear, and each boat's crew by the
side o' their boat.

"'Hoist and swing! Lower away!'

"In a moment we're off, bendin' to our oars, every man on us, eager to
see who will be up first. The whale was under half an hour; but at last
we get sight o' the signal at the main, which tells us that she's up

"'Down to your oars, lads! Give way hard!' says the captain.

"I got the palm o' my hand under the abaft oar, so as with each stroke
to throw a part of my weight agin it, and our boat leapt for'a'd across
the water, spring arter spring, like a tiger,--her length and twice her
length afore the others in a minute.

"'She's an eighty-barrel! right ahead! Give way, my boys!' cries the
captain, encouragin' on us. And all our strength was put to the oar.

"'Spring harder, boys! Harder! If she blows agin, some on you'll have an
iron into her afore five minutes!' Then to the whale,--a-standin' with
his legs wide, and bendin' for'a'd like,--'O, you're a beauty! Ahoy!
ahoy! and let us fasten!'

"We was nearly out of sight of our ship now, but we could see the smoke
of her try-works still standin' black above her, though the fires had
been slacked so long.

"All at once the whale blowed agin; and we could see her plain now,
lyin' like a log, not more 'n twenty rods ahead. A little more hard
pullin', and 'Stand up!' says the Captain, and then, 'Give me the first
chance at her!' I was a-steerin' and I steered him steady, closer,
closer, alongside a'most, and give his iron the best chance possible;
but it grazed off, and she settled quietly under, all but her head.

"'That wa'n't quite low enough,' says he. 'Another lance!'

"This failed too, and she settled clean under. Every man was quiverin'
with excitement; but I watched calmly, and, as soon as I spied her
whitenin' under water, I sent my lance arter her without orders, and by
good forten sunk it into her very life--full length.

"She throwed out a great spout o' blood, and dashed furiously under.

"'God help us! She'll come up so as to upset our boat!' cries the
captain. 'Every man here at her, when she comes in sight!'

"He had hardly done speakin' when I felt a great knock, and at the same
time seen somethin' a-flyin' through the air. She had just grazed us,
shovin' our boat aside as a pig shoves his trough, and was breakin'
water not a stone's throw ahead.

"The captain had gone overboard; but we obeyed his last words before we
looked arter him, and had a dozen irons into her afore you could 'a'
said Jack Robinson! Down she went agin, pullin' the line arter her, coil
on coil; but the pain wouldn't allow her to stay down long, and directly
she was out agin, thrashin' the water with her flukes till it was all
churned up like blubbers o'blood,--for her side was bristlin' with
harpoons, and the life pourin' out on her like rain out of a

"Meantime the captain had been hauled aboard, and as he sunk down on an
oar,--for he couldn't stand,--all his shirt and hair a-drippin' red, his
cold, spiteful eye shot into me like a bullet, and says I to the mate,
'I'm a doomed man.'"

"Then my father began ramblin' wildly about goin' overboard himself, and
how he seen a stream o' fire afore his eyes as he sunk into the cold and
dark; and how there came an awful pressure on his brain, and a roarin'
in his ears; and how the strength went out of his thighs, and was as if
the marrer was cut,--how he heard a gurglin', and felt suffocation, and
then clean lost himself!"

At this point John Chidlaw ceased to be master of his voice, and all at
once hid his face in his arms. When the woman who had been listening so
attentively, getting one of his rough hands upon her knee, stroked it
gently, without a word, and by and by he returned her a little
pressure, and then, steadying himself up, he said: "It ain't no use to
think on't, Rose,--it's all over now, and they've met beyond the seas o'
time, my poor father and mother, for they both crossed long ago,--met,
and knowed each other, I hope, but the one never come to himself here,
nor recognized the other. My mother took straight to her bed; and when
she wore the white shawl agin, and had it drawed across her bosom, it
was for that journey from which none on us come back."

"Dear John," says Rose, very softly,--all the coquette gone,--only the
woman left. And presently he was strong enough to go on.

"It was a good many year," he said, "not till I was a'most a man, before
I came to understand rightly what it was that sot my father crazy. The
captain had been agin him all along on account of his too much sperit,
and that capterin' o' the whale finished up the business, and pinted his
fate. It wa'n't long arter this till Captain Griscom found occasion to
treat him very hardly, which bein' resented only by a look, he ordered
him down below to be flogged! This, Rose, was what broke the spirit on
him; he was never himself arterwards, never knowed nothin' at all clear,
exceptin' about the takin' o' that whale; and that he told over and over
a hundred times, arter that fust time, just as I've told it to you, but
all before it and all behind it was shadders, till the great shadder of
all came over him.

"When I come to hear on 't, I said I hoped my father would meet that
'ere captain som'er's on the seas of eternity, and flog him within an
inch of his life; and I ha'n't repented the sayin' on't yet."

The tide had come up while John Chidlaw was telling his story, and his
little boat slid off the bar directly, when, taking up the oars, he soon
brought her to land.

"Bless your dear heart, John!" says Rose, pointing back to the boat's
name, as he handed her ashore, "would you believe I was so stupid as
not to see that the name o' your wessel was the same as my own? I read
it the _Rose Rolling_, to be sure!"

But John maintained that she was not stupid a single bit nor mite, but,
on the contrary, smart altogether beyond the common. "To come so nigh
the truth," says he, "and yet not get hold on 't, arter all, is a leetle
the slickest thing yet!"

And then he told, as they walked home together,--he with three bandboxes
in one arm, and her on the other,--all about his weary years of hardship
and poverty, and all about the beginning of his good fortune, the
running away of the horse and of the little girl who drew him after her,
because she reminded him so much of Rose herself as she used to be when
he looked down upon her so fondly from the roof in Baker's Row,--told
her of the child's father, and how he set him up in business,--of his
prosperity since, ending with her taking passage with him, which he said
was the best fortune of all.

"That was luck," says he, "that no words can shadder forth!" And then he
said, "I oughtn't to call it luck, my dear; it was just an intervention
of Divine Providence!" Then he corrected himself. "An interwention o'
Diwine Providence," says he,--"that's what it was!" And he hugged the
very bandboxes till he fairly stove them in.

About a month after this blessed luck, the milliner's shop was closed
one day at an unusually early hour, and the white-muslin curtains at the
parlor windows above might have been noticed to nutter and sway, as with
some gay excitement indoors. And so indeed there was. John had taken his
Rose for good and all, and the little parlor was full of glad hearts and
merry feet. All the milliner's apprentices and sewing-girls of the
neighborhood were there, bright as so many butterflies, laughing, and
nodding, and whispering one another, and dropping their eyes before the
young sailors, and teamsters, and other fine fellows, who were serving
them with a generosity that was only equalled by their admiration.
Coffee, cakes, cheese, chowder, bottled beer, fruits, and hot
bannocks,--the lasses had them all at once, and the lads would have been
glad to give them even more.

And John, grown ten years younger that day, kept all the while (being
forced to turn his head away now and then to receive congratulations)
one foot under the table, and against the soft slipper and silken
stocking of Rose, lest at any moment she might be caught up into heaven,
and so vanish out of his sight; and she, in turn, kept fond watch of
him, pressing the oranges upon him with almost importunate solicitude.
Perhaps she remembered that one which he had parted with for her sake,
when he used to look down upon her from the roof of Baker's Row with
such hopeless and helpless admiration.


    Each day when the glow of sunset
      Fades in the western sky,
    And the wee ones, tired of playing,
      Go tripping lightly by,
    I steal away from my husband,
      Asleep in his easy-chair,
    And watch from the open doorway
      Their faces fresh and fair.

    Alone in the dear old homestead
      That once was full of life,
    Ringing with girlish laughter,
      Echoing boyish strife,
    We two are waiting together;
      And oft, as the shadows come,
    With tremulous voice he calls me,
      "It is night! are the children home?"

    "Yes, love!" I answer him gently,
      "They're all home long ago";--
    And I sing, in my quivering treble,
      A song so soft and low,
    Till the old man drops to slumber,
      With his head upon his hand,
    And I tell to myself the number
      Home in the better land.

    Home, where never a sorrow
      Shall dim their eyes with tears!
    Where the smile of God is on them
      Through all the summer years!

    I know!--yet my arms are empty,
      That fondly folded seven,
    And the mother heart within me
      Is almost starved for heaven.

    Sometimes, in the dusk of evening,
      I only shut my eyes,
    And the children are all about me,
      A vision from the skies:
    The babes whose dimpled fingers
      Lost the way to my breast,
    And the beautiful ones, the angels,
      Passed to the world of the blessed.

    With never a cloud upon them,
      I see their radiant brows:
    My boys that I gave to freedom,--
      The red sword sealed their vows!
    In a tangled Southern forest,
      Twin brothers, bold and brave,
    They fell; and the flag they died for,
      Thank God! floats over their grave.

    A breath, and the vision is lifted
      Away on wings of light,
    And again we two are together,
      All alone in the night.
    They tell me his mind is failing,
      But I smile at idle fears;
    He is only back with the children,
      In the dear and peaceful years.

    And still as the summer sunset
      Fades away in the west,
    And the wee ones, tired of playing,
      Go trooping home to rest,
    My husband calls from his corner,
      "Say, love! have the children come?"
    And I answer, with eyes uplifted,
      "Yes, dear! they are all at home!"


If the wick of the big oil lamp had been cut straight, I don't believe
it would ever have happened.

Where is the poker, Johnny? Can't you push back that for'ard log a
little? Dear, dear! Well, it doesn't make much difference, does it?
Something always seems to ail your Massachusetts fires; your hickory is
green, and your maple is gnarly, and the worms eat out your oak like a
sponge. I haven't seen anything like what I call a fire,--not since Mary
Ann was married, and I came here to stay. "As long as you live, father,"
she said; and in that very letter she told me I should always have an
open fire, and how she wouldn't let Jacob put in the air-tight in the
sitting-room, but had the fireplace kept on purpose. Mary Ann was a good
girl always, if I remember straight, and I'm sure I don't complain.
Isn't that a pine-knot at the bottom of the basket? There! that's

Let me see; I began to tell you something, didn't I? O yes; about that
winter of '41. I remember now. I declare, I can't get over it, to think
you never heard about it, and you twenty-four year old come Christmas.
You don't know much more, either, about Maine folks and Maine fashions
than you do about China,--though it's small wonder, for the matter of
that, you were such a little shaver when Uncle Jed took you. There were
a great many of us, it seems to me, that year, I 'most forget how
many;--we buried the twins next summer, didn't we?--then there was Mary
Ann, and little Nancy, and--well, coffee was dearer than ever I'd seen
it, I know, about that time, and butter selling for nothing; we just
threw our milk away, and there wasn't any market for eggs; besides
doctor's bills and Isaac to be sent to school; so it seemed to be the
best thing, though your mother took on pretty badly about it at first.
Jedediah has been good to you, I'm sure, and brought you up
religious,--though you've cost him a sight, spending three hundred and
fifty dollars a year at Amherst College.

But, as I was going to say, when I started to talk about '41,--to tell
the truth, Johnny, I'm always a long while coming to it, I believe. I'm
getting to be an old man,--a little of a coward, maybe, and sometimes,
when I sit alone here nights, and think it over, it's just like the
toothache, Johnny. As I was saying, if she had cut that wick straight, I
do believe it wouldn't have happened,--though it isn't that I mean to
lay the blame on her _now_.

I'd been out at work all day about the place, slicking things up for
to-morrow; there was a gap in the barn-yard fence to mend,--I left that
till the last thing, I remember,--I remember everything, some way or
other, that happened that day,--and there was a new roof to put on the
pig-pen, and the grape-vine needed an extra layer of straw, and the
latch was loose on the south barn door; then I had to go round and take
a last look at the sheep, and toss down an extra forkful for the cows,
and go into the stall to have a talk with Ben, and unbutton the coop
door to see if the hens looked warm,--just to tuck 'em up, as you might
say. I always felt sort of homesick--though I wouldn't have owned up to
it, not even to Nancy--saying good by to the creeturs the night before I
went in. There, now! it beats all, to think you don't know what I'm
talking about, and you a lumberman's son. "Going in" is going up into
the woods, you know, to cut and haul for the winter,--up, sometimes, a
hundred miles deep,--in in the fall and out in the spring; whole gangs
of us shut up there sometimes for six months, then down with the
freshets on the logs, and all summer to work the farm,--a merry sort of
life when you get used to it, Johnny; but it was a great while ago, and
it seems to me as if it must have been very cold.--Isn't there a little
draft coming in at the pantry door?

So when I'd said good by to the creeturs,--I remember just as plain how
Ben put his great neck on my shoulder and whinnied like a baby,--that
horse knew when the season came round and I was going in, just as well
as I did,--I tinkered up the barn-yard fence, and locked the doors, and
went in to supper.

I gave my finger a knock with the hammer, which may have had something
to do with it, for a man doesn't feel very good-natured when he's been
green enough to do a thing like that, and he doesn't like to say it
aches either. But if there is anything I can't bear it is lamp-smoke; it
always did put me out, and I expect it always will. Nancy knew what a
fuss I made about it, and she was always very careful not to hector me
with it I ought to have remembered that, but I didn't. She had lighted
the company lamp on purpose, too, because it was my last night. I liked
it better than the tallow candle.

So I came in, stamping off the snow, and they were all in there about
the fire,--the twins, and Mary Ann, and the rest; baby was sick, and
Nancy was walking back and forth with him, with little Nancy pulling at
her gown. You were the baby then, I believe, Johnny; but there always
was a baby, and I don't rightly remember. The room was so black with
smoke, that they all looked as if they were swimming round and round in
it. I guess coming in from the cold, and the pain in my finger and all,
it made me a bit sick. At any rate, I threw open the window and blew out
the light, as mad as a hornet.

"Nancy," said I, "this room would strangle a dog, and you might have
known it, if you'd had two eyes to see what you were about. There, now!
I've tipped the lamp over, and you just get a cloth and wipe up the

"Dear me!" said she, lighting a candle, and she spoke up very soft, too.
"Please, Aaron, don't let the cold in on baby. I'm sorry it was smoking,
but I never knew a thing about it; he's been fretting and taking on so
the last hour, I didn't notice anyway."

"That's just what you ought to have done," says I, madder than ever.
"You know how I hate the stuff, and you ought to have cared more about
me than to choke me up with it this way the last night before going in."

Nancy was a patient, gentle-spoken sort of woman, and would bear a good
deal from a fellow; but she used to fire up sometimes, and that was more
than she could stand. "You don't deserve to be cared about, for speaking
like that!" says she, with her cheeks as red as peat-coals.

That was right before the children. Mary Ann's eyes were as big as
saucers, and little Nancy was crying at the top of her lungs, with the
baby tuning in, so we knew it was time to stop. But stopping wasn't
ending; and folks can look things that they don't say.

We sat down to supper as glum as pump-handles; there were some
fritters--I never knew anybody beat your mother at fritters--smoking hot
off the stove, and some maple molasses in one of the best chiny teacups;
I knew well enough it was just on purpose for my last night, but I never
had a word to say, and Nancy crumbed up the children's bread with a
jerk. Her cheeks didn't grow any whiter; it seemed as if they would
blaze right up,--I couldn't help looking at them, for all I pretended
not to, for she looked just like a pictur. Some women always are pretty
when they are put out,--and then again, some ain't; it appears to me
there's a great difference in women, very much as there is in hens; now,
there was your aunt Deborah,--but there, I won't get on that track now,
only so far as to say that when she was flustered up she used to go red
all over, something like a piny, which didn't seem to have just the same

That supper was a very dreary sort of supper, with the baby crying, and
Nancy getting up between the mouthfuls to walk up and down the room with
him; he was a heavy little chap for a ten-month-old, and I think she
must have been tuckered out with him all day. I didn't think about it
then; a man doesn't notice such things when he's angry,--it isn't in
him. I can't say but _she_ would if I'd been in her place. I just eat up
the fritters and the maple molasses,--seems to me I told her she ought
not to use the best chiny cup, but I'm not just sure,--and then I took
my pipe, and sat down in the corner.

I watched her putting the children to bed; they made her a great deal of
bother, squirming off of her lap and running round barefoot. Sometimes I
used to hold them and talk to them and help her a bit, when I felt
good-natured, but I just sat and smoked, and let them alone. I was all
worked up about that lamp-wick, and I thought, you see, if she hadn't
had any feelings for me there was no need of my having any for her,--if
she had cut the wick, I'd have taken the babies; she hadn't cut the
wick, and I wouldn't take the babies; she might see it if she wanted to,
and think what she pleased. I had been badly treated, and I meant to
show it.

It is strange, Johnny, it really does seem to me very strange, how easy
it is in this world to be always taking care of our _rights_. I've
thought a great deal about it since I've been growing old, and there
seems to me a good many things we'd better look after fust.

But you see I hadn't found that out in '41, and so I sat in the corner,
and felt very much abused. I can't say but what Nancy had pretty much
the same idea; for when the young ones were all in bed at last, she took
her knitting and sat down the other side of the fire, sort of turning
her head round and looking up at the ceiling, as if she were trying her
best to forget I was there. That was a way she had when I was courting,
and we went along to huskings together, with the moon shining round.

Well, I kept on smoking, and she kept on looking at the ceiling, and
nobody said a word for a while, till by and by the fire burnt down, and
she got up and put on a fresh log.

"You're dreadful wasteful with the wood, Nancy," says I, bound to say
something cross, and that was all I could think of.

"Take care of your own fire, then," says she, throwing the log down and
standing up as straight as she could stand. "I think it's a pity if you
haven't anything better to do, the last night before going in, than to
pick everything I do to pieces this way, and I tired enough to drop,
carrying that great crying child in my arms all day. You ought to be
ashamed of yourself, Aaron Hollis!"

Now if she had cried a little, very like I should have given up, and
that would have been the end of it, for I never could bear to see a
woman cry; it goes against the grain. But your mother wasn't one of the
crying sort, and she didn't feel like it that night.

She just stood up there by the fireplace, as proud as Queen Victory,--I
don't blame her, Johnny,--O no, I don't blame her; she had the right of
it there, I _ought_ to have been ashamed of myself; but a man never
likes to hear that from other folks, and I put my pipe down on the
chimney-shelf so hard I heard it snap like ice, and I stood up too, and
said--but no matter what I said, I guess. A man's quarrels with his wife
always make me think of what the Scripture says about other folks not
intermeddling. They're things, in my opinion, that don't concern anybody
else as a general thing, and I couldn't tell what I said without telling
what she said, and I'd rather not do that. Your mother was as good and
patient-tempered a woman as ever lived, Johnny, and she didn't mean it,
and it was I that set her on. Besides, my words were worst of the two.

Well, well, I'll hurry along just here, for it's not a time I like to
think about; but we had it back and forth there for half an hour, till
we had angered each other up so I couldn't stand it, and I lifted up my
hand,--I would have struck her if she hadn't been a woman.

"Well," says I, "Nancy Hollis, I'm sorry for the day I married you, and
that's the truth, if ever I spoke a true word in my life!"

I wouldn't have told you that now if you could understand the rest
without. I'd give the world, Johnny,--I'd give the world and all those
coupon bonds Jedediah invested for me if I could anyway forget it; but I
said it, and I can't.

Well, I've seen your mother look 'most all sorts of ways in the course
of her life, but I never saw her before, and I never saw her since, look
as she looked that minute. All the blaze went out in her cheeks, as if
somebody had thrown cold water on it, and she stood there stock still,
so white I thought she would drop.

"Aaron--" she began, and stopped to catch her breath, "Aaron--" but she
couldn't get any farther; she just caught hold of a little shawl she had
on with both her hands, as if she thought she could hold herself up by
it, and walked right out of the room. I knew she had gone to bed, for I
heard her go up and shut the door. I stood there a few minutes with my
hands in my pockets, whistling Yankee Doodle. Your mother used to say
men were queer folks, Johnny; they always whistled up the gayest when
they felt the wust. Then I went to the closet and got another pipe, and
I didn't go up stairs till it was smoked out.

When I was a young man, Johnny, I used to be that sort of fellow that
couldn't bear to give up beat. I'd acted like a brute, and I knew it,
but I was too spunky to say so. So I says to myself, "If she won't make
up first, I won't, and that's the end on't." Very likely she said the
same thing, for your mother was a spirited sort of woman when her
temper _was_ up; so there we were, more like enemies sworn against each
other than man and wife who had loved each other true for fifteen
years,--a whole winter, and danger, and death perhaps, coming between
us, too.

It may seem very queer to you, Johnny,--it did to me when I was your
age, and didn't know any more than you do,--how folks can work
themselves up into great quarrels out of such little things; but they
do, and into worse, if it's a man who likes his own way, and a woman
that knows how to talk. It's my opinion, two thirds of all the divorce
cases in the law-books just grow up out of things no bigger than that

But how people that ever loved each other could come to hard words like
that, you don't see? Well, ha, ha! Johnny, that amuses me, that really
does amuse me, for I never saw a young man nor a young woman
either,--and young men and young women in general are very much like
fresh-hatched chickens, to my mind, and know just about as much of the
world, Johnny,--well, I never saw one yet who didn't say that very
thing. And what's more, I never saw one who could get it into his head
that old folks knew better.

But I say I had loved your mother true, Johnny, and she had loved me
true, for more than fifteen years; and I loved her more the fifteenth
year than I did the first, and we couldn't have got along without each
other, any more than you could get along if somebody cut your heart
right out. We had laughed together and cried together; we had been sick,
and we'd been well together; we'd had our hard times and our pleasant
times right along, side by side; we'd christened the babies, and we'd
buried 'em, holding on to each other's hand; we had grown along year
after year, through ups and downs and downs and ups, just like one
person, and there wasn't any more dividing of us. But for all that we'd
been put out, and we'd had our two ways, and we had spoken our sharp
words like any other two folks, and this wasn't our first quarrel by any

I tell you, Johnny, young folks they start in life with very pretty
ideas,--very pretty. But take it as a general thing, they don't know any
more what they're talking about than they do about each other, and they
don't know any more about each other than they do about the man in the
moon. They begin very nice, with their new carpets and teaspoons, and a
little mending to do, and coming home early evenings to talk; but by and
by the shine wears off. Then come the babies, and worry and wear and
temper. About that time they begin to be a little acquainted, and to
find out that there are two wills and two sets of habits to be fitted
somehow. It takes them anywhere along from one year to three to get
jostled down together. As for smoothing off, there's more or less of
that to be done always.

Well, I didn't sleep very well that night, dropping into naps and waking
up. The baby was worrying over his teeth every half-hour, and Nancy
getting up to walk him off to sleep in her arms,--it was the only way
you _would_ be hushed up, and you'd lie and yell till somebody did it.

Now, it wasn't many times since we'd been married that I had let her do
that thing all night long. I used to have a way of getting up to take my
turn, and sending her off to sleep. It isn't a man's business, some
folks say. I don't know anything about that; maybe, if I'd been broiling
my brain in book learning all day till come night, and I was hard put to
it to get my sleep anyhow, like the parson there, it wouldn't; but all I
know is, what if I had been breaking my back in the potato-patch since
morning? so she'd broken her's over the oven; and what if I did need
nine hours' sound sleep? I could chop and saw without it next day, just
as well as she could do the ironing, to say nothing of my being a great
stout fellow,--there wasn't a chap for ten miles round with my
muscle,--and she with those blue veins on her forehead. Howsomever that
may be, I wasn't used to letting her do it by herself, and so I lay with
my eyes shut, and pretended that I was asleep; for I didn't feel like
giving in, and speaking up gentle, not about that nor anything else.

I could see her though, between my eyelashes, and I lay there, every
time I woke up, and watched her walking back and forth, back and forth,
up and down, with the heavy little fellow in her arms, all night long.

Sometimes, Johnny, when I'm gone to bed now of a winter night, I think I
see her in her white nightgown with her red-plaid shawl pinned over her
shoulders and over the baby, walking up and down, and up and down. I
shut my eyes, but there she is, and I open them again, but I see her all
the same.

I was off very early in the morning; I don't think it could have been
much after three o'clock when I woke up. Nancy had my breakfast all laid
out overnight, except the coffee, and we had fixed it that I was to make
up the fire, and get off without waking her, if the baby was very bad.
At least, that was the way I wanted it; but she stuck to it she should
be up,--that was before there'd been any words between us.

The room was very gray and still,--I remember just how it looked, with
Nancy's clothes on a chair, and the baby's shoes lying round. She had
got him off to sleep in his cradle, and had dropped into a nap, poor
thing! with her face as white as the sheet, from watching.

I stopped when I was dressed, halfway out of the room, and looked round
at it,--it was so white, Johnny! It would be a long time before I should
see it again,--five months were a long time; then there was the risk,
coming down in the freshets, and the words I'd said last night. I
thought, you see, if I should kiss it once,--I needn't wake her
up,--maybe I should go off feeling better. So I stood there looking: she
was lying so still, I couldn't see any more stir to her than if she had
her breath held in. I wish I had done it, Johnny,--I can't get over
wishing I'd done it, yet. But I was just too proud, and I turned round
and went out, and shut the door.

We were going to meet down at the post-office, the whole gang of us, and
I had quite a spell to walk. I was going in on Bob Stokes's team. I
remember how fast I walked with my hands in my pockets, looking along up
at the stars,--the sun was putting them out pretty fast,--and trying not
to think of Nancy. But I didn't think of anything else.

It was so early, that there wasn't many folks about to see us off; but
Bob Stokes's wife,--she lived nigh the office, just across the
road,--she was there to say good by, kissing of him, and crying on his
shoulder. I don't know what difference that should make with Bob Stokes,
but I snapped him up well, when he came along, and said good morning.

There were twenty-one of us just, on that gang, in on contract for Dove
and Beadle. Dove and Beadle did about the heaviest thing on woodland of
anybody, about that time. Good, steady men we were, most of us,--none of
your blundering Irish, that wouldn't know a maple from a hickory, with
their gin-bottles in their pockets,--but our solid, Down-East Yankee
heads, owning their farms all along the river, with schooling enough to
know what they were about 'lection day. You didn't catch any of _us_
voting your new-fangled tickets when we had meant to go up on Whig, for
want of knowing the difference, nor visa vussy. To say nothing of Bob
Stokes, and Holt, and me, and another fellow,--I forget his name,--being
members in good and reg'lar standing, and paying in our five dollars to
the parson every quarter, charitable.

Yes, though I say it that shouldn't say it, we were as fine a looking
gang as any in the county, starting off that morning in our red
uniform,--Nancy took a sight of pains with my shirt, sewing it up stout,
for fear it should bother me ripping, and I with nobody to take a
stitch for me all winter. The boys went off in good spirits, singing
till they were out of sight of town, and waving their caps at their
wives and babies standing in the window along on the way. I didn't sing.
I thought the wind blew too hard,--seems to me that was the reason,--I'm
sure there must have been a reason, for I had a voice of my own in those
days, and had led the choir perpetual for five years.

We weren't going in very deep; Dove and Beadle's lots lay about thirty
miles from the nearest house; and a straggling, lonely sort of place
that was too, five miles out of the village, with nobody but a dog and a
deaf old woman in it. Sometimes, as I was telling you, we had been in a
hundred miles from any human creature but ourselves.

It took us two days to get there though, with the oxen; and the teams
were loaded down well, with so many axes and the pork-barrels;--I don't
know anything like pork for hefting down more than you expect it to,
reasonable. It was one of your ugly gray days, growing dark at four
o'clock, with snow in the air, when we hauled up in the lonely place.
The trees were blazed pretty thick, I remember, especially the pines;
Dove and Beadle always had that done up prompt in October. It's pretty
work going in blazing while the sun is warm, and the woods like a great
bonfire with the maples. I used to like it, but your mother wouldn't
hear of it when she could help herself, it kept me away so long.

It's queer, Johnny, how we do remember things that ain't of no account;
but I remember, as plainly as if it were yesterday morning, just how
everything looked that night, when the teams came up, one by one, and we
went to work spry to get to rights before the sun went down.

There were three shanties,--they don't often have more than two or three
in one place,--they were empty, and the snow had drifted in; Bob
Stokes's oxen were fagged out, with their heads hanging down, and the
horses were whinnying for their supper. Holt had one of his great
brush-fires going,--there was nobody like Holt for making fires,--and
the boys were hurrying round in their red shirts, shouting at the oxen,
and singing a little, some of them low, under their breath, to keep
their spirits up. There was snow as far as you could see,--down the
cart-path, and all around, and away into the woods; and there was snow
in the sky now, setting in for a regular nor'easter. The trees stood up
straight all around without any leaves, and under the bushes it was as
black as pitch.

"Five months," said I to myself,--"five months!"

"What in time's the matter with you, Hollis?" says Bob Stokes, with a
great slap on my arm; "you're giving that 'ere ox molasses on his hay!"

Sure enough I was, and he said I acted like a dazed creatur, and very
likely I did. But I couldn't have told Bob the reason. You see, I knew
Nancy was just drawing up her little rocking-chair--the one with the
green cushion--close by the fire, sitting there with the children to
wait for the tea to boil. And I knew--I couldn't help knowing, if I'd
tried hard for it--how she was crying away softly in the dark, so that
none of them could see her, to think of the words we'd said, and I gone
in without ever making of them up. I was sorry for them then. O Johnny,
I was sorry, and she was thirty miles away. I'd got to be sorry five
months, thirty miles away, and couldn't let her know.

The boys said I was poor company that first week, and I shouldn't wonder
if I was. I couldn't seem to get over it any way, to think I couldn't
let her know.

If I could have sent her a scrap of a letter, or a message, or
something, I should have felt better. But there wasn't any chance of
that this long time, unless we got out of pork or fodder, and had to
send down,--which we didn't expect to, for we'd laid in more than

We had two pretty rough weeks' work to begin with, for the worst storms
of the season set in, and kept in, and I never saw their like, before or
since. It seemed as if there'd never be an end to them. Storm after
storm, blow after blow, freeze after freeze; half a day's sunshine, and
then at it again! We were well tired of it before they stopped; it made
the boys homesick.

However, we kept at work pretty brisk,--lumbermen aren't the fellows to
be put out for a snow-storm,--cutting and hauling and sawing, out in the
sleet and wind. Bob Stokes froze his left foot that second week, and I
was frost-bitten pretty badly myself. Cullen--he was the boss--he was
well out of sorts, I tell you, before the sun came out, and cross enough
to bite a ten-penny nail in two.

But when the sun _is_ out, it isn't so bad a kind of life, after all. At
work all day, with a good hot dinner in the middle; then back to the
shanties at dark, to as rousing a fire and tiptop swagan as anybody
could ask for. Holt was cook that season, and Holt couldn't be beaten on
his swagan.

Now you don't mean to say you don't know what swagan is? Well, well! To
think of it! All I have to say is, you don't know what's good then.
Beans and pork and bread and molasses,--that's swagan,--all stirred up
in a great kettle, and boiled together; and I don't know anything--not
even your mother's fritters--I'd give more for a taste of now. We just
about lived on that; there's nothing you can cut and haul all day on
like swagan. Besides that, we used to have doughnuts,--you don't know
what doughnuts are here in Massachusetts; as big as a dinner-plate,
those doughnuts were, and--well, a little hard, perhaps. They used to
have it about in Bangor that we used them for clock pendulums, but I
don't know about that.

I used to think a great deal about Nancy nights, when we were sitting up
by the fire,--we had our fire right in the middle of the hut, you know,
with a hole in the roof to let the smoke out. When supper was eaten, the
boys all sat up around it, and told stories, and sang, and cracked their
jokes; then they had their backgammon and cards; we got sleepy early,
along about nine or ten o'clock, and turned in under the roof with our
blankets. The roof sloped down, you know, to the ground; so we lay with
our heads in under the little eaves, and our feet to the fire,--ten or
twelve of us to a shanty, all round in a row. They built the huts up
like a baby's cob-house, with the logs fitted in together. I used to
think a great deal about your mother, as I was saying; sometimes I would
lie awake when the rest were off as sound as a top, and think about her.
Maybe it was foolish, and I'm sure I wouldn't have told anybody of it;
but I couldn't get rid of the notion that something might happen to her
or to me before five months were out, and I with those words unforgiven.

Then, perhaps, when I went to sleep, I would dream about her, walking
back and forth, up and down, in her nightgown and little red shawl, with
the great heavy baby in her arms.

So it went along till come the last of January, when one day I saw the
boys all standing round in a heap, and talking.

"What's the matter?" says I.

"Pork's given out," says Bob, with a whistle. "Beadle got that last lot
from Jenkins there, his son-in-law, and it's sp'ilt. I could have told
him that beforehand. Never knew Jenkins to do the fair thing by anybody

"Who's going down?" said I, stopping short. I felt the blood run all
over my face, like a woman's.

"Cullen hasn't made up his mind yet," says Bob, walking off.

Now you see there wasn't a man on the ground who wouldn't jump at the
chance to go; it broke up the winter for them, and sometimes they could
run in home for half an hour, driving by; so there wasn't much of a hope
for me. But I went straight to Mr. Cullen.

"Too late! Just promised Jim Jacobs," said he, speaking up quick; it was
just business to him, you know.

I turned off, and I didn't say a word. I wouldn't have believed it, I
never would have believed it, that I could have felt so cut up about
such a little thing. Cullen looked round at me sharp.

"Hilloa, Hollis!" said he. "What's to pay?"

"Nothing, thank you, sir," says I, and walked off, whistling.

I had a little talk with Jim alone. He said he would take good care of
something I'd give him, and carry it straight. So when night came I went
and borrowed Mr. Cullen's pencil, and Holt tore me off a bit of clean
brown paper he found in the flour-barrel, and I went off among the trees
with it alone. I built a little fire for myself out of a
huckleberry-bush, and sat down there on the snow to write. I couldn't do
it in the shanty, with the noise and singing. The little brown paper
wouldn't hold much; but these were the words I wrote,--I remember every
one of them,--it is curious now I should, and that more than twenty
years ago:--

"Dear Nancy,"--that was it,--"Dear Nancy, I can't get over it, and I
take them all back. And if anything happens coming down on the logs--"

I couldn't finish that anyhow, so I just wrote "Aaron" down in the
corner, and folded the brown paper up. It didn't look any more like
"Aaron" than it did like "Abimelech," though; for I didn't see a single
letter I wrote,--not one.

After that I went to bed, and wished I was Jim Jacobs.

Next morning somebody woke me up with a push, and there was the boss.

"Why, Mr. Cullen!" says I, with a jump.

"Hurry up, man, and eat your breakfast," said he; "Jacobs is down sick
with his cold."

"_Oh!_" said I.

"You and the pork must be back here day after to-morrow,--so be spry,"
said he.

I rather think I was, Johnny.

It was just eight o'clock when I started; it took some time to get
breakfast, and feed the nags, and get orders. I stood there, slapping
the snow with my whip, crazy to be off, hearing the last of what Mr.
Cullen had to say.

They gave me the two horses,--we hadn't but two,--oxen are tougher for
going in, as a general thing,--and the lightest team on the ground; it
was considerably lighter than Bob Stokes's. If it hadn't been for the
snow, I might have put the thing through in two days, but the snow was
up to the creatures' knees in the shady places all along; off from the
road, in among the gullies, you could stick a four-foot measure down
anywhere. So they didn't look for me back before Wednesday night.

"I must have that pork Wednesday night sure," says Cullen.

"Well, sir," says I, "you shall have it Wednesday noon, Providence
permitting; and you shall have it Wednesday night anyway."

"You will have a storm to do it in, I'm afraid," said he, looking at the
clouds, just as I was whipping up. "You're all right on the road, I

"All right," said I; and I'm sure I ought to have been, for the times
I'd been over it.

Bess and Beauty--they were the horses, and of all the ugly nags that
ever I saw Beauty was the ugliest--started off on a round trot, slewing
along down the hill; they knew they were going home just as well as I
did. I looked back, as we turned the corner, to see the boys standing
round in their red shirts, with the snow behind them, and the fire, and
the shanties. I felt a mite lonely when I couldn't see them any more;
the snow was so dead still, and there were thirty miles of it to cross
before I could see human face again.

The clouds had an ugly look,--a few flakes had failed already,--and the
snow was purple, deep in as far as you could see under the trees.
Something made me think of Ben Gurnell, as I drove on, looking along
down the road to keep it straight. You never heard about it? Poor Ben!
Poor Ben! It was in '37, that was; he had been out hunting up blazed
trees, they said, and wandered away somehow into the Gray Goth, and went
over,--it was two hundred feet; they didn't find him not till
spring,--just a little heap of bones; his wife had them taken home and
buried, and by and by they had to take her away to a hospital in
Portland,--she talked so horribly, and thought she saw bones round

There is no place like the woods for bringing a storm down on you quick;
the trees are so thick you don't mind the first few flakes, till, first
you know, there's a whirl of 'em, and the wind is up.

I was minding less about it than usual, for I was thinking of
Nannie,--that's what I used to call her, Johnny, when she was a girl,
but it seems a long time ago, that does. I was thinking how surprised
she'd be, and pleased. I knew she would be pleased. I didn't think so
poorly of her as to suppose she wasn't just as sorry now as I was for
what had happened. I knew well enough how she would jump and throw down
her sewing with a little scream, and run and put her arms about my neck
and cry, and couldn't help herself.

So I didn't mind about the snow, for planning it all out, till all at
once I looked up, and something slashed into my eyes and stung me,--it
was sleet.

"Oho!" said I to myself, with a whistle,--it was a very long whistle,
Johnny; I knew well enough then it was no play-work I had before me till
the sun went down, nor till morning either.

That was about noon,--it couldn't have been half an hour since I'd eaten
my dinner; I eat it driving, for I couldn't bear to waste time.

The road wasn't broken there an inch, and the trees were thin; there'd
been a clearing there years ago, and wide, white level places wound off
among the trees; one looked as much like a road as another, for the
matter of that. I pulled my visor down over my eyes to keep the sleet
out,--after they're stung too much they're good for nothing to see with,
and I _must_ see, if I meant to keep that road.

It began to be cold. You don't know what it is to be cold, you don't,
Johnny, in the warm gentleman's life you've lived. I was used to Maine
forests, and I was used to January, but that was what I call cold.

The wind blew from the ocean, straight as an arrow. The sleet blew every
way,--into your eyes, down your neck, in like a knife into your cheeks.
I could feel the snow crunching in under the runners, crisp, turned to
ice in a minute. I reached out to give Bess a cut on the neck, and the
sleeve of my coat was stiff as pasteboard before I bent my elbow up

If you looked up at the sky, your eyes were shut with a snap as if
somebody'd shot them. If you looked in under the trees, you could see
the icicles a minute, and the purple shadows. If you looked straight
ahead, you couldn't see a thing.

By and by I thought I had dropped the reins; I looked at my hands, and
there I was holding them tight. I knew then that it was time to get out
and walk.

I didn't try much after that to look ahead; it was of no use, for the
sleet was fine, like needles, twenty of 'em in your eye at a wink; then
it was growing dark. Bess and Beauty knew the road as well as I did, so
I had to trust to them. I thought I must be coming near the clearing
where I'd counted on putting up overnight, in case I couldn't reach the
deaf old woman's.

There was a man just out of Bangor the winter before, walking just so
beside his team, and he kept on walking, some folks said, after the
breath was gone, and they found him frozen up against the sleigh-poles.
I would have given a good deal if I needn't have thought of that just
then. But I did, and I kept walking on.

Pretty soon Bess stopped short. Beauty was pulling on,--Beauty always
did pull on,--but she stopped too. I couldn't stop so easily, so I
walked along like a machine, up on a line with the creaturs' ears. I
_did_ stop then, or you never would have heard this story, Johnny.

Two paces,--and those two hundred feet shot down like a plummet. A great
cloud of snow-flakes puffed up over the edge. There were rocks at my
right hand, and rocks at my left. There was the sky overhead. I was in
the Gray Goth!

I sat down, as weak as a baby. If I didn't think of Ben Gurnell then, I
never thought of him. It roused me up a bit, perhaps, for I had the
sense left to know that I couldn't afford to sit down just yet, and I
remembered a shanty that I must have passed without seeing; it was just
at the opening of the place where the rocks narrowed, built, as they
build their light-houses, to warn folks to one side. There was a log or
something put up after Gurnell went over, but it was of no account,
coming on it suddenly. There was no going any farther that night, that
was clear; so I put about into the hut, and got my fire going, and Bess
and Beauty and I, we slept together.

It was an outlandish name to give it, seems to me, anyway. I don't know
what a Goth is, Johnny; maybe you do. There was a great figger up on the
rock, about eight feet high; some folks thought it looked like a man. I
never thought so before, but that night it did kind of stare in through
the door as natural as life.

When I woke up in the morning I thought I was on fire. I stirred and
turned over, and I was ice. My tongue was swollen up so I couldn't
swallow without strangling. I crawled up to my feet, and every bone in
me was stiff as a shingle.

Bess was looking hard at me, whinnying for her breakfast. "Bess," says
I, very slow, "we must get home--to-night--_any_--how."

I pushed open the door. It creaked out into a great drift, and slammed
back. I squeezed through and limped out. The shanty stood up a little,
in the highest part of the Goth. I went down a little,--I went as far as
I could go. There was a pole lying there, blown down in the night; it
came about up to my head. I sunk it into the snow, and drew it up.

Just six feet.

I went back to Bess and Beauty, and I shut the door. I told them I
couldn't help it,--something ailed my arms,--I couldn't shovel them out
to-day. I must lie down and wait till to-morrow.

I waited till to-morrow. It snowed all day, and it snowed all night. It
was snowing when I pushed the door out again into the drift. I went back
and lay down. I didn't seem to care.

The third day the sun came out, and I thought about Nannie. I was going
to surprise her. She would jump up and run and put her arms about my
neck. I took the shovel, and crawled out on my hands and knees. I dug it
down, and fell over on it like a baby.

After that, I understood. I'd never had a fever in my life, and it's not
strange that I shouldn't have known before.

It came all over me in a minute, I think. I couldn't shovel through.
Nobody could hear. I might call, and I might shout. By and by the fire
would go out. Nancy would not come. Nancy did not know. Nancy and I
should never kiss and make up now.

I struck my arm out into the air, and shouted out her name, and yelled
it out. Then I crawled out once more into the drift.

I tell you, Johnny, I was a stout-hearted man, who'd never known a fear.
I could freeze. I could burn up there alone in the horrid place with
fever. I could starve. It wasn't death nor awfulness I couldn't
face,--not that, not _that_; but I loved her true, I say,--I loved her
true, and I'd spoken my last words to her, my very last; I had left her
_those_ to remember, day in and day out, and year upon year, as long as
she remembered her husband, as long as she remembered anything.

I think I must have gone pretty nearly mad with the fever and the
thinking. I fell down there like a log, and lay groaning, "God Almighty!
God Almighty!" over and over, not knowing what it was that I was saying,
till the words strangled in my throat.

Next day, I was too weak so much as to push open the door. I crawled
around the hut on my knees, with my hands up over my head, shouting out
as I did before, and fell, a helpless heap, into the corner; after that
I never stirred.

How many days had gone, or how many nights, I had no more notion than
the dead. I knew afterwards; when I knew how they waited and expected
and talked and grew anxious, and sent down home to see if I was there,
and how she--But no matter, no matter about that.

I used to scoop up a little snow when I woke up from the stupors. The
bread was the other side of the fire; I couldn't reach round. Beauty eat
it up one day; I saw her. Then the wood was used up. I clawed out chips
with my nails from the old rotten logs the shanty was made of, and kept
up a little blaze. By and by I couldn't pull any more. Then there were
only some coals,--then a little spark. I blew at that spark a long
while,--I hadn't much breath. One night it went out, and the wind blew
in. One day I opened my eyes, and Bess had fallen down in the corner,
dead and stiff. Beauty had pushed out of the door somehow and gone. I
shut up my eyes. I don't think I cared about seeing Bess,--I can't
remember very well.

Sometimes I thought Nancy was there in the plaid shawl, walking round
the ashes where the spark went out. Then again I thought Mary Ann was
there, and Isaac, and the baby. But they never were. I used to wonder
if I wasn't dead, and hadn't made a mistake about the place that I was
going to.

One day there was a noise. I had heard a great many noises, so I didn't
take much notice. It came up crunching on the snow, and I didn't know
but it was Gabriel or somebody with his chariot. Then I thought more
likely it was a wolf.

Pretty soon I looked up, and the door was open; some men were coming in,
and a woman. She was ahead of them all, she was; she came in with a
great spring, and had my head against her neck, and her arm holding me
up, and her cheek down to mine, with her dear, sweet, warm breath all
over me; and that was all I knew.

Well, there was brandy, and there was a fire, and there were blankets,
and there was hot water, and I don't know what; but warmer than all the
rest I felt her breath against my cheek, and her arms about my neck, and
her long hair, which she had wrapped all in, about my hands.

So by and by my voice came. "Nannie!" said I.

"O don't!" said she, and first I knew she was crying.

"But I will," says I, "for I'm sorry."

"Well, so am I," says she.

Said I, "I thought I was dead, and hadn't made up, Nannie."

"O _dear_!" said she; and down fell a great hot splash right on my face.

Says I, "It was all me, for I ought to have gone back and kissed you."

"No, it was _me_," said she, "for I wasn't asleep, not any such thing. I
peeked out, this way, through my lashes, to see if you wouldn't come
back. I meant to wake up then. Dear me!" says she, "to think what a
couple of fools we were, now!"

"Nannie," says I, "you can let the lamp smoke all you want to!"

"Aaron--" she began, just as she had begun that other night, "Aaron--"
but she didn't finish, and--Well, well, no matter; I guess you don't
want to hear any more, do you?

But sometimes I think, Johnny, when it comes my time to go,--if ever it
does,--I've waited a good while for it,--the first thing I shall see
will be her face, looking as it looked at me just then.



Of all working systems, the Mind seems most pertinacious in concealing
the method of its operations. "No admittance" is inscribed upon the door
of the laboratories of the brain. Approaching a psychological inquiry is
like entering a manufactory: curious to observe its ingenious processes,
we find that, though we may penetrate its court-yard and ware-rooms,
every precaution is taken by its polite proprietors to prevent our
interrogating its workmen or understanding its methods. The intellect
often displays proudly her works; she has the assurance to attempt to
answer questions about all things else in heaven and earth; but when her
life is the subject of inquiry, that life seems to elude her own
observation. We see in the evening sky stars so dim that the eye cannot
fix upon them; we only catch glimpses of them when we are looking at
some other point aside; the moment we turn the eye full upon them, they
are lost to our sight. This covert and transient vision is the best
which men have ever yet caught of the Mind, which they have studied so
long to know. The metaphysicians look directly at it, and to them it is
invisible, and they cannot agree what it is, nor how it moves. And when
we look aside at the anatomy and physiology of the human frame, or, on
the other hand, at the complex and endless variety of human actions and
human experience, we catch only a partial and unsatisfactory glimpse of
the soul which is beyond.

Thought, as we have suggested, will uncover to us almost anything sooner
than the secrets of its own power. It has explained much about the
conditions of rapid vegetation, and how to procure profitable crops from
the earth; but how little has it yet disclosed of the conditions which
secure vigorous thinking, and best promote the development of truth!

But some one may say: "I supposed that the conditions of mental activity
were well known; they are quiet, peace of mind, neither too much nor too
little food, and a subject which interests the feelings, or effectually
calls forth the powers of the mind."

Though you know all this, you are in ignorance still. Truly a savage
might profess the art of agriculture in this fashion; for all this is
only as if one were to say that the conditions of success in farming
were to be where there were no earthquakes or avalanches, that is, to be
quiet; to have the ground cleared of trees, that is, to have the mind
free from cares and the shadows of sorrows; to have neither too much nor
too little sunshine and rain, that is, to be properly fed; and to have
good seed to put into the ground, that is, to engage the mind with a
topic which it will expand and reproduce. After all these things have
been secured, it is only a sort of barbaric husbandry that we have
practised. The common and rude experience of men, laboring without
thinking about their labor, teaches these things, and the very
beginnings of the art and science of Intellectual Economy come beyond
and after these.

What shall we say of those moods which every student passes through,
which turn and return upon the mind, irresistible and mysterious? What
are the causes of those strange and delightful exaltations of mind in
which thought runs like a clock when the pendulum is off, and crowds a
week of existence into an hour of time? Whence are those dull days which
come so unexpectedly, and sometimes lead a troop of dull followers, to
interrupt our life's work for a week at a time? Where are we to search
for obstructions in the channels of the mind when ideas will not flow?
How is it that, after a period of clearness and activity in thought, the
brain grows indolent, and, without a feeling of illness, or even of
fatigue, work lags and stops? By what right is it that, at times, each
faculty in our possession seems to grow independent, and refuses to
return to its task at our call? What are the secret psychological
conditions which influence the mental powers as strangely as if there
were a goblin who had power to mesmerize Fancy and put it to sleep, to
lock up Imagination in a dreary den of commonplaces, to blindfold
Attention and make sport of his vain groping, and to send sober Reason
off on foolish errands, so that Mistress Soul has not a servant left?

Such variations of mental power, which we call moods of mind, are often
caused, doubtless, by ill-health, or by fatigue, or by some irregularity
of habit, or by anxiety of mind; but the experience of every student
will probably attest the existence of such variations where none of
these causes can be assigned. There are moods which we cannot trace to
illness, or weariness, or external circumstances. Men are prone to
regard them as whims, which sometimes they struggle against and
sometimes they yield to, but at all times wonder at.

The connection of the mind and body, and the dependence of the mind upon
the health and vigor of the body, have been much dwelt upon; and we
cannot be too deeply sensible of the debt which the student owes to
those who have made this truth prominent to him. But, after all, it is
wonderful with how much independence of bodily suffering--and even of
suffering in the brain--the mind carries itself, and this fact seems
worthy of more distinct recognition than it has received. It
significantly confirms our belief in the existence of an immaterial
principle, or soul, superior to the mere functions of the brain. Great
and healthful mental activity often exists in a disordered body; and
biographical literature is full of illustrations of the power of a
strong will to accomplish brilliant results while the system is agitated
by physical distress.

Campbell, the poet, pursued his regular habit of writing every day, even
under the pressure of much bodily pain.

Cowper never, when it was possible to perform his task, excused his
frail and desponding body from attendance in his little summer-house,
morning and afternoon, until his forty lines of Homer were arrayed in
English dress. The ballad of "John Gilpin" originated during one of his
illnesses. With the hope of diverting his mind during an unusually
severe attack of gloom, Lady Austen related to him the history of the
renowned citizen, which she had heard in her childhood. The tale made a
vivid impression, and the next morning he told her that the ludicrous
incident had convulsed him with laughter during the night, and that he
had embodied the whole into a ballad.

Paley's last, and perhaps, for his day, his greatest work,--his "Natural
Theology,"--was principally composed during the period in which he was
subject to attacks of that terribly malady, nephralgia.

So great was the delicacy of John Locke's constitution, that he was not
capable of a laborious application to the medical art, which was his
profession; and it is not improbable that his principal motive in
studying it was that he might be qualified, when necessary, to act as
his own physician. His difficulty was a lung complaint, or asthma; but
his biographer says: "It occasioned disturbance to no person but
himself, and persons might be with him without any other concern than
that created by seeing him suffer." Notwithstanding this permanent
suffering, his works are alike laborious and voluminous.

Robert Hall, in the period when his intellectual power was most
vigorous, pursued his daily studies almost regardless of the pain which
was his companion through life. Dr. Gregory pursued a course of study
with him in metaphysics and in mathematics; and he writes: "On entering
his room in the morning, I could at once tell whether or not his night
had been refreshing; for if it had, I found him at the table, the books
to be studied ready, and a vacant chair set for me. If his night had
been restless, and the pain still continued, I found him lying on the
sofa, or, more frequently, upon three chairs, on which he could obtain
an easier position. At such seasons, scarcely ever did a complaint issue
from his lips; but, inviting me to take the sofa, our reading
commenced.... Sometimes, when he was suffering more than usual, he
proposed a walk in the fields, where, with the appropriate book as our
companion, we could pursue the subject. If _he_ was the preceptor, as
was commonly the case in these peripatetic lectures, he soon lost the
sense of pain, and nearly as soon escaped from our author, whoever he
might be, and expatiated at large upon some train of inquiry or
explication which our course of reading had suggested. As his thoughts
enkindled, both his steps and his words became quicker, until erelong it
was difficult to say whether the body or the mind were brought most upon
the stretch in keeping up with him."

Hannah More, who wrote many volumes, and accumulated a fortune of nearly
a hundred and fifty thousand dollars from them, was an invalid. In her
early life, as well as in her declining years, she was subject to
successive illnesses, which threw great impediments in the way of her
intellectual exertions. Morning headaches prevented her from rising
early. She used to say that her frequent attacks of illness were a great
blessing to her, independently of the prime benefit of cheapening life
and teaching patience; for they induced a habit of industry not natural
to her, and taught her to make the most of her _well_ days. She
laughingly added, it had taught her also to contrive employments for her
sick ones; that from habit she had learned to suit her occupations to
every gradation of the measure of capacity she possessed. "I never," she
said, "afford a moment of a healthy day to transcribe, or put stops, or
cross _t_'s or dot my _i_'s. So that I find the lowest stage of my
understanding may be turned to some account, and save better days for
better things. I have learned from it also to avoid procrastination, and
that idleness which often attends unbroken health."

Baxter, one of the most voluminous of English writers, was an invalid.
After speaking of his multifarious labors as pastor, preacher, and also
surgeon to the poor in general, he says these were but his relaxation;
his writing was his chief labor, which went slowly on, for he had no
amanuensis, and his weakness took up so much of his time. "All the pains
that my infirmities ever brought on me," he adds, "were never half so
grievous and afflictive as the unavoidable loss of time which they
occasioned. I could not bear, through the weakness of my stomach, to
rise before seven, and afterwards not till much later; and some
infirmities I labored under made it above an hour before I could be
dressed. An hour I must have of necessity to walk before dinner, and
another before supper, and after supper I could seldom study." He is
described as one of the most diseased men that ever reached the full
limit of human life, entering upon mature life diseased and sore from
head to foot, and with the symptoms of old age. His "Saint's Rest" was
written as his meditation in a severe illness, and after he had been
given up by his physicians.

Lindley Murray commenced his work as a grammarian, and his other
writings, after disease had fixed upon his declining years. Having
successively engaged in the practice of law, and in mercantile pursuits,
and having retired from the latter with some property, he fell into
ill-health, which compelled him to go abroad, and kept him an exile
through the remainder of his long life. The disease with which he was
afflicted was a weakness in the lower limbs, which precluded him from
walking, and, after a time, from taking any exercise whatever. He was
thus imprisoned, as it were, in a country-seat, near York, in England;
and here he commenced those literary labors, which, so far from being
forbidden by his illness, did much to alleviate his sufferings. He says:
"In the course of my literary labors, I found that the mental exercise
which accompanied them was not a little beneficial to my health. The
motives which excited me to write, and the objects which I hoped to
accomplish, were of a nature calculated to cheer the mind, and to give
the animal spirits a salutary impulse. I am persuaded that, if I had
suffered my time to pass away with little or no employment, my health
would have been still more impaired, my spirits depressed, and perhaps
my life considerably shortened."

Of Lord Jeffrey, who was a very hard-working man, it is said that one of
his cures for a headache was to sit down and clear up a deep legal

The cases of Pascal, Dr. Johnson, Channing, and others, will doubtless
occur to the reader. It will suffice here to mention one more,--that of
William of Orange, whose vigorous, comprehensive, and untiring intellect
through a long course of years wielded and shaped the destinies of
England, and enabled him, if not to make a more brilliant page in
history, yet to leave a more enduring monument in human institutions
than any other man of his age. Macaulay thus graphically describes him:
"The audacity of his spirit was the more remarkable, because his
physical organization was unusually delicate. From a child he had been
weak and sickly. In the prime of manhood, his complaints had been
aggravated by a severe attack of small-pox. He was asthmatic and
consumptive. His slender frame was shaken by a constant hoarse cough. He
could not sleep unless his head was propped by several pillows, and
could scarcely draw his breath in any but the purest air. Cruel
headaches frequently tortured him. Exertion soon fatigued him. The
physicians constantly kept up the hopes of his enemies by fixing some
date beyond which, if there were anything certain in medical science, it
was impossible that his broken constitution could hold out. Yet, through
a life which was one long disease, the force of his mind never failed,
on any great occasion, to bear up his suffering and languid body."

Let the weak and feeble of body, therefore, take courage of heart; and
let the robust student be admonished that he cannot excuse _all_ his
inactive days upon the ground of indisposition.

Fatigue is an enemy which every hard-working brain knows of; but it is
an enemy, not of the workman, but only of the taskmaster. The student
may resort to what healthful contrivances he pleases to avoid fatigue;
but when it appears, he should not excuse himself, but yield to its
impulse. He should learn to distinguish indolence, and other
counterfeits, from that genuine weariness which makes the sleep of a
laboring man sweet. Weariness is the best friend of labor, just as the
toothache is the best friend of sound teeth. Weariness is an angel. When
the proper end of your day has come, she hovers over your desk, and, if
you are careless of the time, she breathes a misty breath upon your
eyelids, and loads your pen with an invisible weight; the shadow of her
gray wings dims your page, and her throbbing hand upon your forehead
admonishes you of her presence. Let her visits be few and far between,
and it is well; but you will never regret that you entertained her even
unawares. You may avoid, but never resist her. She comes from Heaven to
save life.

But comes there never into your study a little imp of darkness,--of
intellectual darkness, we mean,--whose efforts to imitate the gentle
interference of fatigue are as grotesque as they are vexatious, and who
does not succeed in deceiving, however readily one may sometimes fall in
with his humor? The heavy pen, the dull page, the wandering thoughts,
sometimes interrupt the most successful currents of labor, in those
morning hours, and in the fresh days after vacations, when we cannot
find the excuse of weariness. There is an indisposition to continuous
labor, which is utterly different from fatigue.

John Foster declared: "I have no power of getting fast forward in any
literary task; it costs me far more labor than any other mortal who has
been in the habit so long. I have the most extreme and invariable
repugnance to all literary labors of any kind, and almost all mental
labor. When I have anything of the kind to do, I linger hours and hours
before I can resolutely set about it, and days and weeks if it is some
task more than ordinary."

Dr. Humphrey recommends that the unwilling thoughts be frightened to
their task by the same means which Lord Jeffrey used to drive out a
headache. He says, in his letters to his son: "When you sit down to
write, you sometimes will, no doubt, find it difficult to collect your
scattered thoughts at the moment, and fix them upon the subject. If, in
these cases, you take up a newspaper, or whatever other light reading
may happen to be at hand, with the hope of luring the truants back, you
will be disappointed. Nothing but stern and decided measures will
answer. I would advise you to resort at once to geometry or conic
sections, or some other equally inexorable discipline to settle the
business. I have myself often called in the aid of Euclid for a few
moments, and always with good success. A little wholesome schooling of
the mind upon lines and angles and proportions, when it is not in the
right mood for study, will commonly make it quite willing to exchange
them for the labor of composition, as the easier task of the two."

There is sound philosophy perhaps in this recommendation. Many persons
have observed that the preliminary process of "composing the thoughts"
is one which requires a little time and effort, especially where one
comes to his subject from a period of exercise, or repose, or any other
condition in which the brain has not been active. The functional
activity of the brain depends on the copious supply of the arterial
blood, its activity varying with that supply, increasing as that supply
is greater, and relaxing when it is diminished. But unlike other organs
of the body, the brain is densely packed in an unyielding cavity, and
there must be room made for this increased volume of circulation
whenever it takes place. This is accomplished, physiologists tell us, in
the cerebro-spinal fluid, the quantity of which has been estimated at
two ounces. This fluid is readily absorbed and as readily reproduced,
and thus its quantity varies in a certain inverse proportion to the
volume of the circulation of blood in the brain; and by this means an
equality of pressure is secured throughout all the variations in the
force of the circulation. The act of adjustment between this balancing
fluid and the blood requires a little period for its completion, and
therefore the brain cannot instantaneously be brought to its maximum

Hence, where the circulation has been diverted from the brain, and the
proposed mental effort requires it to be vigorously revived in the
brain, time must be allowed for this process of adjustment, and room
must be made for the needed supply of blood; and perhaps a familiar
demonstration in mathematics, which fixes the attention, and will
instantly detect any delinquency of that faculty, may often be one of
the best modes of employing this transition period, and aiding the

We may observe here the singular paradox, which we believe that the
philosophy of the mind and the experience of the scholar equally
establish, that what are usually called the heaviest or severest
subjects of thought are the least exhausting to the thinker. How many
students, like Chief-Justice Parsons, have been accustomed, when
fatigued with the labor of deep research, or exhausted by continued
train of thought upon one subject, to relax the mind with arithmetical
or geometrical problems. Isaac Newton could, month after month, spend in
the profoundest problems of pure mathematics twice as many hours in the
day as Walter Scott could give to the composition of what we call light
reading; and it will be found that mathematicians, theologians, and
metaphysicians have been able to sustain more protracted labor, and with
less injury, than have poets and novelists. There are not wanting
reasons which aid us to understand this paradox, but we will not enter
upon them here.

Irregularities of habit will doubtless disturb the action of the mind.
The mental power that is thrown away and wasted by recklessness in this
respect is incalculable. But there are variations in mental power in the
midst of health, in the absence of fatigue, and under the most regular
habits. Perhaps few authors have more carefully adapted their habits to
their work, or ordered their method of life with a more quiet equality,
than did Milton. He went to bed uniformly at nine o'clock.[C] He rose in
the summer generally at four, and in winter at five. When, contrary to
his usual custom, he indulged himself with longer rest, he employed a
person to read to him from the time of his waking to that of his rising.
The opening of his day was uniformly consecrated to religion. A chapter
of the Hebrew Scriptures being read to him as soon as he was up, he
passed the subsequent interval till seven o'clock in private meditation.
From seven till twelve he either studied, listened while some author was
read to him, or dictated as some friendly hand supplied him with its
pen. At twelve commenced his hour of exercise, which before his
blindness was usually passed in his garden or in walking, and afterward
for the most part in the swing which he had contrived for the purpose of
exercise. His early and frugal dinner succeeded, and when it was
finished he resigned himself to the recreation of music, by which he
found his mind at once gratified and restored. He played on the organ,
and sang, or his wife sang for him. From his music he returned with
fresh vigor to his books or his composition. At six he admitted the
visits of his friends; he took his abstemious supper, of olives or some
light thing, at eight; and at nine, having smoked a pipe and drank a
glass of water, he retired. Yet in the midst of this clock-like
regularity his labors were broken by frequent unfruitful seasons.
Symmons says of him, that "he frequently composed in the night, when his
unpremeditated verse would sometimes flow in a torrent, tinder the
impulse, as it were, of some strange poetical fury; and in these
peculiar moments of inspiration, his amanuensis, who was generally his
daughter, was summoned by the bell to arrest the verses as they came,
and to commit them to the security of writing.... Some days would elapse
undistinguished by a verse, while on others he would dictate thirty or
forty lines.... Labor would often be ineffectual to obtain what often
would be gratuitously offered to him; and his imagination, which at one
instant would refuse a flower to his most strenuous cultivation, would
at another time shoot up into spontaneous and abundant vegetation." He
seldom wrote any in the summer.

Cowper said that _he_ composed best in winter, because then he could
find nothing else to do but think; and he contrasted himself in this
respect with other poets, who have found an inspiration in the
attractive scenes of the more genial seasons.

The biographer of Campbell has given us the following anecdote with
respect to the oft-quoted lines,

    "'T is the sunset of life gives me mystical lore,
    And coming events cast their shadows before."

The happy thought first presented itself to his mind during a visit at
Minto. He had gone early to bed, and, still meditating on "Lochiel's
Warning," fell fast asleep. During the night he suddenly awoke,
repeating, "Events to come cast their shadows before"! This was the very
thought for which he had been hunting the whole week. He rang the bell
more than once with increasing force. At last, surprised and annoyed by
so unseasonable a peal, the servant appeared. The poet was sitting with
one foot in the bed, and the other on the floor, with an air of mixed
impatience and inspiration. "Sir, are you ill?" inquired the servant.
"Ill! never better in my life. Leave me the candle, and oblige me with a
cup of tea as soon as possible." He then started to his feet, seized
hold of his pen, and wrote down the happy thought, but as he wrote
changed the words "events to come" into "coming events," as it now
stands in the text. Looking at his watch he observed that it was two
o'clock, the right hour for a poet's dream; and over his cup of tea he
completed his first sketch of "Lochiel."

Nor is this capriciousness exclusively the attribute of the poetic Muse.

Calvin, who studied and wrote in bed, if he felt his facility of
composition quitting him, as not unfrequently he did, gave up writing
and composing, and went about his out-door duties for days, weeks, and
months together. But as soon as he felt the inspiration again, he went
back to his bed, and his secretary set to work forthwith.

Dr. Edward Robinson was always under the necessity of waiting upon his
moods in composition. He wondered at the men who can write when they
will. Sometimes for days together he could make no headway in his higher

There are avocations, like those of the advocate, the preacher, the
journalist, which must be pursued continuously, well or ill, and in
spite of such variations of feeling. In these labors men doubtless learn
to disregard in some degree these moods of mind; but the variable
quality of the productions of one man on different days confirms what
testimony we have of their existence.

The zeal or the indifference, the clearness or the dulness, the
quickness or the sluggishness of thought, are doubtless to some degree
determined by the methods of labor into which the person falls, and by
the incidental habits and circumstances of his life. It is wonderful
what a vast fund of information and suggestion upon these and kindred
points of mental phenomena is found in the experience of the great
industrial class of the intellectual world recorded in biographical and
historical literature. Let us then visit some of the busiest and most
successful scholars, philosophers, poets, writers, and preachers; let us
peep through the window of biography into the library, the cabinet, and
the office. Let us watch the habits of some of these busy-brained men,
these great masters of the intellectual world. Let us note what helps
and what hindrances they have found; how they have driven their work, or
how they have been driven by it, and what is the nature and degree of
the systems which they have adopted in ordering their hours of labor and
of relaxation.

We will visit them as we find them, without looking for examples of
excellence or warnings of carelessness, and will leave the reader to
make his own inferences.

The poet Southey, who is said to have been, perhaps, more continually
employed than any other writer of his generation, was habitually an
early riser, but he never encroached upon the hours of the night. He
gives the following account of his day, as he employed it at the age of
thirty-two: "Three pages of history after breakfast (equivalent to five
in small quarto printing), then to transcribe and copy for the press, or
to make my selections and biographies, or what else suits my humor, till
dinner-time. From dinner till tea, I write letters, read, see the
newspaper, and very often indulge in a siesta, for sleep agrees with me,
and I have a good substantial theory to prove that it must; for as a man
who walks much requires to sit down and rest himself, so does the brain,
if it be the part most worked, require its repose. Well, after tea I go
to poetry, and correct and rewrite and copy till I am tired, and then
turn to anything else till supper." At the age of fifty-five, his life
varied but little from this sketch. When it is said that his breakfast
was at nine, after a little reading, his dinner at four, tea at six, and
supper at half past nine, and that the intervals, except the time
regularly devoted to a walk, between two and four, and a short sleep
before tea, were occupied with reading and writing, the outline of his
day during those long seasons when he was in full work will have been
given. After supper, when the business of the day seemed to be over,
though he generally took a book, he remained with his family, and was
ready to enter into conversation, to amuse and to be amused. During the
several years that he was partially employed upon the life of Dr. Bell,
he devoted two hours before breakfast to it in the summer, and as much
time as there was daylight for during the winter months, that it might
not interfere with the usual occupations of the day. Of himself, at the
age of sixty, at a time when he was thus engaged every morning at work
away from his home, he says: "I get out of bed as the clock strikes
six, and shut the house door after me as it strikes seven. After two
hours' work, home to breakfast; after which my son engages me till about
half past ten, and, when the post brings no letters that interest or
trouble me, by eleven I have done with the newspaper, and can then set
about what is properly the business of the day. But I am liable to
frequent interruptions, so that there are not many mornings in which I
can command from two to three unbroken hours at the desk. At two I take
my daily walk, be the weather what it may, and when the weather permits,
with a book in my hand. Dinner at four, read about half an hour, then
take to the sofa with a different book, and after a few pages get my
soundest sleep, till summoned to tea at six. My best time during the
winter is by candlelight; twilight interferes with it a little, and in
the season of company I can never count upon an evening's work. Supper
at half past nine, after which I read an hour, and then to bed. The
greatest part of my miscellaneous work is done in the odds and ends of

Shelley rose early in the morning, walked and read before breakfast,
took that meal sparingly, wrote and studied the greater part of the
morning, walked and read again, dined on vegetables (for he took neither
meat nor wine), conversed with his friends (to whom his house was ever
open), again walked out, and usually finished with reading to his wife
till ten o'clock, when he went to bed. This was his daily existence. His
book was generally Plato, or Homer, or one of the Greek tragedians, or
the Bible, in which last he took a great interest. Out of twenty-four
hours he frequently read sixteen. "He wrote his Prometheus," says
Willis, "in the baths of Caracalla, near the Coliseum." It was his
favorite haunt in Rome.

The poet Campbell thus describes his labors, when in London, at the age
of fifty-five: "I get up at seven, write letters for the Polish
Association, until half past nine, breakfast, go to the club and read
the newspapers till twelve. Then I sit down to my studies, and, with
many interruptions, do what I can till four. I then walk round the Park
and generally dine out at six. Between nine and ten I return to
chambers, read a book or write a letter, and go to bed always before
twelve." "His correspondence," says his biographer, "occupied four hours
every morning, in French, German, and Latin. He could seldom act with
the moderation necessary for his health. Whatever object he once took in
hand, he determined to carry out, and found no rest until it was
accomplished." Whatever he wrote during his connection with the New
Monthly and the Metropolitan was written hurriedly. If a subject was
proposed for the end of a month, he seldom gave it a thought until it
was no longer possible to delay the task. He would then sit down in the
quietest corner of his chambers, or, if quiet was not to be found in
town, he would start off to the country, and there, shut in among the
green fields, complete his task. When sixty-two years old, he says: "I
am only six hours out of the twenty-four in bed. I study twelve, and
walk six. Oranges, exercise, and early rising serve to keep me

"Procter (Barry Cornwall) usually writes," says Willis, "in a small
closet adjoining his library. There is just room enough in it for a desk
and two chairs, and his favorite books, miniature likenesses of authors,
manuscripts, &c., piled around in true poetical confusion." He confines
his labors to the daytime, eschewing evening work. In a letter to a
friend, some years ago, he wrote: "I hope you will not continue to give
up your nights to literary undertakings. Believe me (who have suffered
bitterly for this imprudence) that nothing in the world of letters is
worth the sacrifice of health and strength and animal spirits which will
certainly follow this excess of labor."

Cowper, at the age of fifty-three, and at a busy period of his life,
says: "The morning is my writing time, and in the morning I have no
spirits. So much the worse for my correspondents. Sleep, that refreshes
my body, seems to cripple me in every other respect. As the evening
approaches I grow more alert, and when I am retiring to bed am more fit
for mental occupation than at any other time. So it fares with us whom
they call nervous."

He was very assiduous in labor. While he was translating Homer, he says:
"As soon as breakfast is over, I retire to my nutshell of a
summer-house, which is my verse manufactory, and here I abide seldom
less than three hours, and not often more." This little summer-house,
which he called his boudoir, was not much bigger than a sedan-chair; the
door of it opened into the garden, which was covered with pinks, roses,
and honeysuckles. The window opened into his neighbor's orchard. He
says: "It formerly served an apothecary, now dead, as a smoking-room;
and under my feet is a trapdoor, which once covered a hole in the ground
where he kept his bottles. At present, however, it is dedicated to
sublimer uses. Having lined it with garden mats, and furnished it with a
table and two chairs, here I write all that I write in summer-time,
whether to my friends or to the public.... In the afternoon I return to
it again, and all the daylight that follows, except what is sometimes
devoted to a walk, is given to Homer." In the evening he devoted himself
to transcribing, so that his mornings and evenings were, for the most
part, completely engaged. He read also, but less than he wrote; "for I
must have bodily exercise," he said, "and therefore never let a day pass
without it." His walk was usually in the afternoon.

Lord Byron, who used to sit up at night writing "Don Juan," (which he
did under the influence of gin and water,) rose late in the morning.
Leigh Hunt thus describes him: "He breakfasted, read, lounged about,
singing an air, generally out of Rossini, and in a swaggering style,
though in a voice at once small and veiled; then took a bath and was
dressed, and coming down stairs, was heard, still singing, in the
court-yard, out of which the garden ascended at the back of the house.
The servants at the same time brought out two or three chairs. We then
lounged about, or sat and talked. In the course of an hour or two, being
an early riser, I used to go in to dinner. Lord Byron either stayed a
little longer, or went up stairs to his books and his couch. When the
heat of the day declined we rode out, either on horseback or in a
barouche, generally towards the forest. He was a good rider, graceful,
and kept a firm seat. In the evening I seldom saw him. He recreated
himself in the balcony, or with a book; and at night, when I went to
bed, he was just thinking of setting to work with 'Don Juan.' His
favorite reading was history and travels. His favorite authors were
Bayle and Gibbon. His favorite recreation was boating." Byron had
prodigious facility of composition. He was fond of suppers, and in
London, after supping at Rogers's and eating heartily, he would go home
and throw off sixty or eighty verses, which he would send to press the
next morning.

Goldsmith's desultory habits are quite characteristic. Irving says: "It
was his custom during the summer-time, when pressed by a multiplicity of
literary jobs, or urged to the accomplishment of some particular task,
to take country lodgings a few miles from town, generally on the Harrow
or Edgeware road, and bury himself there for weeks and months together.
Sometimes he would remain closely occupied in his room, at other times
he would stroll out along the lanes and hedgerows, and, taking out paper
and pencil, note down thoughts to be expanded and corrected at home."
Though he engaged to board with the family, his meals were generally
sent to him in his room, in which he passed the most of his time,
negligently dressed, with his shirt-collar open, busily engaged in
writing. Sometimes, probably when in moods of composition, he would
wander into the kitchen, without noticing any one, stand musing with his
back to the fire, and then hurry off again to his room, no doubt to
commit to paper some thought which had struck him. He was subject to
fits of wakefulness, and read much in bed; if not disposed to read, he
still kept the candle burning; if he wished to extinguish it, and it was
out of his reach, he flung his slipper at it, which would be found in
the morning near the overturned candlestick, daubed with grease. He is
said to have considered four lines of poetry a day good work.

He commenced his poem of "The Traveller" in Switzerland, but long kept
it back from publication, till Johnson's praise of it induced him to
prepare it for the press. It is said that, while for two years previous
to its publication he was employed in the drudgery of laborious
compilations for the booksellers, his few vacant hours were fondly
devoted to the patient revisal and correction of this his greatest poem;
pruning its luxuriances, or supplying its defects, till it appeared at
length finished with exactness and polished into beauty. While writing
his History of England, he would read Hume, Rapin-Thoyras, Carte, and
Kennet, in the morning, make a few notes, ramble with a friend into the
country about the skirts of "Merry Islington," return to a temperate
dinner and cheerful evening, and, before going to bed, write off what
had arranged itself in his head from the studies of the morning. In this
way he took a more general view of the subject, and wrote in a more free
and fluent style than if he had been mousing at the time among
authorities. The influence of this way of composing history is plainly
seen in the entertaining, but not immortal, volumes it produced.

Douglas Jerrold's day of labor may be sketched thus. At eight o'clock he
breakfasts on cold new milk, toast, bacon, watercresses, and perhaps
strawberries. Then he makes long examination of the papers, cutting out
bits of news. The study is a snug room filled with books and pictures;
its furniture is of solid oak. There work begins. If it be a comedy, he
will now and then walk rapidly up and down the room, talking wildly to
himself, and laughing as he hits upon a good point. Suddenly the pen
will be put down, and through a little conservatory, without seeing
anybody, he will pass out into the garden for a little while, talking to
the gardeners, walking, &c. In again, and vehemently to work. The
thought has come; and, in letters smaller than the type in which they
shall be set, it is unrolled along the little blue slips of paper. A
crust of bread and glass of wine are brought in, but no word is spoken.
The work goes rapidly forward, and halts at last suddenly. The pen is
dashed aside, a few letters, seldom more than three lines in each, are
written and despatched to the post, and then again into the garden,
visits to the horse, cow, and fowls, then another long turn around the
lawn, and at last a seat with a quaint old volume in the tent under the
mulberry-tree. Friends come,--walks and conversation. A very simple
dinner at four. Then a short nap--forty winks--upon the great sofa in
the study; another long stroll over the lawn while tea is prepared. Over
the tea-table are jokes of all kinds, as at dinner. In the later years
of his life, Jerrold seldom wrote after dinner; and his evenings were
usually spent alone in his study, reading, writing letters, &c.
Sometimes he would join the family circle for half an hour before going
to bed at ten; but his rule was a solitary evening in the study with his

Dickens's favorite time for composition is said to be in the morning.
Powell, in his "Notices of Living Authors of England," says that he
writes till about one or two o'clock, when he lunches, and afterwards
takes a walk for a couple of hours; returns to dinner, and gives the
evening to his own or a friend's fireside. Sometimes his method of labor
is much more intense and unremitting. Of his delightful little Christmas
book, "The Chimes," the author says, in a letter to a friend, that he
shut himself up for one month close and tight over it. "All my
affections and passions got twined and knotted up in it, and I became as
haggard as a murderer long before I wrote, 'The End.' When I had done
that, like 'The Man of Thessaly,' who, having scratched his eyes out in
a quickset hedge, plunged into a bramble-bush to scratch them in again,
I fled to Venice to recover the composure I had disturbed." When his
imagination begins to outline a new novel, with vague thoughts rife
within him, he goes "wandering about at night into the strangest
places," he says, "seeking rest and finding none."

Bulwer accomplishes his voluminous productions in about three hours a
day, usually from ten until one, and seldom later, writing all with his
own hand. Composition was at first very laborious to him, but he gave
himself sedulously to mastering its difficulties; and is said to have
rewritten some of his briefer productions eight or nine times before
publication. He now writes very rapidly, averaging, it is said, twenty
octavo pages a day. He says of himself in a letter to a friend: "I
literatize away the morning, ride at three, go to bathe at five, dine at
six, and get through the evening as I best may, sometimes by correcting
a proof."

Charles Anthon, so well known to the classical students of this
generation, was accustomed, for many years at least, constantly to
retire at ten and rise at four, so that a large part of his day's work
was done by breakfast-time; and it was this untiring industry that
enabled him, despite his incessant labors both in college and in school,
to produce some fifty volumes.

Gibbon always studied with his pen in hand, and for the purpose of his
history he practised laboriously the formation of his style of writing.
The first chapter of his history he rewrote three times, and the second
and third chapters twice, before he was satisfied with them; but after
thus getting under way, the greater part of his manuscript was sent to
the press in the first rough draft, without any intermediate copy being
made. After completing his great history, he congratulated himself upon
having accomplished a long, but temperate labor, without fatiguing
either the mind or the body. "Happily for my eyes," he said, "I have
always closed my studies with the day and commonly with the morning."
When he had accomplished the labors of the morning in the library, he
preferred recreation and social enjoyments rather than any exercise of
mind. He gives the following account of his sensations on accomplishing
his great work. "It was on the day, or rather night, of June 27, 1787,
between the hours of eleven and twelve, that I wrote the last lines of
the last page in a summer-house in my garden. After laying down my pen,
I took several turns in a covered walk of acacias. I will not dissemble
the first emotions of joy on the recovery of my freedom, and perhaps the
establishment of my fame. But my pride was soon humbled, and a sober
melancholy was spread over my mind by the idea that I had taken an
everlasting leave of an old and agreeable companion."

This reminds us of the emotions which Noah Webster describes as
overwhelming him when he reached the close of his dictionary. "When I
finished my copy," says Dr. Webster, "I was sitting at my table in
Cambridge, England, January, 1825. When I arrived at the last word, I
was seized with a tremor that made it difficult to proceed. I, however,
summoned up my strength to finish the work, and then, walking about the
room, I soon recovered."

Buckle, even more systematically and laboriously than ever did Gibbon,
devoted himself to the formation of his style of writing as a special
preparation for entering upon the composition of his history. In his
later years he abandoned the custom of writing at night, and it was his
usual practice to lay aside his pen by three o'clock in the afternoon.
When at home in London, he spent an hour or so at noon in walking about
the city, frequently dined out, and read an hour after coming home. He
went to dinner-parties exclusively, it is said, because they took less
time than others.

Sir William Jones while in India began his studies with the dawn, and in
seasons of intermission from professional duty continued them throughout
the day; meditation retraced and confirmed what reading had collected or
investigation discovered. With respect to the division of his time, he
wrote on a small piece of paper these lines:--


    "Six hours in sleep, in law's grave study six,
     Four spend in prayer,--the rest on nature fix."


    "Seven hours to law, to soothing slumber seven,
     Ten to the world allot,--and _all_ to heaven."

Of Chief-justice Parsons of Massachusetts, his son says: "It is
literally true that for fifty years he was always reading or writing
when not obliged to be doing something else. He had, fortunately for
himself, many interruptions, but he avoided them as far as he could; and
there were weeks, and I believe consecutive months, when he passed
nearly two thirds of his day with books and papers.... He very seldom
took exercise for exercise' sake. Excepting an infrequent walk of some
minutes in the long entry which ran through the middle of his house, he
almost never walked for mere exercise, until an attack of illness. After
that he sometimes, though rarely, took a walk about the streets or on
the Common.... His office was always in his dwelling-house. There he sat
all the day, but his evenings were invariably spent in the large common
sitting-room. He had his chair by the fireside, and a small table near
it on which the evening's supply of books was placed. There he sat,
always reading, (seldom writing in the evening or out of his office,)
but never disturbed by any noise or frolic which might be going on. If
anybody, young or old, appealed to him, he was always ready to answer;
and sometimes, though not very often, would join in a game or play, and
then return to his books.... I have never known him wholly unoccupied
at any time whatsoever. He was always doing something, with books, pen,
or instrument, or engaged in conversation."

Judge Story arose at seven in summer and at half past seven in
winter,--never earlier. If breakfast was not ready, he went at once to
his library, and occupied the interval, whether it was five minutes or
fifty, in writing. When the family assembled, he was called, and
breakfasted with them. After breakfast he sat in the drawing-room, and
spent from half to three quarters of an hour in reading the newspapers
of the day. He then returned to his study, and wrote until the bell
sounded for his lecture at the Law School. After lecturing for two, and
sometimes three hours, he returned to his study, and worked until two
o'clock, when he was called to dinner. To his dinner--which on his part
was always simple--he gave an hour, and then again betook himself to his
study, where in the winter time he worked as long as the daylight
lasted, unless called away by a visitor, or obliged to attend a
moot-court. Then he came down and joined the family, and work for the
day was over. During the evening he was rarely without company; but if
alone he read some new publication, sometimes corrected a proof-sheet,
listened to music, talked with the family, or played backgammon. In the
summer afternoons he left his library towards twilight. Generally the
summer afternoon was varied three or four times a week in fair weather
by a drive of about an hour in the country in an open chaise. At ten or
half past he retired for the night, never varying a half-hour from this
time. The exercise he took was almost entirely incidental to his duties,
and consisted in driving to Boston to hold his court, or attend to other
business, and in walking to and from the Law School. His real exercise
was in talking. His diet was exceedingly simple. His lectures were
wholly extemporary, or delivered without minutes, and no record was ever
made of them by himself. After an interruption of hours, and even of
days, he could take up the pen and continue a sentence which he had left
half-written, without reading back, going on with the same certainty and
rapidity as if he had never been stopped.

While Lord Jeffrey was judge, during the sittings of the court, the
performance of his official duties exhausted nearly his whole day, the
evenings especially; and his spare time, whether during his sittings or
in vacation, was given to society, to correspondence, to walking, to
lounging in his garden, and to reading.

John C. Calhoun was an arduous student, and very simple in his habits.
He avoided all stimulants. When at home, he rose at daybreak, and, if
weather permitted, took a walk over his farm. He breakfasted at half
past seven, and then retired to his office, which stood near his house,
where he wrote till dinner-time, or three o'clock. After dinner he read
or conversed with his family till sunset, when he took another walk. His
tea hour was eight. He then joined the family, and read or talked till
ten, when he retired.

Dr. Arnold of Rugby began lessons at seven; and, with the interval of
breakfast, they lasted till nearly three. Then he would walk with his
pupils, and dine at half past five. At seven he usually had some lessons
on hand; and "it was only when they were all gathered up in the
drawing-room after tea," says Mr. Stanley, "amidst young men on all
sides of him, that he would commence work for himself in writing his
sermons or Roman History." In a letter Dr. Arnold said: "from about a
quarter before nine till ten o'clock every evening I am at liberty, and
enjoy my wife's company fully; during this time I read aloud to her,--I
am now reading to her Herodotus, translating as I go on,--or write my
sermons, or write letters." His favorite recreations were
horseback-riding, walking, and playing with his children.

Florence Nightingale, in advising that the sick be not suddenly
interrupted so as to distract their attention, says that the rule
applies to the well quite as much as to the sick. She adds: "I have
never known persons who exposed themselves for years to constant
interruptions who did not muddle away their intellects by it at last."
Dr. Arnold seems to be an exception.

The elder Alexander, the Princeton theologian, was another exception to
Florence Nightingale's rule. It was his peculiarity that he seemed
incapable of being interrupted. Except in hours of devotion, his study
was always free to his children, even the youngest; noise made no
difference; their books and toys were on his floor, and two or three
would be clambering upon him while he was handling a folio or had the
pen in his hand. Nor was this while engaged in the mechanical part of an
author's work. His door was always open to the children; they burst in
freely without any signal, and he always looked up with a smile of
welcome; and he declared that he often could think to most purpose when
there was a clatter of little voices around him. His voluminous works,
which he commenced to publish late in life, do not indicate that he
underwent a "muddling" process.

Johnson used to assert that a man could write just as well at one time
as another, and as well in one place as another, if he would only set
himself doggedly about it.

Dr. Channing's habits of labor when at home in Boston are thus
described. "The sun is just rising, and the fires are scarcely lighted,
when, with a rapid step, Dr. Channing enters his study. He has been
watchful during many hours, his brain teeming, and under the excitement
of his morning bath he longs to use the earliest hours for work.... His
first act is to write down the thoughts which have been given in his
vigils; next he reads a chapter or more in Griesbach's edition of the
Greek Testament, and, after a quick glance over the newspapers of the
day, he takes his light repast. Morning prayers follow, and then he
retires to his study-table. If he is reading, you will at once notice
this peculiarity, that he studies pen in hand, and that his book is
crowded with folded sheets of paper, which continually multiply as
trains of thought are suggested. These notes are rarely quotations, but
chiefly questions and answers, qualifications, condensed statements,
germs of interesting views; and when the volume is finished, they are
carefully selected, arranged, and under distinct heads placed among
other papers in a secretary. If he is writing, unless making preparation
for the pulpit or for publication, the same process of accumulating
notes is continued, which, at the end of each day or week, are filed.
The interior of the secretary is filled with heaps of similar notes,
arranged in order, with titles over each compartment. When a topic is to
be treated at length in a sermon or essay, these notes are consulted,
reviewed, and arranged. He first draws up a skeleton of his subject,
selecting with special care and making prominent the central principle
that gives it unity, and from which branch forth correlative
considerations. Until perfectly clear in his own mind as to the
essential truth of this main view, he cannot proceed. Questions are
raised, objections considered, etc., the ground cleared, in a word, and
the granite foundation laid bare for the cornerstone. And now the work
goes rapidly forward. With flying pen he makes a rough draft of all that
he intends to say, on sheets of paper folded lengthwise, leaving half of
each page bare. He then reads over what he has written, and on the
vacant half-page supplies defects, strikes out redundances, indicates
the needless qualification, and modifies expressions. Thus sure of his
thought and aim, conscientiously prepared, he abandons himself to the
ardor of composition.... By noon his power of study is spent, and he
walks, visits, etc. After dinner he lies for a time upon the sofa, and
walks again, or drives into the country. Sunset he keeps as a holy hour.
During the winter twilight he likes to be silent and alone.... At tea he
listens to reading for an hour or more, leading conversation, etc.
Evenings he gives up to social enjoyments."

Mr. Buckle's method of making his researches, and preserving memoranda
of the results for subsequent use in composition, was similar to Dr.
Channing's, as we may infer from a note in his History. Dr. Channing
spent his vacations at Newport, where his time was thus allotted:--Rose
very early, walked, etc. Breakfasted on coarse wheat-bread and cream,
with a cup of tea. Then went to his study. Every hour or half-hour, more
or less, he threw his gown around him, and took a turn in the garden for
a few minutes. After a few hours of work he was exhausted for the day,
and read and conversed till dinner. The afternoon was given up to
excursions, and the evening to society.

Dr. Doddridge, in reference to his work, "The Paraphrase on the New
Testament," said that its being written at all was owing to the
difference between rising at five and at seven o'clock in the morning.
"A remark similar to this," says Albert Barnes, "will explain all that I
have done. Whatever I have accomplished in the way of commenting on the
Scriptures is to be traced to the fact of rising at four in the morning,
and to the time thus secured, which I thought might properly be employed
in a work not immediately connected with my pastoral labors. That habit
I have now pursued for many years.... All my Commentaries on the
Scriptures have been written before nine o'clock in the morning. At the
very beginning, now more than thirty years ago, I adopted a resolution
to stop writing on these Notes when the clock struck nine. This
resolution I have invariably adhered to, not unfrequently finishing my
morning task in the midst of a paragraph, and sometimes even in the
midst of a sentence.... In the recollection now of the past, I refer to
these morning hours, to the stillness and quiet of my room in this house
of God, when I have been permitted to 'prevent the dawning of the
morning' in the study of the Bible, while the inhabitants of the great
city were slumbering round about me, and before the cares of the day and
its direct responsibilities came upon me,--I refer to these scenes as
among the happiest portions of my life.... Manuscripts, when a man
writes every day, even though he writes but little, accumulate. Dr.
Johnson was once asked how it was that the Christian Fathers, and the
men of other times, could find leisure to fill so many folios with the
productions of their pens. 'Nothing is easier,' said he; and he at once
began a calculation to show what would be the effect, in the ordinary
term of a man's life, if he wrote only one octavo page in a day; and the
question was solved.... In this manner manuscripts accumulated on my
hands until I have been surprised to find that, by this slow and steady
process, I have been enabled to prepare eleven volumes of Commentary on
the New Testament, and five on portions of the Old Testament."

Isaac Barrow was a very early riser, and with two exceptions very
temperate in his habits. He indulged greatly in all kinds of fruit;
alleging that, if the immoderate use of it killed hundreds in autumn, it
was the means of preserving thousands throughout the year. But he was
fonder still of tobacco. He believed that it helped to compose and
regulate his thoughts. (He died, we may add, from the use of opium.) It
was his plan, in whatever he was engaged, to prosecute it till he had
brought it to a termination. He said he could not easily draw his
thoughts from one thing to another. The morning was his favorite time
for study. He kept a tinder-box in his apartment, and, during all of the
winter and some of the autumn months, rose before it was light. He
would sometimes rise at night, burn out his candle, and return to bed.

Zwingli is described as indefatigable in study. From daybreak until ten
o'clock he used to read, write, and translate. After dinner he listened
to those who had any news to give him, or who required his advice; he
then would walk out with some of his friends, and visit his flock. At
two o'clock he resumed his studies. He took a short walk after supper,
and then wrote his letters, which often occupied him until midnight. He
always worked standing, and never permitted himself to be disturbed
except for some very important cause.

Melancthon was usually in his study at two or three o'clock in the
morning, both in summer and winter. "It was during these early hours,"
says D'Aubigné, "that his best works were written." During the day he
read three or four lectures, attended to the conferences of the
professors, and after that labored till supper-time. He retired about
nine. He would not open any letters in the evening, in order that his
sleep might not be disturbed. He usually drank a glass of wine before
supper. He generally took one simple meal a day, and never more than
two, and always dined regularly at a fixed hour. He enjoyed but few
healthy days in his life, and was frequently troubled with
sleeplessness. His manuscripts usually lay on the table, exposed to the
view of every visitor, so that he was robbed of several. When he had
invited any of his friends to his house, he used to beg one of them to
read, before sitting down to table, some small composition in prose or

There is an interest of a peculiar nature in thus visiting the haunts
and witnessing the labors of scholars, philosophers, and poets, which
arises from the stimulus it affords us in turning again to our own
humbler but kindred work. Whatever brings us into sympathy with the
great and the noble thinkers enlarges and lifts our thoughts.


[C] In his youth he studied till midnight; but, warned by the early
decay of sight and his disordered health, he afterwards changed his




I solemnly believe that I should have continued to succeed in the
virtuous practice of my profession, if it had not happened that fate was
once more unkind to me, by throwing in my path one of my old
acquaintances. I had had a consultation one day with the famous
homoeopath, Dr. Zwanzig; and as we walked away we were busily
discussing the case of a poor consumptive fellow who had previously lost
a leg. In consequence of this defect, Dr. Zwanzig considered that the
ten-thousandth of a grain of _Aur._[D] would be an over-dose, and that
it must be fractioned so as to allow for the departed leg, otherwise the
rest of the man would be getting a leg-dose too much. I was particularly
struck with this view of the case, but I was still more, and less
pleasingly, impressed with the sight of my quondam patient, Stagers, who
nodded to me familiarly from the opposite pavement.

I was not at all surprised when, that evening quite late, I found this
worthy seated waiting in my office. I looked around uneasily, which was
clearly understood by my friend, who retorted, "Ain't took nothin', Doc.
You don't seem right awful glad to see me. You needn't be afraid,--I've
only fetched you a job, and a right good one too."

I replied, that I had my regular business, that I preferred he should
get some one else, and pretty generally made Mr. Stagers conscious that
I had had enough of him.

I did not ask him to sit down, and, just as I supposed him about to
leave, he seated himself with a grin, remarking, "No use, Doc. Got to go
into it this one time."

At this I naturally enough grew angry, and used several rather violent

"No use, Doc," remarked Stagers.

Then I softened down, and laughed a little, treated the thing as a joke,
whatever it was, for I dreaded to hear.

But Stagers was fate. Stagers was inevitable. "Won't do, Doc,--not even
money wouldn't get you off."

"No?" said I interrogatively, and as coolly as I could, contriving at
the same time to move towards the window. It was summer, the sashes were
up, the shutters drawn in, and a policeman whom I knew was lounging
opposite, as I had noticed when I entered. I would give Stagers a scare
anyhow; charge him with theft,--anything but get mixed up with his kind

He must have understood me, the scoundrel, for in an instant I felt a
cold ring of steel against my ear, and a tiger clutch on my cravat. "Sit
down," he said; "what a fool you are. Guess you've forgot that there
coroner's business." Needless to say, I obeyed. "Best not try that
again," continued my guest. "Wait a moment,"--and, rising, he closed the

There was no resource left but to listen; and what followed I shall
condense, rather than relate it in the language employed by my friend
Mr. Stagers.

It appeared that another acquaintance, Mr. File, had been guilty of a
cold-blooded and long-premeditated murder, for which he had been tried
and convicted. He now lay in jail awaiting his execution, which was to
take place at Carsonville, Ohio, one month after the date at which I
heard of him anew. It seemed that, with Stagers and others, he had
formed a band of counterfeiters in the West, where he had thus acquired
a fortune so considerable that I was amazed at his having allowed his
passions to seduce him into unprofitable crime. In his agony he
unfortunately thought of me, and had bribed Stagers largely in order
that he might be induced to find me. When the narration had reached this
stage, and I had been made fully to understand that I was now and
hereafter under the sharp eye of Stagers and his friends, that, in a
word, escape was out of the question, I turned on my tormentor.

"And what does all this mean?" I said; "what does File expect me to do?"

"Don't believe he exactly knows," said Stagers; "something or other to
get him clear of hemp."

"But what stuff!" I replied. "How can I help him? What possible
influence could I exert?"

"Can't say," answered Stagers imperturbably; "File has a notion you're
most cunning enough for anything. Best try somethin', Doc."

"And what if I won't do it?" said I. "What does it matter to me, if the
rascal swings or no?"

"Keep cool. Doc," returned Stagers, "I'm only agent in this here
business. My principal, that's File, he says, 'Tell Sandcraft to find
some way to get me clear. Once out, I give him ten thousand dollars. If
he don't turn up something that'll suit, I'll blow about that coroner
business, and break him up generally.'"

"You don't mean," said I, in a cold sweat,--"you don't mean that, if I
can't do this impossible thing, he will inform on me?"

"Just so," returned Stagers. "Got a cigar, Doc?"

I only half heard him. What a frightful position. I had been leading a
happy and an increasingly comfortable life,--no scrapes, and no dangers;
and here, on a sudden, I had presented to me the alternative of saving a
wretch from the gallows, or of spending unlimited years in a State
penitentiary. As for the money, it became as dead leaves for this once
only in my life. My brain seemed to be spinning in its case; lights came
and went before my eyes. In my ears were the sounds of waters. I grew
weak all over.

"Cheer up a little," said Stagers. "Here, take a nip of whiskey. Things
ain't at the worst, by a good bit. You just get ready, and we'll start
by the morning train. Guess you'll try out something smart enough, as we
travel along. Ain't got a heap of time to lose."

I was silent. A great anguish had me in its grip. I might writhe and
bite as I would, it was to be all in vain. Hideous plans arose to my
ingenuity, born of this agony of terror and fear. I could murder
Stagers, but what good would that do. As to File, he was safe from my
hand. At last I became too confused to think any longer. "When do we
leave?" I said, feebly.

"At six to-morrow," he returned.

How I was watched and guarded, and how hurried over a thousand miles of
rail to my fate, little concerns us now. I find it dreadful to recall it
to memory. Above all, an aching eagerness for revenge upon the man who
had caused me these sufferings predominated in my mind. Could I not fool
the wretch and save myself? On a sudden an idea came to my
consciousness, like a sketch on an artist's paper. Then it grew, and
formed itself, became possible, probable, it seemed to me sure. "Ah,"
said I, "Stagers, give me something to eat and drink." I had not tasted
food for two days.

Within a day or two after my arrival, I was enabled to see File in his
cell,--on the plea of being a clergyman from his native place.

I found that I had not miscalculated my danger. The man did not appear
to have the least idea as to how I was to help him. He only knew that I
was in his power, and he used his control to insure that something more
potent than friendship should be enlisted on his behalf. As the days
went by, this behavior grew to be a frightful thing to witness. He
threatened, flattered, implored, offered to double the sum he had
promised, if I would but save him. As for myself, I had gradually become
clear as to my course of action, and only anxious to get through with
the matter. At last, a few days before the time appointed for the
execution, I set about explaining to File my plan of saving him. At
first I found this a very difficult task; but as he grew to understand
that any other escape was impossible, he consented to my scheme, which I
will now briefly explain.

I proposed, on the evening before the execution, to make an opening in
the man's windpipe, low down in the neck, and where he could conceal it
by a loose cravat. As the noose would be above this point, I explained
that he would be able to breathe through the aperture, and that, even if
stupefied, he could easily be revived if we should be able to prevent
his being hanged too long. My friend had some absurd misgivings lest his
neck should be broken by the fall; but as to this I was able to reassure
him, upon the best scientific authority. There were certain other and
minor questions, as to the effects of sudden, nearly complete cessation
of the supply of blood to the brain; but with these physiological
refinements I thought it needlessly cruel to distract a man in his
peculiar position. Perhaps I shall be doing injustice to my own
intellect if I do not hasten to state that I had not the remotest belief
in the efficacy of my plan for any purpose except to extricate me from a
very uncomfortable position.

On the morning of the day before the execution, I made ready everything
that I could possibly need. So far our plans, or rather mine, had worked
to a marvel. Certain of File's old accomplices succeeded in bribing the
hangman to shorten the time of suspension. Arrangements were made also
to secure me two hours alone with the prisoner, so that nothing seemed
to be wanting. I had assured File that I would not see him again
previous to the operation, but during the morning I was seized with a
feverish impatience, which luckily prompted me to visit him once more.
As usual, I was admitted readily, and nearly reached his cell, when I
became aware from the sound of voices heard through the grating in the
door that there was a visitor in the cell. "Who is with him?" I inquired
of the warden.

"The doctor," he replied.

"Doctor?" I said. "What doctor?"

"O, the jail physician," he returned. "I was to come back in half an
hour and let him out; but he's got a quarter to stay as yet. Shall I
admit you, or will you wait?"

"No," I replied. "It is hardly right to interrupt them. I will walk in
the corridor for ten minutes or so, and then you can send the turnkey to
let me in."

"Very good," he returned, and left me.

As soon as I was alone, I cautiously advanced up the entry, and stood
alongside of the door, through the barred grating of which I was able
readily to hear what went on within. The first words I caught were

"And you tell me, Doctor, that, even if a man's windpipe was open, the
hanging would kill him,--are you sure?"

"Yes," returned the other, "I believe there would be no doubt of it. I
cannot see how escape would be possible; but let me ask you," he went on
more gravely, "why you have sent for me to ask all these singular
questions. You cannot have the faintest hope of escape, and least of all
in such a manner as this. I advise you to think rather on the fate which
is inevitable. You must, I fear, have much to reflect upon."

"But," said File, "if I wanted to try this plan of mine, couldn't some
one be found to help me, say if he was to make twenty thousand or so by

"If you mean me," answered the doctor, "some one cannot be found,
neither for twenty nor for fifty thousand dollars. Besides, if any one
were wicked enough to venture on such an attempt, he would only be
deceiving you with a hope which would be utterly vain."

I understood all this, with an increasing fear in my mind. The prisoner
was cunning enough to want to make sure that I was not playing him

After a pause, he said, "Well, Doctor, you know a poor devil in my fix
will clutch at straws. Hope I haven't offended you."

"Not the least!" returned the doctor. "Shall I send to Mr. Smith?" This
was my present name,--in fact I was known as the Rev. Mr. Eliphalet

"I would like it," answered File; "but as you go out, tell the warden I
want to see him immediately about a matter of great importance."

At this stage, I began to conceive very distinctly that the time had
arrived when it would be wiser for me to make my escape, if this step
were yet possible. Accordingly I waited until I heard the doctor rise,
and at once stepped quietly away to the far end of the corridor, which I
had scarcely reached when the door which closed it was opened by a
turnkey who had come to relieve the doctor. Of course my own peril was
imminent. If the turnkey mentioned my near presence to the prisoner,
immediate disclosure and arrest would follow. If time were allowed for
the warden to obey the request from File, that he would visit him at
once, I might gain thus half an hour, but hardly more. I therefore said
to the officer: "Tell the warden that the doctor wishes to remain an
hour longer with the prisoner, and that I shall return myself at the end
of that time."

"Very good, sir," said the turnkey, allowing me to pass out, and
relocking the door; "I'll tell him."

In a few moments I was outside of the jail gate, and saw my
fellow-clergyman, Mr. Stagers, in full broadcloth and white tie, coming
down the street towards me. As usual he was on guard; but this time he
had to deal with a man grown perfectly desperate, with everything to
win, and nothing to lose. My plans were made, and, wild as they were, I
thought them worth the trying. I must evade this man's terrible watch.
How keen it was, you cannot imagine; but it was aided by three of the
infamous gang to which File had belonged, for without these spies no one
person could possibly have sustained so perfect a system.

I took Stagers's arm. "What time," said I, "does the first train start
for Dayton?"

"At twelve," said the other; "what do you want?"

"How far is it?" I continued.

"About fifteen miles," he replied.

"Good; I can get back by eight o'clock to-night."

"Easily," said Stagers, "_if_ you go. What is it you want?"

"I want," said I, "a smaller tube, to put in the windpipe. Must have it,
in fact."

"Well, I don't like it," said he, "but the thing's got to go through
somehow. If you must go, I will go along myself. Can't lose sight of
you, Doc, just at present. You're monstrous precious. Did you tell

"Yes," said I. "He's all right. Come. We've no time to lose." Nor had
we. Within twenty minutes we were seated in the last car of a long
train, and running at the rate of twenty miles an hour towards Dayton.
In about ten minutes I asked Stagers for a cigar.

"Can't smoke here," said he.

"No," I answered; "I'll go forward into the smoking-car."

"Come along, then," said he, and we went through the train accordingly.
I was not sorry he had gone with me when I found in the smoking-car one
of the spies who had been watching me so constantly. Stagers nodded to
him and grinned at me, and we sat down together.

"Chut," said I, "dropped my cigar. Left it on the window-ledge, in the
hindmost car. Be back in a moment." This time, for a wonder, Stagers
allowed me to leave unaccompanied. I hastened through to the back car,
and gained the platform at its nearer end, where I instantly cut the
signal cord. Then I knelt down, and, waiting until the two cars ran
together, I removed the connecting pin. The next moment I leaped to my
feet, and screwed up the brake wheel, so as to check the pace of the
car. Instantly the distance widened between me and the flying train. A
few moments more, and the pace of my own car slackened, while the
hurrying train flew around a distant curve. I did not wait for my own
car to stop entirely before I slipped down off the steps, leaving the
other passengers to dispose of themselves as they might until their
absence should be discovered and the rest of the train return.

As I wish rather to illustrate my very remarkable professional career,
than to amuse by describing its mere incidents, I shall not linger to
tell how I succeeded, at last, in reaching St. Louis. Fortunately, I had
never ceased to anticipate a moment when escape from File and his
friends would be possible, so that I always carried about with me the
funds with which I had hastily provided myself upon leaving. The whole
amount did not exceed a hundred dollars; but with this, and a gold watch
worth as much more, I hoped to be able to subsist until my own ingenuity
enabled me to provide more liberally for the future. Naturally enough, I
scanned the papers closely, to discover some account of File's death,
and of the disclosures concerning myself which he was only too likely to
have made. I met with a full account of his execution, but with no
allusion to myself, an omission which I felt fearful was due only to a
desire on the part of the police to avoid alarming me in such a way as
to keep them from pouncing upon me on my way home. Be this as it may,
from that time to the present hour I have remained ignorant as to
whether or not the villain betrayed my part in that curious coroner's

Before many days I had resolved to make another and a bold venture.
Accordingly appeared in the St. Louis papers an advertisement to the
effect that Dr. Von Ingenhoff, the well-known German physician, who had
spent two years on the plains acquiring a knowledge of Indian medicine,
was prepared to treat all diseases by vegetable remedies alone. Dr. Von
Ingenhoff would remain in St. Louis for two weeks, and was to be found
at the Grayson House every day from ten until two o'clock.

To my delight I got two patients the first day. The next I had twice as
many; when at once I hired two connecting rooms, and made a very useful
arrangement, which I may describe dramatically in the following way.

There being two or three patients waiting while I finish my cigar and
morning julep, there enters a respectable looking old gentleman, who
inquires briskly of the patients if this is really Dr. Von Ingenhoff's.
He is told it is.

"Ah," says he, "I shall be delighted to see him; five years ago I was
scalped on the plains, and now"--exhibiting a well-covered head--"you
see what the Doctor did for me. 'T isn't any wonder I've come fifty
miles to see him. Any of you been scalped, gentlemen?"

To none of them had this misfortune arrived as yet; but, like most folks
in the lower ranks of life and some in the upper ones, it was pleasant
to find a genial person who would listen to their account of their own
symptoms. Presently, after hearing enough, the old gentleman pulls out a
large watch. "Bless me! it's late. I must call again. May I trouble you,
sir, to say to the Doctor that his old friend, Governor Brown, called to
see him, and will drop in again to-morrow. Don't forget: Governor Brown
of Arkansas." A moment later the Governor visited me by a side-door,
with his account of the symptoms of my patients. Enter a tall
Hoosier,--the Governor having retired. "Now, Doc," says Hoosier, "I've
been handled awful these two years back." "Stop," I exclaim, "open your
eyes. There now, let me see," taking his pulse as I speak. "Ah, you've
a pain there, and you can't sleep. Cocktails don't agree any longer.
Weren't you bit by a dog two years ago?" "I was," says the Hoosier, in
amazement. "Sir," I reply, "you have chronic hydrophobia. It's the water
in the cocktails that disagrees with you. My bitters will cure in a
week, sir."

The astonishment of my friend at these accurate revelations may be
imagined. He is allowed to wait for his medicine in the ante-room, where
the chances are in favor of his relating how wonderfully I had told all
his symptoms at a glance.

Governor Brown of Arkansas was a small but clever actor, whom I met in
the billiard-room, and who, day after day, in varying disguises and
modes, played off the same trick, to our great mutual advantage.

At my friend's suggestion, we very soon added to our resources by the
purchase of two electro-magnetic batteries. This special means of
treating all classes of maladies has advantages which are altogether
peculiar. In the first place, you instruct your patient that the
treatment is of necessity a long one. A striking mode of putting it is
to say, "Sir, you have been six months getting ill, it will require six
months for a cure." There is a correct sound about such a phrase, and it
is sure to satisfy. Two sittings a week, at three dollars a sitting,
pays pretty well. In many cases the patient gets well while you are
electrifying him. Whether or not the electricity cures him is a thing I
shall never know. If, however, he begins to show signs of impatience,
you advise him that he will require a year's treatment, and suggest that
it will be economical for him to buy a battery and use it at home. Under
this advice he pays you twenty dollars for an instrument which cost you
ten, and you are rid of a troublesome case.

If the reader has followed me closely, he will have learned that I am a
man of large views in my profession, and of a very justifiable
ambition. The idea had often occurred to me of combining in one
establishment all the various modes of practice which are known as
irregular. This, as will be understood, is merely a more liberal
rendering of the same idea which prompted me to unite in my own business
homoeopathy and the ordinary practice of medicine. I proposed to my
partner, accordingly, to combine with our present business that of
spiritualism, which I knew had been very profitably turned to account in
connection with medical practice. As soon as he agreed to this plan,
which, by the way, I hoped to enlarge, so as to include all the
available isms, I set about making such preparations as were necessary.
I remembered to have read somewhere, that a Doctor Schiff had shown that
you could produce remarkably clever knockings, so called, by voluntarily
dislocating the great toe and then forcibly drawing it back again into
its socket. A still better noise could be made by throwing the tendon of
the peroneus longus muscle out of the hollow in which it lies, alongside
of the ankle. After some effort I was able to accomplish both feats
quite readily, and could occasion a remarkable variety of sounds,
according to the power which I employed or the positions which I
occupied at the time. As to all other matters, I trusted to the
suggestions of my own ingenuity, which, as a rule, has rarely failed me.

The largest success attended the novel plan which my lucky genius had
devised; so that soon we actually began to divide large profits, and to
lay by a portion of our savings. It is, of course, not to be supposed
that this desirable result was attained without many annoyances and some
positive danger. My spiritual revelations, medical and other, were, as
may be supposed, only more or less happy guesses; but in this, as in
predictions as to the weather and other events, the rare successes
always get more prominence in the minds of men than the numerous
failures. Moreover, whenever a person has been fool enough to resort to
folks like myself, he is always glad to be able to defend his conduct by
bringing forward every possible proof of skill on the part of the man he
has consulted. These considerations, and a certain love of mysterious or
unusual means, I have commonly found sufficient to secure an ample share
of gullible individuals; while I may add, that, as a rule, those who
would be shrewd enough to understand and expose us are wise enough to
keep away altogether. Such as did come were, as a rule, easy enough to
manage, but now and then we hit upon some utterly exceptional patient,
who was both fool enough to consult me and clever enough to know he had
been swindled. When such a fellow made a fuss, it was occasionally
necessary to return his money, if it was found impossible to bully him
into silence. In one or two instances, where I had promised a cure upon
prepayment of two or three hundred dollars, I was either sued or
threatened with suit, and had to refund a part or the whole of the
amount; but most folks preferred to hold their tongues, rather than
expose to the world the extent of their own folly.

In one case I suffered personally to a degree which I never can recall
without a distinct sense of annoyance, both at my own want of care and
at the disgusting consequences which it brought upon me.

Early one morning an old gentleman called, in a state of the utmost
agitation, and explained that he desired to consult the spirits as to a
heavy loss which he had experienced the night before. He had left, he
said, a sum of money in his pantaloons-pocket, upon going to bed. In the
morning he had changed his clothes, and gone out, forgetting to remove
the notes. Returning in an hour in great haste, he discovered that the
garment still lay upon the chair where he had thrown it, but that the
money was missing. I at once desired him to be seated, and proceeded to
ask him certain questions, in a chatty way, about the habits of his
household, the amount lost, and the like, expecting thus to get some
clew which would enable me to make my spirits display the requisite
share of sagacity in pointing out the thief. I learned readily that he
was an old and wealthy man, a little close too, I suspected; and that he
lived in a large house, with but two servants, and an only son about
twenty-one years old. The servants were both elderly women, who had
lived in the household many years, and were probably innocent.
Unluckily, remembering my own youthful career, I presently reached the
conclusion that the young man had been the delinquent. When I ventured
to inquire a little as to his character and habits, the old gentleman
cut me very short, remarking that he came to ask questions, and not to
be questioned, and that he desired at once to consult the spirits. Upon
this I sat down at a table, and, after a brief silence, demanded in a
solemn voice if there were present any spirits. By industriously
cracking my big-toe joint, I was enabled to represent at once the
presence of a numerous assembly of these worthies. Then I inquired if
any one of them had been present when the robbery was effected. A prompt
double-knock replied in the affirmative. I may say here, by the way,
that the unanimity of the spirits as to their use of two knocks for yes,
and one for no, is a very remarkable point; and shows, if it shows
anything, how perfect and universal must be the social intercourse of
the respected departed. It is worthy of note, also, that if the spirit,
I will not say the medium, perceives, after one knock, that it were
wiser to say yes, he can conveniently add the second tap. Some such
arrangement in real life would, it appears to me, be very desirable.

To return to the subject. As soon as I explained that the spirit who
answered had been a witness of the theft, the old man became strangely
agitated. "Who was it?" said he. At once the spirit indicated a desire
to use the alphabet. As we went over the letters, (always a slow method,
but useful when you want to observe excitable people,) my visitor kept
saying, "Quicker. Go quicker." At length the spirit spelt out the words,
"I know not his name." "Was it," said the gentleman,--"was it a--was it
one of my household?" I knocked yes, without hesitation; who else could
it have been? "Excuse me," he went on, "if I ask you for a little wine."
This I gave him. He continued, "Was it Susan, or Ellen? answer


"Was it--" He paused. "If I ask a question mentally, will the spirits
reply?" I knew what he meant. He wanted to ask if it was his son, but
did not wish to speak openly.

"Ask," said I.

"I have," he returned.

I hesitated. It was rarely my policy to commit myself definitely; yet
here I fancied, from the facts of the case, and his own terrible
anxiety, that he suspected or more than suspected his son as the guilty
person. I became sure of this as I studied his face. At all events it
would be easy to deny or explain, in case of trouble; and after all,
what slander was there in two knocks! I struck twice as usual.

Instantly the old gentleman rose up, very white, but quite firm.
"There," he said, and cast a bank-note on the table, "I thank you";--and
bending his head on his breast, walked, as I thought with great effort,
out of the room.

On the following morning, as I made my first appearance in my outer
room, which contained at least a dozen persons awaiting advice, who
should I see standing by the window but the old gentleman with
sandy-gray hair. Along with him was a stout young man, with a decided
red head, and mustache and whiskers to match. Probably the son, thought
I,--ardent temperament, remorse,--come to confess, etc. Except as to the
temper, I was never more mistaken in my life. I was about to go
regularly through my patients, when the old gentleman began to speak.

"I called, Doctor," said he, "to explain the little matter about which
I--about which I--"

"Troubled your spirits yesterday," added the youth jocosely, pulling his

"Beg pardon," I returned. "Had we not better talk this over in private?
Come into my office," I added, touching the lad on the arm.

Would you believe it?--he took out his handkerchief, and dusted the
place I had touched. "Better not," he said. "Go on, father; let us get
done with this den."

"Gentlemen," said the elder person, addressing the patients, "I called
here yesterday, like a fool, to ask who had stolen from me a sum of
money, which I believed I left in my room on going out in the morning.
This doctor here and his spirits contrived to make me suspect my only
son. Well, I charged him at once with the crime, as soon as I got back
home; and what do you think he did. He said, 'Father, let us go up
stairs and look for it, and--'"

Here the young man broke in with "Come, father, don't worry yourself for
nothing"; and then, turning, added, "To cut the thing short, he found
the notes under his candlestick, where he had left them on going to bed.
This is all of it. We came here to stop this fellow" (by which he meant
me) "from carrying a slander further. I advise you, good people, to
profit by the matter, and to look up a more honest doctor, if doctoring
be what you want."

As soon as he had ended, I remarked solemnly: "The words of the spirits
are not my words. Who shall hold them accountable?"

"Nonsense," said the young man. "Come, father," and they left the room.

Now was the time to retrieve my character. "Gentlemen," said I, "you
have heard this very singular account. Trusting the spirits utterly and
entirely as I do, it occurs to me that there is no reason why they may
not after all have been right in their suspicions of this young person.
Who can say that, overcome by remorse, he may not have seized the time
of his father's absence to replace the money?"

To my amazement up gets a little old man from the corner. "Well, you are
a low cuss," said he; and, taking up a basket beside him, hobbled out of
the room. You maybe sure I said some pretty sharp things to him, for I
was out of humor to begin with, and it is one thing to be insulted by a
stout young man, and quite another to be abused by a wretched old
cripple. However, he went away, and I supposed, for my part, that I was
done with the whole business.

An hour later, however, I heard a rough knock at my door, and, opening
it hastily, saw my red-headed young man with the cripple.

"Now," said the former, catching me by the collar, and pulling me into
the room among my patients, "I want to know, my man, if this doctor said
that it was likely I was the thief, after all?"

"That's what he said," replied the cripple; "just about that, sir."

I do not desire to dwell on the after conduct of this hot-headed young
man. It was the more disgraceful, as I offered but little resistance,
and endured a beating such as I would have hesitated to inflict upon a
dog. Nor was this all; he warned me that, if I dared to remain in the
city after a week, he would shoot me. In the East I should have thought
but little of such a threat, but here it was only too likely to be
practically carried out. Accordingly, with much grief and reluctance, I
collected my whole fortune, which now amounted to at least seven
thousand dollars, and turned my back upon this ungrateful town. I am
sorry to say that I also left behind me the last of my good luck, as
hereafter I was to encounter only one calamity after another.

Travelling slowly eastward, my spirits began at last to rise to their
usual level, and when I arrived in Boston I set myself to thinking how
best I could contrive to enjoy life, and at the same time to increase my

On former occasions I was a moneyless adventurer; now I possessed
sufficient capital, and was able and ready to embark in whatever
promised the best returns with the smallest personal risk. Several
schemes presented themselves as worthy the application of industry and
talent, but none of them altogether suited my tastes. I thought at times
of travelling as a Physiological Lecturer, combining with it the
business of a practitioner. Scare the audience at night with an
enumeration of symptoms which belong to ten out of every dozen of
healthy people, and then doctor such of them as are gulls enough to
consult me next day. The bigger the fright, the better the pay. I was a
little timid, however, about facing large audiences, as a man will be
naturally if he has lived a life of adventure, so that, upon due
consideration, I gave up the idea altogether.

The patent-medicine business also looked well enough, but it is somewhat
overdone at all times, and requires a heavy outlay, with the possible
result of ill-success. Indeed, I believe fifty quack remedies fail for
one that succeeds; and millions must have been wasted in placards,
bills, and advertisements, which never returned half their value to the
speculator. If I live, I think I shall beguile my time with writing the
lives of the principal quacks who have met with success. They are few in
number, after all, as any one must know who recalls the countless
remedies which are puffed awhile on the fences, and disappear to be
heard of no more.

Lastly, I inclined for a while to undertake a private insane asylum,
which appeared to me to offer facilities for money-making; as to which,
however, I may have been deceived by the writings of certain popular
novelists. I went so far, I may say, as actually to visit Concord for
the purpose of finding a pleasant locality and a suitable atmosphere;
but, upon due reflection, abandoned my plan as involving too much
personal labor to suit one of my easy frame of mind.

Tired at last of idleness and of lounging on the Common, I engaged in
two or three little ventures of a semi-professional character, such as
an exhibition of laughing-gas; advertising to cure cancer; send ten
stamps by mail to J. B., and receive an infallible receipt, etc. I did
not find, however, that these little enterprises prospered well in New
England, and I had recalled to me very forcibly a story which my
grandfather was fond of relating to me in my boyhood. It briefly
narrated how certain very knowing flies went to get molasses, and how it
ended by the molasses getting them. This, indeed, was precisely what
happened to me in all my little efforts to better myself in the Northern
States, until at length my misfortunes climaxed in total and unexpected

The event which deprived me of the hard-won earnings of years of
ingenious industry was brought about by the baseness of a man who was
concerned with me in purchasing drugs for exportation to the Confederate
States. Unluckily, I was obliged to employ as my agent a long-legged
sea-captain from Maine. With his aid, I invested in this enterprise
about six thousand dollars, which I reasonably hoped to quadruple. Our
arrangements were cleverly made to run the blockade at Charleston, and
we were to sail on a certain Thursday morning in September, 1863. I sent
my clothes on board, and went down the evening before to go on board,
but found that the little schooner had been hauled out from the pier.
The captain, who met me at this time, endeavored to get a boat in order
to ferry us to the ship, but the night was stormy, and we were obliged
to return to our lodgings. Early next day I dressed and went to the
captain's room, which proved to be empty. I was instantly filled with
doubt, and ran frantically to the foot of Long Wharf, where, to my
horror, I could see no signs of schooner or captain. Neither have I ever
again set eyes on them from that time to this. I immediately lodged
information with the police as to the unpatriotic designs of the rascal
who had swindled me, but whether or not justice ever overtook him I am
unable to say.

It was, as I perceived, such utterly spilt milk as to be little worth
lamenting; and I therefore set to work with my accustomed energy to
utilize on my own behalf the resources of my medical education, which so
often before had saved me from want. The war, then raging at its height,
appeared to me to offer numerous opportunities to men of talent. The
path which I chose myself was apparently a humble one, but it enabled me
to make very agreeable use of my professional knowledge, and afforded
rapid and secure returns, without any other investment than a little
knowledge cautiously employed. In the first place, I deposited my small
remnant of property in a safe bank, and then proceeded to Providence,
where, as I had heard, patriotic persons were giving very large bounties
in order, I suppose, to insure to the government the services of better
men than themselves. On my arrival I lost no time in offering myself as
a substitute, and was readily accepted, and very soon mustered into the
Twentieth Rhode Island. Three months were passed, in camp, during which
period I received bounties to the extent of six hundred and fifty
dollars, with which I tranquilly deserted about two hours before the
regiment left for the field. With the product of my industry I returned
to Boston, and deposited all but enough to carry me to New York, where
within a month I enlisted twice, earning on each occasion four hundred

My next essay was in Philadelphia, which I approached, even after some
years of absence, with a good deal of doubt. It was an ill-omened place
for me; for although I got nearly seven hundred dollars by entering the
service as a substitute for an editor,--whose pen, I presume, was
mightier than his sword,--I was disagreeably surprised by being hastily
forwarded to the front under a foxy young lieutenant, who brutally shot
down a poor devil in the streets of Baltimore for attempting to desert.
At this point I began to make use of my medical skill, for I did not in
the least degree fancy being shot, either because of deserting or of not
deserting. It happened, therefore, that a day or two later, while in
Washington, I was seized in the street with a fit, which perfectly
imposed upon the officer in charge, and caused him to leave me at the
Douglas Hospital. Here I found it necessary to perform fits about twice
a week; and as there were several real epileptics in the wards I had a
capital chance of studying their symptoms, which finally I learned to
imitate with the utmost cleverness.

I soon got to know three or four men, who, like myself, were personally
averse to bullets, and who were simulating other forms of disease with
more or less success. One of them suffered with rheumatism of the back,
and walked about bent like an old man; another, who had been to the
front, was palsied in the left arm; and a third kept open an ulcer on
the leg, by rubbing in a little antimonial ointment, which I sold him at
five dollars a box, and bought at fifty cents.

A change in the hospital staff brought all of us to grief. The new
surgeon was a quiet, gentlemanly person, with pleasant blue eyes and
clearly cut features, and a way of looking you through without saying
much. I felt so safe myself that I watched his procedures with just that
kind of enjoyment which one clever man takes in seeing another at work.

The first inspection settled two of us, "Another back case," said the
ward surgeon to his senior.

"Back hurt you?" says the latter, mildly.

"Yes, sir; run over by a howitzer; ain't never been straight since."

"A howitzer!" says the surgeon. "Lean forward, my man, so as to touch
the floor,--so. That will do." Then, turning to his aid, he said,
"Prepare this man's discharge papers."

"His discharge, sir?"

"Yes, I said that. Who's next?"

"Thank you, sir," groaned the man with the back. "How soon, sir, do you
think it will be?"

"Ah, not less than a month," replied the surgeon, and passed on.

Now as it was unpleasant to be bent like a letter V, and as the patient
presumed that his discharge was secure, he naturally took to himself a
little relaxation in the way of becoming straighter. Unluckily, those
nice blue eyes were everywhere at all hours; and, one fine morning,
Smithson was appalled at finding himself in a detachment bound for the
field, and bearing on his descriptive list an ill-natured endorsement
about his malady.

The surgeon came next on O'Callahan. "Where's your cap, my man?"

"On my head, yer honor," said the other, insolently. "I've a paralytics
in my arm."

"Humph!" cried the surgeon. "You have another hand."

"An' it's not rigulation to saloot with yer left," said the Irishman,
with a grin, while the patients around us began to laugh.

"How did it happen?" said the surgeon.

"I was shot in the shoulder," answered the patient, "about three months
ago, sir. I haven't stirred it since."

The surgeon looked at the scar.

"So recently?" said he. "The scar looks older; and, by the way, doctor,"
to his junior, "it could not have gone near the nerves. Bring the
battery, orderly."

In a few moments the surgeon was testing, one after another, the various
muscles. At last he stopped. "Send this man away with the next
detachment. Not a word, my man. You are a rascal, and a disgrace to
these good fellows who have been among the bullets."

The man muttered something, I did not hear what.

"Put this man in the guard-house," cried the surgeon; and so passed on,
without smile or frown.

As to the ulcer case, to my amusement he was put in bed, and his leg
locked up in a wooden splint, which effectually prevented him from
touching the part diseased. It healed in ten days, and he too went as
food for powder.

As for myself, he asked me a few questions, and, requesting to be sent
for during my next fit, left me alone.

I was of course on my guard, and took care to have my attacks only in
his absence, or to have them over before he arrived.

At length, one morning, in spite of my care, he chanced to be in the
ward, when I fell at the door. I was carried in and laid on a bed,
apparently in strong convulsions. Presently I felt a finger on my
eyelid, and as it was raised, saw the surgeon standing beside me. To
escape his scrutiny, I became more violent in my motions. He stopped a
moment, and looked at me steadily. "Poor fellow!" said he, to my great
relief, as I felt at once that I had successfully deceived him. Then he
turned to the ward doctor and remarked: "Take care he does not hurt his
head against the bed; and, by the by, doctor, do you remember the test
we applied in Smith's case? Just tickle the soles of his feet, and see
if it will cause those backward spasms of the head."

The aid obeyed him, and, very naturally, I jerked my head backwards as
hard as I could.

"That will answer," said the surgeon, to my horror. "A clever rogue.
Send him to the guard-house when he gets over it."

"Happy had I been if my ill-luck had ended here; but, as I crossed the
yard, an officer stopped me. To my disgust it was the captain of my old
Rhode Island company.

"Halloa!" said he; "keep that fellow safe. I know him."

To cut short a long story; I was tried, convicted, and forced to refund
the Rhode Island bounty, for by ill luck they found my bank-book among
my papers. I was finally sent to Fort Mifflin for a year, and kept at
hard labor, handling and carrying shot, policing the ground, picking up
cigar-stumps, and other like unpleasant occupations.

Upon my release, I went at once to Boston, where I had about two
thousand dollars in bank. I spent nearly all of the latter sum before I
could prevail upon myself to settle down to some mode of making a
livelihood; and I was about to engage in business as a vender of lottery
policies, when I first began to feel a strange sense of lassitude, which
soon increased so as quite to disable me from work of any kind. Month
after month passed away, while my money lessened, and this terrible
sense of weariness still went on from bad to worse. At last one day,
after nearly a year had elapsed, I perceived on my face a large brown
patch of color, in consequence of which I went in some alarm to consult
a well-known physician. He asked me a multitude of tiresome questions,
and at last wrote off a prescription, which I immediately read. It was a
preparation of iron.

"What do you think," said I, "is the matter with me, doctor?"

"I am afraid," said he, "that you have a very serious trouble,--what we
call Addison's disease."

"What's that?" said I.

"I do not think you would comprehend it," he replied. "It is an
affection of the supra-renal capsules."

I dimly remembered that there were such organs, and that nobody knew
what they were meant for. It seemed the doctors had found a use for them
at last.

"Is it a dangerous disease?" I said.

"I fear so," he answered.

"Don't you know," I asked, "what's the truth about it?"

"Well," he returned gravely, "I am sorry to tell you it is a very
dangerous malady."

"Nonsense," said I, "I don't believe it,"--for I thought it was only a
doctor's trick, and one I had tried often enough myself.

"Thank you," said he, "you are a very ill man, and a fool besides. Good
morning." He forgot to ask for a fee, and I remembered not to offer one.

Several months went by; my money was gone; my clothes were ragged, and,
like my body, nearly worn out; and I am an inmate of a hospital. To-day
I feel weaker than when I first began to write. How it will end I do not
know. If I die, the doctor will get this pleasant history; and if I
live, I shall burn it, and, as soon as I get a little money, I will set
out to look for my little sister, about whom I dreamed last night. What
I dreamed was not very agreeable. I thought I was walking up one of the
vilest streets near my old office, when a girl spoke to me,--a
shameless, worn creature, with great sad eyes, not so wicked as the rest
of her face. Suddenly she screamed aloud, "Brother! Brother!" and then,
remembering what she had been,--with her round, girlish, innocent face,
and fair hair,--and seeing what she was, I awoke, and cursed myself in
the darkness for the evil I had done in the days of my youth.


[D] _Aurum_, used in religious melancholy (see Jahr,) and not a bad
remedy, it strikes me.


Many years ago--now more than two hundred and fifty--some one in England
wrote a short poem bearing the above emphatic title, which deservedly
holds a place in the collections of old English poetry at the present
day. It is a striking production, familiar, no doubt, to most lovers of
ancient verse, and, although numbering only about a dozen stanzas, has
outlasted many a ponderous folio.

I say, indefinitely enough, that this little poem was written by _some_
one, and strange as it may appear, the name of that one is still in
doubt. Its authorship was attributed, by Bishop Percy and others, to Sir
Walter Raleigh, and sometimes with the fanciful addition, that he wrote
it the night before his execution. The piece, however, was extant many
years before the world was disgraced by that deed of wickedness.

After a while it began to be questioned whether the verses were really
written by Sir Walter. Some old-poetry mouser appears to have lighted on
an ancient folio volume, the work of Joshua Sylvester, and found among
its contents a poem called "The Soul's Errand," which, it would seem,
was thought to be the same that had been credited to Sir Walter Raleigh
under the title of "The Lie."

Joshua Sylvester was in his day a writer of some note. Colley Cibber, in
his "Lives of the Poets," is quite lavish in his praise, and says his
brethren in the sacred art called him the "Silver-tongued." The same
phrase has been applied to others.

In his "Specimens of Early English Poets," Ellis "restores" the poem,
with the title of "The Soul's Errand," to Sylvester, as its "ancient
proprietor, till a more authorized claimant shall be produced."

Chambers, in his "Cyclopædia of English Literature," prints the poem,
with the title of "The Soul's Errand," and he also gives it to
Sylvester, "as the now generally received author of an impressive piece,
long ascribed to Raleigh."

Sir Egerton Brydges, in his "Censura Literaria," doubts Percy's right to
credit Sir Walter with the poem of "The Lie," of which he says there is
a "parody" in the folio edition of Sylvester's works, where it is
entitled "The Soul's Errand."

The veteran J. Payne Collier, the _emendator_ of Shakespeare, has
recently put forth a work, in four volumes, entitled "A Bibliographical
and Critical Account of the Rarest Books in the English Language." In
this work he claims the authorship of "The Lie," "otherwise called 'The
Soul's Errand,'" for Sir Walter Raleigh, and rests his authority on a
manuscript copy "of the time," headed, "Sir Walter Wrawly his Lye." He
quotes the poem at length, beginning,

    "_Hence_, soule, the bodies guest."

All other copies that I have seen read, "_Go_, soul," which I think will
be deemed the more fitting word.

Collier does not allude to Sylvester in connection with this poem, but
introduces him in another article, and treats him somewhat cavalierly,
as "a mere literary adventurer and translating drudge." "When he died,"
Collier says, "is not precisely known." He might have known, since there
were records all round him to show that Sylvester died in Holland, in
September, 1618. His great contemporary, Sir Walter Raleigh, was
beheaded in October, one month after.

(By the way, Payne Collier holds out marvellously. Here is his new work,
dated 1866, and I have near me his "Poetical Decameron," published in
1820, _forty-six_ years ago.)

Ritson, a noted reaper in the "old fields," supposes, that "The Lie" was
written by Francis Davison; and in Kerl's "Comprehensive Grammar," among
many poetical extracts, I find two stanzas of the poem quoted as written
by Barnfield,--probably Richard. These two writers were of Raleigh's
time, but I think their claims may be readily dismissed. Supposing that
"The Lie" was written by either Joshua Sylvester or Sir Walter Raleigh,
I shall try to show that it was not written by Sylvester, and that he
has wrongfully enjoyed the credit of its authorship.

Critics and collators have for years been doubting about the authorship
of this little poem, written over two centuries and a half ago; and, so
far as I can ascertain, not one of them has ever discovered, what is
the simple fact, that there were _two_ poems instead of _one_, similar
in scope and spirit, but still two poems,--"The Lie" _and_ "The Soul's

I have said that Sir Egerton Brydges alludes to a "parody" of "The Lie,"
in Sylvester's volume, there called "The Soul's Errand." In that volume
I find what Sir Egerton calls a "parody." It is, in reality, another
poem, bearing the title of "The Soul's Errand," consisting of _twenty_
stanzas, all of four lines each, excepting the first stanza, which has
six. "The Lie" consists of but _thirteen_ stanzas, of six lines each,
the fifth and sixth of which may be termed the refrain or burden of the
piece. I annex copies of the two poems; Sir Walter's (so called) is
taken from Percy's "Reliques," and Sylvester's is copied from his own

On comparing the two pieces, it will be seen that they begin alike, and
go on nearly alike for a few stanzas, when they diverge, and are then
entirely different from each other to the end. I do not find that this
difference has ever been pointed out, and am therefore left to suppose
that it never was discovered. At this late day conjectures are not worth
much, but it would appear that, the opening stanzas of the two poems
being similar, their identity was at some time carelessly taken for
granted by some collector, who read only the initial stanzas, and thus
ignorantly deprived Sir Walter of "The Lie," and gave it to Sylvester,
with the title of "The Soul's Errand."

This, however, is certain: "The Soul's Errand," so called, of _thirteen_
stanzas, given to us by Ellis and by Chambers as Sylvester's, is not the
poem that Sylvester wrote under that title, and we have his own
authority for saying so. His poem of _twenty_ stanzas, bearing that
title, does not appear to have ever been reprinted, and it is believed
cannot now be found anywhere out of his own book. Ellis, it is plain, is
not to be trusted. Professing to be exact, he refers for his authority
to page 652 of Sylvester's works, and then proceeds to print a poem as
his which is not there. Had he read the page he quotes so carefully, he
would have seen that "The Lie" and "The Soul's Errand" were two separate
productions, alike only in the six stanzas taken from the former and
included in the latter.

We learn that Sir Walter Raleigh's poems were never all collected into a
volume, and, further, we learn that "The Lie," as a separate piece, was
attributed to him at an early period. Payne Collier, as I have said,
prints it as his, from a manuscript "of the time"; and in an elaborate
article on Raleigh, in the North British Review, copied into Littell's
Living Age, of June 9, 1855, the able reviewer refers particularly to
"The Lie," "saddest of poems," as Sir Walter's, and adds in a note that
"it is to be found in a manuscript of 1596." This would make the piece
two hundred and seventy years old. When and by whom it was first taken
from Sir Walter and given to Sylvester, with the altered title, and why
Sylvester incorporated into his poem of "The Soul's Errand" six stanzas
belonging to "The Lie," can now, of course, never be known.

I find that I have been indulging in quite a flow of words about a few
old verses; but then they _are_ verses, and such as one should not be
robbed of. They have lived through centuries of time, and outlived
generations of ambitious penmen, and the true name of the author ought
to live with them. Long ago, when a school-boy, I used to read and
repeat "The Lie," and it was then the undoubted work of Sir Walter
Raleigh. In after years, on looking into various volumes of old English
poetry, I was told that "The Lie" was _not_ "The Lie," and was not
written by Sir Walter Raleigh; that the true title of the piece was "The
Soul's Errand," and that the real author of it was a certain Joshua
Sylvester. Unwilling to displace the brave knight from the niche he had
graced so long, I hunted up Sylvester's old folio, and the result of my
search may be found in these imperfect remarks.

Frankly, I would fain believe that "The Lie" was written by Sir Walter.
It is true I am not able to prove it, but I think I prove that it was
not written by Sylvester. He wrote another poem, "The Soul's Errand,"
and he is welcome to it; that is, he is welcome to fourteen of its
twenty stanzas,--the other six do not belong to him. Give him also,
painstaking man! due laudation for his version of the "Divine Du
Bartas," of which formidable work anyone who has the courage to grapple
with its six hundred and fifty-odd folio pages may know where to find a

But Sir Walter Raleigh,--heroic Sir Walter,--he is before me bodily,
running his fingers along the sharp edge of the fatal axe, and calmly
laying his noble head on the block.

    "The good Knight is dust,
    And his sword is rust";

but I want to feel that he left behind him, as the offspring of his
great brain, one of the most impressive poems of his time,--ay, and
indeed of any time.



    Goe, soule, the bodies guest,
      Upon a thanklesse arrant;
    Feare not to touche the best,
      The truth shall be thy warrant:
        Goe, since I needs must dye,
        And give the world the lye.

    Goe tell the court, it glowes
      And shines like rotten wood;
    Goe tell the church it showes
      What's good, and doth no good:
        If church and court reply,
        Then give them both the lye.

    Tell potentates they live
      Acting by others actions:
    Not lov'd unlesse they give,
      Not strong but by their factions:
        If potentates reply,
        Give potentates the lye.

    Tell men of high condition,
      That rule affairs of state,
    Their purpose is ambition,
      Their practise only hate;
        And if they once reply,
        Then give them all the lye.

    Tell them that brave it most,
      They beg for more by spending,
    Who in their greatest cost
      Seek nothing but commending:
        And if they make reply,
        Spare not to give the lye.

    Tell zeale, it lacks devotion;
      Tell love, it is but lust;
    Tell time, it is but motion;
      Tell flesh, it is but dust;
        And wish them not reply,
        For thou must give the lye.

    Tell age, it daily wasteth;
      Tell honour, how it alters;
    Tell beauty, how she blasteth;
      Tell favour, how she falters;
        And as they shall reply,
        Give each of them the lye.

    Tell wit, how much it wrangles
      In tickle points of nicenesse;
    Tell wisedome, she entangles
      Herselfe in over-wisenesse:
        And if they do reply,
        Straight give them both the lye.

    Tell physicke of her boldnesse;
      Tell skill, it is pretension;
    Tell charity of coldness;
      Tell law, it is contention;
        And as they yield reply,
        So give them still the lye.

    Tell fortune of her blindnesse;
      Tell nature of decay;
    Tell friendship of unkindnesse;
      Tell justice of delay:
        And if they dare reply,
        Then give them all the lye.

    Tell arts, they have no soundnesse,
      But vary by esteeming;
    Tell schooles they want profoundnesse,
      And stand too much on seeming:
        If arts and schooles reply,
        Give arts and schooles the lye.

    Tell faith, it's fled the citie;
      Tell how the countrey erreth;
    Tell, manhood shakes off pitie;
      Tell, vertue least preferreth;
        And, if they doe reply,
        Spare not to give the lye.

    So, when thou hast, as I
      Commanded thee, done blabbing,
    Athough to give the lye
      Deserves no less than stabbing,
        Yet stab at thee who will,
        No stab the soule can kill.



    Goe Soule, the bodies guest,
    Upon a thanklesse Errand,
    Feare not to touch the best,
    The Truth shall be thy warrant:
      Goe thou, since I must die,
      And give the world the lye.

    Goe tell the Court it glowes,
    And shines like rotten wood;
    Say to the Church it showes
    What's good, but doth not good.

    Tell Potentates they live,
    Acting by others Action,
    Not lov'd unlesse they give,
    Not strong, but by a faction.

    Tell men of high condition,
    That in Affaires of State
    Their purpose is ambition,
    Their practice only hate.

    Goe tell the young Nobility,
    They doe degenerate,
    Wasting their large ability,
    In things effeminate.

    Tell those that brave it most,
    They beg for more by spending,
    And, in their greatest cost,
    Seeke but a self-commending.

    Tell Zeale it wants Devotion,
    Tell Love it is but Lust,
    Tell Priests they hunt Promotion,
    Tell Flesh it is but Dust.

    Say Souldiers are the Sink
    Of Sinne to all the Realme;
    Given all to whores and drink,
    To quarrell and blaspheme.

    Tell Townesmen, that because that
    They pranck their Brides so proud,
    Too many times it drawes that
    Which makes them beetle-brow'd.

    Goe tell the Palace-Dames
    They paint their parboil'd faces,
    Seeking by greater shames
    To cover lesse disgraces.

    Say to the City-wives,
    Through their excessive brav'ry,
    Their Husband hardly thrives,
    But rather lives in Slav'ry.

    Tell London Youths that Dice,
    Faire Queanes, fine Clothes, full Bouls,
    Consume the cursed price
    Of their dead-Fathers Soules.

    Say Maidens are too coy
    To them that chastely seeke them,
    And yet are apt to toy
    With baser Jacks that like them.

    Tell Poets of our dayes
    They doe profane the Muses,
    In soothing Sin with praise,
    That all the world abuses.

    Tell Tradesmen waight and measure
    They craftily abuse,
    Thereby to heap-up treasure,
    Though Heav'n thereby they lose.

    Goe tell the vitious rich,
    By usury to gaine
    Their fingers alwaies itch,
    To soules and bodies paine.

    Yea tell the wretched poore
    That they the wealthy hate,
    And grudge to see at doore
    Another in their state.

    Tell all the world throughout
    That all's but vanity,
    Her pleasures doe but flout
    With sly security.

    Tell Kings and Beggars base,
    Yea tell both young and old,
    They all are in one case,
    And must all to the mould.

    And now kinde Host adieu,
    Rest thou in earthly Tombe,
    Till Christ shall all renew,
    And then I'll thee resume.


Coming up from one of the Brooklyn ferries, after dark, on a sultry
summer evening, I take my way through the close-built district of New
York City still known as "The Swamp." The narrow streets of the place
are deserted by this time, but they have been lively enough during the
day with the busy leather-dealers and their teams; for this is the great
hide and leather mart of the city, as any one might guess even now in
the gloom by the pungent odors that arise on every side. The heavy iron
doors and window-shutters of the buildings have been locked and barred
for the night; and the thick atmosphere of the place appears to affect
the gas-lights, which burn sickly and dim in the street lanterns. Nobody
lives here at night. The footfalls of the solitary policeman give out a
hollow sound as he paces the narrow _trottoir_ of Ferry Street, in the
heart of "The Swamp." Over two hundred years ago, when Governor Peter
Stuyvesant pastured his flocks and herds hereabouts, the wayfarer would
have been more likely to mark a solitary heron than a solitary
policeman; for it was really a swamp then, and much earth-work must have
been expended in making the solid ground whereon the buildings now
stand. Neither is it probable that, even on the most sultry of summer
nights, the nose of old Mynheer Stuyvesant would have been saluted with
odors of morocco leather, such as fill the air of "The Swamp" to-night.
The wild swamp-flowers, though, gave out some faint perfumes to the
night air in those olden times; but the place could hardly have been so
still of a summer night as it is now, for the booming of the bullfrog
and the piping of his lesser kin must have made night resonant here, and
it is reasonable to surmise that owls hooted in the cedar-trees that
hung over the tawny sedges of the swamp. "Jack-o'-Lantern" was the only
inhabitant who burned gas hereabouts in those times, and he manufactured
his own. The nocturnal raccoon edged his way through the alders here, in
the old summer nights, and the muskrat built his house among the reeds.
Not a raccoon nor a muskrat is the wayfarer likely to meet with here
to-night; but the gray rat of civilization is to be dimly discerned, as
he lopes along the gutters in his nightly prowl.

There is something very bewildering to the untutored mind in the
announcements on the dim, stony door-posts of the stores. Here it is set
forth that "Kids and Gorings" are the staple of the concern. Puzzling
though the inscription is to me, yet I recognize in it something that is
pastoral and significant; for there were kids that skipped, probably,
and bulls that gored, when the grass was green here. "Oak and Hemlock
Leather," on the next door-post, reads well, for it is redolent of
glades that were old before the masonry that now prevails here had been
dreamed of. Here we have an announcement of "Russet Roans"; and the next
merchant, who is apparently a cannibal or a ghoul, deliberately notifies
the public that he deals in "Hatters' Skins." Many of the door-posts
announce "Findings" and "Skivers"; and upon one of them I note the
somewhat remarkable intimation of "Pulled Wool." Gold Street, also, is
redolent of all these things, as I turn into it, nor is there any
remission of the pungent trade-stenches of the district until I have
gained a good distance up Spruce Street, toward the City Hall Park. Here
the Bowery proper, viewed as a great artery of New York trade and
travel, may be said to begin. The first reach of it is called Chatham
Street; and, having plunged into this, I have nothing before me now but
Bowery for a distance of nearly two miles.

Leaving behind me, then, the twinkling lights of the newspaper buildings
and those of the City Hall Park northward along Chatham Street I bend my
loitering steps. Israel predominates here,--Israel, with its traditional
stock in trade of cheap clothing, and bawbles that are made to wear, but
not to wear long. The shops here are mostly small, and quite open to the
street in front, which gives the place a bazaar-like appearance in
summer. Economy in space is practised to the utmost. It is curious to
observe how closely crowded the goods (bads might be a more appropriate
term for most of them) are outside the shops, as well as inside. The
fronts of the houses are festooned with raiment of all kinds, until they
look like tents made of variegated dry-goods. Here is a stall so
confined that the occupant, rocking in his chair near the farther end of
it, stretches his slippered feet well out upon the threshold. It is near
closing time now, and many of the dealers, with their wives and
children, are sitting out in front of their shops, and, if not under
their own vines and fig-trees, at least under their own gaudy flannels
and "loud-patterned" cotton goods, which are waving overhead in the
sluggish evening breeze. Nothing can be more suggestive of lazily
industrious Jewry than this short, thick-set clothier, with the curved
nose, and spiral, oily hair, who sits out on the sidewalk and blows
clouds from his meerschaum pipe. The women who lounge here are generally
stoutish and slatternly, with few clothes on, but plenty of frowzy hair.
Here and there one may see a pretty face among the younger girls; and it
is sad to reflect that these little Hebrew maids will become stout and
slatternly by and by, and have hooked noses like their mothers, and
double chins. The labels on the ready-made clothing are curious in their
way. Here a pair of trousers in glaring brown and yellow stripes is
ticketed with the alluring word, "Lovely." Other garments are offered to
the public, with such guaranties as "Original," "Genteel," "Excelsior,"
and "Our Own." There is not an article among them but has its ticket of
recommendation, and another card affixed to each sets forth the lowest
price for which it is to be had. The number and variety of hats on show
along this queer arcade are very characteristic of the people, with whom
hats have long been a traditional article of commerce. Dimly-lighted
cellars, down precipitous flights of narrow, dirty steps, up which come
fumes of coffee and cooked viands, are to be seen at short intervals,
and these restaurants are supported mainly by the denizens of the
street. Shops in the windows of which blazes much cheap jewelry abound,
and there are also many tobacconists on a small scale.

The lights of Chatham Square twinkle out now; and here I pause before a
feature very peculiar to the Bowery,--one of those large, open shops in
which vociferous salesmen address from galleries a motley crowd of men
and women. One fellow in dirty shirt-sleeves and a Turkish cap
flourishes aloft something which looks like a fan, but proves, on closer
inspection, to be a group composed of several pocket-combs, a razor, and
other small articles, constituting in all a "lot." This he offers, with
stentorian utterances, for a price "a hundred per cent less, _you_ bet,
than you kin buy 'em for on Broadway." Other salesmen lean furiously
over the gallery railing, flourishing shirts, stockings, and garments of
every kind, mentionable and unmentionable, in the faces of the gaping
loafers below. Sometimes a particular "lot" will attract the attention
of a spectator, and he will chaffer about it for a while; but the sales
do not often appear to be very brisk. The people one sees in these
places are very characteristic of the Bowery. Many of them are what the
police call "hard cases,"--men, with coarse, bulldog features, their
mustaches trimmed very close, and dyed with something that gives them a
foxy-black hue. Women, many of them with children in their arms, have
come to look out for bargains. Near the entrance, which is quite open to
the street, there stands a man with a light cane in his hand, which he
lays every now and then over the shoulders of some objectionable youth
marked by him in the crowd. The objectionable youth is a pickpocket, or
a "sneak-thief," or both, and the man with the cane is the private
detective attached to the place. He is well acquainted with the regular
thieves of these localities, and his business is to "spot" them, and
keep them from edging in among the loose articles lying about the store.
He says that there area great many notorious pickpockets in the crowd,
and he looks like one who knows.

Here and there along the Bowery small, shrivelled Chinamen stand by
rickety tables, on which a few boxes of cheap cigars are exposed for
sale. These foreigners look uneasy in their Bowery clothes, which are of
the cheapest quality sold at the places just mentioned. Some of them
wear the traditional queue, but they wind it very closely round their
heads, probably to avoid the derision of the street boys, to whom a
Chinaman's "tail" offers a temptation not to be resisted. Others have
allowed their hair to grow in the ordinary manner. They are not
communicative when addressed, which may be due, perhaps, to the fact,
that but few of them possess more of the English language than is
necessary for the purposes of trade. Fireworks and tobacco are the
principal articles in which these New York Chinamen deal.

Everybody who passes through the Bowery, and more especially at night,
must have observed the remarkable prevalence of small children there.
Swarms of well-clad little boys and girls, belonging to the
shop-keepers, sport before the doors until a late hour at night. Here is
a group of extremely diminutive ones, dancing an elf-like measure to the
music of an itinerant organist. Darting about, here, there, and
everywhere, are packs of ragged little urchins. They paddle along in the
dirty gutter, the black ooze from which they spatter over the passers on
the sidewalk, and run with confiding recklessness against the legs of
hurrying pedestrians. Ragged and poor as they certainly are, they do not
often ask for alms, but continually give themselves up, with wild
_abandon_, to chasing each other in and out between the obstacles on the
sidewalk. Boys of a better class carry on business here. Watch this one
selling fans: he is so well dressed, and so genteel in appearance, that
it is easy to see his livelihood does not altogether hang upon a
commercial venture so small as the one in which he is at present
engaged. That boy has evidently a mercantile turn, and may be a leading
city man yet. Farther on, four smart-looking youngsters are indulging in
some very frothy beverage at a street soda-water bar. High words are
bandied about concerning the quality of the "stamps" offered by them in
change, the genuine character of which has been challenged by a boy of
their own size, who seems to be in charge of the concern. Numbers of
these cheap soda-water stalls are to be seen in the Bowery; and they
appear to drive a good business generally, notwithstanding the
lager-beer saloons that so generally abound. Many larger establishments
for the sale of temperance drinks are open here during the summer
months. I notice a good number of people going to and from a large one,
the entrance of which is so wide and high that it realizes the idea of
"open house," and within which there are a great number of taps from
which soda-water, ready mingled with all the various kinds of syrups, is

Let us cross over the Bowery, and take a look at Division Street, which
diverges from it at the neck of Chatham Square, and is one of the
curiosities of the district. It is a narrow street, very brilliantly
lighted up on one side by the show-windows of the milliners' shops; and
a marvellously long row of milliners it is, never ending until it runs
against a druggist just where Bayard Street makes an angle with
Division. Every window and every show-case by the thresholds is filled
with a curious variety of infinitesimally small bonnets and hats, some
in a skeleton state, others bedizened in all the fancy modes of the
season. Division Street may be termed the milliners' quarter of New York
City. Most of the goods displayed here are of a "sensation" character,
but that is just what pays on the east side. Yet I would not be
understood here as meaning to disparage the west side; and indeed I have
been told that ladies from the most fashionable quarters of the city are
not above buying their millinery in Division Street. Numbers of young
girls are passing to and fro here, pausing ever and anon to gaze in at
the windows with longing eyes. If there be "sermons in stones," so are
there also in show-cases, and many a sad romance of won and lost grows
out of the latter too. The shop-girls have nearly got through their work
now, and they lean against the door-posts or stand out on the sidewalk,
gossiping in groups of twos and threes. You will observe that there is
not a single milliner's shop on the other side of the street. The
dealers there are mostly in the hardware and grocery lines, or they
represent commerce as tobacconists, confectioners, and such like; but
they have nearly all shut up for the night, and the glory of the gas is
on the milliner side of the way alone. All along the Bowery the same
order of things may be observed to prevail,--the west side being chiefly
devoted to the dry-goods trade, while the hardware dealers, grocers,
restaurateurs, and numerous other tradespeople occupy the east side.

And now again up the Bowery,--where the lights appear to stretch away
into almost endless space. The numerous lines of horse-cars pass and
repass each other in long perspective, their lights twinkling like
constellations on the rampage, as they run to and fro. The jingle of
their harness-bells is pleasant of a sultry night, recalling the
sleigh-bells of bracing winter. And the bells have something suggestive
in them, too, of the old Bowery pastures, where the flocks and herds
roamed at large, and the cow-bells rang bass to the shrill treble that
came from the bell-wethers of the flock. But here we have something that
is hardly so pastoral in its associations. Out from the portals of a
large theatre issues a crowd of roughs, who elbow and jostle each other
in their anxiety to reach the nearest place where bad liquor can be had.
To-night the theatre has been given over to the gymnasts of the
"prize-ring," and they have had a sparring exhibition there. Three or
four interesting English pugilists, lately arrived in the city, have
been showing their mettle with the gloves on; and, although a dollar a
head is the usual admission fee on such occasions, the entertainment is
always sure to bring together an immense crowd of the rough class. A
little later, and another dense throng will emerge from the Old Bowery
Theatre, just over the way. It will be a very mixed crowd of men, women,
and children,--the street-boys, with their wondrous variety of sharp
faces, owlish faces, wicked faces, and ragged clothes, being constant
patrons of this popular east-side theatre. Not far from this are the
most dangerous corners and lurking-places to be found anywhere in the
Bowery. Here thieves and rowdies of the worst description hang about the
doors of the low bar-rooms in the neighborhood, in gangs of five or six,
all ready at a signal to concentrate their forces for a rescue, a
robbery, or a row of any sort in which plunder may be secured. There are
policemen in the Bowery, of course; but in many cases the tactics of the
thieves prove to be too much for these guardians of the public peace.
One night, for instance, in the merry month of May of this year, a gang
of about a dozen armed ruffians boarded a Third Avenue horse-car
somewhere in these latitudes, knocked down the conductor with a
slung-shot, robbed and otherwise maltreated several of the passengers,
and got clear away before the first policeman had made his appearance.
Such incidents are by no means uncommon in the Bowery and its purlieus
at night. It is quite different now, remember, from the Bowery it was
when old Peter Stuyvesant used to dot its cow-paths with the tip of his
wooden leg.

Everywhere within the limits of the sidewalk, and sometimes out upon the
pavement beyond, stand fruit-stalls loaded with oranges, apples, nuts,
and all such fruits as are seasonable and plenty. There are tables on
which pink, pulpy melons, flecked with the jet-black seeds, are set
forth in slices, to tempt thirsty passengers; tables upon which large
rocks of candy are broken up into nuggets to suit customers; and tables
upon which bananas alone are exposed for sale. The lamps upon all these
flame and smoke in the fitful whiffs of night air. The weighing-machine
man is here, with a blazing light suspended in front of his brazen disk;
and, as I pass on, I notice that the man who exhibits the moon is
dismounting his big telescope, for the night is clouding fast, and his
occupation is gone. Two small girls are scraping doleful strains from
the sad catgut of violins nearly as big as themselves. They have long
been frequenters of the Bowery at night, and were much smaller than
their fiddles when I first saw them here. Off the sidewalk, upon the
pavement of the street, there is a crowd of men and boys, closely
grouped around something in the way of a show. As I approach, old voices
of the once familiar woodlands and farm-yards greet my ear. I listen to
them, for a brief moment, rapt. Alas! they are spurious. They emanate
from a dirty man, who stands in the centre of the group, with a small
wooden box slung before him. By his side stands his torch-bearer, who
illuminates him with a lamp suspended from a long pole. The performer
takes something from his mouth, and, having made a laudatory address
regarding its merits, replaces it between his teeth, and resumes his
imitations of many birds and quadrupeds. His mocking-bird is very fair;
his thrush, passable; but his canary less successful, being rather too
reedy and harsh. Farm-yard sounds are thrown off with considerable
imitative power. His pig is so good, indeed, that it invites a
purchaser, who puts one of the calls into his mouth, and frightfully
distorts his features in his wretched efforts to produce the desired
grunts and squeaks. The crowing of cocks, the neighing of horses, the
lowing of cows, and the bleating of sheep follow in succession,--sounds
so appropriate to the memories of the Bowery that was, that one is
tempted to applaud the rascal in spite of the swindle he is practising
on the crowd. Of course, with the exception of the bird-songs, none of
these sounds are produced by the aid of the calls, but are simply the
fruit of long and assiduous practice on the part of the gifted

On, on, still up the Bowery, of which the end is not yet. Great numbers
of people are passing to and fro, an excess of the feminine element
being generally observable. The sidewalks are cumbered with rough wooden
cases. As in Chatham Street, the shop-keepers--or "merchants," if they
insist on being so designated--are sitting, mostly, outside their doors.
Garlands of hosiery and forests of hoop-skirts wave beneath the
awnings,--for most of the Bowery shops have awnings,--making the
sidewalk in front of them a sort of arcade for the display of their
goods. But the time has come now for taking in all these waving things
for the night, and the young men and girls of the shops are unhooking
them with long poles, or handing them down from step-ladders planted in
the middle of the sidewalk. Ranged outside the larger establishments
are rows of headless dummies, intended to represent the female form
divine, and to show off on their inanimate busts and shoulders the
sweetest assortments ever seen of new things in summer fashions. These
headless dummies of the Bowery have a very ghastly look at night. They
suggest a procession of the ghosts of Bluebeard's wives, who, true to
their instincts while in life, nightly revisit the "ladies' furnishing
establishments" here, to rummage among scarfs and ribbons, and don for
the brief hour before cock-crow the valuable stuffs and stuffings that
are yet so dear to them.

Yonder is a group curious for color, and one well worth the
consideration of a painter who has a fancy for striking effects. A negro
girl with hot corn for sale stands just outside the reflection from a
druggist's window, the bars of red and green light from the colored jars
in which fall weirdly on the faces of two men who are buying from her.
The trade in boots and shoes is briskly carried on, even at this late
hour of the night. In the Bowery this trade is very extensive. Long
strings of boots and shoes hang from the door-posts. Trays of the same
articles are displayed outside, and it seems an easy matter for any
nocturnal prowler to help himself, _en passant_, from the boxes full of
cordwainers' work that stand on the edge of the footway next the street.
On the eastern side of the way, there are fewer lights to be seen now
than there were an hour ago. The tradespeople over there, generally,
have put up their shutters, and the time for closing the
drinking-saloons is at hand; but lights are yet lingering in the
pawnbroker's establishments, for the _Mont de Piété_ is an institution
of an extremely wakeful, not to say wide-awake, kind.

Now the Bowery widens gradually to the northward, and may be likened to
a river that turns to an estuary ere it joins the waters of the main.
The vast and hideous brown-stone delta of the Cooper Institute divides
it into two channels,--Third Avenue to the right, Fourth Avenue to the
left. Properly the Bowery may be said to end here; but only a few
blocks farther on, at the corner of Third Avenue and Thirteenth Street,
is marked the spot where stood the gateway leading to the original
_Bouwery_, the old mansion in which Peter Stuyvesant dwelt when New
Amsterdam was, but as yet no New York. And here, till within a few
months, stood the traditional Stuyvesant pear-tree, said to have been
brought from Holland, and planted by the hands of the old Dutch Governor
himself. Spring-time after spring-time, until within a year or two past,
the Stuyvesant pear-tree used to blossom, and its blossoms run to fruit.
It lived, in a very gnarled and rheumatic condition, until the 26th of
February last, when it sank quietly down to rest, and nothing but the
rusty old iron railing is left to show where it stood.


Thirty-six years ago a young man, about twenty-five years of age, of a
commanding height,--six feet full, the heels of his boots not included
in the reckoning,--and dressed in scrupulous keeping with the fashion of
the time, might have been seen sauntering idly along one of the
principal streets of Cincinnati. To the few who could claim acquaintance
with him he was known as an actor, playing at the time referred to a
short engagement as light comedian in a theatre of that city. He does
not seem to have attained to any noticeable degree of eminence in his
profession, but he had established for himself a reputation among jolly
fellows in a social way. He could tell a story, sing a song, and dance a
hornpipe, after a style which, however unequal to complete success on
the stage, proved, in private performance to select circles rendered
appreciative by accessory refreshments, famously triumphant always. If
it must be confessed that he was deficient in the more profound
qualities, it is not to be inferred that he was destitute of all the
distinguishing, though shallower, virtues of character. He had the
merit, too, of a proper appreciation of his own capacity; and his aims
never rose above that capacity. As a superficial man he dealt with
superficial things, and his dealings were marked by tact and shrewdness.
In his sphere he was proficient, and he kept his wits upon the alert for
everything that might be turned to professional and profitable use. Thus
it was that, as he sauntered along one of the main thoroughfares of
Cincinnati, as has been written, his attention was suddenly arrested by
a voice ringing clear and full above the noises of the street, and
giving utterance, in an unmistakable dialect, to the refrain of a song
to this effect:--

    "Turn about an' wheel about do jis so,
    An' ebery time I run about I jump Jim Crow."

Struck by the peculiarities of the performance, so unique in style,
matter, and "character" of delivery, the player listened on. Were not
these elements--was the suggestion of the instant--which might admit of
higher than mere street or stable-yard development? As a national or
"race" illustration, behind the footlights, might not "Jim Crow" and a
black face tickle the fancy of pit and circle, as well as the "Sprig of
Shillalah" and a red nose? Out of the suggestion leaped the
determination; and so it chanced that the casual hearing of a song
trolled by a negro stage-driver, lolling lazily on the box of his
vehicle, gave origin to a school of music destined to excel in
popularity all others, and to make the name of the obscure actor, W. D.
RICE, famous.

As his engagement at Cincinnati had nearly expired, Rice deemed it
expedient to postpone a public venture in the newly projected line until
the opening of a fresh engagement should assure him opportunity to share
fairly the benefit expected to grow out of the experiment. This
engagement had already been entered into; and accordingly, shortly
after, in the autumn of 1830, he left Cincinnati for Pittsburg.

The old theatre of Pittsburg occupied the site of the present one, on
Fifth Street. It was an unpretending structure, rudely built of boards,
and of moderate proportions, but sufficient, nevertheless, to satisfy
the taste and secure the comfort of the few who dared to face
consequences and lend patronage to an establishment under the ban of the
Scotch-Irish Calvinists. Entering upon duty at the "Old Drury" of the
"Birmingham of America," Rice prepared to take advantage of his
opportunity. There was a negro in attendance at Griffith's Hotel, on
Wood Street, named Cuff,--an exquisite specimen of his sort,--who won a
precarious subsistence by letting his open mouth as a mark for boys to
pitch pennies into, at three paces, and by carrying the trunks of
passengers from the steamboats to the hotels. Cuff was precisely the
subject for Rice's purpose. Slight persuasion induced him to accompany
the actor to the theatre, where he was led through the private entrance,
and quietly ensconced behind the scenes. After the play, Rice, having
shaded his own countenance to the "contraband" hue, ordered Cuff to
disrobe, and proceeded to invest himself in the cast-off apparel. When
the arrangements were complete, the bell rang, and Rice, habited in an
old coat forlornly dilapidated, with a pair of shoes composed equally of
patches and places for patches on his feet, and wearing a coarse straw
hat in a melancholy condition of rent and collapse over a dense black
wig of matted moss, waddled into view. The extraordinary apparition
produced an instant effect. The crash of peanuts ceased in the pit, and
through the circles passed a murmur and a bustle of liveliest
expectation. The orchestra opened with a short prelude, and to its
accompaniment Rice began to sing, delivering the first line by way of
introductory recitative:--

    "O, Jim Crow's come to town, as you all must know,
    An' he wheel about, he turn about, he do jis so,
    An' ebery time he wheel about he jump Jim Crow."

The effect was electric. Such a thunder of applause as followed was
never heard before within the shell of that old theatre. With each
succeeding couplet and refrain the uproar was renewed, until presently,
when the performer, gathering courage from the favorable temper of his
audience, ventured to improvise matter for his distiches from familiarly
known local incidents, the demonstrations were deafening.

Now it happened that Cuff, who meanwhile was crouching in dishabille
under concealment of a projecting _flat_ behind the performer, by some
means received intelligence, at this point, of the near approach of a
steamer to the Monongahela Wharf. Between himself and others of his
color in the same line of business, and especially as regarded a certain
formidable competitor called Ginger, there existed an active rivalry in
the baggage-carrying business. For Cuff to allow Ginger the advantage of
an undisputed descent upon the luggage of the approaching vessel would
be not only to forfeit all "considerations" from the passengers, but, by
proving him a laggard in his calling, to cast a damaging blemish upon
his reputation. Liberally as he might lend himself to a friend, it could
not be done at that sacrifice. After a minute or two of fidgety waiting
for the song to end, Cuff's patience could endure no longer, and,
cautiously hazarding a glimpse of his profile beyond the edge of the
flat, he called in a hurried whisper: "Massa Rice, Massa Rice, must
have my clo'se! Massa Griffif wants me,--steamboat's comin'!"

The appeal was fruitless. Massa Rice did not hear it, for a happy hit at
an unpopular city functionary had set the audience in a roar in which
all other sounds were lost. Waiting some moments longer, the restless
Cuff, thrusting his visage from under cover into full three-quarter view
this time, again charged upon the singer in the same words, but with
more emphatic voice: "Massa Rice, Massa Rice, must have my clo'se! Massa
Griffif wants me,--_steamboat's comin'!_"

A still more successful couplet brought a still more tempestuous
response, and the invocation of the baggage-carrier was unheard and
unheeded. Driven to desperation, and forgetful in the emergency of every
sense of propriety, Cuff, in ludicrous undress as he was, started from
his place, rushed upon the stage, and, laying his hand upon the
performer's shoulder, called out excitedly: "Massa Rice, Massa Rice, gi'
me nigga's hat,--nigga's coat,--nigga's shoes,--gi' me nigga's t'ings!
Massa Griffif wants 'im,--STEAMBOAT'S COMIN'!!"

The incident was the touch, in the mirthful experience of that night,
that passed endurance. Pit and circles were one scene of such convulsive
merriment that it was impossible to proceed in the performance; and the
extinguishment of the footlights, the fall of the curtain, and the
throwing wide of the doors for exit, indicated that the entertainment
was ended.

Such were the circumstances--authentic in every particular--under which
the first work of the distinct art of Negro Minstrelsy was presented.

Next day found the song of Jim Crow, in one style of delivery or
another, on everybody's tongue. Clerks hummed it serving customers at
shop counters, artisans thundered it at their toils to the time-beat of
sledge and of tilt-hammer, boys whistled it on the streets, ladies
warbled it in parlors, and house-maids repeated it to the clink of
crockery in kitchens. Rice made up his mind to profit further by its
popularity: he determined to publish it. Mr. W. C. Peters, afterwards of
Cincinnati, and well known as a composer and publisher, was at that time
a music-dealer on Market Street in Pittsburg. Rice, ignorant himself of
the simplest elements of musical science, waited upon Mr. Peters, and
solicited his co-operation in the preparation of his song for the press.
Some difficulty was experienced before Rice could be induced to consent
to the correction of certain trifling informalities, rhythmical mainly,
in his melody; but, yielding finally, the air as it now stands, with a
pianoforte accompaniment by Mr. Peters, was put upon paper. The
manuscript was put into the hands of Mr. John Newton, who reproduced it
on stone with an elaborately embellished title-page, including a
portrait of the subject of the song, precisely as it has been copied
through succeeding editions to the present time. It was the first
specimen of lithography ever executed in Pittsburg.

Jim Crow was repeated nightly throughout the season at the theatre; and
when that was ended, Scale's Long Room, at the corner of Third and
Market streets, was engaged for rehearsals exclusively in the Ethiopian
line. "Clar de Kitchen" soon appeared as a companion piece, followed
speedily by "Lucy Long," "Sich a Gittin' up Stairs," "Long-Tail Blue,"
and so on, until quite a _repertoire_ was at command from which to
select for an evening's entertainment.

Rice remained in Pittsburg some two years. He then visited Philadelphia,
Boston, and New York, whence he sailed for England, where he met with
high favor in his novel character, married, and remained for some time.
He then returned to New York, and shortly afterwards died.

With Rice's retirement his art seems to have dropped into disuse as a
feature of theatrical entertainment, and thenceforward, for many years,
to have survived only in the performances of circuses and menageries.
Between acts the _extravaganzaist_ in cork and wool would appear, and to
the song of "Coal-Black Rose," or "Jim along Joe," or "Sittin' on a
Rail," command, with the clown and monkey, full share of admiration in
the arena. At first he performed _solus_, and to the accompaniment of
the "show" band; but the school was progressive; couples presently
appeared, and, dispensing with the aid of foreign instruments, delivered
their melodies to the more appropriate music of the banjo. To the banjo,
in a short time, were added the bones. The art had now outgrown its
infancy, and, disdaining a subordinate existence, boldly seceded from
the society of harlequin and the tumblers, and met the world as an
independent institution. Singers organized themselves into quartet
bands; added a fiddle and tambourine to their instruments--perhaps we
should say implements--of music; introduced the hoe-down and the
conundrum to fill up the intervals of performance; rented halls, and,
peregrinating from city to city and from town to town, went on and

One of the earliest companies of this sort was organized and sustained
under the leadership of Nelson Kneass, who, while skilful in his
manipulations of the banjo, was quite an accomplished pianist besides,
as well as a favorite ballad-singer. He had some pretensions as a
composer, but has left his name identified with no work of any interest.
His company met with such success in Pittsburg, that its visits were
repeated from season to season, until about the year 1845, when Mr.
Murphy, the leading caricaturist, determining to resume the business in
private life which he had laid aside on going upon the stage, the
company was disbanded.

Up to this period, if negro minstrelsy had made some progress, it was
not marked by much improvement. Its charm lay essentially in its
simplicity, and to give it full development, retaining unimpaired
meanwhile such original excellences as Nature in Sambo shapes and
inspires, was the task of the time. But the task fell into bungling
hands. The intuitive utterance of the art was misapprehended or
perverted altogether. Its naïve misconceits were construed into coarse
blunders; its pleasing incongruities were resolved into meaningless
jargon. Gibberish became the staple of its composition. Slang phrases
and crude jests, all odds and ends of vulgar sentiment, without regard
to the idiosyncrasies of the negro, were caught up, jumbled together
into rhyme, and, rendered into the lingo presumed to be genuine, were
ready for the stage. The wit of the performance was made to consist in
quibble and equivoke, and in the misuse of language, after the fashion,
but without the refinement, of Mrs. Partington. The character of the
music underwent a change. Original airs were composed from time to time,
but the songs were more generally adaptations of tunes in vogue among
Hard-Shell Baptists in Tennessee and at Methodist camp-meetings in
Kentucky, and of backwoods melodies, such as had been invented for
native ballads by "settlement" masters and brought into general
circulation by stage-drivers, wagoners, cattle--drovers, and other such
itinerants of earlier days. Music of the concert-room was also drafted
into the service, and selections from the inferior operas, with the
necessary mutilations of the text, of course; so that the whole school
of negro minstrelsy threatened a lapse, when its course of decline was
suddenly and effectually arrested.

A certain Mr. Andrews, dealer in confections, cakes, and ices, being
stirred by a spirit of enterprise, rented, in the year 1845, a
second-floor hall on Wood Street, Pittsburgh supplied it with seats and
small tables, advertised largely, employed cheap attractions,--living
statues, songs, dances, &c.,--a stage, hired a piano, and, upon the
dissolution of his band, engaged the services of Nelson Kneass as
musician and manager. Admittance was free, the ten-cent ticket required
at the door being received at its cost value within towards the payment
of whatever might be called for at the tables. To keep alive the
interest of the enterprise, premiums were offered, from time to time, of
a bracelet for the best conundrum, a ring with a ruby setting for the
best comic song, and a golden chain for the best sentimental song. The
most and perhaps only really valuable reward--a genuine and very pretty
silver cup, exhibited night after night, beforehand--was promised to the
author of the best original negro song, to be presented before a certain
date, and to be decided upon by a committee designated for the purpose
by the audience at that time.

Quite a large array of competitors entered the lists; but the contest
would be hardly worthy of mention, save as it was the occasion of the
first appearance of him who was to prove the reformer of his art, and to
a sketch of whose career the foregoing pages are chiefly preliminary.

Stephen Collins Foster was born in Alleghany, Pennsylvania, on the 4th
of July, 1826. He was the youngest child of his father, William B.
Foster,--originally a merchant of Pittsburg, and afterwards Mayor of his
native city, member of the State Legislature, and a Federal officer
under President Buchanan, with whom he was closely connected by
marriage. The evidences of a musical capacity of no common order were
apparent in Stephen at an early period. Going into a shop, one day, when
about seven years old, he picked up a flageolet, the first he had ever
seen, and comprehending, after an experiment or two, the order of the
scale on the instrument, was able in a few minutes, uninstructed, to
play any of the simple tunes within the octave with which he was
acquainted. A Thespian society, composed of boys in their higher teens,
was organized in Alleghany, into which Stephen, although but in his
ninth year, was admitted, and of which, from his agreeable rendering of
the favorite airs of the day, he soon became the leading attraction.

At thirteen years of age, he made his first attempt at composition,
producing for a public occasion at the seminary in Athens, Ohio, where
he was a student at the time, the "Tioga Waltz," which, although quite a
pretty affair, he never thought worthy of preservation. In the same
year, shortly afterwards, he composed music to the song commencing,
"Sadly to mine heart appealing," now embraced in the list of his
publications, but not brought out until many years later.

Stephen was a boy of delicate constitution, not addicted to the active
sports or any of the more vigorous habits of boys of his age. His only
companions were a few intimate friends, and, thus secluded, his
character naturally took a sensitive, meditative cast, and his growing
disrelish for severer tasks was confirmed. As has been intimated, he
entered as a pupil at Athens; but as the course of instruction in that
institution was not in harmony with his tastes, he soon withdrew,
applying himself afterwards to the study of the French and German
languages (a ready fluency in both of which he finally acquired), and
especially to the art dearer than all other studies. A recluse, owning
and soliciting no guidance but that of his text-book, in the quiet of
the woods, or, if that were inaccessible, the retirement of his chamber,
he devoted himself to this art.

At the age of sixteen he composed and published the song, "Open thy
Lattice, Love," which was admired, but did not meet with extraordinary
success. In the year following he went to Cincinnati, entering the
counting-room of his brother, and discharging the duties of his place
with faithfulness and ability. His spare hours were still devoted,
however, to his favorite pursuit, although his productions were chiefly
preserved in manuscript, and kept for the private entertainment of his
friends. He continued with his brother nearly three years.

At the time Mr. Andrews of Pittsburg offered a silver cup for the best
original negro song, Mr. Morrison Foster sent to his brother Stephen a
copy of the advertisement announcing the fact, with a letter urging him
to become a competitor for the prize. These saloon entertainments
occupied a neutral ground, upon which eschewers of theatrical delights
could meet with the abetters of play-house amusements,--a consideration
of ruling importance in Pittsburg, where so many of the sterling
population carry with them to this day, by legitimate inheritance, the
stanch old Cameronian fidelity to Presbyterian creed and practice.
Morrison, believing that these concerts would afford an excellent
opportunity for the genius of his brother to appeal to the public,
persisted in urging him to compete for the prize, until Stephen, who at
first expressed a dislike to appear under such circumstances, finally
yielded, and in due time forwarded a melody entitled, "'Way down South,
whar de Corn grows." When the eventful night came, the various pieces in
competition were rendered to the audience by Nelson Kneass to his own
accompaniment on the piano. The audience expressed by their applause a
decided preference for Stephen's melody; but the committee appointed to
sit in judgment decided in favor of some one else, himself and his song
never heard of afterwards, and the author of "'Way down South" forfeited
the cup. But Mr. Kneass appreciated the merit of the composition, and
promptly, next morning, made application at the proper office for a
copyright in his own name as author, when Mr. Morrison Foster, happening
in at the moment, interposed, and frustrated the discreditable

This experiment of Foster's, if it fell short of the expectation of his
friends, served, notwithstanding, a profitable purpose, for it led him
to a critical investigation of the school of music to which it belonged.
This school had been--was yet--unquestionably popular. To what, then,
was it indebted for its captivating points? It was to its truth to
Nature in her simplest and most childlike mood.

Settled as to theory, Foster applied himself to the task of its
exemplification. Two attempts were made while he yet remained in
Cincinnati, the pencil-drafts of which, however, were laid aside for the
time being in his portfolio. His shrinking nature held timidly back at
the thought of a venture before the public; and so the case stood until
he reappeared in Pittsburg.

The Presidential campaign of 1844 was distinguished by political
song-singing. Clubs for that purpose were organized in all the cities
and towns and hamlets,--clubs for the platform, clubs for the street,
clubs for the parlor, Whig clubs, Democratic clubs. Ballads innumerable
to airs indefinite, new and old, filled the land,--Irish ballads, German
ballads, Yankee ballads, and, preferred over all, negro ballads. So
enthusiastic grew the popular feeling in this direction, that, when the
November crisis was come and gone, the peculiar institution would not
succumb to the limitation, but lived on. Partisan temper faded out; the
fires of strife died down, but clubs sat perseveringly in their places,
and in sounds, if not in sentiment, attuned to the old melodies, kept up
the practice of the mad and merry time.

Among other organizations that thus lingered on was one, composed of
half a dozen young men, since grown into graver habits, with
Foster--home again, and a link once more in the circle of his
intimates--at its head. The negro airs were still the favorites; but the
collection, from frequent repetition, at length began to grow stale. One
night, as a revival measure for the club, and as an opportunity for
himself, Foster hinted that, with their permission, he would offer for
trial an effort of his own. Accordingly he set to work; and at their
next meeting laid before them a song entitled "Louisiana Belle." The
piece elicited unanimous applause. Its success in the club-room opened
to it a wider field, each member acting as an agent of dissemination
outside, so that in the course of a few nights the song was sung in
almost every parlor in Pittsburgh. Foster then brought to light his
portfolio specimens, since universally known as "Uncle Ned," and "O
Susanna!" The favor with which these latter were received surpassed even
that rewarding the "Louisiana Belle." Although limited to the one slow
process of communication,--from mouth to ear,--their fame spread far and
wide, until from the drawing-rooms of Cincinnati they were introduced
into its concert-halls, and there became known to Mr. W. C. Peters, who
at once addressed letters requesting copies for publication. These were
cheerfully furnished by the author. He did not look for remuneration.
For "Uncle Ned," which first appeared (in 1847), he received none; "O
Susanna!" soon followed, and "imagine my delight," he writes, "in
receiving one hundred dollars in cash! Though this song was not
successful," he continues, "yet the two fifty-dollar bills I received
for it had the effect of starting me on my present vocation of
song-writer." In pursuance of this decision, he entered into
arrangements with new publishers, chiefly with Firth, Pond, & Co. of New
York, set himself to work, and began to pour out his productions with
astonishing rapidity.

Out of the list, embracing about one hundred and fifty of his songs, the
most flatteringly received among his negro melodies were those already
enumerated, followed by "Nelly was a Lady," in 1849; "My Old Kentucky
Home," and "Camptown Races," in 1850; "Old Folks at Home," in 1851;
"Massa's in the Cold Ground," in 1852; "O Boys, carry me 'long," in
1853; "Hard Times come again no more," in 1854; "'Way down South," and
"O Lemuel," in 1858; "Old Black Joe," in 1860; and (noticeable only as
his last in that line) "Don't bet your Money on the Shanghai," in 1861.

In all these compositions Foster adheres scrupulously to his theory
adopted at the outset. His verses are distinguished by a _naïveté_
characteristic and appropriate, but consistent at the same time with
common sense. Enough of the negro dialect is retained to preserve
distinction, but not to offend. The sentiment is given in plain phrase
and under homely illustration; but it is a sentiment nevertheless. The
melodies are of twin birth literally with the verses, for Foster thought
in tune as he traced in rhyme, and traced in rhyme as he thought in
tune. Of easy modulation, severely simple in their structure, his airs
have yet the graceful proportions, animated with the fervor,
unostentatious but all-subduing, of certain of the old hymns (not the
chorals) derived from our fathers of a hundred years ago.

That he had struck upon the true way to the common heart, the successes
attending his efforts surely demonstrate. His songs had an unparalleled
circulation. The commissions accruing to the author on the sales of "Old
Folks" alone amounted to fifteen thousand dollars. For permission to
have his name printed on its title-page, as an advertising scheme, Mr.
Christy paid five hundred dollars. Applications were unceasing from the
various publishers of the country for some share, at least, of his
patronage, and upon terms that might have seduced almost any one else;
but the publishers with whom he originally engaged had won his esteem,
and Foster adhered to them faithfully. Artists of the highest
distinction favored him with their friendship; and Herz, Sivori, Ole
Bull, Thalberg, were alike ready to approve his genius, and to testify
that approval in the choice of his melodies as themes about which to
weave their witcheries of embellishment. Complimentary letters from men
of literary note poured in upon him; among others, one full of generous
encouragement from Washington Irving, dearly prized and carefully
treasured to the day of Foster's death. Similar missives reached him
from across the seas,--from strangers and from travellers in lands far
remote; and he learned that, while "O Susanna!" was the familiar song of
the cottager of the Clyde, "Uncle Ned" was known to the dweller in tents
among the Pyramids.

Of his sentimental songs, "Ah, may the Red Rose live alway!" "Maggie by
my Side," "Jennie with the Light-Brown Hair," "Willie, we have missed
you," "I see her still in my Dreams," "Wilt thou be gone, Love" (a duet,
the words adapted from a well-known scene in Romeo and Juliet), and
"Come where my Love lies dreaming" (quartet), are among the leading
favorites. "I see her still in my Dreams" appeared in 1861, shortly
after the death of his mother, and is a tribute to the memory of her to
whom he was devotedly attached. The verses to most of these airs--to all
the successful ones--were of his own composition. Indeed, he could
seldom satisfy himself in his "settings" of the stanzas of others. If
the metrical and symmetrical features of the lines in hand chanced to
disagree with his conception of the motion and proportion befitting in a
musical interpretation; if the sentiment were one that failed, whether
from lack of appreciation or of sympathy on his part, to command
absolute approval; or if the terms employed were not of a precise thread
and tension,--if they were wanting, however minutely, in _vibratory_
qualities,--of commensurate extent would be the failure attending the

The last three years of his life Mr. Foster passed in New York. During
all that time, his efforts, with perhaps one exception, were limited to
the production of songs of a pensive character. The loss of his mother
seems to have left an ineffaceable impression of melancholy upon his
mind, and inspired such songs as "I dream of my Mother," "I'll be Home
To-morrow," "Leave me with my Mother," and "Bury me in the Morning." He
died, after a brief illness, on the 13th of January, 1864. His remains
reached Pittsburg on the 20th, and were conveyed to Trinity Church,
where on the day following, in the presence of a large assembly,
appropriate and impressive ceremonies took place, the choral services
being sustained by a company of his former friends and associates. His
body was then carried to the Alleghany Cemetery, and, to the music of
"Old Folks at Home," finally committed to the grave.

Mr. Foster was married, on the 22d of July, 1850, to Miss Jane D.
McDowell of Pittsburg, who, with her daughter and only child, Marian,
twelve years of age at the date of his death, still survives him. He was
of rather less than medium height, of slight frame, with parts well
proportioned, and showing to advantage in repose, although not entirely
so in action. His shoulders were marked by a slight droop,--the result
of a habit of walking with his eyes fixed upon the ground a pace or two
in advance of his feet. He nearly always when he ventured out, which was
not often, walked alone. Arrived at the street-crossings, he would
frequently pause, raise himself, cast a glance at the surroundings, and
if he saw an acquaintance nod to him in token of recognition, and then,
relapsing into the old posture, resume his way. At such times,--indeed,
at any time,--while he did not repel, he took no pains to invite
society. He was entertaining in conversation, although a certain
hesitancy, from want of words and not from any organic defect, gave a
broken style to his speech. For his study he selected a room in the
topmost story of his house, farthest removed from the street, and was
careful to have the floor of the apartment, and the avenues of approach
to it, thickly carpeted, to exclude as effectually as possible all
noises, inside as well as outside of his own premises. The furniture of
this room consisted of a chair, a lounge, a table, a music-rack, and a
piano. From the sanctum so chosen, seldom opened to others, and never
allowed upon any pretence to be disarranged, came his choicest
compositions. His disposition was naturally amiable, although, from the
tax imposed by close application to study upon his nervous system, he
was liable to fits of fretfulness and scepticism that, only occasional
and transient as they were, told nevertheless with disturbing effect
upon his temper. In the same unfortunate direction was the tendency of a
habit grown insidiously upon him,--a habit against the damning control
of which (as no one better than the writer of this article knows) he
wrestled with an earnestness indescribable, resorting to all the
remedial expedients which professional skill or his own experience could
suggest, but never entirely delivering himself from its inexorable

In the true estimate of genius, its achievements only approximate the
highest standard of excellence as they are representative, or
illustrative, of important truth. They are only great as they are good.
If Mr. Foster's art embodied no higher idea than the vulgar notion of
the negro as a man-monkey,--a thing of tricks and antics,--a funny
specimen of superior gorilla,--then it might have proved a tolerable
catch-penny affair, and commanded an admiration among boys of various
growths until its novelty wore off. But the art in his hands teemed with
a nobler significance. It dealt, in its simplicity, with universal
sympathies, and taught us all to feel with the slaves the lowly joys and
sorrows it celebrated.

May the time be far in the future ere lips fail to move to its music, or
hearts to respond to its influence, and may we who owe him so much
preserve gratefully the memory of the master, STEPHEN COLLINS FOSTER.


    The fair Earth smiled and turned herself and woke,
      And to the Sun with nuptial greeting said:--
    "I had a dream, wherein it seemed men broke
      A sovran league, and long years fought and bled,
    Till down my sweet sides ran my children's gore,
      And all my beautiful garments were made red,
        And all my fertile fields were thicket-grown,
      Nor could thy dear light reach me through the air;
    At last a voice cried, 'Let them strive no more!'
      Then music breathed, and lo! from my despair
        I wake to joy,--yet would not joy alone!

    "For, hark! I hear a murmur on the meads,--
      Where as of old my children seek my face,--
    The low of kine, the peaceful tramp of steeds,
      Blithe shouts of men in many a pastoral place,
    The noise of tilth through all my goodliest land;
      And happy laughter of a dusky race
        Whose brethren lift them from their ancient toil,
      Saying: 'The year of jubilee has come;
    Gather the gifts of Earth with equal hand;
        Henceforth ye too may share the birthright soil,
      The corn, the wine, and all the harvest-home.'

    "O, my dear lord, my radiant bridegroom, look!
      Behold their joy who sorrowed in my dreams,--
    The sword a share, the spear a pruning-hook;
      Lo, I awake, and turn me toward thy beams
    Even as a bride again! O, shed thy light
      Upon my fruitful places in full streams!
        Let there be yield for every living thing;
      The land is fallow,--let there be increase
    After the darkness of the sterile night;
      Ay, let us twain a festival of Peace
        Prepare, and hither all my nations bring!"

    The fair Earth spake: the glad Sun speeded forth,
      Hearing her matron words, and backward drave
    To frozen caves the icy Wind of the North,--
      And bade the South Wind from the tropic wave
    Bring watery vapors over river and plain,--
      And bade the East Wind cross her path, and lave
        The lowlands, emptying there her laden mist,--
      And bade the Wind of the West, the best wind, blow
    After the early and the latter rain,--
        And beamed himself, and oft the sweet Earth kissed,
      While her swift servitors sped to and fro.

    Forthwith the troop that, at the beck of Earth,
      Foster her children, brought a glorious store
    Of viands, food of immemorial worth,
      Her earliest gifts, her tenderest evermore.
    First came the Silvery Spirit, whose marshalled files
      Climb up the glades in billowy breakers hoar,
        Nodding their crests,--and at his side there sped
      The Golden Spirit, whose yellow harvests trail
    Across the continents and fringe the isles,
      And freight men's argosies where'er they sail:
        O, what a wealth of sheaves he there outspread!

    Came the dear Spirit whom Earth doth love the best,
      Fragrant of clover-bloom and new-mown hay,
    Beneath whose mantle weary ones find rest,
      On whose green skirts the little children play:
    She bore the food our patient cattle crave.
      Next, robed in silk, with tassels scattering spray,
        Followed the generous Spirit of the Maize,--
      And many a kindred shape of high renown
    Bore in the clustering grape, the fruits that wave
        On orchard branches or in gardens blaze,
      And those the wind-shook forest hurtles down.

    Even thus they laid a great and marvellous feast,
      And Earth her children summoned joyously,
    Throughout that goodliest land wherein had ceased
      The vision of battle, and with glad hands free
    These took their fill, and plenteous measures poured,
      Beside, for those who dwelt beyond the sea;
        Praise, like an incense, upward rose to Heaven
      For that full harvest,--and the autumnal Sun
    Stayed long above,--and ever at the board,
        Peace, white-robed angel, held the high seat given,
      And War far off withdrew his visage dun.


It is the misfortune of American biography that it must needs be more or
less provincial, and that, contrary to what might have been predicted,
this quality in it predominates in proportion as the country grows
larger. Wanting any great and acknowledged centre of national life and
thought, our expansion has hitherto been rather aggregation than growth;
reputations must be hammered out thin to cover so wide a surface, and
the substance of most hardly holds out to the boundaries of a single
State. Our very history wants unity, and down to the Revolution the
attention is wearied and confused by having to divide itself among
thirteen parallel threads, instead of being concentred on a single clew.
A sense of remoteness and seclusion comes over us as we read, and we
cannot help asking ourselves, "Were _not_ these things done in a
corner?" Notoriety may be achieved in a narrow sphere, but fame demands
for its evidence a more distant and prolonged reverberation. To the
world at large we were but a short column of figures in the corner of a
blue-book, New England exporting so much salt-fish, timber, and Medford
rum, Virginia so many hogshead of tobacco, and buying with the proceeds
a certain amount of English manufactures. The story of our early
colonization had a certain moral interest, to be sure, but was
altogether inferior in picturesque fascination to that of Mexico or
Peru. The lives of our worthies, like that of our nation, are bare of
those foregone and far-reaching associations with names, the
divining-rods of fancy, which the soldiers and civilians of the Old
World get for nothing by the mere accident of birth. Their historians
and biographers have succeeded to the good-will, as well as to the
long-established stand, of the shop of glory. Time is, after all, the
greatest of poets, and the sons of Memory stand a better chance of being
the heirs of Fame. The philosophic poet may find a proud solace in

    "Avia Pieridum peragro loca nullius ante
    Trita solo";

but all the while he has the splendid centuries of Greece and Rome
behind him, and can begin his poem with invoking a goddess from whom
legend derived the planter of his race. His eyes looked out on a
landscape saturated with glorious recollections; he had seen Cæsar, and
heard Cicero. But who shall conjure with Saugus or Cato Four
Corners,--with Israel Putnam or Return Jonathan Meigs? We have been
transplanted, and for us the long hierarchical succession of history is
broken. The Past has not laid its venerable hands upon us in
consecration, conveying to us that mysterious influence whose force is
in its continuity. We are to Europe as the Church of England to her of
Rome. The latter old lady may be the Scarlet Woman, or the Beast with
ten horns, if you will, but hers are all the heirlooms, hers that vast
spiritual estate of tradition, nowhere yet everywhere, whose revenues
are none the less fruitful for being levied on the imagination. We may
claim that England's history is also ours, but it is a _de jure_, and
not a _de facto_ property that we have in it,--something that may be
proved indeed, yet is a merely intellectual satisfaction, and does not
savor of the realty. Have we not seen the mockery crown and sceptre of
the exiled Stuarts in St. Peter's? the medal struck so lately as 1784
with its legend, HEN IX MAG BRIT ET HIB REX, whose contractions but
faintly typify the scantness of the fact?

As the novelist complains that our society wants that sharp contrast of
character and costume which comes of caste, so in the narrative of our
historians we miss what may be called background and perspective, as if
the events and the actors in them failed of that cumulative interest
which only a long historical entail can give. Relatively, the crusade of
Sir William Pepperell was of more consequence than that of St. Louis,
and yet forgive us, injured shade of the second American baronet, if we
find the narrative of Joinville more interesting than your despatches to
Governor Shirley. Relatively, the insurrection of that Daniel whose
Irish patronymic Shea was euphonized into Shays, as a set-off for the
debasing of French _chaise_ into _shay_, was more dangerous than that of
Charles Edward; but for some reason or other (as vice sometimes has the
advantage of virtue) the latter is more enticing to the imagination, and
the least authentic relic of it in song or story has a relish denied to
the painful industry of Minot. Our events seem to fall short of that
colossal proportion which befits the monumental style. Look grave as we
will, there is something ludicrous in Counsellor Keane's pig being the
pivot of a revolution. We are of yesterday, and it is to no purpose that
our political augurs divine from the flight of our eagles that
to-morrow shall be ours, and flatter us with an all-hail hereafter.
Things do really gain in greatness by being acted on a great and
cosmopolitan stage, because there is inspiration in the thronged
audience, and the nearer match that puts men on their mettle. Webster
was more largely endowed by nature than Fox, and Fisher Ames not much
below Burke as a talker; but what a difference in the intellectual
training, in the literary culture and associations, in the whole social
outfit, of the men who were their antagonists and companions! It should
seem that, if it be collision with other minds and with events that
strikes or draws the fire from a man, then the quality of those might
have something to do with the quality of the fire,--whether it shall be
culinary or electric. We have never known the varied stimulus, the
inexorable criticism, the many-sided opportunity of a great metropolis,
the inspiring reinforcement of an undivided national consciousness. In
everything but trade we have missed the invigoration of foreign rivalry.
We may prove that we are this and that and the other,--our
Fourth-of-July orators have proved it time and again,--the census has
proved it; but the Muses are women, and have no great fancy for
statistics, though easily silenced by them. We are great, we are rich,
we are all kinds of good things; but did it never occur to you that
somehow we are not interesting, except as a phenomenon? It may safely be
affirmed that for one cultivated man in this country who studies
American, there are fifty who study European history, ancient or modern.

Till within a year or two we have been as distant and obscure to the
eyes of Europe as Ecuador to our own. Every day brings us nearer,
enables us to see the Old World more clearly, and by inevitable
comparison to judge ourselves with some closer approach to our real
value. This has its advantage so long as our culture is, as for a long
time it must be, European; for we shall be little better than apes and
parrots till we are forced to measure our muscle with the trained and
practised champions of that elder civilization. We have at length
established our claim to the noblesse of the sword, the first step still
of every nation that would make its entry into the best society of
history. To maintain ourselves there, we must achieve an equality in the
more exclusive circle of culture, and to that end must submit ourselves
to the European standard of intellectual weights and measures. That we
have made the hitherto biggest gun might excite apprehension (were there
a dearth of iron), but can never exact respect. That our pianos and
patent reapers have won medals does but confirm us in our mechanic and
material measure of merit. We must contribute something more than mere
contrivances for the saving of labor, which we have been only too ready
to misapply in the domain of thought and the higher kinds of invention.
In those Olympic games where nations contend for truly immortal wreaths,
it may well be questioned whether a mowing-machine would stand much
chance in the chariot-races,--whether a piano, though made by a
chevalier, could compete successfully for the prize of music.

We shall have to be content for a good while yet with our provincialism,
and must strive to make the best of it. In it lies the germ of
nationality, and that is, after all, the prime condition of all
thorough-bred greatness of character. To this choicest fruit of a
healthy life, well rooted in native soil, and drawing prosperous prices
thence, nationality gives the keenest flavor. Mr. Lincoln was an
original man, and in so far a great man; yet it was the Americanism of
his every thought, word, and act which not only made his influence
equally at home in East and West, but drew the eyes of the outside
world, and was the pedestal that lifted him where he could be seen by
them. Lincoln showed that native force may transcend local boundaries,
but the growth of such nationality is hindered and hampered by our
division into so many half-independent communities, each with its
objects of county ambition, and its public men great to the borders of
their district. In this way our standard of greatness is insensibly
debased. To receive any national appointment, a man must have gone
through precisely the worst training for it; he must have so far
narrowed and belittled himself with State politics as to be acceptable
at home. In this way a man may become chairman of the Committee on
Foreign Affairs, because he knows how to pack a caucus in Catawampus
County, or sent ambassador to Barataria, because he has drunk bad
whiskey with every voter in Wildcat City. Should we ever attain to a
conscious nationality, it will have the advantage of lessening the
number of our great men, and widening our appreciation to the larger
scale of the two or three that are left,--if there should be so many.
Meanwhile we offer a premium to the production of great men in a small
way, by inviting each State to set up the statues of two of its
immortals in the Capitol. What a niggardly percentage! Already we are
embarrassed, not to find the two, but to choose among the crowd of
candidates. Well, seventy-odd heroes in about as many years is pretty
well for a young nation. We do not envy most of them their eternal
martyrdom in marble, their pillory of indiscrimination. We fancy even
native tourists pausing before the greater part of the effigies, and,
after reading the names, asking desperately, "Who was _he_?" Nay, if
they should say, "Who the devil was _he_?" it were a pardonable
invocation, for none so fit as the Prince of Darkness to act as
_cicerone_ among such palpable obscurities. We recall the court-yard of
the Uffizj at Florence. That also is not free of parish celebrities; but
Dante, Galileo, Michael Angelo, Macchiavelli,--shall the inventor of the
sewing-machine, even with the button-holing improvement, let us say,
match with these, or with far lesser than these? Perhaps he was more
practically useful than any one of these, or all of them together, but
the soul is sensible of a sad difference somewhere. These also were
citizens of a provincial capital; so were the greater part of Plutarch's
heroes. Did they have a better chance than we moderns,--than we
Americans? At any rate they have the start of us, and we must confess

    "By bed and table they lord it o'er us,
    Our elder brothers, but one in blood."

Yes, one in blood; that is the hardest part of it. Is our provincialism
then in some great measure due to our absorption in the practical, as we
politely call it, meaning the material,--to our habit of estimating
greatness by the square mile and the hundredweight? Even during our war,
in the midst of that almost unrivalled stress of soul, were not our
speakers and newspapers so enslaved to the vulgar habit as to boast ten
times of the thousands of square miles it covered with armed men, for
once that they alluded to the motive that gave it all its meaning and
its splendor? Perhaps it was as well that they did not exploit that
passion of patriotism as an advertisement in the style of Barnum or
Perham. "I scale one hundred and eighty pounds, but when I'm mad I weigh
two ton," said the Kentuckian, with a true notion of moral avoirdupois.
That ideal kind of weight is wonderfully increased by a national
feeling, whereby one man is conscious that thirty millions of men go
into the balance with him. The Roman in ancient, and the Englishman in
modern times, have been most conscious of this representative solidity,
and wherever one of them went there stood Rome or England in his shoes.
We have made some advance in the right direction. Our civil war, by the
breadth of its proportions and the implacability of its demands, forced
us to admit a truer valuation, and gave us, in our own despite, great
soldiers and sailors, allowed for such by all the world. The harder
problems it has left behind may in time compel us to have great
statesmen, with views capable of reaching beyond the next election. The
criticism of Europe alone can rescue us from the provincialism of an
over or false estimate of ourselves. Let us be thankful, and not angry,
that we must accept it as our touchstone. Our stamp has so often been
impressed upon base metal, that we cannot expect it to be taken on
trust, but we may be sure that true gold will be equally persuasive the
world over. Real manhood and honest achievement are nowhere provincial,
but enter the select society of all time on an even footing.

Spanish America might be a good glass for us to look into. Those
Catharine-wheel republics, always in revolution while the powder lasts,
and sure to burn the fingers of whoever attempts intervention, have also
their great men, as placidly ignored by us as our own by jealous Europe.
The following passage from the life of Don Simon Bolivar might allay
many _motus animorum_, if rightly pondered. Bolivar, then a youth, was
travelling in Italy, and his biographer tells us that "near Castiglione
he was present at the grand review made by Napoleon of the columns
defiling into the plain large enough to contain sixty thousand men. The
throne was situated on an eminence that overlooked the plain, and
Napoleon on several occasions looked through a glass at Bolivar and his
companions, who were at the base of the hill. The hero Cæsar could not
imagine that he beheld the liberator of the world of Columbus!" And
small blame to him, one would say. We are not, then, it seems, the only
foundling of Columbus, as we are so apt to take for granted. The great
Genoese did not, as we supposed, draw that first star-guided furrow
across the vague of waters with a single eye to the future greatness of
the United States. And have we not sometimes, like the enthusiastic
biographer, fancied the Old World staring through all its telescopes at
us, and wondered that it did not recognize in us what we were fully
persuaded we were _going_ to be and do?

Our American life is dreadfully barren of those elements of the social
picturesque which give piquancy to anecdote. And without anecdote, what
is biography, of even history, which is only biography on a larger
scale? Clio, though she take airs on herself, and pretend to be
"philosophy teaching by example," is, after all, but a gossip who has
borrowed Fame's speaking-trumpet, and should be figured with a teacup
instead of a scroll in her hand. How much has she not owed of late to
the tittle-tattle of her gillflirt sister Thalia? In what gutters has
not Macaulay raked for the brilliant bits with which he has put together
his admirable mosaic picture of England under the last two Stuarts? Even
Mommsen himself, who dislikes Plutarch's method as much as Montaigne
loved it, cannot get or give a lively notion of ancient Rome, without
running to the comic poets and the anecdote-mongers. He gives us the
very beef-tea of history, nourishing and even palatable enough,
excellently portable for a memory that, must carry her own packs, and
can afford little luggage; but for our own part, we prefer a full,
old-fashioned meal, with its side-dishes of spicy gossip, and its last
relish, the Stilton of scandal, so it be not too high. One volume of
contemporary memoirs, stuffed though it be with lies, (for lies to be
good for anything must have a potential probability, must even be true
so far as their moral and social setting is concerned,) will throw more
light into the dark backward of time than the gravest Camden or Thuanus.
If St. Simon is not accurate, is he any the less essentially _true_? No
history gives us so clear an understanding of the moral condition of
average men after the restoration of the Stuarts as the unconscious
blabbings of the Puritan tailor's son, with his two consciences, as it
were,--an inward, still sensitive in spots, though mostly toughened to
India-rubber, and good rather for rubbing out old scores than retaining
them, and an outward, alert, and termagantly effective in Mrs. Pepys.
But we can have no St. Simons or Pepyses till we have a Paris or London
to delocalize our gossip and give it historic breadth. All our capitals
are fractional, merely greater or smaller gatherings of men, centres of
business rather than of action or influence. Each contains so many
souls, but is not, as the word "capital" implies, the true head of a
community and seat of its common soul.

Has not life itself perhaps become a little more prosaic than it once
was? As the clearing away of the woods scants the streams, may not our
civilization have dried up some feeders that helped to swell the current
of individual and personal force? We have sometimes thought that the
stricter definition and consequent seclusion from each other of the
different callings in modern times, as it narrowed the chance of
developing and giving variety to character, lessened also the interest
of biography. Formerly arts and arms were not divided by so impassable a
barrier as now. There was hardly such a thing as a _pékin_. Cæsar gets
up from writing his Latin Grammar to conquer Gaul, change the course of
history, and make so many things possible,--among the rest our English
language and Shakespeare. Horace had been a colonel; and from Æschylus,
who fought at Marathon, to Ben Jonson, who trailed a pike in the Low
Countries, the list of martial civilians is a long one. A man's
education seems more complete who has smelt hostile powder from a less
æsthetic distance than Goethe. It raises our confidence in Sir Kenelm
Digby as a physicist, that he is able to illustrate some theory of
acoustics in his Treatise of Bodies by instancing the effect of his guns
in a sea-fight off Scanderoon. One would expect the proportions of
character to be enlarged by such variety and contrast of experience.
Perhaps it will by and by appear that our own civil war has done
something for us in this way. Colonel Higginson comes down from his
pulpit to draw on his jackboots, and thenceforth rides in our
imagination alongside of John Bunyan and Bishop Compton. To have stored
moral capital enough to meet the drafts of Death at sight, must be an
unmatched tonic. We saw our light-hearted youth come back with the
modest gravity of age, as if they had learned to throw out pickets
against a surprise of any weak point in their temperament. Perhaps that
American shiftiness, so often complained of, may not be so bad a thing,
if, by bringing men acquainted with every humor of fortune and human
nature, it puts them in fuller possession of themselves.

But with whatever drawbacks in special circumstances, the main interest
of biography must always lie in the amount of character or essential
manhood which the subject of it reveals to us, and events are of import
only as means to that end. It is true that lofty and far-seen exigencies
may give greater opportunity to some men, whose energy is more sharply
spurred by the shout of a multitude than by the grudging _Well done!_ of
conscience. Some theorists have too hastily assumed that, as the power
of public opinion increases, the force of private character, or what we
call originality, is absorbed into and diluted by it. But we think
Horace was right in putting tyrant and mob on a level as the trainers
and tests of a man's solid quality. The amount of resistance of which
one is capable to whatever lies outside the conscience, is of more
consequence than all other faculties together; and democracy, perhaps,
tries this by pressure in more directions, and with a more continuous
strain, than any other form of society. In Josiah Quincy we have an
example of character trained and shaped, under the nearest approach to a
pure democracy the world has ever seen, to a firmness, unity, and
self-centred poise that recall the finer types of antiquity, in whom the
public and private man was so wholly of a piece that they were truly
everywhere at home, for the same sincerity of nature that dignified the
hearth carried also a charm of homeliness into the forum. The phrase "a
great public character," once common, seems to be going out of fashion,
perhaps because there are fewer examples of the thing. It fits Josiah
Quincy exactly. Active in civic and academic duties till beyond the
ordinary period of man, at fourscore and ten his pen, voice, and
venerable presence were still efficient in public affairs. A score of
years after the energies of even vigorous men are declining or spent,
his mind and character made themselves felt as in their prime. A true
pillar of house and state, he stood unflinchingly upright under whatever
burden might be laid upon him. The French Revolutionists aped what was
itself but a parody of the elder republic, with their hair _à la_ Brutus
and their pedantic moralities _à la_ Cato Minor, but this man
unconsciously was the antique Roman they laboriously went about to be.
Others have filled places more conspicuous, few have made the place they
filled so conspicuous by an exact and disinterested performance of duty.

In the biography of Mr. Quincy by his son, there is something of the
provincialism of which we have spoken as inherent in most American works
of the kind. His was a Boston life in the strictest sense. But
provincialism is relative, and where it has a flavor of its own, as in
Scotland, it is often agreeable in proportion to its very intensity. The
Massachusetts in which Mr. Quincy's habits of thought were acquired was
a very different Massachusetts from that in which we of later
generations have been bred. Till after he had passed middle life, Boston
was more truly a capital than any other city in America, before or
since, except possibly Charleston. The acknowledged head of New England,
with a population of wellnigh purely English descent, mostly derived
from the earlier emigration, with ancestral traditions and inspiring
memories of its own, it had made its name familiar in both worlds, and
was both historically and politically more important than at any later
period. The Revolution had not interrupted, but rather given a freer
current to the tendencies of its past. Both by its history and position,
the town had what the French call a solidarity, an almost personal
consciousness, rare anywhere, rare especially in America, and more than
ever since our enormous importation of fellow-citizens to whom America
means merely shop, or meat three times a day. Boston has been called the
"American Athens." Æsthetically, the comparison is ludicrous, but
politically it was more reasonable. Its population was homogeneous, and
there were leading families; while the form of government by
town-meeting, and the facility of social and civic intercourse, gave
great influence to popular personal qualities and opportunity to new
men. A wide commerce, while it had insensibly softened the asperities of
Puritanism and imported enough foreign refinement to humanize not enough
foreign luxury to corrupt, had not essentially qualified the native tone
of the town. Retired sea-captains (true brothers of Chaucer's Shipman),
whose exploits had kindled the imagination of Burke, added a not
unpleasant savor of salt to society. They belonged to the old school of
Gilbert, Hawkins, Frobisher, and Drake, parcel-soldiers all of them, who
had commanded armed ships and had tales to tell of gallant fights with
privateers or pirates, truest representatives of those Vikings who, if
trade in lumber or peltry was dull, would make themselves Dukes of
Dublin or Earls of Orkney. If trade pinches the mind, commerce
liberalizes it; and Boston was also advantaged with the neighborhood of
the country's oldest College, which maintained the wholesome traditions
of culture,--where Homer and Horace are familiar there is a certain
amount of cosmopolitanism,--and would not allow bigotry to become
despotism. Manners were more self-respectful, and therefore more
respectful of others, and personal sensitiveness was fenced with more of
that ceremonial with which society armed itself when it surrendered the
ruder protection of the sword. We had not then seen a Governor in his
chamber at the State-House with his hat on, a cigar in his mouth, and
his feet upon the stove. Domestic service, in spite of the proverb, was
not seldom an inheritance, nor was household peace dependent on the whim
of a foreign armed neutrality in the kitchen. Servant and master were of
one stock; there was decent authority and becoming respect; the
tradition of the Old World lingered after its superstition had passed
away. There was an aristocracy such as is healthful in a well-ordered
community, founded on public service, and hereditary so long as the
virtue which was its patent was not escheated. The clergy, no longer
hedged by the reverence exacted by sacerdotal caste, were more than
repaid by the consideration willingly paid to superior culture. What
changes, many of them for the better, some of them surely for the worse,
and all of them inevitable, did not Josiah Quincy see in that wellnigh
secular life which linked the war of independence to the war of
nationality! We seemed to see a type of them the other day in a colored
man standing with an air of comfortable self-possession while his boots
were brushed by a youth of catholic neutral tint, but whom nature had
planned for white. The same eyes that had looked on Gage's red-coats,
saw Colonel Shaw's negro regiment march out of Boston in the national
blue. Seldom has a life, itself actively associated with public affairs,
spanned so wide a chasm for the imagination. Oglethorpe's offers a
parallel,--the aide-de-camp of Prince Eugene calling on John Adams,
American Ambassador to England. Most long lives resemble those threads
of gossamer, the nearest approach to nothing unmeaningly prolonged,
scarce visible pathway of some worm from his cradle to his grave; but
Quincy's was strung with seventy active years, each one a rounded bead
of usefulness and service.

Mr. Quincy was a Bostonian of the purest type. Since the settlement of
the town, there had been a colonel of the Boston regiment in every
generation of his family. He lived to see a grandson brevetted with the
same title for gallantry in the field. Only child of one among the most
eminent advocates of the Revolution, and who but for his untimely death
would have been a leading actor in it, his earliest recollections
belonged to the heroic period in the history of his native town. With
that history his life was thenceforth intimately united by offices of
public trust, as Representative in Congress, State Senator, Mayor, and
President of the University, to a period beyond the ordinary span of
mortals. Even after he had passed ninety, he would not claim to be
_emeritus_, but came forward to brace his townsmen with a courage and
warm them with a fire younger than their own. The legend of Colonel
Goffe at Deerfield became a reality to the eyes of this generation. The
New England breed is running out, we are told! This was in all ways a
beautiful and fortunate life,--fortunate in the goods of this
world,--fortunate, above all, in the force of character which makes
fortune secondary and subservient. We are fond in this country of what
are called self-made men (as if real success could ever be other); and
this is all very well, provided they make something worth having of
themselves. Otherwise it is not so well, and the examples of such are at
best but stuff for the Alnaschar dreams of a false democracy. The gist
of the matter is not where a man starts from, but where he comes out. We
are glad to have the biography of one who, beginning as a gentleman,
kept himself such to the end,--who, with no necessity of labor, left
behind him an amount of thoroughly done work such as few have
accomplished with the mighty help of hunger. Some kind of pace may be
got out of the veriest jade by the near prospect of oats; but the
thorough-bred has the spur in his blood.

Mr. Edmund Quincy has told the story of his father's life with the skill
and good taste that might have been expected from the author of
"Wensley." Considering natural partialities, he has shown a discretion
of which we are oftener reminded by missing than by meeting it. He has
given extracts enough from speeches to show their bearing and
quality,--from letters, to recall bygone modes of thought and indicate
many-sided friendly relations with good and eminent men; above all, he
has lost no opportunity to illustrate that life of the past, near in
date, yet alien in manners, whose current glides so imperceptibly from
one generation into another that we fail to mark the shiftings of its
bed or the change in its nature wrought by the affluents that discharge
into it on all sides,--here a stream bred in the hills to sweeten, there
the sewerage of some great city to corrupt. We cannot but lament that
Mr. Quincy did not earlier begin to keep a diary. "Miss not the
discourses of the elders," though put now in the Apocrypha, is a wise
precept, but incomplete unless we add, "Nor cease from recording
whatsoever thing thou hast gathered therefrom,"--so ready is Oblivion
with her fatal shears. The somewhat greasy heap of a literary
rag-and-bone-picker, like Athenæus, is turned to gold by time. Even the
_Virgilium vide tantum_ of Dryden about Milton, and of Pope again about
Dryden, is worth having, and gives a pleasant fillip to the fancy. There
is much of this quality in Mr. Edmund Quincy's book, enough to make us
wish there were more. We get a glimpse of President Washington, in 1795,
who reminded Mr. Quincy "of the gentlemen who used to come to Boston in
those days to attend the General Court from Hampden or Franklin County,
in the western part of the State. A little stiff in his person, not a
little formal in his manners, not particularly at ease in the presence
of strangers. He had the air of a country-gentleman not accustomed to
mix much in society, perfectly polite, but not easy in his address and
conversation, and not graceful in his gait and movements." Our figures
of Washington have been so long equestrian, that it is pleasant to meet
him dismounted for once. In the same way we get a card of invitation to
a dinner of sixty covers at John Hancock's, and see the rather
light-weighted great man wheeled round the room (for he had adopted
Lord Chatham's convenient trick of the gout) to converse with his
guests. In another place we are presented, with Mr. Merry, the English
Minister, to Jefferson, whom we find in an unofficial costume of studied
slovenliness, intended as a snub to haughty Albion. Slippers down at the
heel and a dirty shirt become weapons of diplomacy and threaten more
serious war. Thus many a door into the past, long irrevocably shut upon
us, is set ajar, and we of the younger generation on the landing catch
peeps of distinguished men, and bits of their table-talk. We drive in
from Mr. Lyman's beautiful seat at Waltham (unique at that day in its
stately swans and half-shy, half-familiar deer) with John Adams, who
tells us that Dr. Priestley looked on the French monarchy as the tenth
horn of the Beast in Revelations,--a horn that has set more sober wits
dancing than that of Huon of Bordeaux. Those were days, we are inclined
to think, of more solid and elegant hospitality than our own,--the
elegance of manners, at once more courtly and more frugal, of men who
had better uses for wealth than merely to display it. Dinners have more
courses now, and, like the Gascon in the old story, who could not see
the town for the houses, we miss the real dinner in the multiplicity of
its details. We might seek long before we found so good cheer, so good
company, or so good talk as our fathers had at Lieutenant-Governor
Winthrop's or Senator Cabot's.

We shall not do Mr. Edmund Quincy the wrong of picking out in advance
all the plums in his volume, leaving to the reader only the less savory
mixture that held them together,--a kind of filling unavoidable in books
of this kind, and too apt to be what boys at boarding-school call
_stick-jaw_, but of which there is no more than could not be helped
here, and that light and palatable. But here and there is a passage
where we cannot refrain, for there is a smack of Jack Horner in all of
us, and a reviewer were nothing without it. Josiah Quincy was born in
1772. His father, returning from a mission to England, died in sight of
the dear New England shore three years later. His young widow was worthy
of him, and of the son whose character she was to have so large a share
in forming. There is something very touching and beautiful in this
little picture of her which Mr. Quincy drew in his extreme old age.

"My mother imbibed, as was usual with the women of the period, the
spirit of the times. Patriotism was not then a profession, but an
energetic principle beating in the heart and active in the life. The
death of my father, under circumstances now the subject of history, had
overwhelmed her with grief. She viewed him as a victim in the cause of
freedom, and cultivated his memory with veneration, regarding him as a
martyr, falling, as did his friend Warren, in the defence of the
liberties of his country. These circumstances gave a pathos and
vehemence to her grief, which, after the first violence of passion had
subsided, sought consolation in earnest and solicitous fulfilment of
duty to the representative of his memory and of their mutual affections.
Love and reverence for the memory of his father was early impressed on
the mind of her son, and worn into his heart by her sadness and tears.
She cultivated the memory of my father in my heart and affections, even
in my earliest childhood, by reading to me passages from the poets, and
obliging me to learn by heart and repeat such as were best adapted to
her own circumstances and feelings. Among others, the whole leave-taking
of Hector and Andromache, in the sixth book of Pope's Homer, was one of
her favorite lessons, which she made me learn and frequently repeat. Her
imagination, probably, found consolation in the repetition of lines
which brought to mind and seemed to typify her own great bereavement.

    'And think'st thou not how wretched we shall be,--
    A widow I, a helpless orphan he?'

These lines, and the whole tenor of Andromache's address and
circumstances, she identified with her own sufferings, which seemed
relieved by the tears my repetition of them drew from her."

Pope's Homer is not Homer, perhaps; but how many noble natures have felt
its elation, how many bruised spirits the solace of its bracing, if
monotonous melody! To us there is something inexpressibly tender in this
instinct of the widowed mother to find consolation in the idealization
of her grief by mingling it with those sorrows which genius has turned
into the perennial delight of mankind. This was a kind of sentiment that
was healthy for her boy, refining without unnerving, and associating his
father's memory with a noble company unassailable by time. It was
through this lady, whose image looks down on us out of the past, so full
of sweetness and refinement, that Mr. Quincy became of kin with Mr.
Wendell Phillips, so justly eminent as a speaker. There is something
nearer than cater-cousinship in a certain impetuous audacity of temper
common to them both.

When six years old, Mr. Quincy was sent to Phillips Academy at Andover,
where he remained till he entered college. His form-fellow here was a
man of thirty, who had been a surgeon in the Continental Army, and whose
character and adventures might almost seem borrowed from a romance of
Smollett. Under Principal Pearson, the lad, though a near relative of
the founder of the school, seems to have endured all that severity of
the old _a posteriori_ method of teaching which still smarted in
Tusser's memory when he sang,

    "From Paul's I went, to Eton sent,
    To learn straightways the Latin phrase,
    Where fifty-three stripes given to me
    At once I had."

The young victim of the wisdom of Solomon was boarded with the parish
minister, in whose kindness he found a lenitive for the scholastic
discipline he underwent. This gentleman had been a soldier in the
Colonial service, and Mr. Quincy afterwards gave as a reason for his
mildness, that, "while a sergeant at Castle William, he had seen
something of mankind." This, no doubt, would be a better preparative for
successful dealing with the young than is generally thought. However,
the birch was then the only classic tree, and every round in the ladder
of learning was made of its inspiring wood. Dr. Pearson, perhaps,
thought he was only doing justice to his pupil's claims of kindred by
giving him a larger share of the educational advantages which the
neighboring forest afforded. The vividness with which this system is
always remembered by those who have been subjected to it would seem to
show that it really enlivened the attention, and thereby invigorated the
memory, nay, might even raise some question as to what part of the
person is chosen by the mother of the Muses for her residence. With an
appetite for the classics quickened by "Cheever's Accidence," and such
other preliminary whets as were then in vogue, young Quincy entered
college, where he spent the usual four years, and was graduated with the
highest honors of his class. The amount of Latin and Greek imparted to
the students of that day was not very great. They were carried through
Horace, Sallust, and the _De Oratoribus_ of Cicero, and read portions of
Livy, Xenophon, and Homer. Yet the chief end of classical studies was
perhaps as often reached then as now, in giving young men a love for
something apart from and above the more vulgar associations of life. Mr.
Quincy, at least, retained to the last a fondness for certain Latin
authors. While he was President of the College, he told a gentleman,
from whom we received the story, that, "if he were imprisoned, and
allowed to choose one book for his amusement, that one should be

In 1797, Mr. Quincy was married to Miss Eliza Susan Morton of New York,
a union which lasted in unbroken happiness for more than fifty years.
His case might be cited among the leading ones in support of the old
poet's axiom, that

    "He never loved, that loved not at first sight";

for he saw, wooed, and won in a week. In later life he tried in a most
amusing way to account for this rashness, and to find reasons of
settled gravity for the happy inspiration of his heart. He cites the
evidence of Judge Sedgwick, of Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Wolcott, of the Rev.
Dr. Smith, and others, to the wisdom of his choice. But it does not
appear that he consulted them beforehand. If love were not too cunning
for that, what would become of the charming idyl, renewed in all its
wonder and freshness for every generation? Let us be thankful that in
every man's life there is a holiday of romance, an illumination of the
senses by the soul, that makes him a poet while it lasts. Mr. Quincy
caught the enchantment through his ears, a song of Burns heard from the
next room conveying the infection,--a fact still inexplicable to him
after lifelong meditation thereon, as he "was not very impressible by
music"! To us there is something very characteristic in this rapid
energy of Mr. Quincy, something very delightful in his naïve account of
the affair. It needs the magic of no Dr. Heidegger to make these dried
roses, that drop from between the leaves of a volume shut for seventy
years, bloom again in all their sweetness. Mr. Edmund Quincy tells us
his mother was "not handsome"; but those who remember the gracious
dignity of her old age will hardly agree with him. She must always have
had that highest kind of beauty which grows more beautiful with years,
and keeps the eyes young, as if with a sort of partial connivance of

We do not propose to follow Mr. Quincy closely through his whole public
life, which, beginning with his thirty-second, ended with his
seventy-third year. He entered Congress as the representative of a party
privately the most respectable, publicly the least sagacious, among all
those which under different names have divided the country. The
Federalists were the only proper tones our politics have ever produced,
whose conservatism truly represented an idea, and not a mere selfish
interest,--men who honestly distrusted democracy, and stood up for
experience, or the tradition which they believed for such, against
empiricism. During his Congressional career, the government was little
more than an _attaché_ of the French legation, and the opposition to
which he belonged a helpless _revenant_ from the dead and buried
Colonial past. There are some questions whose interest dies the moment
they are settled; others, into which a moral element enters that hinders
them from being settled, though they may be decided. It is hard to
revive any enthusiasm about the _Embargo_, though it once could inspire
the boyish Muse of Bryant, or in the impressment quarrel, though the
Trent difficulty for a time rekindled its old animosities. The stars in
their courses fought against Mr. Quincy's party, which was not in
sympathy with the instincts of the people, groping about for some
principle of nationality, and finding a substitute for it in hatred of
England. But there are several things which still make his career in
Congress interesting to us, because they illustrate the personal
character of the man. He prepared himself honestly for his duties, by a
thorough study of whatever could make him efficient in them. It was not
enough that he could make a good speech; he wished also to have
something to say. In Congress, as everywhere else, _quod voluit valde
voluit_; and he threw a fervor into the most temporary topic, as if his
eternal salvation depended upon it. He had not merely, as the French
say, the courage of his opinions, but his opinions became principles,
and gave him that gallantry of fanaticism which made him always ready to
head a forlorn hope,--the more ready, perhaps, that it was a forlorn
hope. This is not the humor of a statesman,--no, unless he holds a
position like that of Pitt, and can charge a whole people with his own
enthusiasm, and then we call it genius. Mr. Quincy had the moral
firmness which enabled him to decline a duel without any loss of
personal _prestige_. His opposition to the Louisiana purchase
illustrates that Roman quality in him to which we have alluded. He
would not conclude the purchase till each of the old thirteen States had
signified its assent. He was reluctant to endow a Sabine city with the
privilege of Roman citizenship. It is worth nothing, that while in
Congress, and afterwards in the State Senate, many of his phrases became
the catchwords of party politics. He always dared to say what others
deemed it more prudent only to think, and whatever he said he
intensified with the whole ardor of his temperament. It is this which
makes Mr. Quincy's speeches good reading still, even when the topics
they discussed were ephemeral. In one respect he is distinguished from
the politicians, and must rank with the far-seeing statesmen of his
time. He early foresaw and denounced the political danger with which the
slave power threatened the Union. His fears, it is true, were aroused
for the balance of power between the old States, rather than by any
moral sensitiveness, which would, indeed, have been an anachronism at
that time. But the Civil War justified his prescience.

It was as Mayor of his native city that his remarkable qualities as an
administrator were first called into requisition and adequately
displayed. He organized the city government, and put it in working
order. To him we owe many reforms in police, in the management of the
poor, and other kindred matters,--much in the way of cure, still more,
in that of prevention. The place demanded a man of courage and firmness,
and found those qualities almost superabundantly in him. His virtues
lost him his office, as such virtues are only too apt to do in peaceful
times, where they are felt more as a restraint than a protection. His
address on laying down the mayoralty is very characteristic. We quote
the concluding sentences:--

"And now, gentlemen, standing as I do in this relation for the last time
in your presence and that of my fellow-citizens, about to surrender
forever a station full of difficulty, of labor and temptation, in which
I have been called to very arduous duties, affecting the rights,
property, and at times the liberty of others; concerning which the
perfect line of rectitude--though desired--was not always to be clearly
discerned; in which great interests have been placed within my control,
under circumstances in which it would have been easy to advance private
ends and sinister projects;--under these circumstances, I inquire, as I
have a right to inquire,--for in the recent contest insinuations have
been cast against my integrity,--in this long management of your
affairs, whatever errors have been committed,--and doubtless there have
been many,--have you found in me anything selfish, anything personal,
anything mercenary? In the simple language of an ancient seer, I say,
'Behold, here I am; witness against me. Whom have I defrauded? Whom have
I oppressed? At whose hands have I received any bribe?'

"Six years ago, when I had the honor first to address the City Council,
in anticipation of the event which has now occurred, the following
expressions were used: 'In administering the police, in executing the
laws, in protecting the rights and promoting the prosperity of the city,
its first officer will be necessarily beset and assailed by individual
interests, by rival projects, by personal influences, by party passions.
The more firm and inflexible he is in maintaining the rights and in
pursuing the interests of the city, the greater is the probability of
his becoming obnoxious to the censure of all whom he causes to be
prosecuted or punished, of all whose passions he thwarts, of all whose
interests he opposes.'

"The day and the event have come. I retire--as in that first address I
told my fellow-citizens, 'If, in conformity with the experience of other
republics, faithful exertions should be followed by loss of favor and
confidence,' I should retire--'rejoicing, not, indeed, with a public and
patriotic, but with a private and individual joy'; for I shall retire
with a consciousness weighed against which all _human suffrages_ are but
as the light dust of the balance."

Of his mayoralty we have another anecdote quite Roman in color. He was
in the habit of riding early in the morning through the various streets
that he might look into everything with his own eyes. He was once
arrested on a malicious charge of violating the city ordinance against
fast driving. He might have resisted, but he appeared in court and paid
the fine, because it would serve as a good example "that no citizen was
above the law."

Hardly had Mr. Quincy given up the government of the city, when he was
called to that of the College. It is here that his stately figure is
associated most intimately and warmly with the recollections of the
greater number who hold his memory dear. Almost everybody looks back
regretfully to the days of some Consul Plancus. Never were eyes so
bright, never had wine so much wit and good-fellowship in it, never were
we ourselves so capable of the various great things we have never done.
Nor is it merely the sunset of life that casts such a ravishing light on
the past, and makes the western windows of those homes of fancy we have
left forever tremble with a sentiment of such sweet regret. We set great
store by what we had, and cannot have again, however indifferent in
itself, and what is past is infinitely past. This is especially true of
college life, when we first assume the titles without the
responsibilities of manhood, and the President of our year is apt to
become our Plancus very early. Popular or not while in office, an
ex-president is always sure of enthusiastic cheers at every college
festival. Mr. Quincy had many qualities calculated to win favor with the
young,--that one above all which is sure to do it, indomitable pluck.
With him the dignity was in the man, not in the office. He had some of
those little oddities, too, which afford amusement without contempt, and
which rather tend to heighten than diminish personal attachment to
superiors in station. His punctuality at prayers, and in dropping asleep
there, his forgetfulness of names, his singular inability to make even
the shortest offhand speech to the students,--all the more singular in a
practised orator,--his occasional absorption of mind, leading him to
hand you his sand-box instead of the leave of absence he had just dried
with it,--the old-fashioned courtesy of his, "Sir, your servant," as he
bowed you out of his study,--all tended to make him popular. He had also
a little of what is somewhat contradictorily called dry humor, not
without influence in his relations with the students. In taking leave of
the graduating class, he was in the habit of paying them whatever honest
compliment he could. Who, of a certain year which shall be nameless,
will ever forget the gravity with which he assured them that they were
"the _best-dressed_ class that had passed through college during his
administration"? How sincerely kind he was, how considerate of youthful
levity, will always be gratefully remembered by whoever had occasion to
experience it. A visitor not long before his death found him burning
some memoranda of college peccadilloes, lest they should ever rise up in
judgment against the men eminent in Church and State who had been guilty
of them. One great element of his popularity with the students was his
_esprit de corps_. However strict in discipline, he was always on _our_
side as respected the outside world. Of his efficiency, no higher
testimony could be asked than that of his successor, Dr. Walker. Here
also many reforms date from his time. He had that happiest combination
for a wise vigor in the conduct of affairs,--he was a conservative with
an open mind.

One would be apt to think that, in the various offices which Mr. Quincy
successively filled, he would have found enough to do. But his
indefatigable activity overflowed. Even as a man of letters, he occupies
no inconsiderable place. His "History of Harvard College" is a valuable
and entertaining treatment of a subject not wanting in natural dryness.
His "Municipal History of Boston" his "History of the Boston Athenæum,"
and his "Life of Colonel Shaw" have permanent interest and value. All
these were works demanding no little labor and research, and the
thoroughness of their workmanship makes them remarkable as the
by-productions of a busy man. Having consented, when more than eighty,
to write a memoir of John Quincy Adams, to be published in the
"Proceedings" of the Massachusetts Historical Society, he was obliged to
excuse himself. On account of his age? Not at all, but because the work
had grown to be a volume under his weariless hand. _Ohne Hast ohne
Rast_, was as true of him as of Goethe. We find the explanation of his
accomplishing so much in a rule of life which he gave, when President,
to a young man employed as his secretary, and who was a little
behindhand with his work: "When you have a number of duties to perform,
always do the most disagreeable one first." No advice could have been
more in character.

Perhaps the most beautiful part of Mr. Quincy's life was his old age.
What in most men is decay, was in him but beneficent prolongation and
adjournment. His interest in affairs unabated, his judgment undimmed,
his fire unchilled, his last years were indeed "lovely as a Lapland
night." Till within a year or two of its fall, there were no signs of
dilapidation in that stately edifice. Singularly felicitous was Mr.
Winthrop's application to him of Wordsworth's verses:--

    "The monumental pomp of age
    Was in that goodly personage."

Everything that Macbeth foreboded the want of, he had in deserved
abundance,--the love, the honor, the obedience, the troops of friends.
His equanimity was beautiful. He loved life, as men of large vitality
always do, but he did not fear to lose life by changing the scene of it.
Visiting him in his ninetieth year with a friend, he said to us, among
other things: "I have no desire to die, but also no reluctance. Indeed,
I have a considerable curiosity about the other world. I have never been
to Europe, you know." Even in his extreme senescence there was an April
mood somewhere in his nature "that put a spirit of youth in everything."
He seemed to feel that he could draw against an unlimited credit of
years. When eighty-two, he said smilingly to a young man just returned
from a foreign tour, "Well, well, I mean to go myself when I am old
enough to profit by it." We have seen many old men whose lives were mere
waste and desolation, who made longevity disreputable by their untimely
persistence in it; but in Mr. Quincy's length of years there was nothing
that was not venerable. To him it was fulfilment, not deprivation; the
days were marked to the last for what they brought, not for what they
took away.

The memory of what Mr. Quincy did will be lost in the crowd of newer
activities; it is the memory of what he was that is precious to us.
_Bonum virum facile crederes, magnum libenter._ If John Winthrop be the
highest type of the men who shaped New England, we can find no better
one of those whom New England has shaped than Josiah Quincy. It is a
figure that we can contemplate with more than satisfaction,--a figure of
admirable example in a democracy as that of a model citizen. His courage
and high-mindedness were personal to him; let us believe that his
integrity, his industry, his love of letters, his devotion to duty, go
in some sort to the credit of the society which gave him birth and
formed his character. In one respect he is especially interesting to us,
as belonging to a class of men of whom he was the last representative,
and whose like we shall never see again. Born and bred in an age of
greater social distinctions than ours, he was an aristocrat in a sense
that is good even in a republic. He had the sense of a certain personal
dignity _inherent_ in him, and which could not be alienated by any whim
of the popular will. There is no stouter buckler than this for
independence of spirit, no surer guaranty of that courtesy which, in its
consideration of others, is but paying a debt of self-respect. During
his presidency, Mr. Quincy was once riding to Cambridge in a crowded
omnibus. A colored woman got in, and could nowhere find a seat. The
President instantly gave her his own, and stood the rest of the way, a
silent rebuke of the general rudeness. He was a man of quality in the
true sense,--of quality not hereditary, but personal. Position might be
taken from him, but _he_ remained where he was. In what he valued most,
his sense of personal worth, the world's opinion could neither help nor
hinder. We do not mean that this was conscious in him; if it had been,
it would have been a weakness. It was an instinct, and acted with the
force and promptitude proper to such. Let us hope that the scramble of
democracy will give us something as good; anything of so classic dignity
we shall not look to see again.

Josiah Quincy was no seeker of office; from first to last he and it were
drawn together by the mutual attraction of need and fitness, and it
clung to him as most men cling to it. The people often make blunders in
their choice; they are apt to mistake presence of speech for presence of
mind; they love so to help a man rise from the ranks, that they will
spoil a good demagogue to make a bad general; a great many faults may be
laid at their door, but they are not fairly to be charged with
fickleness. They are constant to whoever is constant to his real self,
to the best manhood that is in him, and not to the mere selfishness, the
_antica lupa_ so cunning to hide herself in the sheep's fleece even from
ourselves. It is true, the contemporary world is apt to be the gull of
brilliant parts, and the maker of a lucky poem or picture or statue,
the winner of a lucky battle, gets perhaps more than is due to the solid
result of his triumph. It is time that fit honor should be paid also to
him who shows a genius for public usefulness, for the achievement of
character, who shapes his life to a certain classic proportion, and
comes off conqueror on those inward fields where something more than
mere talent is demanded for victory. The memory of such men should be
cherished as the most precious inheritance which one generation can
bequeath to the next. However it might be with popular favor, public
respect followed Mr. Quincy unwaveringly for seventy years, and it was
because he had never forfeited his own. In this, it appears to us, lies
the lesson of his life, and his claim upon our grateful recollection. It
is this which makes him an example, while the careers of so many of our
prominent men are only useful for warning. As regards history, his
greatness was narrowly provincial; but if the measure of deeds be the
spirit in which they are done, that fidelity to instant duty, which,
according to Herbert, makes an action fine, then his length of years
should be very precious to us for its lesson. Talleyrand, whose life may
be compared with his for the strange vicissitude which it witnessed,
carried with him out of the world the respect of no man, least of all
his own; and how many of our own public men have we seen whose old age
but accumulated a disregard which they would gladly have exchanged for
oblivion! In Quincy the public fidelity was loyal to the private, and
the withdrawal of his old age was into a sanctuary,--a diminution of
publicity with addition of influence.

    "Conclude we, then, felicity consists
    Not in exterior fortunes....
    Sacred felicity doth ne'er extend
    Beyond itself....
    The swelling of an outward fortune can
    Create a prosperous, not a happy man."


The people of the United States now have the mortification of standing
before the world in the attitude of a swindled democracy. Their
collective will is crossed by the will of one individual, whose only
title to such autocracy is in the fact that he has cheated and betrayed
those who elected him. There might be some little compensation for this
outrage, if the man himself possessed any of those commanding qualities
of mind and disposition which ordinarily distinguish usurpers; but it is
the peculiarity of Mr. Johnson that the indignation excited by his
claims is only equalled by the contempt excited by his character. He is
despised even by those he benefits, and his nominal supporters feel
ashamed of the trickster and apostate, while condescending to reap the
advantages of his faithlessness. No party in the South or in the North
thinks of selecting him as its candidate, for the vices and weaknesses
which make an excellent accomplice and tool are not those which any
party would consider desirable in a leader. Whatever office-seekers,
partisans, traitors, and public enemies may find in Mr. Johnson, it is
certain that they find in him nothing to respect. He is cursed with that
form of moral disease which sometimes renders a man ridiculous,
sometimes infamous, but which never renders him respectable,--namely,
vanity of will. Other men may be vain of their talents and
accomplishments, but he is vain of the personal pronoun itself, utterly
regardless of what it covers and includes. Reason, conscience,
understanding, have no impersonality to him. When he uses the words, he
uses them as synonymes of his determinations, or as decorative terms
into which it pleases him to translate the rough vernacular of his
wilfulness and caprices. The "Constitution," also, a word constantly
profaned by his lips, is not so much, as he uses it, the Constitution of
the United States as the moral and mental constitution of Andrew
Johnson, which, in his view, is the one primary fact to which all other
facts must be subordinate. His gross inconsistencies of opinion and
policy, his shameless betrayal of his party, his incapacity to hold
himself to his word, his hatred of a cause the moment its defenders
cease to flatter him, his habit of administering laws he has vetoed, on
the principle that they do not mean what he vetoed them for meaning, his
delight in little tricks of low cunning,--in short, all the immoral and
unreasonable acts of his administration have their central source in a
passionate sense of self-importance, inflaming a mind of extremely
limited capacity.

Such a person, whose mere presence in the executive chair of a
constitutional country is itself "a high crime and misdemeanor," is of
course the natural prey of demagogues, and he now appears to be
surrounded by demagogues of the most desperate class. His advisers are
conspirators, and they have so wrought on his vulgar and malignant
nature that the question of his impeachment has now come to be merged in
the more momentous question whether he will submit to be impeached.
Constitutionally, there is no limit to the power of Congress in this
respect but that which Congress may itself impose. The power is plain,
and there can be no revision of the judgment of the Senate by any other
power in the government. But Mr. Johnson thinks, or says he thinks, that
Congress itself, as at present constituted, is unconstitutional. He
believes, or says he believes, that the defeated Rebel States whose
representatives Congress now excludes are as much States in the Union,
and as much entitled to representation, as New York or Ohio. As he
specially represents the defeated Rebel States, it is hardly to be
supposed that he will consent to be punished for crimes committed in
their behalf by a Congress from which their representatives are
excluded; and it is also to be presumed that the measures he is now
taking to obstruct the operation of the laws of Congress relating to
reconstruction are but preliminary to a design to resist Congress

The madness of such a scheme leads judicious people to disbelieve in its
possibility; but in respect to Mr. Johnson it has been found that the
only way to prevent the occurrence of mischief is to diffuse extensively
among the people the suspicion that it is meditated. Judicious and
dispassionate persons are often poor judges of what men of fierce
passions and distempered minds will do; for they unconsciously attribute
to such men some of their own ideas of honesty, propriety, and regard
for the public welfare. The legislators whom Louis Napoleon outwitted
were overthrown, because, bad as their opinion of him was, it was not so
bad as events proved it ought to have been. In the case of Mr. Johnson,
there is not the same excuse for misconception, since his cunning is
utterly divorced from sagacity, and he has not the intelligence to
conceal what his impulses prompt him to attempt. The kind of man he is
would seem to be obvious to the most superficial observer; the natural
inference is, therefore, that he will act after his kind; but this is an
inference which dispassionate statesmen have hesitated fully to draw.
They have been continually surprised at acts which they should have
foreseen. They were surprised that, during the months he was left to his
own devices and to the counsels of Southern politicians, he matured his
policy of reconstruction. They were surprised that he would not abandon
his policy rather than break with the Republican party. They were
surprised when they learned that he meditated a _coup d'état_ on the
assembling of the Fortieth Congress. They were surprised when they found
that no law could be made which would bind him according to its intent.
They were surprised when, as soon as Congress adjourned, he began to
take measures which can have no other intelligible purpose than that of
making him master of Congress when it reassembles. And to crown all,
though it has been apparent since February, 1866, that he was the enemy
of the country, they have still had technical reasons for retaining him
as the proper executive of its laws.

It would then seem that, in dealing with such a man as Andrew Johnson,
it is the part of wisdom to suspect the worst. Without any special
knowledge of the treasonable intrigue now going on in Washington, it is
still possible to fathom the President's designs, and to understand the
resources on which he relies. In the first place, his conceit makes him
believe that he is the first man in the nation, and that he is not only
adored at the South, but popular at the North. The slightest sign of
reaction in Northern and Western elections he considers a testimony to
his individual merit, and an indorsement of his policy. In case he
refuses to recognize the present Congress, turns its members by military
power out of their seats, and appeals for support to the white
population of the Rebel as well as Loyal States, he will count on being
sustained by the nation. The Democratic party agrees with him as far as
regards the constitutionality of the laws which he will, in the name of
the Constitution, be compelled to disregard in order to get possession
of the military power of the country; and he thinks that party will
support him in resuming those functions as commander-in-chief of which
he has been deprived by a "usurping" Congress. The army and navy, with
all Republican officers removed, including, of course, General Grant and
Admiral Farragut, he thinks will obey his orders. The South, he
supposes, will rally round him to a man. The thoroughly Rebel military
organization in Maryland, controlled by a Governor after his own heart,
will interpose obstacles to the passage of troops from the Northern
States to Washington. The Democrats in those States will do all they
can to prevent troops from being sent. Before there could be any
efficient military organization in the Loyal States brought to bear on
his dictatorship, he expects to have a Congress of "the whole nation"
around him, of which at least a majority will be defeated Rebels and
Copperheads. The whole thing is to be done in the name of the
Constitution; and the Proclamation he has issued to all officers of the
United States, civil and military, telling them to obey the Constitution
(i. e. Mr. Johnson), may be considered the first step in the development
of the scheme.

It is needless to say that such a scheme could only find hospitable
reception in the head of a spiteful, inflated, and unprincipled egotist,
for such an egotist Mr. Johnson assuredly is. It is needless to say that
it would break down through the refusal of General Grant to give up his
command, and through the refusal of the great body of the army to obey
the President; for the danger is not so much the success of the attempt
as the convulsion which, the mere attempt would occasion. That the
danger is a serious one, provided the October and November elections
show a considerable Republican loss, is evident from a consideration of
the President's position. He has already gone far enough in his course
to exasperate Congress, and unite its Republican members, conservative
and radical, in favor of his impeachment. Without going over the long
list of delinquencies and usurpations which would justify that measure,
it is sufficient to name the recent Proclamation of Amnesty as an act
which promises to secure it. That Proclamation is a plain violation of
the Constitution as the Constitution is understood by Congress; and it
is upon the Congressional interpretation of the Constitution that, in
the matter of impeachment, the President must stand or fall. Congress,
by giving the power of granting amnesty to Mr. Lincoln, evidently
conceived that it was not a power given to him by the Constitution; by
taking it away from Mr. Johnson, it as evidently conceived that it
could not be exercised by him except by usurpation. In usurping this
power, Mr. Johnson must have known that his act belonged, in the opinion
of Congress, to the class of "high crimes and misdemeanors," for the
commission of which the Constitution expressly provides that Presidents
may be impeached; and he must also have known that Congress, in judging
of his infractions of the Constitution, would be bound neither by his
individual opinion of his constitutional powers nor by the opinion of
the Supreme Court, but was at perfect liberty to act on its own
interpretation of his constitutional duty. It is not therefore to be
supposed that he intended to limit his defiance of Congress to the mere
issuing of the Amnesty Proclamation, especially as the principle on
which that Proclamation was issued would cover his refusal to carry out
the whole Congressional plan of reconstruction. His conviction or
assertion that Congress has no right to withhold from him the power to
pardon defeated rebels and public enemies by the wholesale, is certainly
not greater or more emphatic than his conviction or assertion that, in
its plan of reconstruction, Congress has granted to subordinates powers
which constitutionally belong to him. If he can exalt his will over
Congress in the one case, there is no reason why he should not do it in
the other.

Indeed, in the Proclamation of Amnesty, Mr. Johnson practically claims
that his power to grant pardons extends to a dispensing power over the
laws. But it is evident that the Constitution, in giving the President
the power to pardon criminals, does not give him the power to dispense
with the laws against crime. At one period, Mr. Johnson seems to have
done this in respect to the crime of counterfeiting, by his repeated
pardons extended to convicted counterfeiters.--Still there is a broad
line of distinction between the abuse of this power to pardon criminals
after conviction, and the assumption of power to restore to whole
classes of traitors and public enemies their forfeited rights of
citizenship. By the pardon of murderers and counterfeiters, the
President cannot much increase the number of his political supporters;
by the pardon of traitors and public enemies, he may build up a party to
support him in his struggle against the legislative department of the
government. The reasons which have induced Mr. Johnson to dispense with
the laws against treason are political reasons, and bear no relation to
his prerogative of mercy. Nobody pretends that he pardoned
counterfeiters because they were his political partisans; everybody
knows he pardons traitors and public enemies in order to gain their
influence and votes. A public enemy himself, and leagued with public
enemies, he has the impudence to claim that he is constitutionally
capable of perverting his power to pardon into a power to gain political
support in his schemes against the loyal nation.

But it is not probable that the President will limit his usurpations to
a measure whose chief significance consists in its preliminary
character. Before Congress meets in November, he will doubtless have
followed it up by others which will make his impeachment a matter of
certainty. The only method of preventing him from resisting impeachment
by force, is an awakening of the people to the fact that the final
battle against reviving rebellion is yet to be fought at the polls. Any
apathy or divisions among Republicans in the State elections in October
and November, resulting in a decrease of their vote, will embolden Mr.
Johnson to venture his meditated _coup d'état_. He never will submit to
be impeached and removed from office unless Congress is sustained by a
majority of the people so great as to frighten him into submission.
Elated by a little victory, he can only be depressed by a ruinous
defeat; and such a defeat it is the solemn duty of the people to prepare
for him. Even into his conceited brain must be driven the idea that his
contemplated enterprise is hopeless, and that, in attempting to commit
the greatest of political crimes, he would succeed only in committing
the most enormous of political blunders.

Still, it is not to be concealed that there are circumstances in the
present political condition of the country which may give the President
just that degree of apparent popular support which is all he needs to
stimulate him into open rebellion against the laws. It is, of course,
his duty to recognize the people of the United States in their
representatives in the Fortieth Congress; but, on the other hand, it is
the character of his mind to regard the people as multiplied duplicates
of himself, and a mob yelling for "Andy" under his windows is to him
more representative of the people than the delegates of twenty States.
In the autumn elections only two Representatives to Congress will be
chosen; the political strife will relate generally to local questions
and candidates; and it is to be feared that the Republicans will not be
sufficiently alive to the fact, that divisions on local questions and
candidates will be considered at Washington as significant of a change
in the public mind on the great national question which it is the
business of the Fortieth Congress to settle. That Congress needs the
moral support of a great Republican vote _now_, and will obtain it
provided the people are roused to a conviction of its necessity. But a
large and influential portion of the Republican party is composed of
business men, whose occupations disconnect them from politics except in
important exigencies, and who can with difficulty be made to believe
that politics is a part of their business, as long as the safety of
their business is not threatened by civil disorders. They think the
reconstruction question is practically settled, and when you speak to
them of plots such as are now hatching in Washington, and which seem as
preposterous as the story of a sensational novel, their incredulity
confirms them in the notion that it is safe to allow things to take
their course. Their very good sense makes them blind to the designs of
such a Bobadil-Cromwell as Andrew Johnson. The great body of the
Republican party, indeed, shows at present a little of the exhaustion
which is apt to follow a series of victories, and exhibits altogether
too much of the confidence which so often attends an incompleted

The Democratic party, on the contrary, is all alive, and is preparing
for one last desperate attempt to recover its old position in the
nation. Its leaders fear that, if the Congressional plan of
reconstruction be carried out, it will result in republicanizing the
Southern States. This would be the political extinction of their party.
In fighting against that plan, they are, therefore, fighting for life,
and are accordingly more than usually profligate in the character of the
stimulants they address to whatever meanness, baseness, dishonesty,
lawlessness, and ignorance there may be in the nation. Taxation presses
hard on the people, and they have not hesitated to propose repudiation
of the public debt as the means of relief. The argument is addressed to
ignorance and passion, for Mirabeau hit the reason of the case when he
defined repudiation as taxation in its most cruel and iniquitous form.
But the method of repudiation which the Democratic leaders propose to
follow is of all methods the worst and most calamitous. They would make
the dollar a mere form of expression by the issue of an additional
billion or two of greenbacks, and then "pay off" the debt in the
currency they had done all they could to render worthless. In other
words they would not only swindle the public creditor, but wreck all
values. A party which advocates such a scheme as this, to save it from
the death it deserves, would have no hesitation in risking a civil
convulsion for the same purpose. Indeed, the reopening of the civil war
would not produce half the misery which would be created by the adoption
of their project to dilute the currency.

Now, if by apathy on the part of Republicans and audacity on the part
of Democrats the autumn elections result unfavorably, it will then be
universally seen how true was Senator Sumner's remark made in January
last, that "Andrew Johnson, who came to supreme power by a bloody
accident, has become the successor of Jefferson Davis in the spirit by
which he is governed, and in the mischief he is inflicting on the
country"; that "the President of the Rebellion is revived in the
President of the United States." What this man now proposes to do has
been impressively stated by Senator Thayer of Nebraska, in a public
address at Cincinnati: "I declare," he said, "upon my responsibility as
a Senator of the United States, that to-day Andrew Johnson meditates and
designs forcible resistance to the authority of Congress. I make this
statement deliberately, having received it from an unquestioned and
unquestionable authority." It would seem that this authority could be
none other than the authority of the Acting Secretary of War and General
of the Army of the United States, who, reticent as he is, does not
pretend to withhold his opinion that the country is in imminent peril,
and in peril from the action of the President. But it is by some
considered a sufficient reply to such statements, that, if Mr. Johnson
should overturn the legislative department of the government, there
would be an uprising of the people which would soon sweep him and his
supporters from the face of the earth. This may be very true, but we
should prefer a less Mexican manner of ascertaining public sentiment.
Without leaving their peaceful occupations, the people can do by their
votes all that it is proposed they shall do by their muskets. It is
hardly necessary that a million or half a million of men should go to
Washington to speak their mind to Mr. Johnson, when a ballot-box close
at hand will save them the expense and trouble. It will, indeed, be
infinitely disgraceful to the nation if Mr. Johnson dares to put his
purpose into act, for his courage to violate his own duty will come from
the neglect of the people to perform theirs. Let the great uprising of
the citizens of the Republic be at the polls this autumn, and there will
be no need of a fight in the winter. The House of Representatives, which
has the sole power of impeachment, will in all probability impeach the
President. The Senate, which has the sole power to try impeachments,
will in all probability find him guilty, by the requisite two thirds of
its members, of the charges preferred by the House. And he himself,
cowed by the popular verdict against his contemplated crime, and
hopeless of escaping from the punishment of past delinquencies by a new
act of treason, will submit to be removed from the office he has too
long been allowed to dishonor.


    _The New Life of_ DANTE ALIGHIERI. Translated by CHARLES ELIOT
    NORTON. Boston: Ticknor and Fields.

In "The New Life" Dante tells how first he met Beatrice and loved her;
but how he feigned that it was another lady he loved, making a defence
of her and others still that his real passion might not be known; how
Beatrice would not salute him, believing him false and inconstant with
these ladies, her friends; how being at a banquet where she was, he was
so visibly stricken with love that some of the ladies derided him; how
Beatrice's father died, and how Dante himself fell ill; how Beatrice
quitted the city, and soon after the world; and how Dante was so
grateful to another lady who pitied his affliction that his heart turned
toward her in love, but he restrained it, and remained true to Beatrice
forever. Part of this is told as the experience of children in years,
Dante being nine at the time he first sees his love, and she of "a very
youthful age"; but the narrative then extends over the course of sixteen
years. The incidents of the slight history furnish occasion for sonnets
and canzonets, which often repeat the facts and sentiments of the prose,
and which are again elaborately expounded.

Such is "The New Life,"--a medley of passionate feeling, of vaguest
narrative, of scholastic pedantry. It is readily conceivable that to
transfer such a work to another tongue with verbal truth, and without
lapse from the peculiar spirit of the original, is a labor of great and
unusual difficulty. The slightest awkwardness in the translation of
these mystical passages of prose and rhyme connected by a thread of fact
so fragile and so subtle that we must seem to have done it violence in
touching it, would be almost fatal to the reader's enjoyment, or even
patience. Their version demands deep knowledge, not only of the language
in which they first took form, but of all the civil and intellectual
conditions of the time and country in which they were produced, as well
as the utmost fidelity, and exquisite delicacy of taste. It appears to
us that Mr. Norton has met these requirements, and executed his task
with signal grace and success.

The translator of the "Vita Nuova" has not departed from the principle
which Mr. Longfellow's translation of the "Commedia" is to render sole
in the version of poetry. Indeed, there was a greater need, if possible,
of literalness in rendering the less than the greater work, while the
temptations to "improvement" and modification of the original must have
been even more constant. Yet there is a very notable difference between
Mr. Longfellow's literality and Mr. Norton's, which strikes at first
glance, and which goes to prove that within his proper limits the
literal translator can always find room for the play of individual
feeling. Mr. Longfellow seems to have developed to its utmost the Latin
element in our poetical diction, and to have found in words of a kindred
stock the best interpretation of the Italian, while Mr. Norton
instinctively chooses for the rendering of Dante's tenderness and
simplicity a diction almost as purely Saxon as that of the Bible. This
gives the prose of "The New Life" with all its proper archaic quality;
and those who read the following sonnet can well believe that it is not
unjust to the beauty of the verse:--

    "So gentle and so modest doth appear
      My lady when she giveth her salute,
      That every tongue becometh, trembling, mute;
      Nor do the eyes to look upon her dare.
    Although she hears her praises, she doth go
      Benignly vested with humility;
      And like a thing come down, she seems to be,
      From heaven to earth, a miracle to show.
    So pleaseth she whoever cometh nigh,
      She gives the heart a sweetness through the eyes,
      Which none can understand who doth not prove.
    And from her countenance there seems to move
      A spirit sweet, and in Love's very guise,
      Who to the soul is ever saying, Sigh!"

Mr. Norton has in all cases kept to the metres of the original, but in
most of the canzonets has sacrificed rhyme to literality,--a sacrifice
which we are inclined to regret, chiefly because the translator has
elsewhere shown that the closest fidelity need not involve the loss of
any charm of the original. "We have not room here to make any general
comparison of Mr. Norton's version with the Italian, but we cannot deny
ourselves the pleasure of giving the following sonnet, so exquisite in
both tongues, for the better proof of what we say in praise of the

    "Negli occhi porta la mia donna Amore;
      Per che si fa gentil ciocch' ella mira:
      Ove ella passa, ogni uom ver lei si gira,
      E cui saluta fa tremar to core.
    Sicchè bassando 'l viso tutto smuore,
      Ed ogni suo difetto allor sospira:
      Fugge dinanzi a lei superbia ed ira.
      Aiutatenmi, donne, a farle onore.
    Ogni dolcezza, ogni pensiero umile
      Nasce nel core, a chi parlar la sente,
      Onde è laudato chi prima la vide.
    Quel, ch' ella par, quando un poco sorride,
      Non si puo dicer, nè tenerc a mente;
      Si è nuovo miracolo, e gentile."

        *       *       *       *

    "Within her eyes my lady beareth Love,
      So that whom she regards as gentle made;
      All toward her turn, where'er her path is laid,
      And whom she greets, his heart doth trembling move;
    So that with face cast down, all pale to view,
      For every fault of his he then doth sigh;
      Anger and pride away before her fly:--
      Assist me, dames, to pay her honor due.
    All sweetness truly, every humble thought,
      The heart of him who hears her speak doth hold;
      Whence he is blessed who hath her seen erewhile.
    What seems she when a little she doth smile
      Cannot be kept in mind, cannot be told,
      Such strange and gentle miracle is wrought."

The poems are of course rendered with varying degrees of felicity, and
this we think one of the happiest versions; though few in their
literality lack that ease and naturalness of movement supposed to be the
gift solely of those wonder-workers who render the "spirit" of an
author, while disdaining a "slavish fidelity" to his words,--who as
painters would portray a man's expression without troubling themselves
to reproduce his features.

It appears to us that generally the sonnets are translated better than
the canzonets, and that where Mr. Norton has found the rhyme quite
indispensable, he has all the more successfully performed his task. In
the prose there is naturally less inequality, and here, where excellence
is quite as important as in the verse, the translator's work is
irreproachable. His vigilant taste seems never to have failed him in the
choice of words which should keep at once all the dignity and all the
quaintness of the original, while they faithfully reported its sense.

The essays appended to the translation assemble from Italian and English
writings all the criticism that is necessary to the enjoyment of "The
New Life," and include many valuable and interesting comments by the
translator upon the work itself, and the spirit of the age and country
in which it was written.

The notes, which, like the essays, are pervaded by Mr. Norton's graceful
and conscientious scholarship, are not less useful and attractive.

We do not know that we can better express our very high estimate of the
work as a whole, than by saying that it is the fit companion of Mr.
Longfellow's unmatched version of the "Divina Commedia," with which it
is likewise uniform in faultless mechanical execution.

    _The Bulls and the Jonathans; comprising John Bull and Brother
    Jonathan, and John Bull in America._ By JAMES K. PAULDING.
    Edited by WILLIAM I. PAULDING. New York: Charles Scribner and

"John Bull and Brother Jonathan" is an allegory, conveying in a strain
of fatiguing drollery the history of the relations between Great Britain
and the United States previous to the war of 1812, and reflecting the
popular feeling with regard to some of the English tourists who overran
us after the conclusion of peace. In this ponderous travesty John Bull
of Bullock is England, and Brother Jonathan the United States; Napoleon
figures as Beau Napperty, Louis XVI. as Louis Baboon, and France as
Frogmore. It could not have been a hard thing to write in its day, and
we suppose that it must once have amused people, though it is not easy
to understand bow they could ever have read it through.

"John Bull in America" is a satire, again, upon the book-making
tourists, and the ideas of our country generally accepted from them in
England. It is in the form of a narrative, and probably does not
exaggerate the stories told of us by Captain Ashe, Mr. Richard
Parkinson, Farmer Faux, Captain Hamilton, Captain Hall, and a tribe of
now-forgotten travellers, who wrote of adventure in the United States
when, as Mr. Dickens intimates, one of the readiest means of literary
success in England was to visit the Americans and abuse them in a book.
Mr. Paulding's parody gives the idea that their lies were rather dull
and foolish, and that the parodist's work was not so entirely a
diversion as one might think. He wrote for a generation now passing
away, and it is all but impossible for us to enter into the feeling that
animated him and his readers. For this reason, perhaps, we fail to enjoy
his book, though we are not entirely persuaded that we should have found
it humorous when it first appeared.

    _The Life and Death of Jason._ A Poem. By WILLIAM MORRIS.
    Boston: Roberts Brothers.

Whether the reader shall enjoy and admire this poem or not, depends
almost solely upon the idea with which he comes to its perusal. If he
expects to find it a work of genius, with an authentic and absolute
claim upon his interest, he will be disappointed. If he is prepared to
see in it a labor of the most patient and wonderful ingenuity, to behold
the miracle of an Englishman of our day writing exactly in the spirit of
the heroic ages, with no thought or feeling suggested by the experience
of the last two thousand years, it will fully answer his expectations.
The work is so far Greek as to read in many parts like Chapman's
translation of the Odyssey; though it must be confessed that Homer is,
if not a better Pagan, at least a greater poet than Mr. Morris. Indeed,
it appears to us that Mr. Morris's success is almost wholly in the
reflected sentiment and color of his work, and it seems, therefore, to
have no positive value, and to add nothing to the variety of letters or
intellectual life. It is a kind of performance in which failure is
intolerably offensive, and triumph more to be wondered at than praised.
For to be more or less than Greek in it is to be ridiculous, and to be
just Greek is to be what has already perfectly and sufficiently been. If
one wished to breathe the atmosphere of Greek poetry, with its sensuous
love of beauty and of life, its pathetic acceptance of events as fate,
its warped and unbalanced conscience, its abhorrence of death, and its
conception of a future sad as annihilation, we had already the Greek
poets; and does it profit us that Mr. Morris can produce just their
effects and nothing more in us?

We are glad to acknowledge his transcendent talent, and we have felt in
reading his poem all the pleasure that faultless workmanship can give.
He is alert and sure in the management of his materials; his
descriptions of sentiment and nature are so clever, and his handling of
a familiar plot so excellent, that he carries you with him to the end,
and leaves you unfatigued, but sensible of no addition to your stock of
ideas and feelings.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 20, No. 121, November, 1867" ***

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